USA / Alan Zenuk

To celebrate the return of new episodes of Psych every Friday at 10 on p.m. USA Network, I talked to Steve Franks, creator and executive producer, and he was chock-full of delightful dish on Shawn (James Roday) and his lady-friend Juliet (Maggie Lawson), Shawn and his long-missing mom (Cybill Shepherd), and the continuing adventures of Gus, Lassie and the chief. Click in for all the scoop he spilled on guest stars (Jeff Fahey! Justine Bateman!) and why Shawn's mom had to come back if Shawn and Juliet are ever going to be together...

Maggie Lawson, Psych

USA / Alan Zenuk

Love Is in the Air: According to Franks, you Shawn and Juliet fans should not give up hope anytime soon:  "The episode we're editing right now is the roller-derby episode, and there's another really just supersweet, great moment [between Shawn and Juliet]. It's not the thing that everyone's thinking, but it sort of steps that way. We always put a toe in, and pull a toe back out. And you know, we're not going to make the mistake of 'They're suddenly dating!' But there is definitely an attraction there. And the relationship with the mom is sort of the first step of Shawn becoming complete enough to be worthy of Juliet." Awww...

Cybil Shepherd

Mathew Imaging/

Mom Come and Gone: Cybill Shepherd just got here, but according to big boss Franks, she's leaving again soon, and she won't be back until the end of this season! However, Franks tells me the idea of Shawn's mom's big reveal (that she walked away from the family) has stayed with him for a long time: "That was an idea I had since the first season, but it was always like, at some point, I was going to have Henry (Corbin Bernsen) tell him. It's like, they get into a big fight and Henry says, 'Listen, I have to tell you something. Your mom was the one that left.' I could never figure out why it was never right, and it was because Henry would never tell him! And so I came up with the idea: Oh my God! This big reveal has to come from the mom!" Ta-da!

According to Franks, Madeline gets on a plane in this Friday's ep and doesn't come back until episode 14, 15 or 16, sometime in 2009. Ah, parents are crazy. What else is new?

Jeff Fahey

ABC/Mario Perez

Guest-Star Shuffle: According to Franks, the guest cast is out-of-control good this season. He explained it all so well that I'm just going to let him do the honors for you guys as well.

•  "We have Jeff Fahey jumping through a ring of fire, full-on Evel Knievel. That episode, too, you get to the end, and the last scene in the episode is so totally unexpected and yet, sort of, heartbreaking at the same time. We're not going to be the 'weepy of the week,' but I think we're not going to shy away from that. It drives us crazy when people don't get the show and are like, 'Oh, it's just these two guys screwing around!' And it's like, no, there's actually a lot of character development—and there's a lot of heart in our show, and we're really not shying away from it this year."

Jane Lynch

Jean Baptiste Lacroix/

•  "We cast Jane Lynch to be the chief's sister. There's a murder on an oil rig—by the way, we're literally killing the network when we do that. No more, like, [inexpensive] 'a guy gets killed in an apartment' [scenes]. It turns out, in the reveal, they're not really in their jurisdiction but the chief (Kirsten Nelson) is really competitive, and it's because the head of the Santa Barbara Coast Guard is her sister. They have this great competitive relationship with each other, like 13-year-old sisters, but they're both really powerful, established women. So she's on a boat, and there's a shootout at the end, and during the shootout at the end, the two sisters work out their emotional issues, and it's a really, really funny scene."

Steven Weber

Mitch Haaseth/NBC

•  "We have our Goonies episode with Steven Weber, who plays Jack, Henry's ne'er-do-well brother, whom Shawn's always sort of idolized and has based his life on."

•  "My favorite piece of stunt casting this year, and he's only in, like, one scene, but in our '70s show, where Shawn and Gus (Dulé Hill) have to go reinvestigate a big case of Henry's that gets overturned because of a technicality, but they end up going to their 'Huggy Bear,' their snitch, and that guy is Ted Lange from The Love Boat. We've got Isaac the bartender! Sure, we've got all these other big stars...but Isaac the bartender? Come on!"

Justine Bateman

Paul Fenton/

•  "Justine Bateman is playing Lassiter's (Timothy Omundson) never-seen-before ex-wife. That's our Friday the 13th episode. They go up to this abandoned camp that was shut down. Gus' camp best friend—whom he abandoned Shawn for—is reopening the camp. And all this spooky stuff's going on, and Gus is like, 'No, no, no, Shawn. You are clearly imagining things.' And then we get to meet Justine Bateman, Lassiter's estranged wife. And that's gut-wrenching, too." Funny pain. The best kind.

Sounds pretty entertaining, no? All you Gus and Shawn fans out there, testify in the comments, and I also want to hear from all you Shawn-Juliet partisans about exactly how long you're willing to wait before they have to knock boots.

—Additional reporting by Jennifer Godwin

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