No one could have seen such success for 'Psych'

Patrick Ryan
"There's not a lot of shows out there where a teenager is cool sitting in front of the TV with his parents for an hour, admitting that they're enjoying the same content," says star James Roday, left, with 'Psych' co-star Dulé Hill. "We somehow managed to pull that off."

It's time to say "so long," Psych fans: The popular cult series is heading to that giant pineapple in the sky after eight irreverent seasons.

But first, rewind to 2006, when the show was shooting its pilot episode, and creator Steve Franks remembers "tempting fate." While many others were nervous about whether the series would get picked up, "I kept going around saying, 'This is absolutely getting on the air, and we're doing five years of it.'"

Psych has since exceeded his "bold, ridiculous proclamation," ending its eight-year run Wednesday (USA, 9 p.m. ET/PT) after 121 episodes. Immediately after the finale, USA will air a live Psych After Pshow (10:07 p.m. ET/PT), an hour-long discussion with Franks, the cast and a studio audience in Los Angeles.

Following fake psychic detective Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend, Burton "Gus" Guster (Dulé Hill), Psych has paid homage to everything from Twin Peaks to Alfred Hitchock and welcomed guest stars such as Jane Lynch, Kerry Washington and George Takei. Its loyal band of "Psych-Os" marks USA's youngest audience for an original scripted series and its most active on social media, with more than 2.8 million Facebook fans and 206,000 Twitter followers. A ratings dip since its heyday — nearly 1.7 million viewers this season, compared with more than 4 million viewers in early seasons — is a likely factor in its demise, but network president Chris McCumber says that the influential police comedy is ending on a high note.

"It put us on the map as far as our programming and brand," McCumber says. Not only did Psych turn fans on to other USA shows, "but it also established a tone of comedy for the network. We like to call it a 'comedy with a dead body every week.'"

The impending conclusion has been bittersweet for cast and crew, although Roday says "it's very easy to focus on the positives because of the fact that it was such a wonderful experience." And although last week's horror-themed episode, "A Nightmare on State Street," offered no clues about the finale (fittingly titled "The Breakup"), he promises closure above all else.

"It did everything a finale is supposed to do without sacrificing the spirit of Psych," Roday says. "It was sort of the perfect balance of an ending and a celebration of what people tuned in to watch every week," which he describes as "two grown-ass men who refused to grow up."

Franks, who wrote and directed the final episode, says it was daunting trying to make a finale that appeased both fans and those who worked on the series. But he also hoped to "make a satisfying conclusion that honors the questions we posed in the pilot and is still true to what the show is in its eighth season."

Rather than "tie things up so much that you close the door to a future film somewhere down the line" (an idea he's been teasing since Season 2), he prefers to believe that Shawn and Gus' adventures will continue off-screen, even after the credits roll.

Psych wrapped shooting late last summer, making Wednesday's after-show the first time the cast has reunited in six months. Aside from games and a small awards show (the Golden Pineapples, naturally, a nod to one of the show's running gags), fans can expect video appearances from previous guest stars, an auction of the show's signature car, known as "The Blueberry," along with a big surprise from Franks and the cast.

It's the perfect victory lap for a series that, in many ways, managed a rare feat: establishing itself as a lightly comic cable drama that appealed to both teens and their parents.

"There's not a lot of shows out there where a teenager is cool sitting in front of the TV with his parents for an hour, admitting that they're enjoying the same content," Roday says. "We somehow managed to pull that off, and it's because of the fact that we were having so much fun, and it translated.

"It was like being in a giant play land," he says, one that was equal parts "ridiculous and surprising. That's what resonated with people."