Psych follows Shawn Spencer who has developed a keen eye for detail after being instructed by his police officer father to note even the most minute details of his surroundings. After Shawn calls in a tip on a crime to the police, he is accused of committing the crime. To try to clear his name, Shawn convinces the police that he is a psychic.
Upon his first appearance in the series pilot, Lassiter is said to be five months into a trial separation from his wife, Victoria, although he later, when drunk, confesses that they have in fact been separated for two years. Part of their marriage troubles appears to stem from a disagreement over the matter of children. Lassiter says his wife believes that he does not want children, although this is not the case. Despite Lassiter's long estrangement from his wife, it would likely be very hard for him to admit that the marriage is over because "that means admitting failure, and Lassiter will never admit to failure." During the pilot, Lassiter is involved in a secret romance with his partner, Detective Lucinda Barry; however, soon after Shawn Spencer mean-spiritedly and publicly exposes the nature of their relationship, Barry is transferred and the affair appears to have ended. She is replaced by Junior Detective Juliet O'Hara.
Eventually, Lassiter's wife asks him to dinner, something he thinks points to a reconciliation for them, but in truth she simply wants to give him divorce papers. Saddened but resigned, he signs them, telling her he's going to let go of the past and think of the future without her. She tells him she will never stop loving him, even though they are divorced.
Lassiter has a younger sister named Lauren. Lauren visits Lassiter to film a documentary about police work. After meeting Shawn and Gus, she is impressed by their methods and decides to film them instead, which irritates Lassiter. After seeing Lassiter one-upped by Shawn and Gus again, Lauren shares with them that she looked up to Lassiter when she was growing up, and says that he may not be the man she thought he was after all. With a little help from Shawn, Lassiter is able to solve the case which restores his view in Lauren's eyes. She tells Lassiter that she is proud of him. Other family members include a missing brother who may or may not be in South America, a brother-in-law named Raul, a nephew named Peter, and an overbearing mother who is involved in a lesbian relationship with a black woman named Althea. It has not been revealed if his father is alive or not. Lassiter's mother never had time to take care of him and dropped him off at Old Sonora, a tourist Western town, every weekend. Lassiter is an avid Civil War buff who actively participates in reenactments.
Lassiter has a physical "crap list" from which he removes Shawn's dad Henry. People on the list include Hillary Clinton (twice), Carley Simon [sic], Chris Tucker, Olympia Dukakis, Shawn Spencer, Tyne Daly, Rick Sanchez, Marco Sanchez, Mark Sanchez, and many other names including his mother and the "Check out Girl at the A+P". Along with Henry's, some other names are crossed out, which may include Hilary Swank. Henry's name is immediately put back on the list after he is shown it and says Lassiter "disturbs" him.
Lassiter is a Republican, having punched Shawn in the face when he said that Ronald Reagan was a terrible president (after he refused when Shawn asked him to punch him because he was undercover). He also reveals this by referring to residents of a local commune as "flag burners." He also has the theme song of the show Cops as his ringtone.
Lassiter meets a woman at a local bar named Marlowe Viccellio. The two actually hit it off, and begin dating soon after. Marlowe is wrapped up in the criminal plot of the episode, and is sent to jail; however, Lassiter touchingly gives her a note stating that he will wait for her for the six to eighteen months that she is in prison. He buys a condo for Marlowe and him, since she is almost finished with her prison time. Marlowe assists him in a case by befriending an incarcerated gang leader, though to win her trust, Marlowe publicly punches Lassiter in the face.
When Marlowe finally gets paroled, her parole officer is an officer whom Lassiter didn't call back after sleeping with her. She implements rules designed to keep the two apart, including a no non-spousal cohabitation rule. Marlowe moves in with Juliet and Shawn, who are trying to start a life as a couple. The separation (and the strain on Marlowe's roommates) becomes insufferable and the two announce their intent to marry, which they do in the next episode.
He generally distrusts Shawn and does not believe that he is psychic as he claims to be, but has come to have a grudging respect for his investigation skills, something he admits in one episode while drunk. Omundson describes his character's animosity towards Shawn as stemming from the fact that Lassiter has worked hard to climb the chain of command and become good at his job. However, Lassiter is rarely seen to solve cases (though he obviously does frequently, otherwise he would never have achieved his status as head detective), and tends to draw obvious conclusions, when Shawn seeks for a stranger explanation (while also withholding evidence and committing various acts of fraud, aside from outright lying and stealing during investigations), which turns out to be right, though this is almost always only after Shawn accuses various other innocent people of the crime in question. Lassiter can be rather self-involved and thinking he is far more respected than he truly is. In "Extraditiion: British Columbia," he is on the bust of a master thief he has spent years tracking down but when he gloats, the thief responds he has no idea who Lassiter is. Lassiter is very protective of his partner, Juliet O'Hara, and sees her as a little sister, and even promising during a polygraph (lie detector) examination to physically hurt Shawn if he emotionally hurts O'Hara. While Shawn and Gus' increasing presence in police investigations is a great annoyance to Lassiter, "I think, secretly, he doesn't mind them too much because it always gives him a nice challenge." Overall his entire life seems to revolve around work. Even his casual outfit is what he wears to work, just wearing different shoes.
CARLTON ... IN HIS OWN WORDS
What's an Anagram of Your Name?
What's on your playlist?
1. Frank Sinatra: The Capitol Years
2. Vic Damone: Voice Masters
3. Louis Prima: Beepin' and Boppin'
4. Robert Goulet: Greatest Hits
5. Grand Funk Railroad: We're an American Band
Favorite Album at Age 15:
Saturday Night Fever Soundtrack
Three things I couldn't live without:
1. Citizens to Protect
2. Criminals to Arrest
3. Pepper Turkey
1. The Choirboys by Joseph Wambaugh
2. The Fredricksburg Campaign by Francis Augustin O'Reilly
3. California Vehicle Code
What's the craziest thing I've ever done?
Getting out of bed every day.
Best American City:
Depends on the crime rate.
Favorite Ice Cream Topping:
Oh, that's easy. Unicorn dust with rainbow sauce ... you think I have time for ice cream!??
Describe Yourself in One Word
Lighthearted or carefree. You pick.
Now in Spanish:
No tengo tiempo para esto
Crime of Fashion:
Operating an apparel sweatshop that makes counterfeit apparel and handbags. You meant this literally, right?
Favorite Old Movie:
Die Hard 2
Name of Your Imaginary Band? What Instrument Do You Play?:
"Satanic Stroller" ... Upright bass.
Dirty Little Secret:
I ran a stop sign once. But then I wrote myself a ticket.
If You Had to Have a Girl's Name, What Would You Choose?
Here's $10 ... What Do You Buy?
I need to see the money before I tell you. Come on. Cough it up.
Your environmentally conscious invention:
Bio-degradable Solar Generator
Your Superhero Name ("The," your favorite color, the automobile your dad drives):
The Black Schwinn
What Celebrity do People Say You Look Like?
The last thing that made me laugh out loud:
It was a morning DJ, I think. About two years ago.
"You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to speak to an attorney, and to have an attorney present during any questioning. If you cannot afford a lawyer, one will be provided for you at government expense."
Carlton Lassiter Photos
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