July 6, 2020

‘Psych’ star Dulé Hill on Hollywood diversity and the legacy of ‘The West Wing’

By Daniel Arkin

In the age of gritty cable TV, “Psych” was an anomaly: a bright and breezy detective comedy with a running gag about pineapples. But the eight-season series enjoyed solid ratings and cultivated a loyal fan base: the “PsychOs.”

Dulé Hill, who co-starred as straight-laced sidekick Burton “Gus” Guster, isn’t surprised by the show’s under-the-radar staying power. “Psych,” he said in a recent Zoom call from his home in Los Angeles, is above all else an “escape” from reality.

Hill, 45, has twice returned to the part since the show ended in 2014, first in a 2017 made-for-TV movie and again in a sequel film that debuts July 15 on the Peacock streaming service. (Peacock is a product of NBC News’ parent company, NBCUniversal.)

The sequel, “Psych 2: Lassie Comes Home,” also marks the triumphant return of Hill’s co-star Timothy Omundson, who continues to recover from a major stroke he suffered in late April 2017.

In a wide-ranging conversation, Hill discussed the appeal of “Psych,” the push for racial diversity in the TV industry, and the renewed enthusiasm for “The West Wing,” the show that gave him his breakout role as stalwart presidential aide Charlie Young.

Here are excerpts from that conversation, edited for length and clarity.