"Cog Blocked" is the fifth episode of season eight. Shawn and Gus investigate an apparent suicide of a man who is a mirror image of Gus.
Gus arrives at his job at Central Coast Pharmaceuticals and is immediately bombarded by his boss, Mr. Latrek. His workday has barely started and he's already been given a list of tasks to do.
Meanwhile, at the Psych office, an annoyed Henry tells Shawn that he's been paying his motorcycle insurance for the last eight years. He also points out that Juliet pays the rent for their apartment, and Gus puts up the bulk of the money to keep Psych in business. Henry suggests it's finally time for Shawn to take responsibility for his financial matters. In that moment, it dawns on Shawn that he leeches off of everyone close to him. Shawn decides to remedy this by solving a case. Shawn calls Lassiter asking to get hired on a case, but Lassiter says he can't take the risk of hiring outside consultants because he's making a play for the Chief of Police's seat. He also adds that the only case that's come in is a suicide. But Shawn sees this as an opportunity, and questions whether or not it was a suicide. Desperate, Shawn interrupts Gus' workday and convinces him to leave work to help him on this case. Gus reluctantly agrees.
Shawn and Gus arrive at the crime scene. An annoyed Lassiter reprimands Shawn for showing up uninvited. We see the dead body of John Russell, who looks a lot like Gus, lying on his living room with an empty bottle of pills at his side. All signs point to suicide. Gus further examines John's apartment and slowly starts to realize that he and John have lead strangely similar lives. They have the same style of dress and a lot of the same interests. It starts to freak him out a bit. This guy John was just like Gus, and now he's dead. He feels an intense amount of empathy for John because he sees himself as John. In that moment, Gus has an epiphany; he announces to the group that John, an upstanding citizen who lived a rich and prosperous life, would have never committed suicide. Gus believes John was murdered. Shawn tries to get on board with Gus' theory, but can't because he hasn't found a single clue in the apartment that points to murder. Gus doesn't care; he tells Shawn they are taking this case whether he likes it or not. Gus needs to take a personal stake in solving this case. Shawn knows he owes this to Gus, so he agrees to conduct a further investigation.
Shawn and Gus head to California Coast Insurance, John's place of business, which looks nearly identical to Gus' place of business. There, Gus is personally offended that John's co-workers are not mourning his death. They talk to John's boss Herve Grouse and learn that John's life mirrored Gus' even more than he thought, thus making Gus even more determined to prove John didn't kill himself. Gus slips into John's office and starts rifling through paperwork. He steals a key card off a janitor's cart and tells Shawn that they are coming back tonight to conduct a deeper investigation. Shawn is shocked by Gus' uncharacteristically risky investigative behavior, but goes along for the ride.
That night at John's office, Shawn and Gus discover an email from a woman named Angela Bennett that was sent to John after he died. John was supposed to meet her at The Buena Vista Lounge. Armed with this info, Shawn and Gus head to the lounge to check it out. There, Gus takes the lead and meets with Angela, who is strikingly beautiful and also blind. Gus is already smitten with her and she hasn't even spoken a word. He pretends to be John, but the second he speaks, Angela becomes concerned and tells Gus that he isn't John then leaves in a hurry. Shawn and Gus try to chase her down, but fail to catch up.
Their next move is to get the info on John's autopsy from Woody. From his findings, Woody believes that the suicide was staged. John had a heart condition. The residue from the pill bottle in John Russell's hand tested positive for seconal. Woody says that seconal is not recommended for people with heart conditions, so it wouldn't make any sense that he'd be prescribed those pills. Woody then points out that John has a stamp on his hand from a seedy, gangster-owned, Russian nightclub called “"Putin on the Ritz."
They head to the nightclub and see the owner Vlad toss someone off the bar's balcony onto the dance floor. This place is clearly not safe. Instead of questioning this guy, Shawn decides to tell Lassiter about him first, so they can get officially hired on the case. But Lassiter tells them they didn't find a trace of evidence that would lead them to believe John had dealings with any Russian gangsters. Lassiter also tells them that Vlad is clean because he's been in lock up at the SBPD all weekend and therefore has an alibi.
Desperate for another lead, Shawn and Gus head to John's apartment and discover it's been ransacked; it appears someone was there looking for something. Hidden in a bowling bag, Gus discovers an envelope containing the death certificate of a man named Pony Wayne White and an address.
They arrive at the mystery address. There, they find a wall covered in surveillance photos: photos of John and photos of Shawn and Gus at The Buena Vista Lounge. They're instantly freaked out. Just then, Angela, the blind girl from the lounge, appears in the doorway. She holds them at gunpoint, demanding to know who they are. After a bit of explaining, she realizes they aren't a threat. She lowers her gun and takes her sunglasses off, revealing she isn't actually blind. She tells them she's a P.I. and that her real name is Emmanuelle. John hired her claiming he was going to bring her information on something big, but he never showed up to their meeting at the lounge. Gus shows her the death certificate he found hiding in John's apartment. This is exactly the information Emmanuelle was looking for. John was supposed to give it to her, but he was killed before he could get the chance. Emmanuelle tells the guys that she thinks the document has something to do with insurance fraud. Just then, Shawn gets a call from Woody saying he found evidence that John was force fed those pills. It turns out Gus was right; John's death was not a suicide. They take the death certificate to Woody to get some answers. On the way there, it's clear that Emanuelle and Gus are hitting it off; their chemistry is off the charts, and Shawn feels like the third wheel.
Woody examines the death certificate and is perplexed. The official death certificate was issued to Pony White two months before he died and the signature at the bottom isn't Woody's; it's been forged. Shawn, Gus and Emmanuelle head over to Pony's house to question his wife. She tells them that Pony had taken out a loan from an unknown lender in order to finance a dance club. She then tells them Pony had a life insurance policy, but when she went to collect, they said Pony died of a heart attack two months ago. The policy had already been paid out. She says she spoke to John Russell about the policy and that he agreed to check into it for her. Then she got a call from an anonymous person saying that he's taking the case over. Gus thinks he knows who called her.
They head to John's office and find Quan Phung, a co-worker of John's, fiddling with John's computer. Gus thinks that Quan was the person who called Pony's wife saying he was taking over the case. But Quan explains that John had discovered some sketchy payouts from the company but couldn't give him details. Quan says he's been trying to access John's computer to get some answers regarding the sketchy payouts ever since his death. Emmanuelle sits down at the computer and manages to break into a password-protected file on Pony. Gus is impressed and kind of turned on by this. In the file they find documents that point them in the right direction. They print the documents and head out. On their way to the Blueberry, they get shot by an unknown gunman. Shawn and Emmanuelle are forced to take cover back inside, but Gus manages to drive off with the documents. The gunman's car chases after him. After an intense car chase, Gus' car breaks down. He quickly flees, and the gunman drives straight into the Blueberry and totals it, destroying it for good. The gunman jumps out of his car, ready to shoot Gus down, but Lassiter shows up to stop him. Shawn and Emmanuelle run over to the scene. Shawn spots a clue on the gunman's wrist that leads him to believe that the gunman isn't the guy behind this whole scheme; the gunman was hired to by the real culprit to be his triggerman and nothing else. Shawn connects the dots and realizes that John's boss Herve Grouse is the person responsible for killing John.
They head straight to Jon Russell's funeral where they know Grouse will be in attendance. At the podium, Gus breaks down the details of the case in order to expose Grouse. He tells the crowd that John found out Grouse was up to no good. Grouse was giving out bad loans to people in exchange for a cut of the action, like a loan shark. And he was paying out death benefits to people who were still alive. Pony Wayne White took out a loan from Grouse in order to open his dance club. According to the records Grouse kept, Pony used the loan to open up his dance club after Pony suffered a heart attack. But when Pony died for real, Grouse's scheme was in danger of being uncovered and John knew about it. Gus presents the evidence gleaned from the company computers. It's clear Grouse is guilty of everything, so Lassiter cuffs him and arrests him. Gus then gives John a heartfelt eulogy.
The next day, Gus quits his job in a blaze of glory. This whole case has made him realize he doesn't want to be just some cog in a corporate wheel anymore.
We end at the Russian nightclub. Shawn has gotten a job as a bartender there and Gus and Emmanuelle are there having their first date. Gus is feeling great; he solved the case, quit the job he hated and got the girl in the end. Behind the bar, Shawn tries to make them drinks but ends up breaking a bunch of bottles. When Vlad sees how terrible Shawn is at bartending, he fires him on the spot. Now both Shawn and Gus are unemployed, but neither seem too worried about it.
- This is the third episode that Brad Turner has directed. The first was "Neil Simon's Lover's Retreat" from season six and the other was the season seven finale "No Trout About It."
- Carlos Jacott, the writer of this episode, is also an accomplished actor. One of his most recognized roles is "Pool Guy/Ramon" from the Seinfeld episode "The Pool Guy." He has also appeared on screen in three episodes of Psych. He played Terrance in "9 Lives," Geoff in "The Tao of Gus" and Morty in "Remake A.K.A. Cloudy... With a Chance of Improvement."
- Juliet did not make an appearance in this episode, with Shawn explaining that she went to Florida to visit her aunt. This absence was due to Maggie Lawson's Back in the Game-related work.