When their favorite DJ (Brent Chapman) is murdered on the air, and the station is in jeopardy of closing down without their #1 money maker, Shawn (James Roday) and Gus (Dulé Hill) go undercover as “Santa Barbara’s newest and most potent morning show” and “The Playa Gus” to find the killer. Suspects include the DJ’s producer (Haig Sutherland) and former partner (Dale Wolfe), the station manager (Garcelle Beauvais), who has a little thing for Gus, and another radio personality (Dale Wilson), all of whom had motives for wanting the man dead.
After replacing Shawn as the main host of their show an attempt is made on Gus’ life which leads to Lassie (Timothy Omundson) and Juliet (Maggie Lawson) questioning a fan (Jessica Makinson) obsessed with both the timeslot’s old and new hosts. Although she doesn’t turn out to be their killer, the woman’s stalker (Ken Kirzinger), who doesn’t like all the attention she showers on the radio hosts, proves to be a much more solid suspect – especially when he attacks Juliet after breaking into the young woman’s home.
The show uses the on-air conversations bring up Gus’ mixed feelings once he learns that Rachael (Parminder Nagra) needs to return to London due to a Visa issue and strongly foreshadows the end of their relationship. I liked Beauvais here and wouldn’t mind seeing her return as Gus’ rebound fling, but I doubt there are long term possibilities for the pair. I also enjoyed Shawn’s reaction to Juliet being hit on the head, wrongly suspecting his girlfriend might have brain damage. The joke goes on a little too long, but it’s sweet (in an abusrd, creepy kind of way).
The week’s mystery has a few too many late twists and turns, all occurring within a 10-minute period which produces a rushed, and somewhat unsatisfying ending, and the on-air versions of both Shawn and Gus’ radio shows aren’t as goofy as I expected them to be. In the end, “Dead Air” turns out to be a solid episode, but certainly not one of the season’s best.