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No illusion: Just all the elements of a hit show PDF Print E-mail
Written by KIMBERLY GRANT   
Friday, 11 January 2013

meagan-good-web.jpgNBC’s Deception begins with the apparent overdose of Vivian Bowers (played by Bree Williamson), a woman whose family business is a pharmaceutical company. But Vivian’s death doesn’t look like an overdose and the FBI gets involved, mainly Agent Will Moreno (Laz Alonso).

Will, then, enlists the help of his former NYPD partner/lover, Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good), who happens to be Vivian’s childhood Best Friend Forever.  Since Will thinks Vivian’s murder was committed by someone in the Bowers family, Joanna goes undercover to find out the truth. 

Deception, which enjoyed its premiere on Jan.7, is a midseason replacement for Revolution. Within the first episode, quite a few skeletons come out of the closet, making Deception the procedural version of Dallas. With its great writing, courtesy of Liz Heldens, Deception is a great new drama.  However, the fun will be in finding out whether Heldens and her writing staff can make Deception interesting past a first season.

Peter Horton and Dan Lerner directed the premiere episode and included enough storyline, flashback and passion to get a good groove going for Deception.  Should they keep this momentum through the season, they are sure to have a bonafide hit on their hands — especially since as its title suggests – the characters all are enjoying the art of deliciously deceiving each other.


Low expectations for Good’s performance quickly proved unfounded, as she actually shows range. Given that NBC has designated her the showrunner, the network must believe in Good’s ability to carry the show. A look at the first episode will make a believer out of you, too. 

Joanna is a relatable character but the only one that doesn’t seem fleshed out enough. It feels as if Joanna is not being honest with someone, but you can’t quite put your finger on whom. Hopefully Heldens can work out that kink by the end of the season.  It would be a shame to have a great show and a lackluster showrunner. Then again, all good writers know that you can’t give everything away all at once. There has to be some left over for the rest of the season.

Alonso’s Will is a bit of a mystery as well. It’s obvious that he likes Joanna and is very protective of her. But it’s not quite clear whether Will wants Joanna in New York to help with Vivian’s murder case or as an excuse to be with Joanna. 

From a creative standpoint, that kind of slow-build is hard to come by these days, and the directors would be crazy to address the phenomenon now. It’s way more intriguing to keep viewers guessing Will’s motives.


Good and Alonso (and their chemistry) aren’t the only elements keeping Deception’s momentum alive. So far none of the other characters are what they seem. Victor Garber plays Robert, the patriarch of the Bowers family who is unlike most CEOs on screen. He seems more like an equal opportunity employer who just loves people. Then again, that may all change by the end of the season. Older son Edward, played by Tate Donovan, is the ruthless, angry one of the bunch. He looks like the kind of person who would kill someone if he thought he needed to. Younger son Julian (Wes Brown) is supposed to be good-natured and fair like his father. Then again his rampant bed-hopping begs to differ.

In the female lead category, Sophia (Katherine LaNasa), Robert’s wife, holds the family together with an iron fist, which harkens to a fierce determination to be a member of the family.  Samantha (Marin Hinkle), Edward’s soon-to-be estranged wife, seems like a minor character.  However, there is a tingly sense that she may be the key to solving season one’s central mystery. Ella Rae Peck’s Mia, Robert and Sophia’s daughter and the classic angry teenager, is really the Bowers’ granddaughter.

A mystery/soap opera more fit for ABC or CBS, Deception starts off strong with fleshed out characters, a twisty plotline, and a relatable heroine — all the trappings needed to make it my new favorite show, second to Scandal.  Should Deception’s cast receive more diversity besides its two leads, it would be even better. That’s a hint.

Check local listings for scheduling details.    

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Last Updated ( Friday, 11 January 2013 )
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