It’s a bit unsettling how similar Deception is to Revenge. Did NBC just apply ABC’s success story onto a template while making the odd changes here and there? Let’s look at the premise in general terms: a driven female protagonist infiltrates a wealthy community that’s linked to her past with the desire to exert some form of justice. Sadly, even with that tactic, the Deception pilot isn’t nearly as successful as its ABC counterpart.
The main problem with the show is that it doesn’t really offer anything we haven’t seen before. It’s basically a murder mystery with a slew of potential suspects. Where’s the added twist? The complication we haven’t seen a million times before? I guess I was sort of surprised by the Mia twist and the reporter’s predicament (I assumed he’d be working with Joanna all season long) but it’s all relatively run-of-the-mill. Even Joanna herself isn’t the most absorbing lead. Meagan Good does an adequate enough job, but Revenge‘s Emily Thorne was infinitely more compelling as she wasn’t the cliche do-gooder we’re usually accustomed to. I am however somewhat interested by Joanna’s relationship with Julian who’s linked to the cancer-drug conspiracy that Vivian Bowers was going to blow the lid on. And with Joanna getting the assistant job, at least we won’t have to suffer through contrived sequences of her being the “house-guest”.
The rest of the cast isn’t particularly intriguing. Tate Donavon as Edward seemed much too one-note as the predictably evil sibling (a far cry from his turn on Damages), but it’s always a pleasure to see Victor Garber on TV again. He was incredible on Alias and I’m positive he’ll be a highlight as the Bowers family patriarch however short the show’s run may be. In addition, I’m hoping we’ll be seeing more of Katherine LaNasa who plays Garber’s second wife. She only had a few minutes of screen-time but she was amusingly bold and catty throughout.
Although Deception doesn’t offer anything new, the pilot is an admittedly entertaining diversion. I just might give it another episode or two.