TV Review: “Deception” – Needs Some Work

Written by Hana Elniwairi January 31, 2013

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“You strangle one girl, and the world never lets you forget it!” – Why yes, that’s how it works . . . .

Synopsis

“Deception” is a new NBC murder mystery drama, set in New York. Yes, it sounds very familiar . . . *cough*Revenge*cough*, but more on that later. Vivian Bowers (Bree Williamson), the eldest daughter of a wealthy pharmaceutical company, is found dead, and the whole city suspects the murderer is within the family. This is where Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good), comes in: having been an old friend of the family, she must now infiltrate the Bowers and uncover who murdered her best friend.

What Works . . .

Starting off this review on a positive note, here is what works for “Deception” so far. For some reason, flashbacks always end up stealing the show, and “Deception” is no different. The fragmented scenes give important background information, and seem to carry much more life and emotion than the real-time action.

Another positive that the show seems to have going for it is Edward Bowers’ family. One of the things that irks me about “Deception” is that many of the characters react in weird, inconsistent manners. Edward and Samantha Bowers are the exception. Samantha (Marin Hinkle) may in fact be the only one who is appropriately reacting to the craziness. She is terrified for her life, and just wants to get out of the Bowers’ drama, and raise her daughters somewhere safe. Of course, that won’t fly for TV, but it will be interesting to see if she keeps trying.

Edward Bowers (Tate Donovan) does not spend much time dwelling on his sister’s death, but a couple of moments show that this may only be an outward show. He also openly mistrusts Joanna, which, let’s be real here, everyone in the Bowers family should. They haven’t seen this girl for 17 years; how can you welcome her with open arms?! Edward lives up to the description that he’s an emotionless bastard with a criminal history; he’s the prime suspect. I think we can all assume, however, that things will not be that obvious and he didn’t do it, and by the third episode, that much is made clear. Oddly enough, Edward seems to be the Bower with the purest intention when it comes to Vivian.

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What Blows . . .

. . . all the other characters? The Bowers are an incredibly messed up family, but that is what’s expected in a show about the rich and famous. However, I also expect to somehow sympathize with them, if only a little bit, so that when the big reveal occurs, it actually matters. At the moment, the only surprising ones would be Mia (Ella Rae Peck) and Edward, the former because she has very little motive or character development, and the latter because it would be way too boring.

But let’s talk about the other Bowers. Sophia (Katherine LaNasa) is a classic evil stepmum, except a little more on the psychotic side (don’t leave her alone with a tennis racket and another human!). Robert (Victor Garber) is boring, which is surprising, considering who plays him. What I don’t understand, though, is how no one seems to suspect him. He has motive, as Vivian was planning to expose his newest drug for being the fraud that it is. Which leads us to Julian (Wes Brown), the youngest and creepiest one of them all. Edward is the supposed-murderer in the family, but Julian Bowers, man, he makes my skin crawl. According to Joanna, he’s supposed to be the ‘sexy, rich bad boy’ everyone loves, but that does not come through. The entire time you watch him and Joanna relive their romantic history, there is a voice screaming in your head that This. Is. Stupid.

Get. Away. Girl. He will kill you!

Get. Away. He will kill you in your sleep, you idiot.

On the Fence . . .

. . . about Joanna. She is the classic good girl, going into the family only to bring the murderer to justice. On the one hand, her being good sets the show apart from “Revenge”, which is polluted with selfish conniving characters all around. But at other times, she seems to have very little character outside of her job. “Deception” needs to find a balance between turning her into a complete vindictive bitch, and keeping her as she is right now.

“Deception” should not be ruled out as your potential new guilty pleasure just yet. The plot may be old, but I really cannot guess what comes next, or ‘whodunnit’, and that has to count for something, right? The characters need a little tweaking and consistency, that’s for sure, and the show could probably use a few more laughs in order to avoid taking itself too seriously. But we shall see what happens!

My Rating: 5.5/10

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About Hana Elniwairi

Hana is a student at UWO, studying Psychology and Creative Writing. She enjoys watching movies and TV, no matter how much she complains about them or claims otherwise.

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