Deception – ABC’s newest crime drama should enter witness protection

ABC’s new show Deception looked impressive from its trailer, with a seemingly high production value and a decent–if not overdone–premise. Add a pinch of The Mentalist, infuse it with Castle, bake in some magic, and you have a decent idea of what this new show is about. The question is whether the combination will work to draw in audiences every week. Whenever possible, I’ll avoid major spoilers and this review will be no exception.

Synopsis

The entire premise of the show is we have a fugitive the FBI wants to find, and it just so happens that a magician wants to find the same person, too. Of course, we also need to have an unrequited love angle for our main characters. Finally, one needs to be a bit of a goofball and maybe even a narcissist, with the other angling for the serious “let me do my job” persona. Can you guess who’s who yet?

Trailer

The most difficult part I had watching the premier was that they gave most of it away in the trailer. The theatrics for the opening scene were a budgetary waste for this very reason; we already knew how it was going to end. Sadly, the second big scene has the same issue. I can’t stand it when movies do this, and it truly ruins the enjoyment of a new show, whose first episode is intended to pull you back next week. Additionally, all the comedic moments were in the trailer, resulting in my failure to even crack a smile during the premier.

Characters

I think the most glaring issue I had was with the main characters, themselves. Their acting fell flat and I didn’t get a real sense of any tension between them. In fact, I am pretty sure FBI agent Daniels is supposed to dislike her new partner, yet she was the one fighting to bring illusionist Cameron Black on-board. Sorry, but you can’t have it both ways; either she sees his value and respects him, or she can’t stand him and wants nothing to do with him. The alternative would be that agent Daniels has mixed emotions, but this still resulted in the interactions feeling cold and meaningless. I’d suggest the writers should instead have chosen one or the other.

Conclusion

Any good show must get you to care about the characters or else there is no reason to continue watching. I cared about Richard Castle and Kate Beckett, as well as Patrick Jane and Teresa Lisbon. I couldn’t care less about Cameron Black and Kay Daniels. Maybe I’m wrong, but I think the cost of the illusions required to necessitate a magician working with the FBI in the first place will sink this show when it isn’t able to pull in the right Nielsen numbers. Normally, I give a show three episodes before deciding whether or not to continue watching; this time, the magic fizzled after just one episode. Maybe I need to give The Orville another shot…

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