Winter TV First Impression: NBC's Deception Delivers a Cop With a Revengenda

TV Review: NBC's DeceptionThere are more than a dozen scripted programs debuting in early 2013, including Kevin Bacon’s series television debut, a new riff on Jekyll and Hyde and a look at Carrie Bradshaw’s fabulous high school years. To help you plan your viewing/re-prioritize your DVR, TVLine is offering First Impressions of several of the new shows. First up on our list…

THE SHOW | NBC’s Deception (Mondays at 10/9c, premiering Jan. 7)

THE COMPETITION | Castle (ABC), Hawaii Five-0 (CBS), Lost Girl (Syfy) and Monday Mornings (new, TNT)

RELATED | Hot for Winter: Your January Premieres and Finales Calendar

THE CAST | Meagan Good (Californication), Laz Alonso (Breakout Kings), Victor Garber (Alias), Wes Brown (True Blood), Tate Donovan (Damages), Katherine LaNasa (Justice) and Ella Rae Peck (Gossip Girl)

THE SET-UP | Did you hear the one about the young woman who infiltrates the inner circle of a wealthy New York family that resides in a waterside mansion, to seek justice — revenge, if you will — for the wrongful death of a loved one? In this instance, you have Good playing Joanna Locasto, an NYPD detective recruited by the FBI to embed herself within the Bowers family, whom she lived alongside as a kid as the daughter of the housekeeper. Her mission: to uncover the truth behind the fishy fatal overdose of her onetime bestie, Bowers black sheep Vivian. Garber plays family patriarch Robert, Donovan and Brown his sons Edward and Julian, while Alonso is Joanna’s FBI liaison/onetime flame, Will Moreno.

Deception Cast

THE FIRST IMPRESSION | Deception is most aptly likened to Season 1 of ABC’s Revenge, when things were more quaint and focused. Plus, it offers a better sense of place, having been actually filmed in New York (versus Los Angeles). Good has nice chemistry with whichever men they point her way and all told is solid as the lead if a bit passive, though that is perhaps a byproduct of undercover Joanna’s need to be low-key; similarly, Garber doesn’t get much shading until the final moments of Episode 2. Donovan steals scenes as a haughty snob, once suspected of a years-ago murder, who is the most wary of Joanna’s sudden reentry into this world; Brown pops some as Joanna’s hard-partying crush from back in the day; and Peck eerily channels Amber Heard as teenage Mia. Alonso makes the most of that rare TV role — The Smart Supervising Lawman — and LaNasa, after a stilted intro, soon enough lets loose as Robert’s missus.
    Yes, there are leaps of logic to be sustained (Joanna crashing with the Bowers fam after 17 years away is barely justified, and her “small talk” at the manse tiptoes just this side of “conspicuous interrogation”), and I hope to God this isn’t TV’s umpteenth case of “Someone died because they got wind of a falsified drug trial!” But Deception stands to land squarely in the “guilty pleasure” sweet spot, perhaps only to be unseated by fellow NBC newbie Do No Harm (bowing Jan. 31).

RELATED | As The Voice Rests and Revolution Pauses, NBC Expects ‘Leveling of the Playing Field’

THE TVLINE BOTTOM LINE | NBC boss Robert Greenblatt told me he entirely expects to take a ratings hit on Mondays, with The Voice between cycles and Revolution on hiatus until late March. Even so, Deception‘s numbers may test the Peacock’s patience, with a soft lead-in from the creaky Biggest Loser (which might pull half of The Voice‘s numbers) and pitted against Castle and Five-0.

Watch a video preview for Deception, then vote in our poll below.

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89 Comments
  1. Templar says:

    The idea that a prominent family would embrace an outsider on the strength of a friendship with a deceased family black sheep seems ludicrous.

    • Christine says:

      Her mother was the housekeeper, so I assume she grew up with the entire family not just the ‘deceased black sheep’.

      • Matt Webb Mitovich says:

        You would be correct; I’ll see if I can make that more clear in the text.

      • Lacey says:

        The Black Sheep was her best friend and she was the housekeeper’s daughter, to me that translates as someone who’s not very close to the family. The family just embracing her after all this time makes no sense.

    • jericho says:

      I caught the pilot on Hulu and was pleasantly surprised. It is an intrigue-filled show to be sure. The cast is as good as it gets. Meagan Good has been trying to find a vehicle for herself for a long time. Having Victor Webster and Donovan back on TV is a good thing. This show may not be the best thing on TV but it surely is a secret you wont tell others you are watching. Kind of like Revenge was before its second season ruined it.

      • Suzie says:

        Victor Webster? You mean Victor Garber, right? If Victor Webster was on it, I’d watch it.

        • dude says:

          The fact that you deem Victor Webster more of a reason to watch than Victor Garber completely invalidates your opinion. Mr. Webster is easy on the eyes, yes but he no so good with the talking.

  2. Bryce says:

    Reminds me of Dirty Sexy Money.

    • Diva says:

      I’ve seen the first episode and I loved it but I don’t understand why people are comparing it to Revenge. It makes no sense. The only thing they have in common is that they both deal with rich people. Bryce is right, it’s more like Dirty Sexy Money than anything else, but instead of the lead being a lawyer, she’s a cop and someone killed one of their own.

      I was skeptical that Meagan Good was the lead but she proved me wrong. She was great.
      I need something to replace Revenge with since that show became such a disappointment this season and I think this show just may do it.

  3. Ella says:

    I love Victor Garber! Will check it out!

  4. CJ says:

    It looks interesting but with NBC I am always wary of things like this. I’ll probably wait a while to check it out for fear of getting hooked only to have it canceled. Plus I am WAY more excited about Do No Harm.

    • Leo says:

      Still annoyed when they cancelled Awake. This show looks like it’s gonna be a rating failure.
      Pitting it against two shows with the most passionate fans.
      And lead-in from The Biggest Loser? I doubt the audience will stick around to this ‘heavy’ show.

      • Gilly says:

        I think the ‘powers that be’ could at least let these shows play out to the end before they cancel so viewers who have invested their time are not left hanging in the air. Ultimately people are just not going to want to waste their time on any series – as they are only going to see half a story (if they’re lucky) before its taken off the air.
        The networks need to respect the audience and give the shows a fair chance.

    • Barbara says:

      I felt that exact same way when they moved Damages and only certain people could even see the show after having been a loyal viewer. I have been watching Deception and I am hooked so I am hoping once this big crime is solved they have another place to put Megan undercover. So far so good but not holding my breath either on how long it will last.

  5. Mikael says:

    Jack Bristow! I’ll definitely be checking the show out because of Victor Garber.

  6. John says:

    Why every single show now has to have at least 2 black people on the cast? Is a new rule or something? I have nothing against minorities on tv but why now the captains on detective shows or with important positions on other shows are black? It would be great to have one day a latin or asian actor playing that kind of roles too instead of drug dealers or killers.

    • Percysowner says:

      Check out Once Upon A Time. Regina is played by a Latino actress and Mulan is played by an Asian actress. Most of the black characters have been written out. Nikita has an Asian lead and no black actors. Supernatural has added 2 recurring Asian characters and has no black recurring characters. Actually being black is pretty much a death sentence on Supernatural. Arrow has 2 Asian recurring characters although it does have a black character, but what can you do? Revolution has a Latino actress as part of the main cast and Major Crimes has a Latino actor. MC also has an Asian regular cast member. Elementary has Lucy Lui, an Asian actress as one of the leads. I don’t watch it, but I’m pretty sure Hawaii 50 has Asian regulars.

      From this list I can agree that Latinos are woefully underrepresented on TV as are Asians, but frankly black characters are pretty much underrepresented as well. The entire entertainment business could do much, much better in using minorities on shows, but criticizing the fact that black characters are used is not really addressing the problem.

      • Suzie says:

        Castle has a latino detective and an afro/latin medical examiner. The Mentalist has Cho an asian detective. The U.S. population is 75% white. Do the math.

        • Alex says:

          Grimm also has an Asian sergeant (Sgt. Wu) as a series regular. And one of the main characters (Nick’s homicide detective-partner, Hank) is black.

    • Katiebell says:

      As per usual, people don’t complain when white people get the prominent roles but the minute a black person gets a role of power, some racist punk has to complain about it. It’s about time a black woman (since they are utterly rare) gets the lead role.

      I mean we are in a world where we have a black president, so why are people complaining about black people getting a role of power?

      • Alex says:

        The president isn’t black. He’s of mixed race… half white and half black. Why do some people ignore that fact?

        • mia says:

          Yes, Obama is mixed race and that’s important, but he reads as black. Most people see him as black, and despite what his actual heritage is, that perception is incredibly important. And the fact that a man that is black is the president is what’s important….not the 50% of white in him.

        • John says:

          The president is literally black. He may be racially mixed, but his skin is black, and that’s the thing that racist people make bad judgements based on.

    • Alex says:

      Agreed! There are almost no Native Americans on TV. Why not have one of them in the cast instead? And I’d love to see a major Asian character on the show.

    • ZmaX says:

      If you want some Asian lead characters, check out Nikita (Maggie Q is stellar in the really well developed role) and Beauty and the Beast (Kristin Kreuk is really likable)

    • mia says:

      Yo, that’s racist.
      .
      There are huge changes that need to be done in order to better represent ALL minorities on tv, but attacking another minorty group is not the way to make that point. Instead maybe support the strides that black actors have made and critique white producers for not taking more chances with other people of colour.

    • josh says:

      you should read your comment out loud to yourself so you can hear how absurd and foolish it sounds

    • Lola says:

      Discussions about race are never a bad thing (if they reveal something important), but objections to “representation?” I agree in general that minorities are under-represented on TV (so definitely Asians, Latinos, and Native Americans are under represented), but rather than (kindly) attack other representations, protest the under-representation. TV representation is not a closed system with a certain pre-determined amount of representations allowed. And this whole situation shouldn’t be a “crabs in the barrel” situation.

      I’m not trying to suppress your protest, just hoping you’ll guide it towards another source.

    • MJ says:

      You are ridiculous. There have literally been two black woman leads on broadcast TV in almost FORTY years, and if it wasn’t for Scandal for breaking the chain just this past year it probably would have still continued and this show likely never gotten the light of day. Imagine going almost 40 years years without ever seeing a white female lead? That is hardly representation–more like .00001% of the black female population. If it’s a new rule, then… finally! You should be hoping other people of color can be represented instead of showing YOUR true colors.

    • Katie says:

      “I have nothing against minorities on tv but why now the captains on detective shows or with important positions on other shows are black”

      This comment you made is disgusting. Why are they in important positions or captains on TV shows? Because that is real life, not everyone in a position of power is white, or should be. Please read what people before me have posted about minorities represented on TV and take your racist small-minded ideas off this message board.

    • Mandii says:

      The two black characters boss is Asian.

  7. Mel says:

    I’m so happy Meagan Good gets to play a different role. Laz Alonso is very fine. It’s nice to see two black leads on primetime TV. I just hope they give that show a chance to last at least one full season.

  8. Darth Pablo says:

    I think I will stick with Castle

  9. M says:

    NBC put the pilot online already. I watched it last week and thought it was meh. Not sure how much time I’ll give it…

  10. Mac says:

    For me this show is too much like Revenge, the blacked out/crossed out faces on the picture, the videos she acquired on some ominous way, the intrigue, the setting, …
    The writers should get some new ideas themselves and not copycat from another popular show and change a bit in the storyline and the characters.

    • Katiebell says:

      Did you even watch the show?

      • Mac says:

        Which one? Revenge or this preview? I do watch Revenge and I also watched this promo, because there is no show yet to watch and what does it matter? Previews are here to get your first impressions and this is the impression I got. Why flame?

        • Marc1 says:

          I watched the first episode and I can safely say that it does not have the same premise as Revenge, in that I don’t see where the lead is actually on some vigilante one-woman mission to take out everyone who wronged her loved one. It’s more like working a long term undercover case. Here the female detective is only lucky enough to have a way to get in based on her history with the family. True the promo might suggest a vague similarity where the woman takes on a different persona to get in with the baddies, but to say that the show is “too much” like Revenge is really stretching it.

        • Brenda says:

          Umm the first episode is available on Hulu and OnDemand, so maybe you should check it out BEFORE you make a judgement about a show you have not even seen.

          • Mac says:

            I live in Austria, hulu, netflix, the network homepages, on demand, itunes tv shows and everything else in that category doesn’t work here, so there is no way for me to check it out beforehand.
            And stop hating on me, like I already said, PREVIEWS are there to judge and I am pretty sure that you also base your opinions of a show on the promos. ^^ Also, I am allowed to make my own opinions and state them, because really, we live in free countries.

            Sorry for going off topic here.

    • Suz says:

      Very thin line to Revenge. Good is trying to find out if her ex best friend died of an OD or criminal means. She is undercover and the family does NOT know she is a cop. There are other possible criminal misdeeds and scandals by family members but in no way did I get the Revenge vibe.

      • Mick says:

        Agreed way more Dirty Sexy Money circa season 1, i.e the man character coming to work for the family that might of killed someone he/she loved but wasn’t close to. Also yay Kerry Washington because I’m pretty sure a black woman being cast as a lead in a show wouldn’t happen if Scandal wasn’t successful.

  11. PPPG says:

    Castle (ABC) – Watch
    Hawaii Five-0 (CBS) – DVR
    Deception – OnDemand the first few then dedide if I want to keep watching.
    Lost Girl (Syfy) – DVR later showing

    In this respect, good thing I’m home-bound … it’ll be a busy Tuesday :-D

  12. Katiebell says:

    I wait for the day where a black, Hispanic, Asian, whatever, gets the lead role in a tv show or movie without people whining about race.

    • Suz says:

      THIS.

      And how many of any of these said groups have even one or more of ALL the different groups within their circle of everyday interaction of coworkers, family and friends?!

      • Suzie says:

        Well, I live in west central Wisconsin. So, I have a better chance of making friends with bears than people of color. There are zero african/americans in my town, and very few mexicans. However we have a sizable Hmong population who fit right in here.

        • Sheila says:

          Are you waiting for the day when a bear can be a TV lead without people whining about species?

          • Suzie says:

            Already happened. Gentle Ben and [second lead] The Life and Times of Grizzly Adams. I’m not about to drive to Minneapolis just for ethnic diversity.

    • Lisa London says:

      Check out Scandal then. Kerry Washington is the lead and she’s amazing. I don’t think they ever mention race on this show. Her character Olivia Pope is just good at what she does and who cares what ethnicity she’s from!

    • MJ says:

      I think most who comment are celebrating. It sounds more like you’re the one doing the whining.

  13. Jo says:

    Sometimes I wish Revenge was on twice a week and now it will be. I will be sure to check it out.

  14. Didi says:

    The full pilot is available on hulu.com!

  15. William says:

    I was really impressed with the pilot. It offered a lot of promise in terms of storylines. I was also happy to see Meagan Good tackle a role that did not involve her playing the “hot” girlfriend. I’m crossing my fingers for solid ratings because I do feel like the series has potential.

  16. Juan says:

    Revenge is not out of focus its just moving forward, whatever I don’t think I’ll watch this cause its too much tv and I do think it tries to borrow a little from revenge, maybe if I hear good things about it

  17. Lisa says:

    Ooh Victor is in this? I will definitely have to check this out now. I’ve been a fan of his for along time (even though he’ll always be Spy Daddy to me)

  18. meah says:

    I just watched it online,and I LOVED it!!I just hope its a hit.meagan has great chemistry with both guys,but am biased cos I love wes brown..the following and deception are the shows am most excited for..and having a black girl as a lead is just icing on the cake..hope there would be more soon..

  19. Brooke says:

    I was really impressed with the pilot (NBC had uploaded it already). I was already looking forward to it since I’ve been a fan of Victor’s for a really long time and will watch him in anything. I’m looking forward to this show!

  20. Rrrrrr says:

    I saw the pilot on iTunes, and it’s really nothing like revenge at all, save for the semi-similar premise. That being said, I did NOT like what I saw, and lets be honest, this is NBC- it won’t last past the season, and that’s IF they let it play out the whole season. Putting it on the same night and time as several established dramas, and putting it behind a low-rated reality show… Yeah, I’m not wasting my time on this.

  21. Truefan says:

    I’m a big fan of Hawaii 5-0 so I don’t think I’ ll be watching this new show.

  22. James says:

    The family is somewhat Damages circa Season 3.

  23. Penna says:

    I loved the pilot and I’ll be dumping Hawaii Five-0.

  24. onlyakb says:

    from the promos it seems a lot like Revenge, and Do No Harms seems a lot like Dexter.
    I don’t know maybe the premises are similar but they could go in complete different directions, I’ll give it a chance, specially cos it seems my Mondays are kinda empty till March!!

  25. b! says:

    I’m gonna check it out once and maybe twice. Then I’ll decide to stay on board or not. Well, not to make it a race issue but I agree with others, it’s great to see a “minority” in a lead role! Ms. Good is beautiful! She is the reason why I have an interest in the show!

  26. MaryAnn says:

    I watched the pilot and loved the show! I was not at all sure what I would think of it, but it is a solid keeper. And like someone else said, it has very little in common with “Revenge” — that one is one woman on a mission of revenge, and is still very much like its initial promos that compared it to “The Count of Monte Cristo.” “Deception” is a long term police sting, with all kinds of emotional conflicts for the lead character because of the history with the family. Unexpected vibe: The show actually reminded me a bit of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s deceptive twin story, “Ringer”, from last season.

    But what I DON’T get is why so many people still feel like they have to make a choice. I will be watching this show, along with all of its competition. I don’t own a DVR, but everything is available online and on demand. That means I can have a “can’t wait” anticipation for “Do No Harm,” and continue to watch “Revolution,” “Castle” and “Hawaii Five-0″, and still watch “Deception.” Make way for the 21st century, anyone?

  27. Ash says:

    I hate it that everyone sees the commercial and assumes its a revenge ripoff I just saw the pilot and the only thing they have in common is a rich new york family I like that megan good is actually acting no sexy role here yay! Also a plus I love that its a african american woman in the lead role not too many shows have that

  28. 4theloveoffilm says:

    I may check it out online; it sounds like just an okay premise. I already watch CASTLE and HAWAII FIVE-0, and I’m not about to sideline either of those. I need another DVR…

  29. Jared says:

    I’ve already seen the pilot for Deception and I gotta say I was pleasantly surprised. The storyline could go in so many directions and I can’t wait to see how it unfolds. Meagan Good is fantastic. Glad to see her back on TV.

  30. vane says:

    Am very excited to watch hope nbc not cancel it when I get hooked!

  31. Sara says:

    Why can’t American execs & producers get into mini-series like in the UK? That way, the storyline remains interesting & there’s no threat of getting cancelled.

  32. sladewilson says:

    I caught the pilot on iTunes and was pleasantly surprised at how good it is. Meagan Good might have a hit vehicle plus a very good cast surrounding her… I’m definitely checking it out…..

  33. josh says:

    i LOVE the pilot and i am hooked already. Great show. also its a nice change to have a black american woman in the lead role. there’s only one other show where thats the case.

  34. madhatter360 says:

    Can I just watch the first season of Veronica Mars instead?

  35. candace says:

    I think it’s… decent. I’m not too crazy about it because, one, it’s pretty much like Revenge but with a change of location, and, two, after watching the first episode, the show is already slightly illogic.

    First, Joanna doesn’t have an alias. She’s not a spy. If Edward doesn’t trust her, all he has to do is Google her and her cover is blown in seconds. It’s not rocket science.

    Second, I’m sorry… do they not see the blood and bruises all over her body? Why did they automatically rule out homicide? It’s so incredibly obvious that she didn’t just OD.

  36. Mika02 says:

    Unfortunately, while I’d love to support Meghan I will have to support Castle first. I will however DVR this if it was up against Castle say 9p or 8p I would watch it first run.

  37. Britt says:

    The fact that this comment had come to a racial issue is highly disturbing. Black people ancestors died and worked the land for this country so you damn right the deserve to be on tv and every race needs them shoved in their faces once and a while they are not to be ignored I personally think they are most beautiful to watch but that’s my personal opinion if you of foreign decent dont like it take your ass back to your country just like the whole controversy if rue being black in hunger games. Are you kidding me? Please get a life and whosoever wants to believe they aren’t worth the media like everyone else can shove that old myth exactly where it belongs.

  38. Barb says:

    Like the show although some of the storyline is a stretch. Like all the actors EXCEPT Meagan Good. Hate her facial expressions seems she is always scowling. Very annoying.

  39. Britt says:

    Way too far fetched… You haven’t seen your “best friend” in 17 years and her family just welcomes you in.. No. I have never seen a cop act like a chick straight out of a horror flick or 90210

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