There 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)
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.
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).
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.