Deception debuted Monday night, spinning a tale of lies, secrets and murder — but did the NBC mystery hook you?
Before you unleash your snappy judgments on the series premiere, a refresher: Detective Joanna (Californication‘s Meagan Good) grew up alongside the wealthy Bowers family as the housekeeper’s kid and counted eldest daughter Vivian as her best friend — until they had a falling out and stopped talking to each other. Twenty years later, the rich party girl has been found dead of an apparent overdose — but was it really homicide?
Joanna is tapped by FBI agent Will Moreno (Breakout Kings‘ Laz Alonso) — who’s also her former partner/one-time boyfriend — to find out what really happened by infiltrating the Bowers clan, which is full of suspects. First, there’s powerful, but heartbroken
Spy Daddy patriarch Robert (Alias‘ Victor Garber) and stepmom Sophia (Justified‘s Katherine LaNasa) — who, trust us, will make Victoria Grayson look sweet in future episodes. Then, there’s their children: Sons Edward (Damages‘ Tate Donovan), who was trying to get his sis written out of the will, and Julian (True Blood‘s Wes Brown), who was Joanna’s teenage love; as well as snarky daughter Mia (Gossip Girl‘s Ella Rae Peck).
After hearing Joanna’s fake sob story — she’s trying to start over after an abusive relationship — Robert invites her to stay at the family’s home while she looks for a job. That makes looking for what she’s really after much easier. She quickly discovers a sex tape that reveals that her former friend was pregnant before she died. (In another scene, Mia notes that her sis was kicking her drug habit.)
“It’s going to be different this time. It’s going to be on your terms, Vivian,” says the mystery man in the video. Turns out, when teenage Joanna ratted out Viv to her dad — which ended their friendship — the socialite wasn’t on drugs, she was preggers. She then was shipped off to a place for unwed mothers to quietly give birth; unbeknownst to Mia, the sister she loved was really her mother.
Meanwhile, a tabloid reporter tells the detective that Vivian had come to him with a big scoop: Her family’s new cancer drug, developed by Julian, wasn’t all that it was being cracked up to be and was actually responsible for quite a few deaths. And did we mention that the younger Bowers son — who’s clearly still hung up on Joanna — has a ring that matches the bruise on his dead sis’ cheek and finishes the pilot crying to Bon Iver as he tosses the piece of jewelry into a lake? Does that make him too obvious of a suspect? Regardless, Joanna’s cushy new gig at Bowers Pharmaceuticals should help piece together this mystery.
Now it’s your turn, TVLiners: Hit the poll below to let us know what grade you give Deception, then hit the comments with your conspiracy theories! And if you missed the series premiere, watch the full pilot below.Follow @VladaGelman