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Deception (NBC) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review

Updated on May 6, 2013

The show that was formerly known as ‘Notorious’ and ‘Infamous’ premiered on January 7th, 2013 on NBC as ‘Deception’. The show airs in ‘Revolution’s timeslot (Mondays at 10/9c) during the latter’s lengthy hiatus. This prime time drama a la ‘Revenge’ marks the second show creator Liz Heldens wrote for NBC, the first one being the 2009/10 flopped medical drama ‘Mercy’.

‘Deception’ centers around the wealthy Bowers family, headed by patriarch Robert Bowers (Victor Garber, ‘Alias’). The police and the FBI have been circling above the heads of the Bowers and their pharmaceutical company for years, but have never been able to pin anything on them. When the Bowers’ daughter Vivian (Bree Williamson, ‘One Life To Live’) turns up dead in a hotel room, apparently from an overdose, suspicions are that she is killed by one of her family members.

Investigating FBI agent Will Moreno (Laz Alonso, ‘Breakout Kings’) asks his former girlfriend and SFPD detective Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good, ‘Think Like A Man’) for help. Her mother used to be the Bowers’ housekeeper and Joanna used to be best friends with Vivian when growing up. Moreno asks Joanna to reconnect with the Bowers, in order to help him find out who killed her best friend, and to find some proof in the numerous white collar crime investigations against the Bowers.

In the honor of her deceased best friend, Joanna agrees to it. She flies to New York to attend the memorial and is immediately invited to stay over for dinner and later to stay with the Bowers until she finds a job and a place of her own (except that is not going to happen, of course). After all, she practically lived there all those years ago anyway.


In a place Vivian always used to hide secret stuff, Joanna finds a sex tape. On the tape, Vivian talks to her boyfriend (among other things). It turns out that Vivian was pregnant when she died, and apparently she has been pregnant before, but that time it didn’t “go on her terms”. When Joanna confronts Moreno about the pregnancy, it turns out the FBI knew about that all along, but that it was on a ‘need to know basis’. Don’t always blindly trust your ex-boyfriends, especially when they’re Feds!

Already on the second day, a seemingly lousy TMZ reporter running around the Bowers’ estate discovers Joanna’s hidden agenda. They agree that in return for not blowing her cover, they’ll work together on gathering information. He turns out to be a better reporter than I initially thought, because already the next day he wants to meet with Joanna with some pretty juicy scoop. When she arrives at the meeting place, however, Joanna finds his car turned upside down and his body floating lifeless in the water.

Moreno immediately pulls her out of her assignment, he has her tell the Bowers she is staying over at a friends’, and takes her home. They have dinner on the couch, while drinking from huge glasses of red wine like they do in ‘Scandal’. Since her clothes got wet when trying to save the reporter, Joanna is wearing nothing but one of Moreno’s shirts and sexy underwear. Afterwards they, extremely surprising, have sex.

The next day, Joanna discovers information that could put another member of the Bowers family in danger. Because of her feelings of loyalty towards Vivian, she feels strongly for going back to the Bowers’ estate, and there is nothing Moreno can do to stop her.

Though she didn’t appear much in this pilot episode, step mom Sophia (Katherine LaNasa, ‘Three Sisters’) will allegedly make ‘Revenge’s Victoria Grayson look like the ideal mother in the next few episodes. Other family members that will no doubt be more prominent in following episodes are sons Edward (Tate Donovan, ‘Damages’), who’ll try to get his little sister written out of the will, and Julian (Wes Brown, ‘True Blood’), who developed a new cancer drug that is apparently killing people, as well as daughter Mia (Ella Rae Peck, ‘Gossip Girl’), who might not be the daughter of Robert Bowers and his first wife after all.

The basic story of ‘Deception’ is very similar to that of ABC’s ‘Revenge’, as mentioned before. In both series, the main protagonist goes undercover in an extremely wealthy family, because a loved one is killed by that family. The big difference is of course that while ‘Revenge’s Emily Thorne operates on her own and outside of the law (though backed by an enormous bank account and a world class hacker), ‘Deception’s Joanna Locasto is backed by the entire FBI.

It’ll take some episodes to get to know all of the characters. Once you do, ‘Deception’ will be a solid addition to your TV schedule if prime time soaps like ‘Revenge’ are already on there. But even if you’re not a big fan of ‘Revenge’, the FBI and pharmaceutical company angles might hold your interest.

Deception airs on NBC on Mondays at 10/9c.

What did you think of 'Deception'?

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    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 4 years ago

      Hi cathy,

      If a show was truly good it should not need extensive promotion in order to get good ratings. Family and friends would be the main source of information for those who would be interested. Of course, promotion is needed before the start of a show so people know it will be on TV, but once the show starts it really shouldn't need any more promotion. When the show has started, the ratings should show people's interest regardless of promotion.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • profile image

      cathy 4 years ago

      Deception needs a 2nd a very good show, the actors are all great..the show wasn't even given a chance and wasn't promoted nearly enough..not watching Hannibal but have seen it promoted numerous times, and Deception wasn't given any of this kind of time such as Hannibal which is same ol, same ol- already know without watching ( and won't). Plz renew Deception- give it a chance and promos!!!