I've only seen a minute of "Revenge" and yet it's pretty clear "Deception" (10 tonight, NBC) is reminiscent of that hit ABC show (at least the "Revenge" of the first season; I hear its lost its way this season). Even the name is an echo; there's plenty of deception in getting revenge, no?
That's not necessarily a strike against "Deception," since few shows reinvent a genre. It's all about execution. By that measure, after screening three episodes, I'd say "Deception" has potential, mostly because of the cast.
When it opens we meet Vivian Bowers, but just briefly. Next thing you know she's dead from a drug overdose. Turns out she was the troubled heiress to a pharmaceutical fortune made by a shady family. Before all that, she was besties with Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good), who is the daughter of the former family maid, before the two had a falling out. Now Joanna is a cop; she hasn't seen the family for years.
She gets pulled back into their orbit when her former lover and FBI agent, Will (Laz Alonso) decides that Vivian's death is a good opportunity to take the family down. He coaxes Joanna into going undercover and helping catch the family doing something wrong.
Naturally, because they are rich, the family has a lot of secrets in various shades of dark; patriarch Robert (Victor Garber) cheats often, his younger wife Sofia (Katherine LaNasa) is one of those razor sharp, cold blooded, wine-swilling types; son Edward (Tate Donovan) may or may not have gotten away with murder; youngest son Julian (Wes Brown) is a party boy, and daughter Mia (Ella Rae Peck) pops pill just like her recently deceased sister did.
I'm just sharing the bare minimum of what's revealed; there's plenty more twists and twisted and tangled relationships, perhaps too many. In fact, with all the entanglements Joanna has with this family, it would have to be against police procedure that she'd even be sent on this mission. Indeed, several nonsensical things happen in "Deception"; it's one of those shows -- a soapy drama mystery a la "Revenge" and "Scandal" -- where you have to just embrace the fun and ignore some of the logic.
With that in mind, I hope "Deception" ups the fun. As I noted, it's got the cast to do it. In my view, Garber always makes a show better; another ace, John Larroquette shows up later. Donovan is good, too, as the brother who is more than he seems. Hinkle is a hoot. And Good does a fine job as the woman at the center of the show.
If "Deception" gets the time to grow, it could settle down, move away from the 6 secrets an episode model it seems to be following, and let its cast (rather than the writers) do the fine work it's capable of.