Wednesday, September 26, 2018

TV on DVD Review: Deception


Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Lots of fun, magic, and mysteries
Cons: Cliffhanger ending; uneven acting
The Bottom Line:
Magician solving
Crimes is fun premise for show
Warning: Cliffhanger




“We Aim to Deceive.”

Since I enjoyed Castle so much, I am constantly on the lookout for a replacement.  The previews for Deception made it look like it could fit the bill, and the added magic element was also a draw, so I gave the show a try when it came on in the spring.  I was one of the few people who did, but I found it enjoyable.

Cameron Black (Jack Cutmore-Scott) is one of the most celebrated magicians around.  On his TV specials and live on stage, he pulls off the seemingly impossible.  However, after a particularly spectacular show, his career comes to a crashing halt when his identical twin brother Jonathan, and the secret behind some of his best tricks, is arrested for murder.  However, Jonathan has been framed, but no one is listening.

Finally, Cameron finds a sympathetic ear in FBI agent Kay Daniels (Ilfenesh Hadera), and the two form an unlikely partnership.  Cameron and the team that helped him with his illusions begin helping Kay and the FBI on cases in exchange for helping track down what really happened the night Jonathon was arrested.  They get involved in such cases as a murder hidden by a reality show, an art docent being help hostage, and the theft of a stained glass window.  But will they find the evidence they need to clear Jonathan?

As I said, the idea of using magic to solve crimes intrigued me, and it was a lot of fun and added a great element to the show.  Who knows if what I learned about magic watching the show is real or not but I enjoyed it.  The cases themselves were strong and kept me intrigued until the end.

Also enjoyable was the banter.  No, this wasn't a heavy banter show, but there were some quips and exchanges that made me smile if not laugh.  Cameron and Kay quickly develop an attraction for each other that complicates their working relationship, but also added to the fun of the show.  As you can see, I made that comparison to Castle earlier for a reason.

Jack Cutmore-Scott does double duty in every episode as Cameron and Jonathan, and we get to see Jonathan's reaction to life in prison as well as everything happening on the outside.  While I wanted to smack him more often than not, I could certainly understand why he did what he did.

Over the course of the show, we get to see more about Cameron and Jonathan's years growing up, and that comes into play with what is happening to them now.  This part felt a little cliché, but it was a minor issue.

Because the show was a midseason replacement that was canceled late, the episodes had been filmed before we got to see any of them and before the writers knew if the show would be canceled or not.  That means we get a dozy of a cliffhanger and the end of the thirteen episodes presented here.  The arc for the first season is wrapped up, but it definitely left me wanting to know exactly what would happen next.  Keep that in mind as you watch.

Honestly, I'm not sure how long the show could have continued.  Even with the direction they took things in the finale, it feels like there are only so many ways magic can help with a crime.  But I'm not a writer or creative enough, so I would probably have been proven wrong had the show been a hit.

The acting was a bit uneven across the board.  I didn't mind since I was having fun with the show, but keep that in mind as well as you sit down to watch.

If you can't stand a cliffhanger ending, then you should definitely skip this show.  But if you are looking for something fun, then check out Deception.  Personally, I'm sorry to see it end here.

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