Deception: “Pilot” – Review

Deception​ premieres March 11th on ABC.

By Ariba Bhuvad

When I heard the creative mind behind Chuck had taken on ABC’s new crime drama Deception, I was completely on board. However, upon watching the pilot episode, I was utterly disappointed and bored.

Deception tells the story of a famous Las Vegas illusionist Cameron Black (Jack Cutmore-Scott) who finds himself caught in the midst of a scandal that changes his life forever. This scandal leads him to the doorstep of the FBI for whom he becomes a “consulting illusionist”. He begins to closely work with the FBI to help solve crimes while trying to get justice for someone in his life that is wrongly convicted. And this is where the show completely lost me.

While the premise of Deception is interesting, the execution is boring and scatter-brained. The scandal unfolds all too quickly with a plot twist that doesn’t quite reel you in, and then there is a random time jump of a year. The character of Cameron is quite hilarious and perhaps the only saving grace for the show. His narcissistic personality and silly attitude make for some funny moments in the pilot- but that’s about it. What I found extremely odd was the ease with which a magician coaxes his way into the FBI to aid in investigations. While this is the underlying premise for the show, they didn’t spend much time making it believable or enjoyable. And then there is the plot for the entire show. Without giving too much away, Cameron embarks on his quest to help the FBI for personal reasons. This is where the show gets messy and confusing. Because his reasoning is personal, he mucks and interferes with active investigations, making the plot strange and boring to follow.

The pilot also introduces a very brief glimpse into Cameron’s past and who his father was. I feel like it will become an integral part of the story, but they fail to dig deeper with it in the first episode. If they would have done that, I believe the story would have held more meaning or enticed interest into who Cameron really is. The pilot spent most of its time honing in on the central character and it was disappointing to see the supporting characters pushed to the side. The brief moments they grace the screen are some of the more entertaining parts of the pilot.

In the upcoming slate of new ABC shows, I am certain that Deception will not be amongst fan favorites. The story has potential and perhaps with additional episodes it will build on its story, characters, and plot. However, the pilot did not indicate any such hope and fell short of expectations. But as the show repeatedly states, magic is deception. So perhaps the boring pilot was just that? Guess we will have to wait and see.

I give ​Deception​’s pilot a D.


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