There is a reason that some new shows are not brought out right away for the Fall TV schedule and held over as mid-season replacements. Deception is definitely one of those. I can't even imagine this ridiculous idea of a magician being brought on to help the FBI solve crimes making it when stacked against all of the networks most promising new shows in September. I'm going to mention a big spoiler that goes to the root of the premise for the series so if you want to avoid it, skip ahead when I give the warning.
Cameron Black is introduced in the Pilot. Played by Jack Cutmore-Scott, he is a very successful illusionist with a show in Vegas and nationally televised specials to thousands across America. The opening scene has him recreating a famous Houdini trick where he has to escape from being chained up, while suspended high in the air over large metal spikes below. His performance is also being broadcast simultaneously to a crowd watching in New York as he completes the trick and somehow comes out of the screen into the televised audience. And that is not the most unbelievable thing you will see in this next hour.
But Cameron's career is about to be cut short as his well-kept secret comes out when someone tries to frame him for murder and he has to reveal that it was, in fact, his twin brother Jonathan! It turns out Cameron and Jonathan have been using their twin relation to their advantage ever since they started a magical act with their father growing up. Of course, Jonathan claims he is innocent and that someone set him up so Cameron vows to find the true criminal. Cutmore-Scott plays both roles of the brothers and I will admit that I think he pulls it off. They do act very much the same but he seems to add some subtle choices to make the two seems at least a little different. But in regard to his career, the general public does not like being lied to and the scandal that comes after this news puts him and his magic team on the outs with his audience.
Fast forward a year later and Cameron has been spending all of his resources traveling the world trying to find the illusionist he believes is responsible for his brother's incarceration. He sees a news report of a plane exploding in a hangar using an illusion that he had previously used himself and he is immediately convinced it's the same person that he's been tracking all this time. What a wonderful coincidence that he's been traveling the world and he could've just stayed home to find who he's been looking for. He goes to the scene at the airport and has NO problem just walking in to observe his theory before the agent in charge named Kay Daniels (Illenesh Hadera) discovers him. She is not happy he is there and when Cameron tries to reason with her she understandably doesn't care. But then he is able to prove he is correct and that her drug dealer and the plane he was on has escaped not perished in the explosion. Now she's willing to listen to him and brings him back with her to assist in finding the plane.
And this where we get our show as Cameron and Kay turn into this investigative duo and partner up to track down this drug dealer that apparently been Kay's life mission. Along the way, Cameron will find every opportunity to use his talents as an illusionist to get the FBI information and bring them closer to finding the escapee. But it is also how the episode goes down the path of campy and laughable instances where just because Cameron can do a card trick things keep working out. As the story continues, the FBI even allows Cameron to bring his whole magic team on to apprehend the drug dealer because he convinces them he can get the job done without any agents getting hurt.
Sure, let's just let the trained and experienced agents sit on the sidelines while the carnies from Vegas come in! It's different when this crazy stuff happened on a show like Castle because he had the mayor backing him up. Cameron is just getting to do whatever he wants and the lady in charge for the FBI just doesn't have to answer to anyone it seems. The extravagant illusion that Cameron and his team put together to try and save the day has so many possible factors of error not to mention the more likeliness of Cameron getting his head blown off that I can't imagine a government agency going along with.
Considering this series is created by Chris Fedak (Chuck, Legends of Tomorrow) with Greg Berlanti (Arrow, Supergirl, Blindspot) as an executive producer, I am very surprised at just how much it seems they have forgotten this isn't a superhero story. This episode was even directed by David Nutter who is known for making some of the most solid pilots out there for television. It isn't entirely bad as all of the actors do their characters justice with Cutmore-Scott having good charisma and his magic team (including Vinnie Jones) are a really fun group that I would like to see more of.
The illusions that are used are extravagant and ABC doesn't seem to be holding back on putting the action in this show but I can't get past the concept. I know that sometimes we need to have a large suspension of disbelief if we want to be entertained--it is just television we're talking about here-but nothing in Deception seems plausible in the slightest. If none of these things bother you, and you just want to watch something exciting with magic tricks, then new ABC drama Deception might fit perfectly on your DVR. But for me, I would rather not have to wonder if when someone pulls out a gun, that it might just be a water pistol.