It was while watching the third episode of this new NBC series that I
realized I no longer cared about the characters here or anything that
was happening. Deception is a murder mystery within a wealthy
family where a former friend of that family who is now a cop in San
Francisco is sent to investigate secretly and find out if it truly was
one of the family members who committed the crime.
Writer Liz Heldens has essentially created a Law & Order episode that she intends to stretch over 12 episodes with Days of Our Lives or Dallas-style, soap opera diversions. The only difference is that an African-American woman is the lead. This is of course only a superficial difference. It's not substantial within the plot. In other words, no racial or any socioeconomic issues have yet to surface.
Meagan Good (Think Like a Man and Jumping the Broom) stars
as Joanna, an officer with a mom whom she had to put in a nursing home.
A FBI agent named Will who is a friend and possibly former lover,
played by Laz Alonso (Avatar and Miracle at St. Anna),
comes to her to put her on the case of Vivian Bowers who was found dead
but evidence points to murder. At first, Joanna is reluctant but Vivian
was a childhood friend of Joanna's and Joanna wants to know what
happened to her friend whom she hasn't seen in over a decade, possibly
While I like Meagan Good, she might have been miscast. She seems too young. Her character would have to be mid to upper thirties. Good is beautiful but still looks like she's a teenager. In terms of her character, she could have been played by a white actress, an Asian actress, a Middle Eastern actress or a Hispanic actress. I applaud having an African-American in the lead, but the Bowers family who her character not only investigates but also comes to live should have been African-American as well. The reason is because as a result the majority of the issues will be concerning the Bowers and if they're a wealthy, white family, they become just another wealthy, white family in a TV sea of hundreds.
If this show was Dallas, then its Larry Hagman would be Victor Garber who plays the family's patriarch, Robert Bowers. Clearly, Garber is the actor who towers above everyone else. He brings such gravitas, such charm and when he wants a good amount of menace. Aside from Meagan Good, all the other actors come off as soap opera stereotypes. A dinner scene in the "Pilot" episode proved that.
Each episode over the next few months will dole out a piece to the puzzle. We'll get clues to the method of the murder, the possible motives. We'll get red herrings, initial suspects who'll look guilty, really guilty but will end up being innocent. These twists and turns are barely enough to keep my attention in a single episode of Law & Order. When stretched over months here, it might get boring.
Two Stars out of Five.
Running Time: 1 hr.
Mondays at 10PM on NBC.