Logline: When his career is ruined by scandal, superstar magician Cameron Black has only one place to turn to practice his art of deception, illusion, and influence: the FBI. He’ll become the world’s first consulting illusionist, helping the government solve crimes that defy explanation and trap criminals and spies by using deception.
Cast: Jack Cutmore-Scott, Ilfenesh Hadera, Amaury Nolasco, Lenora Crichlow, Vinnie Jones
Creators: Chris Fedak (W / EP), Greg Berlanti (EP), Martin Gero (EP), Sarah Schechter (EP), David Nutter (D / EP), David Kwong (CoP)
Studios: Warner Bros. TV, Berlanti Productions, Quinn’s House
To clear his twin brother’s name, washed-up magician Cameron Black teams up with the FBI to find a master illusionist wreaking a fair bit of havoc. The core concept of a magician solving crimes isn’t exactly new to television (lookin’ at you, Bill Bixby). But in taking its premise the Castle way, Deception gets a lot of things right.
I enjoyed this thoroughly, not least because I couldn’t help but picture Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic as the leads. The dialogue is punchy, and the exchanges between Black and the FBI cop Kay are crackling. The structure is solid, the plotting is urgent, and the stakes are high. The pilot ends on a highly propulsive note, cementing a strong central cat-and-mouse conflict between Black and the unnamed master illusionist who was responsible for destroying his career, and placing his twin brother Jonathan behind bars. I’m curious to see how this plays out.
In terms of plausibility, Deception clearly wins over Doomsday. If the CIA could hire John Mulholland to write a manual on deception and misdirection, Chris Fedak isn’t exactly reaching for the stars here. And by pairing a law enforcement officer with an offbeat expert, Deception feels familiar and recalls The Mentalist and Castle, tonally much closer to the latter.
I think the “Ten Days in the Valley” page is mixing up two pilots: the logline and Paula Patton are from “Somewhere Between,” a different series. Ten Days in the Valley is about an overworked TV producer and is led by Kyra Sedgwick.