'Deception' Creator Brushes Off 'Revenge' Comparisons

Deception TCA - H - 2012
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

Among the many topics -- race, class, the traps of serialized storytelling -- covered during the Television Critics Association winter press tour panel for NBC's Deception, the one that seemed the most glossed over was its similarity to ABC's Revenge.

Both creator Liz Heldens and EP Gail Berman were asked if, at any point, their show was billed as NBC's answer to the soap -- and both tried to imply that any similarities are a coincidence. 

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"Two of my favorite movies are Donnie Brasco and The Departed," said Heldens. "I was thinking, 'How can you do a undercover show with a female protagonist?'"

NBC was actively looking to add a soap to its primetime lineup during the last development season, which is when Heldens says she brought her pitch.

"Could Donnie Brasco and Sabrina have a baby?" she said, trying to sum up her series. "And that was how it happened."

Deception (previously titled Infamous and Notorious) stars Meagan Good as a undercover detective (Joanna), living with the wealthy family for whom her mother once worked as a maid, trying to solve the death of her childhood best friend. And should the show be a success, Heldens says that central mystery won't drag on too long.

"Our plan has always been to reveal to the audience who the killer is," she said. "Joanna will have a pretty good idea, and the second season will be about her proving it."