Deception: TV Review

'Deception' (NBC)

Premieres: Monday, Jan. 7, 10 p.m.

Meagan Good as Joanna Locasto in Deception (previously Infamous and Notorious), which is being billed as an opulent soap in which a female detective returns undercover to the wealthy family in which she grew up -- as the maid's daughter -- to solve the slaying of the notorious heiress who was once her closest friend.

Vivian Bowers is dead. Her family members are the likely suspects. Her best friend, now a cop, goes undercover at the old family abode because her mother worked there as a maid and she's tight with the family. 

A girl dies, her family all looks guilty and, oh, just go watch "The Killing."

One thing everybody associated with Deception (premiering at 10 p.m. Monday on NBC) wants you to know upfront is that it’s not some kind of rip-off of ABC’s Revenge.

Well, they’re right about that. Despite some soapy and silly flaws, Revenge is at least a guilty pleasure that makes you want to watch it every week. Deception just seems sloppily constructed and poorly written, wasting some good actors (Victor Garber, Tate Donovan and Meagan Good) in the process and never giving you a reason to care.

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Why? Because Deception doesn’t really give you anyone to root for as it sets up a Killing-like storyline that has that oh-no-not-again feel to it and at the same time has no business even being mentioned in the same breath as that vastly superior AMC series. Make of that what you will.

If you must burn an hour, know that Vivian Bowers is dead and her super-rich family members are the prime suspects, mostly because they all look and act evil. Joanna (Good) is a San Francisco cop unconvincingly convinced by a friend in the FBI that she should go undercover at the Bowers house because a) Her mother was a maid there and she’s like family, and b) she was friends with Vivian. She accepts, because this wouldn’t be a show if she didn’t, whether it makes sense or not.

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Garber plays Robert Bowers. He’s got secrets. Stepmother Sofia (Katherine LaNasa) has secrets. Son Edward (Donovan) has secrets. You’re getting the hint here, right? Good luck to Joanna trying to find out which one of the evil Bowers family did it (perhaps it’s the other brother she had a crush on when her mom worked as a maid and -- oh, forget it, they’re all guilty, right?).

Not that you’ll be around to find out (or worse, that this show will be around to reveal the killer to you). If you couldn’t get through The Killing, how are you going to suffer the poor writing and obviousness of Deception? Don’t blame me if you watch the whole thing, feel burned or bored and your thoughts eventually turn to revenge.


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