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Pilot Review: Magic & Sheer Illusion Are Behind Warner TV’s Deception

Presuming that you’ve been left with an unimaginable void after the abrupt cancellation of America’s long-running crime-comedy-drama series Castle, you may have just found a fresh obsession.. Well, that’s if you actually take heed in the hogwash of trickery and magic, and it doesn’t bother you that the two leads have absolutely nil sexual chemistry.

Warner TV’s latest Deception takes after Castle in more ways than one. The new thrilling crime drama, too, pairs an uptight female cop with credulous male civilian, but in place of Castle‘s celebrated mystery novelist, viewers are presented with an outright narcissistic superstar of a magician or illusionist – Cameron Black, played by Jack Cutmore-Scott.

From our aforementioned references, by now you would have been able to establish the notion behind creator Chris Fedak’s Deception. A childlike magician, completely unschooled for law enforcement, quickly becomes an FBI agent’s regular somewhat illicit sidekick for solving crimes seemingly permeated with deception and misdirection.

While it’s natural to expect some kind of romance to spew out of this unconventional partner in crime relationship, that glimmer of spark between Jack Cutmore-Scott’s Cameron Black and Ilfenesh Hadera’s FBI agent Kay Daniels is dismally monotonous, much to our dismay. Perhaps the odd coupling would grow on us as the show advances?

Photo: ABC

Behind every magician’s secrets is a hardworking crew of assistants, and in Black’s case, it comprises Vinnie Jones’ Gunter, Justin Chon’s Jordan and Lenora Crichlow’s Dina. The cast spawns a diverse bunch, but the banter and synergy prevailing amongst them sure as hell makes for a far more appealing amalgam to that of the two leads.

Should you need more substance before being on board, allow us to lay the cards on the table by way of the pilot episode, which we were so gladly given exclusive access to ahead of its premiere. If you absolutely detest spoilers, do yourself a favour and kindly refrain from proceeding further with the review.

Great magician Cameron Black gets caught in a life-changing, career jeopardising scandal after it was revealed to the world that he had a twin brother Jonathan Black who was in on a majority of his on-screen acts, following a car crash involving a mystery woman which had left him (Jonathan) framed for murder.

He then sees a clue in an FBI case through a TV coverage of an aviation explosion that could help clear his brother’s name and makes his way to the crime scene before then meddling with the FBI agents’ jobs and defy the explicable odds by exclaiming, “Your plane did not explode. It disappeared.” Thus, the FBI and Black begin working together.

Photo: ABC

We’re not even mad about the lighthearted procedurals that come with Deception. Our concern is, rather, its continuity. Okay, one misdirected illusion or two may seem clever, but will that archetype, when repeated, work to intensify this TV show’s hook as it progresses? Will it be enough to keep viewers coming back?

With all that said, we’re digging both the lightness and seriousness Deception presents. There is humour and nonchalance injected here and there, yet this is woven into the deeper layers of mystery and darkness that unravels gradually. As of now, we’re somewhat sold. Give the pilot a chance and you’ll see exactly what we mean.

Deception premieres on Warner TV ((Astro Channel 719 and unifi TV Channel 613) at 9pm on March 12th (Monday), the same day as the U.S. release.

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Carmen Chong
YouTube-obsessed and a beauty junkie at heart. Find her on Instagram: @carthemen