The ABC network’s new crime drama series “Deception” is a show about a disgraced magician turning his tricks into a useful enterprise of working with the government to trap and deceive criminals and spies that might not otherwise be caught by the authorities.
During the winter TV press tour, show creator Chris Fedak observed that capturing bad guys by using illusion seemed very much like a show they could call “Magician: Impossible.” This is an observation that obviously calls to mind the beloved “Mission: Impossible” series.
Remember that Martin Landau’s Rollin Hand used elaborate disguises and illusions to trick the bad guys into falling into his trap. That’s pretty much what happens when Cameron Black (Jack Cutmore-Scott) practices deception when he ends up consulting for the FBI. Falling into a scandal within minutes of the opening scene of the first episode of “Deception,” Black is a popular Las Vegas illusionist (think David Copperfield) who stumbles badly when a dark secret of his success is revealed.
Catching the news coverage of an FBI mission gone wrong when an airplane carrying a most wanted fugitive explodes in a hangar, Black shows up at the crime scene and provocatively declares that law enforcement has been duped by a grand act of deception.FBI agent Mike Alvarez (Amaury Nolasco) proves to be a big fan of Black’s TV specials, while fellow agent Kay Daniels (Ilfenesh Hadera) is a huge skeptic with zero interest in magic of any kind.
While Black still has a few tricks up his sleeve, he manages to convince the two federal agents that he might know something about how to make an airplane disappear, but head FBI agent Deakins (Laila Robins) throws cold water on any cooperation with a guy that has an ulterior motive.
For his part, Black favors dispensing weighty pronouncements like “magic is deception” and “our minds deceive us every day,” thus turning his showroom banter into a justification for the FBI to start using his services as a consultant.
Black brings along his team of magic act collaborators, including the always watchable Vinnie Jones, playing the growling yet somewhat lovable Gunter, to pad the federal payroll. While Black often preens for his newfound audience, it is a team effort in the end.
“Deception,” full of winks to sleight of hand nonsense, is patently absurd, but that’s not to say it is anything but plenty of fun as long as you are willing to suspend disbelief. It’s a show that seems promising for its entertainment value.