Deception Review: Who Killed Vivian Bowers?

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Because Deception is invariably going to be compared to ABC’s Revenge, let’s get the comparisons out of the way quickly: both feature wealthy families and said families have secrets.

That’s it.

Well, there is one more similarity, Deception will live and die by the quality of its mystery plot, and, aside from a few slower parts, there’s plenty to enjoy from the pilot as Joanna begins piecing together Vivian’s death.

Deception Premiere Pic

The aspect I found most compelling about the mystery, and the way it’s being set up, is the sheer competition, not just between the FBI and the (maybe) unknowing Bowers, but amongst everyone. Every single character has some kind of stake, some kind of secret they want to keep hidden, and they have no fear or hesitation about doing what needs to be done to keep things within the status quo.

So, while the members look like typical rich folks from the outside, on the inside they are eating each other alive and tearing each other apart at the seems.

The deeper Joanna spends silently watching them, the more this rings true. Robert is far more interested in the coffers of Bowers Pharmaceuticals, and Vivian was hot on his heels of whistleblowing its cancer drug. His new wife, Sofia, is far too busy cleaning up the messes of her new family, sucking down more wine than those on Cougar Town, and fiercely protecting her faux daughter Mia.

Joanna potentially rekindling her relationship with Julian seems like a conflict of interest, as Julian’s three-studded ring sinking to the bottom of the lake is the main clue in Vivian’s murder. Yet, even with all of that, the chemistry between them is fun and playful in a somber and pensive show.

However, Deception still has its flaws. Mia being Vivian’s daughter became increasingly obvious long before the reveal, bringing up the biggest problem in the show: pacing. There’s a lot of background and foundations to build in the first episode, but many things could have been trimmed or left out all together in favor of the stronger aspects.

Joanna’s interactions with Remy could have been shortened considerably - as his most vital piece of information was Vivian’s whistleblowing - in favor of giving the main cast more time to begin sharpening their characters. The same can be said for Will. While his character is entertaining, and his chemistry is with Joanna is also fun and loving... I don’t need to know about the Costco rib eye.

Deception has a lot of big, soapy primetime steps to follow in, and with a little scrubbing it could be a fun and exciting one. The pilot just didn’t come out swinging the way it could have, but hopefully the next 10 episodes have a better round.


Editor Rating: 3.8 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.8 / 5.0 (92 Votes)

too much like Dallas, it was confussing.


This show was lame. Just a copy (in style) of The Killing; only not a tenth as entertaining. If you like shows about solving a crime with lots of twists then skip this turd and watch both seasons of The Killing. Better story, better acting, better atmosphere, better everything.

Spindae 2o

i like it! it got me thinking. . . but U are right when U say the story will fade and they won't have something to work with. Tate Donovan *.* great role. he is really working it. just like Judith aka Marin Hinkle. Joanna, Julian and Wren great characters! Great actors. Especially Joanna really love her. such a deep connection!


I definitely think there's something here that's worth developing to see how it turns out. I liked the Costco steak thing as well. It gave an air of realism and also showed the difference between Joanna/Will and the Bowers. I doubt the Bowers have a Costco membership.


Will be watching.


Adults Only Veronica Mars Really don't get this premise considering it has failed before. With better writing and a younger cast. 11 episodes is 5 to many. Meagan Good does belong on network Tv. Also people love Scandal (SoapTV) this might be NBC version. I'm not a fan of such things but I don't begrudge those that are. '


I enjoyed it. I agree about the pacing and some of the reveals but I chalk that up to pilotitus. Ill keep watching.


Interesting first chapter. Saw the connections with Revenge. I enjoyed the Costco steak comment -- in fact, we had states from Costco just last week. Glad they did not write in Sam's Club . . .


I enjoyed this show first episode. The things mention in the review didn't bother me about the show. I do hope people give this show a shot because I think its going to be real good. I actually didn't get that Mia was Vivian daughter, maybe I'm slipping but to be honest I wished they didn't reveal that this episode but I guess it was the thing to get Joanna to stay around on the case. I liked it and think this show has promise.


I'll keep watching but it needs improvement.

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Deception Season 1 Episode 1 Quotes

Joanna: She reminds me of Vivian.
Sofia: She's nothing like Vivian. Vivian was a drug addicted, narcissistic, black hole of need.

Do you have any idea what the street value of Sofia's medicine cabinet is?