Season 1 of DECEPTION (2018) brings out all the tricks to keep you engaged
Deception could have been just another average TV crime drama series that hits all the clichés but the added angle of a magician working with the FBI turned it into a rather engaging and entertaining mystery.
The series follows Cameron Black (Jack Cutmore-Scott), a magician who works with the FBI to solve unique cases all the while trying to piece together his own family mystery. Each episode of the season takes on a new case just like any crime procedural and each case allows for a range of unique magic tricks and illusions to take centre stage. Every new case sees Cameron and his team step up to the plate, coming up with new ways to outsmart criminals using some simple and also not-so-simple forms of deception. The charm in this show is seeing how each case is going to be solved because one great thing the series does is it reveals the tricks to us as it reveals them to the characters. It does a fantastic job at bringing you along and making you feel like you are both a participant in the magic and also a witness to it, it gives you enough of the behind the scenes but not so much to where you know what’s coming.
When you have magic you can be sure you are going to have plenty of twists and turns and that’s the case here. The fun in each episode comes from trying to pick out the twist but the show does a pretty good job at keeping you guessing right up until the last minute. The episodic storylines are good for the most part, some are better than others but they do their job which is to hold up for up to 40 minutes and no episode gets to the point of being boring. But the overarching mystery is where the real intrigue comes into play and is the driving force getting you to binge from one episode to the next. It’s one that plays out over the course of the season and I can definitely say it kept me watching.
The season is paced out pretty consistently in terms of the unfolding of the main mystery. It does speed to a conclusion in the final two episodes however which I think would have worked better if it was spread over three to four episodes but it worked fine. What I did really enjoy about the pacing of each episode is that a lot of ground is covered in these cases in such a short amount of time. The content of each of these episodes could easily have been stretched out over two but the rapid pacing tightened everything up and made it much more enjoyable to watch. And for the few episodes where the crime wasn’t as engaging the quick pacing made it still very easy to sit through. The only frustrating thing the series does is when it blasts music over scenes that reveal a twist in the final moments, this happens a few times throughout the season and it’s annoying every time.
As far as the performances go I thoroughly enjoyed everyone in here mainly because of the chemistry between the ensemble cast. The chemistry between the actors helped to sell the team dynamic and you buy the fact that this is a team and group of friends, not some strangers who just met. Jack Cutmore-Scott is great in the lead role and brings a lively personality to every scene, he also makes you believe 100% that he is a magician in real life despite the fact that he isn’t… that’s some great deception work on his part. The rest of the main cast including Ilfenesh Hadera (Kay Daniels), Lenora Chrichlow (Dina), Justin Chon (Jordan), Amauray Nolasco (Mike), and Vinnie Jones (Gunter) all play their parts very well and I enjoyed seeing all of them interact on screen. Stephanie Corneliussen‘s role as the Mystery Woman is limited but I think she did a fine job as the main antagonist of the season. She played well with Jack in their scenes and made the core mystery a tad more interesting.
In the end I thoroughly enjoyed this entire season. A couple of the episodes aren’t as engaging due to the crime being solved in the episode and it can be slightly farfetched at times but it’s fun and enjoyable nonetheless. And despite the vastly quicker pace of the final few episodes it ends on a strong note which makes the fact that this isn’t getting a second season even more disappointing. But don’t let that fact discourage you from checking it out, it still works as a limited run series and there is definitely a tonne of fun to be had especially if you are a fan of magic tricks and the art of illusions.