Guys, there's a new buddy cop show coming to ABC and it's trying to pull off a very interesting trick: one of these buddies is... a magician! ABC's Deception is likely to raise skeptical eyebrows with its twist on a familiar concept, that is, a by-the-book FBI agent (Ilfenesh Hanera) gets partnered with a professional magician (Jack Cutmore-Scott) and the two solve crimes together. (Abracadabra, a new ABC show is born!)
"It's more than just a detective show, we wanted to be able to do big things. Instead of doing just a murder of the week, we can do bigger, more elaborate crimes, more complicated deceptions," show creator Chris Fedak told TV Guide. "We don't do just one thing. From the get go, I said let's do Magician Impossible."
Here's the set-up: Popular magician Cameron Black (think Criss Angel without the creepiness), fresh off a fall from grace, finds work by helping the FBI solve crimes — crimes of the illusion variety. If this sounds completely ridiculous, it's because it is, but the point of mismatched buddy cop procedurals is to ignore common sense and get straight to the cases, logic be damned, which Deception does briskly.
As the creator of Chuck, Fedak has some experience with light-hearted procedurals featuring guys who shouldn't be doing what they're doing, and he's able to sell the show's simultaneous lightness and seriousness in one fell swoop. Fedak says that although Deception is more grounded than Chuck, it's a fun show you can watch with a smile on your face, but there will also be bigger mysteries and topics that add a layer of intrigue to the series.
For one, Cameron has a twin brother named Jonathan, also played by Cutmore-Scott, who — well I don't want to state the obvious, but let's just say he helps out with some of Cameron's magic tricks. And after Jonathan is framed for murder, Cameron takes a real interest in working with the FBI to exonerate his bro. (And presto! You have your motivation for Cameron to keep working with the FBI!) It also has the potential to be the most interesting aspect of the show, and something Fedak lights up talking about.
"It's really about two guys, we're telling both of their stories because in a way they're both Cameron Black," Fedak said. "The idea that they were both affected in their youth by what their father made them do, by becoming one person and performing this act, I wanted to psychologically explore that. There's a reason one was up on stage and one was backstage, one's the thinker/planner, one's the showman."
Additionally, Cameron will find his match with a criminal illusionist known as Mystery Woman (Mr. Robot's Stephanie Corneliussen) who, by the end of the pilot, remains true to her name. (Alakazam! There's your serialized story that runs throughout the series!)
"[Mystery Woman's story] will pop in and out but it will always be big on the show," Fedak says. "We can do standalone episodes, we've had a lot of fun writing those, the mini-movie of the week. But when we do mythology, it's big, it's exciting, we have some really dramatic episodes now where we build out the world of what these magicians are up to and who she is."
So there you have it. A fun and silly premise bolstered by two stories that could make it more than ABC's latest hackneyed procedural. The most dazzling thing will be if Deception can pull it all off.
Deception airs Sunday nights at 10/9c on ABC.