Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Fine Art of Deception

Television’s winter premiere season is officially here!  With all of the new TV programs airing these next few months, Amber West and I have a ton of homework to do.  This week, we decided to break the mold and do something we’ve only done once before—review the same show!  Will Amber and I agree or disagree after watching NBC’s new primetime murder mystery, Deception?

Deception is the story of two friends—Vivian Bowers (Bree Williamson), the wealthy socialite who is known for her partying, and Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good), Vivian’s childhood best friend.  The only problem is, one must now investigate the murder of the other…

Will Joanna discover who killed Vivian? Or will her undercover operation fail?

So, who killed Vivian Bowers?

The first hour raced by.  I have to say I was impressed with the way the series introduced all of the characters AND hinted as to why each Bowers family member would have had motive to kill Vivian.  Well, almost everyone—I’m still not one hundred percent certain as to why daddy would have wanted to harm his daughter, but I was beginning to by the end of the second episode…

Let’s meet the Bowers:

First, we have the patriarch of the family—Robert Bowers, played by Victor Garber from Alias.  Robert is the founder and CEO of the family’s pharmaceutical company.  He seems to be really torn up about the death of his daughter, more so than the rest of the family anyway.  It’s not really until the second episode that we see why he might have had a hand in his daughter’s murder…  It had to weigh on him that Vivian was sleeping with the man allegedly ready to share the failed details of his company’s latest drug, right?

Did Daddy do it?

Next, we have the step-mother—Sofia, played by Katherine LaNasa from Three Sisters and Judging Amy.  Sofia has made it very clear that she’s the one that cleans up the family’s messes.  Plus, she knows Vivian’s biggest secret and threatened her stepdaughter when she announced it was time to tell the truth.  Just how wicked is this stepmother?

Next, we have the older brother—Edward, played by Tate Donovan from Damages.  All fingers point to good ol’ Eddie, especially since he has a temper and was suspected of strangling and killing another girl years earlier.  Not only that, but his wife (Samantha, played by Marin Hinkle from Two and a Half Men and Once and Again) has taken their children and left him which seems to just add to his anger issues.  Oh, and did I mention Edward’s temper?  Yeah… it was worth mentioning again.

Did “Angry Eddie” kill Vivian?

Next, we have the other brother—Julian, played by Wes Brown from True Blood and Hart of Dixie.  Julian appears to be a lot like Vivian; he loves to party and has a history of drug use.  Plus, for whatever reason, Julian is the one who tossed a ring into the river that seems to match the indentations left on Vivian’s head just before her death.  But did he kill her?  Oh, and Julian is credited with creating the new Bowers’ pharmaceutical drug nearing release—a drug that allegedly caused harm during the testing phase that the family is covering up.  So, if his sister was sleeping with the whistleblower, that clearly gives Julian something to lose…

And finally, we have the little sister—Mia, played by Ella Rae Peck from Gossip Girl.  There’s more to Mia than meets the eye… the first episode hinted to the fact that she might be Vivian’s daughter, which I thought was great.  Then, they confirmed it before the first hour was up, which I thought was a bit fast.  However, doesn’t this give Mia motive?  She seems to be really upset by the death of her sister… but did she know that her sister was really her mother and had been hiding the truth from her all these years?  Hmmm….

Just how much does Mia really know? Enough to make her want to kill?

Of course, there’s also the people outside the family with motive.  Could it be the boyfriend/whistleblower/baby-daddy (Ben, played by Tom Lipinski from Suits)?  How about the loyal Bowers’ handyman who will do anything for his employer?  Surely this list will grow with each additional episode…

But Deception wouldn’t be a murder mystery without the police investigating the crime.  Joanna didn’t go undercover on her own, as much as she wants to know who murdered her best friend, she was sent in by FBI Agent Will Moreno, played by Laz Alonso (Breakout Kings).   Many at the FBI and police department are sick and tired of the Bowers family getting away with murder—literally.  To what extremes will they go to finally take down the entitled family?

Who killed Vivian Bowers?

We may be only three episodes in, but I’m already willing to award the new murder mystery with the MacTV ratingDeception’s not perfect, but it definitely satisfies my cravings.  It’s been years since I’ve had anything on television as dark and twisted as Twin Peaks.  I’m not saying I haven’t had any good murder mysteries on since because everyone knows how I feel about Pretty Little Liars (love it!), but now I can sit back and watch the Bowers family members unravel and reveal more and more about themselves and why they each had motive to kill their beloved Vivian—and this makes me happy.

“How do I know you didn’t do it?” ~ Ben to Edward
“How do I know you didn’t do it?” ~ Edward to Ben
“Who knew Vivian was pregnant?” ~ Robert to both sons, Edward and Julian
“How do I live with this?” ~ Ben
“You know the price for disloyalty in this family.” ~ Sophia to Samantha

So, who killed Vivian Bowers?

Deception does have one downfall as far as I’m concerned though… the series is ending potential story lines and mysteries way too fast.  For one, they hinted at Vivian being Mia’s mother… and then they confirmed it.  Bam!  They introduced a reporter with inside information as a potential informant for Joanna and her undercover investigation… and then killed him.  Bam!  I mean, c’mon.  Slow things down just a bit to add to the intrigue.  But so far that’s my only complaint.

What do you think?  Have you watched Deception?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s new & improved blog and see what she thinks about the new NBC murder mystery.  Did we agree or disagree?  Trust me; we usually have very different tastes in our television viewing pleasure…

Come back next week when Amber and I review something…  Stay tuned!

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Breaking Out To Do Good

This week Amber West and I review two returning police procedurals, neither of which is light and fluffy; the characters and story lines are darker than usual which might explain why these shows are on TNT and A&E:  Southland and Breakout Kings.

We’ve reviewed similar shows in which convicts assist law enforcement to do good (White Collar) or where con men and women help out regular citizens when other bad guys steal from them or make their lives miserable (Leverage), and A&E’s Breakout Kings does more of the same – a group of convicted felons help the U.S. Marshal’s office capture fugitives in exchange for reduced sentences (one month for each bad guy found and arrested) and transfers to lower-security facilities.

The group is led by Marshal Charlie Duchamp (Laz Alonso, Avatar), who is on a type of probation himself.  He suffers from a heart defect and supervising the team of convicts is his only chance at not being stuck on desk duty for the remainder of his career.

Working as second in command is former Marshal Ray Zancanelli (Domenick Lombardozzi, The Wire).  Ray has all of the necessary skills for the job, but he must work with a dark cloud hovering over him since his own conviction for taking money from a crime scene.  He currently lives in a half-way house, and until the end of season one keeps his secret from the convicts.

The only other non-con working on the task force is Jules Simms (Brooke Nevin).  Jules was unable to complete her training for the Marshal’s service due to a few disorders of her own – including anxiety and panic attacks.  Instead of working in the field along with the team, she serves as the assistant or analyst, researching the history and potential resources of the fugitives the team is assigned to find.

Next we meet the team of convicted felons, a colorful group of people without many similarities among them, other than surviving prison and hoping for an early release:

Serinda Swan portrays Erica Reed, a single mother who was arrested on weapons charges when she should have been charged with murder.  She used her skills as a bounty hunter to track each of her father’s murderers down and planned each attack so diligently, that she only went away for the lesser of the charges.  Erica is smart, concise, beautiful, and very meticulous.  Honestly, I think she may be the best hunter on the team.

Shea Daniels (Malcolm Goodwin) has the team’s street smarts.  As a former drug smuggler and dealer, Shea knows how the bad guys plan to move through networks and what avenues they will have available to them once on the outside.  Perhaps the most dangerous of the bunch, Shea oftentimes proceeds through cases with a chip on his shoulder, waiting for the Marshal service to retract on their special arrangement.

And last but not least, we have Dr. Lloyd Lowery (Jimmi Simpson).  That’s right – he is a genius with a PhD in psychology, a professor, and a published author.  So how did he wind up in prison?  Lloyd suffers from an addiction to gambling and he went to prison for writing and selling fake prescriptions to his students to help cover his debt.  He has an innate ability to break down the fugitives psyches for the team, and he also provides unsolicited counseling to the others on the task force.  Lloyd is funny and quirky, and a perfect addition to the team; perhaps my favorite character.

So there we have it – the team of misfits who make up the Breakout King Task Force, appropriately named by Shea.

Each week, Charlie and Ray pull the others out of prison to track and eventually arrest their next fugitive.  Many of the fugitives may look familiar to some of us too, including: Theodore “T-Bag” Bagwell (Robert Knepper, Heroes), a convicted murderer who kidnapped and raped his multiple victims; Andrew Brenan (Richard Burgi, Desperate Housewives), a felon convicted of tax evasion, but also the suspected leader of a successful jewelry  heist team – which he is; and Virgil Downing (Mark Pellegrino, from Being Human, Supernatural, and The Closer), a convicted contract killer with dozens of killings under his belt.

Breakout Kings is more than just a police procedural; each episode is just as much about the characters as it is the fugitive on the loose.  It also has heart…and anger.

Charlie is angry; he wants nothing more than to prove to his superiors that his medical condition is not an issue and he can successfully run this task force. Ray is angry; he wants his life back, he wants to rebuild his relationship with his daughter, and he wants his badge back – permanently.  Erica is really angry; she wants the freedom to spend time with her daughter, a relationship that has been strained since she was arrested.  Shea is angry; but deep down he is a teddy bear and he loves to earn some alone time with his girlfriend, even if it’s in the elevator.  Even Jules is angry; sitting behind a desk is not what she had in mind when picturing her career in law enforcement.  Lloyd may be the only King without anger, but he is damaged and wants nothing more than for his mother to accept his apology for ruining his life (it’s not really a very healthy relationship between mother and son).

Because of the cat and mouse game with the fugitives and the in-depth and dark characters, Breakout Kings earns a JFTV rating.  It’s not a show that we must watch immediately when it airs, but it does have the sweet appeal of a once-a-week candy bar and we’re happy to see it when it appears on the DVR like magic.

Considering the fact that Breakout Kings premiered silently on A&E last year (our house just ‘happened’ upon it), I’m afraid not many are aware of this program.  But after today’s review, I hope more of you will check out the season two premiere Sunday, March 4th.

What do you think? Do you watch Breakout Kings?  Who is your favorite King, or do you prefer the Marshal?  I’d love to hear from you!

Now click over to Amber’s blog and read her thoughts on the networking hopping series, Southland.   I think it may have finally found its home on TNT.

Come back next week when Amber and I review two of Fox’s new dramas: Alcatraz and The Finder.

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss any of today’s reviews, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV): It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (Nyquil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech

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