Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Whodunnit?

The summer shows have started, some of them anyway.  And while we still have a few left to premiere, and despite my second DVR crash since March (I’ve lost over 200 recordings this calendar year due to faulty boxes), I did manage to catch up on the new ABC reality program/murder mystery, Whodunnit? via OnDemand.

Ever want to attend one of those murder mystery dinner parties or theaters?  I have!

Whodunnit? is kind of like reality television’s version of these parties…

Thirteen contestants have gathered to live inside a mansion (Rue Manor).  Their goal?  Solve a “murder” for the grand prize of $250,000.  Each week, one houseguest is selected to “die” a mysterious death by the “killer,” who also happens to be one of the houseguests.  But who is it?

At the time of the murder, the remaining guests become “investigators.”  Led around by the butler, Giles, and two housemaids, they must immediately choose one of three options: to visit the scene of the victim’s last known whereabouts, the scene of the crime, or the morgue (located in the basement of the mansion).  The “investigators” then use their investigative skills to work up a “murder dossier” of sorts.

Let’s talk about the “investigators” for a minute…  talk about clashing personalities!  Most of the contestants should really know what they are doing, being their professions, in one way or another, are crime related (a former homicide detective, a bounty hunter, a few attorneys, an insurance investigator, and two journalists—one of whom is a TV crime reporter).  The rest of the houseguests fall into the “everybody else” category, with an ex-beauty queen, a cardiac nurse, a bar trivia host, an engineer, a flight attendant, and an ex-NFL cheerleader.

This is an eclectic group of people and this fact creates quite a few challenges of its own.  For example, pretty much everyone uses different investigative techniques and skills and has different ways of “dealing” with others.  But the biggest challenge between the members of the game is whether or not they can trust the other participants… do they share what they’ve learned or keep everything a secret?  To quote Melina (the flight attendant), “this group is a hot mess.”

Considering this is reality TV, the actual death scenes aren’t too corny and the stunts and special effects aren’t all that bad.  So far, we’ve seen a death by a musket round fired via a sling shot, covered up by the careful planning of the “killer” to make it look like electrocution at first glance, and a death by fire via static electricity.

As far as the game is concerned, the contestants also receive one clue/riddle per murder.  Once the riddle is solved, a bell sounds and the game is “dead.”  After getting dressed up for a potential last meal, the “investigators” describe in detail what they think happened and those furthest from the truth are eliminated.  One by one, and in front of each other, they learn whether or not their theories earned them a “spared” card or a “scared” card—meaning who’s safe and who’s potentially going to “die” later that night.

When I previewed this show last month, I commented that this setup reminded me of the older reality show, The Mole, that aired from 2001-2008.  Remember that one?

After watching the first two episodes, I’ve concluded that Whodunnit? is very much like The Mole.  For one, instead of working together to earn money each week, this group of untrusting souls should work together to figure out who “the killer” is to further advance themselves in the game.  Secondly, the way the “investigators” reveal what they think happened is similar, making their pitch privately to a camera.  Even the way the houseguests are informed whether or not they are safe is the same (from what I can remember from The Mole anyway… it’s been awhile since I’ve watched it).  And lastly, just like “The Mole,” “the killer” is doing everything in his or her power to throw the rest of the houseguests off his/her trail by sabotaging the game.

Bottom line?  I’m hooked… earning Whodunnit? the MacTV rating for this mystery writer.  TV’s latest reality program is a total guilty pleasure.  And so far, it has me completely stumped.  The person I thought was “the killer” was “murdered” at the end of the second episode.  Drats!  Back to the drawing board…

Have you watched Whodunnit?  Do you plan to?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, 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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Devious Maids, Devilishly Fun

The summer shows have started, some of them anyway.  And while we still have quite a few to premiere over the next few weeks, I did catch a new Lifetime original series that aired this past weekend: Devious Maids.

I almost missed this new series…  I hadn’t heard anything about it.  Luckily, as I watched the Lifetime original Jodi Arias story, I caught a commercial for Devious Maids just in time to set my DVR for the premiere.

The story begins with a wealthy wife confronting her husband and their maid for having an affair.  Having said her piece, the wife takes her husband back down to their lavish backyard party… while someone murders the maid upstairs.

A murder mystery.  Already, I’m intrigued.

Devious Maids follows a group of beautiful Hispanic housekeepers in Beverly Hills and the rich families they work for.  First, there’s Marisol (played by Ana Ortiz from Ugly Betty).  She’s new to the scene, but has a very good reason for being there…  Then there’s Rosie (J. Dania Ramirez from Heroes and Entourage).  She’s the sweet one, working diligently to bring her young son to America from Mexico.  Next, there’s Carmen (played by the beautiful Roselyn Sanchez from Without a Trace).  Carmen landed a maid-ship, working for a Latin recording artist… a lucky coincidence, since she has her own dreams and aspirations of signing a big record deal.  And finally there’s Zoila (Judy Reyes from Scrubs) and Valentina (Edy Ganem), a mother and daughter cleaning team… that is if the mother can remind the daughter that she’s there to dust and mop (and that the rich folk don’t date the help).

After watching the first hour, this new Lifetime original series reminded me of Desperate Housewives.  There are hot guys (Drew Van Acker—also known as Jason DiLaurentis from Pretty Little Liars, and  Matt Cedeno—Brandon Walker from Days of our Lives);  familiar faces (Susan Lucci—the Erica Kane from All My Children, Grant Show—from the “real” Melrose Place, Brett Cullen—Harold’s business partner from Person of Interest, Mariana Klaveno—Lorena from True Blood; Rebecca Wisocky—the seemingly untrustworthy Brenda from The Mentalist, Brianna Brown—the crazy Lisa from General Hospital; and Tom Irwin—from one of my old favorites… My So Called Life); plus, gossip, lust, and humor, with both laugh-out-loud moments and backhanded comments.

“You thought my maid had plastic surgery?” ~Taylor
“Poor people like to be pretty too!” ~Evelyn

Oh, and did I mention Devious Maids was created by Marc Cherry?  You know, the man responsible for Desperate Housewives?  No wonder I saw the similarities… even the music reminded me of our favorite ladies from Wisteria Lane.

I’ll admit; when I first saw the commercials for the new series, I rolled my eyes.  Just a little bit.  But you know me; I set my DVR to record it anyway.  And I’m really kind of glad I did… because Devious Maids is devilishly fun.

So for now, I’m awarding Devious Maids with the JFTV rating.  This dramedy is definitely a guilty pleasure.  And if you miss Desperate Housewives, this one might be just for you!

Did you watch Devious Maids?  Do you plan to?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, 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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – Longmire, a Cozy Murder Mystery

We may have started a new trend here last week… I hope so at least.  Anyway, today we have our second Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday guest blogger!

Author Steven Montano
Author Steven Montano

The Ooo Factor readers may remember today’s guest, Steven Montano, from one of our earlier author features.  Steven is really a machine, truth be told.  He has written six stories in his post-apocalyptic series, Blood Skies, as well as the novella, Something Black.  Not only that, but he’s a full-time accountant!  See?  A machine…  He’s married with two beautiful children, loves spending time outdoors (he lives in Washington State so he can afford to spend time outside, unlike those of us in Texas where it’s already in the triple digits), and he takes magnificent photographs.

Photo courtesy of Steven Montano
Photo courtesy of Steven Montano

Anywho…

I’ve had a lot on my plate lately (like running away to Vegas and getting married!!), and instead of reblogging an older post today, I asked Steven to step in.  I’ve heard a lot of good things about today’s TV show, and when Steven messaged me asking when I was going to review it, I shamefully admitted I hadn’t seen it and left an open invitation for him to write a review for us.  His guest post couldn’t have come at a better time.  So, what does he think about A&E’s original series, Longmire?

Let’s find out!

*****

Whoa. A guest post.  And one completely out of my element, because this week I’m reviewing the A&E TV Series Longmire.

First off, about me: I’m the author of the dystopian military sci-fi Blood Skies novels and the upcoming epic fantasy City of Scars.  And while my being an Indie author in no way qualifies me to write a review of a television series, it’s worth noting that my wife Liberty and I have become quite the TV connoisseurs in the past few years, eating up everything from police procedurals to murder mysteries to wacky comedies to gritty fantasy.  It’s difficult to say which television genre is our favorite, but the “cozy murder mystery” ranks right up there…and that brings us to Longmire, based on the popular novels by Craig Johnson.

Longmire follows the title character, Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor), as he returns to work following the death of his wife to protect the people of remote Absaroka County, Wyoming.  Aided by a diverse and eclectic group of deputies and his barkeep best friend, Walt investigates oft-times brutal crimes while contending with racial tensions between the white residents and the local Cheyenne reservation, as well as the pressures of potentially not being re-elected as Sheriff.

Longmire also stars Katee Sackhoff (Battlestar: Galactica) as Vic, a deputy recently relocated from Philadelphia; Lou Diamond Phillips (Young Guns) as Henry Standing Bear, Walt’s best friend and the proprietor of the Red Pony Café; Cassidy Freeman (Smallville) as Cady, Walt’s lawyer daughter; Bailey Chase (Saving Grace) as Branch, a fiery deputy running against Walt for the Sheriff’s office; and Adam Bartley as Deputy Ferguson (aka “The Ferg”), a somewhat bungling member of Walt’s team hired as a favor to his father.

Though Longmire is listed as a “crime drama,” for me it falls under what I like to call “cozy murder mystery”: a whodunit featuring lots of familiar elements, engaging characters, and just enough humor and surprises to keep you wanting to come back for more.  While the name “cozy murder mystery” may call to mind shows like Murder, She Wrote or Matlock, there are plenty of modern equivalents that fill the same criteria, from Castle and Elementary to Bones and Rizzoli & Isles.  With all of these shows, figuring out the crime really takes something of a backseat to watching the characters work off of one another and struggle against their situations and environment, and even if you can guess who the killer is in the first 15 minutes (which is usually the case with all of the afore-mentioned shows), watching our intrepid heroes figure it all out is often the most engaging element.

Longmire takes the familiar elements of these shows – the mysterious killing, the red herrings, the ever-growing list of suspects and last-minute revelations – and adds a new twist: rather than being located in a big city this show takes place in a modern Western setting, and even though modern technology is available it often plays little part in solving the case.

As I mentioned before, characters are usually the most important aspect of a show like this, and Longmire is chock full of good ones, not the least of which is Walt himself.  Old-fashioned and gentlemanly, the stoic and reserved Sheriff Longmire also has something of a darker side, evinced by a series of flashbacks to violent events from his past.  Walt is an imposing presence, not because he’s bombastic and loud but because he’s so quiet and unassuming in spite of his size.  He loves his daughter (even if he keeps her in the dark), Rainier beer and his good friend Henry (a wonderfully understated Lou Diamond Phillips).  Anger seethes under Walt’s skin almost constantly, but in true “old fashioned Cowboy” fashion he doesn’t “deal” with things so much as just carrying on, trudging along and doing his job regardless of what else is happening.

And Walt has plenty of distractions: Branch’s constant attempts to undermine his reputation, Vic (Katee Sackhoff is deliciously sarcastic as a big city cop completely out of her element in the country) gives him grief over being the last man alive not to own a cell phone, and an out-of-town homicide detective (Charles S. Dutton, terrific as ever) is trying to corner Walt and get him to answer some questions about mysterious events Walt may have been involved with in Denver.  But at the end of the day you know Walt will get the job done, even if a little bit more of his already battered and worn-out soul is damaged in the process.

All in all, I find Longmire a thoroughly enjoyable experience.  Groundbreaking?  Not exactly, but I like the way it plays with conventions of the crime drama without being too obvious about it.  The show can at times be quite dark (some of the crimes are gut-wrenching, and not always about murder), and the politics and tension between the Anglo-dominated county and the Cheyenne tribe are well-handled without over-sympathizing or demonizing either side.  All of the characters are nicely rounded (even “The Ferg”, who in spite of being something of a walking cliché still manages to feel believable), and right from the very first episode I felt like I was reconnecting with a bunch of old friends.

So, using Tiffany’s system, I’ll give Longmire a GMacTV rating. Longmire isn’t exactly revolutionary television, but it’s a well-crafted drama which rarely missteps.  It’s also one of the few shows I eagerly anticipate every week (curse you, mere 10-episode season!).

Oh, and who is Robert Taylor?  This Australian born actor has only one major U.S. Credit to his name, and when I learned what that was I had to do a double-take.  Gruff, slow-talking Walt Longmire is none other than Agent Jones from The Matrix.  Whoa.

Agent Jones The Matrix*****

Thank you SO MUCH for taking over this week, Steven.  You are welcome back anytime.

I should probably catch up on Longmire… I do enjoy A&E’s The Glades.

What do you think?  Have you seen Longmire?  If not, do you plan to?  We’d (Steve and I) love to hear from you!

If you haven’t already, be sure to get to know Steven better by reading his blog, liking his Facebook Author Page, and following him on Twitter and Goodreads.

And remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, 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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – The Supernatural and Hemlock Grove

We’re doing something a tad different today here at The Ooo Factor… we have our first Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday guest blogger!

Everyone, meet Jenn Alexinas.

Hi, Jenn!
Hi, Jenn!

Jenn, everyone.

I met Jenn at the “Corporate America” company where I worked for ten years.  At first, our relationship was strictly virtual with the occasional phone call.  Then, in 2008, we both relocated to the DFW area for the company.   Without going into too much detail, we knew even before we met in person that we would be lifelong friends.  We both studied English; we both have fair skin and a variation of red hair; we both found ourselves in unique long-term relationships; we both have senses of humor, mine somewhat sarcastic and hers a bit less sarcastic (but she gets me); and somehow, with my being from Texas and her from Ohio, we both have similar values and hobbies, even if I did have to pull her into the world of football.

Anyway, I’ve had a lot on my plate lately, and instead of reblogging an older post today, I asked Jenn to step in.  She loves to write, and is darn good at it, and she has watched a show I do not have access to… a show I’ve been dying to watch—Netflix’s original series, Hemlock Grove.

So now, I hand the keyboard over to Jenn…

*****

Hemlock Grove is Netflix’s newest original series, which, like its predecessor, House of Cards, premiered with all episodes available to watch at once—lending itself easily to a marathon-style-all-in-one-sitting- viewing binge.   I watched the first episode, and immediately found myself intrigued.

If you can get past a few small things, Hemlock Grove is worth a watch.  I’ll admit…the show is not for everyone.  Fans of the standard horror genre might get impatient.  Those who are partial to the ubiquitous supernatural love story might be irked by the lack of melodrama.  Someone who appreciates good acting might turn it off after the first twenty minutes.  And everyone else might just find themselves… confused.  I will say this, though… anyone who feels desensitized to the blood and gore in today’s films and TV shows, and who thinks it impossible to be taken aback by any program’s purported “shock value” may have finally met their match.  At least, I think I did… I mean, I can’t think of the last time I actually breathlessly told a co-worker about how cool a werewolf transformation scene could be.

Looks painful… or maybe he’s just angry?

The story starts with the death of a high school cheerleader in a small industrial steel town. This was a gruesome death, and we aren’t sure if the culprit is human, animal, monster, or something else entirely. However, we quickly learn that while this murder (and subsequent murders) drives the action in the coming episodes, it isn’t really what the story is focused on… if you can claim there is a focus.  We mostly learn all about the town of Hemlock Grove and its denizens, who run the supernatural gamut from gypsies, werewolves, and telepaths, to mad scientists, monsters, and maybe even angels with the ability to impregnate human teenage girls.  Yeah.  There’s a lot going on in this town.

There are some aspects of the show that I really enjoyed.  I’ve gotta say the opening credit sequence is perfectly dark and creepy, with titillating hints of mythology and mysticism.  The aforementioned werewolf transformation scene is just really cool, and extremely graphic in that hope-you-didn’t-just-eat kind of way.  There is certainly some eye candy for the ladies (Landon Liboiron as Peter Rumancek and Bill Skarsgard as Roman Godfrey).  And for the men, there is Famke Janssen, whose sex appeal is enough to make you (almost) overlook her horrendous attempt at a British accent.   My favorite character in the whole show is Shelley (played by Nicole Boivin in close-ups and Michael Andraea in long shots), the “Frankenstein’s Monster” type of creature who is the result of some type of reanimation experiment that is only referred to in two flashback conversations held outdoors in the middle of raucous thunderstorms.  I found the adolescent Shelley, with her disfigured face, bandaged hands and 8 foot frame and inability to utter sounds other than grunts, the only truly likeable character in the series.

Yay!! Eye candy alert… a new Skarsgard!!

In our house, we strategically watched one episode per night, and more than once, that episode left my boyfriend and I looking at each other, open-mouthed, wondering what in the heck just happened.  Sometimes that was because the final scene of the show was so shocking, and other times it was because we really honestly, had no idea what the heck actually had just happened.  As the series progressed, we found ourselves starting each episode with full attention, and then drifting off doing other things, leaving it on in the background.

In keeping with Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday’s tradition, I need to rate this show, and I am awarding it the JFTV rating.  Just like that plate of nachos piled up high with gooey cheese and all the toppings, it’s kind of a mess, really fun to get through, and leaves you knowing you’ll probably go back for seconds, even though you shouldn’t.

*****

Thank you SO MUCH for taking the reins this week, Jenn.  You are welcome back anytime.  I mean it.

And I still want to watch Hemlock Grove…

What do you think?  Have you seen Hemlock Grove?  If not, do you plan to?  We’d (Jenn and I) would love to hear from you!

PS.  Readers, please convince Jenn to come back again sometime… she doesn’t currently blog and I’ve been trying to get her to do a guest post for what feels like forever.

And she may kill me for doing this (it’s better to ask for forgiveness than for permission, right?), but you can follow Jenn on Twitter here.

And remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, 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
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

Football Sweetheart Cares – Doing What We Can for Those in Boston and West

The events this week have reminded me of what really matters.  My heart is with all, from Boston, Massachusetts, all the way to West, Texas just outside DFW.

Regardless of what or who caused these events, the tragedy still occurred and there are hundreds, if not thousands of people displaced and in need of something.

I want to do my part to help.  So this weekend, starting today (Thursday, April 18th) through Monday (Monday, April 22nd), I’ve decided to donate all of the Football Sweetheart proceeds to the American Red Cross and to the Salvation Army.

All proceeds from every Football Sweetheart e-book purchased, whether via Amazon or Barnes & Noble, will go to these two charities to help with the recovery process in both Boston and West.

Please keep all those affected in your thoughts and let’s hope the devastation ends here.

American Red CrossSalvation Army

Why Deception Deserves a Renewal

In January of this year, I reviewed the first episodes of the debut season of NBC’s serial murder mystery, DeceptionAnd now that the season is over, I feel I owe it to the writers and cast members to blog about it again.  Why?  Because like most freshman television series that aren’t Fox’s The Following, Deception has neither been renewed or cancelled yet, leaving me to believe it is on the bubble.

Granted, the ratings weren’t really all that great, averaging just shy of four million viewers per week the entire ten episode season.  But let’s be honest, NBC doesn’t really do all that great on any given night; just look at these numbers: Chicago Fire averages the most with around 6.5 million; Law & Order: SVU comes in second with just over six million; and Grimm third with around five million.

These numbers might seem impressive, but when compared to the other networks, not so much: ABC’s biggies, Castle and Revenge, bring in around ten million each week; CBS hauls in the most with NCIS and its almost twenty million viewers; and Fox grabs up almost ten each with both their veteran hit (Bones) and their freshman series (The Following).

Clearly, NBC is the weakest of the networks when it comes to viewership of the primetime dramas (I’m not taking any of the reality programs into consideration for this post).  So, why not stop killing series so early (Smash is now gone for those that don’t already know—but the network will air the rest of the episodes this summer… supposedly), quit bringing in even more new shows… only to be cancelled after one season, and give the existing programs “on the bubble” a chance to build a viewership?

Now, I was excited for Deception before it even aired one single episode… mainly because I love whodunits.  Twin Peaks was and is one of my favorite all time TV serial mysteries ever; well, the first season anyway.  And of everything I watch today, and I watch a lot, Pretty Little Liars might just be my favorite program of all.  There are simply not enough murder mysteries on television now-a-days.  Most of the primetime spots are filled with police procedurals, medical dramas, comedies, and soap opera-type shows.

But the writers and creators of Deception broke away from the norm, producing one of the most skillful whodunits I can remember.  There were tons of twists and turns week in and week out, but everything centered around one question: Who killed Vivian Bowers?

So what is Deception?

Deception follows 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, Joanna must now investigate the murder of Vivian…

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

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 wasn’t sure after the pilot as to why daddy would have wanted to harm his daughter, but I was beginning to by the end of the second episode.

To help explain why Deception was such a successful whodunit, let’s first meet the people with the motive to harm Vivian—the Bowers:

To begin, 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… at first.  As the layers of the onion are peeled back, viewers learn Robert is really nothing but a cutthroat business man who will do anything to protect himself (notice I said himself, not his family).

Next, we have the stepmother—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.

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 at 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….

They look like one happy family… right?

Of course, there are 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?  Perhaps it’s the state senator (Haverstock, played by John Larroquette from McBride and Boston Legal) who has been around for decades and knows all about the Bowers’ secrets?  And let’s not count out the competition who will do anything to get their drug to market first.

As expected with a whodunit, the list of potential suspects grows 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; instead, she was sent in by FBI Agent Will Moreno (Laz Alonso from Breakout Kings).   Many at the FBI and police department are sick and tired of the Bowers family getting away with murder—literally.  So, could the men and women in blue be potential suspects as well?  Why not?  Anything’s possible…

There were a few specific questions I hoped would be answered before the season finale, with the primary being the show’s tagline:  Who killed Vivian Bowers?   Most of my questions were answered, and that doesn’t happen often.  The ten episode debut season wrapped up very nicely with only the slightest cliff-hanger, leaving us wanting more.  Perhaps the series was written this way because the staff didn’t know at the time whether or not the show would be picked up for a season two; or maybe this storyline was the plan all along.  Regardless, I applaud the writers and creators of Deception.  Really, I do.

Who killed Vivian Bowers?

Deception did have one downfall as far as I’m concerned though—the series ended 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.  However, I can’t blame the writers—shows never know if or when they’ll get canned, so why not move fast?

NBC, for what it’s worth, I loved sitting back and watching the Bowers family members unravel and reveal more and more about themselves and as to why they each had motive to kill their beloved Vivian.  Each and every week, I literally thought Vivian’s murderer was a different family member.  I wouldn’t want that person to be the killer, but from all the twists and turns I thought for sure he or she had actually done it.  And the next week, it was someone else.  That is until the very end when the series revealed exactly who was guilty of murdering the beautiful socialite.

So, who killed Vivian Bowers?  I’m not going to tell; but I will say this—the show deserves another season!  The one mystery may have been solved, but the authorities still need to make their case in order to arrest him or her.  Plus, we have so many directions the show could go with even more mystery and intrigue.  And don’t forget about the cliffhanger; after all, someone was kidnapped…

What do you think?  Did you watch Deception?  Do you think NBC will bring it back for a second year or kill it, making it yet another one and done?  I’d love to hear from you!

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