'Deception' Creator Teases Twisty Two-Part Mystery: We're Blowing the Doors Off the Show (Exclusive)
By Philiana Ng
Deception is about to get twin-tastic!
The freshman FBI procedural, dubbed Magician: Impossible, kicks off a two-part mystery on a special date and time on Tuesday, when well-known TV illusionist Cameron Black (Jack Cutmore-Scott) is kidnapped by the Mystery Woman (Stephanie Corneliussen), forcing FBI Agent Kay Daniels (Ilfenesh Hadera) and the rest of the trusty FBI crew to turn to Cameron's incarcerated twin brother, Jonathan Black (also Cutmore-Scott), to help rescue him.
ET has the very first look at the opening scene from Tuesday's episode, told from Jonathan's point of view, in which he figures out that Cameron is the Mystery Woman's next target just as Cameron gets abducted. (Watch the exclusive sneak peek below.) Because of his clue-solving genius, Jonathan earns a temporary stay outside the prison walls in the real world, prompting a dynamic shift amongst the FBI and Cameron's inner circle. Sunday's episode, the conclusion of the two-part arc, chronicles Cameron's side of the story, culminating in a fascinating cliffhanger that promises to push the ultimate motivation behind the Mystery Woman's grand plan forward.
"Over the season, especially as we reveal in these two episodes, Jonathan could be the star of the show as well. It's fun to see him out in the world and to watch him interact with Kay," creator Chris Fedak tells ET, teasing that the chemistry between Jonathan and Kay is markedly "different" from Cameron and Kay. "Jack has done so much incredible work defining these brothers that by the end of the season, they're in scenes together moving quickly about and he was so incredible going back and forth between the two looks. They're two totally different performances."
Fedak noted that it was a calculated risk to hinge an entire episode on a character who isn't the main protagonist -- even though he's played by the same actor. "It's kind of a crazy idea to not have your lead character in every scene," he observes. "Jonathan handles things different. He has a different attitude, while also keeping an eye out for himself. It changes up the dynamic of the show." Complicating matters is Jonathan's past romance with Cameron's producer, Dina Clark (Lenora Crichlow), who's romantically involved with Mike Alvarez (Amaury Nolasco). Yeah, things get complicated. "I love action, but I also love romantic comedy," Fedak cracks. "Johnny's taken it on the chin so much, it's hard not to feel for him."
Speaking more specifically to the two-parter, Fedak said it was "a blast" slotting this storyline midway through the freshman season. Seven episodes in, Fedak and the writers felt the world in which the main heroes lived in had been established enough for them to take a minor detour within its storytelling framework. "We got to this point where we were like, 'Let's really blow the doors off this thing and really have fun with the mythology,'" he explains, adding that it was the execution of these episodes that proved to him and the writers that the series was capable of doing and being more than a procedural with elements of magic.
Fans of Deception will be in for a treat, as the two-episode arc has shades of Ocean's Eleven in terms of heist intricacies and will have fans pressing the rewind button. Even Fedak admits he had a difficult time keeping the interweaving scenes and storyline threads straight.
"The challenge of doing a show like this, where you're setting up things that you're either paying off in the episode or paying off in the next episode, is that I definitely broke my brain," he quips. "I was waking up in the middle of the night and having unconscious story meetings with my wife about episode eight, where she was saying, 'You need to get help!'"
"We had so many arrows, so many spreadsheets, so many documents, so many white boards," Fedak adds. "I was unconscious on the couch while I looked to the rest of my writing staff and production team to figure it out. It was super fun to do, but there was a point where we had one scene that was in three different episodes and we had different directors sitting there going, 'Well, who's going to shoot this one?'"
As for what viewers are responding to in the young season, it's that they are genuinely curious about magic and how certain tricks come together.
"People really want to see that the pieces of the puzzle go together. We found it in the pilot and as we worked on the first couple of episodes, that connecting those pieces of the puzzle and saying, 'This is how we got this person from A to B to C to D, and all the way to Z,' is something people enjoy," Fedak says. "From the magic side of things, it's a fine line to walk. People don't want magic ruined, so we're very careful when we talk about magic. We use our magicians to test what we can say, what we can show and what we can do onscreen. We'll reveal the theories of how different magic works, but we don't show the nittier, grittier side of magic."
Deception kicks off a special two-part episode on Tuesday, April 24 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, before airing its conclusion on Sunday, April 29 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on ABC.