To promote the new NBC primetime soap opera Deception, stars Victor Garber, Katherine LaNasa, and Ella Rae Peck sat down at a roundtable lunch in Midtown Manhattan to discuss what we’ve already seen in Season 1 and what to expect in upcoming episodes. Also starring Meagan Good, Tate Donovan, and Laz Alonso, Deception is a drama about the Bowers family, who has lost Vivian to an apparent drug overdose. However, when federal agent Will (Alonso) and detective Joanna Locasto (Good) discover that Vivian’s death is a homicide, they are determined to uncover the truth. Joanna, who was best friends with Vivian in their adolescence, soon realizes that Robert (Garber), Sophia (LaNasa), and their sons are masters of deception.
Victor Garber praised creator Liz Heldens for her accessibility and openness to change. Choosing not to clutter his process with superfluous research, Garber feels comfortable that everything he needs to know about his character is on the page. But he won’t hesitate to call Heldens and say “I think we can be better.”
Asked what three adjectives best describe the show, Ella Rae called it “Subtle, funny, and smart.” Reminding me of one particular scene in the pilot episode: Peck’s character Mia tells Joanna that Vivian had been going to “meetings.” “AA meetings?”, asks Joanna. “No. Meetings at the Pentagon.” When I brought up this line to Ella Rae, with her familiar sass, she said “You don’t think the show is funny?” One thing she likes most about the show is that it is full of great one-liners. Victor and Katherine agreed, even though all of them belong to the smart, sarcastic Mia.
Katherine called the show “opulent, mysterious, and campy.” It certainly is opulent–LaNasa seemed more than happy to discuss her interest in the show’s fashion. I won’t go into much detail about it, other than that some of her favorite shoes were Michael Kors. She explained her choice of the word campy: “I love that the show is a little bit campy. Because I think that’s what makes it fun. Otherwise it would take itself too seriously.” LaNasa is well aware that Deception is considered a “soap opera,” and even though it’s in primetime, there are still moments when her character is “larger-than-life.”
Victor called the show “entertaining, intriguing, and sexy.” The first two need no explanation; the latter refers to himself.
He compared some aspects of the show to Alias (in which he appeared in all 105 episodes), which was a drama where the family just happens to be spies. He explains Deception: “It’s a family drama, they just happen to be extremely rich and dysfunctional. They’re still a family trying to sort it out. Their toys are bigger.” If you’ve seen just a few minutes of the show with any member of the Bowers family–you see how this is true.
Speaking about their acting styles, each star had a somewhat different approach to their character. Victor answered first, saying that he “never understood” why some actors have trouble separating the life of the character from their own real life. He can put on or take off a character as if it were a coat. Garber explained that, though he doesn’t know any families like the Bowers, he has still been “in the company of people like Robert.” Katherine admitted that her character of Sophia “comes over” her a little more, explaining that she really “wears it.” Ella Rae said that her process right after she first signed onto the show–the first time she walked onto the stage that was her bedroom–she had dots to connect and brain work to do. Looking at a poster on the wall or an object by her bed, she remembers thinking “OK, now I have to figure out why that’s there.”
Not surprisingly, the cast had to field and deflect spoiler-questions that would give away any important twists or reveals that we will see leading up to the season finale. Victor Garber (who said working in New York was a major reason for signing onto the show, but unfortunately has no plans to return to the stage) did his best to put an end to the incessant begging for spoilers: “Why would anybody wanna know? Don’t you want the fun of finding out?”
Deception airs Monday at 10p EST on NBC.