Chris Fedak teased a deep mythology on ABC’s new magician focused FBI procedural, Deception. The show is a crime-drama that centers around magician Cameron Black (Jack Cutmore-Scott). Black is a master illusionist who is pulled into partnering with law enforcement thanks to a scandal that ruins his career. The cast and producers came to New York Comic Con to screen the pilot episode for a room full of fans on Sunday afternoon.
Fedak was joined by a magician and consultant known for his work on the Now You See Me films, David Kwong, along with series lead Jack Cutmore-Scott, and Ilfenesh Hadera, who stars as Kay Daniels, the FBI agent-turned-Black’s handler.
Deception will focus heavily on just that… the deception. Fedak broke down the procedural aspects, “When we came to the show, we thought of it as Magician Impossible.” He continued, “Each episode will have a combination of what you would see in an action show and a cop show, and then we’re going to have a twist on it. Halfway through, we begin to make it about the deception. What is the story we’re going to tell to the criminal to trick them.” Fedak brought David Kwong on at the very beginning to ensure that the magic was as authentic as possible.
“One of the things that David was adamant about was we wanted to do magic on the show that in theory, if you had the time and the money, you could actually physically make this happen. So everything was kind of built around that idea.”
“Really the bedrock of these capers are the principles of illusion, so it’s been really nice for me to bake all that into [the writing of the show] and to work with Jack and teach him.” David added.
But centering magic meant needing a lead who could do the work. Cutmore-Scott briefly flirted with magic as a teenager, and according to Kwong it shows, “He had a knack for it, a dexterity. I was pleasantly surprised when we first got to together. He’s picked it up really fast.”
Despite his history with the form, Cutmore-Scott knew how difficult this was going to be, “The definition of magic, or the thing about magic, is that it’s easy. It’s just this effortless thing that happens. You think it must be easy to do. It’s… not. There are hours and hours of work that go into thinking of and making these amazing tricks…. And then how to teach them to an idiot, you know. It’s really, really impressive to see that.”
Jack wowed the fans in the room by performing a complex card trick that involved participants throwing a pack of cards around the room before he successfully guessed each card. This was after Kwong performed an opening trick where he pulled a dollar bill out of a kiwi. Yes, the magic was alive at this panel.
In terms of our two leads and their relationship, Fedack was less revealing than he’d been about the magic. “There will never, ever be a romance on this show,” he laughed. “No, I’m kidding. It’s one of those things you have to measure as you’re making a television show, it’s an ensemble show. But obviously, it’s hard because [Cutmoore-Scott and Hadera] have great chemistry and they’re very talented, and so you know, there’s the dynamic that you have to look at. I think we definitely want to explore emotional relationships and stuff like that but you also have a lot of really exciting stories to tell. So… trying to be cryptic here.”
We’ll have to wait to see the magic when it happens next year. Deception is set to premiere in 2018.