Interview: Writer/Executive Producer Chris Fedak Talks ABC’s ‘Deception!’

Chris Fedak, Deception, ABC

(Courtesy of ABC/David Giesbrecht)

From our set visit into ABC’s newest crime drama, Deception,Villain Media has an exclusive interview with writer/executive producer Chris Fedak discussing the procedural and magic behind Cameron Black’s tricks. Get ready to fight crime and learn a few magic tricks from magician Cameron Black (Scott) and FBI agent Kay Daniels (Ilfenesh Hadera).

As we previously mentioned, the career of superstar Las Vegas magician Cameron Black (Jack Cutmore-Scott) may have been ruined by scandal. But he’s found another place to put his skills of deception, influence, and illusion to use; the Federal Bureau of Investigation. As a consulting illusionist, Cameron uses every trick — even while inventing new ones as necessary — to help the government catch the world’s most elusive criminals and solve crimes that defy all explanation.

Before the third episode, Escapology, airs March 25, 2018, creator Chris Fedak talks about the influences behind the show’s origins, the relationship between Black and Daniels (Ilfenesh Hadera), and what viewers should expect from the upcoming season.

The masterminds behind the ABC drama are Chuck co-creator Fedak (Chuck) and magician/consultant David Kwong (Now You See Me). Blindspot creator Martin Gero and Greg Berlanti (Love, Simon) — whose name alone dominates the superhero genre on The CW Network — serve as executive producers on the series. Fedak was also executive producer and co-wrote the George Lucas-themed episode, Raiders of the Lost Art, on Legends of Tomorrow.

Chris Fedak, Deception, ABC
DECEPTION – “Escapology” – When an art museum docent is held hostage, Kay enlists Cameron and his team to help rescue her using the art of escapology, on “Deception,” airing SUNDAY, MARCH 25 (10:01-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/Giovanni Rufino)
JACK CUTMORE, AMAURY NOLASCO, ILFENESH HADERA

[Spoilers: In case you haven’t seen the first two episodes, please read our recap and watch the first two episodes On Demand. From this point-on, we’re diving deep into the episodes.]

Fedak explains how he became involved with the show, “Martin [Gero] and Greg [Berlanti] were working on Blindspot. They wanted to do a show about magic. He went to Martin. They started talking about it. Now You See Me showed that magic can be cool. David [Kwong] also did the puzzles for Blindspot. So many of the puzzles you find that show are created by David. They started talking to David.”

He continues, “I came into the project to build out the story. So for a lot of it, it was me and David sitting in a room, not only talking about Cameron and what it means to be a magician. You watch a lot of YouTube videos with David [Kwong] in it. Sometimes, I don’t think he tells me the whole thing. That’s how David came to the project. He was there in the room when we sold the show to ABC.”

In the pilot, Cameron needs his magic team to help him prove his brother was framed for a murder he didn’t commit. Among the roster, Jordan (Justin Chon), Dina (Lenora Crichlow), and Gunter (Vinnie Jones) play prominent roles in solving the case. On the FBI side, Daniels has her loyal partner Mike Alvarez (Amaury Nolasco) and a boss giving out orders, Deakins (Laila Robins).

Fedak mentions how the theme of teamwork came about, “I hate coming up with titles. I thought it was terrible for Chuck. But Deception, that’s a great title! This is Magician Impossible. I love Mission Impossible. I love team shows! I grew up on those team shows, from A-Team to even Magnum P.I. to Misfits of Science. The more I thought about it, I want to do a Magician Impossible show. I want to do that!”

As a fan of The A-Team, I can tell Fedak genuinely loves the team dynamic, giving each character their own charming personality. I cannot for the life of me name my favorite episode of The A-Team, but I can tell you I loved the witty banter and hilarious one-liners from the group. The first two episodes of Deception end with a wrap party, with the magic and FBI teams celebrating their victories.

Chris Fedak, Deception, ABC
DECEPTION – “Pilot” – When his career is ruined by scandal, superstar magician Cameron Black has only one place to turn to practice his art of deception, influence and illusion – the FBI. Using every trick in the book and inventing new ones, he will help the government catch the world’s most elusive criminals while staging the biggest illusions of his career, on “Deception,” premiering SUNDAY, MARCH 11 (10:01-11:00 p.m. EDT), on The ABC Television Network. (ABC/David Giesbrecht)
JUSTIN CHON, VINNIE JONES, LENORA CRICHLOW

In the pilot, Kay and Cameron discover Jonathan Black was indeed framed for murder by the mystery woman, The Femme Fatale (Stephanie Corneliussen). In the second episode, Cameron and Kay are putting together the evidence to bring her down, but she is studying them at the same time. Will each episode bring the crime-fighting duo closer to a confrontation with the Femme Fatale?

Fedak responds, “There is a procedural element to the show. The Magician teams up with the FBI. Not every episode is a murder mystery. Not every episode is finding out who did something. It’s about going out and stopping a crime. Tricking a criminal to reveal something they don’t want to reveal. And that’s what got me excited!”

Breakout stars in their own right, from Shazam! to The Handmaid’s Tale, Chuck revolved around “Will they or won’t they hook up?” between leads, Zachary Levi and Yvonne Strahovski. In Deception, will audiences be rooting for Kay Daniels and Cameron Black to end up together? Viewers have already hashtagged their relationship as #kaymeron over on social media.

Fedak answers, “What’s funny, as a person who had a giant shipping element to the show, I didn’t know about shipping! [Laughs] There is definitely a friendship burgeoning, especially at the beginning of the show. And we are exploring that relationship.”

In the third episode of Deception, Escapology follows Kay Daniels being called upon when an art museum is held hostage. Daniels enlists Cameron Black and his magic team to help rescue the hostage. How will Cameron and his team use the art of escapology?

Fedak teases, “Our third episode, our museum episode, we break into a room, filled with explosives, and we have to save somebody. To do it, we have to use mirrors. “

He adds, “For me, I don’t know what that is. Our magicians have to figure out how to do it and make it so much better. We actually did an illusion that works! That was really exciting for us!”

[Writer’s Note: Links are highlighted in bold. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.]

Right after American Idol, Deception continues Sundays on ABC at 10pm.

By Jorge Solis

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