Detective Joanna Locasto isn't quite who she pretends to be, but neither are the people she's investigating. That's the heart of NBC's aptly titled Deception, premiering Monday(10 ET/PT), a murder-mystery drama in the realm of the fabulously wealthy.
Locasto (Meagan Good) grew up with the rich Bowers family as the daughter of the housekeeper, but she went her own way and now reappears 20 years later at the funeral of her onetime best friend, Vivian Bowers. The detective is back to mourn, but also secretly to investigate, as she suspects foul play.
"She feels like this is her last chance to do right by her friend, to get justice for her and get closure," Good says. "This is a person who is about justice."
Locasto, who hides her law-enforcement background, is welcomed by Bowers patriarch Robert (Victor Garber) and son Julian (Wes Brown), her former lover, but not so much by another son, Edward (Tate Donovan), and Robert's second wife, Sofia (Katherine LaNasa).
"It's a family in crisis, but the father clearly loves his children and family and will do anything to keep it together, even if it means something diabolical. It's an interesting character to explore to find out how good or bad he can be," Garber says.
As the series progresses, Locasto finds concealing her identity is increasingly more challenging. "The more lies she tells, the more complicated her story is, the more difficult it is to stay undercover and keep her relationships compelling and honest," executive producer Liz Heldens says.
As Locasto looks into the family members, she finds surprising connections to Vivian and her possible murder. "They all have complicated back stories. A lot of them are not who they say they are," Heldens says. "As people come up as suspects, we go into their back stories and hopefully it gets more interesting and compelling."
As a wealthy family, the Bowers have more ability than most to keep their secrets, which is part of the fascination with the rich, Good says. "It's kind of a mystery, their lifestyles and what happens behind closed doors. People always wonder: 'Does it look as good as it is? Can money buy you happiness?' "
Although Deception appears to have something in common with ABC's Revenge - a onetime insider returning to a wealthy enclave with an ulterior motive - those involved say they're not especially familiar with the ABC series or that their show veers in another direction.
"I think this is really different, in the sense that it has all these elements from great shows that people love, but it's really its own thing because of the love triangle, the family drama, the murder mystery and because this girl is living a double life," Good says.