5 Ways NBC’s “Deception” and ABC’s “Scandal” Overlap and Differ
Both shows have broken ground by featuring black female leads.
NBC’s “Deception” premiered on Monday, winning the 18- to 49-year-old demographic during its time slot. The show’s success stands out given that it’s one of the rare dramas on television featuring a black female lead—actress Meagan Good as Joanna Locasto. Until ABC’s “Scandal” debuted last year, no network drama starring a black actress had appeared on television since 1974. Considering how rare it is to have a black actress in a primetime drama, it’s no surprise that the shows have some similarities. They have differences as well, however. Here they are:
On “Scandal” actress Kerry Washington portrays Olivia Pope, a crisis manager who cleans up the messes of the elite. On “Deception,” Joanna Locasto works to clean up the mess her late and estranged best friend, Vivian Bowers, left behind.
Both Olivia Pope and Joanna Locasto are portrayed as strong women. While Pope heads her own crisis management firm, Locasto is a take-charge detective for the San Francisco Police Department.
Both shows feature privileged, white families. On “Scandal,” President Grant and his wife, Mellie, are a focal point. On “Deception,” the billionaire Bowers family takes center stage.
Both shows feature clandestine interracial romances. Olivia Pope is the secret mistress of President Fitzgerald Grant. Joanna Locasto had a secret affair with her late best friend’s brother, Julian Bowers. He still holds a torch for her.
Despite their interracial romances, both Olivia and Joanna momentarily rekindle their relationships with black ex-boyfriends. In the fall, Olivia gave her relationship with Senator Edison Davis another try. One the premiere of “Deception,” Joanna has a one-night stand with her FBI ex, Will Moreno.
While both Olivia Pope and Joanna Locasto are successful women, Pope has a cadre of staffers working for her. Locasto, on the other hand, does what the FBI tells her to do. The agency has asked the detective to work undercover to investigate her friend’s death.
“Deception” has been criticized for skirting the issue of race, while critics have said “Scandal” has done a better job of walking the line between race, sex and class.
Although “Scandal” is a political drama, “Deception” has a look and a feel that has made critics describe it as a primetime soap opera.
“Scandal” is fast-paced, cutting from scene to scene in a blink of an eye. “Deception” takes its time letting the plot unfold.
Through flashbacks, “Deception” provides details about protagonist Joanna Locasto’s background. We see shots of a young Joanna and know that her mother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Little has been shown about young Olivia Pope and her family.
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