Deception has quickly become one of my favorite prime time series! It’s been awhile since a murder mystery series has peaked my interest enough to make me want to rewatch episodes just in case I missed something, and Deception definitely has that appeal. It’s got a Twin Peaks level of characters with secrets to hide (without all the weirdness) and the intrigue of The Killing with a story that moves much more quickly (and more sexily to boot). What really makes Deception stand out among other whodunit style shows, is that the detective investigating the crime, Joanna (Meagan Good) has a personal connection to the victim, Vivian Bowers (Bree Williamson), and her family. It adds another layer of drama beyond just the crime solving and makes her commitment to finding the killer and the risks she takes in the process a lot more believable.
(Update at the end of the article revealing who really killed Vivian!)
At only six episodes in, the show has done a great job of revealing enough answers to keep viewers satisfied with the plot’s momentum, while at the same time creating enough new questions to leave everyone speculating about “Who killed Vivian Bowers?” To help you develop your own theories, I am going to do my best to summarize what we know so far. If you have not been keeping up with Deception, it’s time to stop reading and go start watching because spoilers galore lay ahead.
Joanna’s mother worked for the Bowers Family and they lived in the Bowers household. Joanna an Vivian Bowers were best friends until one night when Vivian was going to drive off the property looking distraught, and Joanna stopped her by informing her father, Robert Bowers (Victor Garber). Joanna thought Vivian was intoxicated, but it looks like she might have been dealing with sickness associated with the early stages of pregnancy (more on that in a bit). Some time after this, Joanna’s mother stopped working for the Bowers and took Joanna away saying she was becoming too much like the Bowers family.
While Joanna was still living in the Bowers household as a teenager, she was carrying on a relationship with Vivian’s brother, Julian (Wes Brown). It appears it was a sort of first love situation, but the relationship does not seem to have been clearly defined and Vivian implies that Julian was not faithful to her.
Joanna and Vivian lost touch after this. Joanna became a police officer. Vivian became the stereotypical hard partying socialite on the cover of every tabloid and was removed from her family trust as a result of her antics.
Vivian is found dead in a hotel room. Originally the death is thought to be an overdose (Vivian had a history of heroin abuse), but is eventually ruled a homicide. She has bruises on her chest, ligatures marks on her wrist, and multiple abrasions including one strange three pronged mark.
Joanna’s former partner and lover, Will (Laz Alonso), who is now an FBI agent arrives and asks her to go undercover to Vivian’s funeral because of her connection with the family and try to see what she can find out about Vivian’s murder. Robert Bowers believes Joanna’s fake back story of recent hardship and invites her to move into the Bowers Estate until she’s back on her feet. He also hires her as his assistant at Bowers Pharmaceutical.
Vivian was seen fighting with her brother Edward (Tate Donovan) two days before the murder, but at this point it looks like the only person Edward is guilty of killing is Kimberly Yeager (if even did it). Fifteen years ago, Edward woke up to see the dead body of Kimberly outside his window with no recollection of what occurred. Instead of calling the police, his father Robert called his friend Dwight Haverstock (John Larroquette) to help cover up the crime. Haverstock held onto a golf club found with the body that supposedly contained Edward’s fingerprints along with Kimberly’s blood. In the present, he’s using it to his advantage. Again, more on that in a minute. For the past fifteen years, Edward has thought he’s been accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Now that he knows his father thinks he did it things his whole attitude has started to change.
Before the revelation that he might have killed Kimberly, Edward blew off Vivian when she came to him with information about a possible fraudulent results of medical trial the Bowers family’s Pharmaceutical company conducted. Vivian wanted Edward to help her expose the fraud, but he did not believe her.
The fraudulent medical trial results Vivian wanted to expose were in regard to a new cancer drug Bowers Pharmaceutical is trying to get on the market, Lyritrol. An employee of the company, Ben Preswick (Tom Lipinski), told Vivian that Bowers Pharmaceutical had lied in their results and was covering up the death of twenty people who participated in a drug trial in Thailand.
Ben and Vivian were having a secret relationship that resulted in her being pregnant at the time of her death. After her murder, Edward realized it could have something to do with the information Vivian wanted to expose so he puts him in hiding. The FBI eventually finds him and he attempts to help Joanna recover the proof of the fraudulent files from Bowers Pharmaceutical’s network. Too bad (or perhaps excellently considering what they may uncover) Edward just pulled the very same files from the network. Ben is arrested and bailed out by a mystery person (we’re led to believe it’s Edward at first, but it was not). Edward is eager to find Ben and figure out the truth behind the trial, but Edward doesn’t realize that Ben has been working for someone else the whole time. Right before he gets hit by a bus, ending any hope of getting more information out of him, Ben makes a phone call to a mystery person saying he did what he told and was now done.
Considering Ben was working for a mystery person who told him what to do and the fact that Julian seemed to genuinely have no idea about any kind of drug trial cover ups, it looks like the whole thing may have been a lie. Lyritrol might be a perfectly fine drug that killed no one. If that’s true, someone paid Ben to leak the false information to Vivian, knowing she would want to come forward with it. Could the mystery person be Haverstock? Someone from the other drug company trying to get a similar drug out first? Or perhaps someone we haven’t even seen yet? Maybe Edward will figure that all out with the files he stole from the Bowers Pharmaceutical network.
Meanwhile Joanna found out that Mia (Ella Rae Peck), the youngest of the Bowers children, was actually Vivian’s daughter, not Sophia’s (Katherine LaNasa). Right before her death, Vivian had straightened out her life and wanted to tell Mia that she was her real mother. Sophia told Vivian she would not allow it. Vivian also told Julian she wanted to tell Mia the truth and take her away from their toxic family on the night she died. It led to an argument between her and Julian that resulted in him hitting her, and making that three pronged mark on her face.
Joanna saw a picture of Julian wearing the ring and began to think he might have killed Vivian, putting a damper on the rekindled romance they were beginning to experience. After he finally admits where he really was at the time of the murder (in another woman’s bed), the FBI confirms he was not in the area at the time of Vivian’s death. Looks like neither Bowers brother killed Vivian… but we still have not ruled out Robert and Sophia.
Robert seems unlikely as a suspect at first considering how far he’s gone so far to protect his children, but who knows what he might do to protect the company or the “greater good” of the family. It looks like he already paid his “gardener” to take care of one reporter who was lurking around talking to Mia. His name was Remy and he was first contacted by Vivian about the Lyritrol trials. He made Joanna as a cop and they were going to work together until he was killed before their first meeting. Robert also threatened another reporter who wanted to print a story about Vivian being Mia’s real mother. She leaked the story anyway and one can only guess what kind of retribution will befall her.
Sophia is a more likely suspect. We saw first hand how her maternal instincts can turn to violence when Samantha (Marin Hinkle) was considering taking her and Edward’s children to California. Sophia bestowed some racket ball violence upon her and made it very clear that no one was taking her grandchildren anywhere. Makes you wonder what she would do if someone threatened her relationship with daughter Mia. We know she’s able to get what she wants, working her way up from assistant to wife with Robert and convincing him to bend to her parenting strategies. Maybe she’s been pulling some strings behind the scenes.
Sophia has also been up to some shady business. Joanna watched her deliver money to a former drug trafficker who just got out of jail named Teo, but we still don’t know why. The FBI knows Teo was in jail at the time of Vivian’s murder so he personally could not have killed her. Now that Mia knows Sophia is not her real mother, we can expect a lot more drunken drama on Sophia’s part and maybe it will result in her getting sloppy enough to spill the beans.
Mia was not dealing with Vivian’s death well, even before she found out rather unceremoniously at the cotillion that Vivian was her real mother. She starts rebelling with an older guy named Kyle (David A. Gregory) who paid a guy to harass Mia and let him come to her rescue, to impress her on their first date. If that isn’t suspicious enough, we now know he has some kind of connection to Haverstock. It’s looking more and more like someone is orchestrating the relationship between Mia and Kyle. That can’t be good.
Senator Haverstock is as creepy as he is slimy. Joanna doesn’t have a good feeling about him from the start, and that only increases after she sees him using a fancy lighter- the same lighter she remembers Vivian saying her older boyfriend gave her. Looks like Haverstock is Mia’s actual father. Yuck. Vivian was photographed with his chief of staff just days before her murder. Wonder what they were discussing…
Julian gets really upset when he finds out about Haverstock being Mia’s father and after telling Edward about the situation, he goes and confronts him. Haverstock tells Julian that if he exposes him as having taken advantage of teenage Vivian, he’ll expose Edward as Kimberly’s killer. He tells Julian about that golf club he’s been holding onto. This pretty much blows Julian’s mind.
I am the only one that thinks Haverstock might have been Kimberly’s real killer or at least a setup to give him leverage over the Bowers? I just don’t think Edward actually did it, but that’s my two cents.
So who killed Vivian and why? Even after all those reveals I still have no clue! For as much as we know six episodes in, there is at least three times as many questions left to be answered. We’ll just have to wait and see as the rest of Deception Season One unfolds Mondays on NBC.
For more Deception fun, check out my Exclusive Interview with Actress Bree Williamson!
UPDATE 3/18/2013: Robert Bowers killed Vivian in the Bower’s Wine Cellar and moved her body to the hotel in a suit case! He may have even killed his first wife! Let’s hope for a Season Two where more about both mysteries will be revealed!