The Deceived

Rating 6.2
Streamer My5
Seasons 1
Episodes 4 x 50 mins

If you’re still feeling heartbroken after Normal People, maybe the answer is to indulge yourself in another healthy dose of Paul Mescal? Britain’s favourite lockdown heartthrob is back on our screens in Channel 5’s The Deceived.

It’s a fairly typical thriller, with a bit of murder, lust, and good amount of plot twists. But, is the show worth watching outside of seeing our favourite new Irishman? Well, it’s up for debate. If you ask us, the whole series is just a bit obvious, but does that mean it isn’t entertaining? Not necessarily. Whilst the acting is a bit awkward at times – think lots of hushed tones and raised eyebrows – it still feels like perfect cosy night in-type watching. It won’t keep you up wondering what will happen next, but it may well keep you gripped enough to finish the whole series.

The Independent’s Ed Power calls the show, ‘terrifically hokey,’ and admits that Paul Mescal’s ‘sleepy-eyed charm’ is a welcome addition. However, he does then reiterate, ‘he isn’t the only reason to watch this silly and likeable caper’. Lucy Mangan in the Guardian describes The Deceived as a ‘cosy thriller…delivered in six satisfyingly chunky slices.’ She says, ‘the premise is perfectly simple and simply perfect,’ and that it ‘is solidly done and manages to touch gracefully on concerns about (especially emotionally) abusive relationships, power dynamics, coercion and how we navigate ever-changing mores.’

In The Telegraph, Anita Singh puts it plainly: ‘The Deceived is not very good, which isn’t to say it’s unenjoyable.’ She summarises that, ‘It played out like a trashy but fun holiday read and there was enough intrigue to entice me to watch a second episode (it is running over four consecutive nights this week).’ Both Anita Singh and Ed Power liken the show to Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca in plot, but does the show pack the same punch as the much-loved novel? The jury’s out.

The Deceived seems to be falling a bit flat, but if it’s Paul Mescal you want, it’s Paul Mescal you’ll get. We’ll leave the choice with you.

First shown August 2020. Watch the trailer here.

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