Is Cameron Black A Real Magician? ‘Deception’ Is Unlike Any Cop Show You’ve Ever Seen
Let's face it — we've seen nearly every possible iteration of law enforcement on primetime television by this point. Oh, look — a police officer with a heart of gold who doesn't play by the rules. Oh, another police officer doesn't play by the rules, but now he's in Miami, so it warrants another hour time slot! The lack of variety leaves room for something new in the genre, and it sees like Deception, premiering March 11 on ABC could be that breath of fresh air. The show brings a little much-needed magic — literally — to a premise that's tried and true. But is Deception's Cameron Black based on a real magician?
It seems like Cameron, who will use his team of magicians to deceive and trick criminals instead of an awestruck audience, is purely fictional. Star Jack Cutmore-Scott has plenty of material to draw inspiration from, though, and he has real-life magicians helping him get used to the role.
"I’ve always appreciated it as a spectator, but I hadn’t ever performed any magic prior to the first episode of this show, so it’s been a bit of a steep learning curve," he told Entertainment Weekly. "But I’ve enjoyed it and I’ve been very lucky with the team I’ve had supporting me and holding my hand through all of it, David Kwong and Francis Menotti, who are two amazing magicians, and they’ve really kind of slow-fed me as much as I need to work my way through each trick in each episode so that I could at least feel comfortable pretending to be as comfortable as Cameron would be."
Kwong is an illusionist who's consulted on other magic-incorporated projects such as Now You See Me. And per Bleeding Cool News, Menotti is a magician and lecturer who has also "designed custom magic" for media and theater. Since they're helping to shape the Cameron's magic, technically, his technique at least is based on theirs.
It's unclear how much Deception will actually let the audience in on the tricks these magicians are playing, but that could prove to be part of the fun. Those of us who are completely clueless about magic can be astonished at the kinds of stunts they pull off, and even if they do allow audiences to take a bit of a peek behind the curtain, they can feel like they're in on a secret. And, of course, Deception will have the same cop show dynamics we've come to know, expect, and love.
"We’ve got that buddy-cop element; we’ve got this stranger in a world of crime fighting, this bizarre skill set that somehow is appropriate to this new world he’s found himself in," the actor said in the same interview. "We also get to actually see the magic. We actually get to incorporate these illusions both on a large and small scale into the show, which isn’t something we’ve seen before in the same way."
It does seem like the series will be packed with action, pulling ideas from action classics like Mission: Impossible, according to the show's creator, Chris Fedak. "This is much more of an action show [than just a magic show]. So it’s Cameron Black working with his team of magicians to essentially create deceptions to, not trick an audience, but to capture bad guys," he said in the same Entertainment Weekly article. "And for me, when I was getting into it, I thought about Mission: Impossible, and I thought this is a show that’s not on air right now, and the glam and the flavor and just all the fun of these characters, it got me excited."
Even though Deception isn't based solely on a real magician, audiences still know the drill. We've seen the Criss Angels and the Penns & Tellers, the David Blaines and David Copperfields. In both magic shows and crime series, people have largely come to know what to expect. When those genres are thrust together like Deception has done, though, it's uncharted territory.