THE SHOW: "Deception"

WHEN | WHERE: Premieres Monday night at 10 on NBC/4

advertisement | advertise on newsday

WHAT IT'S ABOUT: When a young, female member of a prominent New York family is found dead of a drug overdose, at least one cop assumes foul play. FBI agent Will Moreno (Laz Alonso) has been chasing leads on the family for years -- mostly for stock manipulation -- but now he wants to nail them for murder. The somewhat dubious/borderline-dumb plan: to get his girlfriend, a detective with the NYPD, to go undercover. That should be easy because long ago, Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good) was best friends with the murdered woman when they were teens. The deceased woman's father, Robert Bowers (Victor Garber) remembers her fondly. Her brother, Ed (Tate Donovan) not so much -- and during the wake for his daughter, asks Locasto to move into their sprawling Long Island mansion, where dark secrets are hidden. She happily complies.

MY SAY: Peter Horton ("thirtysomething") directed Monday night's pilot, which provides a clue about what to expect with "Deception" -- another one of those Rich People Doing Bad Things soaps with a shiny New York veneer. He tends to like twisted stories, red herrings, sinister plutocrats and (especially) well-toned bodies in the lead roles. Both "Dirty Sexy Money" and "Grey's Anatomy," which he also directed series pilots for, more or less qualify, and this, too.

He's also got shrewdly commercial instincts, and since fewer shows on TV right now are more shrewdly commercial than "Revenge" and "Scandal," that's basically what's being served here. That doesn't make "Deception" necessarily bad -- it's not -- just numbingly familiar and a bit plodding, even old-fashioned. But there's some promise here -- mostly with the lead, Good -- and excellent actors like Garber and Donovan don't usually get saddled to stinkers. (Do they?) This actually could do some business for NBC.

BOTTOM LINE: Been here/seen this -- a lot -- but familiarity could work in favor of "Deception."

GRADE: B-