The Deceived: here’s what people are saying about Paul Mescal’s new TV show

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Paul Mescal’s tense psychological thriller has gotten a lot of people talking. This is what they’re saying about the TV show.

Warning: this article contains some spoilers for Channel 5’s The Deceived.

Updated on 4 August: the first episode of Paul Mescal’s tense psychological thriller, The Deceived, hit our TV screens last night, and people have a lot to say about it.

The psychological drama – penned by Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee and Tobias Beer – is the actor’s first big TV project since Normal People, so fans were intrigued to see what he’d get up to.

Cue them tuning into the opening episode in their droves, where they were introduced to Ophelia (Emily Reid), a young woman who has an affair with her university lecturer, Michael (Emmett J. Scanlan).

Around the same time that Emily learns she might be pregnant, though, Michael’s famous wife Roisin (Catherine Walker) suddenly dies in a fire – causing the relationship to become… well, let’s say it becomes strained. Especially when Michael starts encouraging Emily to wear his late wife’s clothes. And, y’know, stay in the burnt remains of his marital home.

So where does Mescal come in?

The Deceived: Ophelia (Emily Reid) andMichael (Emmett J. Scanlan).
The Deceived: Ophelia (Emily Reid) andMichael (Emmett J. Scanlan).

Well, for a long while Ophelia is mainly concerned about how she matches up to Roisin, not to mention Roisin’s obsessive mother. As she grows closer to local fireman Sean McKeough (Mescal), though, Emily’s mood shifts. Dramatically so.

Because maybe Roisin isn’t dead, after all. Maybe there’s more to Michael than meets the eye. And maybe, just maybe, she’s been dragged into a conspiracy that will have devastating repercussions for all involved.

The Deceived: Sean McKeough (Paul Mescal).
The Deceived: Sean McKeough (Paul Mescal).

So, what are viewers saying about The Deceived?

Well, there are those who have immediately turned armchair-detective, insisting that Roisin is still alive.

“Is the wife even dead?” asked one. “Burnt in the fire so can’t be identified. I’m hoping she’s got some revenge planned for these two scumbags.”

There are those who can’t cope with how creepy the show has proven (particularly that knocking scene):

There are those who were 100% here for all the literary references (think Jane Eyre, Rebecca, and more):

There are those who can’t cope with the fantasy of Mescal in a fireman’s uniform:

There are some who, naturally, feel Mescal has been disappointingly underused.

And, because you can never truly win ‘em all, there were some who weren’t into the show. At all. 

Didn’t tune in yourself? Well, with that in mind, then, here’s everything you need to know about the show.

What’s the plot of The Deceived?

As reported on 13 July: The Deceived tells the story of a young Cambridge student, Ophelia, who falls in love with her professor Dr. Michael Callaghan.

She follows him to Donegal, where Callaghan’s wife, Roisin, dies in tragic (and deeply suspicious, obviously) circumstances.

Aided by her confidante and local builder McKeough, a possibly pregnant Ophelia does her best to unravel the mystery laid out before her. But, as events begin to spiral out of control, it’s not long before she begins to doubt everything she knew about Callaghan, and her own sanity, too.

The Deceived, a new thriller starring Paul Mescal
The Deceived, a new thriller starring Paul Mescal

Who makes up the cast of The Deceived?

It’s a pretty stellar cast, to be honest. Ophelia will be played by Emily Reid, Dr. Michael Callaghan by Emmett J. Scanlan.

Roisin, meanwhile, will be portrayed by Catherine Walker, and Paul Mescal will be taking up the role of McKeough.

Derry Girls star Ian McElhinney will also appear in the series, too, alongside Eleanor Methven, Louisa Harland, Shelley Conn, and Dempsey Bovell.

Is there a trailer for The Deceived?

Lisa McGee has shared a teaser trailer for The Deceived via her Twitter feed.

And, yeah, it looks seriously ominous.

Check it out:

What have the cast said about The Deceived so far?

Speaking of the new series, Emily Reid said: “When we first meet Ophelia she is a student at Cambridge.

“She soon falls madly in love and that love takes her to a very scary place psychologically and soon the world she inhabits starts to become very dangerous.

“Everything is a bit uncanny, you can never quite pinpoint what is wrong but there is constantly something that is not quite right. Eventually you find out what that is.”

Paul Mescal, meanwhile, told The Express: “I had two days off after I wrapped filming on Normal People and then I started filming The Deceived.

“This is my second ever TV role. As for whether I was nervous…? Totally.”

He added: “I don’t have enough experience to feel completely comfortable stepping onto set but everybody was so welcoming and kind on this show.”

How will The Deceived be different to other TV thrillers?

Speaking to entertainment.ie, Tobias Beer said: “We wanted to do a modern, long-form version of those classic gothic thrillers like Rebecca and Gaslight. And, hopefully, update them a little bit – particularly in terms of the female heroine – making her a bit more active than she is rather than the traditional victim.”

How many episodes of The Deceived will there be?

The Deceived will be comprised of a very binge-able four episodes.

And when will The Deceived be available to watch on Channel 5?

The Deceived airs on Channel 5 on Monday 3 August/Tuesday 4 August/Wednesday 5 August/Thursday 6 August at 9pm.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.

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