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Everyone's Obsessed With Paul Mescal's New Channel 5 Psychological Thriller

Everyone's Obsessed With Paul Mescal's New Channel 5 Psychological Thriller

If there's a sore lack of Paul Mescal in your life now the dust has settled after the megahit that was Normal People, then worry not, because the actor stars in new Channel 5 thriller The Deceived.

Episode one of the dark and twisty series, which is penned by none other than Derry Girls writer Lisa McGee, aired last night - and viewers took to Twitter to share praise for the show.

The moody gothic chiller follows Cambridge student Ophelia (Emily Reid), who has an affair with her charismatic university lecturer Michael (Emmett J. Scanlan).

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In the opening episode, we learn that Michael is married to successful fiction writer Roisin (Catherine Walker), who dies in a house fire at the couple's second home in Northern Ireland.

When Ophelia tracks down Michael and turns up at his eerie country house, things take a turn for the sinister. She is challenged by Roisin's grieving mother, and repeatedly hears a mysterious knocking from an adjacent room.

Paul takes on his second on-screen role to play Sean McKeogh, a local builder and volunteer fireman who attempted to rescue Roisin from the blaze that killed her.

Set up as a moral compass in the first episode, it seems as though Sean will become Ophelia's confidante - and potentially more, as there is clearly an attraction from his side.

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Paul takes on his second on-screen role to play volunteer fireman Sean McKeogh (Credit: Channel 5)
Paul takes on his second on-screen role to play volunteer fireman Sean McKeogh (Credit: Channel 5)

Talking about the series, one impressed Twitter reviewer wrote: "@mescal_paul omg watched the first episode of The Deceived... bloody brilliant, hope to see more of you."

Another chimed in: "paul mescal playing a fireman in the deceived... this is what we wanted."

While a third added: "Omg loving The Deceived and seeing @EmmettScanlan and @mescal_paul back on screen, ohhh cant wait for tomorrow night! #TheDeceived."

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"The deceived. What a showwww. Oh and Paul mescal wowwww," agreed another.

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Speaking to Tyla about the inspiration for the series at a press Q&A, Lisa McGee said: "We watched a lot of old movies like Gaslight and Dial M For Murder and Rebecca. We wanted something modern that had that classical tone - but that could run a bit longer on TV."

The Deceived was filmed ahead of the intense hype and scrutiny that surrounded Paul's portrayal of Connell in Normal People - but according to the cast and crew, there were already murmurings that he was set for big things.

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Lisa said: "There was already a buzz around Paul [prior to casting him]. Our casting director had already heard about him and we had people coming up to us saying, "Oh, Paul Mescal's in your series?" - but none of us could have predicted the scale of what's happened."

The thriller follows student Ophelia (Emily Reid) who has an affair with her university tutor Michael (Emmett J. Scanlan) (Credit: Channel 5)
The thriller follows student Ophelia (Emily Reid) who has an affair with her university tutor Michael (Emmett J. Scanlan) (Credit: Channel 5)

Shelley Conn, who plays Roisin's concerned friend Ruth in the show, added: "I had read Normal People [before meeting Paul on set] but didn't know there was a TV show being made. I'd only met Paul briefly at an event - but funnily enough I'd cast him as Connell in my head while reading the book!"

Gaslighting emerges as a major theme of the series, thoughtfully explored through the power dynamic between Ophelia and Michael.

Emmett J. Scanlan, who plays Ophelia's troubled literary tutor, said: "I always knew what gaslighting was but I didn't know the term for it - that subtle manipulation of someone through misinformation, to the extent that they might even question their own sanity."

We would definitely go for a pint with Sean (Credit: Channel 4)
We would definitely go for a pint with Sean (Credit: Channel 4)

Show-writer Lisa added: "Gaslighting is now such a talked about thing, so you feel a certain level of responsibility [in portraying it]. Everyone has that friend who this situation has happened to - and you have to handle it so delicately."

A bone-chilling plot, timely themes and Paul Mescal as a fireman? We're very ready for more of The Deceived, please.

The Deceived airs every night this week on Channel 5 at 9pm.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 5

Topics: TV and Film, paul mescal, TV Entertainment

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Mary-Jane Wiltsher

Mary-Jane Wiltsher is a freelance lifestyle and culture journalist. Elsewhere she writes for Stylist, Euronews, PHOENIX and What We Seee.