The Deceived’s creators: ‘There was a buzz about Paul Mescal – but no one predicted this’

Channel 5 thriller The Deceived pulls off an unpredicted casting coup with Normal People star Paul Mescal.

The Deceived

The Deceived creator Lisa McGee has spoken about casting Normal People’s Paul Mescal prior to his newfound fame, revealing that there was already a “buzz” around him when he was cast in her Channel 5 thriller.


Speaking on Monday during a press Q&A, McGee (Derry Girls) revealed that the now-Emmy nominated Mescal had been recommended by the drama’s casting director – but that no one “could have predicted what’s happened”.

“There was already a buzz about him, our casting director told us, ‘This guy he’s really exciting’,” she said. “I’d been doing general meetings with people and they’d been like, ‘Oh, Paul Mescal is in your new series… everyone’s kind of talking about him at the minute’, so there was definitely a buzz but I don’t think any one could have predicted what’s happened.”

In the thriller, Mescal plays Sean, a volunteer firefighter who discovers the body of a famed novelist, Roisin – before falling for Ophelia, a student who is having an affair with Roisin’s husband.

The Deceived
The Deceived – Behind the Scenes
Channel 5

Paul Mescal said of his character, “Sean is a simple man, in a good sense. He is a man directly invested in the community, he has a very strong and good moral compass and he has his eye on Ophelia. He is attracted to her but also there is a slight concern he has for her. Most of my scenes are with Emily (Reid, who plays Ophelia), who is phenomenal in this and she is a wonderful person and was very kind and generous with her time.”

Shelley Conn, who plays Ruth in The Deceived, added that she had already cast her co-star as Normal People’s Connell before she learnt that he had already nabbed the part.

“I had read Normal People and I didn’t know there was a TV show, and as I read it, I had only met Paul briefly on a press day but I cast him in my head. And I had no idea, so I was like, ‘See – told you!’ True story,” she said.


The Deceived is stripped across this week Monday-Thursday at 9pm on Channel 5. Check out what else is on with our TV Guide.