The Deceived — release date, plot, cast and everything we know

Emmett J Scanlan and Emily Reid as Michael and Ophelia in The Deceived
Emmett J Scanlan and Emily Reid as Michael and Ophelia in The Deceived.

The Deceived is a British thriller packed full of impressive stars, including Emmett J. Scanland, Emily Reid and Paul Mescal. 

This four-part Irish psychological drama series revolves around a secret affair between married university lecturer, Michael Callaghan and Ophelia, a young English student at Cambridge University. Their illicit relationship is tragically interrupted by a shocking death, leaving Ophelia trapped in a world where she feels she can't even trust her own mind. 

Here's everything you need to know about The Deceived.

The Deceived release date: when did it premiere? 

The Deceived premiered back in August 2020 on Channel 5 and ran for a single season; it is now available to stream on Netflix and on Starz. 

What is The Deceived about?

The Deceived begins as university student Ophelia recounts the story of her affair with married lecturer Dr. Michael Callaghan. Ophelia is very conflicted about their relationship, especially after she meets Michael's wife, the famous author, Roisin Mulvery.

When Michael disappears without warning, Ophelia eventually tracks him down to his hometown in Ireland, where she discovers that Roisin recently died in a fire at their house — on the same night that Michael told her about their affair. 

The two of them can now be together, but Ophelia can't shake her feelings of unease about what happened to Roisin, especially as she keeps hearing strange sounds when she's alone in the house...

Emily Reid, Emmett J Scanlan, Paul Mescal and Catherine Walker in The Deceived

Ophelia (Emily Reid), Michael (Emmett J Scanlan), Sean (Paul Mescal) and Roisin (Catherine Walker) in The Deceived. (Image credit: Charles Fearn)

The Deceived cast: Who's in it?

Emily Reid—also seen on our screens as Sophia Trenchard in Belgravia and Roxanna Dubicki in The Trouble With Maggie Cole—plays Ophelia in the drama. "Overall she's an incredibly courageous, brave person," says Emily. "That's why, as the story unfolds, it's so upsetting what happens—you see someone so strong be diminished by the circumstances she finds herself in. She's a very rational person, so it becomes increasingly terrifying for her to have to question her own rationality — it's something she takes pride in."

Peaky Blinders and Butterfly star Emmett J Scanlan plays Dr. Michael Callaghan. "He's excellent at his job in the university, and he knows it," reveals Emmett. "He's intelligent, confident, and has his students eating out of the palm of his hand. He manipulates and charms not only his students, but people in general — he's used to getting what he wants when he wants it."

Other members of the main cast include Shetland and Cursed star Catherine Walker as Roisin, and Normal People's Paul Mescal as Sean, a builder and an old friend of Michael's and Roisin's who acts as a confidante for Ophelia while she's far from home. 

Liar star Shelly Conn plays Ruth, Roisin's best friend who is suspicious of Michael, while Derry Girls favorites Ian McElhinney (Granda Joe) and Louisa Harland (Orla) play Michael's father Hugh and local psychic medium, Cloda, respectively.

Paul Mescal in The Deceived

Local builder Sean (Paul Mescal) is one of the few people Ophelia can confide in.

What else do we know?

  • The series was co-written by Derry Girls creator Lisa McGee and her husband, actor Tobias Beer.
  • The Deceived was filmed on location in Cambridge and Northern Ireland - and Michael's sprawling family home was a key location. "The house is like a character in itself - it's the strangest, kookiest place!" says Emily. "Emmett was like, 'oh, I don't think there's any ghosts knocking around', and I said, 'honey, I would not go up to that top floor if no one else was up there!' There was definitely, for me, some strange energy in that house — which was great. It meant you didn't really have to do anything imaginatively as an actor, it was all sort of done for you!"
Steven Perkins
Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and

Steven Perkins is a Staff Writer for TV & Satellite Week, TV Times, What's On TV and, who has been writing about TV professionally since 2008. He was previously the TV Editor for Inside Soap before taking up his current role in 2020. He loves everything from gritty dramas to docusoaps about airports and thinks about the Eurovision Song Contest all year round.

With contributions from