Crime dramas are a staple on network television. They’ve always been there and always will be. Law and Order, CSI, Criminal Minds, Bones, Columbo, Castle, The Wire, even locally with Blue Heelers, Mr and Mrs Murder, The Underbelly Series, Killing Time…..the list goes on and on. The process is basically the same for each show. Someone is murdered, cops try and find who killed them and why. It’s stock standard settings and it works.
But…..then comes along a little show, created and filmed in Canada, which has turned the crime drama standard around and gives us the killer and the victim within the first opening scene. Focusing on the ‘why’ rather than the ‘who’, we, the viewer remain one step ahead of the detectives tracking down the killer and instead of spending the episode wondering who said killer is, our target is to work out, via the process of present time and flashback cuts, the ‘motive’ behind the murder hence the title of the show – MOTIVE.
Kristin Lehman as Detective Angie Flynn is great. Not only does she bear an uncanny resemblance to Uma Thurman, she also portrays Angie with blue steel grit and an inner strength that is rarely seen by female leads in this genre. Her flaws are minimal, kept only to her private life – that of a single mother with a teenage son, minimal money but lots of love and respect between the two. There’s no murdered parents or no personal tragedies edging Angie towards each and every case. Just a love of her job and the ability to use her street wise smarts to bring a killer to justice.
Another great addition to the cast is Lauren Holly as medical examiner Dr. Betty Rogers. Holly plays Rogers as a highly confident woman in a ghoulishly horrid job – a job that she’s good at and even though she flits in and out of episodes within a blink of an eye, her short scenes as Betty are filled with so much sass and flirty one lines that even Blanche Deveraux would blush! I really hope to see the character of Betty Rogers fleshed out and included in future episodes.
The rest of the cast is filled with familiar faces (Louis Ferreira of Stargate Universe fame as Angie’s partner Detective Oscar Vega, Roger Cross from 24 as Staff Sergeant Boyd Bloom and Twilight Breaking Dawn Part 2‘s Cameron Bright as Angie’s teenage son Manny Flynn) all of whom play strong supporting characters that also play vital roles within the show.
MOTIVE is a smart and witty creation by Daniel Cerone (Dexter, The Mentalist) and is engaging right from the first scene where we are boldly introduced to not only the soon-to-be victim, but also the killer. There’s no hiding the who-did-it here. It’s all about why a murder takes place and with this, you will find yourself coming up with many conclusions only to be proved wrong in the end when the killer is caught and the true reasoning is revealed.
While MOTIVE is yet to be screened here, it currently airs on CTV, Thursday nights in Canada and is set to premiere in the states on the ABC network May 20th.