Here at The Televixen, we’ve been day one fans of Motive, so we were disappointed to find out that the fourth season, which begins Tuesday night on CTV, will wrap up the series. We had the chance to chat with Kristin Lehman today about that bittersweet news, and what fans can expect as Motive winds down.
Lehman says they knew when they started filming that this was it, and that gave them a sort of philosophical Zen about the whole thing. “We knew going into the season. For us it was a really great exercise in being committed all the way through,” she says. “Our love for the show never waned. We all just wanted to bring to the screen the best season we could.”
Another silver lining of sorts is that USA Network will begin airing the third season starting April 1st — the first time the show has been back on U.S. television in two years. I asked if perhaps that left the door open for a reversal of the cancellation and Lehman said no. “USA had actually requested a fifth season but the decision had been made,” she explains. “We all kind if came to terms with it. People aren’t used to things ending when they’re still good. This is an interesting learning curve.”
While she admits she could have seen the show going longer if they had the chance, that wasn’t the hand they were dealt. “I … feel like we did real justice to the final season. We have more fantastic guest stars as our victims and killers,” she promises. “Our writers have done a really amazing job of keeping that dynamic fresh and crackling and current.”
This season, there’s a new dynamic onscreen, too, as Vega is promoted to Staff Sergeant, the position he lost out to Cross in Season 3. “As Vega is now the boss, that leaves Angie to try to find the perfect fit for a new partner,” says Lehman. “Karen LeBlanc joins us as Detective Paula Major for five episodes. I loved her. Tommy Flanagan joins us as an Interpol agent who is assigned to the unit. He becomes her sometimes partner and love interest. She and Lucas get to enjoy each other as well.”
Whereas previous seasons had a throughline arc, this season that arc is about the squad itself, and the crimes are confined to single episodes. “I think they did that quite beautifully. You really get the best of everything. A chance to have some new characters. A chance to expose what it’s like for Vega and Angie not to be close all the time. It worked out in our favor,” Lehman says. “The writers and Dennis Heaton decided to keep each episode as a standalone story. Each episode is a self-contained story. I think this our most mature, vibrant season.”
Guest stars this season include Jon Heder, Jamie Clayton, Max Martini, and Joanna Cassidy, as well as Lehman’s longtime pal Tim Guinee, with whom she co-starred in ABC’s Strange World almost two decades ago. (NOTE: It was one of my favorite shows in the late X-Files era and I grieve to this day that it’s not been released to streaming or DVD. It’s well worth ferreting out if you can find it.)
Lehman was thrilled to have him come play. “He’s one of my oldest, best pals. He’s in what I think is our very best episode of Motive, which is 4-11,” she says. “It’s my favorite episode bar none. He’s one of my dearest people, so it was a pleasure he could come do the show. It’s directed our DP, Mathias Herndl.”
Next week’s episode was filmed first, giving Lehman the opportunity to make her directorial debut. “Dennis and I discussed at length the story line. That was a story concept that had been waiting to be done since Season 1, Episode 1. It just hadn’t been executed yet,” she points out. “Thankfully that happened to the script I got. I loved it. I thought it was a really quiet, character-driven piece that was beautiful and nuanced and tragic.” Lehman didn’t get to direct co-star Louis Ferreira as Vega doesn’t appear in the episode, but she says she’d like to direct him at some point.
With Motive wrapped, Lehman’s looking for her next project, and she hopes it’s homegrown. “I’m hoping I get to stay in Canada to tell more terrific Canadian stories on Canadian soil,” she shares. In addition to acting, she’d like to produce and direct again. “I am hoping to be able to direct projects that I’m intimately involved in. I don’t know that I’d want to be a director for hire on shows that I’m not acting in or part of in terms of producing.”
“Part of the beauty [here] was that I had an intimacy with the material. I think that my way forward will be that. I do think directing will be something I always want to have in my arsenal. But usually for shows I have had the pleasure to help create or come onto as a producer or actress.”
Lehman is so glad she got to play Angie, and like us, she’ll miss her. “I’m forever grateful for playing this character. I feel like I could play her for my whole career,” she says. “She never got old. She was always fresh and exciting and full of self-acceptance for her foibles and triumphs. She taught me a lot. I’ve become a hopefully a richer actress for playing her and hopefully a braver woman.”
Motive premieres its fourth and final season Tuesday night on CTV. Season 3 begins in the U.S. on Friday, April 1st at 10/9c on USA Network. The first two seasons are also now available on USA’s website.
Photos Courtesy of CTV