Last season on Motive, Detective Brian Lucas was the newbie to the squad, and he good-naturedly took the ribbings of his senior detectives, Angie and Vega. This season, he’s no longer the new kid, so he’s given more to do by his fellow detectives, and he’s afforded new opportunities by the new man in charge, Mark Cross. We chatted with Brendan Penny, who plays Lucas, about Lucas’s growth as a character, humanizing the killers, and what’s next.
Lucas is the only one in the crew who’s happily married, and we’ll see that tested this season, but Penny says we still won’t meet his wife. “You’ll see [Lucas] have more problems [at home], and a new character [Wendy Sung], will help aid those problems,” says Penny. “Now that he’s had a year under his belt, his wife sees that it’s more dangerous than she’s anticipated and the hours are longer, as well, so [they start] to struggle with balancing home and work life, which a lot of people deal with, and it’s not anybody’s fault.”
One of the fun things last season was the way Betty (Lauren Holly) never missed an opportunity to flirt with Lucas, even asking him to zip her dress as she was heading out for a date. Penny laughs and says we’ll see her continue to tease him. “All bets are off,” he says. “She likes making Lucas squirm, and it’s fun to play.”
In the season premiere, Amanda Crew stepped in for a guest spot, and it was the first time the two former Whistler co-stars had been back on the same project, but Penny said the timing was such that they didn’t get to share scenes during the episode, and he was off on the days she worked, but they did get to chat while she was shooting.
Last season, in “Pushover,” one of the pivotal moments for Lucas came at his expense when Angie put him in the room with a manipulative suspect (played by Katharine Isabelle) to prove that she could and would navigate her way out of any situation by charming a man. But Angie didn’t give Lucas a heads up on the ruse, and he didn’t take the dupe well.
Penny had a hand in how the reaction came about. “When we [originally] talked about that scene, [Lucas] accepted it,” he says. “And I talked to the writers and said, ‘this is an opportunity for him to not be okay with it and to stand up for himself,’ and I think it’s been important to his development.”
Lucas starts off on the right foot with Cross this season, and we asked whether that would evolve into a mentor relationship. “[He’s] not so much a mentor as much as someone shows [Lucas] respect instantly, and he doesn’t have to prove himself,” says Penny. “That was a nice thing to play. [Lucas] is more grounded in work and more mature [this season, and], instead of trying to please the team, he’s an important part of the team and is treated that way.”
This season, we get to see the softer side of Lucas off the clock. “Because it’s a procedural and there’s so much technical talk, and fill-in-the-blanks, [I enjoyed that this season] with Officer Sung, I get to show my human side and relationship side,” he says. “And I get to [just] be Brian Lucas and…be heartfelt and admit certain problems are going on. It’s a nice change of pace and really shows the depth of the character and how compassionate and three-dimensional he is.”
Penny spoke highly of the how the killer/victim stories come together. “The way the cases are written is fantastic. I like the ones where you have more compassion for the killer than the victim and it’s interesting to allow people to feel that,” he points out. “Our system isn’t always right, and you can sometimes sympathize with why the killer made that decision. We’ve been so lucky to have so many great guest stars who have been able to make people care for them.”
Between seasons, he did a reimagined version of The Virginian opposite Trace Adkins. “Working with Trace was fun and he was a great guy. I have no idea how it turned out,” he says. “It was a quick and fun shoot. I got to shoot guns and ride horses, and it had some really nice tender scenes and humanized scenes of what [those characters] were going through [during that time in history].
Photos courtesy of CTV.