We never need a reason to talk TV with Warren Christie, but we’re thrilled when we get one. Last week, Christie joined the second season of Motive on CTV and we chatted with him as part of the cast’s press day.
Christie’s character, Mark Cross, is the new team leader for the homicide division, and the promotion is his reward after coming off a two-year undercover stint. “Technically, there are people who are more experienced, like Vega, but he gets it,” says Christie. “[And that sets up a] shift of the dynamic in the work place because of his relationship with Angie. We find out that they’re not just bitter exes, there’s much more to it as the season goes along.”
The role came Christie’s way after her came home to Vancouver (following a two-season stint on the Toronto-based Alphas). “I’d been out of town, and came [home] and they called me,” he says. “It kept coming up, and once it was getting [closer to done], I put in my time and [caught up on the first season]. I noticed how great it was…how it was shot [and that] all the actors brought something very interesting to it.”
He also liked that the show put a new twist on the procedural with the viewer knowing who the killer is and who the victim is. “There are so many procedurals out there [and this was different]. Sometimes we have these episodes where we find out the humanity of it [and how someone became a killer,]” he says. “You’re never going to have a straight line. Putting humanity on the face of the killer is very difficult.”
Christie hadn’t previously worked with series stars Louis Ferreira and Kristin Lehman, but he had met Ferreira back when he starred opposite his wife, Sonya Salomaa on the very dark Durham County. “Louis is really brilliant and actually a funny, goofy guy and very sweet. He’s very different from the characters he plays–even Vega,” he says. “He’s put a lot of work into creating a strong, silent partner who’s a great balance to Angie. It’s been great to get to work with him. I’m a big fan of his work.”
Brendan Penny and Christie have known each other for a few years, and he and Lauren Holly crossed paths on the second season of Alphas and share a very good mutual friend. He and Lehman only met at the chemistry read. “Luckily we got along really well,” he says. “People keep pointing out how much fun we have. It’s important when you’re working these hours. Everybody clicked and everybody’s very unique and we have an incredible crew.” He adds that the cast and crew were very welcoming. “It was like being the new kid in school. I haven’t worked in Vancouver in years. One of the appealing things [was] to be able to drive 15 minutes to work.”
Looking ahead to this season, Christie says Cross and Angie will keep it professional despite their misgivings. “You’ll see more of what’s going on [between them] as asides outside of the office. In the office, it’s very subtle,” he says. “They’re not pissy kids. He’s spent two years undercover. His greatest asset is knowing who he has to be at any given time. And at times, even audiences may not know where he’s coming from.”
“He’s an ‘ends justifies the means’ kind of guy who does what it takes to get the answers, and that doesn’t always jive well with Angie and how she does things. As that unravels, we’ll get to the culmination of something really big in the last couple of episodes that blows things up a little bit.”
Christie hopes the introduction of Cross will help flesh out the rest of the team for the viewers. “[This season, Brian] isn’t just the rookie anymore, and Cross validates him and helps him grow and come along to what he can become,” he says. “I hope my character brings the evolution of the other characters so we get to see more about who they are. Motive is a procedural, and people love it for the format, but the more you know about the characters and the more you can care [about them] will get people coming back more and more.”
Another project Christie has coming up this year is a TV film called The Color of Rain. “That was a very interesting project [and] I didn’t know until [I read] the last page [of the script] that it was a true story. All of a sudden, things changed, because the responsibility was very big. The family came to visit and was on set. It’s a really beautiful story about loss and healing and these people finding each other, and their love and their families,” he says. “It was a little daunting at times because you’re portaying a real person who’s ten feet away from you. I think we can all learn a lot from of it and I think they were happy with how it came together.”
We’re so glad Christie is back on our TVs. Motive airs tonight at 10 pm ET on CTV.
Photos courtesy of CTV.