Breaking news! My Kristin Lehman girl crush is completely intact. I’ve been a fan since she rocked the spray paint eye shadow in The X-Files episode “Kill Switch” and then followed that up with one of my most favorite one-season wonders ever—ABC’s Strange World. It co-starred the also equally fabulous Tim Guinee and if the success of Revolution puts it on DVD at long last 14 years later, I would be much obliged. But I digress.
Lehman has worked her ass off for years and years and she’s often the Type A personality—in charge, a little repressed, and usually with a secret or two filed away (see: The Killing). In Motive, which snagged the post-Super Bowl slot Sunday night (and did very well), Lehman is open and light and smiling and funny and badass. She plays Vancouver homicide detective Angie Flynn, partnered with Oscar Vega, played by Louis Ferreira, also playing against recent type as a not bad guy. Their captain is played by the uber-busy Roger Cross. Also on the squad, Brendan Penny, whom I remember from Whistler several years ago.
The hook for Motive is a twist on the usual crime drama procedural. We start by identifying the criminal/murderer and the victim, segue to the crime scene, and then follow the investigation while the detectives piece together the who and the how, and finally unveil the why.
The pilot follows the trail of a teacher (Joe McIntyre), killed at home by a student who would seem to have been bullied or accidentally escalated a robbery, or was maybe involved with the teacher (whose marriage was rocky). The truth is none of those things, and it’s a compelling reveal at literally the last minute.
During the episode, we also follow Angie home to find out she’s a hip single mom to a teenage son (played by a now-grown Cameron Bright), who’s as alarmed to find him and his half-dressed girlfriend asleep on the porch as she is hilariously intrigued by the girlfriend’s boob job. Her version of tough love is to let her son drive her vintage t-top Cutlass on a race track where he can safely floor it and get speed demoning out of his system before she’ll give him the keys to drive it around town.
There may or may not be something past to her relationship with Vega, but right now they have an easy camaraderie with each other. The M.E., played by Lauren Holly channeling a flirtier version of Rizzoli & Isles’s Maura, says something about their relationship being like one of her marriages so it wouldn’t surprise me if we got an “oh, by the way” reference to them being former spouses.
One of the producers on Motive is Rob LaBelle (who most folks will recall fondly as Crazy Eddie in First Wave and who’s built a portfolio of memorable character roles) and the show is filming in Vancouver (which many of the cast call home). So, there’s essentially zero reason I couldn’t like this show and I’m happy to report that I liked it a lot. A bonus is that for its subject matter, it’s light in tone, and sort of nonchalant–a switch from so many of the crime dramas out there–while still being respectful. I hope it continues to do well.
If you missed the pilot, you can catch it online at ctv.ca or when it reairs on CTV Saturday at 8 pm ET/PT. The next new episode airs on CTV Sunday 9 pm ET/PT.
ABC, following on the heels of its success with Rookie Blue, has picked up Motive for a summer run in the U.S.