MOTIVE – Season 1 Episode 1 – SPOILERS
A classic Oldsmobile pulls up at a taped-off crime scene. A tall blonde emerges slowly from the car and draws herself to full height with a slight toss of the head. She moves through the crowd that has gathered, watched by everyone, with the air of a casually dressed film star returning home and discovering the crime. Then a uniformed cop greets her and identifies her as Detective Flynn. It was a nice introduction of the character.
There are three important characters (so far) in MOTIVE. The aforementioned Detective Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman), her partner, Detective Oscar Vega (Louis Ferreira), and Dr. Betty Rogers (the Medical Examiner, played by Lauren Holly). These characters make you want to look at them and listen to them. They’re not the sort of pretty people usually found in TV shows. Their faces and voices are beautiful, complex, distinctive, and engaging.
The important stuff (for me) wasn’t so much the revelation of the killer’s motive, although that was done in a rather interesting way, by alternating scenes from the investigation and the crime itself so that the audience gained information at much the same rate as did the detectives. The important stuff was learning about Detective Flynn and Dr. Betty. Not much has been revealed thus far about Vega, but I am assuming there will be more about him in later episodes.
Two scenes were quite illustrative about Flynn. In the first, she comes home after a hard night’s crime fighting to find her teenaged son Manny (Cameron Bright) lying on a couch with his arms around his similarly reclining girlfriend Crystal (Allie Bertram) who is not quite topless. Flynn asks her if her boobs are real, and finds out they aren’t. When Crystal asks if she wants to see them, Flynn is a bit flummoxed, and says “no“, “maybe” and “what did they cost” in quick succession. When her son asks if Crystal can stay for breakfast, she asks: “Can her boobs make coffee?”
Later in the episode, Flynn lets her son use that wonderful Oldsmobile of hers in a sanctioned drag race. (The boy has had two speeding tickets. The drag race is to get speeding “out of his system”.) While watching the race (which the Olds wins handily) Flynn has a Gregory House-style epiphany and solves the case.
Dr. Betty explains her character effectively in two lines. Flashing her ID at a handsome cop and looking him over suggestively, she says: “Medical Examiner. They told me you had a body, and I see they were right.” Later, as she is doing the autopsy, a detective tells her it’s his first time watching such a procedure. “Always glad to be someone’s first,” she quips.
MOTIVE airs Thursdays at 9pm on ABC.
Lauren Holly (Dr. Betty) will be Ruth in the HOOVEY (the movie), based on the book, Rebounding From Death’s Door, by Jeff Elliott, about a basketball player’s recovery from a brain tumor. The film is due out in 2014.
The Lamplighter Pub is referenced in the episode.
Roger R. Cross is also Travis Berta on CONTINUUM (season 2 of which will premiere on SyFy on 7 June.