Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – ABC’s Motive

After my second DVR crash since March, I found myself scurrying around, trying to recover the 200+ recordings I lost.  Amongst those so inconveniently deleted was ABC’s new police procedural, Motive

Unfortunately, I missed the pilot.  When I was finally ready to sit down and enjoy a Motive marathon, I couldn’t find the first episode—not online, not via OnDemand, not anywhere.  Thanks a lot U-verse.  I did have the pilot recorded… but anyway.  I have a better DVR now with a larger hard drive, so I can’t complain too much.

Notice I said too much.  I’m still having trouble finding episodes I lost (the King & Maxwell pilot, the Under the Dome pilot, etc) and I hate starting series without that first crucial hour of television to know whether or not they’ve hooked me.

So, for now, I’m stuck doing the best I can and starting with the second episodes…. which is exactly what I did with Motive.

Any time a crime occurs, whether in real life or on TV, everyone wants to know why the crime was committed in the first place—the motive.

Television is full of crime dramas and police procedurals today, but most of these shows focus on the investigation and capture of the suspects rather than the motive behind the act.  Some TV programs might answer the “why” in a brief one or two lines of dialogue after they’ve interrogated the suspect for a few minutes, but they don’t really spend a lot of time on the motive.

Motive, a new ABC crime drama, hopes to change all of that.

The new series follows Detective Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman, Judging Amy and The Killing) and her partner (Louis Ferreira, SGU Stargate Universe) as they work homicide cases.

Detectives Flynn and Vega

Wait a minute… that sounds just like every other police procedural on TV today.  Right?

Wrong.  Motive will identify the killer and victim at the beginning of each episode.  Before we even see the crime scene!  Now that’s unique…

For the most part, Motive is like all the other police procedurals out there… the detectives inherit a case and work the scene from the ground up, looking primarily for the “who” and the “why.”  But with ABC’s new drama, viewers get to see the “who” and “why” before anything else.  The show flashes back throughout the entire hour, telling us the stories of both the killer and the victim, and very little about the detectives and their personal lives.

That’s right.  Motive is more about the crimes than it is the stars of the show.  Having missed the pilot, I wasn’t even aware that Flynn was a single mother until about the fourth episode.  And even then, the series barely touches on that relationship… but there’s enough to give the no-nonsense detective a heart (I’m not saying she’s callous, it’s just that she’s not on the job to make friends).

So far, Detective Flynn is a closer…


Motive kind of reminds me of a combination of Cold Case (because of the series of flashbacks) and the short-lived series The Whole Truth, where viewers experienced the crime through both the prosecutor’s and the defense attorney’s point of view and they had to decide which one was the truth… fun show, but it didn’t last long.  I believe we’ve already seen more episodes of Motive than The Whole Truth, so that can be promising for ABC’s new police procedural.

And by the way, the new crime drama also stars: Lauren Holly (NCIS) as Betty Rogers, the medical examiner; Roger Cross (24) as Supervisor Boyd Bloom; Brendan Penny (Stargate: Atlantis) as rookie detective Brian Lucas; and Cameron Bright (The Twilight Saga) as Manny Flynn, Angela’s son.

Bottom line?  Motive is different enough from the other police procedurals on TV.  I’ll give it at least that.  But do I like it more than all the others?  Not really.  I will say this though… it is nice that the series actually focuses more on the crime (and the killer and victim) than the cops themselves.  For that, ABC’s new drama scores the JFTV ratingRay Donovan gets the summer’s top nod with a GTV rating, and ABC’s Mistresses gets an upgrade since my last review to my MacTV/guilty pleasure of the summer…

Dr. Rogers is a small role for Lauren Holly, but it’s nice to see her back on TV.

But I like Motive.  And I’m all caught up… and I caught up through the seven episodes in only four days.  However, watching police procedurals is like standing on the chip aisle at the local grocery.  There are so many different brands and flavors to choose from, each bag with its own unique twist, that we only have time to grab a few here and there each time or our grocery basket would be nothing but chips.

Have you watched Motive?  Do you plan to?  What do you think of the show’s format, showing us the killer and the victim in the first few minutes?  I’d love to hear from you!

Remember to stop by the #watchwed hashtag in Twitter to discuss today’s review, or to mention any television programs that you’d like to see on Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday in the future.

A Recap of The WatchWed Review System:

GTV (Gourmet TV): Everything we want and more
MacTV (MacNCheese TV): Guilty pleasure. Not perfect, but is satisfies
GMacTV (Gourmet MacNCheese TV): A combination of fine wine and comfort food
JFTV (Junk food TV):It’s not great for us, but we’ll go back for seconds
TBPTV (Twice Baked Potato TV): Part gourmet and delicious, while absolutely horrible for our cholesterol
SSTV (Still Simmering TV): It has potential, but the jury is still out
NIV (NyQuil Induced Viewing): Perfect for that late night television sleep timer
LOTV (Liver&Onions TV): Do we really have to explain? Blech
Inedible TV: Exactly how it sounds…

8 Replies to “Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday – ABC’s Motive”

    1. Me too, David. Any show that I can watch seven episodes of in four days is impressive. I not only like the setup of the show, but also how each episode is its own and not a part of a serial. That way if we miss one, we can still watch without feeling lost. I hope it gets picked up for more episodes…

    1. We do have Amazon Prime, but we haven’t used it to stream TV or video yet. We need to check that out. I definitely don’t want to start my episodes of Under the Dome on the DVR until I watch the pilot. Thanks for the tip, Lauralynn!!

    1. Graceland is on my list, Kitt. This is another that I lost entirely when the DVR crashed. Luckily, Graceland airs on USA and I found a marathon and was able to record all the episodes from the beginning. Now I just need the time to catch up…

  1. i have reallly enjoyed motive a lot. surprised me that i would like the show when the suspense of knowing who the killer is, is removed at the start. spending all that time on the motive is really interesting and often quite complex:)

    1. Hi, Martha!

      I’m with you… I didn’t know what to think when they introduced the killer and the victim at the very beginning of the pilot… it takes a lot of the guessing game out of the murder mystery. But I actually love it! It’s nice to have a show focus on the motive and the killer/victim more than the detectives. I hope ABC picks it up and gives it another season.

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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