How ABC’s “Motive” is Different from Other Police Procedurals Today…


A Review of ABC’s “Motive” by Tiffany A. White

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.

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).


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.


Tiffany A. White is the author of the YA mystery “Football Sweetheart” series. She blogs at The Ooo Factor and is available for contact via Twitter at @Tiffany_A_White, Facebook at Tiffany A. White, or by email at tiffany@tiffanyawhite.com.

© 2013 Tiffany A. White. All written content on this page is protected by copyright. If you would like to use any part of this, please contact us at the above links to request permission.

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