Because it gives away the “who,” Motive was sold as a “how-dunit” rather than a whodunit.
Now that it has been renewed for a second season, it’s an it-dunit.
The season finale airs Thursday night at 10/9c on CTV.
The Vancouver-based drama launched Feb. 3 (directly after CTV’s power-out delayed Super Bowl coverage), opening to 1,354,000 total viewers (Live+7). By the time all the data was in, the next three Sundays also topped over a million.
Then the series was shifted to Thursdays, a strong night for the network but shifting a new show is always a gamble. Motive never really missed a beat. The first Thursday night episode March 14 drew a total of 983,000 viewers and it soared to 1,202,000, 1,240,000 and 1,193,000 the next three Thursdays. The series did another 1,019,000 April 25. In originals, it is averaging a rock solid 1.1 million a week for the season–hence CTV’s order for Season Two.
The series gets its U.S. network launch Monday May 20 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC before moving to Thursdays at 9 May 23; savvy CTV will simulcast.
Tonight’s finale finds Det. Angie Flynn (Kristin Lehman) and Det. Oscar Vega (Louis Ferreira) investigating the murder of a young adult just as Flynn’s own son, Manny (Cameron Bright), heads off to college.
Lehman was bright and chipper when I spoke with her on the phone last week despite the fact that it was 7:30 in the morning on the West Coast. No problem, she said, her five year old had been up since 6.
On a roll since starring on AMC’s The Following, the Toronto-born actress claims she stays “blissfully away” from the numbers but was pleased to hear things were good.
The ratings numbers, of course, are important to CTV, not just for its own welfare but because it can now hand the series off to ABC as an unqualified Canadian success story, the No. 1 new domestic scripted drama of the season.(Not that there was a ton of competition in that category in 2012 – 13).
Lehman says her hope going in was simply to be in something Canadians actually watched. “I signed on to do a Canadian show,” she says. Having survived 10 or 12 years slogging through pilots and pickups in the U.S. before breaking through in The Killing, Lehman’s own sense is that the business is even more fickle Stateside.
Now she’s waiting to see “what this other giant country” thinks about the show. She feels the acting holds its own with any U.S. network fare and is proud of the natural rhythm she’s found with Ferriera.
“It was just always there,” she says. “ABC has said one of the things they really loved was the chemistry between the two characters.”
Ferriera’s Vega is the more quiet, soulful character; Flynn tends to wear her heart and passion more on her sleeve.
Getting that balance and energy right is something the two actors commit to “every morning in the makeup trailer,” she says. “Louis and I work hard to stay really strongly connected to our characters. We encourage each other to stay as loose as possible so we can breathe life into the relationship.”
Production on Season Two won’t ramp up again until August. Until then, Lehman plans to immerse herself in her pet project, This Fair Land, an on-line magazine she edits exploring “living a creative life and an artful life in Canada.” The ‘zine is film, photography and lifestyle based, she says. There’s a story up now on the Wildebeest Restaurant, a B.C. eatery that serves the whole animal “snout to tail,” says Lehman, “although they probably don’t describe it that way.”

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