If you took Six Feet Under and put it in a blender with CSI and Grey’s Anatomy, you would come out with something very similar to CTV’s new crime drama, Motive. In the first few minutes of the show, you meet the victim and the killer, and over the course of the episode, the viewer watches as homicide detective Angie Flynn (played by Kristin Lehman of The Killing) and her partner Oscar Vega (played by Louis Ferreira of Durham County) piece together the motive, ultimately finding the killer, who the viewer has always known was the so-called “bad guy.” By putting the focus on the motive, the viewer actually gets more wrapped up in understanding the psychology of the killer as opposed to just trying to figure out how he did. Of course, the show’s detectives rely on the help of medical examiner Dr. Betty Rogers (played by Lauren Holly of NCIS, Chicago Hope, Picket Fences) who gets up close and personal with the dead bodies to add a little more insight to the drawing board.
Motive is what CTV’s calling a “why-dun-it” as opposed to a “who-dun-it,” and we like the fun twist on the typical idea of a crime drama. Also, the weekly intros of how the murder goes down remind us a little bit of Six Feet Under’s weekly opening, and we have a feeling that means we’ll be seeing some exciting guest stars each week. Did we mention Joey McIntyre of New Kids on the Block fame plays the victim in the very first episode of Motive? That’s right, the youngest New Kid kicks the bucket to christen the series, which premieres this Sunday, right after the Super Bowl, at 9pm on CTV. We spoke with Lauren Holly about her unsettling first visit to a morgue, ABC’s recent purchase of Motive and why the American actress prefers to make Canada her home.
Real Style: My favourite band as a kid was New Kids on the Block, so I was so excited to see Joey McIntyre in the first episode.
Lauren Holly: And he sings! That’s so funny.
Real Style: So I guess he just got involved for one episode… because he’s dead now.
Lauren Holly: Yes, he’s gone now!
Real Style: First kill.
Lauren Holly: He was on my table.
Real Style: How did your wrap your head around playing a character who does this for a day job?
Lauren Holly: Well, the first time I went to a morgue, it was really nerve-wrecking. I was worried that I was going to pass out. I was a little weak in the knees. I had to take this elevator down to the basement of a hospital, and when the elevator doors opened, I couldn’t get out because there were gurneys with bodies on them. I thought it was a joke at first because everyone knew I was a little nervous to go, but it wasn’t a joke. It took a few minutes. And there’s also an odor you have to get used to as well… and then it becomes quite fascinating. They are detectives, and their crime scene is the body. It’s wild.
Real Style: The first thing you find out in each episode is who the killer is…
Lauren Holly: Yes. It’s a why-dun-it as opposed to a who-dun-it. It’s really fun. It’s a twist on an old formula. At the very beginning, you meet the killer and the victim, and you see how they possibly could get together throughout the show along with our lead detective Kristin Lehman. It’s such a simple change, but it’s really different.
Real Style: Are any of the story lines based on real cases?
Lauren Holly: Not that I know of, but I wouldn’t be surprised if one of the writers read something in a newspaper or whatever, but not that I know of.
Real Style: What fascinates you about the type of person who would choose that career path?
Lauren Holly: It’s something so foreign to me, so completely opposite. I have always love crime shows. You always get the bad guy, and it feels good, so you always want to watch. This is fun because you get to feel more active in getting the bad guy.
Real Style: The post-Super Bowl time slot is a really big deal.
Lauren Holly: It is a big deal, and we’re really excited about it. Once I saw the first episode, it was so well done, and I think Canada is going to be really proud that they’re making this show. We got picked up by ABC before we’ve even started airing so that’s pretty cool. Motive is really great because it’s 100% Canadian, and it rivals anything on American TV. Vancouver is a beautiful city, and it’s fun for me to be a part of it. I’m full American, and I just moved here three and a half years ago and decided that I wanted to raise my boys here instead of Los Angeles. My family is in upstate New York. I didn’t want to do Manhattan, so I picked Toronto and started our life here, and they love it and I love it.
Real Style: You are the reverse of what I’m used to — an American coming to the Canadian TV and film industry!
Lauren Holly: I’m like the salmon swimming upstream.
Real Style: Do you think that’s possibly becoming a bit more common?
Lauren Holly: I don’t know because I haven’t met anyone else who’ve done it that way. I meet a lot of actors who come back because Canada’s their home. I like it here. I like the people.
Real Style: You live in Toronto. How do you do the commute to Vancouver for the show? I know it’s a five-hour flight, but then there’s the three-hour time change.
Lauren Holly: I don’t ever think about it because when I leave, I go straight to work. Then I turn around and I walk in the door and I’m Mom. It’s usually timed that I take the flight that gets me in right when they’re coming home from school that day. I choose not to know exactly what time it is. It’s all mind over matter.