Crime & Punishment: Interview with Motive's Kristin Lehman

By , Contributor

CTV

Kristin Lehman as Motive's Detective Angie Flynn

The number one priority of a law enforcement officer during a murder investigation is to find and apprehend the guilty party. In the Canadian-made police procedural TV drama Motive, the viewers have the upper hand as far as the latter. Besides the killer, they are also made privy to the identity of the victim before the opening credits roll. It is then up to Vancouver Police Detective Angie Flynn, her partner Detective Oscar Vega and their colleagues to piece the puzzle together and bring the perpetrator to justice. The show’s second season premieres Thursday, March 6 at 10:00 p.m. EST/PST on Canada’s CTV Network and then this summer in the U.S. on ABC. Series leading lady Kristin Lehman could not have been happier to step back into Angie’s crime-solving boots for a new round of investigations.

“Shooting the season two opener of Motive was a very, very happy experience,” recalls Lehman. “I love the people I work with, including our first director of the season David Frazee, who also directed us last year. I felt thankful and lucky that we were shooting during the end of summertime, so we had sunny blue skies and beautiful weather. That was a big plus, given that we spent some time shooting in downtown Vancouver. In fact, our locations were quite central and some of them very close to where I live. We really use the city to our advantage, which is a joy for me. When you love where you live, having the chance to showcase it and spend time outside in places you wouldn’t ordinarily be is just wonderful.

“Acting-wise, I loved our guest star, David Alpay. I was looking forward to working with him and I thought he was dynamite in the role. As far as my character of Angie, after being away from her for a few months, it did take me a little bit of time to make sure I was really speaking in her voice again. There were moments when Louis Ferreira [Oscar Vega] and I would ask each other, ‘Does this sound right? Is this kind of what we laid down last season?’ Thank goodness I have a costar that I share a strong friendship with, so we’re able to check in with one another like that when we feel the need. So I did have some fleeting thoughts where I wanted to make certain I was still on the same page with Angie, but in the end it was all smooth sailing,” she enthuses.

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In Motive’s season two opener "Raw Deal", Angie Flynn and her fellow detectives investigate what at first appears to be an assisted suicide but then turns out to be something much more and connected to a previous crime. As the evidence is compiled, the team has to deal with a shake-up at the office when their team leader, Staff Sergeant Boyd Bloom (Roger Cross), is promoted. His replacement is Sergeant Mark Cross (Warren Christie), who also happens to be an old flame of Angie’s. They parted on less than amicable terms, and with neither of them willing to transfer out of the homicide division, they have no choice but to work with each other as professionally as possible.

“There were some changes in season two where we focused much more on the crimes at hand and far less on character development, as most TV police procedurals pretty much do,” notes Lehman. “We introduced two new characters this year, one of whom, Sergeant Mark Cross, pertains directly to my character of Angie. A lot of the storyline between the two of them was worked on and developed as we were shooting. That was a real challenge for me as an actor insofar as my desire to really do justice to these characters and understand what their authentic relationship was with one another while it was being developed. At the start I was constantly wondering about that and trying to track where they’d been, where they were going, etc., without as much onscreen time being devoted to that part of the story because, again, we were more focused on exploring the crimes.

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“Eventually I let all that go and just allowed my working relationship with Warren to guide things. I have to say that working with Warren is divine. He’s so smart, versatile, charming, dedicated and a talented actor. Mark was Angie’s very first partner and ex-romantic partner, too. It’s an extremely fraught situation, and we played it as kindly and maturely as we could. We didn’t want to fall into any clichés and make it look like our two characters were addicted to drama, even though we had a very dramatic situation. So with a lot of the scenes we tried to be subtle, which I hope makes it more powerful. Having to be around someone who you’re constantly triggered by and who you’ve made questionable decisions about and with, personally as well as professionally, is really what their storyline is about.”

While the professional hierarchy above them may have changed, the friendship and partnership between Angie Flynn and Oscar Vega remains on an even keel. However, as is often true in real life, their relationship is not immune to the occasional little bump.

“These are two people who trust each other, and this season that trust is slightly shaken,” says Lehman. “Once again, we tried to play it in very subtle and not overt ways, and I hope that comes through. To people who really value that type of relationship in their lives, any amount of threat to it is very cataclysmic, but with Angie and Vega you have two individuals who will continue to stand by each other even when things are uncertain. That’s what we held onto and kept going with. We say to the writers all the time, that if they want there to be conflict between Angie and Vega, it has to be ‘earned.’ We’ve never really fallen into the trap of love triangles or anything like that. That’s not to say there has never been any conflict, but such conflict is, perhaps, less obvious, and, like I mentioned earlier with Angie and Mark, more subtle.

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“If someone is an old friend, that type of relationship is ongoing and it stays alive. So for me, Angie’s relationship with Vega continues to grow day-by-day as does my personal relationship with Louis. After all, I’m with him for 16 hours a day, sometimes every day, for six months. It’s the same with Roger Cross and, in season two, Warren Christie, and it’s that growing familiarity between us as actors that you see onscreen between our characters.”

As was true last year on Motive, the show’s writers have once again devised a variety of complex cases for season two that are meant not only to test our heroes’ crime-solving skills but also further stretch the well-toned acting muscles of Lehman and her fellow cast mates.

“Our show always begins with establishing the victim and the killer,” says the actress, “and I think what stands out for me the most is that our writers have done extremely good jobs of putting them in situations where you can’t imagine that that person is the killer. You then really want to know how they ended up in the situation they’re in, and that goes for the victim as well. We also have really compelling crimes that kind of go across the board, from love and revenge to heartbreak, money problems, and even a multi-generational situation involving a young woman and her child.

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“I think our season finale is pretty tremendous. I worked with Kenny Johnson, who’s our guest star, and he is spectacular. I did a climactic scene with him where Angie discovers something about his character, and it’s one of the best scenes I’ve had the pleasure of doing in my entire career. I was totally connected and committed to the moment and I enjoyed shooting that scene very much. There are some terrific stories coming up this year, including a very strong season finale, and I think audiences will be pleased with what they see.”

Please note, all photos above are courtesy/copyright of CTV.

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A native of Massachusetts, Steve Eramo has been a Sci-Fi fan since childhood, having been brought up on such TV shows as Star Trek and Space: 1999. He is also an Anglophile and lover of British TV. A writer for 35 years – 17 of those as a fulltime freelancer – Steve has had over 2,500 feature-length…

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