TV Guide: Motive

Motive is a Canadian police series with a ‘twist’: the killer is revealed early in the episode so that the mystery and suspense hinges on the ‘why’ of the crime. Though the viewer knows who the murderer is from the beginning, the detectives do not, so that the ‘how’ also motivates us to keep watching. How exactly will the criminal be discovered?

Vega and Flynn in Motive

Vega and Flynn in Motive

This is enough of a quirk to make the show appealing for fans of the genre, but in fact there might be another little twist. Lead homicide detectives Angie Flynn and Oscar Vega seem to confound the classic pairing. Angie is a wildcard who trusts her gut and goes out on a limb. We learn a bit about her personal life in episodes 1 and 2: she’s a pretty cool mum to her teenaged son (father not mentioned) and knows things about racing cars. Wikipedia describes her as “feisty” (vomit). So far, her partner Vega is more of a dark horse: in episodes 1 and 2 he is shown to be very punctual, wear nice suits and expensive shoes, and have some kind of good car.

So what’s the twist? My theory is that the girl usually has to be the straight-laced, by-the-book sidekick, and it’s the off-beat guy who always gets to be the unpredictable genius.

This is the pattern we see in:

 

Elementary

Wacky Englishman (Holmes) with sensible support staff American doctor woman (Watson)

Wacky Englishman (Holmes) with sensible support staff American doctor woman (Watson)

 

Law and Order: Criminal Intent

Annoying screwed-up detective, Goren (man in foreground) and also annoying, hardworking detective Eames (woman in background)

Annoying screwed-up detective, Goren (man in foreground) and also annoying, hardworking detective Eames (woman in background)

 

Castle

Detective Beckett (a character who would not usually unzip her shirt like this) and the boyish, quirky writer Castle who "shadows" her at work

Detective Beckett (a careful character who would not usually unzip her shirt like this) and the boyish, quirky writer Castle who “shadows” her at work

 

Ok, three examples is not exactly statistical proof, but I could be onto something here. The partner dynamic between Flynn and Vega, anyway, is one more thing that makes Motive interesting enough to keep watching.

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One response to “TV Guide: Motive

  1. Pingback: American TV: Does Canada Just Do It Better? | Our Paracosm·

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