Series: Motive

A Canadian crime/mystery drama which started running in 2013, and set in Vancouver, British Columbia. It blends elements of Police Procedural and Criminal Procedural in a unique format: the audience already knows the murderer and the victim; what the audience learns, through a combination of the unfolding investigation, conducted by Detectives Angela Flynn and Oscar Vega, as well as flashback sequences, are the events leading up to the murder and the motive for that murder.

It premiered on CTV following the Super Bowl; its first season finished on May 16, 2013 and the show has been renewed for a second season, airing starting March 6, 2014. The series also got picked up by ABC for a summer run in 2013.

There is a parallel show of sorts, the TV series "The Dark Corner", which fits roughly sometime within the period of Season 1.

The motives for these tropes are as follows:

  • Artistic License – Law: Because the show has to appeal to an American audience as well as a Canadian one, "Crown counsel" is replaced by "prosecution", and Angie and Oscar speak of "felony offences" rather than "indictable offences". Other changes like this are in the show.
  • Asshole Victim: Depends on who the Victim of the Week is. Can also be applied to the killer, too.
  • Butt Monkey: Detective Brian Lucas, but starting to be averted in season two as he's ahead of all of Angela Flynn's and Oscar Vega's requests and even manages to answer the Superintendent when put on the spot about a case. In a bit of a Brick Joke, Angie nicks his coffee and then a couple episodes later, is the one bringing three coffees: one for her, one for Vega, and one for Lucas.
  • Buddy Cop Show
  • Chekhov's Skill: Flynn is a race car nut (as is her son) and her knowledge of cars comes in handy in "Crimes of Passion", and then again in "Raw Deal".
  • The Coroner: Betty Rogers. Some of her traits are similar to Alexx from CSI: Miami, although she doesn't do much of a "Speaker for the Dead" theme for the victims, unlike Alexx.
  • The CSI Effect: Lampshaded in "Crimes of Passion", when Detective Vega is texted by forensics, and Flynn looks at her watch and remarks that it was pretty fast.
    Vega: I have friends in forensics.
  • Dark Secret: Angie Flynn and Mark Cross reveal during the second season that they falsified a report about who shot first in a standoff with an abusive husband.
  • Eye Twitch: Angie apparently has one, though she vehemently denies this.
  • Feet of Clay: Stan Matthews, the medical examiner murdered in "Deception", turns out to have been purposely slanting his testimony in child-death cases to make the parents look guilty (or guiltier, anyway). This hits Betty hard, since she looked up to him.
  • Flipping the Bird: Flynn to Vega in "Crimes of Passion", covering her hand with a file folder. She then does it later, under her coat, as the prosecutor walks away from her.
    Flynn: Guess how many fingers I'm holding up.
  • Hate at First Sight: Flynn embodies this for the new supervisor, Mark Cross. It turns out they had an affair some time before, and she took it quite hard. He doesn't help matters by obviously showing favoritism to Brian Lucas, as well as butting in on areas Angie feels are her turf, such as the details of ongoing investigations before they're wrapped up. It turns out the affair may have been precipitated over being rookies involved in a police shooting.
  • I Just Want to Be You: Rather disturbingly done in Episode 2-5, "Dead End", with a girl trying to become her older brother's girlfriend. This leads to a witness to the latter's murder misidentifying the killer—the former—as the victim. Turns out that the now ex-girlfriend was pregnant—but by the killer's father rather than by her older brother. The mother found out about the affair, though not the pregnancy, and attempted suicide, providing the motive.
  • In Love with the Mark: In "Raw Deal", one of the men involved in a hit-and-run runs across the victim's then girlfriend. He, in turn, manages to fall in love with her and by the time of the episode, she's his fiancée.
  • Innuendo: Humorous for the most part, between the two detectives.
  • It's Personal: Averted in "Pitfall". It turns out that the victim wasn't even involved in the car accident that caused the killer's PTSD. Invoked in other episodes, however.
  • Mata Hari: Leanne.
  • Method Acting: In-verse, during "Fallen Angel", when Betty mimes the killer's actions, causing Angie Flynn to rear back in surprise.
  • My Greatest Second Chance: Given a dark twist in "Abandoned", where an emotionally Abusive Parent learns they have a grandchild. Rather than making amends with their estranged son, they'd rather 'start over' with the new baby, and harass the mother until she murders them to protect her son and his adoptive family.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Angela to her son, Manny. She catches him with his rather well-endowed girlfriend, doesn't throw a fit, and casually wonders how much the boob job cost.
  • Shipper on Deck: The detectives and M.E. for Lucas and Sung.
  • Shout-Out:
    Betty Rogers: You two [indicating Flynn and Vega] are the Butch and Sundance of this place.
  • Strictly Formula: For the most part, Flynn and Vega manage to catch their culprit, but "The One Who Got Away" averts this.
  • Sympathetic Murderer: In a few cases in the series, most notably "Pitfall".
  • Television Geography: Mostly averted, but residents of Vancouver and environs will spot the occasional fudging of geography for dramatic or narrative purposes. One of the more egregious examples of this is a pawnshop near Metrotown in Burnaby is claimed to be a pawnshop in Richmond.
  • Vancouver Doubling: Sort of a meta-doubling. The city is recognizably Vancouver, but the police force has been replaced by a generic "Metro Police"; as another example, the BC government lottery signs are replaced by generic lottery signs. Presumably this avoids legal liability issues.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Seems to be a recurrent motif.
    • The prosecutor in "Crimes of Passion" has been having affairs with other women
    • One of the driving forces of the murder in "Pushover" is a love triangle.
    • In "They Made Me a Criminal", a central component of the murder involves a man who apparently is a serial cheater, and a woman having second thoughts about what she's been apparently doing with him. It becomes averted as we learn that the killer was paying him off to attempt to keep him away from her son.
    • Season 2 seems to be playing with this regarding Brian Lucas and Wendy Sung. He's married, but is having relationship problems, and as of the end of the second season his wife has left him. It doesn't help that Officer Sung is Adorkable and seems to have a bit of a thing for him.