The police procedural Motive puts as much emphasis on the killer’s actions both before and after the crime as the detectives attempting to solve the case. Jennifer Beals guest-stars as a dance studio owner in “They Mad Me a Criminal.” Revealed to be the killer in the opening scene, the episode slowly winds its way to explain the motive for the crime and why her estranged husband (Martin Donovan) would be willing to take the fall for killing the young man (Sebastian Gacki) who the police wrongly believe to be his wife’s lover.
For someone jumping into the show in the middle of its Second Season, my reaction was mixed at best. Beals and Donovan make for compelling characters, even if the truth behind the crime is a bit too convoluted. The weakness here is the show’s main cast. Kristin Lehman and Louis Ferreira are about as bland as you can get as the partners assigned to the case. The subplot involving Lehman’s ex (Warren Christie) now running the department, and the “tension” between them, is equally uninteresting. The only recurring character who interested me was energetic young Officer Sung (Valerie Tian), although she too is equally one-dimensional.
The structure of the show and the level of acting it can get out of its weekly guest-cast seems to be where Motive puts nearly all of its efforts and energy. Although I liked Beals, she won’t be returning to commit another crime which leaves little for me to seek out the show again unless the Motive brings in another guest-star who might pique my interest (although I’m not likely to sit around to wait and see).