The Stakes Are Higher Than Ever In the “Motive” Season Finale

One of the best shows to come out of Canada reaches its high-stakes season finale this week on ABC. “Motive” is always fairly intense, but the second season closer cranks things up to 12. In this tension-fueled finale someone close to the investigative team is the murder victim and their boss looks like the obvious suspect. Of course, we the viewers are immediately shown that the actual killer is someone else entirely, but that someone threatens to blow up one this year’s mysteries that has been quietly bubbling below the surface. Truth be told, a few things threaten to boil over in this finale and the show just might not be the same again.

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Prosecutor Samantha Turner (Laura Mannell) is found murdered in her own bed. Of course, once it is revealed that she and Sergeant Mark Cross (Warren Christie) were involved in a relationship he becomes the prime suspect. Flynn (Kristin Lehman) believes in his innocence while her partner, Vega (Louis Ferreira) isn’t convinced. Flynn’s past with Cross, including the suspicious incident when they were both uniformed officers, along with Flynn’s secretive nature about it all has slowly been eroding the bond between the two Detectives all season and threatens to break their partnership altogether.

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We the audience know that Cross is indeed innocent and that it is actually undercover cop Doug Slater (Kenny Johnson), Turner’s star witness in an upcoming trial and Cross and Flynn’s old colleague. Slater was there ten years ago when a domestic violence call went sideways for Flynn and Cross and he helped them cover things up. Being friendly with the investigators helps Slater keep all eyes away from himself and make Cross look guiltier. With strong initial evidence pointing to the defendants in the upcoming trial Cross’s boss, Bloom (Roger Cross) doesn’t immediately bench him and somewhat reluctantly agrees to let him stay in the case.
Things continue to decay, both emotionally and suspect-wise as the investigation continues, especially when a key witness is brutally interrogated by Cross and then later turns up dead. Thankfully Flynn, ever the relentless investigator, is able to piece things together to figure out who the real murderer is, with the able assistance of Vega. Flynn uses her Columbo-esque routine to get Slater to cop to what he’s done and just when it looks like she may become his latest victim, her knight-in-shining-armor partner saves the day.

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Everyone manages to make it through the crucible battered and bruised, but still more or less whole. That is until the denouement where it appears that the great partnership of Detective Flynn and Detective Vega may have reached a literal end as Angie Flynn admits she’s reached her metaphorical and emotional end. This scene in particular may be the single greatest scene of all 26 episodes so far. Considering how tremendously well-acted this show is, that is saying something. Ferreira turns in a heartbreaking performance as Vega vainly tries to salvage the crumbling relationship with someone he clearly has more feelings for than even he will admit to. And Lehman powerful portrays Flynn as a person who has been emotionally wrecked by all the events of the past year.

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We’ll have to wait until next year to find out if the two characters are able to pick up the pieces and move forward together or if they’ll be professionally separated and personally estranged. The relationship between Flynn and Vega has proven to be one of the most interesting, complex and realistically portrayed male-female relationships in the history of television. It is certainly the centerpiece of “Motive” and never plays to expectations, instead choosing to be intricately layered. What happens next is anyone’s guess, but I can’t wait to find out.

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joseph Dilworth Jr.

Joseph Dilworth Jr. has been writing ever since he could hold a pencil. Back then it was one of those big, red pencils, the Faber-Castell Goliath.  Remember those? Now, that was a pencil! He has been writing for the Internet for nearly ten years and for six years he served as founder, editor and lead writer for Pop Culture Zoo. He is currently co-host of the weekly The Flickcast podcast, is contributing two essays to the upcoming book The Sacred Scrolls: Comics on the Planet of the Apes and is writing a reference book about the TV series Fringe for Hasslein Books.