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'Motive' review: Do you care whodunit?

In the premiere episode, "Creeping Tom," when a

In the premiere episode, "Creeping Tom," when a well-liked, karaoke-singing high school science teacher (Joey McIntyre) is found murdered in his bedroom, a home invasion gone wrong doesn't feel like the right motive to Detectives Flynn and Vega. Credit: ABC


WHEN | WHERE Preview Monday night at 10, time-slot premiere Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC/7

REASON TO WATCH Need another cop procedural?

WHAT IT'S ABOUT The Killer is labeled at the start of the hour. So is The Victim. The "how" is pretty quickly clear, too. It's the "why" this truth-in-titling police detective show spends its length unraveling.

As in, why would a high school band nerd suddenly kill a teacher whose classes he isn't even taking? Why would a mayoral candidate run down his kid's baby-sitter? Series lead Kristin Lehman ("The Killing") is bound and determined to find out. Despite the skepticism of hard-boiled partner Louis Ferreira. Despite the get-it-done rush of hard-nosed boss Roger Cross ("24").

Of course, the cops initially nab the wrong person (in both Monday's and Thursday's episodes). But: She Knows Better. Having a teenage son, and Uncanny Intuition -- and the guts to go "Against Protocol" -- put our Hardworking Heroine on the right track when others doubt Her Capability.

MY SAY Sorry for all those Capital Letters. But "Motive" seems to have been whipped up from some handy Hollywood (oops, Vancouver) list of proven copfest ingredients. Dark nighttime streets. Propulsive mystery music. Slo-mo/morphing flashbacks. Sleek glass cop shop. Dialogue that's eight-10ths explanatory exposition, one-tenth "wit" and one-tenth simply dreadful.

Lehman is good, most everything's OK, but nothing is especially fresh or compelling. Seems like a souped-up ID cable true-crime tale, shot lots more stylishly.

BOTTOM LINE Summertime Canada-export time killer.


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