Lauren Holly previews the premiere of MOTIVE on ABC

LAUREN HOLLYMOTIVE is getting a sneak peek tonight on ABC tonight at 10/9c, following the DANCING WITH THE STARS performance finale, before moving to Thursdays after WIPEOUT this summer.  The show, starring Kristin Lehman, Louis Ferreira, and Lauren Holly, is a unique take on the cop-procedural that introduces audiences to the victim and the culprit, while spending the hour detailing exactly how they cross paths.  To celebrate the US premiere of the Canadian hit series, I spent some time talking with Lauren Holly, who plays Dr Betty Rogers, the sassy medical examiner.  Check out our chat that involves why this show, what’s next, and why she thinks MOTIVE sets itself aside from other shows!

Talking about MOTIVE – I had a chance to watch the first two episodes.  It’s a new take on the “cop” genre – I wondered what it was that got you involved?
It was just that little thing that makes it different, right?  That you know the victim and the killer right off the top.  And then I wanted to see how they did it, and I was really intrigued.  As you know, from seeing the first couple of episodes, you’re kind of wondering how the victim and killer cross paths – when you think you have it all figured out, there’s usually another little twist.  That continues every episode, which is quite a feat that the writers do, and it makes the show really fun and different.  I secretly think of it kind of old school like COLUMBO or something.

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LAUREN HOLLYIt feels like something people will gravitate to, because they’re so used to seeing the same old thing, that this changes it up enough.  We’re watching, and I felt involved in trying to figure it out myself.
Right!  It’s fun to do that.  It gives the audience credit, you know?  Which always efels good, and does get the audience involved.  A lot of times, that genre, they try to go more and more for shock value.  They’re running out of things – they get slicker and slicker, and shock-i-er and shock-i-er [laughs].  That gets boring after a while.  I’ve been frequently talking about how one of the things I enjoy so much about this show is that in this genre, it’s also very much character driven.  Each of our characters are very different.  You learn a lot about us, and we’re kind of more relatable than a lot of the slickest shows, and we’re all different in the same show, where I find in some shows, characters are all so similar that they even talk the same in that rapid fire, super articulate way.  I don’t know anybody that talks like that.  I’m constantly searching for the right word.  This is very refreshing for me.  At the same time, it’s shot in a very modern way. It looks amazing.

I didn’t realize that this was a Canadian production, and I don’t mean to knock Canadian production values, but it looks like a show that was shot down here, you know what I mean?
Oh I absolutely do!  It was something that made me hesitate doing the show at first, I have to be honest.  In retrospect, I look ridiculous.  I was afraid of doing a show that was entirely Canadian.  I live in Toronto now, and I see some entirely Canadian shows and you can just tell.  But this is not that at all.  When I saw the first episode, it totally competes with anything on American television.  It could be on a big network, it could be on cable, it could be anywhere.  I was not the least bit surprised that it was picked up and that it’s going to be on ABC now!

LAUREN HOLLYTalk a little bit about Betty, your character, and what we can expect throughout the season.
Dr Betty Rogers is the medical examiner and she’s really good at her job.  But one gets the feeling that she’s even better at her personal life. Or at least that it’s very full and fun.  She’s a sassy on; maybe a bit of a comic relief.  She usually makes an entrance; let’s put it that way.

Did you have to go through a specific training?
I did, because I like to do that, to get a feeling.  This was a particular area that I was a little bit nervous.  When I think back on my career, and I’ve done crazy things like ride-alongs in gang area in the middle of LA on a Friday night.  Nothing was as scary as going into my first morgue.  At first, it was pretty overwhelming but then it became incredibly fascinating.  You get a certain detachment going, almost.  I think they really consider themselves detectives with the crime scene being the body in front of them.  It’s very fascinating.

What I noticed, too, about the cast – we’re seeing the first episode, and we’re seeing them together for the first time, but they’re old hat, having worked together for a while.  It felt like you had been shooting together for as long – was the chemistry there from the get go?
I didn’t know anybody, and I refer to this a lot, when I talk about MOTIVE – it was very familiar to me from PICKET FENCES.  It was kind of like, the first day, it just felt like it gelled.  With the crew and the cast.  We immediately fell into a groove and they’re a great group of people. I can only say – people are always shocked that I fly across the country, sometimes twice a week, and what not.  This made it so easy, because each time my plane landed, I was happy.  I was happy to be home and see my boys, or I was happy to see my castmates.  Frequently, someone would meet me at the hotel and have a drink and catch me up on the week, and we’d go to work the next day.  It was a lot of fun.

What is the status of MOTIVE in Canada and the US?  Are you in a second season there?
We’re picked up – we’re quite a big hit in Canada, and we will be back shooting in August.  I’m hoping that US viewers feel the same way.  CTV, which airs the show here, is actually going to, even though our finale [was on last week], they are going to rerun the whole season right along with the US.

Beyond MOTIVE what do we have to look forward to from you?
I just shot a great move called HOOVEY with Sean McNamara – he directed it.  He directed SOUL SURFER.  I’m opposite Patrick Warburton; Cody Lindley and Allison Toner are our kids, and it’s a phenomenal true story.  We’re very excited about it.  I think it will be out early next year.

Before I let you go, I have to say that I’ve been doing this TV thing for a long time now, but I think it was PICKET FENCES that made me a true TV fan!
Oh thank you, I think it made me a true TV fan, too!

For more on MOTIVE, head to!  MOTIVE airs tonight at 10/9c before moving to their home on Thursdays at 9/8c!