Motive premieres immediately following Super Bowl XLVII on Feb. 3 at 7 PT (approx.) on CTV. The program will air Sundays at 9 p.m. PT beginning Feb 10.
ANYONE who tunes into CTV after the Super Bowl will see Vancouver playing itself.
Two Vancouver-based production companies have banded together to create the new crime drama Motive, which premieres Feb. 3.
"It's an incredible city and we really wanted to show off the vibrancy of Vancouver as this dynamic, post-Olympic glory of a city of glass and vistas and incredible scenery and neighbourhoods, and that it's a really word-class, cosmopolitan city," says North Vancouver's Rob LaBelle, executive producer of Foundation Features. "It's just the perfect place to set it given that all of the producers live and work here."
He adds that with Vancouver often pretending to be another locale, be it Seattle or New York or Boston, it can be a challenge to ensure Vancouver's distinct features get edited out. In the case of Motive, however, the city doesn't have to pretend it's something it's not.
"With the designer Don MacAulay and Mathias Herndl, who's our DP (director of photography), we can shoot what's before our eyes," says LaBelle, adding that Motive features Vancouver as a character in a "really dynamic procedural that we've turned on its ear."
Each episode begins by highlighting not only the murder victim, but also the killer. Detective Angie Flynn, her homicide team and viewers subsequently solve the murder mystery, uncovering how the crime was executed and why.
Audiences will see a crime scene in Stanley Park with downtown glistening in the background on a clear night, the distinctive Vancouver Special houses of the East Side and hear real neighbourhood names.
Vancouver has previously played itself in TV series that include Da Vinci's Inquest, Continuum and Endgame.
"Da Vinci's Inquest was one of my favourite shows of all time, but it really resides so much in the Downtown Eastside. It's a darker, gritty, almost cinéma vérité feel to it," LaBelle says. "We're playing it really real, as well, but we're really opening up what our backdrop is and where we can go."
Motive highlights the city's natural beauty alongside what's new and shiny. The fictional Metro Vancouver police department is housed at what in reality is the Creekside Community Centre in the former Olympic Village. Other "cheats" include pretending a house in Deep Cove resides in Kitsilano.
Motive stars Kristin Lehman, who acted in the AMC series The Killing, which was filmed largely in Vancouver but set in Seattle, and Louis Ferreira, from Stargate Universe. Other cast members include Lauren Holly from NCIS, Roger Cross (Arrow), Brendan Penny (The Assistants) and Cameron Bright (The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn).
LaBelle is the executive in charge of television with Foundation Features, which produced movies Capote, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and Hard Core Logo 2. Foundation has teamed up with Lark Productions (Gastown Gamble, The Real Housewives of Vancouver) to bring Motive to life in association with Bell Media. LaBelle feels fortunate for the support of the media giant, which commissioned the series Flashpoint, and of CTV. He has seen Vancouver's film and TV industry slide into "serious decline" over the last seven years.
"(The provincial government is) misportraying what tax credit system is in B.C. and what it is in Quebec and Ontario. It's not a subsidy. It's not a hand out," says LaBelle, who argues credits that help draw productions to B.C. multiply benefits to other businesses such as dry cleaners and restaurants, generating more tax revenue for the province.
"If something doesn't change, it will continue to decline," he says, adding Foundation Features prefers to shoot in Vancouver, where the company is based and where there's a robust talent pool, but production companies like his need to consider their bottom line.
But when LaBelle isn't sounding off about the dire state of the TV and film industry in B.C., this dual citizen of Canada and the U.S. and 15-year resident of the Lower Mainland sounds upbeat about seeing his adopted home looking fresh on screen in Motive.
"It's completely thrilling," he says. "It's a show of international calibre, so be able to put Vancouver front and centre is just icing on the cake."