Lauren Holly returns as Dr. Betty Rogers in Motive


Lauren Holly co-stars as Dr. Betty Rogers in CTV’s crime drama Motive, which returns March 6.

By: Ashley Jude Collie Special to the Star, Published on Thu Mar 06 2014

 Actress loves her smart, funny, spicy medical examiner character on Motive, which returns for Season 2 March 6 on CTV.

Lauren Holly has no problem digging into her character as brainy and spicy medical examiner Dr. Betty Rogers on CTV police drama Motive.

“I love my character because she’s good at her job and smart but also has a sense of humour. There’s a hint of things going on with her outside of the workplace. She pretty much loves firemen and policemen, more especially out of uniform and at least 10 years younger,” says Holly.

“I also like her relationship with Kristin Lehman’s character Det. Flynn because so many times there’s weird relationships between women that I don’t really get, whether they’re competitive or whatever. On Motive, we respect and depend on each other but also don’t cross any boundaries, which is very cool.”

The American-born Holly, 50, who was once married to Canadian comic actor Jim Carrey, has set up house as a single mother in suburban Toronto after deciding Hollywood wasn’t the best place to raise her family.

“I’ve been here five years now with dual citizenship. My boys love it and it’s a great place to raise them, close to my family in upstate New York, so it’s the best of both worlds.” Plus, she jests, “I’ve had this thing for Canadian men my whole life.”

Motive, which shoots in Vancouver, is a different take on typical police procedurals: it’s a “whydunnit.” Each episode starts with a murder and the viewers know the killer, then everyone learns why the crime happened.

Season 2 debuts Thursday, March 6 at 10 p.m. on CTV.

In the new season, Holly offers, “There’s a victim of a crime that’s very much part of Dr. Rogers’ life, so it gets personal for her. And she also bears witness to something that’s going on at the station, a story that plays through the season. So beyond the weekly crime and ‘whydunnit’ twists and surprises, the action is ratcheted up by this season-long story line.”

To research her character, Holly visited a real morgue, explaining that, “Once the initial shock wears off that there are dead bodies cut open around you, it’s fascinating. Examiners are really detectives in their own right with the crime scene being the dead bodies. It’s very technical, incredibly painstaking work and they’re respectful of the body, which they see as a vessel, providing clues and evidence.”

Holly applauds the other characters on the show, most of whom are played by Canadians or naturalized citizens, including Lehman, Louis Ferreira, Roger Cross and Brendan Perry.

“They’ve been around, worldly from the streets. But they’re not superheroes who are super adept at solving puzzles. That frustrates me, that someone just ‘knows’ or ‘senses’ something. That cracks me up. Police work is lot more grittier and messier, and it’s boring a lot of the times.

“I understand we have to solve the crime in 44 minutes, but real detectives might take weeks, waiting for tests to come back. I understand taking the air out of those things, but you can’t give us superhuman capabilities or it becomes a cartoon.”

Holly has worked steadily for almost 30 years, easily segueing from comedys (Dumb & Dumber) and romcoms (Sabrina) to top-rated TV dramas (Chicago Hope, NCIS). She says she’s been “kind of under the radar” but enjoys being a character actress.

Her first TV job was in 1984 on Hill Street Blues and she has seen some changes in television since then.

“I dislike full scenes that are only half a page long, these quick edit scenes, only 20 to 30 seconds. In much of TV, everyone speed-talks; what is going on? Nobody talks like that, with such an incredible vocabulary. And they all sound the same with the same intonations. In real life, people search for words, others are slower speaking. It drives me a little crazy. So I like the fact on our show we’re all very different, we don’t all sound and talk the same.”

In the last year, Holly says she’s racked up 300,000 miles, working on her movie projects and doing two seasons of Motive.

“Air Canada is like my weekly subway trip to the West Coast. No one’s calling me mom or fixing my hair and lipstick. It’s just me and it’s quiet. My retreat just happens to be 35,000 feet in the air.”

Up next are two features, Field of Lost Shoes, a rousing story based on a Civil War battle, and Hoovey, an inspirational sports movie. “They’re both great stories that I loved doing,” she says.

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