ABC Motive’s “Detour”: Addiction as Motivator for Bad Behavior
By Catherine Cabanela
“I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe.” ― Mary Shelley, Frankenstein
Against an understated backdrop of exquisite portrayals by Kristin Lehman, Louis Ferreira and the addition of Cameron Bright as Detective Flynn’s son, this week’s Motive episode serves up a mélange of juxtaposition between addiction and intention, compassion and rage, self-sacrifice and self-preservation.
‘Detour,’ written by Dennis Heaton (Call Me Fitz) and directed by Andy Mikita (Stargate Universe) has Detectives Flynn and Vega pursuing a killer whose love for his daughter belatedly proves insufficient motivation for lifelong sobriety. Also, engrossed in her effort to mete out justice, Detective Flynn (Kristin Lehman) finds herself revisiting past professional injustices and abandoning her own motivations for keeping a decade’s old secret from her son, Manny.
The killer, Sargent Barry Ketchum (Aidan Devine, Rookie Blue), an ex-undercover narcotics enforcer with one of the largest drug busts on the East coast to his credit, is also a recovering alcoholic who recently earned his one-year sobriety chip. Hoping to make amends, he contacts his estranged and impoverished daughter, Claudia, played by Tammy Gillis (Less Than Kind) and finds her less than welcoming. It takes an epic relapse during which he flies into a blind rage and kills Claudia’s ex-husband Eric (David Julian Hirsh, Weeds, Hawthorne) for Ketchum to realize that he is both victim and perpetrator of his own addiction.
In a telling confession of his tumble under the wagon wheel, Ketchum admits to his AA cohorts, It’s not the booze that makes me angry. It’s the anger that drives me to the booze. And if I’m only getting sober for somebody else, I’m always going to be putting my fist through a wall. Now I want to get sober for me.
Despite the profound epiphany, Ketchum fails to exercise one of the most important steps in addiction recovery—the admission of wrongdoings demonstrating once again that confession in the hope of redemption is much easier than acceptance of consequences and that addiction is a remorseless assassin; a plague against humanities best intent, deepest compassion, and the self-sacrificial nature of love.
Thwarted in their attempts to identify and pursue the perpetrator, Flynn and Vega deduce that the killer is protected by his shield. Incensed that the case is to be surrendered to Internal Affairs, Flynn is haunted by the memory of Jim Carlson, her ex-training officer who took bribes and failed repeatedly to protect and serve. “No way I’m gonna let that old boys’ network protect another corrupt cop,” she asserts before using an imposed vacation to pursue justice on her own. Visiting another precinct, Flynn confronts Ketchum under the guise of solidarity—‘We all bleed blue, detective,’— to inform him of Internal Affairs’ interest in his involvement in the homicide because. Ketchum is convincingly surprised and defensive up until the moment the evidence threatens irrefutability. En fin, Ketchum takes his own life.
Throughout the confrontations with Ketchum, Lehman portrays a fearless, yet compassionate detective who remains steadfast amid a sea of alpha males intent on protecting one of their own. In the end, she recognizes the pain of a father trying to do his best for his child despite his woefully inadequate personal resources and takes heed.
The secondary plot in this week’s episode provides even further insight into the heart and development of our main character, Detective Angela Flynn. Flynn has raised her son Manny to near adulthood without assistance from the boy’s father. Never having been curious in the past, Manny now wants to know who that father was. When Manny forces the issue, Flynn is evasive … until she returns, irreversibly changed, from solving the case of the estranged father. Having seen how the good intentions of a parent can mete devastating results upon the offspring, she gains clarity about her obligation to her son.
In the final scene between Manny and Flynn, they share a touching embrace during which Flynn holds her son close and whispers in his ear, ‘His name is Mark Dansen … and you have his eyes.’ And another piece falls into the puzzle of the heart and motives that drive Angie Flynn.
In Motive’s July 25th episode, “Out of the Past,” the murder of a news shop owner leads detectives to a respected paediatric doctor with a secret past. Tune in Thursday, July 25th (9:00-10:01 p.m., ET) on ABC.