In the season finale of Motive, we finally get answers about the League of Nations trial slash Angie's past subplot that's been running through the whole cycle. Unfortunately, somebody really cool has to die for that to happen. We're just going to guess there's more than 30 seconds of Warren Christie in this episode.
The story begins not in the present day, with a flashback to the fateful call Angie and Cross responded to ten years ago. It's a domestic disturbance with Alfonso Dyer holding his wife at gunpoint. There's no right way out of this situation, and it ends with both Alfonso and his wife shot and killed in front of their daughter. Cross tells an understandably shaken Angie that "we need to get our stories straight," and to say that the man shot first.
One of their colleagues, Detective Doug Slater (played by Kenny Johnson, Saving Grace) seems pleased to see Alfonso being taken away in a body bag. He also happens to be this week's killer.
So where are we now and who did Slater kill? Cross is trying to have a nice moment with his girlfriend Samantha Turner (a returning Laura Mennell), but she's still talking about work, specifically that particular call. Cross relents and runs through his narrative of events again with her, and that's when we discover she's this week's victim. What? You can't bump off Laura Mennell. That is just not cool.
While we flail, Angie and Oscar are shocked to find Turner's body; Betty tells them she's apparently been strangled, and then pulls a burned match out of her mouth - the signature of the League of Nations, which is actually a biker gang and not an offshoot of the United Nations.
Here comes Cross, who is shell-shocked to see his girlfriend's body. Now it's Angie's turn to try and comfort him. While our gang is at the crime scene, Slater is turning up at the department, so he can sneak into Cross's office and pull up information on Julie Dyer. It's not too hard to guess who he's going after next.
Lucas tells Vega that Turner opened the door to her killer. On that ominous note, Cross has to be questioned by Angie and Oscar about his relationship with Turner, which apparently lasted about six months. He claims things were great between them.
Yet in flashback, we see that Turner was probing around not only Cross and Doug's work on the League of Nations - which is, if you've forgotten, the undercover gig Cross was on before coming to Homicide - but also the Dyer shooting. This small reveal is followed by Doug visiting the diner Julie works at, and wanting to ask questions about her parents' deaths, but she doesn't want to talk to him.
Back at the police department, Lucas has found multiple death threats on Turner's voicemail. A very bitchy Cross (who can blame him?) snaps at him to get the office's IT department working on them, while Vega unnerves Angie by considering Cross a suspect in his girlfriend's death. He's not the only one who's concerned about their boss's well-being. Upstairs, Cross is talking to Bloom (Roger Cross), who's pulled him off the case.
Angie and Oscar visit Betty, who offers more details on Turner's demise. She says there's no sign of sexual assault, and the toxicology screen was clear, but that Turner's trachea was crushed and there was commercial grade shower gel found in the indentations left on her neck - the killer washed her body after he killed her. Wow, kind of creepy. But that convinces our team that this was a crime that had to have been planned.