Kristin Lehman, Louis Ferreira. Brendan Penny

Detective Angie Flynn is married to her work on ABC's Motive, and that's completely fine with actress Kristin Lehman.

"I love the fact that people just want to see this woman not fall into the same conventions so easily," Lehman tells TVGuide.com. "I go back and forth on [wanting her to have a love interest]. ... I don't want to say no to a romance just for the sake of avoiding convention, but I just feel like if we do ever explore that, that won't be her main focus, ever. And I think that's really interesting, because I don't know very many female protagonists on television where their romantic relationship isn't their main relationship. And I really value that. 

"She'd have crappy relationships anyway," she adds with a laugh.

Exclusive Motive sneak peek: Angie gets a blast from the past

In Season 2, which kicks off Wednesday, viewers will learn a little bit about Angie's romantic history with the introduction of Sgt. Mark Cross (Warren Christie), a former flame of hers who's brought in to head the homicide department.c"He was a former professional and personal partner of Angie's ... and he's just dastardly and marvelous," Lehman says. "They had a really passionate romance and were each other's first partner out of the academy. But it's the kind of romance that really shouldn't continue, and a partnership that was very, very strong in the field, but probably shouldn't continue there either. He's gone his way, undercover, and she's continued to homicide. They're very different people and they're thrown together again."

As viewers learn more about Angie's past with Mark, they'll get to see a different side of the character, according to Lehman. And it won't always be a positive one.

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"The writers have done a really great job of measuring out this story, so it's tantalizing," Lehman promises. "Episode by episode, you touch deeper and deeper into what this new professional relationship is doing to Angie on the job."

With her son Manny away at college for the bulk of this season, Angie throws herself even more into her work. (As if she needed another excuse to do so.) "She really has a very strong identity in her work life," Lehman says. "[She] finds solace and importance and identity in her work. That place is quite sacred to her. It's really where she gets all of her strength. And the foundation is rocked a bit, this season, with the addition of Mark Cross. What we see is a less grounded, sure woman."

Of course, she'll still have her partner, Det. Oscar Vega (Louis Ferreira), to turn to for comfort. But will the tender moment they shared at the end of last season, coupled with the addition of Cross, complicate their relationship at all?

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"Louie and I say to the writers all the time that, if you're going to jeopardize this relationship, you really need to earn it," Lehman stresses. "These are two people who are really each other's solid rock. ... We worked really hard to try to have these characters stay really thoroughly invested in each other, even though there were obvious changes going on around them. They're definitely affected by it, and I think it's a very subtle, powerful way that they're affected. But they stay there for each other."

In addition to the personnel changes, Lehman says the show's sophomore season (which is approaching its conclusion in Canada) is also faster-paced.c"We've gone from a five-act structure to a six-act structure, which really gives us lots more flashbacks and ... a faster pace," she says. "It means we spend a little less time with Angie at home. ... Now, all the interpersonal stuff we explore with all of our characters is within the office, which really allows us to have a little bit more of a seamless union between personal lives and professional lives."

Motive kicks off its second season Wednesday at 10/9c on ABC. Watch clips here.