'The Glades' Set Visit: Not Just Another Cop Drama
by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 9th 2010 2:00PM
In the fictional town of Palm Glade -- a town on the edge of the Florida Everglades within driving distance of the glitzy Gold Coast -- the heat is on. But it's not just car chases and glass towers overlooking azure waters; 'The Glades' is Florida in a more realistic and gritty style, with dead bodies surfacing to get Detective Jim Longworth off the golf course and deep into solving the whodunit.
This guy, played by Australian actor Matt Passmore ('Underbelly'), can best be described as a modern day, shaggy-haired, pain-in-the-ass, annoyingly overconfident Sherlock Holmes ... And did I mention he's hot?
On Sun., July 11, at 10PM ET, 'The Glades' premieres on A&E. For a behind the scenes look at the making of the show, as well as more on Matt and company, read on.
On the location shoot not far from the studio, 'The Glades' crew sets up for the day at Flamingo Gardens. It's a cozy tropical park in Davie, just west of Fort Lauderdale, and the thermometer is in high in the 90s. There are flamingos and peacocks -- yes, the real thing -- all around.
While you might expect to hear crew members grumbling about the equatorial conditions, it's just the opposite. As they film the sixth episode, you sense that everyone knows 'The Glades' is going to be a hit. There's an air of confidence and good humor positively oozing from the people involved.
What's It All About
Unlike 'The Cleaner' and 'The Beast,' A&E's two previous original drama series, 'The Glades' is lighter, more "blue sky" entertainment. It's still a character-driven hour, but with more fun involved. As Gary A. Randall, the show's co-executive producer, sees it, 'The Glades' is in the tradition of a show like 'Magnum P.I.'
The story revolves around Jim Longworth, a homicide detective with a nose for solving murders. He's landed in Palm Glade after a bad time in Chicago where he was wrongfully accused of sleeping with his former captain's wife. The captain shot him, but Jim survived. He collected a nice settlement from the state of Illinois, and decided to retire early. Unfortunately, he's easily bored and chose to join the Florida's state police just to keep busy in between golf games.
According to Passmore, Jim's "I don't give a damn" attitude is part of his charm. And it helps that he's really good at closing cases. "His number one thing it that he doesn't like to be bored. If something is getting a little bit boring, he'll stir it up," Passmore said. "He likes to make people uncomfortable. He just does not care what people think." Imagine 'House' without the drug addiction or anti-social behavior.
Soon after settling in, while working on a case, Jim meets a woman -- Callie Cargill (Kiele Sanchez), a quick-witted, beautiful medical student with a 12-year-old son, Jeff (Uriah Shelton) and a husband in prison. Callie and Jeff complicate his life in a good way.
On the job, his new boss, Manus (Michelle Hurd), gives him some leeway because of his effectiveness, and he's helped along the way by his golf partner and the local medical examiner, Carlos Sanchez (Carlos Gomez), and Daniel Green (Jordan Wall), a Vespa-driving, nerdy lab tech who seems to know something about everything.
From his perspective, Randall hopes his influence has helped make 'The Glades' different. "The way you differentiate your show is by creating unique characters who have unique settings," he said. "Palm Glade is meant to be a very different look at Florida than any of the other shows that have come before it and, hopefully, those that will come after it."
"Jim Longworth is a very unique character and his relationship with Callie is very unique," Randall continued. "I don't think there's ever been a single mom with a husband in prison dating a cop. The whole character development has to be stand out." Here's a look at how 'The Glades' plays:
According to creator Clifton Campbell ('White Collar'), there's another major character in 'The Glades' -- Florida. "I wanted to set a show ... in my South Florida, the part of the world that I grew up in, that I think is just as stunningly attractive and interesting and weird and cool as South Beach," he said. With that in mind, the town of Palm Glade is fictional. It's somewhere near the Everglades and not far from Miami, but don't look for familiar landmarks.
The Florida that Campbell wants to focus on is more of a state of mind than a state. It's quirky and different, reflecting the melting pot of cultures and characters who live there. Passmore is a prime example. "I'm an Aussie playing a Chicago cop who's down in Florida," he said. "Florida has more twists than Alligator Alley."
Rather than re-create Florida somewhere else, 'The Glades' has chosen to film in the real place. The producers converted an industrial warehouse space in Pembroke Park into a studio. But 70 percent of the show is shot outdoors, taking full advantage of the real Sunshine state. "I don't know if the entire world would notice the difference, but anyone who's been to Florida would know," said Campbell.
"It's great. I've worked in a lot of worse places. I get to learn my lines in a beautiful place. It's a great place, great Cuban music and Cuban food. I grew up in Brisbane so the weather here is similar. This is hotter, but similar," added Passmore.
Three Reasons to Watch 'The Glades'
As a visitor on the set of any film or television show, you can pick up a vibe. Like I said, the feeling on 'The Glades' was very positive. You might even say it was euphoric, like they were aware that they were in on something good. They are. Having watched the pilot, there's every reason to project 'The Glades' as a hit. It's got style, action, good storytelling and -- most importantly -- a main character worth watching. Passmore will be a breakout star.
Here's three reasons why you should make it a point to watch 'The Glades,' starting with the star:
1. Matt Passmore as Jim Longworth -- Star power is very important in television, and in a way that's different from film, you have to want to welcome the star into your home every time you watch the show. Passmore has charisma. He's not well-known yet, but he will be. A lot of the appeal is a character as complicated and attractive as Jim Longworth, but there's also a big chunk that's pure Passmore.
2. Fun in the Sun -- There is something to be said for that blue sky theory. Oh, sure, Longworth is investigating a grizzly murder involving a mangled body floating in a canal, but when the detective is poking around for clues with a golf club, things aren't too too serious. Jim respects the dead, but he has priorities, too -- like getting back to the links to break 80 for the first time in his life.
3. What Happens Next -- Sometimes it only takes one episode of a show to inform your TV viewing, which is why pilots are often the worse way to judge a series. Creators try to put too much into one hour. 'The Glades' pilot might be the best one I've seen since 'Nurse Jackie,' albeit a completely different kind of entertainment. But when 'The Glades' pilot ended, it left me wanting more. You'll be hooked after one show and you'll want to come back to see more from Jim and Callie.
Are you intrigued by 'The Glades'?