Surprisingly, The Glades is Not Just Another Florida Cop Show

I know what you’re thinking: Another police procedural?

Yes, on the surface, The Glades may seem like your run-of-the-mill cop drama. Sure, it has the staples: a detective who won’t play by the rules, his put-upon partner, his tough-as-nails boss, a swampy Florida locale. But The Glades is far from a CSI: Miami rip-off—A&E;’s new series is smart, entertaining, and surprisingly funny.

“It kind of lives in the world of Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen,” executive producer Gary Randall says. “Florida is definitely a character.”

The on-location filming is part of what distinguishes The Glades, as I saw last week when I visited the show’s set. While some of the scenes are shot on a soundstage, much of it is done outdoors, which gives the series a rich, authentic feel.

“There are so many things that are just pure Florida,” explains Matt Passmore, who stars as Detective Jim Longworth. “And then you throw homicides in around that, and you get a pretty unique story that has lots of twists and turns.”

But, as Passmore notes, murder is only part of the fun. The Glades offers an enticing assortment of characters, including Jim’s love interest, Callie Cargill, played by Lost’s Kiele Sanchez. Character actor Carlos Gomez plays Carlos Sanchez, the medical examiner who finds himself unwillingly cast as Jim’s sidekick.

“It’s a funny show,” Sanchez chimes in. “It’s not a dark show. It’s not too intense. We have a killing that we have to solve, but it’s on the lighter side.”

Much of the humor comes from the character of Jim Longworth, a sarcastic smart-ass from Chicago who’s only in Florida because he was falsely accused of sleeping with his former Captain’s wife. As Passmore characterizes him, Jim isn’t a bad guy—he’s just not easy to get along with.

“He’s not a prick,” Passmore says. “He doesn’t enjoy people being upset or anything like that. It’s just a fact of life. You’re not gonna open up to me unless you’re uncomfortable, so I’ve got to get you uncomfortable.”

When Jim isn’t hitting on Callie, he’s bonding with her 12-year-old son Jeff (Uriah Shelton). He pushes people’s buttons to get the job done, like when he riles up Carlos by bringing in geeky grad student Daniel (Jordan Wall) as an intern in the medical examiner’s office. All of the characters combine to form an engaging ensemble.

As Passmore puts it, “It’s a character-based procedural. It’s still a cop show. You know, you get to follow a great little mystery, which usually has a fun element to it. But then you’re also bringing unique characters to that.”

Randall agrees. While he was instantly drawn to the sharp humor in The Glades’ pilot script, he says they struck gold with a great cast and genuine chemistry.

“I believe television is about inviting people into your living room,” he reflects. “And this is just a group of people you want to hang out with. The mystery is just icing on the cake.”

I’m inclined to agree. Simply put, The Glades is a likable show. It’s fun and, despite the format, it feels fresh. While I was reluctant to add another police series to my viewing schedule, I was pleasantly surprised by this one—and that’s before I met (and was charmed by) the cast.

Passmore says it well: “The great thing is, you’re dealing with really dark issues in a show that brings a lightness to it—or dances around it.”


Follow TV.com writer Louis Peitzman on Twitter: @LouisAtTVDotCom

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Apr 23, 2011
My adopted sons are police officers. Detective, Bomb Squad Tech. and a Patrolman. A friends wife mentioned that I watch all the shows that involve police shows. I never noticed that before. I came across “The Glades” and was pleasantly surprised. The talented cast brings so much for your entertainment. While having a serious subject, it is just the proper balance of humor, a playful flirting courtship yet holds your interest in solving the task at hand. The show has just the proper harmony. It has earned the title of my “favorite show”. It leaves you with a smile, entertained, rooting for the Detective to solve his case while winning over his gorgeous costar but most of all anxious for next weeks arrival. Thank You for the enjoyment that you provide. With hundred of shows on TV there is nothing to watch until now.
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Jul 10, 2010
this makes me wanna watch the show more than before
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Jul 10, 2010
Yes, actually, you want a "run-of-the-mill" two by four, as the name suggests. And personally, I'm okay with a run-of-the-mill medical drama, for example.
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Jul 10, 2010
Not quite, but yay for the "teachable moment"! Let me see if I can phrase this in the form of an answer to an SAT question. Comedy is to Drama as Workplace Sitcom is to Police Procedural. So, if an Office clone came out, we'd say "I know what you're thinking--another workplace sitcom, but..."
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Jul 10, 2010
"run-of-the-mill" is obviously bad. You don't want run-of-the-mill anything do you?
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Jul 10, 2010
Why are you using "police procedurals" like a dirty word? It's a genre. It's like saying, "I Know what you're thinking--another "comedy", but..."
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Jul 10, 2010
I am a major fan of police/crime procedural shows but I'm already watching so many that I probably won't add this one to the list right now.
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Jul 09, 2010
I wasn't going to watch it but now I will give it a shot.
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