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THE GLADES (A&E)
(Sundays at 10:00/9:00c beginning July 11)
The network's description: "A&E Network will premiere the original scripted drama series, "The Glades" on Sunday, July 11th at 10PM ET/PT. "The Glades," a character driven police procedural set in the fictional town of Palm Glade, Florida, stars Australian actor Matt Passmore ("McLeod's Daughters," "Underbelly"), Kiele Sanchez ("Lost," "Samantha Who?"), Carlos Gomez ("Shark," "Sleeper Cell") and Michelle Hurd ("Law & Order SVU," "Gossip Girl"). In "The Glades," Passmore stars as Jim Longworth, an attractive, brilliant, yet hard to get along with homicide detective from Chicago who after being wrongfully accused of sleeping with his former Captain's wife is forced into exile. Longworth relocates to the sleepy, middle of nowhere town of Palm Glade, Florida, where the sunshine and golf are plentiful and crime is seemingly at a minimum. Yet life in this sleepy town is not as beautiful as it may seem."
What did they leave out? Michelle Hurd's character, Colleen Manus, presumably doesn't turn up until the second episode.
The plot in a nutshell: While you probably couldn't tell by looking at him, Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) is a detective for the Florida State Police. He refuses to wear a uniform, seems more interested in golf than solving crimes and has an aura of arrogance that most people find off-putting, including his partner Mike Ogletree (John Carroll Lynch) and best friend/medical examiner Carlos Sanchez (Carlos Gomez). Thankfully he compensates by being a hell of a detective, either by asking questions or making observations few others do. Such is the case when two teens - Erin (Abby Pivaronas) and Justin (Michael Roark) - discover a limbless, headless woman in the "glades." You see, while most would dismiss said duo as innocent bystanders, Jim sees potential murderers.
And so, much to Mike and Carlos's chagrin, Jeff begins to investigate Erin and Justin. Along the way he befriends a nurse/med student named Callie Cargill (Kiele Sanchez), whom he anoints the reluctant sounding board for his various theories about the case. She however keeps things platonic as she's married - to a con no less - and has a 12-year-old son, Jeff (Uriah Shelton), who demands the majority of her attention. Also along for the ride is Daniel Green (Jordan Wall), a grad student who helps Jeff find the alligator that made a meal of the aforementioned body. Ultimately, Jeff grinds his way to identifying the woman and uncovering her surprising murderer.
What works: Passmore is definitely a compelling lead as he manages to keep his slightly obnoxious, overly confident character likeable without making his performance too showy. Things like walling off his golf ball with police tape when Mike calls him before he can complete the round initially come off as silly but the way the show commits to it - we cut back to the ball every so often as the days pass - improbably makes it charming. The same applies to his burgeoning relationship with Callie: he quickly announces she's his dream girl but does so in a breathe that acknowledges the absurdity of what he's saying. All in all, there's a brightness to Passmore's Jim that keeps its more rudimentary elements compelling.
What doesn't: It's about as boilerplate a procedural as you could ask for as the usual drill down of body, suspects, motives, alibis, etc. isn't particularly memorable. To its credit though, an unexpected third act turn keeps things interesting but it's a development I don't necessarily buy based on the preceding 40 minutes. The supporting cast also orbits Jim in a way that a lot of the chemistry feels forced as they either can't keep up with his banter or just seem to ignore it, creating some awkward moments.
Amusingly the only one who seems to play on Jim's level is Callie's son, who's under the thumb of the peer pressures of his age but not so much that he doesn't enjoy being a 12-year-old boy. Jim's backstory - he's slightly well off as the result of a settlement from his former employer, the Chicago police, after his captain, thinking Jim slept with his wife, shot him - also feels a little trite as the show relentlessly hammers home the fact he drives his bosses nuts (literally in said case) when really it's just a pretext for Jim to behave like every loose canon cop you've seen on television and movies a million times before. "The Glades" however generally hinges on whether you like Jim or not and I do...
The bottom line: ...so you might want to check this one out.