Although I’ve been a regular attendee of the Television Critics Association press tour in my stead as a writer and senior editor for Bullz-Eye.com, I don’t really get the opportunity to attend all that many press junkets, so on those occasions when I do find myself on the sets of various TV shows, I tend to kind of bask in the uniqueness of the experience. (Maybe it’s just because I have a history of being easily amused, but I find that, no matter how many sets you visit, if you don’t do it regularly, it still manages to be a pretty cool experience every single time.)
Earlier this year, I was invited on a rare joint junket between two different networks—A&E and USA—to do meet-and-greets and Q&As with the casts of “The Glades,” which returns to A&E this evening for its fourth season, and “Graceland,” a new USA drama which bows on June 6. Both series film in the general vicinity of Miami, so the first day of the expedition was spent on the set of the latter, with the next day dedicated to the former. Rest assured that I’ll be filling you in on “Graceland” soon enough, but for the moment, let’s focus on “The Glades,” shall we?
Given that the series is, as noted, about to kick off its fourth season, there’s a fair chance you’re already familiar with “The Glades,” but for those who either only know of it or haven’t even got that much history with it, here’s the nutshell summary from the A&E homepage for the series:
Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) is an attractive and brilliant Chicago homicide detective with a reputation for being difficult. When his captain wrongfully accuses him of sleeping with his wife and shoots him, he is exiled and forced to relocate. He lands in the sleepy, middle-of-nowhere town of Palm Glade, outside of the Florida Everglades, where sunshine and golf are plentiful and crime is seemingly at a minimum. But Longworth soon finds out this town isn’t quite as idyllic as he originally thought, when murders keep piling up. Each case pulls Longworth off the golf course and reluctantly into his element as one of the sharpest homicide detectives to wear a badge.
Season 4 is packed with even more mystery, intrigue, and fun. From haunted plantations to rum-soaked shot girls and even a zombie apocalypse, Longworth is once again solving murders that can only happen in the Sunshine State. This season also promises more drama on the personal front for Longworth, Carlos (Carlos Gomez), Manus (Michelle Hurd), and Daniel (Jordan Wall) as friends and relatives from near and far arrive on the scene. But the big question remains to be answered as Longworth waits for Callie (Kiele Sanchez) to accept his marriage proposal, or not.
If I’m to be honest, the pointed use of the word “attractive” as a descriptor of the main character in any series immediately makes me suspicious that it’s something that’s going to tickle my fancy—I can’t recall any occasion when I’ve been sold on a show because I was assured in advance that its cast was going to be good-looking—but “The Glades” has been a hard-to-dislike show since its debut. Yeah, I know, that’s kind of damning it with faint praise, but I really do intend it as a compliment: there are a lot of series that are very easy to dislike, but the show’s cast is pretty darned likeable across the board. Okay, maybe the aforementioned Jim Longworth is a bit too smug for his own good sometimes, but, hey, when you’re that attractive and brilliant…
Q: How are we going to see Jim in Season Four? Is it a different Jim than we’ve seen before? Is he going be going through different things that we’re not used to seeing him deal with?
Matt Passmore: I think Jim’s M.O. will never change. You know, a leopard can’t change their spots after that long. He’ll always be, uh, Snarky Snarkerson, and that’s how he gets things done. I think that we’re seeing an evolution in Jim’s heart, especially to do with Callie, and I think that’s always been the way the show is, and maybe why we forgive Jim a bit for being a prick in the interrogation room: because we see just how different he is around this woman. When the whole cop veneer gets sort of stripped away… Yeah, the evolution is more on that side. The rest of it…you know, he will always, constantly be surprised by Florida, constantly be surprised by his own wit and enjoy it, and then it really just becomes about the absurdity of Florida and the ridiculous situations that murders can happen in.
Q: What can fans expect right at the top of the season, in the first episode?
MP: Oh, we start with a “Scooby-Doo” episode, so we get a little bit of spooky to start off with. The start of this season, we go back to our major star, which is Florida, and the things that are about Florida. Every single homicide is set in a part of Florida that is unique and, y’know, uniquely ridiculous about Florida. I guess the main thru-line that we see is Jim and Callie’s relationship. Will Callie say yes? And if she does, what is that gonna do? You know, I think Jim’s a good boyfriend, but we’ll see how he goes as a husband.
Down the track, there’s a few characters that I know will be coming into the show that will really open some fun things up about Jim and his family, and hopefully more with the other characters, too. That’s what I want to see. I want to see some of the other characters get fleshed out, because every time I see a hint of Carlos’s life or Manus’s life, I get excited. It’s not just a morning off for me—although that is nice—but, yeah, I want to see those characters fleshed out a bit more and get more of a window while the mysteries are going on into the other characters.
Q: You said you don’t know how Jim would be as a husband. How would Jim be as a step-dad to a teenager?
MP: I think that’s going to be a work in progress. You know, I think the one thing is, like, this is a show that doesn’t take itself too seriously, and I think that’s its major strength. But as we’ve always dabbled in dark subjects, or serious subjects, one subject has always been a guy trying to date a single mom, and…it never comes down ham-fisted, but there are hints of this kind of jockeying for position and what it means to start becoming a family unit, and each person finding their position and way in that. So I think that’s definitely something that is going to be becoming more and more evident. One thing I’ve always wanted to know is, how does Jeff feel about all this? You know, Jim started out as a mate and for so long didn’t know he was keen on his mom. I think we’re starting to get into a little bit of that now.
Q: Do you think Jim has been softened by the relationship with Callie?
MP: Oh, definitely, yeah. Well, especially in his private life. I think that cockiness…he’s been humbled a little bit by his own heart, and certainly by this strong, intelligent, beautiful woman. But if anything,I t’s pushed his cop life even snarkier to compensate. I find myself getting some of the scenes and going, “Oh, man how am I gonna charm that?” But we’ll see if it works.
Q: Where do we pick up in that first episode from the proposal?
Kiele Sanchez: Well, I think that the thing that’s difficult for my character is that she’s made so many sacrifices to get where she is, to be in Atlanta and away from her son, and this relationship has been really, really taxing on her as well. But it’s all for a goal, you know? And a dream fulfillment of hers. So this proposal I think is much more complicated for her. They’re also adults, and I think that Callie understands all too well that jumping into things and following your heart can maybe not always be the best decision. And her struggle with for independence and to be independent as a single mom versus love and a new relationship is sort of where she’s at at the end of the episode last year. So that’s her struggle.
Q: Is there a time jump?
KS: There is. Yeah, it doesn’t pick up right at the second that the last episode ended.
Q: So we don’t get to see your answer?
KS: You don’t actually get to see my answer.
Q: How does Jim take you mulling over the answer? Does it cause conflict, or is he with you and understanding?
KS: Um, you know, I think that he understands Callie probably better than everyone else around him does. I think everyone else around them are a little nervous that she is mulling it over or has any hesitation, and I think that he believes in them, but I think also trusts her and her process.
Q: What are we going to see as far as the relationship between Callie and Jeff this season?
Uriah Shelton: Um, there’s definitely going to be the teenage angst that’s always going to be there. I mean, I’m a teenager, it’s gonna happen. But the thing is, you’re definitely going to know that I do love her and I do care about her and I put her before me. So you’re gonna see a more sensitive and nicer relationship develop between us.
Q: What about with Jim? How does your character feel about Jim?
US: I still think he’s a little wary of, uh, Jim. I mean, his father just moved out of the picture not too long ago in his eyes, and all of a sudden someone new’s coming in and swooping his mom up. And Jeff doesn’t know if he’s going to take her away from him and he’s going to be left alone. So, really, I think it is a turning point for Jeff and Jim’s relationship. It could go either way. But I know he likes Jim, and I know Jeff thinks Jim’s a good guy so.
Q: Would you like to explore more of a family dynamic with Jim as an actor?
US: I would like to… Basically, in my utopia, I would love everybody on this thing—you know, me, Kiele and Matt, all of our characters—to be a family, just because, you know, that means I’d be able to spend more time with them on set. But I really would like to see how the dynamic comes, because I was raised with a single mom and I’m completely, utterly… Uh, there’s no way I would ever want a stepdad. So I would like to see how Jeff would handle a stepdad, because that would basically give me some experience in what to do. But, yeah, I really would like to explore the family dynamic. I think it’d be a really interesting acting opportunity.
Q: You talked about the teen angst that Jeff will be going through. Does any of that have to do with dating?
US: Well, wherever there’s teenage boys, there will always be girl problems. [Laughs.] So if you guys don’t hear about it or if you guys don’t see it on the show, I can definitely tell you that, in Jeff’s life, he’s going to, of course, be experiencing some crushes. But, uh, whether you will see it on the show or not, you’re going to have to wait to see. [Hesitates.] I’m doing my best not to give anything away!
Q: In Season Four, can we expect the same kind of cases, or are things darker and edgier?
Carlos Gomez: I think you’re going to see wackier cases. We have a lot of different kind of Florida scenarios that…not to give away, but we have a zombie thing coming around. I think the cases are going to be a lot wackier than you’ve seen them before. It’s not going to be as edgy. I think that what’s good about our show is the relationship between the characters. So I think you’re going to see a lot of more of what’s happening with us away from the cases and stuff. Which should be interesting. But, y’know, wackiness ensues at “The Glades” for sure this season.
Q: Can you talk about the chemistry on and off camera with Matt?
CG: You know what? It’s funny, I think because all of us are…y’know, I’m originally from here, from Miami, but I live in LA and I’ve been there for years. Once we got here, we kind of felt like we were all, like, this little family doing the show, because we’re five thousand miles away from home. So we really have created as much of a family off set as we have on set. You know, we hang out on our days off, we go out and we go to dinners, and we really are friends out of the show, which that you don’t find too often in TV shows. Every season we’ve gotten tighter and tighter. And when we’re not shooting, when we’re in LA, we still keep in touch. We spend Thanksgiving together! And I think that has a lot to do with the camaraderie that you see on screen. I think you see that there’s, ah, ah, a relationship between all of us.
I think that’s one of the things that makes our show likeable to people. It’s that they see that there’s camaraderie with the characters, and we’ve-we’ve just kind of kept that going. And, y’know, the shows funny! The show’s a hit in, like, France and Belgium. I get Tweets from Tel Aviv, from Israel. We’re in Hollywood, Florida, doing this little show in this warehouse, and it’s hitting somebody in Belgium that’s really affected by the comedy or the situation. It blows my mind, the universality of television, how it can touch people all over the world with funniness and comedy. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. It’s a lighthearted show. Even though it’s a procedural, it’s a lighthearted show, and I think that’s what people want to see these days. Not too much of the gory stuff. I think people want to laugh, not only in the United States, but all over the world.
Q: I love your relationship with Jim. Are we going to see how they rely on each other, that they bust each other balls? Are we going to see an evolution?
CG: I think that’s evident, definitely. There’s going to be a situation that happens with them where there’s going to be lan interesting relationship clash between me and him. We’re definitely going to see an evolution between our characters, yeah. Things happen that are going to change a little bit of the dynamics of us, but I think it’s going to be interesting where we see these two guys go. Because it’s that kind of ball busting relationship that we’ve had with each other and, again, because we’re friends outside of here, that kind of relates to how we do it in the show. The writers know that, so they’re going to bring some interesting conflicts that I think people are going to be, like, “Wow…” But I think it’s going to add to the show big time.
Q: The relationship between Carlos and Daniel… Do you guys get into anything there?
CG: Yeah. Oh, yeah, definitely, because me and him are going to be doing a lot more work together. Longworth is in every scene of the show, so I think they’re trying to piece it together to give us, me and Daniel, a little bit more work. Matt has a little bit more work on the outside, so me and him go out on a few cases and…it’s funny because, you know, when he came into the show, we were all cast, so it’s always been this kind of “a new kid coming into our show” thing. And that relationship has kind of stayed with us, with me and him, and the writers have picked up on that. So they write stuff for us, when we’re out in the field, and it’s still that same camaraderie of me, I’m like the big brother. So that relationship is still pretty intact, and the writers have picked up it, so they’re writing a lot of stuff for us now. It should be funny.
Q: Carlos mentioned that he’s going to be going on some cases this season with Daniel. What can you tell us about that?
Jordan Wall: Uh, Carlos and I are always getting into trouble together. Yeah, we’re going to get our hands dirty, and Daniel always loves doing that. Carlos not so much. And there’s going to be a little bit of ribbing back and forth between the two. You know, every season there’s more of a comfort between all of the characters, but certainly in Daniel’s case, I think there’s a growing comfort with Carlos. So we’re going to see a-a lot more back-and-forth between the two of them and a lot more on-location events. We’re going to get our hands dirty doing some barbecue cookin’. How exciting is that? [Laughs.] No, I’m trying to think. Mmm, let’s see where I can… oh, okay, I’ll tell you what. Uh, there’s, uh, going to be, uh, uh, a little bit of, uh, horror this year on The Glades.
Q: Is anything going to change in the dynamic between Daniel and Jim?
JW: Yeah, Jim’s got a lot going on. Yeah, that’s the big one. You’re right, yeah. Yeah, there’s a little more sarcasm between the two. Jim has always poked Daniel, but now Daniel pokes back a little bit. And it’s just a line here and there, but I have a lot. It’s very exciting as an actor to see that kind of development, however small it is, in-in your relationship. Yeah, it’s going to become a little more brotherly between Jim and-and-and Daniel.
Q: How does Daniel see Jim?
JW: I think Daniel’s always looked up to Jim. I mean, Jim has always been the big brother to Daniel, that he’s both looked up to and envied a little bit. You know, Jim gets the girls. Jim’s witty, and Daniel aspires to be that. But Daniel also respects what Jim does. Jim’s very good at his job, and Daniel’s very efficient at what he does, and he wants to be as excellent at his job as Longworth is. You know, I think Daniel grew up always wanting to carry a gun in his side pocket and wear a badge and be a hero, and maybe one day he will be. But he’s taken notes from Jim. That’s the relationship.
Q: Does Daniel give a new meaning to the word “nerd”?
JW: Does he give new meaning to the word “nerd”? He makes “nerd” coo,, yeah. [Laughs.] He makes nerd sexy, okay? Your laughing isn’t going to make me feel any better about that, but, uh, yeah, I think “nerd” is coming back right now, isn’t it? I mean, you look around, people are wearing bow ties and… yeah, “nerd” is chic. So Daniel is coming into play at the right time. He’s grown into his own at the right time in his generation. Me, myself? I like to use the word “dork.” Yeah, I’m a lot more comfortable with that, because…I’m active, you know? Not to say that if you’re… [Hesitates.] It’s semantics, right? When I was growing up, being a nerd was being a little bit more of a hermit, being more introverted, your nose in the books. I love books, but I also like going out there, and I’m a runner. I work out in a gym. I play sports. Yeah, I have that geeky energy about me that comes into play when I’m around certain people. But I don’t mind it.
Q: Will you ever promote Daniel?
Michelle Hurd: I hired him. He’s got a job. He’s paid. I was going to say, he even has insurance. [Laughs.] He’s got a desk. Really, though, yeah, he’s good, he’s got a solid gig, a solid job. Daniel’s fully employed. But we couldn’t do it, I don’t think. He’s definitely a valuable player, but we’d be on crutches without Daniel doing all the work that he does for Jim.
Q: They won’t tell us anything about what’s happening with Jim and Callie. Is whatever happening carrying over into the job?
MH: Well I think, uh, Jim’s relationship with Callie always kind of filters into the workplace in some format. So, yes, there’s a little something that filters in there. But whether it’s good or bad, I can’t tell you.
Q: What about the other way around?
MH: You know, it’s interesting, because as an actress I have to say I quite enjoy the fact that Colleen is just a really strong, intelligent woman. The character is the director of Florida Department Law Enforcement, which means in a sense that I am the boss of a bunch of substations. This is one substation, I’m the boss of a whole bunch. And the thing I kind of enjoy about it is that we don’t see this woman having these sort of, like, moments where she just starts to cry. I used to joke… Back in the day, I had a recurring role on “The Practice,” and I used to joke that all the lawyers always cried. Do you know what I mean? Like, if you were on trial for a murder, it’d be, like, “You need to suck it up, you’re my lawyer, I don’t need you crying!” [Laughs.] So there’s something about the fact that we don’t see a lot of the personal life of Manus, because I think it makes her…y’know, she’s here to do the job, she needs to make sure her stations are run proficiently, that people aren’t messing around. I really like that about her.
We may end up getting tiny tastes here and there of something else going on in her world, but I just want to be careful about, like, finding out that, you know, she was raped when she was a child or all that kind of stuff, because I feel like that goes into some other area, and I don’t want it to distract. The fun part of-of my job as Colleen is that I enjoy the fact that Jim, to Colleen’s way of thinking, is this teenage boy that she’s always, like, “Come here, go get your equipment, and get the job done.” You know, she keeps him on the right road. She gives him some leeway. I let him sort of be untraditional and unconventional about how he does his job, but like a mother hen, I know when to pull him back. And I kind of enjoy that.
But, you know, who knows what will happen down the line? Maybe we’ll find out some other things or see some more stuff about her personal life, but I think it’s kind of cool to have this woman who’s unapologetic, really good at her job, and running a tight ship. You know, just, “Get it done, get it done.” And the thing I also like about her that is that Colleen and Jim over the seasons have developed a really good relationship. They have a really good rapport. He will say something snarky, she kind of gives him a little “mmm,” but then lets him go. He knows how to push little buttons, and she allows it. I really like how they’re creating their relationship as well as the one with Carlos. It’s nice, I think.
Q: Have you built a back story?
MH: Yeah, well, you know, she went though the academy, she was a uniform, then became a detective, then went through the ranks. She also started in law school, then she did this. There’s back story there as well. I She was married and then divorced. No kids. She’s the eldest of five children. Born in Philadelphia, I believe, and then moved here. So, yeah, there’s some stuff there. But that’s all you’re going to get.