The Glades -- TV Review

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Jim Longworth is not an easy man to tolerate. His last boss shot him, precipitating a move from the Chicago police force to a sleepy South Florida locale -- and before the end of the first episode of A&E's new crime dramedy "The Glades," he has to face the barrel of another unexpected gun aimed at him.

But viewers won't just tolerate Longworth -- if they're smart, they'll find him irresistible. Played by Matt Passmore, he's an infuriatingly self-confident rogue whose partner notes accurately, "You act like a clown, you treat the job like an inconvenience" to which Longworth replies, "I hate it here, but the golf is great." It's that kind of story: a kind of "Burn Notice" (also Florida-based) meets "White Collar" (from which creator Clifton Campbell hails), yet it's shaded with a darker eccentricity than either of those cable dramas.

"Glades" goes dark fast: A headless torso is found floating in a swampy area of the Everglades; there's no skimping on gore, so avoid hearty meals before watching the episode. Longworth's approaching-perfect golf game gets interrupted, and he declares the green a crime scene to be left undisturbed until he can get back. The ball, surrounded by yellow tape, becomes a recurring joke/interstitial throughout the episode -- a surreal, delightful touch.

Off he goes investigating, but the story is less about arriving at the solution -- which should come as a surprise -- than how Longworth gets there. Along the way he finds a possible new love interest (Kiele Sanchez, who matches him arched eyebrow for arched eyebrow), takes said love interest's son (Uriah Shelton) out fishing, nearly gets his hand chomped by a gator, retrieves evidence from inside a gator and basically astonishes almost everyone he comes in contact with.

Other than golf, it's hard to tell just what Longworth takes seriously -- but that's OK because almost everyone else around him is ripe for fooling around with.

"Glades" isn't just well-cast, it's a pleasure for all the senses; the lush greenery and ever-present bodies of water that sculpt the landscape of South Florida are a welcome respite from the usual urban boxes and traffic-jammed streets. In the end, the series itself is something fresh, welcome and a little tart -- and just like a nice citrus fruit, it'll be hard to stop with just one of these.

Airdate: 10-11 p.m. Sunday, July 11 (A&E)
Production: Fox Television Studios for A&E
Cast: Matt Passmore, Kiele Sanchez, Carlos Gomez, Uriah Shelton, Jordan Wall, Abby Pivaronas, John Carroll Lynch, Michael Sean Roark
Executive producers: Clifton Campbell, Gary A. Randall
Creator-writer: Clifton Campbell
Co-executive producer: Lori-Etta Taub
Director: Peter O'Fallon
Directors of photography: Walt Lloyd, Michael Lohmann
Production designer: Derek Hill
Costume designers: Patia Prouty, Luellyn Harper
Casting: Susan Edelman, Mark Fincannon
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