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TV Interview

'The Glades' Matt Passmore Q&A: 'We're the flip side of CSI: Miami'

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If there's one thing that TV shows have taught us over the years, it's that Florida is a place full of sun, sea... and slaughtering. The latest cop procedural set in this hotbed of sexy, sexy crime is The Glades, but don't be expecting flash opening titles set to The Who or fancy CSI graphics - according to lead actor Matt Passmore, this is a show with "its tongue firmly in its cheek".

Speaking to Digital Spy, the star spoke about his 'dick-ish' character Detective Jim Longworth and the "absurd" mysteries ahead of him in the Sunshine State...

Matt Passmore in 'The Glades'


Can you tell our readers a little bit about The Glades?
"The Glades is a light cop procedural about a cop from Chicago who got shot in the bum by his captain and made a change down to Florida, so he's a bit of a fish out of water. He's a bit of a dick, charmingly so, and way too smart for his own good.

"I think he just thought he was going to come down and give mouth to mouth to bikini babes on the beach, but it turns out there's a lot more crime in Florida than he ever expected."

Do you think viewers will still warm to Jim?
"Yeah, there is no animosity about him. He knows that people won't tell him the truth if [they're] comfortable so instinctively he makes them uncomfortable. He messes with their heads; he literally just is charmingly way too smart for his own good.

"He's annoying. I guess he's a bit arrogant, but really he's just trying to do his job. But we see another side of him when he meets someone who can actually throw him on the back foot. We see a couple of sides of Jim."

So we'll see him develop throughout the season?
"That's right. And it's always funny to see a guy who thinks he's smarter than he is in a place where he absolutely knows nothing... it's actually very liberating to play a guy who doesn't give a crap what people think about him. The major character of the show is Florida and it's scratching the surface of Florida and finding all the beauty and the absurdity that exists down there."

Matt Passmore in 'The Glades'


Was the opportunity to film in Florida a big motivator for you taking on The Glades?
"It was also great to be down in Florida, apart from the heat and the mosquitos and the alligators. We all flew down there and... all we had was each other, and that really helped the show.

"When I took the role it was really the character that jumped off the page more than going to Miami, that was just kind of the icing on the cake. This was something I knew I could have a lot
of fun with.

"Rather than just standing over somebody and saying, 'Where were you the night of the murder?' he's literally there playing with someone's family photos and throwing bits of burrito at someone. It allowed this sort of freedom and I'd just walk into a scene, find out what the set guys had given me and then just play."

Jim sees coming to Florida as an opportunity to have an easy life, but things become a lot harder than he was expecting - did you go through the same thing working on the show?
"No-one told me about the heat, I grew up in Queensland so I thought, 'Oh I'll be alright with the humidity, no worries'. Oh man, the humidity down there is like a living, breathing thing that just wants to kick your arse every day, which it did.

"People warn you about what it's like to film down there in the summer, but until you actually go through it, it's pretty tough. I knew that the character loved to talk so I was expecting to be exercising that part of my brain a lot, but [it was] five months of just learning lines every day in the heat, and my creator Clifton Campbell just happened to write a Dickens novel for me to say every episode.

"It becomes six-hour days and then go home and learn lines for two hours. It just became a regiment."

Matt Passmore in 'The Glades'


The Glades comes across as a very bright and funny kind of show - is there going to be a nice helping of gore in there as well?
"There's always a bit of action, but the thing is the show doesn't take itself too seriously and in fact the show wouldn't work if it took itself too seriously. Otherwise Jim is just a complete prick making light of a really dark subject matter - you know murder, it's like the Super Bowl of the cop world.

"It is a really dark subject matter, but the show has its tongue firmly in its cheek and the mysteries obviously have flips and turns and red herrings. It's a bit of fun."

Jim ends up buddying-up with Carlos Gomez's character, Sanchez. What's their dynamic like?
"Jim is the kind of person who nobody wants to work with as he's way too annoying and somehow Carlos puts up with him. I think that intrigues Jim and he thinks, 'Well you're a glutton for punishment, let's do this'.

"They put up with each other but they're both good at their jobs. It literally is a type of bromance, it's that male dynamic of they would never admit what good friends they are because that is just sappy, but of course they start to rely on each other. It's intriguing for Jim that he finally finds someone who doesn't want to shoot him."

The Glades may naturally be compared to CSI: Miami - how alike would you say they are?
"They are completely different shows. CSI does what it does very well, but it has a very serious note and from what I've seen it takes its mysteries very seriously. Our show pretty much
is on the flip side of everything. I guess we're showing the absurd side and having more fun with the characters and even having more fun with that world. It's like night and day.

"There is still certain elements [like being in] Miami or being a cop procedural brings out that they can cross over a little bit, but I don't think David Caruso can be looking at Jim Longworth and thinking we're a copycat. It's quite the opposite."

Do you mind the comparisons? Are you a fan of CSI?
"I don't mind the comparisons at all because it brings a complete pallet to the cop procedural world. I think you need light and dark, you need shows that will engage your brain and ones where they have fun.

"If we all took ourselves too seriously it would be boring. Sometimes you just need to switch your brain off and have a bit of fun."

Matt Passmore in 'The Glades'


What is it about the combination of sun and crime that keeps viewers coming back to shows such as The Glades, CSI, Burn Notice and Dexter?
"Well Dexter is one of my favourite shows, I think it keeps getting better and better. I think Miami itself brings such an element to any show. When you're dealing with shows like Burn Notice, there's characters running around, the stakes are high and I think the heat really brings something to that in the way it did back with Miami Vice.

"It's such an eclectic place. You have the rich and poor right up against each other and people from all over the world, all sorts of cultures. It's a perfect playground for anything to happen. It doesn't matter how much I think I know about Florida, it still flips me on the head every time. It's just an absurd, eclectic place and the stories that can come out of that place just never stop."

The Glades begins Tuesday (September 11) at 9pm on Alibi

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