If you think of the Florida-set detective drama as a less ambitious 'Burn Notice' or a throwback to the moderately competent police procedurals of years gone by, it may well work as a summer diversion.
The biggest change is that the lead character, relocated Chicago police officer Jim Longworth, is no longer off-puttingly obnoxious, as he was in last year's wince-inducing pilot for 'The Glades.' Jim, who's played by Matt Passmore, has been wisely dialed down several notches and given relatively interesting cases to work.
Jim still barges in where he isn't wanted and insouciantly plucks snacks from other people's fruit baskets (no, that's not an analogy), but he now resembles an actual person, rather than a robotic collection of cocky-cop stereotypes.
Another surprise is that Longworth's personal life gets a fair amount of attention on the show. It's not a bad idea, given that what goes on in his relationships tends to balance out the detective's on-the-job brashness. Still, some of the relationship stuff drags. Longworth's dating a nurse named Callie (Kiele Sanchez), but the complications she brings to the table -- a spouse who was recently released from prison -- tend to slow down the show's brisk pace.
There's much more chemistry at work in the second episode of the season, when an old law-enforcement friend who shares Longworth's brand of brashness flies in from Chicago to work a big case with him. Natalia Cigluiti, who plays Illinois cop Samantha Harper, has much more of a spark with Passmore, not that I'm hoping that a full-blown love triangle develops. It's just good to know that, given emotional moments to play, Passmore's more than capable of doing good work.
If there's one arena in which the show could use work, it concerns the show's supporting characters -- that's one of the areas in which the 'Burn Notice' comparison falls apart (on 'The Glades, there also aren't any voiceovers or bombs built out of Super Glue and paper clips, alas). Michael Westen's sidekicks are fully capable of carrying almost entire 'Burn Notice' episodes by themselves, but Jim's boss and co-workers don't really distinguish themselves in any notable ways. The performances aren't bad, the characters just tend to be utilitarian and underwritten.
'The Glades' isn't doing anything particularly new, but as a Twitter correspondent noted, it's the perfect show to fold laundry to. A few notches below that "must-see" category are those "laundry-folders," if you will -- programs that occupy some your attention but don't distract you unduly from household chores. 'The Glades' has certainly worked its way into that category, and considering where it started, that's something.
The next bit of intel may be considered spoilery, so check out if you don't want to know about one of season 2's story lines: An A&E rep says that Samantha Harper will indeed play "a significant role" in the new season as a possible love interest for Jim. It's good to know, given that her bold character tends to give Jim as good as she gets; their professional and personal partnership has potential. Again, I'm not hoping for a predictable love triangle, but this show needs a few sparks in the supporting-character department.
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