[06/03/11 - 09:18 AM]
Interview: "The Glades" Creator Clifton Campbell
By Jim Halterman (TFC)

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While there seems to be a continuous stream of new television series popping up on cable in hopes of catching the attention of viewers, "The Glades" was one that quickly caught on when it premiered last year on A&E. Set in the fictional town of Palm Glade, Florida, the crime drama focuses on Chicago detective Jim Longworth, who moves South in hopes of living a more relaxing existence but finds life (and crimes) to be very complicated.

Starring Matt Passmore, the second season of the series premieres this Sunday with Longworth not only dealing with complications in the cases he's trying to solve but also trying to figure out his muddled romance with Callie (played by Kiele Sanchez), whose criminal husband returned at the end of last season. What does that mean for the budding Jim/Callie romance? Will Jim move on and start dating new women? And will the criminals in the Palm Glade area take a breather so Jim can, too? To find out, our Jim - Halterman, that is - rang up series creator Clifton Campbell to get his take on what viewers can expect with these new episodes.

Jim Halterman: Going from a first to second season in any series, there's often some fine-tuning that goes on. Did that happen when you started crafting season two?

Clifton Campbell: I wouldn't say there was a lot of fine-tuning but there was very specific fine-tuning. There were things that we saw last year that we could improve on and things that were working really well that surprised us to be built on. Specifically, Matt Passmore is a very physical guy so we wanted to get him up on his feet and get him out in the field doing some physicality so we have a little more action and suspense to that end and a little more gun play and car play. These are all things that have worked out very well.

JH: What was the reason for setting the show in Florida? Was it just to be able to spend the year shooting in a nice climate?

CC: [Laughs.] I'm a native Floridian but I wrote this pilot as a spec and, obviously, being a native of Florida - and not the Florida that most people think of - I really wanted to capture the essence of the Florida I know, which is not necessarily South Beach or the 'Burn Notice' version. Florida is a very weird environment and a lot of oddball crimes seem to pop up there and it just felt like a great place to place an urban-based cop in the middle of.

JH: When you first cast Matt Passmore, what was it about him? There are so many rugged good-looking guys out there but what gave him the edge?

CC: You're right. There is no shortage of rugged, good-looking guys who could handle the smarminess of the role but they couldn't be as charming as Matt is in his delivery. He just felt so comfortable and, as you know, the character does a lot of talking and he handles it so well and it comes out so naturally but he also has that glimmer; that X Factor. He has all the leading man high points but he also has that extra layer of charm, which this character really needs because he doesn't investigate people as much as he needles them.

JH: The will they/won't they element of a lot of shows is definitely present in 'The Glades' with Callie and Jim. How do you make that a vital part of the show without it truly taking over everything else?

CC: In the first season it was 'let's see how far we can go with this and see how the audience responds.' We had a very loyal fan base that is really watching for that [and] they also enjoy a good murder mystery but the chemistry between those two is very real and exciting and fun to watch and challenging. It worked out pretty well and we feel like it's integral to the storytelling. In season two we found a little organic way to have Callie in the A story so we can continue to have she and Jim together and challenge not just the relationship but also things that they're working on together.

JH: Callie is being pulled in another direction because of her son and the fact that her husband is back in the picture. How much more challenging is that going to be when she's still so drawn to Jim?

CC: At the end of last season, her husband was cooperating with the District Attorney's office for an early release and that was dropped right in the middle where Jim and Callie were consummating their feelings for one another. That is definitely going to be challenging for her. The Callie character is one of my favorites. She's got heaven and hell on each shoulder. She's married to a career criminal and she's in love with a cop! Then she's trying to be a Mom and she's going to medical school. That's a lot!

JH: While Callie is figuring out her life, is Jim going to wait around or are we going to see him get back out in the dating world?

CC: That's a great question and I don't want to fully answer it but, yeah, he's a good looking guy and he's single and he's trying to be respectful of the family that Callie has and, of course, that makes it more challenging with her husband out of prison. In the first season, he did sort of date someone and that was a wake-up call for Callie. That's certainly a possibility for this season, too. In Callie trying to do the right thing for everybody else, she can't fully commit in the way she might want to and, of course, off Jim being a guy, he's going to respond to the attention he might get from other people.

JH: Talk to me about the team working around Jim. Last year, you played a lot with the fish-out-of-water element of Jim but how are things working this year?

CC: It's great to say they all work well together; it's not a perfect machine but we purposely set the series in a sub-station, which is a smaller outpost and not a big police department like most cop shows have. On some level, they're like a family that spends a whole lot of time together and they were playing so well together that we went with that last year. This year, everyone has more redefined roles but we've found that other people around Longworth can carry some A-story beats but it all comes back around to Longworth.

JH: I want to ask about Daniel (played by Jordan Wall), who is always so fun when he pops up because he has this wide-eyed look of wonderment that's a good balance for the crimes on the show. Over time will he be able to maintain that lightness when so many of the crimes are dark?

CC: It is kind of who he is. He is definitely a young soul. In the pilot, he wasn't really intended to be a series regular and we saw the same thing you saw and he shows up on screen he's just a delight and he can bring a lot of information to the table without stopping the flow of the scene. This is some pretty dark stuff and there are a few times when his face is just kind of ashen. He's the character who just comes in with a little change of tone and the darkness is suddenly not quite that dark.

JH: You have a history with television crime drama but was it a challenge to stay within the genre but make the show different from all the other crime dramas out there?

CC: It was a bit of a challenge because you want to stay with the tone and the fun in the show but we recognized early on that as long as we have a familiar procedural with a nominal amount of beats and it was easy to track, then the tone we chose could still survive and still work. You know you're going to catch the bad guy in the end so as long as you tell an efficient and effective murder mystery, how you get there is up to you and if the audience likes it they're coming back next week.

"The Glades" returns this Sunday at 10:00/9:00c on A&E.

  [june 2011]  


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