Episode Title: "Family Matters"
Writer: Tom Garrigus
Director: Gary A. Randall
A&E is network that still seems to be trying to find its identity when it comes to original programming. The network's tagline is "Real life drama," but I've yet to see a series on A&E really live up to that.
Part of the fault may lie in our higher expectations given what AMC and FX do on a regular basis. But I have to say that "The Glades" is so shockingly ordinary, that it could have aired on any other cable or broadcast network.
For those of you who skipped the first season of the show, the series follows Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore), a homicide detective who transferred from Chicago to Florida after getting shot in the ass by his commanding officer (who thought that Longworth was sleeping with his wife). I swear, I did not make any of that up.
And sure, Longworth seems to be a good detective with some USA style character quirks. But what strikes me most about Longworth is that he's apparently a huge douche. It's not just that he treats murder suspects like they're beneath him. That I can understand. But he's got a habit of making harsh (and frankly cruel) jokes to his partner and co-workers. He's not exactly an endearing hero, but he doesn't rise to a Vic Mackey or a Dexter Morgan level of being so despicable that we actually want to see more of him. Longworth is more like someone we'd go out of our way to avoid in real life.
The one redeeming thing about Longworth is his relationship with Callie Cargill (Kiele Sanchez), a nurse and practically a single (but not yet divorced) mother to her 12 year old son, Jeff (Uriah Shelton). There's almost a sense of desperation between Longworth and Callie as they try to figure out their next step. In fact, the best moment in the second season premiere is when Callie races to the police station after learning that someone tried to kill Longworth with a car bomb. But true to form, Longworth didn't bother to call her back after the explosion and tell her that he survived. Like I said, he's a pretty big douche.
"Family Matters" kicks off with the niece of a local Cuban crime lord who is found murdered in an apparent gangland hit; which may reignite several years of peace between warring crime families. And for a while it's funny to watch Longworth use his superjerk powers on people who deserve it. There's also a good moment when Longworth's partner calls him out on something he said and Longworth actually admits that he only said it to piss him off and didn't know that it was true. But I think the show badly needs someone who can keep up with Longworth on the insults and give as good as he gets.
The rest of the episode deals with Longworth attempting to figure out who killed the girl and why she was sneaking around Florida under the nose of her uncle. But the mystery loses its appeal long before its revealed that the killer is someone we've only met briefly or that the motivation for the murder(s) was poor at best.
It's also kind of annoying that Callie's husband, Ray Cargill (Clayne Crawford) is being brought in as a way to keep Longworth and Callie apart. I understand that one of the tenants of dramatic fiction is the anticipation that two characters will get eventually together. But when everything else about the show is so by-the-numbers, I would have stayed with the one thing that seems to be working.
Do you know what the weirdest part is? People love this show. To the tune of around 3 million viewers for this episode. That's a pretty big number for basic cable. I can only assume that fans gravitate towards it because it's so similar to standard TV fare that's just not available in the summer.
But personally, this episode was a chore to sit through and I remember now why I didn't give it much coverage last year. I think that "The Glades" could still eventually become a show worth watching, but for me it hasn't gotten there yet.
Crave Online Rating: 6 out of 10.