It's late May, and this day's location shoots in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for A&E Network's Sunday crime drama "The Glades" could be labeled "hot" and "not so hot."
A last-minute change has reversed the two, putting "not so hot" in the morning and "hot" in the afternoon.Now this is not a value judgment as to the quality of the locations; it's a simple reference to relative temperature.
Star Matt Passmore, who plays former Chicago detective Jim Longworth, now working for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, is happy for two reasons. One, he's inside the air-conditioned, glass-walled room on top of a waterside hotel rather than out in the sun -- where he'll be later in the day, when production moves to Port Everglades -- and guest star Richard Burgi has most of the dialogue.
"I love scenes like that," says the Australian-born actor, "because that's usually me having to say all of that. When another actor comes in and does that, I'm like, 'Ah-hah, how does it feel?' "
As fans of the show are aware, Longworth is a bit of a talker.
"As we know," says Passmore, "Longworth likes to talk, under any circumstances. He'd arrest someone underwater if he could. So the more he talks as long as he's having fun and listening to the sound of his own voice.
"In the end, his whole technique is that people want to be arrested just to shut him up. 'Fine, I did it; just shut the hell up!' "
In that way, Longworth is reminiscent of Peter Falk's classic LAPD character in "Columbo," who just kept talking around and around in circles until a suspect was hogtied in a web of his or her own lies.
As Longworth, Passmore adds a physical element to the verbal gymnastics.
"With a smile," he says, "he'll be picking apart all the things on your desk. You don't know why you're so angry or off balance or so agitated at this person. You can't put your finger on it, but you are.
"He gets in people's faces; he moves their stuff around; he annoys them. He doesn't want someone nice and composed and ready with their answers. He'll change their radio stations, yeah, that's a big one, or he's eating someone's food. I did a thing where I wound up stealing a guy's jelly. That's always annoying."
Sometimes the annoyance goes beyond just the context of the scene.
"One guest actor," says Passmore, "took me aside and said, 'I can't figure out what it is you're doing, but I can't concentrate.' I'm like, 'Sorry, mate, that's the show.' This actor hadn't seen the show yet. He was going mad."He was having a go at me, saying, 'You're being a jerk.' I was like, 'Sorry, mate, you probably haven't seen the show. I'm an a..., so I'm going to be annoying the crap out of you while patting you on the back with a smile.' "
In the odd moments when Passmore isn't spouting pages of dialogue or eating someone's banana, he's dealing with Florida's ubiquitous alligators.
For example, there was the 7-footer hiding in the bushes at the edge of a golf course last season.
"I was on my mark, and we were on the green," Passmore recalls. "The lighting guys were coming past me, so I stepped back, almost to the bushes. I'm like, 'OK, you go past,' and this thing barked at me big time.
"I (soiled) myself in a very manly way and hurtled the light before I knew what I was doing.
"Then, with great dignity, I changed my pants."