Jim Longworth, the Chicago detective whose relocation to Florida is at the center of the new A&E series The Glades, isn't the most sympathetic character. In fact, he's a bit of an abrasive know-it-all. But that's just fine with the actor who plays him, Matt Passmore, who's had plenty of experience playing characters who aren't always likeable. In anticipation of The Glades' premiere Sunday at 10/9c, Passmore talked with TVGuide.com about what makes the show unique, and how being an Australian playing a transplanted Chicagoan helps him relate to his character.
TVGuide.com: What attracted you to The Glades?
Matt Passmore: When I read it, I thought the guy kind of leapt off the page. I thought [creator] Clifton Campbell had created a great character. There's a lot of scripts where you read great characters and that sort of thing, but there was something about this guy that I thought I kind of got him. ... And it seemed like a cop show that was definitely a little bit different. ... It had this kind of twisty, snaky nature to the mysteries. So between the mystery and the character, it kind of had me.
TVGuide.com: Your character moves from Chicago to the Glades for a more "relaxing" lifestyle. What's his backstory?
Passmore: Whether you're his equal or his boss, if you do something stupid, he's going to call you an idiot. I think that just informed me about the character and it kind of informs me how he can get on the wrong side of people. ... At the same time, I think Jim was in the middle of a brutal Chicago winter watching reruns of Miami Vice and thinking, "Why the hell can't I put on a blazer and t-shirt and go solve crimes down there? That would be cool."
TVGuide.com: Your character is an anti-hero like the lead characters on House and The Mentalist. Do you watch those shows?
Passmore: Of course. I think Simon Baker deserves all the success he gets. I think he's a fantastic actor. There are those characters that are the smartest guys in the room. That's the thing about Jim, he's the smartest guy in the room and he's not going to apologize for it. Why apologize for it? They're getting the job done. If someone else wants to be a baby and get snarky because they got their feelings hurt, then that's their problem.
TVGuide.com: How do you hope to add something new to this type of character?
Passmore: The show's very different because Florida itself becomes very much the protagonist and the antagonist. There's stuff down here that isn't anywhere else in the country and you throw in a few homicides around it. We're seeing this fish out of water — which kind of works for me because I'm an Aussie guy playing a Chicago cop who's now in Florida. As he encounters this stuff, so do I. I think Jim thought he'd seen it all in Chicago with the crime he saw up there ... and then of course, he gets down to Florida and he ain't seen nothing yet.
TVGuide.com: Why do you think viewers still root for this type of character despite the fact that he's kind of a jerk?
Passmore: The charm about him is that he's not a bad guy; he's not a nasty person. ... He steps on people's toes and he's the kind of character that doesn't really care. But, the people that he does care about and starts to care about, they're the cracks.... You see these little moments where his heart does become a little more exposed.
TVGuide.com: You've played police figures or detectives several times now. What do you think it is about you that gets you these roles?
Passmore: I don't know, I started my career playing really dodgy characters. I always played the charming guy that ends up being a complete [jerk]. As I've gotten older in life, it's kind of swamped [laughs]. Now I play the guy who appears like a [jerk], but who's actually got a heart of gold. He just won't admit it.
TVGuide.com: Has it been hard for you to hide your accent?
Passmore: When I read [the script] for the first time, I knew that he was a Chicago cop and Chicago-born. There was no question, that's who the guy was. ... It's not a problem because I'm able to then differentiate a lot better. When I'm Jim, I'm Jim. When I'm Matt, I'm Matt. When its time to go home, it's quite easy to leave Jim. ... My girlfriend kind of says, "Jim can stay at work, that's fine. You won't get away with any abrasiveness here, buddy."