Airdate: Sundays at 10/9c on A&E
Apparently the adage ‘you learn something new every day’ is quite true for Detective Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore). In “Shine,” the former Chicago lawman learns that the practice of distilling and selling moonshine is not only an old Florida tradition, but is still a thriving (legal) business in the Everglades. The question is: are moonshine bootleggers responsible for murder, or are they just marketing 120 proof liquor?
Using what has become a recognizable formula for The Glades, the murder of an Ernest Hemingway look-alike becomes the catalyst for peeling the onion of mystery and delving deeper into the history of the people connected to him. And that is actually where this show runs the risk of turning a working formula into a predictable pattern. Going in, we know there will more than likely be two suspects Jim will quickly mark as his ‘Highly Probable Murderers,’ but there will be a third who will emerge as ‘The Actual Murderer’ during his investigation.
When the clues are planted in such a way that before the half-hour mark I can pinpoint who the murderer is and why they did it, it might be time to shift the formula a bit.
However, this is not to say “Shine” isn’t entertaining. When you have a team like the FDLE, you’re never short on cleverly timed glances, snappy one-liners, and savvy dialogue to move the plot along. The latest murder victim isn’t actually an Ernest Hemingway look-like—he purposely dressed as the late writer to celebrate “Hemingway Fest,” which includes not only a look-alike contest, but also a short story competition, an arm wrestling contest, and a “booze cruise.”
The last aspect of the celebration is the key to Jim’s investigation and brings in FDLE’s Medical Examiner Carlos Sanchez (Carlos Gomez) and Daniel the Intern (Jordan Wall) as both comic relief and sources of information. Daniel even gets the spotlight for a change as he goes undercover (more or less) to help Jim get a motive from Frank Ford (James McCaffrey), the “booze cruise” captain.
In the meantime, the ever-present romantic arc of Jim + Callie (Kiele Sanchez) continues with Jim so enamored simply by Callie’s approach to the crime scene he misses all of Carlos’ preliminary report on the body. Finding convenient reasons for Callie to drive him to interview the victim’s wife (and suspect number two) and making off-handed, weighted observations about Callie’s Kia having third-row seating (really, Jim?) can be forgiven as we see how her every word, move, action affects him. Now that she’s more or less free, it’s evident Jim can’t wait to start an honest-to-goodness relationship with her.
But Callie emits a go slow, be careful vibe so loudly anyone in a ten mile radius can hear it and Jim is hesitant and rather uncertain about how he should approach her romantically. Luckily, he’s confident when it comes to communicating with her about the case. While Jim doesn’t have the most sensitive method for delivering news of a loved one’s death to a potential suspect, he does manage to circumvent his suspicions and observe human behavior. When newly widowed Shelby Adams (Willa Ford) Molotov cocktails the bar of a baby-faced, smooth talking bootlegger named Andrew (Billy Lush), she goes from Jim’s number two suspect to simply a cog in a wheel that started turning long ago. The look of surprised concern on Jim’s face as he regards Shelby (while he’s trying to keep the fire she started from spreading) tells me in that moment he mentally erases her from his suspect list.
The investigation into motive gives us—and Jim—some insight into the moonshine business including a secret family recipe for the “Lightning Queen” moonshine (and was it just me, or did everyone else hear ‘Lightning McQueen’ every time they said that?) developed by Shelby’s family, the MacKays, and stolen by Frank Ford’s family. Family business can be a dark and dangerous place, ya’ll. Per usual, though, the murderer isn’t the jealous widow or the feuding boat captain—it’s the person behind door number three.
While Jim is solving Florida’s latest homicide, Callie is busy dealing with the news that a former flame—and doctor—has returned to Palm Glades Hospital. Of course, she downplays this to Jim, keeping her cards close to the vest. But when she leaves Jim at Shelby’s moonshine bar to meet this man for dinner (claiming it’s a “work thing”) the parting kiss she gives Jim is an open-booked promise for more. Jim stares after her with such a stunned look of happiness on his face that even I was echoing his stuttered intake of breath.
However, nothing good can last, right? And the news Callie’s doctor friend gives her at dinner will change everything. I just hope this isn’t one of those things Callie tries to deal with on her own, leaving Jim in the dark. But, if the previews for the season finale—showing on a special night, by the way—are any indication, the ‘formula’ will be smashed and Callie won’t be left with much of a choice.
Tune in to The Glades, special finale night: Monday, September 5th at 10/9c on A&E. For more information on the show, visit http://www.aetv.com/the-glades/.
All photos © 2011 A&E. All rights reserved.
© 2011, amanda. All rights reserved.
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