Airdate: Sundays at 10/9c on A&E
Centering the story on a focal point that drew this viewer to the show in the first place, The Glades delivers an emotional crime-solving episode with “Iron Pipeline.” It may seem odd to some for a police drama to have an anti-gun message of sorts; nevertheless, I think the episode is handled very well.
What starts out as potentially another violence-in-our-schools story explodes a bit and becomes both complex and intriguing. A well-liked teacher and soccer coach at Jeff Cargill’s (Uriah Shelton) soon-to-be high school is found shot to death. Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) handles the initial investigation with care out of concern for Callie (Kiele Sanchez) and Jeff, because they’ve known the coach for years. It doesn’t take long, though, to follow the rumor mill and discover a 15-year-old kid brought a gun to school—prompting Jim to dig deeper and find out how the kid, Shane Wyatt (Bridger Sadina), got a gun in the first place.
Shane’s part of the story is heartbreaking—both from the perspective of an adult and the memory of what high school can be like. Bullying and fear prompts Shane to bring a gun to school to “just get them to stop.” A well-meaning teacher tries to stop Shane from making a big mistake, an accident happens, and Shane’s life is changed forever. The final image in the episode of this lonely kid left me with an ache in my chest and a bit fearful of how easily danger finds our children—even in places they should be safe.
But solving the initial murder isn’t the end of the story for Jim by a long shot. Assembling the puzzle pieces, Jim and Carlos Sanchez (Carlos Gomez), the Medical Examiner, discover who provided the gun to Shane, and that leads them to homicide number two and the real mystery of this episode: who is supplying whom with illegal guns?
Getting to the truth of the matter hasn’t been this personal for Jim in awhile, it seems. Something shifts in his eyes while interrogating Shane and throughout the rest of the investigation Jim is more tenacious than usual. He puts multiple members of the FDLE to work—even the (never before seen) evidence guard, Ed (Christian Clemenson), gets to go undercover at one point.
Jim makes two relatively dangerous enemies in the process: a sketchy ex-con named Clay (Joel Tobeck) who sells guns at a barely-legal flea market, and Gerry (Brett Rice), a sporting goods store owner who happens to have a sizable inventory of weaponry. Trying to out-think Jim (never really a good plan when this show is on its game), I spent the better part of the hour trying to figure out which was the bad guy and ended up wanting to lock both up for being idiots. While they may have been within their legal rights selling the weapons, each plays a part in killing two people and completely wrecking a teenager’s life.
This point is driven home when Jim finds himself talking a distraught Shane out of killing himself over his guilt. I always knew Jim was a good guy. One of the reasons fans invest in the show is to see how he’ll handle these tense situations. It’s clear he cares about Jeff and how this whole case is affecting him. But seeing Jim get through to Shane and hearing the shaky breath of relief he exhales when he’s able to wrap his arms around the kid and say, “it’s going to be ok,” tells me we’ve not seen the last of Jim’s multi-faceted personality.
Revved up from the near-miss with Shane’s suicide attempt, Jim manages to get tangled in a junkyard shoot-out. I was nervous for him (though I can’t say I didn’t love him simultaneously counting and dodging bullets), but I should have known with an “85% success rate in arrests” he’d be able to outsmart Clay, the flea market guy. But, when Clay cops to the illegal gun-running yet maintains he is innocent of the murder, I was out of guesses.
Another one of my favorite things about The Glades (we’ve previously discussed the appeal of Jim’s shirt-tucked-behind-badge ensemble) is the moment the light bulb goes on for Jim. Listening to Captain Manus (Michelle Hurd) lament the sheer volume of guns they impound from Clay’s junkyard storage, Jim realizes why neither of his suspects fits into the case’s puzzle. I didn’t see it coming, honestly, but it all makes sense in retrospect—which is the only way something like that works.
The ramifications of the case go far beyond getting the bad guy, though. High school is hard enough without the added impact of witnessing the death of a mentor, and Callie is a savvy mom—she knows Jeff needs to talk about what happened. The net of connections with Carlos and his daughter (whom Jeff met at her Quinceañera) shores up the needs of one teenager affected by this tragedy while painfully juxtaposing the solitude of another.
We are left with a little hope despite the haunting final image when Callie joins Jim for a beer—not as a date, but more as a confirmation of making it through to the other side for one more day.
Tune in to The Glades, Sundays 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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