'The Glades' Michelle Hurd talks Christopher Meloni, Matt Passmore and life in the Sunshine State

the-glades-location-ko.jpg"I love the Florida life," says Michelle Hurd of the A&E crime drama "The Glades." "I'm enjoying myself, can't complain. We come down here for five months out of the year. We have a great group of people together, a great set of actors; our crew is outstanding."

"The Glades" returns for its second season on Sunday, June 5 (a bit ahead of the season-one DVD release, on June 14), and it's already been in production for a while in South Florida.

Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, just north of Miami, "The Glades" shoots all over the area, including in the Everglades, to create the fictional town of Palm Glade.

On this Thursday in late May, the cast and crew are enjoying shooting some air-conditioned scenes in a glass-walled observation deck on the top floor of a Fort Lauderdale hotel, overlooking waterways and a marina.

But by afternoon, they'll be at Port Everglades, working out in humid, sunny conditions and temperatures expected to rise into the high '80s.

"The elements out here are quite challenging," says Hurd, "and if all the factors weren't as good as they are, it would be a challenging feat."

michele-hurd-glades-ande.jpgHurd plays Colleen Manus, the regional director for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. She has the unenviable task of keeping a semblance of control over Detective Jim Longworth.

Played by Australian actor Matt Passmore, Longworth is a former Chicago homicide detective who juggles improving his golf game with solving crimes in a deceptively relaxed and casual manner.

In Season One, Manus was often behind a desk, reading the riot act to Longworth on the other side.

"This year, they have Manus outside," says Hurd. "I kept saying, 'I troll the offices of the substation. That's all I do.' This year they have Manus more out [of the office], hanging out with Jim a lot more. She's definitely a presence to be reckoned with.

"There is some car pulling up, jumping out, wielding a gun sequence that we do. There's a moment of that. I think I'm causing a little bit of havoc for Jim's life."

Hurd is a veteran of the crime procedural, having spent season one and part of season two on NBC's "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," as Detective Monique Jeffries.

Recently, it was announced that series star Christopher Meloni, who has played Detective Elliot Stabler since the show's premiere in 1999, won't return for the 13th season this fall. His co-star, Mariska Hargitay, who plays Detective Olivia Benson, will be back, but only in some of the episodes.

"Those are long hours, like ours," says Hurd of working environments like "L&O:SVU," "We do serious hours, averaging like 14, 16; a light day would be 12, and that's tough. Both of them have kids.

"Next year, Mariska's cutting down extensively. I get it. There's a lot of stuff that [Meloni] wants to do, and this is an opportunity for him go go ahead and go for that golden ring. He's great. Meloni's great. I had a fun time. That was my first contract job."

Hurd may have long hours on "The Glades," but Passmore's are even longer.

"Matty?" says Hurd when asked about her co-star,. "I love Matt Passmore."

As to whether her husband, actor Garret Dillahunt ("Raising Hope"), knows of these feelings, Hurd says, "He does. He loves him, too. He's just a really good guy. There's something about his Australian work ethic. He's like a workhorse.

"Last year, he didn't have one day off. That's five months of heavy work and lines every single day, every single scene. That's an amazing feat.

"He's generous; he's funny; We laugh all the time. The fact that my days consist, basically, of running with Matt Passmore and hanging out at the beach -- I win. I'm just sayin', I win."
Photo/Video credit: Kate O'Hare, A&E