and Cheech Marin
star as Nash Bridges and Joe Dominguez in this 1990s buddy cop show with elements of both drama and comedy about the unorthodox SIU squad of the San Francisco PD. The cops use a slick streetwise style to catch bad guys and are some of the best at it around. It also featured Detectives Harvey Leek and Evan Cortez as a Beta Couple
and fellow members of the SIU team.
Other notable team members include Kelly Hu
as Michelle Chan (1997-1998) and Yasmine Bleeth as Caitlin Cross (1998-2000). The show also featured the personal lives of the officers particularly Nash, his daughter Cassidy was a series regular throughout its run. Also featured regularly were Joe's wife, Inger, and Nash's elderly father, Nick. A special mention should go out to Nash's yellow Barracuda convertible, which was such an intergral part of the show that it even got its own Day in the Limelight
This series provides examples of:
- Affectionate Nickname: "Nashman", not displacing the proper name, but heard quite often courtesy of Joe, Harvey and Evan. Or occasional good buddies from outside the SIU.
- Analogy Backfire: In "One Flew Over the Cuda's Nest", Evan is nervous about failing an upcoming written test and therefore getting booted from SIU. Harvey urges Evan to relax, promises to tutor him, dismissively comparing taking these tests and getting a woman in the sack, there being a formula to it. Evan responds that in that case he should be the one doing the tutoring.
- Artistic License - Medicine: Nash's father early on suffers major memory lapses on-screen attributed to Alzheimer's disease for drama. Then the supposedly irreversibly (as a never again mentioned Alzheimer's would have it) demented old man is good enough to tend to his own needs, own a race horse, conspire to bed the chicks from retirement houses and otherwise participate in his own miniplots.
- Attempted Rape: In the episode "Power Play", a Russian mobster attacks Caitlin at a nightclub while she's undercover as a prostitute and that he tries to have his way with her, but he doesn't get the chance as Caitlin blinds him with a can of hair spray and then kicks him in the family jewels, sending him to the floor in a state of excruciating pain while Caitlin wastes no time in escaping the scene.
- Batman Cold Open: Most shows start with Nash in the middle of solving a case
- "Blow Out" starts with Nash and Joe cuffed to a pipe inside a derelict building. They fail to break free, cut to Harvey and Babcock failing to bring halt to the demolition team effort in time, the chain explosions bring down the multistoried article. Roll the opening credits sequence, and the main part of the episode starts with a "yesterday" caption.
- Bad Cop/Incompetent Cop: Pretty much any Cop who disagreed with Nash's signature style fell into this trope but Richard Bettina was a textbook example.
- The Butler Did It: In "End Game", in the secondary plot line about who framed Bozz Bishop as the murderer of the family gardener. When Bozz sees where Nash is going with his explanation, he utters the trope name and mockingly asks who the hell was going to believe that.
- Casting Gag: "Wild Card" features guest appearances by Phillip Michael Thomas and Tommy Chong. They are reunited, respectively, with Don Johnson and Cheech Marin.
- Catch Phrase: In his line of work, Nash often gets to utter an exit dialogue phrase "Hold that thought", and whenever he's the one about to handcuff or at least offer to handcuff a baddie there's a high probability of hearing "Slip into these".
- Chair Reveal: Invoked in "Blowout" by Rick Bettina, who in his naked glory gives a surprise greeting for his girlfriend at her place. The reunion gets cut short by cops looking for the prison escapee Rick.
- Clear My Name happens more than once at one point the entire squad is framed for corruption
- Cool Car: The aforementioned 'Cuda.
- Cop Show: Bodycount is ticking and ticking, with villains executing their own mooks, mooks killing Too Dumb to Live witnesses, SIU coming on top out of shootouts against the bad guys. Main cast has much of informal moments, including the stretching of proper procedures regarding witness interrogation and dealing with minor criminals. Nash often gets to call favors left and right if it's needed, from local small caliber crimelords.
- Curb-Stomp Battle: By the end of the "End Game", the real-world deathmatch game masterminds are at their warehouse, when Nash phones them about this being it, large police force having the exit at the gunpoint. After some bragging about getting the game to the next level, the bad guys duo jumps outside the door all pistol-blazing macedonian-style to instantly have two rifle Discretion Shot shots end them dead in their tracks.
- Curse Cut Short: In "Hit And Run", an assassin accidentally sets off the bomb he's installing in a car. His last words: "Oh sh-!"
- Distracted by the Sexy: One episode has the squad face off with a group of computer technicians. At one point, the technicians hide a camera in the squadroom, but the officers find out. The solution: have Rachel stand in front of the camera and have the officers arrest the technicians while they're ogling her breasts.
- Face-Heel Turn: In "Curveball", soon after getting laid off the job for creating a gas leak as booming suspect-scare tactics, Bettina manages to get one step ahead of investigating team and grab a suitcase of cash off the bad guys. He decides to keep the money and run and gloats about it over the phone, then he ends up booking the seat next to Nash and Caitlin on a same plane.
- Flushing Toilet, Screaming Shower: In "Sacraments", Evan and Cassidy still keep their romantic relationship secret from most of the other cast, especially from Nash, Cassidy's father. When conveniently allergic at the moment Joe drops by just when the two have their shower together, he flushes a tissue down the toilet. He discovers Cassidy since she can't stay put in hiding behind Evan.
- A Fool and His New Money Are Soon Parted: Joe puts his million dollar check (received from one grateful arabian prince, in "Patriots") into a shredder, to show how sure he is that it is a worthless IOU. The bank guy calls next moment to ask what currency Joe wants his money in.
- Freudian Excuse: It's almost a running joke in the first few seasons that Evan Cortez is basically a younger version of Nash. Naturally, his daughter Cassidy winds up dating him later in the series.
- Go-to Alias: Nash goes by Teddy Malone when working undercover.
- Groin Attack: In the episode "Power Play", Caitlin is attacked by a Russian mobster at a nightclub while she's undercover as a prostitute. When the Russian mobster attempts to have his way with her (in other words, Attempted Rape), Caitlin uses a can of hair spray to blind him and as he turns himself around while trying to get back his sight, Caitlin kicks him in the balls from behind, causing him to fall down to the ground in pain while Caitlin quickly escapes.
- He Didn't Make It: Almost Harvey Leek's Catch Phrase.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: See Curse Cut Short above.
- Killed Off for Real: Michelle Chan in season four and Evan Cortez in season five.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Jake's actor is well-known as a pro wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and first two times he's in an episode of the show, his first appearance on screen is accompanied by his Titantron music, i.e. his wrestling persona's entrance theme, complete with shattering glass sounds.
- Married to the Job: Both of Nash's divorces are due to him prioritizing work (although Lisa mentions booze and women as entries in the laundry list too). "Aloha, Nash" reveals that Nash is about to have the first vacation over the whole 20 years of service. In "Downtime", Bettina plots to force Nash out of picture by having him take the 10-months-plus of the accumulated vacation time then and there.
- Metallicar Syndrome: Nash Bridges' Hemi Cuda (which there are like 7 in existence). He, a renowned decorated successful police force officer, drives it everywhere even while undercover at times.
- In "Skin Trade", Nash sits in his Cuda some 100 meters in sight from the restaurant entrance, while Frankie Dwyer comes by limousine, comes out on the side facing Cuda's direction, ain't sees nothing and proceeds to a meet with an undercover cop to make a deal on asian girlslaves. The same Frankie that had quite a few run-ins with Bridges personally, and had clashed with him, and was put in a wheelchair courtesy of a bullet from Nash's gun, and is going to hire killers few episodes later.
- The Mole: In "Cat Fight", Rachel is revealed to have been deliberately planted into the SIU all along (the need being to get rid police force of "corrupt cop" Nash Bridges). The scene shows some chastising for harboring regrets about having to sell out good people.
- Mook: First episode. Nash calls the freshly assigned to work under him Evan that, as Evan's jumping the gun has caused a run-in with random suspects turn into a wild maneuvers car chase, a gun shootout, death of suspects, barely prevented civilian casualties, some panic, and heavy damage to his precious Cuda.
- Pretty Fly for a White Guy: Bozz Bishop.
- Pretty in Mink: In the first episode, Nash's girlfriend wears a fancy jacket with a large fur collar.
- Production Posse: Show creator Carlton Cuse went on to co-create LOST, a show whose actors have a pretty wide overlap with this one. Notably, Cheech Marin is Hurley's papa and Jeff Perry was Sawyer-victim Frank Duckett.
- Relocating the Explosion
- In "Patriots", Nash drives the car about to explode (due to a terrorist ploy) to an abandoned lot.
- In "Rock and a Hard Place", first-day recruited Babcock drives a some-hundred pound of C4 car (found in SIU parking lot) off a pier into the water, where it promptly blows up somehow not making much damage.
- Right Hand Versus Left Hand: In "Javelin Catcher", Evan arrests a man for soliciting a prostitute and releases him. Nash is a little annoyed about the release because the same man was wanted for attempted murder. He almost mentions the trope by name.
- San Francisco
- Serial Killer: Several, but most notably The Prowler
- Shot in the Ass: Caitlin accidentally shoots Nash in his posterior in one episode. It's title? "Shoot The Moon".
- An early episode involves Nash's daughter being accidentally shot - at school! - by another student who was carrying a revolver. She was also shot in the ass, presumably so that Nash could angst over his daughter's injury without her being left seriously injured.
- Slap-Slap-Kiss : Pretty much all Nash's love interests pretty much love him or hate him.
- Spiritual Successor: It's Miami Vice, in the 90s, and on the other side of the country.
- Two episodes even had Phillip Michael Thomas as a guest star.
- Tsundere: Inger. It was rare that she was even mentioned onscreen when she wasn't pissed off at Joe although he often deserved it like the time he burned the house down trying to save a few bucks.
- Wham Line: "Nice girl. Tell me, where do we know her from?"-Nick to Nash about Cassidy. To put this into perspective, Cassidy is Nick's granddaughter and Nick suffers from Alzheimer's which has just gotten worse at this point.