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Series / Nash Bridges

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A Buddy Cop Show, with elements of both drama and comedy, that aired for six seasons (1996–2001) on CBS.

The show centers around the elite, unorthodox Special Investigations Unit (SIU) of the San Francisco Police Department. Inspectors Nash Bridges (Don Johnson) and Joe Dominguez (Cheech Marin) employ a slick, streetwise style to catch bad guys and are some of the best at it around. Fellow inspectors Harvey Leek (Jeff Perry) and Evan Cortez (Jaime P Gomez) acting as a Beta Couple to Nash and Joe. Other notable team members include Lieutenant A.J. Shimamura (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) in Seasons 1–2 and female inspectors Bryn Carson (Mary Mara) in Season 2, Michelle Chan (Kelly Hu) in Seasons 3–4, Caitlin Cross (Yasmine Bleeth) in Seasons 4–5, and Rachel McCabe (Wendy Moniz) in Season 6.

The show also featured the personal lives of the officers, particularly Nash, whose daughter Cassidy (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) was a series regular throughout its run. Also featured regularly were Joe's wife, Inger (Caroline Lagerfelt), and Nash's elderly father, Nick (James Gammon). A special mention should go out to Nash's yellow Barracuda convertible, which was such an integral part of the show that it even got its own Day in the Limelight episode.

Though the series copyright is held by Rysher Entertainment, for the show's last two seasons Rysher's logo was replaced with that of Paramount Television, as Paramount began distributing the Rysher library in the summer of 1999.

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.
  • Animal Disguise: In an episode focusing on a group of animal traffickers, at one point, they capture a bear that was being trafficked and keep it in a cage. The traffickers go after the bear to recapture it. When they get in the cage, the "bear" takes off his "head" to reveal he's actually Officer Ronnie and the traffickers are now under arrest.
  • 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 and opportunity as Caitlin blinds him with a can of hair spray, whacks him in the face with it, and then kicks him in the family jewels, enabling Caitlin to escape from her predicament not too long after this.
  • 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: Practically every cop who disagreed with Nash's signature style fell into this trope but Richard Bettina was a textbook example.
  • The Big Guy: Ronnie, the sergeant working at the SIU, recurring minor character. Usually silent. Across various episodes he is seen:
    • Handing urgent paperwork and passing messages to ever-busy main characters visiting the workplace.
    • Single-handedly operating a portable battering ram to break-open locked doors on raids.
    • Being a warden of sorts, doing the "booking", as Nash puts it, of various miscreants to cells of SIU, such as smaller fish villains who wouldn't cooperate.
    • Getting a bit dressed up and asked to look nasty to pass as a Russian mafia-like figure, to intimidate a witness who has apparently pulled a screwjob on Russians.
    • Lending a hand (with a gun in it) to raids when main characters' limited numbers don't cut it. Occasions when bad guys try to go melee on him never end well for them either.
    • Agreeing to participate in an armwrestling contest to the glee of Joe, who plans to gamble quite a penny out of it. Sudden appendicitis makes Ronnie drop out and sends Joe on a frantic search for a strong replacement.
  • 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.
  • Calling Out for Not Calling: Nash goes missing during an investigation. The rest of the SIU is worried because the last place he was seen was blown up by the villains. He later returns with the bad guys in tow to the relief of the others.
    Joe: Nash! Where have you been? Why didn't you call?
    Nash: My cell phone battery was dead. I was out on the water.
    Joe: Why didn't you call?
    Nash: I told you. My battery was dead.
    Joe: You had us so worried! You should have called!
    Nash: Hey, am I speaking English here?
    Joe: Well, we thought you were dead!
    Nash: You thought I was dead because I didn't call?
    Joe: No, we thought you were dead because of the massive explosion up at the storage yard!
    Nash looks at him in shock
    Joe: The whole place went up. There's nothing left.
    Nash: Not the 'Cuda! The 'Cuda's gone?
    Joe: No, the 'Cuda's fine.
  • Casting Gag: "Wild Card" features guest appearances by Phillip Michael Thomas and Tommy Chong. They are reunited, respectively, with Don Johnson and Cheech Marin.
  • Catchphrase:
    • 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". Calling everyone "Bubba" probably counts too.
    • Harvey seems to have adopted "He Didn't Make It, Nash." as one.
  • 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.
  • Cry Laughing: In "Jackpot" (an episode with a half a billion dollar crook at stake), upon receiving the cellphone call about Evan's death while being undercover and out of jurisdiction, and in front of the big bad guy, Nash has to maintain the facade, so he laughs hard while answering that what he's just heard is killing him, wiping his tears.
  • 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.
  • Forced Friendly Fire: Not as a part of the central episode story, at the start of "Knockout", a gunman gets distracted, incapacitated, and has his firearm still in his hand while it's being fired at his allies immediately after. That's what Nash does when that gunman tells him to sit tight and wait for a moving bridge to crush his partner cop Joe. From the way the bad guys call them at the moment, it looks like Joe has been exposed as an undercover agent, while Nash hasn't.
  • 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, enabling her to then whack him in the face with it and forcing him to turn around very quickly, giving Caitlin the chance and opportunity to kick him in the balls from behind which leaves the Russian mobster screaming out in a complete state of excruciating pain and that Caitlin is able to escape from her predicament not too long after this.
  • He Didn't Make It: Almost Harvey Leek's Catchphrase.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Nash and Joe. Also possibly Harvey and Evan.
  • Identical Twin Mistake: One episode involves a pair of twin brothers, one of whom is a city official while the other is a criminal. At one point, Bettina arrests the criminal, but lets him go when he claims to be the city official. Soon after, Bettina encounters the official and arrests him despite his protests. Being an idiot, Bettina doesn't ask for proof of identity either time.
  • Improbably Cool Car: Nash's Hemi Cuda. Given that less than ten of them exist, it's a mystery how he was able to afford it on a policeman's salary.
  • 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: Inspector Jake Cage's actor is the well-known professional wrestler "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and in his first appearance, he is accompanied by his Titantron music, i.e. his wrestling persona's entrance theme, complete with shattering glass sounds.
  • Lifesaving Misfortune:
    • The start of "Hit and Run" has Nash and Joe visiting a hacker friend in his office when Nash sees a car thief trying to steal the 'Cuda. He and Joe go outside to intervene. While they're dealing with the car thief, a bomb goes off in the hacker's office.
    • A variation occurs because of this. The car thief cuts the wrong wire while trying to hotwire the 'Cuda and renders it inoperable. While it's being repaired, Nash is given a Porsche to drive around in. The bomber tries again to kill Nash by planting a bomb in the Porsche. He accidentally sets it off and destroys the car. Thus, the car thief inadvertently saved the 'Cuda's life.
  • 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 drives his Hemi Cuda everywhere, even undercover. Given that there are roughly seven Hemi-powered Cuda convertibles in existence out of a grand total of just under 3,000 third-generation Plymouth Barracuda convertibles, it's an odd choice for an undercover cop trying to remain inconspicuous.
    • 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 girl slaves. 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.
  • Profane Last Words: One episode has the Villain of the Week hire assassins to kill Nash. One of them is a bomber who plants a bomb in the car Nash is borrowing. Unfortunately (for the bomber), he accidentally sets it off. His last words: "Oh sh..!"
  • 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.
  • Serial Killer: Several, but most notably The Prowler
  • Shot in the Ass:
    • Caitlin accidentally shoots Nash in his posterior in one episode. Its 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.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Skewed Priorities: One episode has the SIU investigate when a prison transport is raided and several prisoners escape. After Nash looks at the list of escapees, he walks into a nearby gourmet food store. He walks out a few seconds later with one of the escaped prisoners, a noted gourmand who decided that upper class food was more important than escaping. Even better, Nash knew he would do that.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss : Pretty much all Nash's love interests pretty much love him or hate him.
  • Terminally-Ill Criminal: A sting operation is disrupted by a former gangster executing the criminals but sparing Evan. The mobster is later revealed to have a terminal illness and is killing his former associates. Nash spares him, saying "When you die, it's on God's terms."
  • 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.
  • Unintentional Final Message: The bouquet of flowers Michelle orders to thank Nash for lobbying to keep her on the SIU doesn't arrive until after she's murdered by a serial rapist.
  • Wedding Ring Removal: One episode has Joe try to prove a point to Nash by removing his wedding ring and hitting on some girls. Unfortunately, he loses it and has to spend the rest of the episode trying to find it and keep Inger from finding out.
  • 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.