Nash Bridges TV Poster Image

Nash Bridges

(i)

 

San Francisco-set whodunit is mostly syndicated TV filler.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The main characters are police officers, so they're basically "good guys." But one is a twice-divorced man-child with a brother who's a heroin smuggler, another is a get-rich-quick schemer with an alcoholic past, and a third is an aging '60s deadhead. Other characters plot ways to get each other into bed, and Nash's dad rents his body to pharmaceutical companies for drug testing. Nevertheless, they're all technically on the right side of the law.

Violence

There are guns, explosions, and violent crimes aplenty (including murder), though very little on-screen gore.

Sex

Not too much shown, but the characters are no strangers to innuendo. The characters get involved in romantic relationships during the series' run.

Language

Typical for primetime network fare -- "damn," "hell," etc.

Consumerism

Nash drives around in a bright yellow '71 Barracuda convertible that's practically the co-star of the series, and much screen time is devoted to proclaiming the wonders of this car over all others.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

At least one character has a backstory that involves running a drug-smuggling ring, and another has his career ruined by a DUI charge.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although this '90s show's themes -- crime, sex, and drugs -- make it iffy for tweens and young kids, it's lighter in tone than a lot of other crime/detective procedurals and is mostly age-appropriate for teens and up. Expect gunfire and explosions (though little on-screen blood) and some innuendo and drug references.

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What's the story?

NASH BRIDGES follows a ragtag group of detectives that's part of the "Special Investigations Unit" -- an advanced (and fictional) division of the San Francisco Police Department. The SIU is led by colorful Nash (Don Johnson) and his equally quirky partner/best pal Joe Dominguez (Cheech Marin). While there's no real overall plot arc to the series -- each episode is a self-contained whodunit crime story in the vein of classic 1970s TV cop shows -- character development does link from season to season. \

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Nash Bridges ran for six seasons (1996-2001) before being cancelled; it's frankly remarkable that the show could be stretched out that long. It chiefly traffics in tired TV cliches: several characters begin and end romantic relationships; a long-lost brother returns from 24 years of self-imposed exile; beloved characters are killed just before being married; the main characters leave the force and start their own detective agency, etc. The dialogue is either tired or forced, and sometimes both simultaneously.

One way the show maintained fair ratings throughout its run was through inspired stunt casting; in one episode, both Philip Michael Thomas (Johnson's co-star in Miami Vice) and Tommy Chong (Cheech's partner through the drug-addled 70s) guest starred. Other notable guest appearances included author Hunter S. Thompson, baseball legend Barry Bonds, and Glenn Frey of The Eagles. But none of them could disguise the fact that the stock characters display no real motivation for their actions, the bad guys are usually laughable, and the recurring jokes are groan-inducingly lame. The charcters' fashions, attitudes, and even hairstyles seemed silly even back in the late '90s; at this point, the show's only really useful function is as a time capsule of what network TV once considered "edgy."

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the different types of crime dramas -- lighthearted ones like this and darker shows along the lines of CSI. Which do you prefer, and why? Which do you think is more realistic? Families can also discuss what it's really like to work in law enforcement. Why do some men and women choose to risk their lives to keep our communities safe? How does the media typically portray them? Is that accurate?

TV details

Premiere date:March 29, 1996
Cast:Cheech Marin, Don Johnson, Jeff Perry
Network:Syndicated
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-PG
Available on:DVD

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