29 April 2002 | jefu
great characters rescue a standard crime drama
Nash Bridges is a more or less routine crime/police drama series, the usual suspects, the usual plots and so on. Its nowhere near as good as the original "Spenser" series, nor as flashy as "Miami Vice".
What rescues this series from mediocrity is the cast. Don Johnson - as Nash Bridges - is just ok as the Infinitely Wise and Wonderful cop who Solves Every Case in the last five minutes of the show. The one human touch to Bridges is his oddly busy but not overly successful love life.
What makes this show fun, and very worth watching is the supporting cast - in particular Cheech Marin (playing Joe Dominguez) as the sidekick. But unlike many sidekicks, he is a real character - played for humour, it is true, but not just one dimensional. It may not sound right to say that Johnson and Marin have "chemistry" on screen, but they very definitely do. This adds a nice quirky touch when they are repeatedly taken for a gay couple (in odd situations) by a gay man.
Toss in a few more excellent supporting actors - especially Jeff Perry as Harvey Leek, a detective and James Gammon as Bridges father (though the continuity on his Alzheimers is seriously missed) and the show really starts to work.
The finishing touches are added in by some continuing plot elements - Mr Woody the racehorse somehow acquired by Domingues and Bridges father, Dominguez' marriage to Inger - a swedish woman - is romantic and successful - but with both sides seeing the others problems. Leek's fascination with the Grateful Dead. Angel the Angel. The ghostly disco music in the police station (which is in a boat that was evidently used for raves). Dominguez' schemes for making money.
The show manages to maintain a sense that the people involved had fun, and dont take it too seriously. One fun episode paired Don Johnson with his partner in Miami vice (Philip Michael Thomas) and Cheech Marin with his ex-comedy partner (Tommy Chong) and a wonderful scene takes place in a marijuana buyers club - playing off the "Cheech and Chong" drug themes.
In another episode, Dominguez directs traffic in grand style on Halloween to the sound of the Village People song "YMCA" (all the funnier if you've seen people dancing to the song and making the letters "Y", "M", "C" "A" as they dance).
If you want serious crime drama - go for something else - if you want a relaxed, easy to watch show with the requisite Car Chases, Guns and Nasties and with fun characters, tongue in cheek humour and a cast that rarely lets you down, this is made to order.