If I were to tell anyone that I'm a fan of Nash Bridges, inevitably I'm going to be met with a skeptical facial expression. But for anyone whose a fan of the show, then they may understand my empathy toward the show which I find to be one of the best. These days, cop shows are all serious about the case as the story at hand which seemingly neglects the characters by treating them as just plot puppets who always know right from wrong. One of the few shows that's really staying the course is a show like "Monk", which in addition to it's stories are also in tune with it's characters. If anything, "Monk" is like a successor to Nash Bridges because it was about a cop in the San Francisco Bay Area. But while Monk is a former cop, it's still set in their hometown and it's as much about the characters as it is with the story.
Nash Bridges debuted in 1996 on CBS and was a moderate hit. But after five years (which is pretty good for a series these days), it managed to stay pretty well. But as the last season closed up for what was supposed to only be the season finale, it shaped up to be the show's end which like many shows these days, leaves a lot to be asked since there wasn't resolution. As for the show's last season, I can understand why they killed off Evan (Jaime Gomez) and why they showed his downward spiral and redemption before his death. Whatever decision makers were behind it, probably wanted to shake things up. But in the process, things seemed to have fallen a little bit when his fiancée Cassidy (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) decided to join the police force. But it seems like the chemistry was thrown out of whack and things became questionable like the fate of Joe (Cheech Marin) and if he was going to remain with the show or move permanently with his wife to Sweden.
But aside from those negative comments, Nash Bridges was a genuinely good show that was consistently entertaining: it was hip without avoiding cheesiness, it was funny without being stupid, it was well cast with likable actors in the parts and it had a more unusual approach to your standard cop show, adding colors and layers to both the story and the characters. How each story seems to revolve around the subplots of the characters like Joe's get rich-quick schemes, Evan and Cassidy's relationship, etc. It was about the personal lives of all these people who either live or work together. Plus, unlike most shows or movies, it was shot in San Francisco and virtually felt like it was there. Seeing local favorites like the LeVideo rental store, Fisherman's Wharf and Chinatown were just a few of the city's highlights that made appearances on the show.
Plus, the cast itself was very inspired. Don Johnson easily manages to take a character that's ideal for both his age and experience. His lead character as Nash Bridges is a no doubt, wise man whose seasoned time in the SF police force hasn't made him a hardened cop but a lovable wisecracker who treats everyone with the respect they deserve. Although his personal life isn't as decorated as his career since he's been divorced twice, his lifelong devotion to the police force, and his relationship with his family. Furthermore, it's his chemistry with Cheech Marin which is pitch perfect since the two of them both manage to balance genuine drama and lighthearted comedy. Basically where Nash finishes, Joe begins and so on. Behind all this is everyone else like Jaime Gomez's Evan, a younger cop who thinks with his heart but acts with his you know what. His partner Harvey (Jeff Perry) is dead on good casting, putting a veteran character actor into the mind of an aging hippie with a serious passion for The Grateful Dead and for police work, can make it both funny and dramatic. Yasmine Bleeth was also good as Caitlin, the D.A. who proves to be both a thorn in Nash's side but also a good catch. Plus Jodi Lyn O'Keefe as Nash's strong willed, independent, precocious daughter and James Gammon (good casting based on looks alone in comparison to Johnson) as Nash's feisty, never let you get the best of 'em father. There's also the revolving door of actors who pass through, all giving it something like Cary Hiroyuki Tagawa, Daniel Roebuck, Tracey Walter, Wendy Moniz and Cress Williams.
I'll just say this, Nash Bridges is a genuinely good show, especially for ones looking for something a little different in a cop show that's not only about the story, but about the people too. It can't fail in entertaining you, especially if you're willing to watch it with an open mind and a good sense of humor.