Don Johnson and Cheech Marin reunited for a Nash Bridges revival over the Thanksgiving weekend. And Johnson said he was attracted to his old show because it offered different generational takes on how to solve crimes.
Two aging buddy cops cruising the streets of San Francisco in a yellow convertible represented the perfect vehicle, figuratively speaking, to tell the story.
Johnson told reporters of the Nash Bridges plot: “There’s a line I ad-libbed that I think encapsulates what we’re talking about here. We’re checking our guns and Steven says, ‘What are you doing?’ and we say, ‘We’re checking our guns.’ ‘What for?’ ‘To be ready.’ And he says, ‘Have you ever thought about talking to people?’ Nash goes, ‘Yeah, I love to talk to people if they’re not throwing hot lead at me.’”
Johnson was referring to Steven Colton portrayed by Joe Dinicol. Steven is the younger boss.
In the opening scenes of Nash Bridges, Johnson and Marin’s Joe Dominguez are tracking a man suspected of sex trafficking teenage girls. The two worked for San Francisco’s Special Investigations Unit. A bullet from Joe’s gun accidentally pierced a gas truck. The suspect died in the ensuing explosion. Nash and Joe were suspended from the force.
The movie then picks up a year later. Captain Lena Harris, who worked with Nash’s daughter, asks Nash to come back to the unit to find a serial killer. Joe was working for a marijuana distillery, but Nash talks him into serving as a consultant on the case.
CBS Cancelled Original Nash Bridges in 2001
The original Nash Bridges ran from 1996-2001. CBS canceled the show, in part, because it was losing the ratings battle to Law & Order: SVU. Plus, Johnson was growing tired of the role. He spent most of the 1980s playing Sonny Crockett on Miami Vice. So he spent a huge chunk of his TV career portraying cool cops.
Meanwhile, Carlton Cuse, who created Nash Bridges, turned to a different, but significant TV project — Lost. Damon Lindelof, who created Lost, started his career as a writer on Nash Bridges.
Now, back to modern day Nash Bridges and its themes of old school versus the kids.
Executive producer Bill Chais said he wanted to highlight both ways of solving a crime, without judgment on which way was best.
“The idea is someone who’s older and came up a different way actually has something to teach and actually has a lot to learn,” Chais said. “And we felt that it went both ways. We never wanted to be preachy. We always wanted to be sensitive to the issue that the world is different.”
Nash Bridges, Chais said, “wasn’t part of any problem, but the world has changed and maybe there is more he could do to be part of that.”