Nash Bridges (Don Johnson) is a high-action drama about a San Francisco police investigator who deserves his reputation as a topnotch cop, but who's not always so successful when it comes to his personal life. As a member of the elite Special Investigations Unit, Nash relies on his streetwise instincts, keen sense of humor and charm to work his magic on the streets of San Francisco.
The second season of Nash Bridges literally hits the ground running with an exciting rooftop chase that kicks off the opener, "Internal Affairs," and the pace rarely flags through episodes that deftly combine some genuinely exciting action set pieces, humor, and involving character-based drama. With his good ol' boy charm, Don Johnson is in his element as San Francisco Police Inspector Nash Bridges, a great cop, but whose personal life is a mess. The money episode this season, and one essential for fans of the series is "Wild Card," which reunites Johnson and costar Cheech Marin with their former partners in crime and comedy, Philip Michael Thomas and Tommy Chong. It's just like old times as Johnson and Thomas recapture the Miami Vice vibe (there's even a cigarette boat chase). As for Cheech and Chong, there are sly laughs at their former stoner personas. Anyone under the influence of the team in its 1970s heyday can't help but get a warm case of the munchies with a "Dave's not here" reference. Nash Bridges proved to be a great career launching ground. Series creator Carlton Cuse and fellow writer Shawn Ryan, featured in a season two "Roundtable" included as an extra, went on to Lost and The Shield, respectively. A pre-Clueless Brittany Murphy steals her scenes in the tense episode, "Night Train," as a dangerously unstable leader of a gang of thieves who take Nash and company for a wild ride. Barry Bonds, looking suspiciously less pumped up, is featured in the episode, "The Wrecking Crew," as a superstitious baseball player who hires Nash to find his treasured stolen car. On the home front, James Gannon takes a more prominent role this season as Nash's father, who moves in with his son in the episode, "Zodiac," a season benchmark, in which Nash recruits his retired mentor to help catch a Zodiac copycat (in this episode, the series loses the services of Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa's Lt. A.J. Shimamura). Nash's relationship with his college-bound daughter, Cassidy (Jodi Lyn O'Keefe) provides some of the season's most memorable moments. In the episode, "Gunplay," Cassidy is accidentally shot, putting a relentless Nash on the case of a spoiled rich gun dealer (Matthew Lillard). Nash Bridges was not as hip or trendsetting as Miami Vice, but its entertainingly offbeat tone arguably holds up better. --Donald Liebenson