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This site is about the tv cop show Nash Bridges, starring Don Johnson, which aired on CBS with 122 episodes in 6 seasons. The series is currently syndicated in many television markets and is available on DVD.

 [The Original Unofficial NASH BRIDGES]

[NASH BRIDGES Frequently Asked Questions]
May 29, 1998

Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about NASH BRIDGES. This section helps newcomers to figure out the relationships between characters, the special meanings of recurring elements (such as why one of the characters wears a black armband), and memorable events or happenings in the ongoing narrative of the series.
 

QUESTIONS



* What's the show about?
* Who are some former SIU characters and other returning characters?
* What's the beef with Nash's two ex-wives?
* Does Nash have other family members?
* Nash's Black Book - Who's in it?
* What's the situation with Joe Dominguez?
* What's so special about Nash's car?
* What's so special about Nash's gun?
* What kind of music does Nash like?


 

ANSWERS




 

* What's the show about?

NASH BRIDGES is about the life and cases of Inspector Nash Bridges of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU). Lieutenant Bridges is acting head and boss of the SIU (no permanent leader has been appointed since the departure of Lt. Shimamura). Currently, SIU headquarters are located on a boat moored at the Hyde Street Pier, San Francisco. SIU cases range widely from burglary to murder, with members going undercover frequently.

An equally important part of the show is the personal relationships of Nash and his occasional off-duty cases with partner Joe Dominguez. Nash's father Nick lives with Nash in his spectacular apartment, and daughter Cassidy (from Nash's first marriage with ex-wife Lisa) lives in her mother's home. Both ex-wives have left the show (Wife No.1 Lisa is in Paris, Wife No.2 Kelly is in England). Partner Joe Dominguez is a close friend and confidant. Joe involves an often reluctant Nash in his off-duty cases which are lucrative but often embarassing (such as when Nash and Joe must pose as a gay couple).

Joe is the second ranking officer in the SIU in terms of experience. Joe has 20 years in the police department, retired briefly as a private investigator, and returned to the SIU. Joe engages in many money-making schemes on his off-time (such as acquiring a gay bar, or marketing his personal recipe for salsa). There are other regular characters in the Special Investigations Unit, ranked in order of their experience and importance:

  • Harvey Leek, a child of the sixties; Harvey is enlightened through his experience in the counterculture. He is enamored of the Grateful Dead (hence the black armband Harvey continues to wear since the death of Jerry Garcia). Harvey is also technically gifted, being the computer and surveillance expert;
  • Evan Cortez, young and ambitious; he is said to emulate a younger Nash. Evan pursues women with reckless abandon, including his forbidden (by Nash) relationship with Nash's daughter Cassidy. This has gotten Evan in trouble numerous times (such as when a one-night stand steals his badge).

Nash, Joe, Harvey, and Evan form the core of the SIU - all are in almost every episode. The newest member in Season 3 is Michelle Chan, replacing Bryn Carson from Season 2. Michelle is another ambitious rookie, occasionally getting into trouble from over-exuberence (such as getting involved in shooting incidences). Michelle rides a motorcycle, goes undercover, and has lock picking skills. She is a semi-regular - Michelle has had significant storylines involving her cases, though she has appeared in less than half the episodes of Season 3.

A prominent feature of the show are the locations and neighborhoods of the San Francisco Bay Area (see our feature photo spread on "The Locations of NASH BRIDGES") SIU headquarters are located in the touristy North Beach pier area; Chinatown is frequently used as well as famous restaurants and hotels. The famous hilly streets and bridges (there are five major ones) of San Francisco are traversed by Nash's bright yellow Barracuda. The surrounding Bay area is also used (especially Oakland: the Season 1 SIU headquarters was housed temporarily in an earthquake damaged domed plaza, supposedly in San Francisco, but it was really the Oakland city hall. By Season 2, SIU moved to the Hyde St. Pier).

Back to the questions.


 

* Who are some former SIU characters and other returning characters?

Nash's rival in the SIU during Season 1, bumbling Rick Bettina was fired from the SFPD, only to return later as a bounty hunter in "Moving Target" (Episode #29) in Season 2. In Season 3, Rick returns as, incredibly, Director of Police Investigations ("Found Money," Episode #42), because his mom has married the Chief of Police. A bogus position is created for Rick which he continues to occupy throughout Season 3. Rick manages to force Nash to take vacation time off to try to depose Nash as head of the SIU ("Downtime," Episode #46); and later Rick is framed for murder, and he goes to Nash for help ("Lady Killer," Episode #50). All told, Rick appeared in four episodes of Season 3.

There was Nash's boss Lt. A.J. Shimamura, pony-tailed and a martial artist, who left in "Zodiac" (Episode #16) for Hawaii after the one and a half seasons, leaving Nash in charge of the SIU. Played by the dynamic actor Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa, Tagawa was featured in the original first season open. The second season open is without Tagawa, and featured a different NB theme song.

There was Bryn Carson, tough yet feminine. Carson was more or less a background character in Season 1, and became a regular in Season 2, only to be gone for Season 3.

An infrequent gallery of street characters drift in and out of the series. Simone Dubois, (played by RuPaul), beautiful leggy transexual, appeared in a memorable Season 1 episode ("Javelin Catcher," Episode #5) and re-surfaces in Season 3 (Cuda Gráce, Episode #49). Gangster Ray Getz (played by Louis Mandylor), introduced in Season 2, re-surfaces in Season 3 ("Shake, Rattle & Roll," Episode #34).

Back to the questions.


 

* What's the beef with Nash's two ex-wives?

Nash's first wife Lisa (played by Annette O'Toole) is still angry and bitter over their break up. They continue to see each other because of their child, 16-year-old Cassidy. Apparently Nash has goofed big time with Lisa - Lisa blames Nash for missing their anniversaries, boozing and other women. Both Nash and Lisa are workaholics - Lisa is a caterer with a thriving business. Nash is still fond of Lisa inspite of her anger, and deep down Lisa still loves Nash. They're on again, off again as Nash assumes a bachelor's social life. After two seasons, actress Annette O'Toole as Lisa departed the show. Lisa's last appearance on NASH BRIDGES was in "Payback," Episode #33. An explanation is given for her disappearance in "Blackout," Episode #36 when Nash explains that Lisa has left for Paris to work as a chef.

Second wife Kelly Weld (played by Serena Scott Thomas) is another matter. Kelly is a society gal with a rich father. Her differences with Nash stem from their different class backgrounds. Kelly was hoping Nash would quit the police force after their marriage, but we know better - no way! Nash still loves Kelly, though he recognizes their irreconcilable differences. By the start of the second season in "The Brothers McMillan" (Episode #14), it's revealed that Kelly had a child out of wedlock with a former mobster, and she moves away to England with their daughter, exiting from the series. Kelly re-surfaces in Season 3 for an episode when she returns from England, only to be pursued by terrorists and not really being married ("Patriots," Episode #48).

Nash's private life is a rollercoaster ride. The state of his private life is represented by his apartment which is in another earthquake damaged building. Nash dates other women in between his on again off again romance with Lisa, the most serious being Whitney, his dad's nurse. Just as things get hot and heavy, it's revealed in "Knockout" (Episode #25) that Whitney is still married to a dentist, so Whitney departs promising to return to Nash. It appears to be the last of Whitney, as she never appears in Season 3.

Back to the questions.


 

* Does Nash have other family members?

Daughter Cassidy is headstrong and passionate in her beliefs. Much to the consternation of her parents, Cassidy posed nude for a safe sex poster in "Rampage" (Episode #27). Cassidy has also decided to delay college for a year to work on environmental causes. Father Nash is often upset with his daughter, but he accepts her actions and supports her beliefs. Throughout Season 3, Cassidy does not appear often. She stays in the background (with the exception of "Ripcord," Episode #37 in which her boyfriend turns out to be a thief), but Cassidy finally re-surfaces in Season 3 to end the season strongly with the discovery of her forbidden affair by her father. Cassidy finally agrees to go to college, but she insists on continuing her affair with Evan Cortez.

We meet Nash's sister Stacy and father Nick in Episode 4. Stacy L. Bridges is an Assistant District Attorney. She is tempermental and feisty, as witnessed by Stacy's handling of her father's trouble at his nursing home, resulting in getting Nick kicked out. Stacy seems to be much younger than Nash, as she is unmarried and committed to her career. It's later revealed that Stacy is a lesbian in "Knockout" (Episode #25) (months before ELLEN come out of the closet during the '96-97 season). Stacy is an infrequent character in Season 3, finally re-surfacing in the last two episodes of Season 3 for the collapse of father Nick.

Nick was a long shoreman for 30 years. He's a womanizer, cigar smoker, hard drinker and in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. Nick admits he's been harder on Nash than Stacy, but he loves his children very much. Nick is a source of affection and great sadness for Nash. Nick has come into money, $300,000 from a long forgotten real estate investment. Nick has bought a race horse with the money in "Inside Out" (Episode #22), and he and Joe Dominguez scheme of ways to make money from the horse. In Season 3, Nick has memorable moments such as getting arrested in "Skin Deep," Episode #43. The Season 3 cliff hanger is the physical collapse of an emotionally overloaded Nick, who has just found out he is to receive a belated Navy Cross and meeting his long lost love. Season 3 ends with Nick in some sort of coma (after suffering what appears to be a stroke).

The newest member of the family is sister-in-law Lynnette (Lisa's sister). Lynnette is free spirited and fun loving. She lives with Cassidy in Lisa's home with no apparently economic means of support (she does not work). Lynnette is well-traveled and experienced with men. She continully teases Nash, and trouble seems to follow her. Introduced in "Revelations," Episode #39, Lynnette (played by Suki Kaiser), brings home a one-night stand while visiting Cassidy. Lynnette teases Nash about kissing him in the "Cuda in "Dowentime," Episode #46. Lynnette and Nick get arrested in "Skin Deep," Episode #47, and create havoc for Nash. Finally in "Special Delivery," Episode #52, a boyfriend from Lynnette's past shows up trying to kill her after a misadventure in the South China seas.

Back to the questions.


 

* Nash's Black Book - Who's in it?

Nash's Romantic Involvements Other Than His Ex-wives. Thanks to Joy Margetts for supplying us with additional info.

Captain Sandra McCormick from "Javelin Catcher" (Episode #5)

Sandra comes on to Nash during their long surveillance in the 'Cuda, mentioning that there is a bed and breakfast not far away in Mendocino. Nash kisses her deeply in the 'Cuda. Later in her Fort Pacifica office, Sandra dumps Nash, but not before seducing a willing Nash on top of her desk.

Dana Traner from "Til Death Due Us Part" (Episode #10)

Dana's attracted to Nash when he goes visits her undercover in her job in a bookstore. The attraction proves too powerful for Nash to resist, and he ends up staying the night at her apartment. But the job gets in the way, and just as Nash is about to reveal he's a cop, all hell breaks loose. The romance is broken with a offended Dana.

Eve from "Night Train" (Episode #15)

Eve is a fellow SIU detective who comes on to Nash when it's her last day with the SIU. She never consummates with Nash, though they do get in a lot of kissy face with a willing Nash. Nash and Eve never get a chance to go any further because they get taken hostage in a BART train, and then poor frustrated Eve has to get herself shot in the leg. Paula Marshall, who played the semi-regular Eve, moved on to become a regular on the midseason 96-97 replacement sitcom CHICAGO SONS.

Whitney Thomas, starting in "Hit Parade" (Episode #18) and ending in "Knockout" (Episode #25)

Whitney was the most serious of Nash's romances, and it looked like she was going to be Wife #3 for awhile. Whitney is first introduced in "Hit Parade" when she pulls a gun on Nash and exits when Joe discovers Whitney's husband/dentist on a visit to the dentist in "Knockout." Whitney are a near regular, appearing frequently for seven episodes, but alas Nash remains single. There is a promised return once her situation with her dentist husband is resolved.

Karen Decker from "Out of Chicago" (Episode #28)

Nash falls for this fiery redhead cop from Chicago. Karen at first seems to be a bonafide top cop with a tough reputation, but after bedding Nash, things start to go sour. Nash closes in on her by baiting Karen with her own greed and arresting Karen in his apartment.

***

Our loyal reader Joy Margetts gives us this update for Season 3:

Sorry there are no encounters to upgrade this year, except for Mary Tad Butler in Lost & Found, (Episode #32). Boy Nash sure was a nice guy in that encounter. Apart from that, it has been near misses except for ex #2 Kelly in 'Patriots' (Episode #48). The mind boggles to think of Nashman celibate for so long. Maybe they will bring one of the ex's back next season.

Back to the questions.


 

* What's the situation with Joe Dominguez?

At the start of the series, Joe Dominguez was not officially a police officer, yet he participated in official police cases with Nash.

In Episode 1, Joe Dominguez is a private investigator (PI) already, having retired as a 20 year veteran as Nash's partner. Joe is on the case as a PI in the computer theft case, and is shot and seriously wounded. Joe seems to have been away for awhile as Joe is warmly greeted by Nash at the police headquarters.

In Episode 2, Joe has recovered from his wounds, but is separated from his wife Inger of 17 years. Joe is not on the case of the home invaders, but Joe's role joins up with the police case when Joe stays at Nash's apartment and the apartment is attacked by the home invaders.

In Episode 3, Joe is on the case of the Detroit drug kingpin because of a police clerical error in calculating his 20 year time on the force. Joe finds out he is 33 days short of retirement. After spending a few days as a traffic cop, Joe is forced back into the Special Investigations Unit temporarily. At the end of episode, Joe is going away with his wife Inger to Sweden.

In Episode 4, Joe is on the case as a PI hired to protect the Mayor from a mad bomber. Joe appears to have been away for a time as Joe warmly greets Nash with kisses on both cheeks. Joe also sports a cane, from his being wounded in the hip in Episode 1.

By the time the second season rolls around, Joe is firmly back on the SFPD in the SIU. Joe's not only back with wife Inger, but they have a baby girl at the end of the second season in "Deliverance" (Episode #31). Joe's son J.J. is introduced in "Leo's Big Score" (Episode #17). J.J. has dropped out of college and is unfortunately a bit of a ne'er do well and buffoon. Joe has acquired a gay bar though a dubious investment, and J.J. accidently burns down the bar in "Leo's Big Score." In "Inside Out" (Episode #22), we see Joe's tattoo, and find out that he is an expert handball player.

Throughout Season 3, Joe continues to have off-duty cases and money-making ventures. Joe's dad is introduced in "Special Delivery," Episode #52. Frank Dominguez is a former sheriff of Ruidoso, New Mexico. Memorable Joe mis-adventures include a potential long-lost daughter from Joe's sperm donation of 20 years ago in "Danger Zone," Episode #51; and Joe and Evan guard a Saudi Prince, with Joe accidentally tearing up a check for one million dollars in "Patriots," Episode #48.

Back to the questions.


 

* What's so special about Nash's car?

According to Nash in the first episode, the 1970 Hemi 'Cuda version which he drives is "one of 14 ever made." Since I'm not an expert on this car, we used our links to the World Wide Web and the Usenet News Groups to find out more about this very special Barracuda. There also seems to be a storyline connected to the car (Nash's brother Bobby owned the car) which has not been revealed yet. In Episode 4, it's revealed that Bobby disappeared over Cambodia during the Vietnam War, and this bit of info suggests that Nash has a strong sentimental attachment to the 'Cuda. The backstory to brother Bobby has yet to be elaborated upon at the end of the second season.

[JPG Image of rear of Barracuda (21K)]
One of the two cars used in the show with actual plates.

This particular version of the Barracuda is one of the Holy Grails of Muscle Car collectors. The "1 of 14" could be a reference to the convertible paired with the 426 engine. The 426 Drag Hemi is supposedly capable of 425 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, with 0-60 in 5.7 seconds - muscular indeed. The Official NB Site notes that it's a 426 Hemi engine with twin Carter AFB four-barrels. 'Cuda aficionados have already noted that the front grill of the car used in NASH BRIDGES in indicative of a 1971 'Cuda because of the quad headlights, not a 1970 'Cuda as the show states. In an appearance on the TONIGHT SHOW Don Johnson corrected this by noting the difference in the four headlights instead of two, but that the car was still a 1970 'Cuda.

But the 'Cuda aficionados continue to disagree because many small details about the car used on the show aren't original parts. Ian Mcdowall reveals:

"i'm a big fan of the show. being a chrysler freek, i always check out cars for originality. the problem with the cuda is the steering wheel. altough the wheel is a chrysler part,it belongs to a '75 & up duster, dart, aspen r/t, volare (roadrunner). notice the wheel on his car has 3 spokes and is foam wrapped? the original wheel is bigger in diameter, has ahard plastic rim, and only 2 spokes."

There is a clear photo of the 'Cuda steering wheel (keeping in mind that there are several 'Cudas used in NASH BRIDGES) in the First Anniversary Special photo spread. Jay Goldberg also disputes the stated 1970 model, which is really a 1971 model:

  • "The "gills" in the front fenders are a 1971-only feature.
  • The taillights are the 1971 style.
  • The center caps on the wheels are the dark 71 style, not the light 70 pieces."

Additionally, Jay notes:

"I seem to remember the interior being the 1971 style, too. Look for:

  • The nameplate on the dashpad, in front of the passenger seat. On a 70, the name will be a script embossed into the vinyl with plastic letters. On a 71, the nameplate turned into a rectangle with rounded corners. It would be kind of silvery-green metallic.
  • The stitching on the seats. On the 70's, the stitching ran kind of side-to side. On the 71's it ran front to back.
  • If the car has a console-shifted automatic transmission, on a 70, it will have a round ball for the handle. The 71 has a "T" handle. The console on either a manual or auto will have an ashtray at the rear of a 71, and holes for seatbelts on a 70.
  • The steering column on a 71 has a little ring to twist when removing the key."

Episode 4 entitled "High Impact," was also the color names Chrysler used, as Jay reveals:

"High impact was also Chrysler Corp's name for the bright colors painted on some of the muscle cars of the day. Check out a Plum Crazy, Panther Pink or Sublime car sometime, and you'll see why they used that name."

[JPG Image of front of Barracuda (16K)]
Clear shot of the front grill of the NASH BRIDGES production car;
that's not Don Johnson at the wheel. See the First Anniversary Special for more photos of the 'Cuda.

The carry over from MIAMI VICE is inescapable here - Don Johnson's "cool ride" in VICE was the Ferrari Testarossa. But everything about NASH BRIDGES is American, and the show reaches back to an earlier period for the ultimate "cool ride." Nash's 'Cuda proves its worth in its first appearance in the premiere episode: in an incident totally unrelated to the main storyline, a chase suddenly erupts solely to bring the 'Cuda into play. Nash's partner Evan kills the driver, and the car careens down an infamous San Francisco steep hill. Nash pulls in front of the out-of-control car and breaks both cars to a stop. In a neat twist on the obligatory chase sequence, the 'Cuda instead brings the other car to a stop.

In Episode 4, the title "High Impact" refers to the suicidal bomber who takes a leap off a hotel roof only to land on the 'Cuda parked below. The beautiful 'Cuda is shown with a badly smashed windshield and warped hood covered with blood. Nash, Joe and Harvey stand aghast as they assess the damage to the 'Cuda.

For an excellent article on the NASH BRIDGES 'Cudas, check out an article entitled "Nash Bridges of Mopar County" in the July 1996 issue of High Performance Mopar Magazine. Michael R. Smith's article really cuts through the confusion about all the details of the cars (all FOUR of the yellow 'Cudas specifically built for NASH BRIDGES). It might be more than the average person might want to know, but then you've got to be a fan of cars or NASH BRIDGES or Don Johnson if you're reading this far.

Special thanks to Stephen Lacker for the following summary of the High Performance Mopar article:

Suffice it to say that a *real* Hemi-powered Barracuda convertible of *any* year is far too rare to use for stuntwork in a TV series. According to High Performance Mopar magazine and others, four different non-Hemi Barracudas are used. 3 are smallblock cars (one 340, one 318 which was wrecked, and one with a 360 Magnum crate engine based on the current Dodge Ram pickup engine and available new through Mopar Performance). One is a genuine big-block strip-burner even if not a Hemi: a 440 6-pack that was converted to a single 4-barrel. The 440 car and the 318 car are actually '71 'Cudas, while the 340 car and the 360 car are '70 'Cudas with cosmetic changes to make them look like '71s (for whatever reason!).

For general 'Cuda information visit 'CudaNet. For general Mopar information visit Mopar Alley. For info on Chrysler's Hemi engine visit The Infamous Hemi.

Back to the questions.


 

* What's so special about Nash's gun?

Ah, another hardware question. Again, we went to the appropriate experts to get the most thorough answer. In NASH BRIDGES, Nash carries a two-tone black and silver finish .45 custom auto - the auto has a black slide mated to a chrome receiver. The gun is fitted with a compensator to reduce recoil. Without actually examining the gun, it could be .40 caliber instead of .45 - it's hard to tell just by looking.

According to our gun expert, it certainly would be appropriate for Nash to carry a .40 caliber. In another carry over from MIAMI VICE, Don Johnson not only has the coolest ride on television, but also the coolest gat. In VICE, he carried a Bren Ten, a experimental precursor to the current new police caliber known as .40 Smith and Wesson. The 10 millimeter Bren auto was one of the first handguns to be made of stainless steel, though the company that made the gun has gone out of business. The Bren Ten, made famous by VICE, is a collector's piece. The 10 mm round was a hot load, and the new .40 S&W is decidedly milder and easier to handle. The .40 S&W caliber has replaced the equivalent diameter 10 mm round, so it would be appropriate for Nash to carry a .40 caliber gun. But, unless confirmed by the NASH BRIDGES Property Master, we assume the NASH gun to be a custom .45 auto.

The Official site has supplied some specs on the Nash gun and a list of custom modifications done to the venerable .45 auto frame. The gun is in .38 Super (our gun expert tells us that this is an unusual choice of caliber, used mainly in the sport shooting of bowling pins and is decidedly retro. A more "cop" caliber would be .40 S&W or .357 SIG.) Though this info is from the Official Site, this may still not be what is actually shot through the gun. Other sources report that the gun is actually chambered to shoot 9mm, simply because 9mm is so available, inexpensive and easier to reload. .38 Super is simply not a widely used round. Either way, from afar, the Nash gun looks like the classic Colt .45 auto, no matter what caliber this special TV pistol is chambered for.

Back to the questions.


 

* Enough with the guns already. What kind of music does Nash like?

Ah, a software question. Nash and his pal, Joe Dominguez (played by Cheech Marin), are Allman Brothers fans. In the first episode, Nash and Joe chat about Joe learning "Whipping Post" on the guitar; and later in the hospital, Nash plays the Allman Brothers tune "Please Call Home" on the cassette player as Joe lies wounded. In the second episode, in a hilarious sequence, Joe Dominguez plays an improvised "Ramblin' Man" to drive the horny Cassidy and her boyfriend crazy.

What's interesting about NASH BRIDGES' use of Allman Brothers' music, aside from being scintillating trivia, is how the music is used to convey that Nash and Joe are beat up by the women in their lives - these are men that have been hurt by women. The Allman Brothers' music is used to evoke the kinship men feel in their alienation towards women. In the second episode, Joe's wife of 17 years, Inger throws Joe out of the house. The lyrics to "Whipping Post" are appropriate here - "I don't know why I let that mean woman make me a fool." The song is a lament about the ways in which women treat men.

David J. Acord, a visitor to this site and an Allman fan, informs us that Johnson is a personal friend of the Allmans, and even cowrote a song, "Bougainvillea," with Dickey Betts, guitarist and vocalist for the Allmans, way back around 1977 or so. The booklet accompanying the Allman Brothers boxed set reads thusly: "'Bougainvillea,' one of the high points of the record, was co-written by Betts and a struggling songwriter friend of his, Don Johnson, who was still years away from the celebrity status he would achieve as the star of 'Miami Vice.'" The record referred to is the debut album of Great Southern, Dickey Bett's spinoff band from the Allmans. David describes "Bougainvillea" as "a beautiful song, too--about seven minutes long, with beautiful Allmanesque solos."

Back to the questions.


 

We've dealt with work, women, cars, guns, and music. Stay tuned for more FAQs and updates. -- Gordon Hom


 
 
 

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