Throughout NASH BRIDGES, the character of Joe Dominguez has been a buffoon. As Nash's sidekick and comic relief, Joe is all too human and weak. Joe constantly thinks about eating (such as eating Lisa Cassidy's prize cake in one episode, or going to the kitchen to search for food and stumbling upon killers in another episode). Joe is dominated by women (such as wife Inger, and culminating in the encounter with a dominatrix in one hilarious episode). Even Joe's son JJ is a buffoon, setting fire to his dad's bar in another episode. In the episode "Road Work," Joe is offended that his slacker son JJ isn't good enough for Nash's daughter Cassidy.
"Inside Out" finally puts a turn around to Joe's buffoonery by giving Joe a dangerous undercover task. We discover Joe is good at a few things such as handball by beating mobster Ortiz at the game. We even get to see Joe's tattoos - the prison tattoos are probably fake, but the cannabis plant on Cheech Marin's ankle rings true given Cheech's indulgent past reputation.
It's not that the Joe Dominguez hasn't been validated - in the very first episode Joe was shot and seriously wounded. Joe has taken many beatings, and his toughness as a cop has been validated. But the combination of his comedic past, ethnic identity, and sidekick status has worked to undermine his overall position in NASH BRIDGES, and this episode attempts to shore up the credibility of the character.
The other notable issue in "Inside Out" is the representation of the prison system as thoroughly porous and corrupt. In NASH BRIDGES, a mobster has reach from inside prison to order people killed on the outside. "Inside Out" connects with the previous "Road Work" in presenting a legal system as corrupt and out of hand. "Inside Out" has a Head Guard as a hitman, a police officer taken prisoner, the potential killing of two police officers behind the walls, and the escape of two crime bosses. This outrageous vision centers Nash as the moral center of a corrupt maelstrom which requires good supercops to correct. We enjoy the action, but can we really believe this outrageous fantasy world? When the SIU goes to bust mobster Ortiz's gambling operation, all the cops (Harvey, Evan and Bryn) are all decked out in cool clothing and sunglasses, but nonetheless a police action is taking place, not a fashion show.
Through stylized montage, the pre-open teaser to "Inside Out" emphasize imagery over storytelling in establishing the undercover work and the subsequent death of Tony Sanchez. In this teaser, NASH BRIDGES most closely resonates the feel of MIAMI VICE with its undercover themes. But this jump backwards is associated with Joe Dominguez and Cheech Marin, and not with the new image of Don Johnson.
And finally, the character of Whitney Thomas is associated with pleasure and indulgence. We see Whitney drinking beer with Nash, and later, drinking wine with Nash. As Whitney says, "I am not one of those people who stops to stare at other people's car wrecks....Been in too many of my own if you know what I mean." Whitney is an experienced woman prone to indulgence. Father Nick turns out to be bit of a gambler (there's reference to poker and, of course, buying a race horse) as VICE starts to sneak into NASH.
For more, see synopsis for Episode 22