When you have a group of rough and tumble guys, and there amongst them is a young and beautiful girl, there is a tendency to protect that thing of beauty from all that is ugly. She is to be most treasured and beloved, and when it's taken away, you not only feel grief, but anger. Actress Kelly Hu departs the series in a heart-ripping and sad episode, as her character Michelle Chan is killed by the mad Prowler.
Who's responsible for this? Not the writers - they only do what they're told. This was a big executive producer decision that had to have involved The Man - Don, and/or Carlton Cuse. The most telling scene in "Hot Prowler" is when the SIU is hot on the trail of the Prowler. They bust into his apartment, but the Prowler has escaped. A tense Nash has a target in his sights, which turns out to be Michelle. But it's really Don Johnson targeting Kelly Hu, and now she's out of NASH BRIDGES. Next up is Yasmine Bleeth, as she pleaded (it was tongue in cheek, but you never know...) on a talk show "Please Don, don't fire me!"
We can be grateful that Kelly Hu departed in a dignified manner in an episode which promised the worst. The victims are assaulted in their bedrooms, in their underwear, tape over their mouths with lipstick grotesquely drawn all over their faces. The most recent victim, we are told by Harvey, was not sexually assaulted. None of this "creativity" befalls Michelle - she is assaulted in her living room, and in her street clothes, thank God. The potentially misogynistic police genre can do far worse, such as in the 1987 police film COP (starring James Woods as a cop dealing with a particularly nasty serial killer). Recent series such as PROFILER are well aware of it's misogynistic topic of creative ways of killing women - the PROFILER counter is to have a female investigator as the central character. But does this really work? Aren't women still the targets?
Nash tries to resuscitate the dead Michelle in a desperate attempt - we really see Don Johnson as a serious and fine actor here. He underplays (and therefore understates) the powerful emotion we all feel. Nash is really hurting, and we hurt along with him. And then to get those belated flowers from Michelle...
Killing off a character usually occurs at the end of a season when viewers have time to grieve and comprehend the loss. To do this so early in the season is to incur the wrath of viewers. We've never had so much e-mail and it is irate e-mail (the other e-mail deluge was the Season Three cliff hanger of father Nick's heart attack). People really do become attached to characters, and we can grieve along with Harvey as he cries alone in the SIU holding cell. But alas, people, the death of Michelle certainly wasn't as bad as Debra Norville replacing the beloved Jane Pauley on THE TODAY SHOW. Now that was bad...
And fear not fans, the lovely Kelly Hu is resurrected in MARTIAL LAW, the new Carlton Cuse series on CBS. Her role on the police show is not as dignified as on NASH BRIDGES, but so far, Kelly appears to have more exposure. She plays a deep cover police officer frequently clad in bikinis and slinky dresses as she socks it to the bad guys. It's almost as if Carlton pulled the hottest thing from NASH BRIDGES to jump start MARTIAL LAW. Standing beside that Sammo Hung guy (who is really, really ugly), Kelly Hu is even more stunning.
For more, see synopsis for Episode 57