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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]

The McGuffin Episode
May 6, 1996

Gordon Hom

Director Alfred Hitchcock had a term for the plot device that propelled a story forward - Hitchcock called it the "McGuffin." The McGuffin is the thing that everybody wants and will kill to get. In this episode of NASH BRIDGES, the McGuffin is the Betting Book of a gambling czar. The police search and the criminal wheeling and dealing for the Book is never fulfilled and frustrated. The Betting Book is first taken from gambling czar Wolfgang Hertzog - then the Book comes and goes out of the possession of Juan Carlos; next the Book comes and goes out of the possession of Ian Weld; the Book then comes and goes out of the possession of cop Rick Bettina; and finally the Book comes and goes out of the possession of hitman Martin Flowers. Ultimately nobody ends up with the Book.

This twisting of Fate gives one a sense that we are not in control; we are pulled along by some Supreme Being (in this case, the writers of NASH BRIDGES) with a dark sense of humor and irony. Good guys and bad guys are equally frustrated - in this overview, NASH BRIDGES draws upon the noir genre. In noir, there is a pessimistic sense of doom and confusion. MIAMI VICE was described in this way, and that is part of the residual baggage that the Don Johnson persona carries from VICE.

What's different about NASH BRIDGES' derivation of noir is that Nash always salvages some sort of victory from all the plot shenanigans going on around him. Though the police never recover the Betting Book, Nash always triumphs over his bumbling rival Rick Bettina. When it is set up that Nash is going on vacation for the first time in years (it's revealed that the workaholic Nash has 4,336 consecutive work days - that calculates to well over 11 years), we're almost sure that Nash won't make it. But surprisingly, Nash does make his Hawaii flight appointment with his ex-wife Kelly, albeit a bit bruised and beat up.

The tone of this episode is Nash the working man who finds it hard to relax and get away from police work. Contrast this to the raucous and wild last 2 episodes: "Javelin Catcher" with outrageous RuPaul, and "Vanishing Act" with flaky Harvey and Shimamura's karaoke act. The mood swings of NASH BRIDGES keeps you on a rollercoaster ride, wild one week and smooth and sensible (well, as much as a person with giant holes in the wall of his home can be) the next.

* For more, see synopsis for Episode 7


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