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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]

Blue Willie
September 26, 1997

Gordon Hom

This episode with special guest star Willie Nelson was shot last season and only aired now. We've received reports of its location shooting from NB fans, and there was even a sighting of Willie Nelson. This episode aired in Britain last season according to information from our British fans. "Payback" features the now old open with Annette O'Toole and Mary Mara. As regular NB watchers now know, Annette and Mary are no longer in the new third season open, so these may be the last appearances of Annette and Mary.

The familiar story structure of "Payback" borrows from the 1982 film 48 HRS. (among others), with convict Eddie Murphy being temporarily released from prison to help cop Nick Nolte search for fellow heist members in a caper gone bad. In "Payback" Willie Nelson plays the convict, and Don Johnson is the cop. The NASH BRIDGES version has none of the pizzazz of the movie. The relationship between convict and cop is not nearly as developed.

Willie Nelson has played convicts before as a zen-master thief in the 1981 crime thriller THIEF, so Nelson fits the image of a broken down old convict like a latex glove. In "Payback" Nelson is decidedly down key and sad with Nelson (as Earl Dobbs) appearing shockingly decrepit and aged. Nelson wears his soul and spirit on his face and eyes. The relationship between Earl and Nash never really connects, though Nash does come to respect Earl in the tragedies of his life. The sad ending with Earl singing "Amazing Grace" as he spreads the AIDS-ridden ashes of his son into the Bay pokes through the superficialities of this episode.

The very sad ending seems almost overwrought in contrast to the silliness of the Lisa story. Lisa's new business partner is a philandering, double-dealing crime against women. Robert Croft is married with four children who has a mistress. Croft plans to steal Lisa's food company and give the company to his mistress. This misogynist is double- dealing three women (his wife, his mistress, and Lisa), and yet what kind of "Payback" does he receive? Croft gets a stern talking to from Nash - he doesn't even get roughed up by Nash. Maybe Lisa should seek the services of DELLAVENTURA instead - as a private eye/vigilante Danny Aiello would bounce this creep around some.

The other interesting guest in "Payback" is Shannon Tweed, former Playmate, star of the defunct syndicated series FLY BY NIGHT, and star of numerous straight-to-video movies featuring her breasts. Shannon doesn't have the demure mysteriousness of THE X-FILES Gillian Anderson, but her guest role in "Payback" is so minimal. With two interesting guests (Willie Nelson and Shannon Tweed) so low key and buried in "Payback," NASH BRIDGES is exhibiting a whole lot of wastefulness.

* For more, see synopsis for Episode 33


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