"Sniper" is closest in plot to the Clint Eastwood film DIRTY HARRY. As we all know, DIRTY HARRY was about a rooftop sniper set in San Francisco, with Inspector Harry Callahan carrying a lot of big guns in response. Not only that, Harry carried his weapons with a zeal. The NASH BRIDGES twist to DIRTY HARRY is that this zeal is tempered when SIU member Michelle shoots a potentially wrong suspect. While DIRTY HARRY held a major fascination with weaponry (the infamous .44 Magnum and all), NASH BRIDGES doesn't and this is where they get in trouble.
The NASH BRIDGES sniper uses an updated BIG weapon (according to our gun expert - a Barrett .50 caliber rifle which shoots giant anti-aircraft type Browning rounds). This type of ammo shoots through cinder blocks, blows completely through automobiles, in short, any type of wound from such rounds is likely to produce a fatality. But who the hell are we - forensic pathologists? The NASH BRIDGES SIU (Special Investigation Unit) armed response during a rooftop surveillance is with handguns. Michelle shoots a suspect from across building rooftops - not impossible, but highly improbable. Counter-sniper activities are simply not done with handguns. In DIRTY HARRY, Harry Callahan swapped lead with the sniper with a BIG rifle (according to our gun expert - a .458 Winchester Magnum). If you're gonna portray big city cops, use the right equipment - rifles vs. rifles, not wimpy handguns shooting across windy rooftops.
In this third season, NASH continues to roll out interesting and appropriate guests. This Halloween-timed episode brings out Elvira as yet another San Francisco dominatrix. The funniest NASH BRIDGES moments involve these forays into San Francisco kink - remember Joe's encounter with a dominatrix last season (Episode 16 "Zodiac", another DIRTY HARRY-like episode). This time it's Harvey unzipping the leather mask of an armed robbery victim, not realizing that it's exactly what he wants. The appearance of gay Pepe adds to the outrageous humor, and Joe's Village People montage puts it right over the top.
"Sniper" seems to reach a crescendo in over-the-top humor, and Nash comments upon it by questioning Joe's relationship with Inger. Nash acutely observes that Joe is afraid to level with Inger, and thus avoid all the crisis and contortions Joe must go through every time. But will Joe change? We would then lose a lot of backstories and humor in the series, so that's not likely to happen.
For more, see synopsis for Episode 38