In the last handful of episodes, NASH BRIDGES has been a throwback to the older values of the police genre of the 1970s and 80s, a kind of Retro Cop. That post-Vietnam distrust of the system is making a comeback, a comeback that series such as THE X-FILES has exploited and built to new levels of paranoia. In "Revelations," (Episode 39) Nash found out his MIA brother had turned criminal; in "Most Wanted," (Episode 40) an irate Nash beats up a prisoner; and in "Bombshell" (Episode 41) a woman Nash once loved is on a tear through the City. Nash is increasingly put on the outside - outside of the Law, outside of the System. Nash distrusts everything from the courts to women - he's been betrayed by all except his loyal crew of SIU soldiers.
Things slip through the cracks that the police bureaucracy cannot handle or even acknowledge. "Found Money" continues in this vein, providing even further evidence of the inadequacies and corruption of the system. The re-organization of the police chain of command under one Director of Police Investigations (despairingly referred to as DOPI) is headed up by the buffoon Rick Bettina. Bettina is a recurring character from Season One. Bettina was initially a rival of Nash in the SIU, then later fired, re-surfacing as a skip tracer. His latest appearance is the result of nepotism at its worst, with his appointment being the result of Bettina's mother being recently married to the Chief of Police.
In a way, Nash and the SIU alienation from the police bureaucracy is part of the baggage that came with the Don Johnson cop persona developed from MIAMI VICE. The deep cover police officer Sonny Crockett operated in a world steeped in paranoia. But lately, NASH BRIDGES has been drawing more specifically from the world of DIRTY HARRY (it being San Francisco and all). The Season Three opening episode ("Lost and Found," Episode 34) gave an indication that things were going Dirty Harry. There was a chase seen in which Nash and Joe get in front of a speeding car to stop it. Joe gets out of the way - Nash doesn't. The car comes to a screeching halt inches away from Nash's legs. In a showdown between man and car, fearless Nash, with gun drawn, stops the car a la DIRTY HARRY in that famous bank robbery scene in which Clint Eastwood foils. The local of San Francisco just seems to bring out that kind of bravados and swagger.
For more, see synopsis for Episode 42