With the November sweeps over, and the week before Christmas, (a traditionally low viewer period), perhaps it's good timing to pull out one of the weaker storylines. At the end of "Dirty Tricks", even Nash himself admits "I had enough of international intrigue for awhile. I prefer our home-grown wackos." "Dirty Tricks" is a spy-like episode with British assassins operating in San Francisco under the guise of diplomatic immunity. But why do they have to be British (a la the 1989 movie LETHAL WEAPON 2, but they were South Africans, aw - close enough)? Why not a more hostile foreign power like Iraq or Libya? Well, in these multi-cultural times, there are two sides to such a storyline. On the negative side, what is more xenophobic than a fear of foreigners operating in the US with impunity? They come into this country with a blatant disregard for law. If these Bad Guys were anything other than British, how would that play? It would appear to have racist overtones, like the traditional ethnic Bad Guys of the past. Even worst, it would appear to have an anti-immigrant bent, especially in ethnically diverse California.
The Joe Dominguez backstory reinforces the multi-cultural tone and the notion of British Bad Guys. Wanting his child to get into the exclusive Tuffnel Pre-School, a desperate Joe uses an Afro-American mother and her child to substitute for the missing Inger and baby Lucia. Nash is mistaken for the father of the Afro-American baby Viola. The Tuffnel School ends up accepting Viola, but not Lucia. The State Department representative Pat Grayson is an Afro-American woman. NASH BRIDGES has already armored itself by having Mexican Joe (does that sound like a restaurant?) married to the Nordic blond hair, blue-eyed Inger. Then there's the emphasized Asian presence of new SIU member Michelle, who arrests Lemon Head, a car thief Michelle can't help arresting.
On a more nebulous tone, who are these British assassins working for? They try to hire rapist/killer Leyland Monroe to kill a Middle Eastern terrorist (ostensibly for the common good) - so just who and what interests do these "Bad Guys" represent? There's an endless wellspring of mysterious motives that this type of story can draw upon. THE X-FILES (and many other shows that have followed in its wake) has exploited nebulous evil to the maximum. Nebulous evil fits UFOs, aliens, conspiracies, and serial killers, but not specific Bad Guys of the Week. In the specific parameters the police show, like NASH BRIDGES, it doesn't fit so well.
On a lighter tone, Joe's baby Lucia seems to be growing at an astonishing rate. Lucia is growing in accelerated TV time, already nine months old, having just been born last season. Somebody add up the time - does it fit?
For more, see synopsis for Episode 43