A few months back, I received the first season of Nash Bridges for review. I never caught the show when it was originally on the air (Mystery Science Theater 3000 took precedence) and I really didn't think I would care for it all that much. Much to my surprise, Nash Bridges turned out to be a very enjoyable slice of mid-'90s television joy for me. I quickly found myself repeatedly hitting "play" after each episode ended so I could see the next one. And, then, tragedy hit: I realized that there were only eight episodes in the entire first season. Talk about cockteasing… in a very manly, butch, and straight way, of course. Fortunately, Nash Bridges – The Second Season has found its way to DVD already, and anyone else who was left clamoring for more won’t be disappointed: we get twenty-three episodes this time out.
Nothing has changed very much format-wise this season: Inspector Nash Bridges (Don Johnson) is still San Francisco’s golden police officer with a photographic memory, a knack for the occasional magic trick, and a wardrobe that simply screams “The '90s.” Nothing much has changed in the casting of Nash’s work pals, either: Cheech Marin remains one of the show’s highlights as Nash’s smartass partner Joe Dominguez; Jaime Gomez returns as up-and-coming cop extraordinaire Evan Cortez; Jeff Perry (as hippie officer Harvey Leek) is still wearing that silly beret (to cover up his grey spot, apparently); and Lt. A.J. Shimamura (Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa) is still in charge (although this last character bids us adieu early on in this season). Bringing up the family side of Nash Bridges are Jodi Lyn O’Keefe as teenage daughter Cassidy; Annette O’Toole as one of his two ex-wives; and the great James Gammon as Nash’s Alzheimer’s-stricken father, Nick.
Like the first season, Nash Bridges – The Second Season brings us action-filled episodes with some decent writing and an ample portion of comedy to keep itself humble — and that’s probably the greatest thing about this show: it doesn’t take itself too seriously. As always, Don and Cheech are a blast to watch together, and the supporting characters do a fine job of keeping up. Some of the highlights from this season include Nash being investigated (and framed) by a corrupt Internal Affairs agent, a psychopathic girl (a younger Brittany Murphy) holding an entire BART train hostage, a copycat Zodiac killer giving the SFPD hell (which itself features an amusing segment of Nash’s father cracking the Zodiac code), and the groundbreaking sight of straighter-than-straight Nash and Joe posing as a gay couple while working undercover. Really, how can you miss that? Throw in some drug-running, gun-totting, and wise-cracking and you’ve got yourself a fun way to kill about eighteen hours and not feel too terribly guilty about it afterward.
While it will never look perfect (owing to the fact that it was a product of mid-'90s television), Nash Bridges – The Second Season arrives on DVD from CBS/Paramount in a 5-disc set with a very decent presentation. The standard 1.33:1 episodes exhibit some grain and a few visual imperfections, but it‘s really nothing that will bother fans or non-perfectionists. Like the first season, the only audio option is an original English stereo surround soundtrack (which worked more than admirably for me). The discs are closed captioned.
Even if you don’t like Nash Bridges, you have to admire the fact that CBS/Paramount and several of the series’ cast and crewmembers took time out of their day-to-day schedules to actually give us some special features: there’s the "Nash Bridges Writers’ Roundtable Season 2" featurette located on disc one, an audio commentary with series creator Carlton Cuse and Cheech Marin for episode 2.7 (“Night Train”) on disc two, and another audio commentary, this time with star Don Johnson, on the disc five episode “Wild Card” (Episode 2.22).
Bottom line: Nash Bridges – The Second Season is well worth your time and money. Enjoy, bubba.