Review: Don Johnson Is Back As NASH BRIDGES – And He Gives Fans Exactly What They Want!

4 out of 5 stars

Easy Bubba! Nash Bridges is back – and he’s giving fans exactly what they want!

Created by Carlton Cuse (Lost), Nash Bridges ran for six seasons and 122 episodes between 1996 and 2001. The cop show was a perfect fit for a post Miami Vice Don Johnson – who helped craft the show with a little help from his friend Hunter S. Thompson. Over the years the series has retrained a loyal following and now, 20 years on, Bridges and his trusty partner Joe Dominguez (Cheech Marin) are back fighting criminals on the streets of San Franciso. 

This feature length instalment of Nash Bridges gets off to an explosive start with Nash and Joe on the tail of a billionaire paedophile (shades of Jeffrey Epstein). However, when the action gets too hot, the pair find themselves suspended from the force. At first it’s just for two weeks, but a year on and Nash is driving a limo and working as a part-time bounty hunter, while the always resilient Joe has opened a very successful pot dispensary (could it be anything else?). However, when bodies start popping up around San Franciso bay area, the SFPD fear they’ve got a serial killer on their hands. With no leads, they turn to the only man who can solve the case…

Things have changed in a year and soon Nash is clashing with Steve Colton (Joe Dinicol), the new boss of the Special Investigations Unit. Nash’s roguish ways might be out of touch with the changing SIU, but he knows how to get the job done. Soon the old dog is teaching new tricks to young cops who are more used to solving crime with their iPhones and laptops than traditional police work. 

He might be in his 70s, but Don Johnson proves he’s still got what it takes to play Nash Bridges. His screen charisma and laidback delivery show that he’s still a star – and he hasn’t missed a beat by slipping back into Nash’s trendy jackets after two decades. The same goes for Cheech Marin, who continues to be the perfect foil for Johnson’s character. The reference to Dominguez’s pot dispensary (called Joe’s Barbary Coast) is the perfect riff on the actor’s popular comedy persona. Nash and Joe remain one of TV’s great detective pairings. 

Director Greg Beeman shots this movie event with verve, keeping the new incarnation of Nash Bridges stylistically inline with the original series. It’s bright and vibrant and it’ll make you want to visit San Franciso. It’s also a little bloodier and a little bit raunchier, but fans of the show will not be disappointed by this updated version of the classic show. In a time when television is getting more expansive and more serious, it’s refreshing to get something which is so much fun. Nash Bridges might be a TV throwback, but it feels incredibly refreshing.

Ending on a perfect note, Nash Bridges leaves the door open for more movies or an entirely new series and Don Johnson and Cheech Marin show that they’ve still got what it takes to deliver the goods – and that makes the possibility of more Nash Bridges a very exciting proposition.

Nash Bridges will premiere on Saturday 27 November on USA.

Interview: Cheech Marin Talks About Returning To NASH BRIDGES After A 20 Year Break