Back during the glorious pre-pandemic days- in this case, Summer 2019- word came down that NBCUniversal-owned cabler USA Network and Village Roadshow were teaming up for a revival of the popular Don Johnson-starring Nash Bridges, with Johnson returning. Then COVID-19 pretty much upended every television and film production in play, causing delays and cancellations across the board. On Wednesday, we learned from Johnson himself that not only was he prepping for his return in what's expected to be a two-hour television movie that may also serve as a backdoor pilot for a series return. Still expected to be running San Francisco's Special Investigation Unit (SIU), Johnson's Bridges confronting a changing city, a new boss, and a world in which police work focuses on modern data-crunching, predictive policing, and community relations. Although the world around him has changed, Nash hasn't.
Co-created by Bill Chais (The Practice, Shark, Franklin & Bash, Bull) and Johnson, with Johnson, Chais, and Marc Rosen (Sense8) executive producing, the special will find original cast member Cheech Marin (Joe Dominguez) joining Johnson- and now we can add Jeff Perry (Harvey Leek) to that list, confirmed by Johnson during an interview on Wednesday with Ellen DeGeneres on The Ellen Show. Because of his overall deal with Disney-owned ABC Studios, original series creator Carlton Cuse is not attached to the revival.
In an interview with Esquire in 2014, Johnson explained why he needed to dial back Dr. Hunter S. Thompson's (yes, him) first treatment for the first draft of the original series. "It was too Hunter! We conceived the idea about three in the morning at his place; he was my neighbor in Aspen. I had a commitment at CBS for a 22 episode series, anything I wanted to do. I could have done the phone book if I wanted. And Hunter was broke, needed money. I didn't really need to do the series, but I thought it would be a good way to look after my buddy," Johnson explained. "So I conceived it with him. It was originally called Off-Duty. It was about two off-duty cops. In the show, a lot of the storylines had to do with us doing off-duty business to help Cheech pay for expenses. We had a security service, a private detective agency, stuff like that, which fed stories into the other stuff. Anyway, that's how it was conceived."