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Don Johnson returns after 20 years in ‘Nash Bridges’ reunion movie

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Don Johnson is not the worst for wear in the first “Nash Bridges”Reunion movie, premiering Saturday, Nov. 27, at 9 p.m. EST on USA

Sure, he’s 71 years old now and sporting a clueless goatee (is that supposed to make him look younger?), but he’s comfortable in his skin as Nash Bridges, the hard-charging, rule-bending Inspector for the SFPD still working with his longtime partner, Joe Dominguez (Cheech Marin, now 75 and looking a bit bored) in present-day San Francisco.

That rule-bending gets Nash into trouble in the opening sequence — a high-speed car chase complete with pyrotechnics and squealing tires that gets him suspended from the force for what’s supposed to be two weeks. “Your cowboy cop days are over,”Lieutenant Lena Harris, his boss (Diarra Kilpatrick), tells them. But are they?

A year later, Nash, still suspended, is working as a limo driver and bounty hunter (yep), and is finally brought back onto the force (by Steve Colton, a New Age-y and politically correct SIU cop) Nash calls him “a millennial snowflake” and his investigative methods, which include calling perps by their first names during interrogation out of respect, get on his Nash’s nerves. Cue the gruff older cop against the by-the book newbie trope. Colton asks Nash’s help in tracking down the “Sunset Serial Killer” — who’s been terrorizing the city — and he, in turn, talks Joe, who’s now running a pot dispensary called Joe’s Barbary Coast (tagline: “Let’s be blunt: Joe knows his stuff”), to join him as a consultant. The murders are connected to an underground world and (ofcourse) a gazillionaire tech genius. You’ll find out the rest if you watch the movie.

Paul James and Don Johnson in scene from The “Nash Bridges” reunion movie on USA.©USA Networks/Courtesy Everett

Fans of the original series, which aired on CBS from 1996-2001, will be forgiven if they feel like they’ve stepped into a time machine. There’s plenty of violence (I lost track of the number of people shot to death), gory fight scenes and overactive audio effects (lots of splats) that harken back to the CBS version. But that’s OK in the context of a reunion movie. Why mess with a well-established formula? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, even if it is two decades later (it’s all about the nostalgia factor). With his three children, Steve Franks has done a great job. “Psych”Reunion movies also air on USA so perhaps network executives were thinking along these lines when they brought back “Nash Bridges.”

Jeff Perry returns as shut-in tech-head Harvey Leek — who hasn’t left his house in over six years — as does Nash’s yellow Barracuda convertible, a fixture in the original series. There’s some lip service paid to today’s times, including a trans SIU colleague, Chloe Zane (Alexia Garcia), and Nash mentions his (unseen) grown daughter, Cassidy, in passing (she’s working for Amy Intelligence). She was played in the original series by Jodi Lynn O’Keefe. Paul James and Angela Ko complete the SIU team as Keith and Keith “Philly” Morton.

Cheech Marin and Don Johnson in the original “Nash Bridges,” which aired on CBS from 1996-2001.©Rysher Entertainment/Courtesy

The movie’s ending leaves the door wide open for a possible second installment of this iteration of “Nash Bridges.”This will depend on viewership. The two-hour movie is fast-paced and entertaining enough to keep fans coming back for another viewing.

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