Star of the hit show Nash Bridges, Don Johnson, was also the creative mind behind it. While Johnson was no stranger to making successful buddy-cop series after 5 seasons of Miami Vice, he still had some help getting Bridges and Dominguez to hit the streets of San Francisco.
In 1996, Johnson was neighbors and good friends with Hunter S. Thompson, writer of Gonzo Journalism and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Having been out of work for a few years, Thompson mentioned his money troubles to Johnson one night they were hanging out.
Luckily for both, Johnson had just been given a rare 22-episode contract by CBS for a new television series that could be anything he wanted. Having years of writing experience, Johnson offered Thompson a writing credit.
“He was complaining about how he didn’t have any money and I said, ‘Well, look, I’ve got this commitment on CBS for 22 episodes. Let’s just come up with something,'” said Don Johnson about putting the series together with Hunter S. Thompson.
Thompson accepted and the two friends put their heads together to come up with the first draft of Nash Bridges that night.
“We did come up with something: It was terrible,” Johnson continued. “But he was there! He was in the room! So he got to get a royalty. I took the germ of the idea that Hunter and I did and we turned it into Nash Bridges.”
The original idea for the series had Nash as a drug-addicted police officer that was dating a mob daughter. Toned down significantly, Nash Bridges became the light-hearted buddy cop series we know today.
Hunter S. Thompson got his writing credit and would even write two episodes of the series himself, Pump Action and Quack Fever. He also made one of his few acting appearances as a restaurant piano player in the first two episodes of the show.
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