Pacific Blue is an American crime drama series about a team of police officers with the Santa Monica Police Department who patrolled its beaches on bicycles. The show ran for five seasons on the USA Network, from March 2, 1996 to April 9, 2000, with a total of 101 episodes. Often compared as "Baywatch on bikes", the series enjoyed a popular run among the network's viewers, and was popular in France, Belgium, Israel, Sweden, Bulgaria, Norway, Spain, Russia, Austria, Germany, Italy, South America, Canada, Denmark, Poland and other foreign markets.
The series underwent cast changes between the third and fourth seasons, one which dramatically altered its tone. The third season finale brought the departure of actors Marcos Ferraez and Rick Rossovich. The fourth season premiere brought four major cast additions: Shanna Moakler as Monica Harper, Amy Hunter as Jamie Strickland, Jeff Stearns as Russ Granger, and Mario Lopez as Bobby Cruz. These new recruits to the Pacific Blue unit skewed the show's cast in a younger direction.
Jim Davidson and Paula Trickey, who had previously played the role of the show's young blood, evolved into the "old guard" as their characters took on leadership roles within the Pacific Blue unit. In addition, the characters of Jim Davidson and Darlene Vogel, who had become romantically linked in the third season, were married in the fourth season opener. Storylines for the fourth and fifth seasons emphasized undercover and vice work; while these areas would normally fall out of the purview of a police unit like Pacific Blue, the show always made an effort to explain away each incident as an exception, episode by episode. The changes can be credited with extending the life of the series for two additional seasons and made it the highest rated drama series on USA Network at the time. The series had well over 2 million regular viewers at a time when cable series were not permitted to advertise on other cable networks much less the Big Four broadcast networks.
The series featured numerous appearances by professional wrestling stars playing other characters, including Rena Mero (Sable), Chyna, Triple H and Shawn Michaels. (WWF Raw on the same network) Professional Intense Cycles Downhill Racer April Lawyer performed bike stunts in a number of episodes. trial riders Hans Rey performed tricks in each episodes. Carmen Electra made a special guest appearance in her role from Baywatch. Other notable guest stars included Micky Dolenz, Shannon Tweed, Shannon Elizabeth, Danny Bonaduce, Adam West, Erik Estrada, Holly Robinson Peete, Kent McCord and Stephen J. Cannell.
The series was created by Bill Nuss. It was executive produced by Gary Nardino, a producer and former president of Paramount Television and Bill Nuss. Their production company, North Hall Productions, took its name from their respective alma maters – Northwestern University and Seton Hall University. Nardino died on January 31, 1998, after which Nuss became the sole, chief show runner. Nuss continued to use the North Hall Productions name after Nardino's death.
Co-executive producers included E! Entertainment Television founders, Alan Mruvka, Marilyn Vance, Rick Filon, Richard C. Okie and John B. Moranville.
Pacific Blue was filmed in Santa Monica, Venice, Redondo Beach, Seal Beach and Huntington Beach, California, with the exception of two 1999 episodes that were filmed in Hawaii. Executive Producer Bill Nuss brought the show to Hawaii on the suggestion of April Masini, who also helped bring Baywatch to Hawaii in 1999. After the first 13 episodes, the series featured custom-painted state-of-the-art Trek Y bikes, outfitted with Spinergy wheels, NiteRider lights, and Janned police bags, making each bicycle worth over $5,000. The form-fitting uniforms are often credited with influencing the way bicycle cops dressed all over the world.
On January 10, 2012, Mill Creek Entertainment released Pacific Blue: The Complete Series on DVD in Region 1. The 19-disc set features all 101 episodes of the series as well as 90 minutes of bonus features, including gag reels, production techniques and interviews. On the same day, Mill Creek also released the complete first season on DVD.
The series is also available for download on iTunes and other platforms.
The series still runs in many countries throughout the world. The show has enjoyed a slight uptick in recognition with the MTV reality series Meet the Barkers, which chronicles the married life of Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker and his wife (and Pacific Blue vet) Shanna Moakler. A clip of her from the series can be seen in the opening credits of Meet the Barkers.
In the HBO series Entourage, the backstory of Johnny 'Drama' Chase included fictional appearances on several episodes of Pacific Blue.