Set on the island of St. Martin in the Caribbean, 'Trade Winds' went on air over 6 Friday nights in 1993. Of escapist drama, Douglas S. Cramer believed, "I think the networks made a great mistake to assume that because 'Dynasty', 'Dallas' and 'Knots Landing' had reached the end of the line that the time had come to move past the form. There's always been an audience for this kind of thing." One network executive added, "It's not only the recession, but the multitude of social ills that we face. I think the audience can really enjoy an opportunity to lose themselves...My perception was that this genre was absent from the airwaves and presented an opportunity."
Douglas made the point, "'Dallas' and 'Dynasty' worked because they were good series and they told wonderful stories. We certainly used and played on the excesses and pitfalls and pleasures of the '80s, 'Dynasty' more than any of the others. But we did that just to make it contemporary...The characters in 'Trade Winds' are wealthy but they don't flaunt their wealth. They have considerable trouble maintaining their lifestyle. In 'Dynasty', everybody drove around in Corniches. In 'Trade Winds,' the best car anyone has is a 6-year-old 4-door Mercedes."
In the '90s, Douglas emphasized, "All of the consumption is not conspicuous. Our people live well, but it's toned down. You don't see any Rollses and Bentleys. The clothes are Armani and Calvin Klein - they're understated. It's a locale everybody dreams of being in." Michael McLafferty maintained, "We touch on topics that normally you wouldn't see on nighttime soaps." Of his audition, he recalled, "'Trade Winds' was one of the first things I went up for. I felt I was going to get it because I seemed to have every trait they wanted. My character grew up on an island. I was raised in Hawaii for my first 6 years, and I'm a fish." "In 'Dynasty,'" Douglas pointed out, "you might remember, we replaced nearly a quarter of the cast. We got a lot of letters, but by and large the audience accepted it. Well, in 'Trade Winds' there'll actually be a youth clinic on the islands. People will come in for a face lift, the bandages will come off, and..." Of being a role model, Efrem Zimbalist Jr. made known, "I don't like to represent something I feel is going to lead young people into avenues they will not be happy I led them into, later in life. I'm talking about a certain kind of integrity. So much of my life has been spent playing private eyes and public eyes, and I don’t want people suddenly saying, 'What is he doing?' 'Betrayal' is one word. I would hate to do that to people. I like people and I like my fellow humans and I want to uplift them somehow and not destroy them." Anita Morris played Contessa, "If you combine Scarlett O'Hara with J.R. and Susan Lucci, that's the character."