Character page for the Lethal Weapon film series.
Detective / Captain Martin Riggs
A reckless LAPD detective and widower with a death wish.
- Addiction Displacement:
- He replaces cigarettes with dog biscuits, as well as a raw onion.
- By the end of the third film, he jokes about going back to cigarettes to deal with his "dog biscuit problem".
- Adopt the Dog: He adopts an Angry Guard Dog in the third film, and still has it in the fourth.
- Anti-Hero: He is an Unscrupulous Hero in the first film, where the only reason he does anything (as well as his primary reason for not going through with suicide) is because he loves being a cop. He changes into a Pragmatic Hero in the sequels, finding more reasons to live and people to care about (namely Lorna, Leo, and the Murtaughs), but still willing to resort to dirty tactics.
- Ax-Crazy: Primarily in the first film, mellows down in the sequels.
- Badass Boast: He has several throughout the series, but his Establishing Character Moment in the film really hits this trope: "When I was 19, I did a guy in Laos from a thousand yards out. It was a rifle shot in high wind. Maybe eight or even ten guys in the world could have made that shot. It's the only thing I was ever good at".
- Badges And Dogtags: He's cryptic about his Vietnam experiences, has a special forces tattoo and mentions both sniping and an encounter with Shadow Company during the war.
- The Berserker: Even after getting over his suicidal tendencies, he still has a cavalier regard for his own survival.
- Byronic Hero: In the original.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He's obsessed with The Three Stooges and Looney Tunes, loves causing property damage, and is suicidally depressed in the first film, but is very good at his job.
- Cartwright Curse: His wife died in a car crash (actually murdered) before the first film, and his love interest in the second film slept with the fishes. Even Lorna Cole almost bought the farm, but ultimately subverted the curse.
- Character Development: He starts off as a suicidal, lonely man and at the end of the fourth movie is shown to be a happy member of a large family.
- Chekhov's Skill: His "trick" shoulder that can be dislocated more or less at will:
- His ability to dislocate his shoulder is established in the beginning of the second film, where he uses it twice to get out of a straightjacket.
- During the fight with Wah Sing Ku in 4, after he dislocated Riggs' shoulder, Riggs gives him a short but brutal No-Holds-Barred Beatdown.
- He also has to reset his shoulder twice in the third film, though not under such mortal circumstances. At one point, he slides himself into a pole to do so on the fly.
- Chick Magnet: Aside from being married once before, his bad boy tendencies tend to attract women. Murtaugh's daughter Riana, Rika and Detective Cole (later his wife) all crush on him.
- Combat Pragmatist: Despite being a highly trained martial artist, he isn't against groin attacks, using improvised weaponry, dropping a crate on a man, or killing him with a machine gun when it becomes clear he's not going to win a fist fight.
- Cowboy Cop: Has little care for procedure or doing things by-the-book, contrasting Murtaugh. He even wears cowboy boots.
- Crusading Widower: He's reasonably heroic, but he's also suicidal and is considered crazy by everyone who knows him. He slowly becomes less unhinged as he opens up to his partner Murtagh.
- Deadpan Snarker: Especially around Murtaugh.
- Death Seeker: A major theme of the first film is that he wants to die, but cannot bring himself to commit suicide. Early on, he eggs a man who has taken him hostage to kill him.
- Dented Iron: By the fourth film, Riggs is clearly not at his peak, having grown both older and afraid of dying. He admits being aware of the trope and declares an intent to defy it.
- A bit more subtle in the first film's climactic fight, due to sleep deprivation and Electric Torture.
- Designated Bullet: He tells Murtaugh that he has a special bullet picked out in case he ever decides to kill himself (which he thinks about every day). At the end of the film, he gives Murtaugh the bullet as a symbol that he's come to terms with his inner demons and no longer suicidal. The bullet is stated to be a hollow-point, to minimise the odds of botching the job note .
- Disney Death: In the second film, Riggs is shot several times by Rudd, who is killed by Murtaugh in return. It turns out Riggs is fine, though.
- Dramatic Dislocation: In 2, Riggs shows off that he can pop his shoulder out at will due to an injury in Vietnam. It's putting it back in that's painful. It gets used during the 3rd act in 2, as well as during the final battle in 4.
- '80s Hair: In every film except the fourth.
- As seen in his wedding photos from the first film, he had short hair before Vicki passed away. In the fourth, he's been in a stable relationship wtih Lorna for 6 years. He only seems to grow his hair long when he's single.
- Establishing Character Moment: He's introduced by making crazy jokes during a sting operation, blowing a few mooks away, and then trying to commit suicide by crook. This all establishes him as a loony, badass Death Seeker, in complete contrast to the solid and serious family-man Murtaugh.
- In the director's cut, before that scene is the playground sniper situation where Riggs responds to a sniper call, leading to him nonchalantly walking in said sniper's range, giving the latter an opportunity to gun him down, retaliating after the sniper fails. Riggs shows no fear for his life during the encounter, but also shows no satisfaction that the sniper failed.
- Feeling Their Age: By the fourth film, Riggs begins to feel outmatched by younger opponents and struggles in fights compared to the previous films. He refuses to accept it, however, deciding to "will it away.""I'm not too old for this shit!"
- Friendly Sniper: Was a sniper in Vietnam, and the only time we see him with his sniper rifle is on a rescue mission.
- The Gadfly: Enjoys teasing ol' Rog to no end.
- Good Is Not Dumb: After he gets blown through a window by a shotgun (he was wearing his bulletproof vest, so he didn't die), he points out to Murtaugh that now the police have the advantage, because the bad guys think Riggs is dead. Sure enough, Mr. Joshua calls the police station for information about the shooting, claiming to be a news reporter. The officer who picks up confirms that Riggs is dead, and it never occurs to McAllister and Joshua that the police could be deceiving them.
- Good Is Not Nice: A genuinely good cop, but loves tormenting suspects or messing with his co-workers.
- Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow: He has shorter hair in the fourth installment.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Riggs is rather quick to anger if things don't go in his favor when dealing with criminals, and even moreso if he's inflicted any kind of pain by them. He does, however, overplay the trait to intimidate people.
- Heartbroken Badass: He was a Special Forces sniper in Laos and Vietnam prior to the films, and while we never see him as a soldier, we see him as a cop, both proving and justifying his Improbable Aiming Skills. He's become a Death Seeker in the first film, but begins healing as time goes after partnering with Murtaugh.
- Heroes Love Dogs: For the first three movies, he's got a dog named Sam at home. By 4, he now has the rottweiler from 3 added as a pet. He's apparently great and training them, too - despite being different breeds and ages, the two dogs get along like a house on fire.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: Once he gets over his Death Seeker / Ax-Crazy tendencies and mellows out a bit, his craziness is more Played for Laughs.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Murtaugh, natch. After being partners for so long, it's hard for either of them to imagine life without the other. Riggs articulates it beautifully in the third film:"You're the only family I've got! I got three beautiful kids. I love them and they're yours. Trish does my laundry. I live in your icebox. I live in your life!"
- Hoist by His Own Petard: A more comedic example would be when he wants to ask the police psychiatrist for legitimate advice regarding his intent to marry Lorna, but his years of mocking her makes her instantly go on the defensive and assume he's trying to punk her again. So he then turns around and punks her for real.
- Hot-Blooded: Nothing seems to light a fire up Riggs' ass like being on a criminal's trail.Riggs: [hitting the insides of Murtaugh's car while screaming excitedly] GOD, I LOVE THIS JOB!
- Hurting Hero: He spends most of the movie suicidally depressed after the death of his wife.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: He pulls off some incredible shots. Sure, Murtaugh has his share, but Riggs was breast-fed on this trope. The sniper in the school, being able to shoot a smiley-face on the firing range, being able to successfully hit a helicopter God knows how many yards away, etc. all with a pistol. And then picking off Shadow Company mooks like flies. And that's just the first film.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As much as he loves tormenting his friends, he does care about them. Best shown near the end of the fourth film, where he has a heartfelt conversation with Leo, who he spends most of the series abusing.
- Keet: Especially in the third and fourth movie, where his Manchild tendencies get pushed to the forefront.
- Large Ham: Especially in the first film. More composed in the sequels."Do you really wanna jump?! DO YOU WANNA?!?"
- The Lost Lenore: His late wife, Vicki.
- Lightning Bruiser: In the first film, he takes out a room full of guys before they can react.
- Made of Iron: His response to being repeatedly electrocuted with a near-lethal voltage was to start beating ass. He's had a clip full of bullets emptied into him, and it did nothing but make him quit smoking. He's been pinned underwater by a concrete slab for minutes on end at the tail end of an exhausting fistfight, and didn't lose consciousness.
- Manchild: He watches Looney Tunes, even while contemplating suicide, as well as The Three Stooges, and is generally adolescent in nature.
- Mr. Fanservice: He spends a lot of time naked or shirtless; is even introduced that way.
- One Last Smoke: Hilariously defied in the second film for a bit of Mood Whiplash.
- One-Man Army: For the first three films, until his age finally catches up to him in 4. The only guy he has trouble with in 4 is Wah Sing Ku.
- One-Note Cook:Riggs: I may have exaggerated a bit about being a gourmet chef. All I know how to make is chili. Do you like your chili with or without crushed Oreos?
- Pet the Dog: Literally. He chooses to make friends with a guard dog instead of shooting him. He justifies it by saying that, while he's okay with shooting people, he's unable to shoot a dog. This probably would've been in effect even in the first movie.
- Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: To Mr. Joshua in the original."Whaddya say, Jack? You want a shot at the title?"
- Red Oni: To Murtaugh's Blue Oni.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: He goes on one after he finds out the South Africans killed his wife and his new girlfriend. Good thing Murtaugh was there...
- Salt and Pepper: He's the Salt.
- Sociopathic Hero: In the first film.
- Suicide by Cop: Inverted in the first movie, where he's a cop who wants to commit Suicide By Criminal.
- Title Drop: In the first film, Roger refers to him as a "lethal weapon".
- Took a Level in Kindness: Is much kinder and softer in the third and fourth movies.
- The Vietnam Vet: He claims to have been one of the top ten snipers in the world during his tour of 'Nam.
- Weapon of Choice: A Beretta 92F (later 92FS) pistol.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: In the opening to the third film, he tries to disarm a bomb because "the bomb squad always arrives late." His oversight is that the Lethal Weapon series more often than not averts Police Are Useless, and he has absolutely no experience with explosives, so he ends up triggering the bomb to go off much earlier than the timer indicates... right before the bomb squad arrives, in what would have been more than enough time to defuse it.
Detective / Captain Roger Murtaugh
Riggs's older and more cautious partner, a family man with a wife and three kids.
- The Atoner: After he recovers from his Heroic BSoD in the third film, he is told by said teenager's mourning parents to "get the man who put the gun in [their] son's hands"... he takes it to the heart, acting very outside of the book to nail the bad guys.
- Badass Unintentional: He really hates being dragged into all this crazy crap. Reluctant Badass might be a better term.
- Badass Mustache: Has a full beard in his first scene, and ditches it real fast.
- Badges And Dogtags:
- Blue Oni: To Riggs' crazy Red Oni.
- By-the-Book Cop: This is why he gets partnered with Riggs, though he plays less and less "by the book" as the film go on.
- Catchphrase: He mentions how his old buddy Hunsacker "took a bayonet in the lungs" for him during the War.
- "I'm too old for this shit." Inverted in the fourth film with "We're not too old for this shit!"
- "Riggs, you crazy sonuva bitch!"
- "Go spit, Riggs!"
- Character Tic: He cracks his neck before shooting people. This is typically followed by a Boom, Headshot!.
- Deuteragonist: Murtaugh has virtually the same amount of screentime as Riggs, but he doesn't get the same level of character development or the same kill count. This contrasts Riggs' journey from a suicidal maniac to a committed family man.
- Didn't Want an Adventure: He's very unhappy that Amanda Hunsacker's suicide leads to uncovering a heroin smuggling operation in the first movie.
- Doting Parent: Even when his kids are in college, he still spoils them.
- Drowning My Sorrows: In the third film, after killing an old friend of his son's out of self-defence.
- Feeling Their Age: Murtaugh's Catchphrase of "I'm too old for this" is appropriate for an older family man who has to deal with a wild card younger partner. Riggs starts saying it too once he reaches is late 40's in 4.
- Friend to All Children: Just watch his interactions with the kids outside Dixie's house in the first film. It goes without saying when you're a father of three.
- Genre Refugee: He's essentially a character from a prime time cop show or hardboiled detective novel, whereas the Lethal Weapon films are over-the-top action flicks.
- Good Parents: His kids still love and respect him throughout high school and college. They're also surprisingly well-adjusted considering all the crap the family goes through.
- Goofy Print Underwear: When directed by Riggs to strip to his boxer shorts to distract a madman wielding a flamethrower, Riggs asks with a laugh "Are those little hearts?"
- Grumpy Old Man: Has his moments, especially in 4.
- Happily Married: With Trish.
- Heroic BSoD: When Rianne is kidnapped in the first film, and when he accidentally kills a teenager in the third.
- Improbable Aiming Skills:
- Played realistically in that he can hit with perfect accuracy, but needs to carefully aim his gun and loosen his neck before squeezing the trigger, and has to practice at the shooting range to maintain his skills. He pulls off an excellent shot to kill the Big Bad of parts 1 and 2. In part 1, he shoots the driver of the Big Bad's car coming right at him, and then gets out of the way as the out-of-control car goes flying onto Hollywood Boulevard and smashes into a bus. The flames from the crash causes grenades in the car to detonate, killing the Big Bad. And in part 2, he revokes Rudd's diplomatic immunity with a damned impressive head shot (and the bullet first came through the diplomatic passport).
- This backfired on him in the fourth film. Murtaugh aims for Ku. Ku dodges, but it hits and kills his brother instead.
- It's Personal: Doesn't get this as frequently as Riggs, but things get brutal with General McAllister in the first film after Rianne gets kidnapped.
- Nice Guy: He's a little prickly at times, but generally a good cop and a loving family man.
- Older Hero Versus Younger Villain: Tragically in the third film. He kills (in self defence) a gangbanger who turns out to be a close friend of his teenage son.
- Older Sidekick: He's demoted to this in the second film. The third and fourth films go back to a more even partnership.
- Overprotective Dad: Regarding his eldest daughter Rianne, and is always afraid that she gets hooked up with Riggs until the 4th film.
- Overshadowed by Awesome: Downplayed. Murtaugh is a Vietnam vet, an accomplished detective sergeant with the LAPD, and an extremely good shot with a revolver. His partner is a One-Man Army martial arts expert who in his prime was one of the top ten snipers in the world.
- Papa Wolf:
- He's fiercely protective of his family, but particularly his daughter Rianne. He even punches Riggs right in the face (and overboard) after Riggs says "I think I may have slept with someone I shouldn't have," leading Murtaugh to assume he was talking about Rianne. He was talking about Lorna. Granted, he was drunk at the time.
- This is the culmination of three films worth of tension. Murtaugh has always been protective of Rianne, and has worried that Riggs might "go for her". Or, more likely, that Rianne would go for him, given the goo-goo eyes she had been making since they first met.
- Retirony: Subverted in the 3rd film.
- Revolvers Are Just Better: He prefers to carry a six-shooter, despite Riggs calling it an "Old Timer's Gun".
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Not quite as vicious, but when he returns after Darryl's funeral, he goes person-to-person shaking people down to trace his gun. At the first one's house, the home of one of Darryl's homeys, he rants about how gang-banging is tantamount to self-genocide for their race.
- Salt and Pepper: He's the Pepper.
- The Vietnam Vet: Like Riggs, which gives them something to bond over.
- Weapon of Choice: A Smith & Wesson 19 revolver, which is fitting since he tends to go for well-placed long range shots over More Dakka.
- Younger Than They Look: Danny Glover was only 40 years old when he filmed the first film despite supposedly being "too old for this shit". Murtaugh was written as an older character (50 in the first film).
A former accountant and federal witness Riggs and Murtaugh are assigned to protect in 2, and eventually bond with. Becomes a real estate broker in 3 and a private detective in 4, and uses his numerous connections to help solve Riggs and Murtaugh's cases.
- Ambiguously Jewish: Suggested a few times in passing (notably when he makes a Holocaust reference to deflect Butters accusing him of racism in the fourth movie), but never stated outright.
- Butt-Monkey: He cops a lot of abuse from Riggs and Murtaugh.
- Catchphrase: "Whatever you need, Leo gets!", "They fuck you with/at..." and "Okay, okay, okay..."
- Chew Toy: He goes through a lot of crap throughout the series, and it's all played for laughs.
- Cluster F-Bomb: Lampshaded when he asks a reporter in the fourth film if he can say "fuck" on air.
- Dark and Troubled Past: Had a really rough childhood, being raised by an absent mother and an abusive father; he struggled to make friends at school and spent most of his time with his pet frog (which he accidentally killed).
- The Friend Nobody Likes: He becomes this to Riggs and the Murtaugh family, in the third film.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: He has a penchant for the epic Cluster F-Bomb.
- Iconic Sequel Character: He first appears as a federal witness in the second film, and manages to show up in the rest of the series' films.
- Knowledge Broker: "Whatever you need, Leo Gets". (Unfortunately, he tends to get himself in trouble a lot.)
- Meaningful Name: He tries to make this work for him (and mostly just ends up annoying people).Leo Getz: My name's Leo Getz. Whatever you want, Leo gets. Get it?!
- Motor Mouth: Seriously, he talks really fast.
- Nice Guy: Leo is a helpful and immensely loyal friend to Riggs and Murtaugh, even if they dont always value him. In the fourth film, he admits that he sees them as family.
- Nice Hat: In the fourth film.
- Non-Action Guy: Despite wanting to carry a gun, he never gets involved in a single fight scene. In the third movie he does try to stop one of the villains and gets shot in the arm for his trouble.
- Plucky Comic Relief: In all movies after the first, and Riggs and Murtaugh annoy him just as much as he annoys them.
- Punny Name: Attempts this in his first appearance "Whatever you need, Leo 'Getz."
- Out of Focus: In 3, which is surprising since hes given third billing on the poster and in the cast credits.
- Sir Swears-a-Lot: He's a typical ill-tempered Joe Pesci character, so naturally he curses a lot, and has to self-censor for a news broadcast in the fourth movie.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: He and Lee get along well when they connect over things that screw people over.
- Verbal Tic: Peppers the beginning, middle, and the end of his sentences with "ok, ok, ok".
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Riggs and Murtaugh.
Sergeant Lorna Cole
Introduced in 3, an Internal Affairs detective who help Riggs and Murtaugh against Jack Travis.
- Action Girl: Kicks some major ass: beating up half a dozen Travis thugs in a garage with her bare hands (while they swing at her with wrenches and such) and being a capable gunfighter.
- Cowboy Cop: Almost as much as Riggs.
- Disney Death: She is shot several times by Travis with the armor-piercing bullets in the climax, but it turns out she was wearing two bulletproof vests.
- Every Scar Has a Story: She and Riggs show each other old scars received in the line of duty before sleeping together.
- Fair Cop: An attractive detective.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Riggs.
- Groin Attack: In the 3rd film, she delivers a harsh kick in the family jewels towards a random thug from within a warehouse. Later on, she crushes one thug's testicles BARE-HANDED in a fight scene!
- Internal Affairs: Which masks her Cowboy Cop nature.
- The Lad-ette: Kicks serious ass, cusses like a sailor, wrestled with her brothers, read MAD magazine, plays the Three Stooges on her computer. Yep!
- Pregnant Badass: Kicks the asses of Wah Sing Ku's goons while they're invading her home in the 4th film. She's quickly dealt with by Wah Sing Ku himself, but that's just because no one can hope to beat him.
- Tsundere: To Riggs.
Detective Lee Butters
A brash younger detective introduced in 4. Secretly married to Rianne and the father of her child.
- Accidental Misnaming: Riggs and Murtaugh have major difficulty in getting his name right. Ironically, the one time they did, he was injured.
- Genius Bruiser: He has a psychology degree.
- Hot-Blooded: Oh yeah.
- Last Episode, New Character: He's introduced in the final film in the series.
- Meaningful Name: He constantly tries to "butter" his father-in-law up.
- Mistaken for Gay: He was trying to be nice to his father-in-law. He instead thought that he had the hots for him.
- Motor Mouth: It's Chris Rock.
- Taking the Bullet: Does this for Murtaugh in the final battle, but thankfully it's not fatal.
- Wretched Hive: Where he had grown up in, and the reason he joined the police force.
Captain Ed Murphy
Riggs and Murtaugh's beleagured commanding officer.
- Ascended Extra: After being essentially a background character in the first two movies, he plays an active role in the plots of 3 and 4.
- Da Chief: One of the classic examples. How he puts up with the antics of Riggs and Murtaugh for so long is anyone's guess.
- Deadpan Snarker: When you're Riggs and Murtaugh's boss, this comes naturally.
- A Father to His Men: In the second movie he's upset by several of his detectives being murdered and is concerned for Riggs and Murtaugh.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Riggs and Murtaugh can be a pain in the ass to him, but he knows how to handle them exceptionally well.
- We Used to Be Friends: He laments what happened to Jack Travis.
- Happily Married: Trish and Roger have a caring, mutually supportive marriage.
- Damsel in Distress: In the first movie, she's kidnapped and held hostage by Shadow Company.
General Peter McAllister
A Vietnam war veteran who was part of a special team that turned into heroin-smuggling mercenaries.
- Big Bad: Of the first film. He runs the heroin ring our heroes are busting up.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: He runs a successful club and must be on a good fund from his military career. Why does he need to run a heroin shipping operation?
- Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Inverted. The credits and script just refer to him as "The General," even though he's called by name more than once.
- Evil Old Folks: He calls everyone "son" a lot.
- Face Death with Dignity: Averted. He dies screaming like a girl, desperately trying to reach for his hand grenades before they go off.
- Faux Affably Evil: Always pleasant and amiable, even when he's having people tortured. Has a fatherly air to him, which makes him even more menacing.
- General Ripper: Used to be this.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: The fact that he has explosives in his car enables Roger to kill him by killing his driver, causing an overturned-vehicle crash.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Spends most of the film in a seriously nice white turtleneck and sports coat combo.
- Non-Action Big Bad: Downplayed, since it's more out of choice than lack of ability. He's able to sneak up on Riggs without the latter noticing, and is clearly proficient with firearms - he just chooses not to get his hands dirty.
- Stuff Blowing Up: How he meets his end.
- There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Murtaugh kills his getaway driver, causing a massive car crash. McAllister himself is blown sky-high when the flames from the crash reach a crate of live grenades in his car.
- Villainous Breakdown: Near the end of the film.
McAllister's Number Two, an insane soldier who carries out most of Shadow Company's dirty work.
- Backstab Backfire: How he meets his end.
- Better to Die than Be Killed: As a cop killer, he knows he's going to get the death penalty or life in prison, which leads to the above Backstab Backfire.
- Blown Across the Room: Uses a shotgun to blast Riggs off the sidewalk and into the storefront behind him. It doesn't work.
- Cold Sniper: From a helicopter no less.
- Defiant to the End: Doesn't go down without a fight. And shows defiance even after losing said fight.
- The Dragon: To McAllister.
- Dragon Their Feet: He survives the confrontation that kills his boss, and attempts to kill Riggs and Murtaugh.
- Establishing Character Moment: Allowing General McAllister to burn his arm with a lighter, clenching his teeth and taking it, establishing Joshua's loyalty (and insanity).
- Evil Counterpart: To Riggs: both were in Special Forces, but whereas Riggs chose to work as a cop, Mr. Joshua chose a less legal profession.
- Fisticuffs Boss: Riggs offers him a one-on-one fight before his arrest.
- The Heavy: As General McAllister's Dragon, his actions drive the plot of the first film. He even outlives his boss in the climax.
- He Knows Too Much: His first few scenes are him killing off anyone outside of Shadow Company who is connected with Shadow Company, such as Dixie and Hunsaker. The second is from a helicopter. Then he tries to kill Riggs.
- Macho Masochism: Intentionally burning his arm with a lighter flame to show off his allegiance to Gen. McAllister.
- Man of Wealth and Taste: Being well-dressed seems to be a prerequisite for Shadow Company.
- Plot Armor: Riggs has him lined up for a perfect headshot with a sniper rifle during the desert battle, but hesitates long enough to get captured by General McAllister.
- Psycho for Hire: He has no compunctions against killing or torturing anyone that might interfere with his job as a hired gun.
- The Rival: He ends up becoming Riggs' personal arch-rival in the first movie.
- Southern-Fried Genius: Has Busey's Texan drawl, and is a fiendishly cunning member of Shadow Company.
- The Rival: To Riggs.
- Undying Loyalty: To McAllister. He demonstrates by allowing his boss to burn him with a lighter.
- Worthy Opponent: He and Riggs are almost cordial.
- Would Hurt a Child: Joshua murdered Rianne's boyfriend Mark when he kidnapped Rianne.
An old war buddy of Murtaugh whose daughter dies under mysterious circumstances.
- He Knows Too Much: Double Subverted. At first, Shadow Company goes after his daughters to make him cooperate, but when he proves too much of a liability, Joshua kills him.
- Morally Bankrupt Banker: He launders Shadow Company's profits through his bank.
- Outliving One's Offspring: One of his daughters dies in the opening scene. Her sister survives the film but Michael mentions that her life was threatened as well to get his cooperation (although ultimately they kill Michael himself instead)
- Sociopathic Soldier: He is working with Shadow Company.
- Taking the Bullet: Hunsaker saved Murtaugh's life in Vietnam when he took a bayonet to the lungs.
Sergeant Rick McCaskey
- Non-Action Guy: In contrast to Riggs and Murtaugh, McCaseky is only shown doing paperwork and answering phone calls at the precinct.
Detective Dan Boyette
A prostitute hired by Shadow Company to poison Amanda.
- Asshole Victim: She helped kill Amanda by spraying drain cleaner on her drugs after Shadow Company paid her to, so it's hard to feel bad when Mr. Joshua kills her.
- Kill It with Fire: She dies when Mr. Joshua blows up her house with her inside.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Mr. Joshua blows up her house with her inside when Murtaugh and Riggs start to catch on to her role in Amanda's death.
Shadow Company's torturer.
- Beard of Evil: He has a gigantic beard, and is a cold-blooded Torture Technician.
- Electric Torture: Inflicts this on Riggs.
- Neck Snap: Riggs kills him this way.
- Torture Technician: Mr. Joshua notes that he's an expert at torture, and his primary purpose seems to be torturing information out of people for Shadow Company.
A drug dealer doing business with Shadow Company.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Mendez starts off contemptuous and demanding towards his drug-smuggling partners, but quickly finds himself being intimidated and dictated to by them.
- Whatever Happened to the Mouse?: He disappears completely after the shootout at Shadow Company's base, though he probably got arrested.
Shadow Company's negotiator.
Lethal Weapon 2
A South African diplomat who abuses his power and runs a profitable drug-smuggling ring.
- Big Bad: Of the second film. He's using his status as a diplomat to cover up his illegal drug-dealing activities.
- Diplomatic Impunity: And he's not even a consul or ambassador. Works well, until it gets revoked.Rudd: My dear officer, you could not even give me a parking ticket... Who is the dickhead now, eh?
- Diplomatic Impunity: He claims diplomatic immunity to make the heroes back off (although in fact, he was only a consular officer, and they get a lower grade of immunity - unless he had some other official status as well, he could have been searched provided proper procedures were followed). Probably the Trope Codifier for the trope's use in modern fiction. For extra ballsiness, at one point he does this while SHOOTING at Riggs. Murtaugh revokes it a second later.
- Dirty Old Man: Hits on Rika rather creepily.
- Evil Old Folks: He's getting on in years, and one of the biggest monsters in the series.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Rudds voice is very deep and he is very evil.
- Faux Affably Evil: He certainly has a diplomatic and gentlemanly air about him, but everyone knows he's up to no good.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: He manages to shoot Riggs several times with a pistol from what looks to be about 100 yards away.
- In-Series Nickname: Riggs calls him "Aryan."
- No Kill Like Overkill: Puts every bullet he has into Riggs at the end of the Final Battle. But subverted after Riggs still survives.
- Non-Action Big Bad: The only time he takes direct action is at the very end when he empties a clip into Riggs.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: As above.
- Pragmatic Villainy: Rudd initially tries to threaten Murtaugh to make him leave the case to avoid the complications of killing a cop.
- Smug Snake: Didn't realise his diplomatic immunity had been revoked.
- Too Dumb to Live: Flashing your immunity when you've killed cop friends of main characters. Surely he'll be more than willing to let you go.
- You Have Failed Me: Hilariously, during his Establishing Character Moment. He has one of his henchmen (the driver of the crashed car the cops found the krugerlands in) brought to his office where the floors are covered in plastic, saying that he's having his walls painted. Then Vorstedt shoots the henchman and wraps his body in the plastic to contain the blood flow.
Rudd's right hand man.
- Backstab Backfire: Tries to shoot Riggs in the back. Riggs responds by crushing him under a shipping container.
- Deadpan Snarker: Tosses out a few sardonic barbs.
- The Dragon: He's Rudd's top enforcer and right-hand man.
- Dragon-in-Chief: In fact, Riggs' hatred for him is because he was responsible for the death of Riggs' wife.
- Faux Affably Evil: He acts polite, but he doesn't think twice about murdering anybody or anything.
- Fisticuffs Boss: His final confrontation with Riggs.
- Gallows Humor: When he thinks his boss is about to pull a You Have Failed Me, he half-jokes that he's looking to see if he's standing on plastic (a Brick Joke about how it makes body removal easier).
- Greater-Scope Villain: Due to having killed Victoria Riggs, he indirectly made Martin Riggs become the depressive and suicidal cop that he was in the first film.
- Hero Killer: Murders six police officers throughout the film, as well as Rika.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Riggs stabs him with his own knife.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Takes a few belts from his hip flask as the villains' plan starts falling apart.
- In-Series Nickname: After being unable to pronounce his name, Riggs says "I'll just call you Adolf."
- It's Personal: Of all the adversaries Riggs and Murtaugh faced, he cuts the deepest, responsible for the deaths of six of their colleagues, Rika, and Riggs' wife (though he was trying to kill Riggs).Riggs: I'm not a cop tonight, Roger, it's personal. I'm not a cop.
- Knight of Cerebus: He leaves a very high body count, killing over a half dozen people.
- Lightning Bruiser: Almost matches Riggs in the martial arts department. Almost.
- Pragmatic Villainy: See his quote.
- Sharp-Dressed Man: Sports a natty blazer and tie combo, doubles as a Badass in a Nice Suit for being a Lightning Bruiser.
- You Killed My Father: He's responsible for the death of Riggs's wife.
Rika Van Den Haas
An official of the South African consulate and love interest for Riggs.
- Defector from Decadence: Agrees to help Riggs and Murtaugh take down her boss Rudd when she finds out about his crimes.
- Heroes Love Dogs: Rika quickly befriends Riggs' dog Sam and shows great concern for his safety during the shootout at Riggs' trailer.
- Replacement Goldfish: Is the first woman Riggs allows himself to love after his wife's death.
- Sexy Shirt Switch: Rika spends her last scene wearing Riggs' jacket after they're attacked while making love in his trailer.
- Stuffed into the Fridge: Riggs falls in love with her, then she gets murdered offscreen to make Riggs's grudge against Vorstedt (more) personal.
- Unwitting Pawn: It's implied that Rudd is using Rika to transport some of his dirty money, judging by the forcefulness he uses when ordering the police not to touch a "diplomatic" suitcase she brought him. Unusually for this trope, Rika doesn't seem surprised to see the police investigating her boss, merely asking for confirmation that he's breaking the law and then telling Riggs that Rudd shouldn't be allowed to get away with it.
Detective Tim Cavanaugh
Detective Megan Shapiro
Detective Eddie Estaban
Detective Tom Wyler
- Badass Mustache: Wyler is one of the more brave and professional detectives and has a mustache that rivals Murtaugh's.
Detective Jerry Collins
Detective Joseph Ragucci
Lethal Weapon 3
An ex-cop turned arms dealer.
- Arms Dealer: Sells armor piercing bullets to criminals.
- Big Bad: Of the third film.
- Bond One-Liner: When disposing of an incompetent Mook that he has drowned in cement, Travis says Now we have a relationship we can build on.
- Dirty Cop: He's a retired cop who still has his badge.
- Evil Counterpart: Like Riggs, he was an incredibly tough cop who bent the rules and got results, and they have many of the same snarky personality quirks. He's essentially a dark "what-if" version of who and what Riggs might've become if he'd continued down the self-destructive path he was on after Vicky died. Naturally, he and Riggs hate each other immediately.
- Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Thinks burying a mook in cement is hilarious.
- Faux Affably Evil: He'll smile and crack a joke with you... while he's burying his moron colleague alive in cement.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Killed by the same "Cop-killer" bullets he has stolen and smuggled.
- Jerkass: When he means business, he'll drop all pretense of pleasantness and show the true side of his personality.
- Weapon of Choice: A Smith & Wesson 29 revolver.
- You Have Failed Me: He murders two of his men for using his cop killer bullets on a freelance job.
Internal Affairs Chief of Intelligence Herman Walters
The head of Internal Affairs.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He's overly secretive and kind of a jerk, but his heart's in the right place, he seems to regret his behavior, and he saves Riggs' life at one point.
A cheerful rookie.
- Mauve Shirt: Gets quite a bit of characterization before Travis' men gun him down.
Billy Phelps and Smitty
- Buried Alive: How Travis dispatches Smitty.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: Travis has Smitty buried alive in cement as punishment.
- Those Two Guys: They're never seen apart until Billy gets captured.
- You Have Failed Me: Travis kills them for bungling the bank robbery. It's justified with Billy, since he was captured and could give information away to the cops.
Lethal Weapon 4
A heavily-armored individual who's out to burn and shoot up things while rocking out to Van Halen on his Walkman. He's the villain whom Riggs and Murtaugh have to take out at the start of the fourth film.
- Flamethrower Backfire: When he is momentarily distracted by Murtaugh dancing like a chicken in his underwear, Riggs shoots the vent on his flamethrower's gas tank and he dies in an explosion.
- Generic Doomsday Villain: He simply exists to provide an exciting Action Prologue filled with gunfire and explosions.
- Guns Akimbo: On one hand, he has a submachine gun. On the other, he wields a flamethrower.
- Heavily Armored Mook: Wears a heavy suit of homemade body armor, coupled with a flamethrower and a submachine gun.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Courtesy of his makeshift Powered Armor — the cops' bullets just clang off of him (until Riggs finally shoots his Achilles' Heel (see Flamethrower Backfire)).
- No Name Given: Nothing is given on this guy's backstory or motivation. He is simply referred to as "Human Tank" in a newspaper clipping and in the credits.
- One-Man Army: He manages to keep several squad cars worth of cops at bay until Riggs and Murtaugh manage to take him out.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: While the series is known for having mostly realistic villains, the Human Tank would be more at home in a superhero movie.
- Rotten Rock & Roll: He plays Van Halen music on his Walkman while shooting and burning everything in sight.
- Starter Villain: The first villain encountered in the fourth movie.
- The Voiceless: He never says a thing. He only lets out a Wilhelm Scream when sent flying and a grunt when he lands under a tanker truck.
Wah Sing Ku
A martial arts-trained Chinese triad and human trafficker.
- Avenging the Villain: He attempts to flee Riggs and Murtaugh with his brother, as all the other Four Fathers have been killed. When Murtaugh shoots Ku's brother while aiming for Ku himself, Ku sticks around and tries to kill Riggs and Murtaugh in revenge. Riggs then shoots Ku underwater after they fall off a pier while fighting.
- Big Bad: Of the fourth film.
- Big Brother Instinct: Inverted; he spends the whole film working to buy the release of his older brother, then tries to avenge him once Murtaugh kills him.
- Catchphrase: "In Hong Kong, you'd be dead". This refers to the criminals in his home turf handling unpleasantries more efficiently.
- Death Glare: Gives one towards the heroes. Especially Riggs, when, thinking Wah doesn't understand English, insults him ("scumbag", "eat shit").
- Dragon-in-Chief: He is technically working to free his bosses, the Four Fathers, one of whom is his brother. But since they are all in prison he's the one who actually drives the plot.
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He loves his brother. He also seems to care about the other three Four Fathers, giving one of them replacement glasses after his were broken in jail.
- Fisticuffs Boss: He takes Riggs and Murtaugh on in a two-on-one fight near the end.
- Implacable Man: Nothing slows him down. He's the toughest and deadliest foe Riggs and Murtaugh have ever faced and both barely escaped death in their final fight with him.
- Kick the Dog: His murder of Hong just to get his uncle to cooperate comes across as this.
- Lightning Bruiser: He beats both Riggs and Murtaugh at the same time.
- Made of Iron: He gets impaled with a rebar and still continues fighting. In fact, it takes a full burst from an AK-47 to the torso underwater to finally take him down.
- Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: The younger villain who comes closer to killing both Riggs and Murtaugh than anyone else in the series. Jet Li is seventeen younger than Danny Glover and seven years younger than Mel Gibson.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!:Brother, America has many laws, but written by men. Money can change everything.
- Super Speed: They had to get Jet Li to slow his fight scenes down because he was too fast for the actors to react to and the camera to catch on film.
- The Triads and the Tongs: One of these guys.
- Villainous Breakdown: Near the end, when Murtaugh kills his brother.Riggs: Well, now you done it. Now he's really pissed.
Detective Paul Ng
- Sacrificial Lion: He's murdered by Ku late in the movie to frighten Hong's uncle into cooperating with the counterfeiting.
Recurring minor characters
An LAPD police psychiatrist of dubious competence.
- The Shrink: Stephanie is the psychiatrist who analyzes and treats cops who have gone through traumatic experiences. Her competence varies from film to film.
- Adorably Precocious Child: In the first two movies, she has scenes complimenting Rianne's dress, teasing Rianne with a rap song about how she has a crush on Riggs, and telling her dad not to eat a tuna sandwich because of Flipper.
- Satellite Character: Carrie's role in the series entirely revolves around her parents and siblings.
- She Is All Grown Up: Carrie is a small child in the first movie and a pretty college student by the fourth.
- Bomb Disposal: Becker and his men are summoned to disarm bombs in the second and third movies.
Officer Selma Wells
- Never Mess with Granny: In the first movie, she smacks a fellow Christmas caroler for singing off-key, and in the third film, Leo has difficulty convincing Selma to let him see Riggs and Murtaugh.