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Series / Lethal Weapon (2016)

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Lethal Weapon is a TV series produced for air on FOX. It is based on the Lethal Weapon film series, and stars Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford in the roles of Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs.

Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford) is a former Navy SEAL and Sheriff's Deputy in El Paso, Texas, who recently lost his pregnant wife in an auto accident. Reeling from the loss and wanting to die, he moves to Los Angeles and transfers to the LAPD as a detective. There, he's partnered with Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans), a seasoned detective who just returned to the job after having suffered a major heart attack. The two immediately clash as one detective's hard-charging manner goes against the other's desire to reduce his stress as much as possible.

The show ran for three seasons. Crawford was fired at the end of the second season, and Seann William Scott was brought in as a new character to be Murtaugh's partner.

This program contains examples of:

  • Actor Allusion:
    • A character played by Hilarie Burton, who nearly runs over her Love Interest? Are we talking about Agent Palmer, or Peyton Sawyer?
    • During R.J.'s graduation ceremony in the first season finale, one of the names of his classmates is Michael Kyle, the name of Damon Wayans' character on My Wife and Kids.
  • Adaptation Name Change: A couple so far. Riggs' wife is named Miranda instead of Victoria Lynn, and Murtaugh's son Nick is now Roger, Jr., while Rianne has been slightly renamed to Riana.
  • Age Lift: In the films, Trish was around the same age as Roger. In the series, she's at least seven years younger (she was 42 when she got pregnant with their new baby, and Roger just turned 50).
  • The Alcoholic: Bourbon is never too far from Riggs' grasp. He even swigs from a flask while at work.
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: The ending theme song for the Japanese release is "Re:birth" by Michiya Haruhata.
  • Answer Cut: The first episode provides us with a lovely transition from Riggs and Cahill's therapy session.
    Cahill: "Do you want to die?"
    [cuts to Murtaugh ranting to Avery]
    Murtaugh: "THE MAN WANTS TO DIE!"
  • Artistic License – Gun Safety: Averted by Murtaugh in the Pilot, who removes the magazine, ejects the bullet from the chamber, and clicks on the safety before handing his service weapon to Riggs... who promptly begins waving it around and ends up pointing it up under his chin to demonstrate how he would go about committing suicide.
    • A lot of what Riggs does falls somewhere between this and Reckless Gun Usage, but it's largely justified and deliberate since he's suicidal and wouldn't care at all if he wound up dead because a gun went off when it shouldn't have.
  • Artistic License – Law Enforcement: In "Flight Risk", Murtaugh interrogates Riana. In Real Life, an officer would never be asked to interrogate a family member and they would get a different officer for that.
  • Bait-and-Switch Compassion: At the beginning of "Jingle Bell Glock", a man notices a corpse atop his car and says "Oh my god. My car!"
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: Murtaugh hates jump-roping, swimming, jogging, and sitting.
  • Bolivian Army Ending: The Trope Namer is discussed by Riggs during a shootout with a bunch of gangbangers. When Murtaugh points out that Butch and Sundance died in the movie, Riggs admits that he never actually saw the movie and did not realize that the story ended that way.
  • Bottomless Magazines: Averted in the Pilot. Murtaugh only has one bullet left after their shootout at the port, so Riggs just tells him not to miss before breaking cover and offering himself as a target in the hopes that the shooter will expose his location. Murtaugh ends up using the bullet to shoot Riggs in the foot to get him out of the line of fire, at which point Riggs grabs his own weapon off the ground where he dropped it earlier and takes the shooter out himself.
    • Averted again in 'Best Buds', when Riggs and Murtaugh engage in a gun battle with a bunch of gangbangers but they only have two spare magazines so they run out of ammo very quickly.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: In 'Surf N Turf', Murtaugh talks about the shootout like it's this.
    • When Riggs questions Gideon about Miranda's death, Gideon notes he'll need to be more specific - he's killed a lot of women.
  • Casual Danger Dialogue: During the premiere episode's cold open, Riggs has a cheerful conversation with his wife over the phone while in the middle of a car chase as an armed gang is spraying his truck with bullets.
  • Christmas Episode: 'Jingle Bell Glock'.
  • Coitus Interruptus: Happens to the Murtaughs twice in the first episode.
  • Cold Sniper: Riggs, of course.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "The Murtaugh File," which heavily involves Dr. Maureen Cahill.
  • Death Seeker: Just like in the first film, Riggs is nigh-suicidal on the job, to the point where he offers himself as a victim to a bank robber, saying that the death of a cop will give the robbery crew better leverage for negotiation. Of course, Riggs then grabs the gun and quickly shoots all the robbers dead.
    • Downplayed with Cole, who is often as reckless as Riggs was and seems to have an equally non-existent sense of self-preservation, but while Riggs would have been happy to get killed on duty, Cole wants to be redeemed for getting a 10-year-old boy killed in the Middle East and thinks death would be getting off too easy for his sins. Cole also has a daughter he wants to be there for, or else he possibly WOULD be as suicidal as Riggs was.
  • Demoted to Extra: Leo Getz is only a recurring character, which contrasts greatly to the movies where he’s basically the third lead.
  • Destructive Saviour:
    • Riggs and Murtaugh's actions in the series premiere resulted in a repair bill close to $1.5 million. In the second episode Captain Avery ends up Tempting Fate by putting the exact number on a dry-erase board and asks them to keep any future damage to a minimum. A few hours later he is seen changing the number to $2 million to account for the repair bill from that day. Riggs and Murtaugh request that he keep separate tabs for each of them.
    • At the end of an episode Avery is astonished to discover that Riggs and Murtaugh managed to solve the case without any serious property damage and the city is not facing another lawsuit. He is still pissed at them because they "wrecked college football" by getting his favourite team sanctioned by the league.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Riggs has been doing this since his wife's death, combined with his death seeker attitude where he picks a fight with a biker gang.
    • The flashbacks in 'Jingle Bell Glock' indicate that he may have been doing this back before he met his wife as well.
  • Easily Forgiven: When Riggs and Murtaugh need to nick two million dollars worth in coke from the department's evidence vault for yet another Indy Ploy, they do so by forging Avery's signature. Avery finds out of course, but not only does he let it slide with barely more than a raised eyebrow — he actually commends the two of them for bagging a drug kingpin the department had been after for years.
  • Empty Fridge, Empty Life: Riggs' refrigerator is pretty much empty except for beer. When he allows a young kid to spend the night at his place in 'Can I Get A Witness?', the only thing he has to offer him for dinner is beef jerky. The end of the episode shows that he's starting to make some progress by purchasing groceries and food for his dog, as well as cheese puffs in case the kid is ever able to visit him again. Turns out to have been a very short phase, however — by the next episode he's back to beer and mayonnaise for breakfast. Mixed together.
  • Enhance Button: Used to ludicrous levels in 'Jingle Bell Glock'. The low-quality video they have of the crime being committed only shows the killer from behind so they zoom in on one of the Christmas tree ornaments in the background as he walks past, and it somehow provides a perfectly clear image of his face.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Riggs gets an in-universe one during the bank robbery scene from the Pilot episode. Murtaugh initially dismisses him as just a random bystander trying to offer unwelcome advice, only to get the shock of his life when a uniformed officer tells him that Riggs is actually a cop as they watch him casually walk into the bank with a stack of pizza boxes, where he proceeds to offer himself as a hostage and also tries to goad the robbers into killing him. He then effortlessly turns the tables on the robbers, kills them all without breaking a sweat, exits the building with a slice of pizza in his hand, and introduces himself to Murtaugh as the bank explodes behind him.
    • The audience also got a slightly earlier one for Riggs, when he has a totally casual and affectionate conversation on the phone with his wife while engaged in a high-speed chase with some gangbangers who are spraying his truck with gunfire, only to immediately abandon the chase and take the target out from a distance after she tells him she's on the way to the hospital to deliver their baby. You realize he's always been a crazy bastard prone to taking stupid risks, and the only reason he held back before was because of his wife.
  • Every Scar Has a Story: Alex Cruz, the ex-gang member turned detective, has a noticeable scar on his neck where he burned his own gang tattoo off.
  • Fan Dumb: In-universe. Pop star Shaye & her manager are abducted by her ex, who proceeds to stream the abduction over Periscope. By the time Riggs & Murtaugh have saved them both, Shaye’s admitted to being responsible for a death that her ex took the fall for — however, Shaye’s fans still blame Riggs & Murtaugh for her being arrested & heading to jail.
  • Fanservice Extra: The girls Julian hires to attend the Villain of the Week's party in 'Ties That Bind'.
  • Forced to Watch: Gideon has Riggs and Murtaugh tied up and offers the choice of which one he tortures. Riggs volunteers, so Gideon forces him to watch as they torture Murtaugh nearly to death.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: If you pay attention during the morgue scene in 'Jingle Bell Glock', you'll notice that Scorsese has mistletoe hanging over the autopsy table.
  • Friend to All Children: Despite his protestations and attempts at remaining distant (due to his grief over losing his unborn child), Riggs is great at making connections with children and they seem to like him too.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Riggs and Murtaugh attempt to take down a naked bodybuilder in a shower. The bodybuilder gets back at them by picking Riggs up and using him as a club against Murtaugh.
  • Happily Married: Just like in the movie, Roger and Trish Murtaugh are an almost disgustingly happy couple, even after twenty years together.
  • Heroic Second Wind: At the climax of 'Fashion Police', Riggs stops struggling and begs his interrogator to kill him and get it over with so he can be with his wife again. Then the man makes the mistake of threatening Roger's family. Riggs immediately headbutts him in the face, knocks him to the ground, pins him in a thigh hold while he unties himself with his teeth, and then gives chase after the man escapes.
  • Jurisdiction Friction: In episode 7 Riggs tells a woman he's a cop and that she's interfering with his investigation, only for her to tell him she's a DEA agent and that he's interfering with her investigation.
Detective Riggs: LAPD! You're interfering with an investigation.
Agent Palmer: Yeah, DEA. And you're interfering with my investigation.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: Riggs assures Murtaugh he's not going to kill himself, as doing so would shame his deceased wife. His intent is to die on the job.
  • I Have Your Wife: In 'Jingle Bell Glock', Murtaugh's family is taken hostage by the cartel, who demand that he release the cartel member he and Riggs just arrested for murder.
  • Impairment Shot: Whenever Riggs is drugged, his vision gets blurry and disoriented, and he starts hearing other people's voices as echo-y.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: In 'The Seal is Broken' Riggs and Murtaugh are getting medical care when they start arguing. The nurse attending Riggs excuses herself:
    Nurse: So, uh, I'm just gonna go... re-calibrate the forceps.
    Riggs: I think she just made that up.
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: D.A. Erica is with a man who claims he was set up for a murder by a corporation. As the man is at her place before going to testify, Erica runs down all the charges this corporation is guilty of, including the murder. The man offhand mentions how wild it was they killed the guy with garden shears. Erica instantly realizes that was never revealed to the public and only the killer could know what weapon was used.
  • Internal Homage:
    • Murtaugh's torture by defibrillator is an updated version of Endo torturing Riggs in the original film.
    • In episode 5, Murtaugh says he "can't keep up with guys who jump off of buildings" when talking to Trish about a perp who jumped off a building being chased by him and Riggs. In the original film, Riggs jumps off a building.
  • Jabba Table Manners: Riggs is absolutely disgusting when he eats. Murtaugh can do little but stare whenever they share a meal.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: In "Best Buds", Riggs and Murtaugh engage in a gun battle with a bunch of gangbangers who are armed with sub-machine guns. They need to lay down suppression fire to keep the gangbangers from flanking them and quickly run out of ammo. They are then saved because a gunfight on this scale will cause the LAPD to quickly descend on the location.
  • Look Both Ways: A suspect the duo chases ends up being flattened by a city bus.
    Riggs: What? I didn't kill him.
  • Mercy Kill: In "Flight Risk", Riggs has flashbacks to his childhood in which he can't bring himself to shoot a deer, so his father shoots it. The deer is still alive, so Riggs shoots it to put it out of its misery.
  • Mirror Character: Riggs and Jackson in 'Spilt Milk'. Both are ex-navy seals who engage in behavior that is more than slightly erratic, and are at least borderline suicidal due to losing people close to them. Murtaugh lampshades the similarities.
    Avery: We can't have a lunatic ex-seal running around the city wreaking havoc.
    Murtaugh: [staring out the window at Riggs walking back and forth along the edge of the roof] You mean two of them.
  • Moment Killer: Riggs interrupts Murtaugh twice in the premiere episode. Once when the family is about to sit down and have dinner and once when Trish is about to give Murtaugh his "birthday present".
    Riggs: I hope I'm not intruding.
    Trish: Not at all! [Turning to Roger] Don't worry honey, sixty is right around the corner!
    Murtaugh: Sixty?!?! SIXTY?!?!
    Riggs: You guys got anything to eat?
    • A third moment killer is not caused by Riggs, but by Trish and Roger's baby waking up crying.
  • Mood Whiplash: Happens occasionally, with a notable example being the rescue scene in 'Fashion Police'. Riggs is in full Death Seeker mode and on his knees screaming at the episode's villain to shoot him... until Murtaugh and Palmer show up and hit the man with their car, at which point Riggs totally switches gears and starts snarking with them about how they almost ran him over and they should never be allowed to operate a vehicle again.
    • Riggs is getting happier and trying to start an actual relationship with Palmer... until she gives him the file that shows Miranda's death was a cartel hit. Between episodes he goes from recovering to the depths of obsession, depression, and rage.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • "Wreck the Halls" is practically a love letter to the first Lethal Weapon. It starts with the same version of "Jingle Bell Rock" that the first movie starts with. Additionally, it starts with Riggs in a Christmas tree lot, and Clayne Crawford is dressed the same way as Mel Gibson was in that scene: red and black flannel shirt over a white undershirt and jeans. The plot is set in motion by someone from Roger's past getting killed over a drug deal and before it's over, a car is crashed into the Murtaugh's living room. Also, the bad guy winds up being Not Quite Dead, and getting shot by both Riggs and Murtaugh.
    • At the end of "Fork Getta 'Bout It", Murtaugh says his catchphrase should be "I'm too old for this", a reference to the Lethal Weapon movies.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When Riggs actually calls for backup, you better send everyone.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: Riggs nearly always carries his gun stuffed into the back of his pants, even while walking around in the cop shop. Nobody ever comments on it, let alone calls him out on this blatant disregard for gun safety rules. It does, however, fit his carefree personality to a T.
  • Papa Wolf: Definitely Murtaugh. Though he hasn't confused Riggs as possibly interested in Riana like in the films (yet).
    Murtaugh: Are you available?
    Riggs: For what?
    Murtaugh: To kill the punk that's dating my daughter.
    Riggs: I'll make time for that.
  • Product Placement:
    • Or as Fox is calling it, "Story Stretch". In one-minute segments, two side characters discuss elements of the current episode, all while showing off one of the Microsoft Surface Pro 4's features. These are actual commercials as they take place during the ad break; thankfully they are also non-critical to the story.
    • In an episode where Roger and Trish discuss buying Roger Jr. a car, the family stops by a dealership where the show takes a few minutes to stop and explain the features of the latest Ford SUV.
  • Put on a Bus: Detective Alex Cruz just kinda quietly vanishes between seasons 1 and 2, as does Detective Zach Bowman before the end of Season 2, with neither's exits explained onscreen. As both were Bayley's partners, one might worry that her current partner as of season 3, Detective Gutierrez, may also quietly vanish at some point.
  • Race Lift: Riggs' wife is Hispanic in the series. She was white and blonde in the films.
  • Rank Up: Murtaugh's old partner, Brooks Avery, was promoted while Murtaugh was recovering from his heart attack, which is why Murtaugh is now being partnered with Riggs.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: Agent Palmer disappears from the show, despite her burgeoning relationship with Riggs, due to Hilarie Burton’s pregnancy.
  • Saying Too Much: Happens twice in the first season finale. First, Gideon drops multiple details about the day Miranda died but makes a mistake that makes Riggs question the story. Second, Ronnie tells Riggs to forget about what Gideon said despite having never mentioned him by name. Together, this is enough for Riggs to piece together the story.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Riggs is getting protection from the city attorney who just happens to be his father-in-law.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: At one point, circumstances force Riggs to show up for work clad in trunks at exactly the day his very high-ranking father-in-law visits the cop shop to talk to him. When Riggs spots him, he bails so fast that Murtaugh doesn't even notice until he's finished his sentence.
  • Sequel Hook: The first season ends with Murtaugh going to Mexico to find Riggs as Riggs goes after Tito Flores.
  • Series Continuity Error: There are two different dates given for Miranda Riggs' death in the same episode. The accident report that Riggs digs out of the storage locker in 'Jingle Bell Glock' lists the date as March 28th, 2016, but he later gives the date as September 15th, 2015 when asking if Eddie Flores was responsible. The first date coincides with the six-month time skip in the Pilot, while the second date fits better with her announcing her pregnancy at Christmas. It's unknown if this was deliberate or just a very grievous writing error.
  • Shoot the Hostage: In the first episode, Murtaugh shoots Riggs in the foot to prevent him from sacrificing himself to a sniper. Riggs has a sling (different bullet) and walks with a limp for the rest of the episode.
  • Shout-Out: In the pilot, a criminal is run down by a bus, similar to how Terry dies in Final Destination. In the episode Best Buds, an armored truck robbery reminiscent of Heat occurs.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • Murtaugh and Riggs are both experienced detectives and quickly spot when something about a situation does not add up. In the series premiere, Riggs quickly points out the many suspicious discrepancies at the scene of a supposed suicide. Murtaugh later confirms these suspicions when he realizes that the dead man was left-handed but the gun was in his right hand.
    • In the second episode, they quickly realize that the dead man was not the shooter's intended target and was simply hit by a stray bullet after the real target made a run for it. Later, after a sniper tries to kill a witness, Riggs sees burns on a suspect's arms and recognizes them as injuries a sniper might get.
  • The Stoner: Riggs likes to toke, although his usage is depicted as being driven more by grief than pleasure.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: When Clayne Crawford was fired from the show, which was itself renewed for one more season, a new character was needed to replace Riggs. So they came up with Wesley Cole, and hired Seann William Scott for the rôle. Riggs and Cole have different backgrounds, but they're both haunted by their respective pasts, and they're still very similar in their recklessness and their unorthodox approaches to the job.
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: Riggs tries to do this with a witness in 'Surf N Turf', and even lampshades the irony of that fact. It turns out she's not really that interested in killing herself — she just thought he was one of the men after her — and then he has to tackle her off the roof anyways after a sniper turns up and starts shooting at them.
    • Murtaugh does this after walking in on Riggs with a loaded gun in "Jingle Bell Glock", although he doesn't really convince Riggs not to take his own life so much as he just convinces him to go after the man he thinks killed his wife instead. Riggs later tells Roger thank you.
  • Tattooed Crook: Detective Cruz is a former crook who is heavily tattooed and is occasionally called upon to invoke this trope for the sake of rattling a suspect.
  • There Are No Therapists: Refreshingly averted with the inclusion of Maureen Cahill, the department shrink. She appears in most episodes and has regular (department-ordered) sessions with Riggs, where she does her best to help him work through his grief over his wife's death.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Riggs ends up invited into the Murtaugh house by Trish whenever he's at the door. Once, this was after he interrupted Roger and Trish about to have sex.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Two nitwits decide to hijack an armored truck even though they know that some of the money the truck is carrying belongs to a Mexican drug cartel. The crime is easily traced back to them because they are on a very short list of people who knew the truck's schedule. When the cops come to arrest them they find that the cartel already got to them first and left their severed heads a warning to any imitators.
  • Unflinching Walk: Riggs does this after blowing up a van attempting to run down Rachel in Episode 6, "Ties that Bind".
  • Villains Never Lie: Tito Flores assures Riggs that he wasn't important enough to arrange the assassination of his wife and later states on the phone to somebody else that it's the truth. The assassination was instead aimed at Miranda's father.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: You get one guess.

Alternative Title(s): Lethal Weapon