When I heard that a Lethal Weapon TV series was being made based on the original films I can’t say I was excited. While I’m a fan of the films I just couldn’t see a TV adaptation working without Mel Gibson and Danny Glover reprising their roles as Riggs and Murtaugh. However, having watched the entire Lethal Weapon series I’m pleased to say I was wrong.
The Lethal Weapon TV series isn’t a carbon copy of the films but if you’ve seen them it does feel instantly familiar. The main characters of Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford), Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) and the Murtaugh family are all present.
In the films Riggs was ex-U.S. Army Special Forces having served in Vietnam. He is paired up with Murtaugh at the LAPD homicide division after transferring from narcotics. In the TV series, Riggs is a former Navy SEAL and joins up with Murtaugh after a transfer from the Texas police department.
Riggs is a volatile character who is suffering after the deaths of his wife and unborn son. Murtaugh is a family man and carries out his detective job by-the-book. He’s still got problems of his own though and is recovering from a recent heart attack that nearly took his life.
Crawford and Wayans put in great performances as the two detectives and give the characters their own spin. They are still very much a classic buddy cop duo and they clash and bounce off each other constantly. They work together so well on screen and although their relationship starts off rocky they eventually gain respect for one another.
There’s plenty of humour throughout the series and most of it stems from the dynamic between Riggs and Murtaugh. It’s often Roger trying to do things the right way while Riggs just does whatever it takes to get the job done. Riggs is borderline suicidal and has seemingly no fear. This leads to plenty of situations where Riggs puts himself and his partner in unnecessary danger.
Each episode tends to focus on a single case but there are themes that run throughout the entire season. These include the struggle Riggs goes through from the loss of his wife which is a big influence on the character. There are also plenty of crazy action sequences every episode including car chases, gun battles, jumping off buildings and of course explosions.
The supporting cast do a decent job too and each get their own moments. Trish Murtaugh (Keesha Sharp) worries about her husband Roger constantly and has a soft spot for Riggs. Captain Avery (Kevin Rahm) brings a lot of humour as he fails miserably to keep Riggs and Murtaugh under control. The Murtaugh kids, Riana (Chandler Kinney) and RJ (Dante Brown) continually challenge their parents with their behaviour.
Other characters include Dr. Maureen Cahill (Jordana Brewster) as the police department’s psychologist, Scorsese (Johnathan Fernandez) as a forensic technician, Detective Sonya Bailey (Michelle Mitchenor), Detective Alex Cruz (Richard Cabral) and DEA Agent Karen Palmer (Hilarie Burton).
One of the most famous characters from the films Leo Getz (Thomas Lennon) is also present in a small role but I was a bit disappointed that his character was quite different to that played by Joe Pesci. Instead this version of Leo Getz felt more like the character Saul Goodman from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.
Lethal Weapon: The Complete First Season Blu-ray contains all 18 one-hour episodes from season one. It also features an extended and uncensored pilot episode, 22 deleted scenes, a new Reloading Lethal Weapon featurette and a hilarious gag reel.
If you avoided Lethal Weapon season 1 when it was on TV then you missed out. Yes it’s familiar and a bit predictable but very entertaining with some great action set-pieces. If you enjoyed the original films or just like buddy cop dramas then you should find plenty to enjoy here. The second season began airing in the US earlier this week and will be coming to UK screens in early 2018. I really can’t wait.
Cast: Damon Wayans, Clayne Crawford, Keesha Sharp, Kevin Rahm, Jordana Brewster, Johnathan Fernandez, Michelle Mitchenor, Dante Brown, Chandler Kinney, Richard Cabral, Hilarie Burton, Thomas Lennon, Floriana Lima Certificate: 15 Released By: Warner Bros. Release Date: 25th September 2017