Lethal Weapon Recap Premiere TV Series Reboot Fox

Lethal Weapon: Did Fox's Riggs-and-Murtagh Reboot Hit Its Target?

If you’re getting too old for this ish, you probably remember the original Lethal Weapon franchise: a series of buddy-cop films that launched in the late 1980s and capitalized on the chemistry between leads Danny Glover and Mel Gibson.

Fox’s TV-series reboot of the movies updates the action but follows the same formula: Its co-stars Damon Wayans (in the Roger Murtagh role) and Clayne Crawford (as Martin Riggs) play off each other incredibly well, injecting a ton of humor into what is, essentially, just another police procedural.

In a moment, we’ll want to hear what you think of the pilot. But first, a brief recap:

We meet Riggs as he’s chasing some bad guys with a fellow cop in Texas. He’s all cocksure and yeehaw, but he knows what’s important: When his pregnant wife, Miranda, calls to let him know that she’s gone into labor, he quickly pulls over and takes out the bad guys with a shot from very far away in order to meet her at the hospital on time. (We later learn he was a Navy SEAL, but still…)

But Miranda is in a terrible car accident on her way to the hospital. Both she and the baby die, leaving Riggs a sobbing wreck who moves to California six months later and spends his days getting blind drunk and considering suicide in a trash-filled trailer by the beach.

Meanwhile, 50-year-old Det. Murtagh is preparing for his first day back at the force following his heart attack and subsequent surgery. He’s got three kids, the youngest of which is a baby, and he’s completely healed. Murtagh’s life — aside from circumstances conspiring to thwart him from receiving promised oral sex from his hot lawyer wife (Girlfriends‘ Keesha Sharp) — is pretty good… until he gets to the precinct. His old partner, Brooks (Mad Men‘s Kevin Rahm), is now captain. And his new partner… is Riggs.

Murtagh and Riggs meet after the latter waltzes into a hostage situation at a bank, challenges the thieves to kill him in order to get their demands met, shoots all the bad guys, inadvertently sets off the detonator one of the criminals’ bomb vests and then saunters out, snacking on a piece of pizza, just before the blast goes off.

The point the Fox drama repeatedly makes is that Riggs just doesn’t want to live anymore now that Miranda is gone; at the end of the hour, he admits to having a death wish but says he can’t do the deed himself “’cause she’d be ashamed of me.” So instead, he places himself — and Murtagh, who chafes at first but eventually comes around — in several death-likely situations, such as a high speed car chase that crosses the path of a grand prix race and another hostage situation in which Riggs is headed for the angels until a quick-thinking Murtagh shoots his partner in the foot, making it possible for him to drop and grab a rifle, offing the bad guy and saving a 12-year-old kid in peril.

The case Murtagh and Riggs investigate — a faked suicide to cover a drug plot gone bad — is inconsequential; Jordana Brewster’s brief appearance as a police shrink, as well as the revelation that Miranda’s father is the city attorney smoothing over any fallout from Riggs’ unorthodox approach to police work hints, that the drama plans to mine the younger detective’s widowhood and mine it deep.

Now it’s your turn. What did you think of the episode? Grade the premiere via the poll below, then hit the comments to back up your thoughts!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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62 Comments
  1. KELLy says:

    I really enjoyed this episode. they have great chemistry

  2. Wendy says:

    I was determined to hate this. I *wanted* to hate this. But, damn it. I liked it. Wayans and Crawford had a good vibe. As good as Glover/Gibson? No. Not yet. But the series is still young. Still, as someone that loved the franchise and hated the idea, it was good. (I noticed Shane Black’s name in the credits. I’m sure his input helped here!)

  3. Nerwen says:

    As a fan of the original films I was skeptical of this reboot but I feel like they hit the nail on the head. They still have the old cop vs new hot shot dynamic, the chemistry between the leads is solid, there were some very funny moments but also dark drama that was balanced perfectly. Any fans of the films or of buddy cop dramas in general should tune in

  4. auntiemm says:

    I HATE reboots and I loved the movies (own them, too). But this one worked (take that Rush Hour) and i so wanted to hate it. I can look at the show and not constantly compare it to the source material. It’s not Glover/Gibson but it’s only the pilot. This is the best new show so far, for me, behind This Is Us.

    My only complaint is Jordana Brewster seems wasted but it’s only the pilot.

    • Expected Jordana to be a bigger part of the Riggs dynamic, given how he came to LA and whatever ‘issues’ he’s having. And her at the very beginning in the bank hostage situation kinda got glossed over, but the whole first event was fast paced to have her do much. But, like you said, it’s only the pilot and one would expect her to reappear occasionally as the story warrants.

  5. drhenning says:

    This was terrific reboot pf movies.. Enjoyed the new Riggs liking Clayne Crawford after disliking him on Rectify as Tawney’s husband… Daymon great as well. This is a winner show. it’ll be interesting on viewers of this vs BlindSpot.. Thank goodness for On Demand and DVR..

    • MMD says:

      Me too – I hated Clayne Crawford on Rectify but this was a pleasant surprise. It has been a long time since I watched the movie which I loved, hate reboots, so I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this. I normally don’t ever watch anything on Fox but I will give this a few weeks before I decide whether to dvr the series. It had a few laugh out loud moments, heart, chemistry plus the requisite car chase/shootouts. It is what it is, not must see tv but still a fun show.

  6. Kevin K says:

    Meh. The TV version doesn’t live up to the hype of the classic buddy cop movie starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. Give it one season tops. No complaining

  7. JonC says:

    Meh! very boring!! The chemistry between the 2 leads are so forced.

  8. Jeff says:

    I was very skeptical of this reboot, especially after the mess that was Rush Hour last year, but it was great. If they can keep this going the rest of the reason I’m in.

  9. Papandreou says:

    How about thinking of a new concept? What a novel concept for network TV.

  10. jenndeve says:

    Loved it! If a reboot had to happen, Damon and Clayne are the perfect match up as Riggs and Murtaugh.

  11. ndixit says:

    Crawford was great here and everything Riggs related was spot on. I thought the moments of emotion worked really well and the action was good. Murtaugh family looks good too. But how is this show going to differentiate itself from other buddy cop tv shows. Yes, we know Riggs is suicidal but I think its unlikely that they can keep using his suicidal tendencies as a way to differentiate this show from other cop dramas without it becoming old real soon.

  12. Kathy Bergeron says:

    I tuned in expecting it to be lame but surprise! I actually enjoyed it. The actors did a terrific job and the action was just enough while still laying the groundwork for the relationships between the characters. It goes onto our recording queue.

  13. This was great. I was worried that it wasn’t going to play well as I remember the original movie, but Damon Wayans has that thing about him to play the straight up Murtaugh with the background humor and Clayne seems made for the wild man that Mel Gibson did so well. But this Riggs is a little more sublime. I really enjoyed the episode and laughed when I needed to. I think this is going to go better than the Rush Hour reboot.

    • ameraleigh says:

      I didn’t think that I would enjoy this, I thought it would be too forced and cliche, but I was surprised at how much I really liked it. Clayne Crawford did a fantastic job, I’ve been a fan of his since he had a two episode guest appearance on Roswell way back in 2001.

  14. James D says:

    I thought it was pretty good. Certainly better than rush hour last year. I think Clayne is definitely the main attraction I thought he was able to encompass the original character but also make it his own which couldn’t of been easy. DW was good as Murdoch but i’ll have to see more episodes to get a feel for him. I will say I thought the script was kind of weak it sort of pushed them together and they where too buddy buddy too quickly IMO. I will continue watching it. Grew up on the original movies so it’s kind of strange seeing it re-done when I’m an adult.

    • Well, they really only had an hour to establish the buddy-buddy thing for the series, but having said that, i don’t think they really went all in on that. Like the movie, it was the wife that brought Riggs closer in, even though here she didn’t know who he was. I presume they’ll get closer as the episodes roll along.

  15. Eric says:

    Ugh, yeah alright, it was pretty good. Like many others here, I wanted to dislike the show simply based upon the fact that it was yet another reboot. But this one did it right: the leads were engaging and had great chemistry, the action and humour were dosed out in just the right quantities, and the emotion felt pretty genuine and never preachy or overdone. As long as the show can maintain its sense of fun and avoids becoming too formulaic (at least to the extent that’s possible in a police procedural), I’ll keep watching.

  16. texmike says:

    Way better than expected. I’m in.

  17. Mark says:

    I enjoyed it, and I felt we got to know the characters fairly well for a pilot episode. Looking forward to season 2.

  18. Iris says:

    Another one here who thought they’d hate the reboot because they loved the movies and ended up liking it. Not ground-breaking by any means, but it doesn’t matter to me as long as I’m entertained and I was. The leads have excellent chemistry. If the show lasts, hope there will be a “Leo” and a “Lorna” somewhere along the way.

  19. Jon says:

    Loved the film franchise and was a bit skeptical when I heard of the series knowing how Rush Hour failed miserably on CBS. With that said Fox did a great job of converting an awesome franchise into a series really hope it has a long run. Damon Wayans is already a better Roger than Glover ever was.

  20. Dess9 says:

    Don’t normally watch new shows but had to watch this one. Look forward to watching every week!!

  21. Scott B. says:

    I was never a fan of the movies in the first place, so I thought this was just okay.

  22. MarcNYY618 says:

    I don’t know. It was decent, but not AWESOME. I will watch more, but we’ll see. Mel Gibson is such a piece of garbage in the real world that I have trouble separating that and watching the Lethal Weapon movies, but before that was revealed I loved them. Gibson and Glover had a chemistry instantly that the tv show doesn’t match.

    But let’s see. It’s hard for me to accept Wayans in this role. But I’m open minded enough and liked the pilot enough to continue.

  23. Sara says:

    I actually enjoyed the pilot. We’ll see how the rest of the episodes go.

  24. dancmh says:

    I didn’t love it but I did like it more than I thought. Clayne Crawford has the same potential likability that Jake McDorman had on Limitless last year. (I miss that show so much…)

    • JScout says:

      I miss Limitless, too, and I agree with your comparison about the likability of these two actors in these roles. I think I’ll continue to watch, at least for a couple more weeks to see.

  25. Daughne says:

    LOVED IT!!! Opening up the world of Lethal Weapon to a whole new generation who have never heard of it!!! Plus taking awesome characters from the 80’s and giving them complete lives and stories. Can’t wait for more episodes!!!

  26. Daniel snow says:

    It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. (thank you trailer.) But I’m going to give it another shot and hope it gets better. It’s not fail it just didn’t live up to my expectations.

  27. Jess says:

    i liked it alot and the movies are my all time favorite. This was a good take on the movies. So much better than Rush Hour was. Definitely watching this from now on. It will be in my PVR for sure.

  28. Kathy Moore says:

    Fast action, surprises that had me talki,g to the T.V., and the only program that has held my interest in a long time!! I love Lethal Weapon so far.

  29. Katherine215 says:

    When I first heard about this, I expected it would be terrible. Then I read Matt’s review where he found it surprisingly decent and watched the trailer a bunch during football, and all the sudden I was excited for it. it didn’t disappoint! As a huge fan of the movie series, I thought I’d be distracted by these new guys trying to be Riggs and Murtaugh but both actors do a great job of making the characters their own. It was funny and heartbreaking and I really really liked it!

  30. Peter says:

    All i wanna no is a couple things…does the yv show take place after the movies or before the movies..cause if it takes place before the movies then riggs first wife wasn’t maranda it was victoroia lynn riggs..in the last movie riggs meets loran an has a baby wit her..so I’m confused on the whole point of the tv show..I wasn’t a big fan of the reboot but i did like the first episode and I’m looking forward to seeing new episodes in the future. Another question is in the first Lethal Weapon Riggs tells Myrtle that he did somebody in Mexico 1000 yards out only 7 or 8 or 10 people could have made that shot so it’s kind of going with the movies but I’m not sure if it’s on the same timeline of the movies. So if somebody could explain to me about when the TV show takes place and when it takes place before or after the Lethal Weapon movies.

    • I have no idea but now that you mentioned it, I remember his first wife as Victoria. Didn’t see the last movie, so I don’t know about that. But I’m thinking that there’s really no connection with the movie timeline. I’m thinking that the Miranda angle was to bring in the hispanic city attorney who’s his father in law, and got him to LA. Not to mention that he doesn’t know Murtagh at all prior to the bank robbery scene. If it was at the end of the movie line, they should be familiar with each other. The showrunners are probably keeping bits and pieces from the movie to keep things somewhat familiar, but beyond that, the show is new.

    • Pyres says:

      This is a whole new series retelling. The only thing that is the same is their names, and personalities. I wouldn’t expect to see Burbank the cat, or an incredibly hot Viki drowned in the harbor, it is completely new…so far.

  31. Monica Dolack says:

    HILARIOUS!!!!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this remake!!! Absolutely the best show of Fall 2016! Perfect casting, hilarious but writing! I’m obsessed. More please!!!!

  32. Carmen says:

    I meant to vote subpar..at best.

  33. Advisor says:

    I’m a huge fan of the original franchise and I really wanted to dislike this re-boot (and almost did after some writer changing Rigg’s military background from Army to Navy)but, it really surprised me. Seemed like they nailed the more modern version of their characters and they worked well together. It will be on the weekly watch list for us now.

  34. Jesse says:

    Pretty sure Riggs was Special Forces. Not sure why Hollywood is fascinated with SEALS, they are awesome but not the only Special unit in the military. I know it may be a small detail, but why try and hype something when it already existed in the source material.

  35. Erin says:

    Great episode, loved loved loved it!!!! <3

  36. Cynthia says:

    It was sooooo GOOD!!

  37. Josh says:

    I liked it, the only thing I had a little trouble with is the race track scene,seemed to far-fetched and unrealistic,especially where Riggs throws himself off the Mustang and lands on the pavement without more serious injuries? Just a limp and a few bruises? Ok I will stretch my imagination a bit more.It is TV right?

    • Oh come on. All of Lethal Weapon (to especially include the movies) are far fetched. Remember Riggs on the table holding onto only a piece of plastic skidding down the freeway? Um. No. The freeway would have sanded that down in seconds leaving Riggs without anything at all and killing him.

  38. I really didn’t think it could be done, but I am so happy to find I was wrong. They did a fabulous job! Now we the fans have a job to do and need to spread the word. I am loving this show. It’s not only going to get recorded each week (in case something happens) but I’m going to put it in the DO NOT DELETE section. :D

  39. jericho says:

    I love Damon Wayans and the casting of this shows main two was spot on. Great Chemistry, decently funny banter, good action… now if they can keep that up week to week, Fox may have actually finally found a movie it could reboot and have a winner.

    • I think Damon has a bit more comedy in his portrayal than Danny Glover. Danny is older and a bit more staid, in my view. Good for the movies at the time. Not to say he couldn’t be funny, but that wasn’t what I thought of when I think of Danny. For TV, Damon seems a bit more hip, and can play to the more comedic side of things, and can related to the new audience. And the comedy part probably comes better to him. Makes for a good interaction with Clayne.

  40. ed walker says:

    really, really good.best series since vikings and game of thrones. let’s keep this going.

  41. ed walker says:

    really, really, good

  42. Malissa R. says:

    I admit, I was pleasantly surprised.

  43. Rob says:

    I have to admit I was very skeptical of anyone being able to play the part of Riggs in proper memory of Mel Gibson’s Tony award winning deserved (in my opinion) performance in the franchise. I was completely blown away by Clawson’s performance. Grade A right on the money. I would love a chance to shake the man’s hand. I have seen him in a few other type character positions, and thought he was a decent actor. He did a good job of being a bullying jerk in “24” a few years back, then I saw a little more in some other minor roles. Plus I love the truck he drives. Mel drove a Chevy in the movie series, but I love that old Ford Truck!! I had 1 in High School just like it, same year even. 1977 F150.

    Congratulations man, you did it!! I can’t wait to see the next episode!! You Rock, and I love the chemistry you have with Damon. I already liked him anyway, but this made it better. Damon could use a little work on his character being Roger, but off to a good start!!

    I also love the sarcastic wit, I laughed 1/3 the way through the show.

    Fox Don’t screw this up and drop it like so many networks do by getting rid of a damn good show, and keeping stupid reality shows that we know aren’t real! Like, oh, I don’t know, maybe “Survivor”. Don’t get me started. I know, different network. Just making a point.

    I know stupidity sells,….unfortunately, and half this country has very little common sense anymore, but show every body and other networks that you have the stones to keep a good thing going.

    Ok, sorry for the novel, just had to give my 2 BIG thumbs up. Keep it coming guys!!

    God Bless.

  44. Rob says:

    I’m sorry, I know this is off topic from this show, but can someone tell me how they think Rush Hour was a flop??

    I have seen comments on that, were you people paying attention?

    That was a good show and had good chemistry, nobody gave it a chance, just like “Intelligence” back 2 years ago. Great show, and great writing. Just like “Mike and Molly”.

    And no, Lethal Weapon in not Boring!! If it is boring, you have no pulse, go try out as a Zombie for the Walking Dead.

    I am sorry if I offended anybody, just trying to understand. All the good shows get cancelled, while the idiotic shows(reality shows) stick around for way to long.

    • I thought Rush Hour was OK, but there seemed to be a bit much of the forced camaraderie and overacting on the part of the Carter character. Justin Hires seemed to try too hard to channel Chris Tucker and overwhelmed Jon Foo’s Lee character. The only character that seemed to play well with Carter is the character of Carter’s cousin Gerald. The stories were typical police procedurals but seemed to be too slow for the frenetic Carter character.

  45. Pyres says:

    Wayans is not a Glover, nor Crawford a Gibson, however, I hate it when a reboot is Xeroxed. They have reinvented both characters, modernized their lives, and are telling a new story for new times. I only wished it was done with a two hour opening as opposed to just one.
    The most important to me is that the show is on Hulu. I can watch it for the full season, then splurge on it for the weekend at the end of the season.
    Overall, doing away with bias, I loved it. And I really want to see a gag reel.

  46. shadester says:

    I love this show!!

  47. codepink1908 says:

    The expressions on riggs and murtaghs faces when that man got hit by that bus had me hooked and on the damn floor. That shizz was so0 funny!

  48. Kurt says:

    If there is going to be a reboot. Dont change character back stories. I was excited that they were doing lethal weapon as a tv series. But utterly disapointed in the change of riggs wife’s story and the changes in Murtaugh family,as well as How the two first meet. Etc.

    I decided to stop watching and turned it off.
    This is one that. Should not have changed. I love lethal weapon franchise and die hard. (These are the original with a perfect formula) new reboots such as die hard 4/5 and this slop (lethal weapon the tv series with changed formulas is just brutal to enjoy.

  49. Mary Colvin says:

    Between tears, laughs & gasps; this was the fastest kick ass finest TV show so far this new season.
    Two leads that play perfectly against each other makes this a I can’t wait for the next episode already 😀.
    Well done and thanks for keeping the vibe in place.

  50. Stephanie Schultz says:

    I love this new show. However, where was the heroin? Why was the guy shot over it? Can you be as specific as you were telling Riggs story?