TV LINE – In a recurring bit sprinkled throughout this week’s Lethal Weapon, Murtaugh and Riggs bicker about how best to describe their partnership. Are they surf and turf? Ham and pineapple? Chips and salsa? Tango and Cash? Starsky and Hutch?
Likewise, I spend a lot of the hour wondering the best way to describe this odd show to people who haven’t seen it. Action with heart? Comedy with action? Completely unbelievable stunts interspersed among fun-but-forgettable police cases? One man’s desperate cry for help flecked with one-liners and a car chase or two?
We’re now two episodes into Fox’s series reboot of the film franchise, and I still don’t know exactly how to answer when people who haven’t watched ask what it’s like. But after the second installment, I do know this: It’s a good thing that Dr. Cahill is bird-dogging the off-kilter detective, because there is a gaping hole of pain hiding underneath that mop of curls, and it’s only a matter of time before that kicky beach nudity and hee-larious drinking at work turn into a real problem for Murtaugh and the department.
Let’s review the highlights of “Surf N Turf.”
- Lethal Weapon > Season 1 > Screencaptures > 1.02 “Surf and Turf” Screencaps
TV LINE – 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.
I’ve added a few episode stills to the gallery as well.
- Lethal Weapon > Season 1 > Episode Stills > 1.02 “Surf N’ Turf” Episode Stills
AL.COM – Alabama actor Clayne Crawford — best known for his roles on “24,” “NCIS: New Orleans” and “Rectify” — steps into some mighty big shoes tonight on the premiere episode of the Fox network’s “Lethal Weapon.”
The new series — adapted from the iconic movie franchise that starred Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as mismatched LA cops — airs at 7 p.m. Central time on Fox.
Crawford, who grew up in the Clay in northeastern Jefferson County and graduated from Hewitt-Trussville High School, stars as Martin Riggs, the role Gibson made famous. Damon Wayans plays his sidekick Roger Murtaugh, who was portrayed by Danny Glover in the “Lethal Weapon” movies.
“Redoing something is terrifying as an actor,” Crawford said in an interview with TVGuide.com. “You like to do things that are original and you like to try to put your own spin on it.
“What they did was so incredible, and it didn’t leave a lot of meat on the bone. So what we had to do — because of the respect we had for the other projects — [was] separate ourselves as much as possible and try to bring only what we can bring.
“I can only bring what Clayne Crawford has inside of him, and Damon Wayans can only do the same. And that’s what we tried to do.”
Crawford previously played the stalker Kevin Wade on Season 8 of Fox’s ticking-clock thriller “24,” the shady prison medic Lance on the FX Network’s coal-country crime saga “Justified,” and has had a recurring role as the ne’er-do-well brother of special agent Christopher LaSalle (fellow Alabama actor Lucas Black) on the CBS thriller “NCIS: New Orleans.”
ESQUIRE – The Lethal Weapon star talks about creating a new version of the character on the TV reboot.
If Clayne Crawford is known to television audiences at all its for his work on Rectify, the bet-you-can’t-watch-just-one SundanceTV family drama where tensions are slowly popping up from below the surface like a just-baked apple pie. There, he plays Teddy, an honors graduate from the Pete Campbell School for Irritating Douchbags who is not as over the moon as other family members that his stepbrother Daniel (Aden Young) has been released from Death Row.
This all might change for Crawford, as he is now starring in Fox’s televised reboot of Lethal Weapon. Premiering September 21, Crawford plays Martin Riggs, the reckless and brilliant cop with an actual death wish who was made famous by Mel Gibson in the 1987 action movie. (Damon Wayans Sr. plays the Danny Glover part).
In real life, Crawford is much the old-school Southern gentleman who lives with his family on a farm in Alabama. He was late for his phone interview with Esquire because he was talking to his grandfather. “The VA just gave him new hearing aids,” he apologized. “He was extremely excited that he could hear me and we could have a conversation. Wrapping that up was not an option.”
He also talked about the end of Rectify, which begins its final season on October 26, and the requirements for his new show (read: fame, car chases, and nude scenes).
Lethal Weapon’s Riggs is very different part from Rectify’s Teddy. What interested you in it?
Clayne has finally officially joined Twitter – Verified and everything! Follow @ClayneCrawford! And follow his new show and costars as well: @LethalWeaponFox, @DamonkWayans, @JordanaBrewster, @ChandlerLKinney , @JthanPrime, @keeshasharp, or follow this list: @LethalWeaponFox – Cast and Crew List.