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.”
He also portrays the insecure and manipulative Teddy Talbot Jr. in the Southern drama “Rectify,” the fourth and final season of which begins Oct. 26 on Sundance TV.
Crawford’s movie credits include “A Walk to Remember” and “A Love Song for Bobby Long.”
Here’s what some of the critics are saying about Crawford’s performance in “Lethal Weapon”:
Robert Bianco, USA Today: “And while Crawford may not be the poster boy Gibson was in his youth, he gives the character a more subtle touch of humor and a more grounded poignancy. ‘Rectify’ proved his value as an actor; ‘Lethal’ may turn him into a star.”
Robert Lloyd, Los Angeles Times: “Alongside the well-cast Crawford and Wayans, a solid ensemble includes Keesha Sharp as Murtaugh’s missus; Jordana Brewster as the department psychologist; Johnathan Fernandez as the resident pathologist — can’t have a procedural without a pathologist — nicknamed Scorsese, because he went to film school; and Kevin Rahm, Ted of “Mad Men” fame, as the captain.”
Darrin Franich, Entertainment Weekly: “Crawford has a tough job. He’s got the more iconic shoes to fill, and he’s restricted by the sanitized nature of broadcast television. His Riggs needs to be crazy, but not too crazy; he needs to be suicidal, but obviously redeemable. In moments when Riggs seems like a complete basket case, someone will bring up his dead wife or his dead child, at which point the sound fades away and some Explosions in the Sky-ish music rises high, proving that deep down, Riggs is just a nice dude.”