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.