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Lethal Weapon went through a massive change between Season 2 and Season 3 when Fox went ahead and fired Clayne Crawford in response to alleged misconduct on set. The maverick who lived to break the rules, push boundaries, deal with demons, and form an unlikely friendship with his straight-laced partner was killed off, with his death taking place with Crawford nowhere to be seen in the Season 3 premiere. Lethal Weapon exists without Riggs. Now, however, the show has cast a new character who basically sounds like the maverick we came to know and love, and she'll partner Bailey. Lethal Weapon head honcho Matt Miller describes the situation as Bailey "getting her own Riggs," and he went on to say this:
She gets a female partner who is a little bit unglued, a little bit crazy, always wants to resort to physicality. It's a nice balance between someone who is always looking to pick a fight and Bailey, who's someone that is really able to use her brains to solve most cases. The juxtaposition of those two is a fun dynamic that we're going to continue to play throughout the season.
Well, maybe spending a couple years dealing with Riggs and -- perhaps more importantly, watching Murtaugh deal with Riggs -- will help Bailey deal with having a Riggs of her own in Season 3. Her new partner is named Louie "The Gute" Gutierrez and will be played by Paola Lázaro. The Gute joins the Robbery/Homicide division after getting out of a year of undercover work, which pitted her against the Mexican cartel and probably brings her back with her fair share of baggage and even trauma. This new character would rather act than think in high-stakes situations, and that isn't exactly the way Bailey tends to handle her work as a detective.
The casting of Paola Lázaro may be a sign that Lethal Weapon intends to give Bailey more screentime and more time in the field, although it's too soon to say. Lázaro doesn't debut on Lethal Weapon until the sixth episode of Season 3, which also happens to feature actress Keesha Sharp as director, in a departure from her usual role as Trish. The maverick and shoot-first-think-later characteristics of The Gute also seem to indicate that Lethal Weapon is not planning on slowly turning Cole into Riggs 2.0.
Obviously Cole didn't premiere as a character with a ton in common with Riggs, and his background is certainly different than Riggs', but given that Riggs is a legendary character and half of a legendary dynamic on large and small screens alike, it was entirely possible that Lethal Weapon would slowly transition him into a Riggs-esque partner for Murtaugh. Instead, Bailey will deal with her own version of Riggs, and that could be a lot of fun... for viewers. Bailey, not so much. Matt Miller went on in his chat with TVLine to explain why Bailey's previous partner Zach was being replaced by The Gute:
I adore the actor Andrew Creer and the character of Bowman, but he had a very enthusiastic persona, and our concern was that we're giving some of those characteristics to Cole. We didn't want to see too much overlap of that vibe.
Zach lost his spot as Bailey's partner once the new co-lead started taking on some similar characteristics. Bailey's dynamic with her new parter will undoubtedly be very different and involve some very different struggles. Since Lethal Weapon is primarily Murtaugh and his partner's story, we likely won't see as much of Bailey and The Gute as we will of Murtaugh and Cole. Still, Paola Lázaro could be a fun addition to the cast in the new Riggs-less era. We have a new Riggs-type character without Clayne Crawford on the scene!
Tune in to Fox on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET to catch new episodes of Lethal Weapon in the fall TV lineup.