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When Lethal Weapon first hit the airwaves as a TV show back in 2016, an iconic partnership made its way to the small screen for the first time. Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs were the heart of a huge hit of a film franchise, so it seemed only natural that the Lethal Weapon TV show would center on them as well. Now, three seasons in, the show may need to move on without both Murtaugh and Riggs, and the question is whether that can work on a Lethal Weapon project.
Shortly after Lethal Weapon premiered its first season without Clayne Crawford as Martin Riggs, Damon Wayans stated that he's done with the show following Season 3. Fox hasn't made any official announcement about the future of Roger Murtaugh on Lethal Weapon. Keesha Sharp, who plays fan-favorite Trish Murtaugh, spoke with CinemaBlend about whether Lethal Weapon can progress without Wayans:
That's a very good question. Listen, I believe that our writers and our showrunner and production team, we're able to overcome anything. Now, would I want that to happen? No, I wouldn't want that to happen. And D isn't going anywhere. Let's just make that clear. But I trust the team and if D decided that that's something he needed to do, that would be something he would have to make that decision. I think that we can overcome anything. We've overcome so much already, we can overcome anything. I don't want that to happen, but I would believe that we could do anything. People didn't expect us to make it. When you watch that pilot, most people were like, 'Leave the franchise alone. Why are they messing with Lethal Weapon?' And we came and we surprised people, and the same with the third season. We've overcome a great loss in a character, and could we do it? I think we did. Lethal Weapon is a show that keeps on going.
Back when news first broke of allegations of misconduct against Clayne Crawford, some fans began to doubt that a third season could possibly happen. What is Lethal Weapon without Riggs and Murtaugh together? Well, that may have been true for the movies, but not necessarily the case for a show that had already completed two full seasons. Although Riggs and Murtaugh were the co-leads of the series, they were surrounded by a powerful ensemble.
Doubts that Lethal Weapon could work without both Riggs and Murtaugh were dispelled with the Season 3 premiere that revealed Riggs had died following the Season 2 cliffhanger that left his life in question. The first episode of the third season managed to kill off a character, allow the surviving characters to mourn, and introduce a new key character to step up and join the team. Lethal Weapon is different without Riggs, and it would be different without Murtaugh. That doesn't have to be a bad thing.
It hasn't been set in stone that Damon Wayans is or is not leaving after Season 3, but Keesha Sharp clearly believes that the show can last into Season 4 and perhaps even beyond even if Murtaugh is gone. Sharp revealed that she's a longtime fan of the Lethal Weapon films, and she was well aware of the doubts some people had about the franchise coming to a TV show. She saw her show exceed expectations. Who's to say the show can't do it again?
When I asked Keesha Sharp if she believed Lethal Weapon would still be Lethal Weapon even if it had to continue without Riggs and Damon Wayans as Murtaugh, she had this to say:
I do! In my opinion, first of all, let me just say again, I don't want that to happen and nobody wants that to happen without these amazing characters. We did it with Riggs when Riggs died, and we found Cole. No one thought we could do it. Lethal Weapon has become its own thing. It's so separate from what the films were. We bring in stuff to pay homage to the films, but Lethal Weapon is something of its own now, the television series. So what is Lethal Weapon? I think that's the question you're asking. Is it Riggs and Roger? I would say Lethal Weapon is something bigger now. Lethal Weapon could be love.
For Keesha Sharp (and likely a decent chunk of fans), Lethal Weapon would ideally continue with Damon Wayans still on board as Roger Murtaugh. That said, she made the point that Lethal Weapon achieved what once felt impossible by replacing Martin Riggs with an entirely original character that hadn't appeared in any of the hit movies.
Lethal Weapon stands on its own at this point, and it does not sink or swim based on Murtaugh. If the show can carry on after Riggs' death, it can carry on without Murtaugh if necessary. Keesha Sharp spoke about how Lethal Weapon changed with Cole instead of Riggs, and she made several good points about the show and its evolution.
There's no single status quo for a show that runs for so much longer than just four films. Murtaugh and Riggs' partnership might not have been able to sustain a series to its full potential even if Clayne Crawford had remained on the show. Love may be the thing to sustain the show for the indefinite future.
Keesha Sharp elaborated on her thoughts about love guiding Lethal Weapon in the future:
It's like the song for the movie was talking about love is the lethal weapon. That Riggs' love in the movies, for Mel Gibson, his love was lethal. It became lethal because of his loss. And so if we stay in that lane, Lethal Weapon can continue. Love continues. What is the next lethal weapon? Cole is the lethal weapon now. He knows every martial arts there is, he speaks seven languages, he can kill quickly. But his lethal weapon is different. He chooses not to do that. He wants to talk the suspect down. He doesn't want to kill. He shoots last. That's the last thing he wants to do. So that's what it is now. Who knows what it will be next year? Hopefully we keep the family together, but if something happens, Lethal Weapon changes again. It evolves again. It keeps changing, and we just are so grateful to the fans that they're like, 'Okay, I buy it! I buy that this Lethal Weapon keeps changing,' and I'm okay with that because at the end of the day, we still have heart, we have drama. We have action and we have laughter, and that could just keep going.
The introduction of Cole really is a sign that Lethal Weapon has come a long way from that original premise of Riggs and Murtaugh against the world, and not just because fans have responded so well to Seann William Scott. Cole is looking to be the opposite of lethal, despite the fact that he'd arguably be the most deadly person on the show if he decided to go the route of killing first and asking questions later. Cole is proof of Lethal Weapon's evolution.
That evolution only bodes well for the future. A new maverick detective is joining the series in the not-too-distant future as a partner for Bailey, and there's a lot to look forward to. Fox recently handed down some great news for Season 3, so fans have reason to be optimistic about Lethal Weapon having a future, with or without Murtaugh. Tune in to Fox on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET for new episodes of Lethal Weapon.