Reboots and reimaginings have been the name of the game for television series lately, and new ground has now been broken regarding a certain film-to-television project about an unlikely pair of LAPD cops joined together to fight crime. No, it’s not Training Day over on CBS. Rather, Fox has ordered a pilot episode for the Lethal Weapon project that has been in the works for a while, and one of the lead roles has already been cast. Damon Wayans Sr. will being playing Roger Murtaugh.
The character of Roger Murtaugh was originated by Danny Glover in the 1987 Lethal Weapon film, and he was a cop on the verge of retirement looking to avoid complications. According to Entertainment Weekly, the version of Murtaugh that Wayans will be bringing to Fox will be slightly different. Wayans’ Murtaugh will be a detective who has recently suffered a heart attack and must avoid any extra stress in his life.
Avoiding stress will likely be a tough task for Murtaugh once he is partnered with Texas cop and former Navy SEAL Martin Riggs, who has moved to Los Angeles to start anew after the loss of his wife and baby. Riggs has not yet been cast, and no details have been released about whether or not the actor will be required to have a late-80s Mel Gibson mullet going on.
The dynamic between the two characters is already slightly different from the film franchise, and Damon Wayans should have the chance to make the character his own without drawing too many comparisons to Danny Glover. At the very least, he won’t be able to say that line that immortalized Roger Murtaugh on the big screen. Somehow, I don’t think “I’m too old for this…stuff” has the same impact as Glover’s exhausted “I’m too old for this shit.”
Damon Wayans being cast as Murtaugh has added a real sense that Lethal Weapon could actually be pretty good on television. Known for his work on My Wife and Kids and In Living Color, Wayans will be able to bring the presence as well as comic timing to sell a buddy cop series as something that hasn’t already been done to death. He’ll be directed in the Lethal Weapon pilot by McG of Terminator Salvation fame. Chuck vet Matt Miller will be working as showrunner.
Sadly, Damon Wayans Jr. has left the cast of New Girl again, so the idea of a crossover between New Girl and Lethal Weapon is a little less fun to think about now. All they would have needed to do is cast Jake Johnson’s dad as Riggs, and Fox could have had a dynasty on their hands.
Okay, maybe not. But Damon Wayans Jr. as Detective Murtaugh has made me much more excited about Lethal Weapon on television than I was before. Hopefully, Fox will find him a worthy lunatic of a partner.