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For Your Summer Binge Consideration: Lethal Weapon


 This is the second article in a series of articles that a few of us will be writing this summer. This is the For Your Summer Binge Consideration series. Each article will talk about a show that will be returning for its second season in 2017-18, and why you might want to watch the first season before the second season premieres. We continue with Lethal Weapon. 

photo: Fox

In recent memory, adapting a movie into a television series has not lead to critical or commercial success. It's understandable why executives decide to invest in them since it'll likely be easier to develop an audience for a series with an established premise and characters, but it almost always seems to end in disaster. 'Lethal Weapon' ended up being one of the few movie adaptions to have solid ratings, score a second season, and receive generally favorable reviews. But, I'm not here to judge how 'Lethal Weapon' holds up to the movie series, I'm judging it as its own show. Overall, the 18-episode first season of the series was a thoroughly enjoyable ride.

Like most shows, it's the chemistry between the characters that make 'Lethal Weapon' great. The series focuses on LAPD's finest, Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) and Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford), an unlikely duo paired together to solve cases and fight crime. At first glance, it seems like a typical buddy-cop scenario, but there's a little more depth to it. Murtaugh is trying to reduce stress in his life after a heart attack and Riggs is dealing with the death of his wife Miranda. The despair that Riggs feels throughout the show's run is as well-done as it is gut-wrenching. A great example of this are the scenes where Riggs is alone in his trailer, just him and his gun, and he realizes how bad of a place he's in. Crawford really sells Riggs's emotionally unstable behavior and it's one of the best aspects of the show. Moreover, Riggs and Murtaugh play off each other incredibly well. I love how they can be chasing hardened criminals and still be cracking jokes along the way or discussing personal matters. Even in the high-stakes finale, which I will not spoil, the show managed to balance comedy and drama in an elegant way. It may sound a little cliché, but it's great to see that while the two may get on each other's nerves, they're always there for each other.

Similar to the main duo, the supporting cast knocks it out of the park. For example, Cahill (Jordan Brewster) excels as Riggs's psychologist. Their semi-daily chats provide some comedy relief and a chance to cut away from the action and police work for a bit. A lot of the comedy stems from how Riggs could care less about their sessions despite the competence of Cahill. Despite that, there are also some pretty touching moments between the two. Murtaugh's wife, who's also a lawyer, Trish (Keesha Sharp) also plays her part well. I especially like the running gag of her constantly obsessing about inviting Riggs over. Overall, there's really not a bad character to be found, everyone in the cast manages to have their moment in the sun at least once.

I've spoken a lot about the comedy of  'Lethal Weapon' when in reality, the series doesn't register as an over-the-top joke machine or as a cold, gritty drama. There are times when the show mainly focuses on humor yet still manages to throw in some tear-jerking moments. If I had to classify it, I'd say that the series is a light drama or dramedy. Overall, the series excels in both categories. I love the over-the-top action scenes just as much as the somber moments. The show is an emotional rollercoaster and I wouldn't have it any other way.

To conclude, 'Lethal Weapon' is a must-watch for fans of drama, comedy, action, and the film series of the same name. I myself am not a fan of hour-long dramas, but this interesting blend of genres had me hooked instantly. I'd advise watching all 18 episodes from start to finish, but if you are unable to do so, here are a few great ones to put on the top of your list.

Season 1 Episode 01: "Pilot" (Highlight: Riggs & Murtaugh become NASCAR drivers)

Season 1 Episode 08: "Can I Get a Witness?" (Highlight: Riggs bonds with an 8-year old boy.)

Season 1 Episode 10: "Homebodies" (Highlight: Riggs never texts Murtaugh back.)

Season 1 Episode 12: "Brotherly Love" (Highlight: Riggs buys a ring in a pawn shop and it's depressing as hell, in a good way).

Season 1 Episode 18: "Commencement" (While I don't recommend watching this as a standalone, it's an amazing finale.)


Did this article persuade you to check out 'Lethal Weapon'? Are you already a fan of the show? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below.