This article originally appeared on Den of Geek UK.
Mild spoilers lie ahead for the planned pilot of the Lethal Wepon TV series
The original Lethal Weapon film led to three sequels and helped cement the buddy cop genre in the public conscious. There were imitators both in film and on television and spoofs, both good and bad. Now, almost three decades since the first film’s release, word comes, via Deadline, that the long rumored television reboot of Lethal Weapon is going ahead. And with McG confirmed as the director of the pilot and Damon Wayans signed on for the role of Murtaugh, it looks very much like the pilot is definitely heading to a televisions everywhere soon, whether you like it or not.
Deadline provide a few brief details about the pilot but we have a little more to offer, with regards to the plot and characters.
The pilot for the Lethal Weapon TV show will begin with an extended cold opening that introduces us to the characters and the set-up for the story, before revealing the Lethal Weapon title. In this long teaser we’ll first see Riggs working and getting caught up in a car chase with his partner – not Murtaugh – and talking to his wife, who is about to give birth, on the phone.
Unlike the original film, this new telling of the very similar set-up will actually show us the moment that Riggs’ wife died – also in a traffic accident – and his learning of this news at the hospital, in a sequence that sounds like it could be rather melodramatic in its execution.
Flash forward six months and Riggs is not coping with the death of his wife and unborn child well and much like in the original he is staring down the barrel of a gun and contemplating ending it all. The pilot for Lethal Weapon sets up the character and Murtaugh’s mirror image of Riggs very similarly to the original film, with Riggs not fearing death to the point of almost desiring it and Murtaugh being so scared of death that it threatens to hamper his effectiveness as a police officer.
The familiar contrasts in their home lives are there too, with Riggs this time living in a winnebago, rather than in a beach hut and Murtaugh living with his wife and three kids, including a baby. As in the original film, Murtaugh is 50 – Riggs is going to be slightly younger than in the film but still in his 30s – and there will be a number of jokes about his age. Also, he’s recently had heart surgery and was technically dead for a period of time. Because of this he is worried about his heart rate being elevated and pays close attention to it by monitoring it on his Apple Watch.
One other shift from the film is in the way this new television reboot approaches Riggs and Murtaugh first working together. Rather than repeating the jumper sequence from the film, which superbly sets up Riggs’ character and his lack of fear about death, this new telling instead shows us the pair responding to a call about a bank robbery. Riggs uses the idea that he doesn’t mind dying here too but in order to casually kill the bank robbers, rather than save someone. It’s an unusual shift that provides a different introduction to the character. Although, even in the original film, Riggs wasn’t exactly against shooting people.
In addition to the main pair, Murtaugh’s wife and kids, and their captain – who is named Avery – the pilot will also introduce a female psychiatrist character named Dr Maureen Cahill, who is called Mo for short. Her character is perhaps inspired by Stephanie Woods from the original films and it would not be at all surprising to see her and Riggs involved at some point in the series. Dr. Cahill is also going to be roughly the same age as Riggs.
The pilot episode will tell a complete case, from the pair first turning up at the scene of a death, right through to them wrapping everything up, but I won’t go into details here as to do so would probably be unnecessarily spoilery. It would seem likely from the way things are set up though that the Lethal Weapon TV series may well be a show that focuses on a case of the week style story rather than a wider arch, although going beyond the pilot this could of course change.
No word yet on when the Lethal Weapon pilot will air, but it sounds like Fox are putting quite a bit of money into it, so I’d be very surprised if it didn’t get a series pickup too.
More as we hear it…