Once more, with feeling: we are now officially too old for Lethal Weapon.
TV Line reports that Fox has canceled the drama after three seasons. There will be no more Lethal Weapon Season 4.
Lethal Weapon Season 3 ended on a strong note creatively but audiences didn’t respond as well to the third season as they did the first two…at least not in the ratings. The drama began in 2016 as an adaptaion of the feature film franchise and a two-hander starring Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans. Crawford would be replaced by Seann William Scott for season 3 as Lethal Weapon was well known for having issues behind the scenes.
Towards the end of the show’s second season, production rumors began to circulate that there was bad blood between the show’s two leads, Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans. This all came to a head when a behind-the-scenes dispute between Crawford and Wayans broke out. Many personality clashes between Crawford and Wayans were present, but the biggest indiscretion occurred when Wayans was struck in the head by a piece of shrapnel during a stunt in an episode directed by Crawford. More reports of Crawford’s disruptive behavior on set leaked out to the public, and finally a bold move was taken when it was announced that if the show returned for a third season, it would be without Clayne Crawford’s involvement.
It’s never easy when television shows need to recast their leads. Lethal Weapon didn’t just hire a new actor to fill in as Martin Riggs, but rather they killed off Crawford’s character to ensure that a return would be impossible. Martin Riggs provides a fundamental dynamic to Lethal Weapon’s energy, so the news that Seann William Scott was joining the cast as a new character, ex-CIA agent Wesley Cole, rubbed many viewers the wrong way.
Apparently, if the show hadn’t been able to find a big star to fill Crawford’s shoes then a third season wouldn’t have happened at all. To Lethal Weapon’s credit, the show has handled Riggs’ exit and Cole’s entrance in a surprisingly graceful manner. Sure, many storylines were abruptly dropped with Riggs’ death, but Seann William Scott has proven that he can have a strong future as a dependable action procedural star, if he’s interested. Lethal Weapon’s readjusted third season finally seemed to be regaining its footing when another major production bombshell was announced: Damon Wayans wanted out.
Wayans abruptly cited the program’s arduous production schedule and his affliction with diabetes as too much to handle and that he’d be exiting the series after the season’s 13th episode. This surely seemed like a death knell for Lethal Weapon. How could a show that banks on Riggs and Murtaugh’s dynamic go on without a Riggs or a Murtaugh? How is that even still Lethal Weapon? This whole ordeal becomes even more ridiculous when considering the fact that if the show had simply eliminated Wayans between seasons instead of Crawford, then they wouldn’t be facing this very serious problem now. After Wayans’ wishes were made clear, many fans even started asking the show to somehow bring Martin Riggs back into the equation. None of these are simple or preferable solutions.
In response, Lethal Weapon’s Season 3 was granted two additional episodes and they were able to coax Wayans to commit to these final entries. Furthermore, during Fox’s TCA session this year, the show’s co-executive producer and creator, Matt Miller, spoke optimistically about the likelihood of Wayans returning for Lethal Weapon Season 4. “I’m very hopeful that he will return,” stated Miller.
Now that’s all a moot point as Lethal Weapon is finally turning in its gun and badge.
Daniel Kurland is a published writer, comedian, and critic whose work can be read on Den of Geek, Vulture, Bloody Disgusting, and ScreenRant. Daniel knows that the owls are not what they seem, that Psycho II is better than the original, and he’s always game to discuss Space Dandy. His perma-neurotic thought process can be followed at @DanielKurlansky.