Synopsis: Riggs and Murtaugh follow a violent case involving a drug cartel, theft, two killings, and Murtaugh’s old T.O.
I’ll say this for Lethal Weapon: despite it’s decided lack of originality or wider story scope, it does the most important thing a show can do – keep its character relationships at the center. It sounds obvious, but so, so many shows get caught up in their own universe, and start focusing on upping the stakes and creating bigger and badder situations, the character dynamics fall by the wayside (I’ve written about this before).
But here, perhaps the reason there hasn’t been any time to set up a bigger narrative arc or broader motivations, is because the show spends its time on the banter between Riggs and Murtaugh, Murtaugh and his wife Trish, Murtaugh and his cop buddies, Riggs and Dr. Cahill, and Riggs and the late Miranda’s family.
Rather than get bogged down in the specifics of some grand conspiracy facing the city that must be solved by them alone (which wouldn’t make sense anyway, considering they’re both practically pariahs as far as the Brass is concerned), the show gives them smaller crimes to solve, plenty of trouble to get into, and all the runtime they need to make jokes and bond. That doesn’t mean a bigger story doesn’t need to develop, but it’s not terrible either.
It also means there’s no excuse for the lack of screen time for the potentially stellar cast of smaller characters. Abrasive but patient detective Bailey is a great foil to Murtaugh, and I’d love to see her be BFFs with Riggs and gang up on him. Sarcastic young medical examiner not-so-affectionately nicknamed Scorcese (for making a movie reference one time) is begging for a fun story arc, and laid-back, “metabolism of a hummingbird,” law enforcement psychologist Cahill is bound to have an interesting backstory.
Not to mention Cruz, the quiet and pensive former Mexican gangbanger turned LA gang unit cop, who burned off his own gang tats in penance – which should have been a whole TV show of its own. I’d put actual money on the fact that Lethal Weapon won’t last beyond a season or two, but that spinoff? It’ll run for six.
But to the task at hand, this week Riggs and Murtaugh are tasked with investigating the hijacking of an armored truck carrying 17 million dollars cash from local dispensaries, to the private security company that launders the money (even though it’s not technically laundering because pot is legal in California, but its profits can’t go through US banks or something – whatever. In three episodes, Lethal Weapon has managed to make approximately 420 weed jokes, and maybe 2 of them were funny. /sunglasses emoji).
It turns out two smartass dispensary owners jacked their own truck for some quick cash, but the cartels stole it off of them, because now that weed is legal, they’re out a lot of revenue running and selling it themselves. And then, the driver of the armored truck – Murtaugh’s former training officer – stole the truck back from the cartel for himself, since he’s apparently broke after paying his recently-deceased wife’s cancer bills.
It’s a huge mistake that the episode couldn’t pause in its pot jokes long enough to do anything with the hilarious Hot Potato of armored truck heists – it’s not even commented on – or give a single moment to Riggs and Brower, who both lost their wives around the exact same time, but for very different reasons, at very different points in their lives.
What wasn’t a mistake, is Murtaugh’s open, unabashed, and borderline sappy love and respect for Trish. Confronted with two men who recently lost their wives, and his own recent heart attack, he refuses to miss a moment, and goes to great lengths to plan a date night, and even writes multiple long-winded and ridiculous speeches about how much he loves her, and it’s not really played for laughs. I appreciate the hell out of that.
In the end, the boys – naturally – get into a massive shootout with the cartel, and we see their foil character dynamic work to everyone’s advantage. Riggs’ insane plan stops the cartels from getting away, so there’s enough time for backup to arrive and sweep them up – which was Murtaugh’s plan. The day is saved.
With pretty much nothing but charm carrying us forward, tune in next week to see what happens. It could be anything, but it’ll probably be a cartel-related murder.