Lethal Weapon, Series One. Television Review.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating * * * *

Cast: Damon Wayans, Clayne Crawford, Keesha Sharp, Kevin Rahm, Michelle Mitchenor, Jonathan Fernandez, Jordana Brewster, Chandler Kinney, Dante Browne, Richard Cabral, Floriana Lima, Tony Plana, Hilarie Burton, Andrew Patrick Ralston.

There are few films that truly capture the sense of the damaged and emotionally injured as the Lethal Weapon series starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover. The first one especially was one of huge importance to the idea of the buddy movie, the two detective scenario which has by and large worked across the board since both television and film cottoned on to its appeal and the psyche in which such premises work.

Transferring a much loved film to television is all the rage in the 21st Century, if it’s not a remake of one then it might as well not be filmed and yet this can cause concern amongst original fans of the story as well as those more than happy to pick up the slight differences in the tale told and in Lethal Weapon there are a few to hold out as an example but not enough to stop any type of dissonance of a television programme that has been by and large enjoyable and almost true to its source material.

The pairing of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson in the original films was a match made in cinematic heaven and one that has rarely been equalled since, from the unnerving moment in the first film where Danny Glover’s Detective Murtaugh insists that Mel Gibson unhinged and on edge Martin Riggs puts the gun underneath his chin and pull the trigger, this was a pairing that truly got to grip with the domestic war that was raging in the American heartland of law enforcement and that of the way that veterans of any war are often treated, even those who seemingly are able to make a turn back to civilian life.

In Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford, the same feeling of respect and insecurity is there on the screen and whilst Mr. Crawford doesn’t quite live up to dramatic inevitable melt down that Mel Gibson was able to produce, there is no denying the sympathy and honesty of the actor’s ability to portray the man on the edge of self destruction and his partner’s gradual coming of understanding of his patterns of thought.

With sensitive issues covered, especially in the black community hit hard by decades of suspicion and self serving platitudes by generation of politician and law enforcement alike, to see a positive character like Roger Murtaugh portrayed as a decent, not willing to see his partner go under, man and detective is to think that at times television actually might have its head screwed on.

A respectable series, not quite hitting the mark of the films it is based upon but nonetheless a series filmed with humour, moral questions and with a courteous nod to the past, Lethal Weapon is a series that does television justice.

Ian D. Hall