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Was the Season Three Finale of 'Lethal Weapon' Also the Series Finale?

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 27, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | TV | February 27, 2019 |


I have an odd relationship with Fox’s Lethal Weapon. Initially, I refused to watch it because REMAKES, blergh, but after it’d been on for a few months, several of the commenters here suggested I should give it a shot. They were right to suggest as much, because as buddy-cop formula as it might have been, it had Clayne Crawford (Rectify) going for it, and the man could transcend the material. He gave a cop procedural soulful eyes and a dose of levity.

Clayne Crawford, however, turned out to be something of an asshole, so I quit midway through season two. Turns out, Damon Wayans was probably something of an asshole, too, or both of them fell prey to the short-tempers and burnout that seems to follow those who work as the leads in procedurals, who everyone from Vincent D’Onofrio to Ted Danson has said was the hardest work they’ve ever done (D’Onofrio famously had a breakdown during his run on SVU, while even Mandy Patinkin abruptly exited Criminal Minds). I’m sure that both Crawford and Wayans have their problems, but I also think that working 18 hours a day with the same people, delivering lines you memorized two days ago while also memorizing lines for scenes you will shoot two days later can take a toll on actors. I’m prepared to chalk the on-set behavior of both Crawford and Wayans up to “procedural exhaustion,” just as I had to the frazzled relationship between Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic in Castle.

In any respect, I checked out the season two finale to see how Clayne Crawford’s character would be killed off (pretty boring), and then watched the season three premiere to see if Sean William Scott was any good as the new partner (he was better than expected!). Still, after the debut of The Rookie, Lethal Weapon lost the one slot I allot to cop procedurals in my television diet, so I bailed, even though Maggie Lawson (who I adore from Psych) had also joined the cast.

Nevertheless, I decided to check out the season finale because it might be the series finale (last fall, Wayans said he was quitting after this season, although I have no idea if that is still the case). I wasn’t paying enough attention and clicked on the wrong episode, so I actually ended up watching the last two episodes. And here’s what I’ll say for what is potentially the last two episodes of the series: They were fine.

Oddly, and I have no idea if it has anything to do with on-set drama (or rumors that Wayans’ abides by his own goddamn schedule, thank you very much), but Sean William Scott and Daman Wayans barely shared any screentime together in the final two episodes (and their characters apparently had not been speaking before these two episodes). It’s not much of a “buddy cop” show when the “buddy cops” are off in their own stories, but the writers nevertheless made it work, inasmuch as any episode of Lethal Weapon works. The better chemistry at this point, anyway, is between Sean Williams Scott and Maggie Lawson, who plays his ex-wife, so the fact that the two leads barely worked together didn’t inflict any damage to the episodes.

The finale was a big one, at least by the standards of a procedural. Maggie Lawson’s character was set to get married and take away her and Sean William Scott’s daughter for a year on a Doctors Without Borders trip. However, a former CIA buddy of Sean William Scott’s (played by Mykelti Williamson) went rogue and did some shady shit and got some people killed. He recruited Lawson’s unwitting fiance into his scheme, then blackmailed Sean William Scott’s character into stealing $10 million from the police evidence room, before shooting Wayans and strapping a bomb to Lawson. Sean William Scott had to figure out how to save both, which entailed used the gunpowder from a bullet to cauterize Wayans’ would and jumping out of a skyscraper with Lawson and grabbing onto a crane on the way down.

They did not, however, capture Williamson’s character, so the end of the episode sees a reunited Sean William Scott and Maggie Lawson taking trip to Ecuador along with Wayans and his wife, ostensibly for a vacation but in reality to capture Williamson’s character. Should the series be picked up for a season four, I suspect it will begin in South America.

Will it return for a season four? Honestly, probably not. It was already on the bubble due to ratings, and the cast turnover probably hasn’t helped matters much. Wayans unpredictability probably doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence in Fox executives, either, and recasting that role would basically mean Lethal Weapon with neither Murtaugh nor Riggs. Also, if it’s canceled, it would totally free up Maggie Lawson to join A Million Little Things for an arc as the love interest with James Roday, who is currently involved with a character named Maggie played by Alison Miller who looks a lot like Maggie Lawson. It’d be a hoot.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.

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