SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details about the season 3 premiere of Lethal Weapon.
With all the drama surrounding Clayne Crawford’s behavior and subsequent firing from Fox’s Lethal Weapon, inquiring minds were wondering what the next steps were for the action drama. How would they handle Crawford’s exit? How would Damon Wayans function without him? How easy would it be to insert Seann William Scott’s Wesley Cole into the equation? One would think that the season 3 premiere would be problematic considering the circumstances, but when it comes down to it, everyone involved in this show has a level of professionalism to maintain and Fox did an effortless job of exiting Riggs-era Lethal Weapon and entering Cole-era Lethal Weapon.
The series made the transition easy in the season 2 finale when Crawford’s Riggs was shot by his half-brother and we were left with a “will-he-or-won’t-he-survive” cliffhanger. At the time, Crawford’s fate was still in limbo, but it was almost certain that the actor was going bye-bye — and his send-off was honorable.
The season 3 premiere titled “In the Same Boat” did not immediately dive into Crawford’s fate, but instead kicks off by introducing Cole. As a CIA operative on a mission in Syria, he witnesses a tragic death while in the field which plays into what we can expect from his decisions when it comes to work and his relationship with his estranged daughter in this episode.
From there, we pick up right where we left off with the end of season 2. Murtaugh (Wayans) is waiting to hear whether or not Riggs has survived the gunshot. As we all know, he doesn’t and Murtaugh spends the next six months mourning his partner’s death by isolating himself and wandering his home in raggedy sweats.
The majority of the episode focuses on Murtaugh and how he deals with Riggs’ death and trying to solve the case of who killed him even though the LAPD (and everyone else) knows his brother killed him. He believes that there is more to this murder and seems more obsessed with proving everyone wrong. He has kept Riggs’ boat and has made it a war room of clues to his partner’s death and it has come to the point where Cahill (Jordana Brewster) has to call him out saying that he is only keeping this case open as a way to keep Riggs alive…and as we see throughout the episode, she’s 100 percent right.
Meanwhile, Cole has now joined the LAPD and giving out parking tickets and cracking down on old ladies who don’t pick up after their dogs. While doing his duty as a meter maid, Cole becomes part of a high-speed chase and, in a moment of serendipity, Murtaugh ends up chasing the same perp. It’s a bro-version of a meet cute. Thus begins the start of a delightfully dysfunctional partnership.
The season 3 premiere closes the chapter on Riggs in the best way possible so that we could all move on from the behind the scenes drama. Scott’s presence gives the show a new found energy and he provides a breath of fresh air void of controversy. Scott’s comedy action sensibilities mesh well with Wayans and he serves as a perfect replacement. But don’t get it twisted — Scott is not Riggs. He’s not trying to be. He’s a new character whose purpose is to fill one-half of an odd couple — and at that, he succeeds.
Despite the regular action we’re used to seeing, this episode felt as if it was the first episode of the first season of a brand new show. The sole purpose of the season opener was to get to know Cole and his story, see Murtaugh reconcile the death of Riggs and establish a relationship between the two. The episode ushered in a new Lethal Weapon — and it did it well. Everything else was just explosive window dressing.