LETHAL WEAPON Review: “A Problem Like Maria”

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Riggs, Murtaugh, and Agent Palmer take on a rogue LETHAL WEAPON who targets a young mother in “A Problem Like Maria.” This episode had everything Lethal Weapon fans look for in a story; there is a brutal criminal madman hunting an innocent target, cops going rogue, romance, and two huge shoot outs.

The story begins when a young Hispanic woman, Maria, attacks a hench-stalker in a grocery store parking lot. She whips around with her tiny gun and scores a head shot Wyatt Earp would be proud of. You don’t get more Lethal Weapon than that. A moment later, a dark van pulls up, but we don’t get to see what happens next.

Riggs and Palmer wake up in their trusty hotel room. Their relationship is crawling along. Riggs still needs his baby steps and Palmer gets it. Palmer is the closest thing in Riggs’ world to Murtaugh’s Trish. She’s smart, tolerant and knows how to squeeze a good time out of a mess like Riggs. They make plans to hook up later, but she gets called off by work. Riggs sees her on the parking lot with a tough looking dude, Carlos.

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Roger’s world is rocked by a turn of good news. Mr. Azoulay, a billionaire, fires Trish’s old firm for letting her go and wants to meet to discuss employment.  Roger and Riana, the two human cash registers in the family, both think it’s worth pursuing. The meeting goes down in Azoulay private jet as he heads to Seattle for another meeting. At first, Trish turns down the offer, which she hasn’t really heard or seen yet. Azoulay asks her to take a while to think on it and slides the offer over. Trish opens the document and finds a blank piece of paper. The offer is, anything she wants. She sets the salary, sets her hours and benefits; he knows she has a family and wants her on his team. Let’s face it, this is the kind of offer Trish deserves.

Murtaugh gets called to a crime scene; a man is found bound, hanging from a bridge with a bag over his head. Riggs recognizes Carlos from earlier in the morning. He calls Palmer to check up on her, but she doesn’t answer. Thus begins the search for Palmer. Carlos was a low level foot soldier for Flores Cartel. Riggs and Murtaugh head to the local Fed building, but DEA Agent Chappel won’t help them at all. Murtaugh distracts Chappel while Riggs sneaks up to her desk. He finds a receipt and address for a house in Chatsworth where she recently changed the locks.

The Chatsworth location turns out to be a safe house. Riggs finds Palmer’s phone on the floor and gives it to Bailey to hack. Murtaugh finds a bloody torture seen in the bathroom, cause that’s where those happen! Captain Avery puts all hands on deck and LAPD gets an assist from Agent Chappel. He says the scene at the safehouse is the work of a rogue CIA baddie turned cartel enforcer named Gideon Lyon. With a name like Gideon Lyon, how many choices do you really get in life. Gideon has a demon’s resume to match his Hans Gruber screensaver. Riggs punches Chappel in the face for not looking for Palmer sooner and gets suspended by his former father in law, City Attorney Ronnie Delgado.

Lethal Weapon 1x17 Promo - A Problem Like Maria

However, most of the detectives, including Avery and Dr. Cahill take Riggs’ side and provide him with case intel. Riggs and Murtaugh roll out and soon spot a van that was photographed close to one of the crime scenes, parked at a grungy motel. Riggs and Murtaugh cop the room number from management and burst in to find Maria, her baby, and Palmer. They call it in. Palmer apologizes for worrying Riggs. Murtaugh checks in with Trish. Azoulay gave her use of the jet for three days and she wants to know if Murtaugh wants to have dinner in Paris. This could be their life if things work out. Murtaugh wants to, but Gideon and his team of baddies roll into the parking lot.

Maria and the baby belong to Tito Flores and he sent Gideon to get the baby back. Gideon brought a rocket launcher which is a perk of not having a regular gig. Riggs distracts Gideon while Murtaugh, Maria, and bay escape out the back. Then, there’s a quick shout out and Gideon blows up the motel room. Clearly, there is a leak in the operation. Palmer takes Maria to Murtaugh’s house while Riggs preps Murtaugh with a fake baby to draw Gideon into the open, which almost works. Gideon gets close, but backs out at the last moment.

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Avery discovers DEA Agent Chappel is leaking information to Gideon, but it was Maria that phoned in the tip about the fake baby. She thinks the cartel is  too dangerous to run from the rest of her life and wants to make a deal for the baby’s safety. Maria pistol whips Palmer and takes off in the van.

Riggs and Murtaugh track Maria down at the Convention Center where Gideon plans to take control of the baby and shoot Maria from a hide. He sends a goon for the baby but Murtaugh leaps into action and fires on the ground floor hench. Gideon opens up with his sniper rifle but Riggs spots him and lays down decent cover fire for Murtaugh. Gideon makes a run for it. This is where I expected a Lethal Weapon fight sequence. Instead, Gideon heads out the back door and gets hit by Murtaugh’s neighbor’s vintage Mustang. Palmer jacked the ride and destroyed it. Gideon is still alive and in custody, but Palmer checks up on Miranda’s case and discovers evidence that Gideon may have killed her in El Paso. That’s how it is with Riggs, one step forward, two steps back. Look for a big season finale next week.

Season 1, Episode 16 (S01E017)
Lethal Weapon airs Wednesdays at 8PM on Fox

Read all of our reviews of Lethal Weapon here.
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Eric lives in a world where the television is great, the smiles are warm, the pizza is hot, the puppies are playful, and the zombies are slow and meander while he reloads.
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