LETHAL WEAPON battles crime close to home in “There Goes the Neighborhood.” This episode is mainly about Murtaugh and his son RJ. After only four episodes there is a pattern emerging for what makes a solid Lethal Weapon. There is a car chase, a fight with perps, a friction fight between Riggs and Murtaugh, often a physical explosion, and some sort of emotional eruption or melt down. The theme of the crime is more important than the scene of the crime and often deals with the devastation a loss has on family.
Great storytellers write the plays, great crews support the production, and Damon Wayons quarterbacks the action drama. The show is highly entertaining and fires out relevant concepts without seeming heavy handed.“There Goes the Neighborhood” begins with Murtaugh and RJ getting their hair cut at Murtaugh’s old barber shop. It isn’t in the valley, where they live now, which may be safer and have better schools. It’s in a place where there is a stronger sense of community.
Murtaugh is a great parent, he wants the best for his kids and realizes community is an important anchor. The thematic argument starts when Murtaugh and RJ are just a few blocks away from their “safer” valley residence and he receives a call about a break-in.
Riggs was already close by. He was with Trish asking her about his look and also responds to the call. Murtaugh wants to wait for back-up, he doesn’t want Riggs messing up his peaceful neighborhood. They have an argument; the show delivers a steady stream of funny banter. While they are going at each other, the robbery crew spots them and smashes Murtaugh’s car which leads to the chase. The getaway van crashes into a neighbor’s garage and morphs into a quick shoot out with the perps getting away. Riggs wounds one and the other is noticeably big and tall.
Detective Cruz joins team Murtaugh full time. Detective Bailey gives him a hard time about getting in after making one major case when she fought years for her seat. She spends most of the episode proving and flaunting her skills. Cruz is no threat, he knows and appreciates that she is a better detective. As dynamic as Riggs and Murtaugh are, Cruz and Bailey offer a whole different tonal set of storytelling possibilities. Lethal Weapon is an iconic movie franchise that made the most out of the feature medium. Lethal Weapon the series understands and takes advantage of all the superior strengths available in long form narrative. Writing drama in every corner of its story world gives the modern series legs.
Murtaugh describes the big perp as a Black Hulk and Detective Bailey nails his identification in about two seconds. They track Hulk to his gym and end up having to take him down in the shower. Hulk claims he’s the brains of the crew, he isn’t talking but Murtaugh tricks him into revealing some friendly information which leads him to Coach Marshawn Wiley, a famous mentor and pillar of his community. Marshawn doesn’t know anything helpful about Hulk, he does as much as he can, but he can’t help every kid.
Riggs and Murtaugh spot the wounded perp at Marshawn’s basketball game. Riggs tackles him, then sees a text come in on his phone with an address, the crew is in action again. LAPD dispatch says they have a 911 call coming from inside the house. Riggs and Murtaugh rush to the scene, but young Hailey is shot and killed before they arrive. This break-in doesn’t match the others. This house had nothing to steal and nobody was home at the other eleven houses matching the break-in style. Why was this house different?
Naomi Abernathy hasn’t a clue. Her sister, Hailey, wasn’t supposed to be there, but she had a key. Abernathy didn’t tell anyone she was going to be out for the night, but somehow the crew expected it. Meanwhile, Riggs gets a call from RJ. He was out having fun with Marcus when Marcus got called in to work and left him stranded in a dangerous part of town. Marcus didn’t want to call Roger or Trish because he snuck out. Riggs doesn’t want to go, but he does. He tells Marcus he won’t keep the call secret and convinces him to tell his parents the truth. Trish hears the story first, but Roger explodes when he finds out Riggs picked up his son and didn’t say anything to him. He makes the case that Riggs has no idea how bad things could have gone when an uninformed LAPD officer pulls over two black kids in a sports car. There isn’t full blown rant or monologue, Wayans tells this story with intense emotion. Riggs takes his lumps, it doesn’t seem fair but he’s way beyond that too.
Marcus works for a valet company owned by a fictional person that owned the valet companies that employed Hulk and Boogie. Murtaugh calls Marcus. His phone lights up in front of his supervisor, Omar, the man who pulled the trigger on Hailey. They grab Marcus from work and take him to the next house on their list. Up till now, Marcus has only been tipping off Omar and his real boss, Coach Marshawn. This time, the people return home early. Omar gives Marcus a choice; either kill them, or die with them. Riggs and Murtaugh arrive in time to keep Marcus from pulling the trigger. Riggs nails Omar and the gun he used to kill Hailey. Murtaugh catches Marcus and convinces him to drop his weapon, but Marshawn gets a shot off and wounds Marcus. Captain Avery is happy, at least three lives saved and one murder solved, case closed. However, he makes Riggs and Murtaugh go through partner’s counseling, which is hilarious.
Season 1, Episode 4 (S01E04)
Lethal Weapon airs Wednesdays at 8PM on Fox
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.
Follow Eric on Twitter: @Etom2012
Keep up with all of Eric’s reviews here.
Eric Rodriguez | Contributor