During the Season 3 premiere of Lethal Weapon, Seann William Scott was tasked with filling in some big, raggedly boots that once belonged to Clayne Crawford's character, Martin Riggs. As previously reported, Crawford was fired from the FOX series after accounts of his volatile, behind-the-scenes antics were publicly exposed. Rather than axing the fan-favorite series, FOX moved quickly to make things work. The network ultimately decided to replace Crawford with Scott, and it was a phenomenal decision.
Lethal Weapon wasted no time in last night's season premiere. After Riggs succumbed to a fatal gunshot wound in the chest (which was fired by his half-brother, Garrett), the show introduced a six month time jump. We saw Murtaugh grieving over the death of his partner while sporting a pair of heinous, dumpster sweatpants that he only took off at the end of the episode. Murtaugh is convinced there is more to Riggs' death. Garrett committed suicide after killing Riggs, but Murtaugh doesn't believe he acted alone.
Murtaugh's wild conspiracies about what really went down dropped him in the middle of some serious action and led to a meet-cute of epic proportions with LAPD detective Wesley Cole (Scott). After arguing about dog poop and parking meters with a couple of wackos, Cole chased down suspects who were involved in an impending bank robbery. Thanks to his CIA-caliber observational skills, Cole ran after the bad guys just as Murtaugh became tangled in the mess courtesy of a flying BMW.
The show made no effort to conceal that Cole is the new Riggs, except he's nothing like Riggs. Cole is a tattooed, former CIA operative who barely made it out of the Middle East. He's clearly got a lot of skeletons in his closet, and they will inevitably come out as the season goes on.
Apart from fluently speaking seven languages and having "friends" in the State Department, Cole is a much more anchored character than Riggs. We were introduced to Cole's adorable 12-year-old daughter, Maya, and his on-going struggle to be a more present parent. Cole often alludes to bringing chaos everywhere he goes which would certainly explain the demise of his marriage to Natalie. It's obvious that there are some unresolved issues between the Cole and Natalie, and it wouldn't be surprising if they rekindled their romance down the line. They definitely have that end-game vibe nailed down.
What makes Cole so damn likable is that he's trying to be better, something Riggs was entirely averse to. Cole is a charming mess. Unlike hot-head Riggs, Cole sees the bigger picture which is why he considers guns to be the last resort. Plus, his chemistry with Murtaugh is palatable. They fit together effortlessly and already have a more fluid and richly-layered dynamic than Murtaugh and Riggs ever did. So, it came as no surprise when Murtaugh requested for Cole to be his new partner by the end of the season premiere.
"I can't ever replace him, so I won't even try. But I want to make this work," Cole says earnestly, and we believe him.
The shortened third season of Lethal Weapon has a 13-episode order. While few shows survive the loss of a lead character, we are confident that this one will. Scott's fiery energy has elevated Lethal Weapon to new heights. Who knew he had the chops to pull out such a dramatic and comedic performance?