When Fox’s LETHAL WEAPON television series returns for its Season 3 bow, it will do so without the inclusion of co-lead Clayne Crawford, who played Martin Riggs on the action crime drama for the first two seasons. As you’re likely to be aware, Crawford was fired from the program following a series of disturbing incidents related to his behavior on-set. Not long after the call was made to excuse Crawford from LETHAL WEAPON, AMERICAN PIE and GOON alum Seann William Scott was named as his replacement. When Scott makes his LETHAL WEAPON debut, he’ll do so as a character named Wesley Cole, whose name is a send-up to Lorna Cole, a beloved character of the franchise played by Rene Russo in the third and fourth film.
Recently while attending the Television Critics Association press tour, LETHAL WEAPON developer/executive producer/showrunner Matt Miller spoke with Deadline about the upcoming third season, revealing much about Scott’s new character as well as the exciting new direction of the show.
“So far it’s been an absolutely charmed first two weeks,” Miller told the entertainment outlet. Next, Miller shared that it was indeed an article in the New Yorker that served as part of the inspiration for Scott’s Wesley Cole. “It [the article] was about a CIA agent who had served overseas in Iraq and had became very disillusioned,” Miller said. “He came back and became a cop but his philosophy as a cop was not to run in and shoot people, take down bad guys. What he was looking to do is always defuse the situations as opposed to escalate them.”
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With this blueprint in mind, the team behind LETHAL WEAPON began crafting a character that is very much the opposite of Riggs. Be that as it may, Miller was quick to say that Cole will still act as a “lethal weapon” on the show.
“He is the opposite to Riggs who had a lot of anger and a lot of angst, who is looking to go in and maybe shoot all the bad guys,” Miller shared. “This is a guy who is looking to go into a situation with the bad guys and say, ‘ok, guys we can talk about this’. Of course the situations evolve always, chaos follows him wherever he goes; we still want the action comedy, all the explosions, all the drama all the set pieces.”
“At the same time, because of the fact that Riggs was the lethal weapon in the show, when he’s gone you need a new catalyst for the show, new energy and someone who by definition could qualify as the lethal weapon.” Miller added.
When LETHAL WEAPON makes its network return, the goal is for the first episode of the third season to feel more like a series opener than anything else. In other words, we’ll be seeing Cole’s introduction to Damon Wayans’ Roger Murtaugh, and how they go about forming a unique bond before being called to action. Upon wrapping the first episode, Miller says that the second will feature a six-month time jump, with the duo then acting as a well-oiled machine of justice.
“We open the season the same way we did in the pilot where we met Riggs and heard about his backstory. The same thing happens with this character Cole,” Miller said. “We are going to meet him abroad, see the circumstances, the tragedy that sends him back to LA. At the same time, we are going to wrap up Riggs’ demise.”
“Murtaugh could not move in because of Riggs,” Miller said. “He wears the same sweats for weeks, people think he is homeless, walks around the house in an old bathrobe; he can’t move past Riggs. At the same time we will meet Cole who has now moved to LA to try and reconnect with his family, and he’s got a job as an uniformed police officer. He’s working as an uniform cop at the same time as Murtaugh is pursuing Riggs’ demise and has been chasing these bad guys. That’s how they both meet and realize that they have to work together.”
Next, Miller began speaking with Deadline about how Seann William Scott entered the picture, and how the rumors of other actors being considered for the role had been false from the start.
“There really were not, it was almost none,” Miller said. “it was a conversation we all had, myself, Warner Bros. TV and Fox. Seann had gone in and had pitched a show that day. They were like, ‘he looks really good, what about Seann?’ I said, ‘That’s a really interesting idea’. Because I knew that he had such a different energy from Clayne, there would be no way they would occupy the same space.” Miller than elaborated on how the stars alligned for Scott, and in what way his involvement felt like it was always meant to happen. “Apparently at the same time, Seann had read in Deadline about all the problems on Lethal Weapon and thought that would be interesting for me, he told me.” Miller reported. “He liked the idea. A bit later I was on a plane from Paris to LA. Landed in LA, and six hours later I got on a plane for New York to meet Seann for the upfronts,” Miller said. That’s how it went down, it was extraordinarily fast.”
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Well how do you like that? It sounds as if everything is coming up Milhouse for LETHAL WEAPON, and that Scott is poised to add a bit of flavor to the series going forward. It’s been a hot minute since I’ve witnessed Scott play anyone but AMERICAN PIE’s Steve Stifler, or THE RUNDOWN’s Travis, though I suspect that his performance on LETHAL WEAPON will be full of surprises.
Be sure to check out the full article related to Miller’s comments about the show at Deadline, and be sure to tune into LETHAL WEAPON when the show makes its much-anticipated return.