When FOX first announced they were creating a “Lethal Weapon” TV series, our first reaction was: Don’t do that! Seriously, why would we need a rehashing of the ’80s classic? Kneejerk reactions like that are occasionally right on the money — but with this program, we were dead wrong.
Not only does the show encapsulate the bromance between Roger Murtaugh and Martin Riggs in a wonderful nostalgic manner — while also moving the story forward — it also succeeds at focusing in on some characters that never got enough development in the original movie franchise.
One of the characters in question is that of Trish Murtaugh, Roger’s wife. Throughout the four films, her main purpose was to add a happy surface to Roger’s home life. But that was then and this is now. And we have to say that one of the things “Lethal Weapon” has gotten right — and refreshingly so — is fully developing Trish into the strong, empowered woman she is here. To put it bluntly, she is not someone who needs saving.
Hot on the heels of Wednesday’s (Dec. 7) mid-season finale, we had a chance to speak with Keesha Sharp about her role on the series. She gives us insight on her own “Lethal Weapon” fandom and where she’d like to see the character to go as the series evolves.
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, her favorite stunt from the original movies is the toilet bomb scene from “Lethal Weapon 2.” Not for nothing, but we’d have to agree.
In the films, Trish was an ancillary character to fill out Roger’s home life. Here, she is much more. What was your take on the role when it was first presented your way?
I was excited. I thought they did such a great job in making this woman. She loves her family, she loves her husband and she loves what she does for a living. And she’s able to do all of it, on top of inviting this man Riggs into their family — and he becomes a part of their family. She understands what he’s going through and, to me, I always say this with Trish: I feel like she bonds with Riggs because she can see losing herself the way he has if she lost her family. There’s something that connects her to him in that way.
There’s a moment in the Christmas episode where Trish asks Roger to imagine what the holiday season would be like alone. It’s pretty evident right there, the empathy and understanding she has.
Especially in terms of how Riggs lost his family — losing his wife in such a way. And she was pregnant! Try putting it in terms of what it would feel like for you. I know what it would feel like for me. I would literally be holding on by a thread, especially if I didn’t have someone like Riggs does with the Murtaugh family.
That’s quite deep and, as we’ve seen, ‘Lethal Weapon’ — a fun buddy cop action series — explores some very deep issues. Are there challenges in connecting to that subject matter?
I knew, when we were shooting that we had something special. They found their Riggs and Roger — without that, you don’t have “Lethal Weapon.” After seeing their bromance and their banter, I knew it was something exciting. And there is definitely something missing in the entertainment world that we’re filling. I feel like it is something that hits an escapist groove, you can laugh, you can cry and your adrenaline is going because of the action. It’s everything in one and you can’t tell me one show that does that or has done that. It’s really rare to find and be able to execute. FOX knew what they were doing and I’m very proud of it.
As we saw in the mid-season finale, Trish has to step up a bit as she is taken hostage by a cartel assassin. How does this moment inform your character moving forward?
In my mind, this has never happened before in their family. You know, something this traumatic where someone comes into their home and are taken hostage. In my mind, though, I think they’ve had this conversation. She’s very bright and understands the kind of job that he does — even her, with the kind of job she does. And they do their best not to bring trouble home. Still, they still have this thing where they’re fighting for the greater good — they’re fighting for those who can’t fight for themselves.
That being said, I think Trish is one of those women who knows how to take care of herself. In my mind, she’s very trained. She could’ve taken that gun out of his hand, no problem. But she didn’t because her children were home. If she had to, she would have… If it got to that point. Yet at the end, in that one little moment where she kicks that guy, she wanted him to know, too, that: I’m not weak. I’m not the damsel in distress. I could’ve brought you down but you came at my family with my children home.
I do think we’ll start seeing those parts of Trish as the season continues and hopefully as the series continues. She is a strong woman who can take care of herself and, like I always say, I don’t want her to be the one that’s always rescued. I wouldn’t mind seeing her rescue Riggs and Roger and seeing that part of her as well.
“Lethal Weapon” returns Wednesday, Jan. 4, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.