Up until now, “Lethal Weapon” hasn’t delved much into the character of Captain Brooks Avery (Kevin Rahm). We’ve received little hints here and there regarding his previous relationship with Roger Murtaugh — their professional past partnership, and the friendship that has persevered.
Throughout the show’s first season, though, we’ve begun to get bigger glimpses into the lives of the show’s supporting characters, helping to fill out the “Lethal Weapon” story and world. Yes, it’s still mainly about Riggs (Clayne Crawford), Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) and their ongoing crime fighting bromance, but — as we saw with Trish’s (Keesha Sharp) arc in the Christmas episode, wonderfully titled “Jingle Bell Glock” — ancillary is no longer the appropriate word for the supporting characters in Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh’s life.
Which brings us back to Brooks Avery. Wednesday’s (Jan. 11) episode, titled “Lawmen,” finds Captain Avery in a compromising position as a bit of his past comes back to haunt him. We got the chance to speak to Kevin Rahm about the trouble Avery will face in the upcoming episode — as well as the professional challenges he’s faced bringing this once curmudgeonly character to life on the small screen.
For a show we never thought we’d need, I wanted to start off by thanking you for being involved with one of the best new shows of the year. ‘Lethal Weapon,’ who knew!?
Kevin Rahm: I had the same thought when I got the pilot script. My first response was: “Oh no, why would you do that?,” you know, because it’s hard to make a remake of something so iconic. I had the same concerns and feelings you had. But then I read Matt’s script and thought, “Oh! That’s really good!” — if I read that script without the name “Lethal Weapon” on it, I’d be jumping to do the show! So aside from that weird stigma attached to it, I feel like he’s doing a really good job at walking that line. Also, walking the line of being comedy, drama and action show every week.
It seems it’s Captain Avery’s turn to step into the spotlight. Can you tell us about the predicament you find yourself in?
What I can tell you is this: A Texas Ranger is killed, and it looks sketchy for the Sheriff’s department. I have worked with and have a history with Malcolm-Jamal Warner, who’s amazing in this, and he pretty much comes to me and says back off… If there’s a problem in my department, I’ll handle it. He threatens me with information he has about me from my past… So I go to Trish for legal advice, and try to figure if I should let that stand or not — if I should risk my career for telling the truth and dealing with the situation.
We’ve received hints at your previous partnership with Murtaugh and it feels like you guys are still close. Does this skeleton from Avery’s closet have an effect on that relationship?
Murtaugh and I were partners before he had his heart attack. He was obviously older than me but I moved up the chain faster than him and there’s a moment in the pilot where I say, “Is this going to bug you?”
There’s been a lot of other things setting up the characters in more detail, but ultimately there’s not enough time for them. It’s understandable, because this season has more so been setting up the relationship between Riggs and Murtaugh and establishing their dynamic. As we go forward — if we get to go forward, hopefully — we’ll be able to delve into that more in depth. So yea, Murtaugh and I were partners. So there’s a history there.
How will that history be affected once this bit of truth comes out?
Without going into much detail, it’s something that happened while we were partners — something that he didn’t know about. So it could affect him, and might be enormous.
What was the biggest challenge for you in taking on the role of Captain Avery?
The challenge is being their boss, while having been his [Murtaugh’s] partner. To me, that setup is the challenge of the role, and the most interesting part of the role, so far. There are times when he’s his friend. There are times when he’s his former partner. There are times when he’s his boss.
That can make things complicated.
Right. Walking that tightrope, I feel, has been interesting. Every scene, I’m wonderin, Which person am I? One of my favorite scenes from last week [Jan. 4], between Damon and I, was when I started behind the desk as his boss and came around the side and told him, “I put you with Riggs for a purpose. I know you can handle this similar to how you helped me.” This wasn’t random, like throwing a dart at a board to see where it sticks: This was thought out, and planned, and I’m using you for what you’re capable of as a manager.
The real challenge is — because of the important thing this season, as I said earlier — is setting up their relationship and setting up the tone of the show. You don’t get to delve into the characters like you would on a “Mad Men” or a “Bates Motel.” Those are character-driven pieces. This is an action-comedy-drama, and it’s important to set up those relationships — but it’s also a warm up for Keesha, and sets things up for myself. We’ve had little to work with on the page, so the dilemma is to keep those characters fresh and interesting and specific… Without a lot of information, ultimately. And I think all of them have done a great job with that.
“Lethal Weapon” airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX.