Season 1 of “Lethal Weapon” is coming to a close, leaving us wondering, among other things, whether Martin Riggs (Clayne Crawford) will ever find happiness. As the finale quickly approaches, doubt is setting in.
Through his grief, it feels as Riggs was finally turning a corner: Going so far as to ask Agent Palmer (Hilarie Burton) out on a real life date… But for Martin Riggs, it always feels like it’s one step forward and 10 steps back — and even the title of March 15’s finale, “Commencement,” provides only a bit of a comfort.
As we saw in Season 1’s penultimate episode March 8, a deeper connection ties the cartel with the death of Miranda and Martin’s unborn son — a trail Riggs briefly explored earlier in the season, going so far as to question kingpin Tito Flores (Danny Mora) in person.
Just how will this new revelation impact the Riggs and Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) story moving forward? Executive producer Matt Miller gave us some very necessary insights…
It looks like the cartel storyline has become the main focus, leading into the finale — was this always the plan?
Yeah, I always knew at the beginning of Season 1 that this was going to be the finale: We were going to have later episodes with Leo Getz where we get fun and bantery, and then we were going to have some dark stuff. Our season finale is probably our most tense — maybe you could call it dark — but I always knew this was going to be the ending of Season 1.
How does knowing the endpoint figure into your overall writing process?
Whenever I write, I need to have like a north star — which is, roughly, what the ending is going to be. So, I have no idea what Season 2 really is — but I know how Season 2 is going to end. It’s just really helpful to me, because I’ll always know what the building blocks are that we’ll need to get us there.
The last image of the season, of Murtaugh in that car — without giving anything away — before the writers even assembled, I was like, This is the last image of Season 1: Murtaugh in his car doing this. That’s always very helpful to me, to have that visual image.
Trish is always reminding Roger to come home — she recently told Riggs she doesn’t mind if her husband is late, but doesn’t want a late husband. Is Roger’s well-being in question?
I think his well-being is in question. I also think since Season 1 was designed so much around Murtaugh pulling Riggs out of the abyss, in Season 2 we’re going to reverse those roles a little bit. It’s going to be on Riggs to pull Murtaugh out…
Does the pacing of TV challenge you in exploring that dynamic?
We didn’t want the idea to be about a guy dealing with the loss of his wife for five seasons. And while he’ll always be wounded by that and that will always be sort of his de facto Achilles heel, we wanted to play out the mythology of his wife’s death throughout the course of Season 1. And in Season 2, we’re going to still be dealing with it — but we’re going to be introducing some new mythology. It’s going to affect both of our characters.
Which leads me to the big question: Can Riggs ever be cured? And if so, is that a signifier that the series is over?
Riggs cannot be cured — let me open with that. He dipped his toe in the water with Palmer in Season 1, as it was designed. He was going to try and pull himself out of the abyss — and then the rug was going to get pulled out from under him, making him go back into heartbreak, back into Miranda’s story, back into never being able to let that go. But there has to be an ebb and flow to it.
That romance with Palmer was so polarizing — I guess Riggs’ heartbreak is incredibly relatable.
Yeah, he’s quite heartbroken and he had a little bit with Palmer where he tried to explore the thing. He’ll continue to try and explore things, as any human being would — he can’t just stay depressed and sort of gazing into the abyss of his dead wife for five seasons.
But it seems he does face that head-on in the finale. Are you setting up a darker tone for Season 2?
Yeah, I think that every episode is different. You know, Episode 15 — the Leo Getz episode — was a super light episode. Then this one is our darkest episode, probably.
That doesn’t necessarily mean Season 2 is going to be very dark — it can start off super light and fun at the beginning of Season 2 and then dip down and get dark again. I think we have to satisfy the storytelling we’ve set up — but at the same time, we have to sit down and reset the mythology. Tonally, the show will continue to range back and forth between comedy, drama, romance, emotion, action…
You’ve mentioned Leo Getz multiple times — can we expect his character to return at some point?
You know, I don’t have a specific deal in place with Thomas Lennon – but I’ve talked to him about it. And I would be devastated if he didn’t!
Us too, Mr. Miller. Us too!
The “Lethal Weapon” season finale airs Wednesday, March 15, at 8 p.m. ET/PT on FOX. A second season was announced Feb. 22.