Lethal Weapon: ‘Lawmen’ Review
Warning: This is a SPOILER filled review. Watch the episode first, then come back and give this article a gander.
Pretty interesting episode this week concerning Murtaugh and Riggs investigating the murder of a Texas ranger who was shot while transporting a prisoner back to Texas. The case has our LAPD boys clashing with some corrupt deputies from the Sheriff’s Department. There were plenty of themes involving moral decision cops have to make rotating around in this episodic episode.
So while this was another filler episode with no continuing arc from previous episodes, it was still, for the most part, a neatly written, well acted and highly entertaining episode that did something I’ve been waiting for the show to do: it focused a great deal on another character, Captain Brooks Avery as he had to deal with some sins from his past.
Avery normally has some pretty good moments in almost each episode, but they are often very brief, and most of his dialogue is there to accommodate Riggs and Murtaugh’s antics. Yet, for some reason, he’s a pretty likable character. We have already found out that he and Murtaugh were once partners, making the two bond closer than any other officer under Avery’s command. He’s also a rather easy going Captain who always has his officers’ backs. So I would have never imagined he had ever done a corrupt act in his career. Turns out, in his early days as a cop and Murtaugh’s partner, he wrongfully pinned a murder on a ruthless criminal just to send him to prison. Honestly, this is probably one of the biggest shocks of the season, simply because he seems like such a straight laced cop. The episode pulled off this revelation in a way where we did resent Avery for cheating the system. Plus, Kevin Rahm got his chance to exercise his acting chops. His clash with Murtaugh over doing the right thing was very dramatic. He also had a great scene before that where he admitted to Riggs about his unlawful act. It wasn’t surprising to see Riggs be understanding towards Avery’s bad decision, but it was interesting that Trish thought he had done the necessary thing. And that’s coming from a lawyer. Murtaugh was the only one who had a problem with it, which is kind of redundant since Murtaugh has often bended the law while being Riggs’ partner. Sorry, Rog, but you came of as a dick while scolding your former partner. I am glad he didn’t go through submitting his resignation. It’s true that if Avery didn’t keep the past buried, he’d be ruining Murtaugh’s work as a police officer too. It was a very well placed moral conflict that had to involve one of our characters eventually. I think they did a good job giving it to Avery.
Speaking of shoddy morals and bad decisions, I think Riggs may have overdone it by breaking into Barton’s house. I love Riggs, but sometimes, they make him seem like a really bad cop. Of course he’s been reckless with his life, but now he’s being reckless with his investigations. Smashing up the suspect’s house, stealing the bullets used by Barton from his shelf, all while leaving a bunch of fingerprints everywhere. None of what Riggs did was legal, so if they had just arrested Barton without a big action climax that had him shooting at our heroes, how would that hold up in court? Even though they figured out that Barton was in possession of the murder weapon, the link came from that box of ammo that Riggs stole. So…
The case was good, in my opinion. I love stories with corrupt cops being taken down. I really enjoyed the constant confrontations Riggs and Murtaugh had with Barton. Barton was so smug, it was a little too easy to tell he was a corrupt cop. I enjoyed how seemingly rattled Barton got when Murtaugh told him he wouldn’t fair well in prison.
The big action climax involving Riggs crashing a car in the house where Avery was being held by Barton was very entertaining. The shootout would have been better if they were using real guns with blanks though. I hate that lately the show has been using cap guns or whatever. It takes me out of the action when I see fake muzzle flares and no recoil. Anyway, once I got past that, I still appreciated the small body count that racked up. And yes, we got an actual fight between Riggs and a bad guy. Loved his takedown of Barton. We need more of Riggs beating down bad guys, please.
Guest star-wise it was cool seeing Malcolm-Jamal Warner play the corrupt, intimidating captain of the Sheriff’s department. The Texas ranger sent to investigate his fellow officer’s murder was a waste, but Brett Rice still gave a well intended performance. I already talked about Barton smugness, but Scott William Winters who played him, did a really good job as the villain.
The comedy bits were great, as usual. The best bit coming early on with Riggs making fun of two bike riding park cops trying to give him a ticket for not having his dog on a leash. Sure, the gag was kind of mean spirited, but it’s typical Riggs, so I couldn’t help but find it hilarious. Then there’s the whole bowling bit with Murtaugh. It came as no surprise that he lied about his famed perfect game. So it was very funny to see him rattled when his wife and Riggs placed a $2,000 bet against some rivals. Too bad it wasn’t really clear if the shot Murtaugh took was the final roll or the first roll in the game. So I guess we’ll never know if he can roll a perfect game… sigh.
Yeah, it was a pretty solid “case of the week” episode with a few annoyances. The Avery storyline was surprisingly great. It’s about time the show focused on its supporting cast a bit more. I think Avery was a good choice for that. I was invested in his story, to the point where, at times, Riggs and Murtaugh felt like supporting characters of the episode. That is not a complaint, that’s a good thing.