Roger Murtaugh

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Roger Murtaugh
First appearance Lethal Weapon
Created by Shane Black
Portrayed by Danny Glover
Information
Gender Male
Occupation Police Officer
Title Sergeant
Captain (Lethal Weapon 4)
Spouse(s) Trish Murtaugh
Children Rianne Murtaugh
Nick Murtaugh
Carrie Murtaugh
Relatives Lee Butters (son in-law)
Unnamed granddaughter
Religion Christian
Nationality American

Roger Murtaugh (born December 1936)[1] is a fictional character and protagonist in the Lethal Weapon films, played in all four by Danny Glover.[2]

Lethal Weapon[edit]

Murtaugh is a straitlaced veteran homicide detective sergeant and family man. He was a lieutenant of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in the U.S. Army, and served in the Vietnam War. He joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1967 and is considering retirement, hence his catchphrase, "I'm too old for this shit".[3][4] He is partnered with "loose cannon" and fellow Vietnam War veteran Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) to investigate a suspected suicide of the daughter of one of Murtaugh's old friends.[5][6] Though the two initially cannot stand each other and resent each other's presence, Murtaugh gains respect for Riggs when Riggs saves his life. After Murtaugh discovers that his old friend from the Vietnam War, Michael Hunsaker, has been laundering the profits from a heroin-trafficking cartel, he confronts Hunsaker and learns the details of the organization before Mr. Joshua, the cartel's primary henchman, murders Hunsaker. The cartel kidnaps Murtaugh's older daughter, Rianne, in an attempt to make Murtaugh divulge what Hunsaker told him. Murtaugh and Riggs set an ambush, which fails. The cartel tortures Murtaugh, and threatens to torture Rianne as well, until Riggs rescues them. He manages to kill General McAllister, the head of the cartel, by shooting the driver of his car, causing a bus-versus-car crash and a gigantic explosion. He backs up Riggs as he fights and subdues Mr. Joshua, and then shoots Mr. Joshua when he attempts to shoot Riggs. By the end of the film, he has forgone retirement and accepted Riggs into his family.

Lethal Weapon 2[edit]

Murtaugh is targeted by a South African drug cartel fronted by ruthless diplomat Arjen Rudd, who has Murtaugh and his wife assaulted in their own home. To assist Riggs' investigation of the South African consulate, Murtaugh portrays a man named Alphonse who wants to emigrate to South Africa to help overthrown apartheid. Following this, Murtaugh fights off two attackers in his home with a nail gun and rescues Federal witness Leo Getz (Joe Pesci) from the cartel. He helps Riggs track down and kill the other members of the cartel when it is revealed that the cartel murdered Riggs' wife. This includes an assault on a cargo ship which ends in the death of the remaining members of the cartel, including Rudd, whom Murtaugh kills after he shoots Riggs. Riggs shows his humorous side by pranking Murtaugh repeatedly.

Lethal Weapon 3[edit]

Murtaugh and Riggs mishandle a car bomb, which destroys a building. As punishment, both are reduced in rank to patrolman, but regain their previous rank when they foil an armored car robbery and reveal a gun running cartel. While investigating this cartel, Murtaugh kills a fifteen-year-old boy to save Riggs' life; the boy is revealed to be a friend of Murtaugh's son Nick. Murtaugh is overcome by guilt and turns to isolation and alcohol until Riggs helps him forgive himself. Murtaugh helps Riggs and Internal Affairs officer Lorna Cole (Rene Russo) destroy the cartel. As a comical sidelight, Murtaugh also helps Riggs quit smoking by giving him dog biscuits instead; he does show some anger towards Riggs, however, when he believes that Riggs is becoming romantic with his daughter Rianne.

Lethal Weapon 4[edit]

Murtaugh and Riggs are both promoted to Captain, particularly because of all the past damage they have done in solving their cases, which caused the Police Department to lose their insurance carrier. They are promoted instead of demoted or fired because they are veteran officers. By becoming captains, it is assumed that they would cause less trouble, but are later returned to the rank of Sergeant after the events of the film. Murtaugh's oldest daughter Rianne is pregnant with his first grandchild and is secretly married to Police Sergeant Lee Butters, but she decides not to tell her father until after the baby is born. However, Riggs advises Murtaugh after Lorna tells him the secret. When Murtaugh accidentally kills the brother of a ruthless Triad, Wah Sing Ku, Riggs and Murtaugh engage in brutal hand to hand combat with Ku (of note, Ku is the only main antagonist who Murtaugh fights, as in the previous three films, Riggs is the one to fight the villain). When Riggs nearly drowns, Murtaugh saves his life. In the end, Murtaugh accepts his daughter's marriage to Lee Butters and his baby granddaughter.

In popular culture[edit]

Murtaugh's catchphrase "I'm too old for this shit" has become associated with Glover, who uses the catchphrase (and variations of it) in other roles as well, such as his cameo in Maverick and his guest spot on Psych. In the episode entitled "Murtaugh" of the sitcom How I Met Your Mother, Ted Mosby, portrayed by Josh Radnor, has a "Murtaugh List" of things for which Mosby has gotten too old to eat, do, and enjoy.[7]

Reception[edit]

Critics have given the character a mixed reception.[8][9][10][11][12][13][14] The Los Angeles Times described the character as being a sexless character from a sitcom.[6]

References[edit]

  1. ^ At the start of the first film, Murtaugh's family is getting ready to celebrate his 50th birthday.
  2. ^ "Top 10 Movie Bromances". IGN. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  3. ^ Jefferson, Whitney (March 13, 2012). "The Quintessential "I'm Too Old For This Shit" Supercut". Buzzfeed. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  4. ^ Craw, Ben (March 6, 2012). "'I'm Too Old For This Sh*t' Mash-Up: 'Lethal Weapon,' 'Stripes' And More". Moviefone. Huffington Post. Retrieved March 7, 2013. 
  5. ^ Eric Lichtenfeld, Action speaks louder: violence, spectacle, and the American action movie, Wesleyan University Press, 2007, p. 116.
  6. ^ a b "MOVIE REVIEW : A Lethal 'Weapon 2'". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  7. ^ "How I Met Your Mother: Murtaugh Review". IGN. Retrieved 2010-09-11. 
  8. ^ Susan Jeffords, Hard bodies: Hollywood masculinity in the Reagan era, Rutgers University Press, 1994, p. 55.
  9. ^ Stanford M. Lyman, Color, Culture, Civilization: Race and Minority Issues in American Society, University of Illinois Press, 1995, p. 192.
  10. ^ Rachel Adams, David Savran, The masculinity studies reader, Wiley-Blackwell, 2002, p. 217.
  11. ^ Jim Collins, Hilary Radner, Film theory goes to the movies, Routledge, 1993, p. 205.
  12. ^ Jon Lewis, The new American cinema, Duke University Press, 1998, p. 184.
  13. ^ Sharon Willis, High contrast: race and gender in contemporary Hollywood film, Duke University Press, 1997, p. 37.
  14. ^ Kenneth Chan, Remade in Hollywood: the global Chinese presence in transnational cinemas, Hong Kong University Press, 2009, p. 111.

External links[edit]