Lethal Weapon (franchise)

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Lethal Weapon
Official franchise logo
Created byShane Black
Original workLethal Weapon
OwnerWarner Bros. Pictures
Films and television
Television seriesLethal Weapon (2016–2019)
Video game(s)Lethal Weapon (1992)
Theme park attraction(s)Lethal Weapon – The Ride (1995–2012)
PinballLethal Weapon 3 (1992)

Lethal Weapon is an American buddy cop action-comedy media franchise created by Shane Black. It focuses on two Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) detectives, Martin Riggs and Roger Murtaugh. The franchise consists of a series of four films released between 1987 and 1998 and a television series which aired from 2016 to 2019. The four films were directed by Richard Donner and also share many of the same core cast members, while the television series is a reboot with different actors. Although the first film was not explicitly a comedy, the later films and the television series gradually became comedic in nature.

A proposed fifth installment had been in talks and development since 2007, but has yet to enter production.


Film U.S. release date Director Screenwriter(s) Story by Producers
Lethal Weapon March 6, 1987 Richard Donner Shane Black Richard Donner & Joel Silver
Lethal Weapon 2 July 7, 1989 Jeffrey Boam Shane Black & Warren Murphy
Lethal Weapon 3 May 15, 1992 Jeffrey Boam & Robert Mark Kamen Jeffrey Boam
Lethal Weapon 4 July 10, 1998 Channing Gibson Jonathan Lemkin & Alfred Gough and Miles Millar
Lethal Finale TBA Mel Gibson Jez Butterworth Lauren Shuler Donner & Dan Lin

Lethal Weapon (1987)[edit]

Anxious with age and retirement, homicide detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is partnered with young and suicidal narcotics officer Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson). Together, they work the case of the alleged suicide of Amanda Hunsaker (Jackie Swanson), daughter of a wealthy businessman who served with Murtaugh in Vietnam. Murtaugh and Riggs soon discover that Hunsaker was involved in a heroin-smuggling scheme led by a retired general (Mitchell Ryan) and his lead enforcer (Gary Busey).

Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)[edit]

During a car chase, Riggs and Murtaugh stumble upon a trunk full of smuggled South African Krugerrands. This sparks a series of attempts at their lives, forcing them to take a less dangerous case, protecting Leo Getz (Joe Pesci), a loud-mouthed whistleblower with whom they gradually bond and befriend. However, they realize that Getz was involved in the same South African illegal activities. As a result, the three men become entangled in a drug-smuggling operation involving South African diplomats in Los Angeles, using their immunity and biting wit as a shield. Riggs kills the murderer of his wife who is among the criminals.

Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)[edit]

As Murtaugh, who is one week from retiring, and Riggs investigate a robbery committed using a duplicate armored car, they find themselves in the middle of an Internal Affairs investigation led by Sergeant Lorna Cole (Rene Russo). With assistance from Leo, they learn that the subject of the investigation is a rogue cop (Stuart Wilson) who is stealing impounded weapons and selling them on the black market. During the investigation, Murtaugh shoots and kills a teenager who attacks him and Riggs; he turns out to be a friend of his own son. This prompts Murtaugh to capture the man responsible for the distribution of illegal firearms and to rethink his retirement.

Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)[edit]

While his girlfriend Lorna and Murtaugh’s daughter Rianne are both pregnant, Riggs again teams up with Murtaugh and Leo as well as rookie Detective Lee Butters (Chris Rock) to investigate a Chinese immigrant smuggling ring. Wah Sing Ku (Jet Li) is a ruthless enforcer who attempts to murder Murtaugh's family by burning them alive in their home. Murtaugh discovers that Butters is the father of his daughter's unborn child. The two kill dozens of Chinese gangsters and catch up with the boss of the smuggling ring. Riggs and Lorna are married at the end of the film as their child is born.

Lethal Finale[edit]

There had long been talk of a fifth Lethal Weapon film, although both Gibson and Danny Glover initially expressed a lack of interest. Gibson confirmed in November 2021 that he was in talks to direct and star in the fifth film, saying that he would be helming the film to honor Donner, who wrote the screenplay and was originally set to direct the film prior to his death in July 2021.[1] It was reported that Richard Wenk (The Equalizer, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back) had drafted the screenplay.[2][3] As of April 2023, revisions to the screenplay have been made by Jez Butterworth.[4][5]


Lethal Weapon (2016–2019)[edit]

A television adaptation of the film series was developed by Matthew Miller as co-executive producer, along with Dan Lin and Jennifer Gwartz for Fox.[6] Clayne Crawford and Damon Wayans starred as Riggs and Murtaugh.[7][8] Other cast include Keesha Sharp replacing Golden Brooks as Trish, Jordana Brewster as Dr. Maureen Cahill, Kevin Rahm as Captain Brooks Avery, Chandler Kinney as Riana Murtaugh, Dante Brown as Roger "R.J." Murtaugh Jr., Johnathan Fernandez as Scorsese, and Thomas Lennon in the recurring role of Leo Getz.[9][10][11][12][13][14][15] Fox gave Lethal Weapon a series order in May 2016.[16] For the third season, Crawford was replaced by Seann William Scott, as a new character named Wesley Cole. Crawford was fired from the show after Fox and Warner Bros. refused to aid in escalating tensions between Crawford and Wayans, and the series killed off the character of Riggs.[17] After three seasons Fox canceled the show in May 2019.[18]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
118September 21, 2016 (2016-09-21)March 15, 2017 (2017-03-15)
222September 26, 2017 (2017-09-26)May 8, 2018 (2018-05-08)
315September 25, 2018 (2018-09-25)February 26, 2019 (2019-02-26)

Cast and crew[edit]


  • A Y indicates the actor portrayed the role of a younger version of the character.
  • A P indicates the actor portrayed the role of the character in a photograph.
  • A dark gray cell indicates the character was not in the film.
Characters Films Television series
Lethal Weapon Lethal Weapon 2 Lethal Weapon 3 Lethal Weapon 4 Lethal Finale Lethal Weapon
1987 1989 1992 1998 TBA 2016 – 2019
The Gang
Martin Riggs Mel Gibson Clayne Crawford[a]
Roger Murtaugh Danny Glover Damon Wayans
Leo Getz Joe Pesci TBA Thomas Lennon
Lorna Cole Riggs Rene Russo Seann William Scott[b]
(as Wesley Cole)
Lee Butters Chris Rock
Riggs' Love Interests
Victoria Lynn Riggs Uncredited ActressP Mentioned Mentioned Floriana Lima
(as Miranda Riggs)
Rika van den Hass   Patsy Kensit  
Karen Palmer Hilarie Burton
Molly Hendricks Kristen Gutoskie[c]
Murtaugh's Family
Trish Murtaugh Darlene Love TBA Keesha Sharp
Rianne Murtaugh Traci Wolfe Chandler Kinney
(as Riana Murtaugh)
Nick Murtaugh Damon Hines Dante Brown
(as Roger Murtaugh Jr.)
Carrie Murtaugh Ebonie Smith
The Cast
Captain Ed Murphy Steve Kahan TBA Kevin Rahm
(as Captain Brooks Avery)
Dr. Stephanie Woods Mary Ellen Trainor Jordana Brewster
(as Dr. Maureen Cahill)
Mr. Joshua Gary Busey
Gen. Peter McAlliser Mitchell Ryan
Michael Hunsaker Tom Atkins
Arjen Rudd Joss Ackland
Pieter Vorstedt Derrick O'Connor
Mickey McGee Jack McGee
Jack Travis Stuart Wilson
Tyrone Gregory Millar
Wah Sing Ku Jet Li
Uncle Benny Chan Kim Chan
Hong Eddy Ko
Detective Ng Calvin Jung
Bernard Scorsese Johnathan Fernandez
Detective Sonya Bailey Michelle Mitchenor
Detective Alejandro "Alex" Cruz Richard Cabral
Detective Zach Bowman Andrew Creer
Natalie Flynn Maggie Lawson
Erica Malick Nishi Munshi
Louie "The Gute" Gutierrez Paola Lázaro
  1. ^ Additionally, Chase Mangum portrays a young Martin Riggs in Season 2.
  2. ^ Additionally, Ammon Jacob Ford and Evan Hofer portray a young Wesley Cole in Season 3.
  3. ^ Additionally, Sophia Woodward portrays a young Molly Hendricks in Season 2.


Crew/Detail Film
Lethal Weapon Lethal Weapon 2 Lethal Weapon 3 Lethal Weapon 4 Lethal Finale
1987 1989 1992 1998 TBA
Director Richard Donner Mel Gibson
Producer(s) Richard Donner
Joel Silver
Lauren Shuler Donner
Dan Lin
Screenwriter(s) Shane Black Jeffrey Boam Jeffrey Boam
Robert Mark Kamen
Channing Gibson Jez Butterworth
Story by Shane Black
Warren Murphy
Jeffrey Boam Jonathan Lemkin
Alfred Gough
Miles Millar
Composer(s) Michael Kamen
Eric Clapton
Michael Kamen
Eric Clapton
David Sanborn
Director of photography Stephen Goldblatt Jan de Bont Andrzej Bartkowiak TBA
Editor(s) Stuart Baird Robert Brown
Battle Davis
Frank J. Urioste
Dallas Puett
Production companies Silver Pictures Silver Pictures
Doshudo Productions
Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures


Box office performance[edit]

Film Release date Box office revenue Box office ranking Budget Reference
North America Other territories Worldwide All time domestic All time worldwide
Lethal Weapon March 6, 1987 $65,207,127 $55,000,000 $120,207,127 #795 $15 million [19][20]
Lethal Weapon 2 July 7, 1989 $147,253,986 $80,600,000 $227,853,986 #190
#323 $25 million [21]
Lethal Weapon 3 May 15, 1992 $144,731,527 $177,000,000 $321,731,527 #199
#189 $35 million [22]
Lethal Weapon 4 July 10, 1998 $130,444,603 $155,000,000 $285,444,603 #255 #236 $140 million [23]
Total $487,637,243 $467,600,000 $955,237,243 $215 million(E)
List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the information is not available for the film.
  • (E) indicates an estimated figure based on available numbers.
  • (A) indicates the adjusted totals based on current ticket prices (calculated by Box Office Mojo).

Critical and public response[edit]

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore[24]
Lethal Weapon 80% (55 reviews)[25] 68 (23 reviews)[26] A
Lethal Weapon 2 82% (44 reviews)[27] 70 (21 reviews)[28] A+
Lethal Weapon 3 58% (48 reviews)[29] 40 (26 reviews)[30] A–
Lethal Weapon 4 52% (67 reviews)[31] 37 (21 reviews)[32] A–



Title U.S. release date Length Performed by Label
Lethal Weapon: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack March 31, 1987 40:00 Michael Kamen, Eric Clapton and David Sanborn Warner Bros. Records
Lethal Weapon 2: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack August 2, 1989 45:56
Lethal Weapon 3: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack June 9, 1992 39:32 Reprise Records
Lethal Weapon 4: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack December 3, 2013 100:20 La-La Land Records
Lethal Weapon: Soundtrack Collection 464:51


Title U.S. release date Length Artist(s) Label Film
"Lethal Weapon" March 31, 1987 (1987-03-31) 2:44 Honeymoon Suite Warner Bros. Records Lethal Weapon
"Cheer Down" August 22, 1989 (1989-08-22) 4:08 George Harrison Lethal Weapon 2
"It's Probably Me" June 23, 1992 (1992-06-23) 4:41 Sting featuring
Eric Clapton
A&M Lethal Weapon 3
"Runaway Train" July 20, 1992 (1992-07-20) 3:56 Elton John and
Eric Clapton
MCA and Rocket
"Fire in the Hole" July 1998 (1998-07) 5:31 Van Halen Warner Bros. Records Lethal Weapon 4
"Pilgrim" November 1998 (1998-11) 5:50 Eric Clapton Reprise Records
Warner Bros. Records

Other media[edit]

Video game[edit]


Theme park ride[edit]


  1. ^ "Back with a bang! Mel Gibson, 65, to direct and star in 'Lethal Weapon". MSN. November 15, 2021. Retrieved November 15, 2021.
  2. ^ Kit, Borys (November 15, 2021). "Mel Gibson to Direct 'Lethal Weapon 5'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved November 16, 2021.
  3. ^ Kroll, Justin (November 15, 2021). "Mel Gibson In Talks To Direct 'Lethal Weapon 5'". Deadline.
  4. ^ Ruimy, Jordan (December 6, 2023). "'Lethal Weapon 5' to Shoot Next Year, Mel Gibson Will Direct". World of Reel. Retrieved December 16, 2023.
  5. ^ Falconer, Daniel (April 12, 2023). "Is There a Lethal Weapon 5 Release Date in 2023 or 2024, or Has It Been Canceled?". GameRevolution. Archived from the original on July 30, 2023. Retrieved August 1, 2023.
  6. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (October 2, 2015). "Lethal Weapon TV Series From Forever Creator Set At Fox As Put Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved October 3, 2015.
  7. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 10, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon': Clayne Crawford To Star As Mel Gibson's Martin Riggs In Fox Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  8. ^ Stanhope, Kate; Goldberg, Lesley (February 12, 2016). "Damon Wayans Sr. to Star in Fox's Lethal Weapon Pilot". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (February 19, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot: Golden Brooks Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 9, 2016.
  10. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 3, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot: Jordana Brewster To Co-Star". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  11. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 7, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon': Kevin Rahm To Co-Star In Fox Pilot". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 7, 2016.
  12. ^ Petski, Denise (March 16, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Casts Chandler Kinney; Sarayu Blue Joins 'No Tomorrow'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  13. ^ Ge, Linda (March 15, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot Casts Newcomer as Murtaugh's Son (Exclusive)". TheWrap. Retrieved March 16, 2016.
  14. ^ Petski, Denise (March 17, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Pilot Casts Johnathan Fernandez; Tommy Savas In 'The Fluffy Shop'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  15. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (March 17, 2016). "'Lethal Weapon' Fox Pilot: Keesha Sharp Set For Co-Starring Role In Recasting". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved March 17, 2016.
  16. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 10, 2016). "'The Exorcist', 'Lethal Weapon', 'Making History', 'Pitch', 'The Mick' & 'APB' Get Fox Series Orders". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved May 11, 2016.
  17. ^ Goldberg, Lesley (May 8, 2017). "'Lethal Weapon' Star Clayne Crawford Out as Producers Scramble to Recast". The Hollywood Reporter.
  18. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (May 10, 2019). "'Lethal Weapon' Canceled By Fox After 3 Seasons". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved May 10, 2019.
  19. ^ "Lethal Weapon (1987)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  20. ^ "Lethal Weapon - Production Budget". The-Numbers. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  21. ^ "Lethal Weapon 2 (1989)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  22. ^ "Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  23. ^ "Lethal Weapon 4 (1998)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  24. ^ "CinemaScore". CinemaScore. Archived from the original on April 13, 2022. Retrieved April 15, 2022.
  25. ^ "Lethal Weapon". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  26. ^ "Lethal Weapon (1987): Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Archived from the original on June 30, 2008. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  27. ^ "Lethal Weapon 2". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  28. ^ "Lethal Weapon 2 (1989): Reviews". Metacritic. Archived from the original on June 6, 2010. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  29. ^ "Lethal Weapon 3". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  30. ^ "Lethal Weapon 3 (1992): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  31. ^ "Lethal Weapon 4". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved December 2, 2009.
  32. ^ "Lethal Weapon 4 (1998): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved December 2, 2009.