“Am I crazy or is this like watching a five-car pileup in slow motion?” a curious Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) asks the room. He’s referring to Martin Riggs’ (Clayne Crawford) disheveled demeanor regarding the return of DEA Agent Karen Palmer (Hilarie Burton) — one of several romantic foils the Lethal Weapon television series has thrown his way since premiering last fall. Yet the question, and the implication underlying it, could be one some might have asked about the show itself. After all, with so many reboots, remakes and revivals slated for 2017, who in their right mind would want to watch a condensed, episodic version of a classic film franchise?
Judging by its improving ratings and the increasing likelihood of a second season, it turns out many people enjoy watching Lethal Weapon. As they should: Crawford and Wayans’ chemistry resembles Mel Gibson and Danny Glover’s, the show is a lot of fun. Or to put in another way, FOX’s Lethal Weapon is an enjoyable adaptation of a past property that simultaneously stands on its own while not sullying its source material. The same can be said for fan-favorite character Leo Getz, the federal witness played by Joe Pesci in Lethal Weapon 2 who was re-imagined by Thomas Lennon (Reno 911!, The Odd Couple) in the most recent episode.
“I was definitely super worried about it,” Lennon told Uproxx. “I talked with the show runner [Matt Miller] about it beforehand, and he said nobody was doing impressions of anything from the film series. I guess what they wanted to bring to it wasn’t necessarily the Joe Pesci-ness of it, but the humor and annoyance of the Leo Getz character.”
Sure enough, Lennon’s Getz follows in Wayans and Crawfords’ footsteps by paying homage to their characters’ previous iterations. And like the two series leads, this Leo stands far apart from what came before, thanks largely to Miller’s insistence on avoiding impressions and Lennon’s penchant for comedic improvisation. So instead of Pesci’s con man, who flouted several jobs throughout three Lethal Weapon films, Lennon’s version works as an ambulance-chasing lawyer whose likeness and taglines (“Leo Getz You Off!”) adorn Los Angeles-area buses and billboards. And he’s just as funny and annoying as his cinematic counterpart.