It is most certainly true that the television shows we tend to fall in love with are the ones that we connect with on some deeper level than others we may watch. Our life experiences, as well as personal taste, help determine what we are drawn to, and make the difference between series we enjoy, and series we develop a greater attachment to. This fall television season has been a good one, and I’m enjoying so many of the new shows offered up – Conviction, Notorious, Van Helsing, Frequency, and The Exorcist, to name a few. But the one show I am truly in love with is Lethal Weapon.
Now, what on earth could a middle-aged woman find so meaningful in an action-adventure/comedy/bromance? I definitely enjoy the humor and the witty banter between the characters; the action sequences are pretty impressive, and I’ve always been the gal who loves to watch things go boom. But there is something this show addresses that many shows shy away from, or on the opposite end of the spectrum, over-dramatize, and that is grief and grieving.
Like Riggs, I lost a spouse, suddenly and unexpectedly, to a traffic accident. The first episode could have been one giant trigger (and I’ll admit my eyes leaked a few times), if not for the way it was written, or the way it was acted by Clayne Crawford. The show captured exactly what it felt like to lose someone in that manner, to have a nurse put your loved one’s jewelry in your hand. It portrays how the first six months of grieving can leave you with so many emotions you don’t even know where to begin to sort them out. Grief pulls out every tendency a person may have towards self-destructive behavior. Other areas of your life are impacted as well; jobs may change, residence may change. People treat you differently, even though they don’t mean to. Being around a grieving person is often uncomfortable, and the show presents that as well.
The first two episodes went to great lengths to portray Martin Riggs’ grief and the effects that it had on him. Five episodes into the season, and the grief/grieving has gotten more subtle, but only serves to highlight the talent of the two principal actors, Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford. Murtaugh will often unknowingly stick his foot in his mouth, and Riggs’ face will slowly and subtly change. They are painful and uncomfortable moments, and that’s as it should be – grief doesn’t just go away overnight.
I also appreciate the role of Dr. Cahill, the mental health professional assigned to Riggs, played by Jordana Brewster. The importance of therapy for the grieving can’t be overstated, whether the grieving person wants it or not. It is definitely important to encourage the person to talk, but even more importantly, to let the person know that someone is there, unconditionally.
The series does well with the flip side of the coin – having a large, loving family, and having the Murtaughs realize what it is they have, be grateful for it, and understand what they have to lose. They walk on eggshells around Riggs at first, and it’s pretty clear that the first couple of dinner invitations are pity invites, but watching the Murtaugh family let Riggs into their lives, and accept him as he is, is positively uplifting. It’s something a grieving person needs.
I look forward to my Wednesday nights at 8 pm EC on Fox. And I was definitely overjoyed that the show has been picked up for a full season. Lethal Weapon is my own brand of therapy – bringing in a character I can so closely identify with, acceptance, laughter, and vicarious thrills into my life. I would like to thank the creators, the writers, and the terrific cast for creating something so personally meaningful to this fan.
If anyone reading this is experiencing loss or in the grieving process and need someone to talk to, you can find help at www.griefshare.org, a nationwide network of people who provide a support system in a group setting, free of charge. If you wish to reach out to me, my arms are wide open, and you can find me on social media at: