After three seasons and some wild behind-the-scenes shakeups, the television adaptation of Lethal Weapon has been canceled by Fox. There's no greater brand in the buddy cop genre than Lethal Weapon, and the film series, starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover, is revered for its effortless mix of comedy, action, and character-driven drama.
In 2016, nearly twenty years after Lethal Weapon 4, the grand finale of the film series, a television adaptation made its way to the Fox network. For its first two seasons, Lethal Weapon starred Damon Wayans as Roger Murtaugh and Clayne Crawford as Martin Riggs. The characters were true to their cinematic counterparts, but tailored to their new performers, including a more Southern take on Riggs and a younger vibe to Damon Wayans' Murtaugh.
The third season introduced Sean William Scott as Wesley Cole, an original character loosely based on Lorna Cole (Rene Russo's character from Lethal Weapon 3 and 4), but it wasn't enough. Deadline reports that Fox made the announcement today that it had unceremoniously canceled the series. Lethal Weapon will not be returning for a fourth season.
On top of falling ratings, Lethal Weapon was notoriously plagued with behind-the-scenes tensions between its stars. Although the details are shrouded in rumor and mystery, the story goes that, by the end of season 2, the two leads were not speaking to one another. It became clear that if a third season was to commence, one of them would have to go. Thus, Riggs was killed off and a new character was brought on board for season 3.
Though Scott brought a different vibe than Crawford, viewership dropped throughout season 3, after season 2 had already suffered from dwindling ratings compared to the initial batch of episodes. Further, Wayans indicated that he wasn't game to continue after season 3, citing his health. Fox made moves to make the show's production easier on its big star, and it was reported that Wayans was actually willing to continue with the show. Nevertheless, Fox ultimately decided it was not worth the effort to continue Lethal Weapon and pulled the plug on a prospective season 4.
Fox's TV version of Lethal Weapon successfully adapted one of the most iconic cinematic pairings of all time without feeling like a cheap copycat, and it provided some satisfying action/adventure antics for three seasons. Despite the positive on-screen chemistry between its two leads, behind-the-scenes troubles tore the team apart, and the third season was simply less interesting as a result, despite a strong showing from Scott. The way Fox saw things, between the shrinking ratings and backstage drama, it simply wasn't worth the effort to continue production on the troubled show.