The season finale of Lethal Weapon is upon us.
In anticipation of tonight's farewell, we had the opportunity to talk with Matt Miller, the creative genius responsible for bringing this amazing show to our television screens.
In addition to being the creator. writer, and executive producer of Lethal Weapon, Miller is the co-creator of the new comedy series Trial & Error which can be seen on NBC.
He was also an executive producer on Chuck, the creator and showrunner of Forever, and showrunner for 666 Park Avenue.
He discussed his favorite aspects of Lethal Weapon, what surprises are in store for tonight's season finale and what we can expect in season two...
Why did you want to bring Lethal Weapon to the small screen and what was the greatest challenge you faced?
Matt Miller: The reason I wanted to bring it to the small screen - look, I loved the movies as a kid and I just thought that this dynamic of these two, sort of broken guys that kind of need each other to be whole was something I felt I could really sink my teeth into - the character arcs and the character development.
There's a lot of cop shows on television but the procedural element is not as appealing to me as the emotional and the character parts. So that was certainly what was most appealing.
And also just tonally, there wasn't anything like this on TV right now. A kind of action comedy with emotion and romance and all of that was something I feel wasn't being represented, and it was really exciting, creatively, for me to try and do it.
The biggest challenge I had was trying to get people to overlook the two performances that were so amazing in the movies of Danny Glover and Mel Gibson and be able to believe two other actors playing those roles.
I think we very successfully did that with both Damon Wayans and Clayne Crawford who do an amazing job as Murtaugh and Riggs.
One of the biggest compliments I've gotten about this show is people forget about Danny Glover and Mel Gibson and really believe these two guys are Murtaugh and Riggs.
What do you like most about what you've done with your version of Lethal Weapon? You talked about the emotional side of it. Can you delve more into that?
I think that for me if I look back on the season, the strongest moments for me are always the moments between our people.
We do amazing stunts and explosions and things like that, but if it's a scene between Trish and Riggs in an elevator, or a scene where Riggs is holding Murtaugh's baby or a scene in the season finale where Murtaugh has a very nice emotional moment with Trish and then the image of him driving away which you don't know what that is if you haven't seen it, but I started the whole season with that visual image in my mind.
I knew that the end of season one was going to be this helicopter shot of Murtaugh in his car and where he was driving and that was going to be the end of the season.
And all those little moments for me are all the things that I find so special about the show.
How were you able to find such a great cast? There's a lot of chemistry there.
I'd love to say that it was all planned and all of that, but candidly, I got very lucky and that's what you have to do with these shows sometimes. The first person that was cast in the show was Damon, and I did a lot of chemistry reads with other actors trying to find the right Riggs. Riggs was very difficult to find because everybody consciously or unconsciously was doing a sort of poor man's Mel Gibson.
And then we were able to find Clayne living on a farm in Alabama who had a much different take on the character and what he wanted to do with it. I had written the character to be from Texas unlike the Riggs in the movies and Clayne's sort of southern drawl and things like that help take you away from the Mel Gibson performance and really make it his own.
Will there be any surprises in the season finale?
Yes. There are definitely surprises. Riggs crosses a line that I don't think anyone thought he could be capable of crossing and it puts Murtaugh in a position of how far is he willing to go to protect this guy. That's the question of the episode and frankly, that was the question of season one.
What do you hope viewers will ultimately take away from season one?
I think ultimately they're going to see it as a very good arc between these two characters that leaves them wanting more in season two. I think the end of season one, while it resolves some stuff, it also ends with a cliffhanger that I think is really going to surprise some people and set up a really nice dynamic for how we want to launch season two.
What can we look forward to in season two?
In season two we're going to reset the deck a little bit and introduce some different mythology for both Murtaugh and Riggs. So while Riggs will still and always be mourning the death of his wife, we're going to have a guy who's learned a lot about the mythology and the mystery behind what happened in season one.
Season two is about some different mythology that we're going to introduce for our two characters.
What is it about Lethal Weapon that resonates with the fans so much?
There are some incredible stunts on the show. Our stunt coordinator, Tim Trella and our producing director, Steve Boyum do an amazing job with that stuff. It's really almost movie quality, I think. But at the end of the day the thing that resonates the most isn't the stunts, isn't the action and isn't getting the bad guys. It's the bond between these two guys.
It's the emotional beats of the show that I think surprise people a lot when they watch. That's the thing I hear most is that they're surprised by how emotional some of the episodes get.
What was your favorite episode in season one and why?
Ha. Too hard of a question. There're so many that I like. I like the Leo Getz episode. I think the pilot's probably my favorite, but let's take that out of the equation for a second. I really liked our Christmas episode, "Jingle Bell Glock". I thought that was a really fun episode, had some winks to the original movies and was emotionally a very strong episode for us.
Speaking of Leo Getz, Thomas Lennon really knocked it out of the park with his version of Leo Getz. Will we be seeing any more of Lennon's Getz in the future?
I certainly hope so. I don't have an actual deal with Thomas to return, but I've spoken to him about it. Creatively I would love it, and he seems open to it so the answer would be yes. If it didn't work out, I would be extremely bummed. So, I'm super hopeful. I thought he was amazing and a pleasure to work with.
In regards to Riggs' love life, are you more Team Palmer or Team Cahill?
You know, I know that there's different factions. There's Team Cahill. There's Team Palmer. And then there's Team Nothing, who want him to evolve not at all. I understand everyone's point of view and I support that. I love that people are so emotionally invested in the show.
I don't read any of that stuff because I have to keep my eye on what it is we want to do creatively and not try to be influenced too much. So, I'm not really on any team other than we are going to explore all relationships.
Riggs and Miranda. Riggs and Palmer. Cahill and Riggs certainly have a different dynamic which is less romantic and more sort of emotional for each other and professional certainly. And even new characters that are going to be introduced.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I hope people tune in for the season finale. I think it's going to be very, very surprising. We're very proud of how the season ends.
Lisa Babick is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.