Welcome to the last “Lethal Weapon” post before the show returns to us! Was the wait as painful for me as it was for you? Despite the agony of waiting, we won’t be reviewing what happened in the last episode before the series took a break. Why? Because I trust your memory of “An Inconvenient Ruth” to be good enough to bridge the gap! (If I’m wrong about this, you are welcome to reread my review of that episode)
With that out of the way, let us discuss a question that has probably passed through the brain of every “Lethal Weapon” viewer at least once.
How does the TV show differ from the movies?
Since that is quite the can of worms all by itself, I’ve decided to narrow it down. We won’t be covering Mel Gibson’s manic Riggs to Clayne Crawford’s gradually shattering Riggs. We also won’t be comparing Danny Glover’s grumpy Murtaugh to Damon Wayan’s tired and always low on patience Murtaugh. What we’re here to do today is compare one of the show’s most adorably annoying characters to one of the show’s most steadfast and patient ones.
Let’s talk about Leo Getz and Trish Murtaugh.
Thomas Lennon is Leo Getz
This might come as a surprise to any “Lethal Weapon” fans who haven’t watched the movies, but in the films, Leo Getz was a vital character. (He was in 2, 3, and 4) In fact, many articles and reviews refer to Leo Getz as the third main character! In the movies, Getz was played by Joe Pesci. The majority of his scenes had to do with Getz hounding Murtaugh and Riggs. Pesci had the perfect voice for Leo Getz. He hounded and pestered perfectly. For the films, that was enough to build a character around.
In the TV show, Thomas Lennon takes a different approach to playing Leo Getz. The writers, the viewers, and even Thomas Lennon himself was worried about his imitating the way Joe Pesci had played Leo Getz. Lennon said in an interview with CarterMatt that he had a specific response when he was offered the role. “I can’t do an impression of Joe Pesci at all. I’m not that kind of weird little weirdo; I’m my own kind of weird little weirdo, you know?” In an interview with CinemaBlend, Lennon added, “Joe Pesci’s performance is insane and so amazing and highly quotable.” Fortunately, Thomas Lennon is proving quite quotable himself! Before long, “Lethal Weapon” fans might be going around with the tagline “Anything you want, Leo Getz!” on their shirts!
Regardless of whether you’re talking about the movies or the TV series, the reason Riggs and Murtaugh stumble into Getz is the same: Getz is a witness to a crime and needs protection from the bad guys. For the most part, this is the only thing the characters have in common. In the films, Leo Getz goes through multiple jobs. This includes being a banker, real-estate agent, and private investigator. In the TV series, Getz is an attorney. One of the theories behind this change is that making Getz an attorney makes it easier for plotlines between him and Trish.
With audiences having only seen Leo Getz in three episodes, it is still too early to know just how important his character will become. At the end of the fourth “Lethal Weapon” movie, the central cast snapped a photo of the Murtaugh/Riggs family, including Getz. Will the TV series’ version of Murtaugh and Riggs ever reach the point of calling Getz, family? We’ll see.
Keesha Sharp is Trish Murtaugh
In the movies, Trish Murtaugh was played by Darlene Love. Love’s version of Trish Murtaugh had a very background role. She was only shown when Roger Murtaugh went home for the day. Even then, the majority of her scenes were in support of Roger’s character. She rarely had plotlines of her own. Her character was defined by her relationship with her husband and by her role as a mother to their kids.
In the TV series, these things couldn’t be less true. In fact, it could be argued that there is no character in the series that differs more from their character in the movies than Trish Murtaugh! Sure, Trish is still a loving mother and a devoted wife. That is where the similarities end. In the show, Trish is a headstrong woman with her own career, her own plotlines, and even her own income. Her role in the series has become so well-liked that she has been called the Michelle Obama of television!
What are the actual differences between movie Trish and TV Trish? Their differing careers is the most obvious difference. Besides a brief stint as an erotica writer, Delane Love’s Trish was a mother and wife. Keesha Sharp’s Trish is a defense attorney. She bought the house her family lives in. She makes more money than her husband does. When being interviewed, Sharp has made the observation that Trish is doing similar work to Roger now: they’re both defending people who cannot defend themselves.
Keesha Sharp was absolutely thrilled to get the role of Trish. Why? Sharp was a life-long fan of the original “Lethal Weapon” movies! She’d even watch marathons of the four movies. What did Sharp say about the role in an interview with Urban Magazine? “I get to play this powerful woman who loves her husband, and loves her children, but keeps it sexy. Eventually, I hope to see her in action because I’m a boxer and I have study Krav Maga, I want to see her fight. I want to see her save Riggs and Roger, and not be the lady in distress.”
Trish being a defense attorney helps the TV show in a few other ways. Now, Trish can be part of the Riggs/Murtaugh dynamic without having to wait until the duo comes to the Murtaugh home. Trish and Roger can even help each other on cases!
One final way that Sharp’s Trish is different is the relationship she’s forming with Martin Riggs. In the movies, Trish worried about her husband and made Riggs promise to protect Roger. These things are still true of TV Trish, but they’re just the tip of the TV iceberg. Trish sees a lot of things in Riggs. Early on in the series, she sees a wild and reckless man who could get her husband killed. Later on, she realizes Riggs is a real-life example of what happens to you when you lose your family. Trish can see in Riggs what could happen to her if she lost Roger. Fast-forward further and Trish is at times exasperated by Riggs and also heartbroken for him. In a strange and weird sort of way, Trish has been quicker to welcome Riggs into her family than Roger has been.
Isn’t it interesting that Leo Getz was considered the third main character of the “Lethal Weapon” movies and yet he’s only been in three episodes of the show? On the other hand, the Trish Murtaugh of the films was considered a background character, but is almost considered the third lead in the TV series!
Here’s hoping that Thomas Lennon and Keesha Sharp aren’t going anywhere soon!