Roger, Over and Out: ‘Lethal Weapon’ loses second lead…

Is this the death-knell for the 'Lethal Weapon' series or a cue for an even more dramatic reboot of the film franchise spin-off?

Losing one of your main stars may seem like a creative decision or irreconcilable differences  – but losing two within a matter of months might be considered careless… or lethal.

News came today that Damon Wayans who plays Roger Murtaugh is leaving the Lethal Weapon series, the third season of which began on US screens last week with previous co-star Clayne Crawford nowhere to be found after he was fired during hiatus. Despite protestations of his innocence, Crawford had faced various disciplinary proceedings and a deteriorating working partnership with Wayans, who played Murtaugh to his Riggs. For a while it looked as if the show might be cancelled or the Powers That Be would simply recast Crawford’s role with another actor. However the decision was made to kill the Riggs character (who had been shot in the cliffhanger to the second season). Sean William Scott debuted last week as a new character, Wesley Cole an ex-CIA agent looking for redemption after a troubled military service operation.

Wayans will also be leaving the show, though hopefully under slightly more amicable circumstances – though it’s clear he’s been unhappy with work pressures and it seems this video announcement came out of the blue as far as many close to the production were concerned.  He made the surprise announcement during an interview with Electronic Urban Report who were on set to promote the new season and said that he’d come to the decision because of health issues and wanting to spend more time with his family. Clearly emotional, he spoke about the long work days, the fact he is a 58 year old actor working on a demanding action show and also that he copes with diabetes as an ongoing concern.  He has told the production of his plans and will appear in the show for the first thirteen episodes of the current contract which will last until December – noting that he’s given them plenty of time to find a replacement. That would complete the show’s current order, though the original expectation was that the show would run to a fuller 22 or 23 episodes in total if ratings were good enough. That would now be far less likely but FOX have not yet made an official comment about the show’s future beyond the current filming schedule. It is believed they are currently talking with Wayans to see what the shape of his future involvement might be…