Lethal Weapon 3.11 Takes A Murderous, Murtaugh Family Vacation

by Ben Martin

[PLEASE NOTE: This recap of Lethal Weapon: Season 3, Episode 11: Dial M for Murtaugh DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS. It is assumed you have already viewed the episode. If you have not, it is recommended you do so. Episode 11: Dial M for Murtaugh can be seen on Fox, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.]

Lethal Weapon occasionally falls victim to tedium. Frankly, that’s just what happens when the televised taffy has to be stretched anywhere from 22-24 episodes annually. Some viewers take comfort in narrative formulas, knowing what to expect. Not that doing that is a bad thing necessarily; think of it like entertainment’s comfort food. On the other hand, I think a show giving viewers something unexpected is a real treat. Lethal Weapon just that, taking inspiration from Alfred Hitchcock, with Episode 3.11: Dial M for Murtaugh:
Crime never takes a vacation, even if a cop decides to. This episode begins with  Roger Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) and Wesley Cole (Seann William Scott) being questioned by a government official named Barrett (Sean Blakemore). With Barrett pulling information out of our protagonists, the narrative of this structure of this story unfolds. Flashing back, we learn that it all started when Murtaugh took his family on a tropical resort vacation in Malibu. However, before that particular tale can go any further, Cole chimes in, citing that his untimely romantic “Lean-in” toward DA Erica Malick (Nishi Munshi) relates to the case at hand.

The case at hand is one that involves a dead john who met his death at the end of a high-heel stiletto. As Cole and company are preparing to question sex workers in LA; Murtaugh manages to throw his back out on vacation. Soon, the detective finds himself laid-up in his hotel room, playing a little Rear Window (1954) with the telescopic lens on his new camera. Meanwhile, back at the station Cole mistakes Erica’s mother, Senator Donna Malick (Anna Khaja) for a call girl whom he is supposed to question. This whole confused introduction concludes when Erica walks in and clears the whole mistaken identity thing up. Although, that doesn’t make matters any less awkward.

Meanwhile, in Malibu, Murtaugh witnesses what appears to be a murder and kidnapping; which he immediately reports to Sonya Bailey (Michelle Mitchenor). However, upon further investigation, Bailey finds no evidence, nor victims of a crime. Contrary to what Murtaugh swore he witnessed, members of the family he saw are healthy and accounted for. To those around him, it seems that Murtaugh’s just popped one too many muscle relaxers and mixed them with paranoia. However, our hero seems sure something is up and that whatever that may be connected to Senator Malick’s upcoming climate summit.
Following his instincts, Murtaugh pulls the hotel’s fire alarm. Thanks to the unlawful distraction he creates, Murtaugh finds a bullet casing in the family’s room whom he had spied supposedly get kidnapped and killed earlier. Unfortunately, this discovery of evidence leads to Murtaugh’s arrest by The Capitol Police (i.e., Senatorial Secret Service.) Thus, leading us back to the questioning at hand. At this point, Cole explains that the dead john was a defense contractor with high-level clearance. In the effort to catch the john’s killer, Cole tries to chase down the man wearing the victim’s defense contractor credentials. In true Lethal Weapon fashion, a car chase ensues that has fruitless results; concluding with Cole crashing a Hummer in front of the Senator’s escorted vehicle.
As outlandish as the boys’ stories may sound to Barrett, they are finally released from custody. Alas, that doesn’t mean either of them is out of hot water. Upon his release from the interview, the senator request that Cole visits her. Our hero obliges and is politely told by Senator Malick to keep his distance from her daughter. However, as happens in TV and life, the rings of romance keep on rolling. Cole arrives back at the station, only to find Erica waiting for him. Of course, the DA has finally to express her mutual romantic interest in Cole.

Back in his hotel room, Murtaugh is still suspicious about what may going on across the way. Once again, Murtaugh’s instincts prove correct as he sees a young boy breathe on the window and quickly write, “HELP.” However, the kid’s attempts to reach out are sidelined by his father, Stuart Stevenson (Cliff Chamberlain), who pulls his son away from the window and rapidly closes the curtains. Soon enough though, it all comes together, as the team determines that the security clearance was stolen to gain access to a 3-D printed gun which would prove entirely undetectable for metal detectors. Furthermore, the Russian oil company who wants this prototype weapon is holding Stevenson’s family hostage in exchange for further access in order to assassinate Senator Malick. Murtaugh is soon able to corner Stevenson, who explains that his family is being held hostage and that the woman in his room is a hit-woman named Eve (Samantha Jo)!
Racing against the clock, Murtaugh and Cole split-up to save the day. Murtaugh finds and saves Grace Stevenson (Jennica Schwartzman); getting his back popped back into place while doing so. Meanwhile, Cole manages to save Senator Malick, by defeating Eve, who is ultimately killed by her prototype plastic pistol. As a man who can think quick on his feet, during all this chaos, Cole also manages to express to Erica that he genuinely is interested in her. In the end, our heroes once again save the day. As The Murtaughs return happily to their home, Cole returns to his to find Erica waiting there. Let’s just say Cole receives a hero’s welcome as the couple finally falls into each other’s arms.
Dial M for Murtaugh doesn’t have that emotional core that I always talk about in regards to this show. However, what this episode does have is action, humor, and enough entertainment value to keep any viewer interested! Beyond that, this was a unique episode as it took the audience out of the series’ usual setting and format. I can easily say that Dial M for Murtaugh is one of the more entertaining installments thus far in Season 3 of Lethal Weapon. This episode was the televised equivalent of a fresh, rum-infused tropical treat. Therefore, I hope that in the future, the series will expand and raise the bar by producing more episodes such as this one!

Episode 11: Dial M for Murtaugh can be seen on Fox, On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.
Episode 12: The Roger and Me Will Air Tuesday, Jan. 15 @ 8:00 PM, Only on Fox!

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