On Tuesday, the television adaptation of the popular buddy cop film franchise starring Danny Glover and Mel Gibson returns for Lethal Weapon season 3. Unlike the movies, the Lethal Weapon television series stars Damon Wayans as Roger Murtaugh, the seasoned veteran originally portrayed by Glover, and Clayne Crawford plays Martin Riggs, the role originated by Gibson. Or, at least that was the case until Crawford was fired from the show in May.
Lethal Weapon season 3 will see the character played by Clayne Crawford replaced by Seann William Scott, best known for his work in the American Pie films, as Wesley Cole, a former CIA agent turned cop. Scott and the show’s producers have since explained Riggs’ departure in the series’ narrative, though audiences will get to decide whether or not it works over the next few weeks.
Even so, the question remains… Why was Clayne Crawford fired from Lethal Weapon in the first place?
Why Clayne Crawford was written off Lethal Weapon season 3
In April, Deadline reported that the program’s renewal for a third season was “on the line” following multiple complaints about his onset behavior. Specifically, the actor was accused of “emotional abuse and creating a hostile environment” by many members of the cast and crew. Clayne Crawford subsequently issued a public apology and attempted to explain his alleged behavior, but it ultimately wasn’t enough.
The Hollywood Reporter broke the news in early May that Clayne Crawford had been fired from the show, and that producers were “scrambling to recast” him in order to salvage a potential Lethal Weapon season 3. To make matters worse for the actor, Wayans posted images and comments online detailing how he was injured during a stunt gone wrong while filming an episode directed by Clayne Crawford. He also alleged that his former co-star “hit another actor in the mouth with a bottle of green tea and busted his mouth open.”
Lethal Weapon quickly earned its renewal with the sudden casting of Scott, whom producers were quick to note would not be replacing Crawford as Riggs. Despite the seemingly good news for the show, however, the outed actor went on the Drinkin’ Bros podcast in August to tell his side of the story.
“It’s a little different when you replace Becky or the mom off of Fresh Prince. Like it’s a little — like if they’d replaced the Fresh Prince, we’d have been like what the f–k are we watching anyway? That’s why I just didn’t think it was possible,” he said. “I just didn’t think they were going to get rid of me, I guess. And if they did, I thought they’d give me a buzz… just a jangle? Just grab two cans and a string and just be like, ‘You’re not coming back. We feel like this is the Damon Wayans Show and people just don’t like you. So go the f–k back to Alabama you dumb hick, thanks for playing.”
To date, it seems the bad blood between Clayne Crawford and the series has not dissipated. The actor did congratulate everyone on the season three renewal in May, but aside from that, his firing and the loss of Riggs from the story still hangs heavy in the air.
The Lethal Weapon season 3 premiere is set for Tuesday, Sept. 25, at 9 p.m. ET on FOX.