Earlier today I posted news that Lethal Weapon star Clayne Crawford has been fired from the hit TV show. This of course poses numerous problems for all involved with the show, most notably the problem of what do you do with a show that’s just lost one of its leads?

Of course, this isn’t the first time a hit show has lost one of its biggest stars and it won’t be the last, however on this particular show it is a major issue. After all, this is a series based around the buddy-buddy cop formula, which has helped Lethal Weapon become as popular as it is.

There’s also the added factor that this show is a spin-off of the Lethal Weapon movie series – a series that largely relied on the dynamics of lead characters Riggs & Murtaugh. Removing Riggs from the equation is kind of like serving up a roast dinner without any gravy. Sure, there’s still plenty of good stuff to enjoy, but the whole thing is dry and not what it should be.

So, how do you solve a problem like no gravy?

Sorry, I mean how do you solve a problem like Lethal Weapon?

According to reports, Fox is currently looking to recast Crawford’s role – although these reports might be a little off. The showrunners may instead be looking to create another co-lead for the show.

But will fans of Lethal Weapon accept another duo other than Riggs & Murtaugh?

Replacing lead characters isn’t something new – it’s happened on Charmed, on Two and a Half Men and so on. On these occasions the shows continued for many years without one of the original lead stars, but other shows aren’t so fortunate.

Take Due South for instance. The first two seasons worked perfectly thanks to the chemistry of lead actors, Paul Gross and David Marciano; but when Marciano left the show at the end of Season Two, the chemistry went and the show never recovered.

The X-Files is also another prime example of a show that never quite recovered from the departure of lead star, David Duchovny. While The X-Files operated fine with the arrival of Robert Patrick in Season Eight, the show’s ninth season was missing something and ultimately this resulted in a (temporary) cancellation.

This is something which the team behind Lethal Weapon now need to take into account. It’s one thing to kill off a show because of the loss of one actor; it’s another thing entirely to try to keep it going once the magic is gone.

I’m not saying Clayne Crawford is the ‘magic’, I’m simply saying that he’s an ingredient in this TV gumbo. In order for things to continue bubbling along the right ingredient needs to be added back in.

So what happens now?

Well, if the show gets renewed for a third season (and it probably will), then Fox will have to do one of the following:

  • Recast the role of Riggs
  • Retire the role of Riggs
  • Make the show more of an ensemble piece to paper over the loss of Riggs
  • Reinvent the show completely
  • All of the above

Will any of this work? Yes, it’s entirely possible but only time will tell.

Ultimately, fans of the show will now have to face the fact that the show they’ve enjoyed for the past two seasons isn’t going to be the same show moving forward. It might be a little different, it might be a lot different, but it won’t be the same.