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Hero Overview

I'm too old for this s**t!
~ Roger Murtaugh, using one of his most famous catchphrases.
It's just been revoked!
~ Roger Murtaugh after killing Arjen Rudd.

Roger Murtaugh is a Homicide detective with the LAPD and one of the two (later, three) main protagonists of the Lethal Weapon film series along with his best friend/partner Sgt. Martin Riggs and their close friend/sidekick Leo Getz.

In all four films of the series Murtaugh is portrayed by Danny Glover, who also played Mike Harrigan in Predator 2, Barbatus in AntzMiles in Barnyard and Winston in Alpha and Omega. In the TV show Murtaugh is played by Damon Wayans, who also played Jimmy Dix in The Last Boy ScoutBenson Winifred Payne in Major Payne and Michael Richard Kyle in My Wife and Kids!.

He is well known for his catchphrases: "I'm too old for this s**t" and "It's been revoked!" both of which are common staples of both Glover and the character, and have been parodied in numerous other films. 

Lethal Weapon (1987)

Murtaugh is a straitlaced veteran homicide detective sergeant and family man. He was a lieutenant of the 173rd Airborne Brigade in the U.S. Army, and served in the Vietnam War. He joined the Los Angeles Police Department in 1967 and is considering retirement, hence his catchphrase, "I'm too old for this shit". He is partnered with "loose cannon" and fellow Vietnam War veteran Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson) to investigate a suspected suicide of the daughter of one of Murtaugh's old friends. Though the two initially cannot stand each other and resent each other's presence, Murtaugh gains respect for Riggs when Riggs saves his life. After Murtaugh discovers that his old friend from the Vietnam War, Michael Hunsaker, has been laundering the profits from a heroin-trafficking cartel, he confronts Hunsaker and learns the details of the organization before Mr. Joshua, the cartel's primary henchman, murders Hunsaker. The cartel kidnaps Murtaugh's older daughter, Rianne, in an attempt to make Murtaugh divulge what Hunsaker told him. Murtaugh and Riggs set an ambush, which fails. The cartel tortures Murtaugh, and threatens to torture Rianne as well, until Riggs rescues them. He manages to kill General McAllister, the head of the cartel, by shooting the driver of his car, causing a bus-versus-car crash and a gigantic explosion. He backs up Riggs as he fights and subdues Mr. Joshua, and then shoots Mr. Joshua when he attempts to shoot Riggs. By the end of the film, he has forgone retirement and accepted Riggs into his family.

Lethal Weapon 2

They have been de-Kaffirnated.
~ Roger to Riggs after wiping out South African drug dealers.

Murtaugh is targeted by a South African drug cartel fronted by ruthless diplomat Arjen Rudd and his second-in-command Pieter Vorstedt, who has Murtaugh and his wife tied up and gagged in their own home. To assist Riggs' investigation of the South African consulate, Murtaugh portrays a man named Alphonse who wants to emigrate to South Africa to help overthrown apartheid. Following this, Murtaugh fights off two attackers in his home with a nail gun and rescues Federal witness Leo Getz from the cartel. He helps Riggs track down and kill the other members of the cartel when it is revealed that the cartel murdered Riggs' wife Victoria Lynn four years back and later they murdered Rika Van Den Haas. This includes an assault on a cargo ship which ends in the death of the remaining members of the cartel, including Rudd, whom Murtaugh kills after he shoots Riggs, saying the catchphrase "It's been revoked." after Rudd reminds him of diplomatic immunity. Riggs shows his humorous side by pranking Murtaugh repeatedly.

Lethal Weapon 3

Murtaugh and Riggs mishandle a car bomb, which destroys a building. As punishment, both are reduced in rank to patrolman, but regain their previous rank when they foil an armored car robbery and reveal a gun running cartel, which is being ran by a former cop named Jack Travis. While investigating this cartel, Murtaugh kills a fifteen-year-old boy to save his own and Riggs' life; the boy is revealed to be Darryl Smithers, a friend of Murtaugh's son Nick. Murtaugh is overcome by guilt and turns to isolation and alcohol until Riggs helps him forgive himself. Murtaugh helps Riggs and Internal Affairs officer Lorna Cole destroy the cartel. As a comical sidelight, Murtaugh also helps Riggs quit smoking by giving him dog biscuits instead; he does show some anger towards Riggs, however, when he believes that Riggs is becoming romantic with his daughter Rianne, which Riggs tells him he's not, and that he's spoken for by Lorna.

Lethal Weapon 4

That was a slave ship out there, and I freed slaves! Something no one did for my ancestors.
~ Roger justifying giving shelters to Hong family to Riggs

Murtaugh and Riggs are both promoted to Captain, particularly because of all the past damage they have done in solving their cases, which caused the Police Department to lose their insurance carrier. They are promoted instead of demoted or fired because they are veteran officers, and since firing them isn't really an option for the department. By becoming captains, it is assumed that they would cause less trouble, but are later returned to the rank of Sergeant after the later events of the film after the city had been self-insured. Murtaugh's oldest daughter Rianne is pregnant with his first grandchild and is secretly married to LAPD Sergeant Lee Butters, but she decides not to tell her father until after the baby is born. However, Riggs unintentionally tells Murtaugh after Lorna tells him the secret. When Murtaugh accidentally kills the brother of a ruthless crime lord, Riggs and Murtaugh engage in a brutal hand-to-hand combat with the crime lord. When Riggs nearly drowns after the struggle between him and the crime lord, Riggs grabs a submerged AK-47 and shoots the crime lord, killing him in the process. Riggs swims back up to the surface, only to be back underwater after being pinned under a broken piece of the pier. Murtaugh dives in and saves his life. In the end, Murtaugh accepts his daughter's marriage to Lee Butters and his baby granddaughter.

Weapons

In all four films, Murtaugh's main sidearm is a Smith & Wesson Model 19 .357 Magnum revolver.


Trivia

  • Despite popular misconceptions, Roger Murtaugh never actually says "I'm getting too old for this shit" in this movie. He simply says "I'm too old for this shit." He does, however, say he's "getting too old for this shit" in the sequels.
  • Murtaugh is fifty years old in the first Lethal Weapon, but Glover was only forty years old in 1986.
  • In the pilot episode, Murtaugh is said to have recently celebrated his 50th birthday, Damon Wayans turned 56 the month the pilot aired.
  • Roger Murtaugh wasn't written with any ethnicity in mind, Danny Glover was suggested by Marion Dougherty after seeing him in The Color Purple.
  • Danny Glover played against Gary Busey again in Predator 2, where Glover played a cop again. And Gary Busey played an ex-special forces soldier again.
  • Damon Wayans was the protagonist of The Last Boy Scout. Both The Last Boy Scout and the original Lethal Weapon film were written by Shane Black, meaning this is the second time Damon Wayans has played a Shane Black character.
  • In the final episode of season 1, Riggs referred to Murtaugh as being bulletproof several times. In 1996, Wayans starred alongside Adam Sandler in a movie called, Bulletproof.
  • When Murtaugh meets Michael Hunsaker at the bank, he looks at a photograph of them both during their service in Vietnam. In the photo Hunsaker is wearing the shoulder patch of the 82nd Airborne and Murtaugh the patch of the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team.
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