Riggs & Murtaugh Get Mobbed Up In Lethal Weapon Episode 2.8

by Ben Martin

[PLEASE NOTE: This recap of Lethal Weapon: Season 2, Episode 8: Fork-Getta-Bout-It DOES CONTAIN SPOILERS. It is assumed you have already viewed the episode. If you have not, it is recommended you do so. Episode 8: Fork-Getta-Bout-It  can be seen on Fox On-Demand or via your preferred streaming service.]

For those of you who read my last recap, in which I covered Episode 7: Birdwatching, you know how much I enjoyed it. Much of that enjoyment was because the installment pooled elements from movies I adore. With Episode 8: Fork-Getta-Bout-It, it seems as if the Lethal Weapon showrunners are reading my mind. I love the mafia/mob subgenre of crime fiction/drama; as you might have deduced from this episode’s title, albeit, a terrible one, Episode 8 takes some aspects from that genre. Alas, I don’t feel the show’s attempt at this subgenre worked quite as well as last week; but I’ll get into that in a bit.
The episode opens with a large Italian man sitting in an ER waiting room. He appears to have a fish-hook stuck in his finger. (As a longtime fan of The Sopranos, I couldn’t  help but think of  Bobby ‘Bacala’ Baccalieri. Though I’m pretty sure that’s what such an image was trying to evoke.) However, he is distracted from the “Finger-lingering” matter when a doctor and his pregnant wife, whom he’s pushing a wheelchair, rush in. Suddenly, as if struck with an epiphany, the fish-hooked man rushes off to make a call. He gets seconds into the said call, delivering some pertinent information. From what little the large man says, the gentleman who just rushed his pregnant wife in was an old target of the mob. Unfortunately, this call is cut short when the man on the phone gets penetrated by more than a fish-hook. He’s stabbed in the neck and killed by an unseen assailant. After his death, the victim is identified as Tony “Bonesaw” Tibone (Teddy Margas), a mob enforcer. With the dead mafia soldier’s body still warm on the ground, our boys are put on the case.
It’s clear to the investigation team that this case is related to organized crime. However, the security footage of the hurried couple, while suspicious, offers nothing concrete. Surprisingly, Avery (Kevin Rahm) recommends someone within the department who he says has a mob contact. Appropriately so, the individual who possess such knowledge is Scorsese (Johnathan Fernandez). After all, he is a screenwriter who’s only working as a coroner until he gets his big break in showbiz. When Riggs (Clayne Crawford) and Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) go see Scorsese about his mob knowledge, he agrees to introduce them to his connection. But not before he tells them about the screenplay he’s writing. According to Scorsese, the script is a crime drama involving both the cops and the mafia. When it comes to the lawmen in his story, Scorsese reveals that there are characters based on both Murtaugh and Riggs. Murtaugh is flattered by this and immediately begins asking questions.
Later that afternoon, in his session with Cahill (Jordana Brewster), Riggs does something uncharacteristic. He asks her how long it’s normal for someone to wait to start dating after they’ve experienced a traumatic event; posing this question as if asking concerning Molly (Kristen Gutoskie). Such a query immediately sets of Cahill’s “Spidey-Sense,” as a therapist. As such, she tries to gauge if Riggs is interested in Molly as something more than a long-standing friend. She sees past her patient’s subterfuge, but subverts it. Cahill asks Riggs if he’s ready to start dating. He denies such a possibility and any interest in his friend, Molly. Furthermore, he maintains that he will always carry a torch for his late wife. Despite all this, it’s quite clear to the good therapist and we the audience, that our hero’s claims aren’t real.
No matter what Riggs’ motives, he has more important things to worry about at the moment. Focusing back on the case, things seem to be fairly cut and dry. Initially, the team pegs Jerry (Todd Grinnell), the husband rushing his wife into the hospital, to be a mob doctor.  When going back to the doctor’s, they find a receipt from a bulk big box store. Correctly deducing that Jerry would be making a return trip there, the boys go looking for him at said store. Alas,  things go awry when two mob goons come in with guns blazing, seeking to eliminate Jerry. Both our heroes and the good doctor make it out alive, but separately. Primarily due to the fact that Riggs and Murtaugh are seemingly the proficient cops to every engage in shootouts. Such a phenomenon is proven to the viewer on almost a weekly basis. Though I must say, this particular gunfight was very creatively choreographed.  After everything dies down, Riggs discovers that Jerry was shopping for his newborn baby girl.
Back at the station, matters surrounding the case have escalated. F.B.I. Agent Graves (Michael Beach) gets in on the case, working with the LAPD. It’s revealed that Tony “Bonesaw” and the shooters at the store were contractors for the mob boss, Frank Truno (Paul Ben-Victor). According to the Graves, the boss is trying to tie-up some loose ends. Five years ago, Jerry was a witness to Truno committing a murder and was going to serve as a critical witness for the prosecution…until he disappeared. However, even with this new intel, something’s not quite adding up. Thus, to get some clarification, Riggs goes to the hospital to interview Jerry’s wife. From the outset, Jerry’s wife and the newly-minted mother of his child claims to know nothing; much like Jon Snow. After stepping out of her room for a few moments, Riggs finds that she has disappeared with her baby. Luckily, he tracks her down just in time to stave off a couple of mob soldiers who are hot on the mother’s tracks. Once again, the plot thickens.

Murtaugh meets Scorsese’s mob CI, Nick Graziano (Ken Garito). Nick seems to have stepped back from the majority of his responsibilities regarding organized crime. Now, he fills his days sitting in an Italian restaurant, presumably running a small crew of Mafia soldiers elsewhere. Beyond that, the seemingly semi-retired mobster is assisting Scorsese with his screenplay; giving him all the inside dirt. One wonders why Nick is even in “The Life” anymore, based on how cooperative he is. Hoping to take advantage of such a quality, Murtaugh shows Nick a copy of the picture of Jerry and his wife, taken from the security footage. Nick confirms that the Jerry in the same image is the same one with which they had connections. He also tells them that the woman in the picture, Jerry’s wife, is someone much more important. Her name is actually Adrianna Stabalitto (Kristanna Loken), Truno’s former flame and go-to hitwoman.

Scorsese and Murtaugh’s otherwise peaceful ride from the bistro quickly becomes something more. That being, yet another car chase through LA traffic. At a stoplight, Murtaugh and Scorsese spot Jerry. Once Jerry sees that he’s been made, his eyes bulge out of his head, almost like a cartoon. With that, the doctor speeds off in his mini-van in hopes of evading our protagonists. However, thanks to creative driving on Murtaugh’s part; Jerry is safely intercepted. Back at the interrogation room, Murtaugh questions Jerry and finds out that he knows who his wife used to be. Surprisingly, Jerry accepts and forgives her past; maintaining that his wife is done with such a lifestyle and is a good woman. Watching through the two-way glass, Graves tells Riggs and Avery that he wants to use Adriana’s husband to get to her. Thereby, hopefully being able to get to Truno.
With Molly back in the dating game, Riggs spends his evening watching Ben (Duncan Joiner). This makes good enough since as young Ben’s not old enough to stay by himself. However, the same cannot be said for Rianna Murtaugh (Chandler Kinney), who’s old enough to take care of herself. Despite this fact, Murtaugh and McNelly (Andrew Patrick Ralston), Murtaugh’s annoying neighbor, begrudgingly join forces to spy on their teens when they find out their offspring are dating each other. The two bust in on Rianna and Robbie (Mavrick Moreno) to stop any hanky-panky.
It turns out the young lovers had baited them to prove that their dads were spying on them. A little later, Riggs’ time as a babysitter comes to an end. As he takes his exit, Riggs doesn’t miss the opportunity gives Molly’s date a hard-time when he drops her back off. After this happens, Molly tells her old friend Riggs to be just that, her friend. Not her father and not her protector, he agrees that he’ll do just that. Having walked away, most likely a little dejected; Riggs reaches his car. About this time, his cell phone rings, and it’s Adrianna. Riggs convinces her to come with him. He tells her that the FBI is involved in the case and they can help grant her witness protection. The former hit-woman turned mother agrees to give it a shot, no pun intended.
Once in police custody, Adrianna gives Graves all the dirt she has on Truno. Alas, due to not giving Graves enough to nail the mob boss, she’s taken into federal custody. Riggs convinces Graves to give her another chance before he does anything irreversible, the agent agrees to do so. Clearly, Riggs has a good batting average when it comes to the art of persuasion. Meanwhile, there’s a higher-pressure style of persuasion occurring. Truno comes to the bistro, seeking out Nick. The mob boss’ intention is to intimidate Nick into finding Adrianna for him; he efficiently does so. At the same time, it seems things are going one step forward, two steps back for the former mafia assassin. Thanks to her cooperation, all accessory charges against Jerry are dropped, and Graves takes Adrianna with him for the time being. However, Riggs can’t help but feel something is askew. Thus, he and Murtaugh rush down to the elevator. When the doors open, the boys discover that Graves has been stabbed with an ink pen and is unconscious; and of course, Adrianna has escaped.
Riggs and Murtaugh are on Adrianna’s trail as she’s headed for the hotel at which Truno’s staying. Adrianna gets there ahead of heroes and makes her way into the hotel room by putting a gun to Nick’s head. Unfortunately for her, Truno has the upper-hand as he has already taken Jerry and their baby hostage. As all this is going down, Riggs and Murtaugh are trying to find a way into the room. In order to do so, Murtaugh climbs into an overhead vent that connects to the room. Riggs bursts through the door while Murtaugh falls partially through the vent a get stuck. A low-rent True Romance (1993) style shootout takes place in which the duo manages to take out Truno and his crew, saving the family. Truno survives and will stand trial with Adrianne and Jerry being star witnesses for the prosecution. For doing so, the couple and their infant will be granted witness protection.
It’s been a long, but successful day for the boys. So, what better way for Riggs to wrap it up then with a mandatory therapy session? During the  session, Cahill overtly questions Riggs about his desire to date Molly. Then again, so does Molly after her previous date’s car is towed due to unpaid parking tickets. Our tortured hero doesn’t give a straight answer to either woman regarding this matter. On the hand, it seems no therapy will be needed between the previously bickersome neighbors, at least for now. The Murtaughs and McNeely are snapping copious amounts of pictures of their young dance-goers. Murtaugh and his daughter make-up. The episode closes with Murtaugh saying, “I’m too old for this- nevermind, save it for the movie.”
I’ll just be up-front about my thoughts on this episode. Frankly, I felt it was the weakest one thus-far in this series run. Yes, it was watchable episode; but it was also a very weak one. This is mostly due to the fact that cases, like the one in this episode, have been done a billion times over on TV shows. Therefore, Lethal Weapon’s version of such a situation adds nothing new. Adding to this issue is the fact that the show’s portrayal of the mafia characters is utterly stereotypical and uninspired. There are a few positives I can credit to this episode. Firstly, there was decent action throughout. Aside from that, I really appreciated the fact that this installment concluded with a call-back to the movies in Murtaugh’s closing line. For this reviewer, I really hope the next episode is an improvement.

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