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Martin Riggs

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"Hey, look friend, let's just cut the shit. Now we both know why I was transferred. Everybody thinks I'm suicidal, in which case, I'm fucked and nobody wants to work with me; or they think I'm faking to draw a psycho pension, in which case, I'm fucked and nobody wants to work with me. Basically, I'm fucked."
―Martin Riggs introducing himself to Roger Murtaugh

Martin Riggs (born October 16, 1949) is a Police officer for the Los Angeles Police Department. He was a member of the United States Special Forces until 1969. He married a woman named Victoria Lynn in 1973 and soon joined the Los Angeles Police Department.

After Victoria's death, Riggs fell into a deep depression, with his job as a Police officer being the only thing keeping him from suicide.


Martin Riggs was born on October 16, 1949. Riggs joined the U.S. Army at age 19, eventually becoming a member of the U.S. Army Special Forces, receiving specialized training in weaponry and hand-to-hand combat. These skills would later serve him well when he became a police officer. Most of Riggs' time in special forces was in Vietnam, where he served as an assassin under the CIA's "Phoenix Project" directive; while his ability as a trained killer would later plague his conscience, he thought of it as "...the only thing I was ever really good at." Apparently he knew Mr. Joshua from the war but never had close contact with him.

Later in Riggs' life he became a Police Officer and in 1973, he got married to a beautiful woman named Victoria Lynn and it is implied by Riggs himself that she was one of the only things, the other being his occupation as a Cop, that kept his life together. However in 1984, after 11 years of marriage, Victoria is killed in a seemingly tragic car accident, sending him into a deep depression. Driven to the brink with grief and anger, and having only a dog for company, he regularly puts himself (and anyone else near him) in harm's way, secretly hoping someone will put him out of his misery, something he has been unable to do himself. This total disregard for his safety gives him an edge over his enemies, turning him into a "lethal weapon".


The Amanda Hunsaker Case

Somewhere in a beach in California, Riggs lives all alone in a trailer with his dog Sam. He is an alcoholic, smokes, and he can't get a grip of himself since the loss of his wife Victoria Riggs three years earlier. One morning, Riggs wakes up naked, and goes for a drink from his refrigerator. He then gets changed, loads his Beretta 92F pistol, and has another drink, all the while listening to the man on TV talking about th Super Bowl, which makes him irritated and break the TV. Riggs then looks at the picture of his deceased wife and says "I'll buy you a new one."

Then, while driving his car out on the open road, Riggs hears a distress call on his police radio about a sniper at an elementary school. Riggs decides to put a stop to it. The sniper is on the second floor guarded by metal for cover, putting several kids' lives in danger. After feigning warning by police, Riggs manages to take down the sniper when he fails to kill Riggs; he initially went into the line of fire as a suicide attempt. Riggs then walks off silently as the police deal with the rest of the situation.

Riggs meets with drug dealers

Riggs meeting with drug dealers.

Riggs later met with drug dealers, acting undercover with intentions to arrest them. He would sample some drugs in front of them. He would then pay for th drugs for $100, only to push them earlier after intentionally paying in small amounts of cash rather than a big sum. After stating that he'd buy all the drugs they had in front of him, with a free Christmas tree included, he revealed that he'd take the drugs for free and put them in jail, showing his badge and pistol. He was able to take out two of the four drug dealers (one was hiding in the truck-trailer) while the other fled to hide. Just when the police showed up, the dealer grabbed Riggs and held him at gunpoint. After several shouts telling the officers to shoot, Riggs got fed up and headbutts the dealer pointing his own gun under his chin, about to kill him before the officers took over and handcuffed the suspect.

Back in his trailer, Riggs talks to Sam about his day. He looks at his wedding picture of him and Victoria, then begins attempting suicide with his pistol. With the TV on and only one bullet loaded in his pistol, Riggs points the gun on his forehead, then his mouth. He fails to pull the trigger and then tells his wife (looking up) "not today", and promises he will be with her again soon.

Because of his suicidal problems, Riggs was transferred from the Narcotics division to Homicide. He waits in the police station for his new partner to show up. When he pulls out his gun to check out his ammunition, a police man mistakenly suspects him as a criminal and charges after him but Riggs tosses him over his shoulder and points the gun at him. That polices man is Roger Murtaugh. Detective Boyette introduces Roger Murtaugh to Riggs, his new partner on the Hunsaker case.

In the garage of the police building, Riggs and Murtaugh dislike each other immediately, both telling each other they're "both fucked" because neither of them wants to work together. Murtaugh won't even let Riggs drive because of his problematic issues. Their first minor assignment is a dispatch call to a man contemplating suicide, going by the name of Len McCleary. Riggs decides to bring the man down himself.

After showing his badge to police officers, he confronts McCleary, who wants no physical contact from Riggs and tells him to stay away. In order to bring him down, the hard way, Riggs tricks him into giving him a cigarette then feigns lighting it in order to handcuff McCleary to Riggs. Riggs tells him now if he attempts to jump, he will be taking Riggs with him, making him a murderer. After a brief argument, Riggs had enough with McCleary's rants and jumps off the building and onto the trampoline below.

The authorities proceed to take the man into custody as Murtaugh gets upset at Riggs in how he handled the situation. The two get into a heated argument in an empty store, where Riggs tells Murtaugh everyday he thinks about committing suicide but his job is the only thing keeping him from doing it. Seeing his emotions, Murtaugh tells him to use his revolver and pull the trigger on himself if that's what he feels. Riggs moves the gun away before it can be done and leaves Murtaugh stunned, leaving him to question he's not really trying to pull a psycho pension on himself. Riggs then leaves the store to grab a bite to eat.

A little while later, after both men have calmed down, Murtaugh continues driving his car while he tells Riggs they are going to see a suspect in relation to Amanda Hunsaker's murder and question him but not kill him. The men arrive at the suspect's house. Riggs tries opening the front door but it is locked. Then they walk towards the back and see two young women dosing on heroin when Riggs and Murtaugh show their guns to them, revealing they are the police.

This attracts the attention of the pimp who fires a sniper rifle. Murtaugh responds back by shooting his leg while Riggs drags the girls out of the house and handcuffs them to a tree to question later. He then walks over to arrest the pimp but as he pulls him up, the pimp grabs out a handgun and almost kills Murtaugh. Riggs saved him by pushing the pimp's arm out of the way and shoots him three times as he falls into the pool.

Remembering what his partner spoke about earlier, Riggs and Murtaugh jump in the pool to try and untangle him from the plastic. They were too late and the suspect drowned while bleeding to death. When they both reached the surface, Murtaugh asks Riggs "Is there anybody, you didn't kill?" The latter responds saying he has not "killed you yet." The police arrive and handle the rest while Murtaugh thanks Riggs for saving his life, and dismisses the things he said to him earlier.

Murtaugh invites him over for dinner and Riggs meets one of his kids Carrie Murtaugh. Then Riggs is introduced to his teenage daughter Rianne, who instantly becomes attracted to him. At the table, the kids see her blushing in front of Riggs and sing a song about it, annoying Rianne.

The next morning, Riggs awakens Murtaugh with the smell of coffee and proceeds to tell him that there is still more information on the case than he uncovered and a hooker named Dixie is responsible for poisoning Amanda. The duo then drive to Dixie's House and proceed to arrest her. But before they can set foot in the house, it explodes right before their eyes; luckily no one was hurt.

By the time the police arrive, a detective tells the duo that four boys, who just saw Riggs and Murtaugh attempt to question Dixie, know who set the house on fire. In particular, Alfred saw the suspect who trespassed and eventually changed the meter to a dangerous temperature that caused it to explode.

South African troubles: Diplomatic Immunity

Riggs is taken to a pier and is informed by Pieter that he was the one that killed Victoria, intending to kill Riggs after he got too close to Pieter's drug operation. Riggs is soon thrown into the water nearby by Pieter's thugs, strapped into a straightjacket.

Riggs discovers Rika's body

Riggs discovers Rika's body.

After escaping by dislocating his right shoulder, Riggs sees Rika's body, still wearing his coat, having drowned. Deeply sorrowed by this, he swims to the top of the water and climbs out, killing both thugs brutally. He relocates his arm and recovers her body.

Riggs cradling Rika's body

Riggs cradling Rika's body while pacing along the beach.

Riggs paces along the beach, cradling Rika's body in his arms, sobbing over the death of yet another loved woman. Sam watches from the other side of the beach and he looks over the body of the woman he loved. He would then begin to seek vengeance against the diplomats and end their reign on apartheid through the consulate.

Riggs would phone Murtaugh that tonight he is not a cop and he is going to kill the diplomats personally. Although Murtaugh tells him it's not their problem, he gave in and would meet Riggs at Arjen Rudd's house.

"Cop killers"


Martin Riggs goes inside to disarm the bomb, but Roger Murtaugh reminds him the bomb squad are on their way.

One night, a bomb is set to explode in less than 10 minutes inside a building. All the people have been evacuated and the LAPD are awaiting the arrival of the bomb squad. Martin Riggs wants to prove himself by being a hero by disarming the bomb himself. Although Roger Murtaugh kept telling him to wait for the bomb squad, he gave in and joined him as both cops went inside the building to disarm the bomb. It was located inside a silver car and Riggs and Murtaugh slowly opened both sides and took a look at the timer. Riggs was not sure whether to cut the blue wire or the red wire. Murtaugh spotted a cat and brought him down from the car's roof. When Riggs cuts one of the wires, the bomb's timer ticks down faster and close to detonation, both Riggs and Murtaugh fled the building before they could be killed. The building explodes and the duo are demoted to patrolmen as their punishment the following day.

Due to their patrolman duties, Riggs and Murtaugh are forced to wear regular LAPD Police uniforms, which disgusts Riggs. Murtaugh blames Riggs for the demotion saying he will keep talking about it until he retires. Riggs then spots a jaywalker, calls him over, and gives him a ticket. But haven't not used a notepad in years, he changes his mind and instead decides to shoot the jaywalker, but Murtaugh thinks Riggs is taking it too far now. In the end, they let him go and laugh as Murtaugh told him to run far away from Riggs.

Then Riggs spots a criminal dressed as a bank guard shoot a mail delivery man, as he and his partner make heist with the stolen money. Riggs throws his baton at the suspect and disarms him, then gives chase while Murtaugh follows from behind in Dolores' armored truck. During the chase, Riggs battles one of the robbers, Smitty, and fist fights him. Smitty throws Riggs out of the truck but thanks to the highway speed limit, is saved by the hood of Dolores' truck. He is quickly able to resume the fight and punches Smitty, making him drop the keys to the vehicle. Riggs attacks Smitty again and this time gets thrown out of the truck but survives with minimal injuries.

He makes his way to the front and then engages in a brief battle over the wheel with Billy Phelps. The two struggle to gain control over the wheel until Riggs puts his seatbelt on and hits the brakes hard as Billy flies through the windshield, breaking the glass and becoming unconscious. Riggs comes out the door and handcuffs Billy to the bumper as he jokes with the Miranda rights and proceeds to take him into custody. Murtaugh checks on him to see if he is okay and Riggs says he is. Then as Billy regains consciousness, Riggs punches him in the face.

At Murtaugh's house,

Later that night, Riggs and Murtaugh go to Rancho Oroya, where Jack Travis and his henchmen are at. They're joined with Lorna Cole where they start up a gunfight taking on Travis' henchmen, and they set the entire development on fire. Right after Lorna shoots a henchman, backing up Riggs and Murtaugh, Travis comes out of nowhere and shoots her with his armor piercing bullets, thinking he killed her. Riggs sees Lorna and thinks she is really dead, takes her pistol, then seeks vengeance on Travis.

As Riggs is going after Travis, Riggs is kicked and tormented by Travis, who comes after Riggs with a mini-digger. Murtaugh tosses Riggs an SMG filled with armor piercing "cop killer" bullets, and Riggs shoots Travis through the plow of the digger. Travis lifts his head to see Riggs and say with his last words "Go to hell, Riggs," to which Riggs replies "You first," and Riggs takes his foot off the brake lever of the digger, allowing it to go forward and into a burning up housing development, taking Travis with it.

After the battle, Riggs tends to Lorna and sees she had on two bulletproof vests, to prevent any further damage, though still a couple of bad ones. Riggs tells her he loves her, just before she is taken to the hospital.

The next morning, Riggs is seen kissing Rianne outside of his car. As he and Riggs are leaving for work, Murtaugh warns Riggs to stay away from Rianne after seeing they kissed, but Riggs lets him know he's already spoken for by Lorna and going to her up from the hospital in the afternoon, to which Murtaugh says "You're serious?" It indicates that Riggs and Lorna have decided to be in a committed relationship together after all they've been through together.

Chinese Smugglers

While attending to an armored criminal firing a flamethrower and a machine gun at stores and vehicles, Riggs and Murtaugh are soon pinned down in a life and death situation. Murtaugh tells Riggs that Lorna is pregnant and that'll he'll be a father. Riggs soon after informs Murtaugh that Rianne is pregnant and he'll be a grandfather.
Riggs shooting valves

Riggs firing at the armored criminal's flamethrower valves.

Riggs decides to have Murtaugh run from cover in his boxers to distract the criminal. The plan works and Riggs fires at the criminal's flamethrower valves, sending him into a gas tanker truck and causing an explosion that kills him. Riggs and Murtaugh walk away from the scene.

Eight months later, Riggs and Murtaugh are on Murtaugh's boat, fishing with Leo, who has captured a shark.

Riggs visits Victoria again

Riggs visiting the grave of Victoria.

After Murtaugh saved him, Riggs visited the grave of Victoria after a long time of not having visited. He spoke of his love for Lorna before Leo soon arrived. Leo told Riggs a story of a pet frog he once had, informing him that he and Murtaugh were different friends than the frog, inspiring Riggs to marry Lorna.

Riggs and Leo arrived at the hospital in time to see Lorna being wheeled towards a delivery room. She soon demanded that Riggs marry her before the baby arrived, to which he shared his approval. The two were unofficially wed by a Rabbi, with the help of Leo as Riggs' best man.

Family photo

Riggs with his family from over the years.

Lorna and Riggs soon went into the delivery room, where Riggs' son was born. Murtaugh and Butters soon arrived, where the friends viewed Riggs' son and Murtaugh's granddaughter. The Captain arrived with gifts for the mothers of the new babies and the families, including Leo, the Captain and Murtaugh's other daughter, son and wife, took a photo together.


Martin Riggs has long brown hair (which was cut short in the fourth film), and wears collared shirts often with jackets. He carries a Beretta 92 as his service weapon.

Riggs lives in a travel trailer on a beach along the Pacific Coast Highway in Los Angeles. It was destroyed by the rogue South African diplomats in the second film, but he escaped along with Rika Van Den Haas, who was also there at the time. He has a new remodelled trailer (in deleted scenes restored in a director's cut) in Lethal Weapon 3, and still lives there with his new love Lorna Cole in Lethal Weapon 4.

Riggs has a loose shoulder which can dislocate easily. How he developed the issue is unknown, but it could possibly be a battle injury from his times during the war in Vietnam. He is able to dislocate, then re-set it at will by slamming it into a wall or other hard objects, although doing so is very painful for him. He sometimes demonstrates this as a trick, but it has also proven quite useful for him. It helps him escape execution by the South Africans in Lethal Weapon 2 when he is able to escape a straitjacket while tied up underwater.

In his off duty time, Riggs enjoys watching television, particularly Looney Tunes and The Three Stooges. Whether alone or with his dogs, Riggs never misses a chance to laugh and watch his favorite hilarious cartoons. It is possible he may have inherited his crazy personality from watching multiple episodes of Three Stooges.

Riggs also loves dogs. He owns a Sheltie named Sam who he is presumed to have owned since Victoria's death. He refused to kill a Rottweiler that was defending an arms operation, saying, "I can't shoot a dog. People okay, but not dogs." He instead befriended and rescued the Rottweiler, and still keeps him as a pet along with Sam in the fourth film.

It isn't unlike Riggs to be comedic. He particularly enjoys antagonizing Leo Getz. After Getz was shot while pursuing rogue cop-turned-gun runner Jack Travis at a hockey game in Lethal Weapon 3, Riggs added proctology to Getz's medical chart, dooming him to a needless rectal exam. In Lethal Weapon 4 where he is annoyed by Leo ranting about cell phones charging you for the first minute after you make a call and get cut off, Riggs calls Leo on his cell phone and asks him to "investigate his privates", charging Leo 3 dollars for a phone call.


To see famous quotes by Martin Riggs, click here.


  • Martin Riggs' crazy behaviour and his humour can be compared to another action hero, John McClane of the Die Hard series.
  • In all films, Riggs nearly suffers death: once when Endo continuously kept electrocuting him, the next when he is critically wounded by a shot from Arjen Rudd, another from when Jack Travis nearly crushes him with the digger and Riggs was unable to move due to injury, and finally when he was dealt multiple life threatening hits by Wah Sing Ku and nearly died in the water before Roger Murtaugh saved him.



To view the Martin Riggs gallery, click here.

Behind the Scenes

Mel Gibson portrayed Martin Riggs in all four Lethal Weapon movies.

Lethal Weapon Lethal Weapon 2 Lethal Weapon 3 Lethal Weapon 4

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