Lethal Weapon is a 1987 American action-comedy film, and the first in the Lethal Weapon series of films, all directed by Richard Donner and starring Mel Gibson and Danny Glover as a mismatched pair of LAPD detectives who are hell bent on protecting and serving despite their differences, and Gary Busey as their primary adversary. After the first film, the series fell into the action-comedy and thriller genre, and is generally considered to typify the "buddy cop" plot device.
Set in December in Los Angeles, LAPD Detective Roger Murtaugh (Danny Glover) is worried about getting old, having recently celebrated his 50th birthday. He receives a message from Michael Hunsaker (Tom Atkins), an old Vietnam War friend who Murtaugh realizes he has not seen in 12 years. Before he can meet him, he is called to investigate a suicide, and is horrified to find the victim is Amanda Hunsaker, daughter of Michael. Elsewhere, younger L.A.P.D. Detective Martin Riggs (Mel Gibson), who is suicidal following the recent death of his wife in a traffic accident, nearly kills a disarmed suspect after entering a psychotic rage during a drug bust. Weary of his behavior, Riggs' superiors transfer him to Murtaugh's unit, making them very reluctant partners.
During Amanda's autopsy, drugs laced with drain cleaner are found in her system. Although she jumped to her death, she would have died within minutes anyway, making her death a homicide. After informing her distraught father, who says he was trying to contact Murtaugh to get Amanda out of her drug and pornography habits, Riggs and Murtaugh go to question a pimp known to have connections to Amanda. Finding a drug lab on the premises, they engage in a brief gunfight with the pimp and kill him in self-defense, where Riggs saves Murtaugh's life, leading to respect between them. Having found the drugs and with the pimp dead, Murtaugh assumes the case is closed, but Riggs finds it suspicious that the only witness to Amanda's suicide was a prostitute named Dixie, who was working away from her usual location. They deduce Dixie was the one who poisoned Amanda, then posed as a witness to cover her actions.
The next morning, Riggs and Murtaugh go to Dixie's home to question her, but her house explodes just as they arrive. Investigating the site, Riggs, who during the Vietnam War served in US Army Special Forces, finds part of the bomb, a mercury switch, that he knows only a professional would use. A neighborhood child remembers seeing a man at Dixie's earlier, who had a special forces tattoo similar to Riggs's own. Seeing a connection, they decide that Michael Hunsaker knows more than he has admitted and Murtaugh confronts him at Amanda's visitation.
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