For diehard fans of Lethal Weapon, there are few better ways to give your dog a name than attributing them a title from one of creator Shane Black's many great characters. Although it may be a niche fan group, it’s hard to deny Lethal Weapon’s popularity. After starting as a standalone film back in 1987, it soon morphed into a franchise spanning four films and most recently, a television series as well. From the classic one-liners that have cemented themselves in pop culture to the characters who retain their personalities through multiple actors, there are few better places for fans to go for dog names than the franchise itself.
Lethal Weapon Inspired Dog Names in Pop Culture
The Lethal Weapon franchise did just about as much as it could for the classic concept of silver screen police officers duos, continuing on a trend that was largely set just after the solo protagonists of the film noir era by celebrating a somewhat abrasive — even if comically so — dynamic between two unlike personalities. In Lethal Weapon 2, writer and creator Shane Black even furthers the relationship by adding in Leo Getz as a third-wheel. But one important partnership tends to get overshadowed throughout the franchise’s history: the relationship between Riggs and his dog Sam.
While characters in film having dogs is usually a simple contextual addition to their character, Sam actually ends up being quite important in several of the films. Although he does appear in all four — barring Lethal Weapon 3 in which he is only shown in the extended cut — Sam’s place in Lethal Weapon history largely stems from the franchise’s origins: Lethal Weapon and Lethal Weapon 2.
While he certainly doesn’t get the attention that many other cast members do, his role shouldn’t be understated. In the original film, much of the narrative stems around Riggs’ depression and his constant struggle with the loss of his wife and quickly degrading mental state, which often manifests in the field in destructive manners. Riggs proves to be suicidal in the film first but is comforted by Sam’s company and at one point, because of it, decides not to take his own life with his dog present. Sam also acts as his moral compass, becoming visibly upset when Riggs brings random women home to his trailer.
But his role in the second film may be just as important, as his loyalty and awareness combine to save Riggs from near destruction. In Lethal Weapon 2, Riggs tells Sam to go outside after bringing home Rika Van Den Haas, which he somewhat reluctantly does. A few moments later, when helicopters stacked with Arjen Rudd’s men ambush his trailer, Sam is the first to alert his master of the impending danger, buying them all enough time to escape in a pickup truck. Much like the first film, Sam also provides Riggs his company after Rika is killed, joining him on the walk down the beach.
Though he’s rarely given big parts, Sam proves to be the reason that Riggs stays alive in both the first and second films, cementing himself in a pivotal role as the best kind of loyal and intelligent canine companion.
Lethal Weapon Inspired Dog Name Considerations
When trying to come up with an appropriate Lethal Weapon-inspired dog name, it’s best to first put together a list of your dog’s most defining traits. Consider their appearance, their breed origin, their quirks and their personality and use these characteristics as points of comparison when scrolling down our list of names and descriptions.
For instance, if your dog is particularly reckless or has bouts of wildness, the names Martin and Riggs would easily be good fits. If they’re more rigid and methodical, then Roger or Murtaugh would be better. If you happen to dress them in over-the-top or brightly colored clothing, then Benny might be a suitable option. If they are short and excitable, then the name Getz would be a perfect fit. If they’re ultra-loyal or simply a Shetland Sheepdog, you could always name them Sam, just like Riggs’ dog.
There are plenty of characters you can name your dog after, even if they’re villains. Not everything has to be based on personality. It could be based on their haircut, mannerisms or anything else of the like, but if you’re still having trouble coming up with one, don’t hesitate to have a movie marathon and see which character shares the most in common with them.