‘Lethal Weapon’: Chandler Kinney on If Murtaugh Can Solve Riana’s Boy Trouble

Chandler Kinney plays Riana Murtaugh in Lethal Weapon
Chandler Kinney plays Riana Murtaugh on Lethal Weapon.

When is it actually good for a teenage daughter to have a father who is a detective with the LAPD? If you’re Riana Murtaugh (Chandler Kinney) on Fox’s hit crime drama Lethal Weapon, it’s when you think your boyfriend is cheating on you and you need some assistance detecting whether he is or not.

That’s what we’ll see in “Double Shot of Bailey’s,” Tuesday’s new episode of the Fox hit, as Riana enlists her father, Roger (Damon Wayans), to help her get to the bottom of her boy troubles. Since Riana’s mother, Trish (Keesha Sharp), is typically the one the teen would go to for help, expect some fun scenes of Roger trying to help his daughter.

The episode also sheds a spotlight on Detective Bailey (Michelle Mitchenor) as her sister (guest star Alisha Wainwright from Shadowhunters) gets herself into some trouble with some baddies and Bailey has to decide if she can stretch the boundaries of her badge to help. (See below for clip featuring Wainwright).

But, getting back to Riana, Kinney talked to TV Insider about how things will go for Riana when her father helps with her boy drama, as well as what we can expect for her character moving forward.

It looks like Riana has some concerns about her neighbor/boyfriend Robby this week. What can you tell me?
Chandler Kinney:
Riana got into that relationship initially just to annoy her father, because that is basically her favorite hobby. She likes to push her Dad’s buttons a little bit, give him a hard time. But she really starts to like this guy and fall for him, and she’s enjoying herself being in a relationship, but in this episode she is a little skeptical of him. She thinks that he’s cheating and—obviously, as a modern-day teen—she takes to social media and all of her online resources to find out.

And then her father gets involved to help her uncover the truth…
Yes, throughout this season we’ve really been playing on that daddy/daughter dynamic, which both Damon and I have loved exploring. I think in Season 1 there was a lot of just Riana being that rebellious teen, but now in Season 2 you’ve seen her stand up for things that she believes in and step into herself and find her voice a little bit better. We’re doing a lot of discovery between Riana and her dad. I like this episode because her dad is really trying to be the cool dad.

Riana usually goes to her mother for this kind of advice, so why is she turning to her father this time around?
Mom is out on a company retreat, and that is just the worst news for Riana because she goes to her mom for everything, especially boy trouble. I don’t want to speak for all teenagers, but I don’t think a lot of teenage girls want to go to their dad for problems with their boyfriends. She’s stuck, and so she kind of has to deal with it, but she definitely makes the choice to confide in her dad after a lot of prying from him.

Is her dad excited that she has comes to him for help, or is he not really sure what to do to help?
Both! He’s very excited. Any little bit that he can get from Riana he runs with it. He’s like, “Oh you’re having boy troubles? Let’s do this. I got this.” He’s going to pull out all the stops. The full nine yards. He’s doing everything in his power to please her and help his daughter and relate to her as well.

Do you think Riana is more like her mother or father?
Oh, that’s a really good question. From my perspective of just playing her and portraying her, I always take certain qualities from both parents, but which one is she more like? Maybe in some ways she’s a little bit more like her dad, but you can definitely see the perfect blend of parents. Trish and Roger are both very stubborn and hard-headed. Riana definitely got that trait; that double dose of that stubbornness. I think at the end of the day, maybe she’s a little bit more like her dad, and I could see her possibly taking up a career in the police force maybe. She has that defense attorney side, but she’s also sneaky. I think she can get to the bottom of things if she wants to.

When you have a dad who’s a detective, you have to be extra sneaky because he knows all the tricks, so I like that they played that up a little bit this season.
Right! Exactly, it’s fun.

What’s next for Riana as we move into the latter half of the season?
I can definitely tell you that there’s more storylines based around the daddy/daughter relationship. The writers enjoy writing it, and Damon and I enjoy playing it, so there’s definitely going to be more of that, and it will translate directly into growth for Riana. I think there might be some more relationship exploration, but we’ll have to see.

How is it working with Damon and Keesha? Do you see them as parental figures in a way?
I definitely see them as additional parentals, but they’re also amazing scene partners. They both give so much into their work, and just seeing that and being able to observe their choices and the risks that they take within the scenes, it’s amazing to see that all firsthand. I’ve grown a lot as a person, outside of acting, just by talking to them, and they’ve given me a lot of advice about things completely outside of the entertainment industry, and so I definitely see them as an extra mom and dad, especially when I’m on set.

Here’s a clip featuring guest star Alisha Wainwright (Shadowhunters) as Bailey’s in-trouble sister:

Lethal Weapon, Tuesdays, 8/7c, Fox.