The Equalizer: Season One review by Bobby Blakey
From 1985-1989 the late Edward Woodward brought the character of Robert McCall in the show The Equalizer on CBS. Years later the property came to the big screen when Denzel Washington took on the role of McCall in two feature films in 2014 and 2018. In 2021 the TV series was rebooted with Queen Latifah taking on the role of a gender swamped Robyn McCall aptly titled The Equalizer. Now the complete first season of the show is coming home.
The Equalizer follows Robyn McCall, an enigmatic woman with a mysterious background who uses her extensive skills as a former CIA operative to help those with nowhere else to turn. McCall presents to most as an average single mom who is quietly raising her teenage daughter. But to a trusted few, she is The Equalizer – an anonymous guardian angel and defender of the downtrodden, who’s also dogged in her pursuit of personal redemption. Robyn’s clandestine work remains a secret from her smart and observant daughter, Delilah, and her aunt Vi, who lives with Robyn to help her balance life as a working mother. Joining Robyn as champions of justice are William Bishop, her former CIA handler and longtime friend; Melody “Mel” Bayani, an edgy bar owner and a colleague from Robyn’s past; and Harry Keshegian, a paranoid and brilliant white-hat hacker. As Robyn aids the oppressed and exploited, her work garners the attention of shrewd NYPD Detective Marcus Dante, who doggedly seeks to uncover the identity of the vigilante known as The Equalizer.
While I am a fan of Queen Latifah’s music I have always been hit and miss with her acting. Either way I am a fan, but can honestly say I wasn’t sure this was the right fit for her. To my surprise she fit right in and does a pretty good job with the whole thing. The show isn’t breaking any ground in originality, but does a good job bringing the premise into modern day without feeling like it is trying to force it down our throats.
Sure there are some elements that are a bit klunky, mostly her personal life stuff as I think it diminishes the mystery of her character, but I also understand the purpose. It is also trying to humanize her and create an
element of danger in what she does outside of just herself. I would honestly prefer her to be alone completely focused on these cases while creating a more mundane mystery to everything she does, but either way it does still work here.
There are some decent action pieces here and Latifah does a good job getting in on the action. She appears to be doing a lot of the fighting and is pretty impressive. If it’s not her then most of them are shot well enough to make it blend to perfection. There is nothing groundbreaking here on this front either, but enough offered up and handled well enough to deliver.
The series takes on the case of the week approach with some varying things that tend to carry over. I’m hoping this is something they keep with instead of the big long form story as it just works better for this type of show. It had a lot of growing pains trying to find its groove, but the show entertains and manages to accomplish what it set out to do. I am not typically a fan of the gender swap remakes, but this one works and hoping it keeps pushing itself to get better.
This release not only offers up all ten episodes of the first season, but a gag reel, deleted scenes and featurettes taking you behind bringing this new chapter of the Equalizer to life. Grab your copy of The Equalizer available now on DVD from Paramount and CBS Home Entertainment.