The Equalizer has received yet another reboot, this time with Queen Latifah at the helm, and she’s the perfect fit. The Equalizer Season 1, Episode 1 introduces us to Robyn McCall (Latifah), a divorced single mother trying to balance her duties with being a vigilante.
Caution: The following article contains spoilers for The Equalizer Season 1, Episode 1.
Robyn initially meets with her old mentor, Bishop (Chris North), at the Coney Island Wonder Wheel. Bishop wants Robyn to come work for him in private security that she has retired from The Company (she’s spent the past few years pretending to work for a charity to explain her trips across the globe). We don’t know exactly what happened to Robyn at The Company, but she claims the last mission traumatized her. For Robyn, it’s not the things she’s done that unsettle her, but the people she can’t save.
Shortly after Bishop leaves, Robyn notices a teenage girl, Jewel Machado (Lorna Courtney), being heralded into a hidden park alcove by an aggressive older man. In the opening scene of The Equalizer Season 1, Episode 1, Jewel witnesses a murder at the diner where she works.
She is then framed for the shooting with a deep fake video that makes her the primary suspect in the investigation. The reason she’s meeting with these sketchy men is to try and get a new passport and fake ID so she can go on the run and avoid the cops.
Luckily for Jewel, she happens to have a guardian angel looking out for her in the shape of Robyn McCall. Robyn rescues Jewel from the creepy men and takes her to a safe place with her old friends Melody “Mel” Bayani (Liza Lapira) and Harry Keshegian (Adam Goldberg).
As the opening hour, there’s not a super complex mystery at the heart of “The Equalizer,” but it’s enough to keep you captivated. The Latifah is excellent in the leading role, bringing something unique to the franchise that has already been played by Denzel Washington in the films and Edward Woodward in the original 1985 crime drama.
The Equalizer Season 1, Episode 1 recap: Latifah brings something special and unique to the franchise.
Robyn and her associates trace the frame job back to an Elon Musk-esque antagonist named Reese Pruitt (Michael Rady), who is trying to hide a fatal flaw in his new self-driving car software that has already killed more than 80 people. He hires a team of lethal operatives to murder the man who has his software, and Jewel happens to get caught in the crosshairs.
Beyond the traditional crime procedural case-of-the-week, The Equalizer presents us with some family drama on the side between Robyn and her teen daughter Delilah who is veering dangerously close to getting herself in serious trouble when she steals a dress and gets caught drinking and partying with her friends. The brilliant Lorraine Toussaint also stars as Robyn’s aunt Viola, or “Vi.”
We also meet Marcus Dante (Tory Kittles), a formidable NYPD detective who could also become Robyn’s eventual love interest, who starts sniffing around when he finds out she’s not who she said she was.
It’s going to be interesting to see how all of these characters interact in the future. This episode was a strong showing for the series, and I could see it becoming a big hit for CBS. It might not be revolutionary in terms of plot, but it’s great to see Latifah in a leading role in an action vehicle, and it feels like you can feel her natural charm and charisma emanating off-screen and in the way the show was crafted, as she also serves as an executive producer.
She previously discussed why she felt the new series was so timely, saying, “delivering some justice (as) a Black woman on network television. I thought the idea of it was incredible and necessary and fun.”
What did you think about The Equalizer Season 1, Episode 1? Will you continue watching? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
New episodes of The Equalizer Season 1 premiere Sunday nights on CBS at 8 p.m. ET.