Queen Latifah in The Equalizer. Barbara Nitke/CBS

Why CBS’s The Equalizer Reboot is Worth a Look

CBS’s The Equalizer, a reboot of the 1985 series of the same name, stars Queen Latifah as former CIA operative Robyn McCall. The show premiered on February 8th after the Superbowl. Its permanent time-slot is Sundays at 8 pm on CBS.

Compare and Contrast: Equalizers Past and Present

Now, if you aren’t familiar with the original show or the movies starring Denzel Washington, you probably aren’t thinking about how much Robyn McCall does or doesn’t fight. However, if you did watch either the movies or the original, you’re bound to notice some shifts beyond the obvious gender swap. Although the basic idea of all three incarnations of McCall is the same, a former government agent decides to set up a service to help innocent people in trouble who have nowhere else to turn, there are some key differences.

The Original McCall v. Robyn

In this most recent version of The Equalizer, Robyn McCall’s world is one held together by relationships. This was not the case in the original. As played by Edward Woodward, McCall is part James Bond (circa Never Say Never Again), part Batman (the brooding ones, not Adam West), and 100 percent, vigilante. It takes a while to get a sense of his relationships with the others in his life. He’s at first estranged from his adult son (William Zabka), who shows up in 12 episodes over four seasons. McCall does work with other people, but they are all reoccurring characters, making McCall seem more isolated in what he does.

The Movie McCall

For the movie version, Washington’s McCall does stay true to certain parts of the original. Both have the theme of atoning for past actions and a knack for the lead being the judge, juror, and executioner of the criminals caught. How Washington’s McCall differs is that he is far more physical and hands-on when dealing with the bad guys.

Why CBS’s The Equalizer is a Good Fit For Today

The juxtaposition of racial injustice, criminality, and the police are hardly new to American discourse. However, 2020 ushered in a national realization of just how deadly & unjust the justice system can be, especially for African-Americans and other people of color. From the killing of George Floyd to the treatment of rioters who stormed the Capitol compared to the treatment of Black Lives Matter protesters, questions about policing and the lack of equal protection under the law have been raised to new heights.

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