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S01.E01: The Equalizer

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Robyn McCall, an enigmatic former CIA operative who uses her extensive skills to help those with nowhere else to turn. As McCall acclimates to civilian life, she is compelled to use her considerable resources to help Jewel (Lorna Courtney), a teenager accused of murder and on the run from the criminals who framed her for the crime.

WRITTEN BY: Andrew W. Marlowe & Terri Edda Miller
DIRECTED BY: Liz Friedlander

Airdate: February 7, 2021

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Oh, Lord. I forgot the writers/creators of Castle were part of this. Their writing was VERY uneven. I hope Queen Latifah and Chris Noth can elevate things!

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So used to the Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent and Sex and The City repeats with Chris Noth that his natural gray look threw me for a bit. But he looks good au naturale.

ETA: I know shows really don't do themes anymore, but I was hoping for something reminiscent of the cool '80s theme here. No such luck.

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It's fine. Typical CBS procedural. Like seeing Queen Latifah in an action role.

I'll dip in and out of it as long as it's on.

Edited by Gillian Rosh
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I sure hope I'm not supposed to like Robyn's daughter, the spoiled brat.  I don't have any sympathy for how tough her life is.  

The pilot was a little uneven, but not too horrible for the first episode.  I hope Robyn can be more dependent on her brains than her guns in future episodes.

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I don't know how I feel about this show. I like Queen Latifah, Chris Noth, and I like the supporting cast, especially Liza Lapira. But I am tired of law enforcement - law agency related procedurals. They couldn't find a comedy for Queen? She's got great comedic chops. 

I hate it when forward progression of plot is dependent on someone doing something so incredibly stupid that it defies logic. Teenager or not, or maybe because she was a teenager, I found it hard to believe that Jewel would be dumb enough to leave the apartment knowing that two men were trying to kill her and that whoever committed the murder she witnessed had the pull to edit security footage to make it seem like it was her. 

And I wish Hollywood would stop using waterboarding as the go to let's torture someone plot device. 

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It wasn’t bad. I never watched the original series or the movies with Denzel, but parts reminded me of the early seasons of Person of Interest. 
 

I’ll probably pop in and out.

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Count me as another one not feeling Robyn's spawn. I get the show wants to contrast Robyn's "Equalizer" self with a personal life, but why couldn't she just be single and happy? The original series was better for no whiny kids in it. Of course, Robert McCall was an English dude in his 60s...but still!

But...not horrible. We'll see.

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And I wish Hollywood would stop using waterboarding as the go to let's torture someone plot device. 

Yeah, it's become a cheap way for shows to convey that they're edgy, but it just makes me angry every time I see a show use it.

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13 minutes ago, ShellsandCheese said:

I

I hate it when forward progression of plot is dependent on someone doing something so incredibly stupid that it defies logic. Teenager or not, or maybe because she was a teenager, I found it hard to believe that Jewel would be dumb enough to leave the apartment knowing that two men were trying to kill her and that whoever committed the murder she witnessed had the pull to edit security footage to make it seem like it was her.

I agree they needed another reason to show Melody in action and have McCall meeting the Detective.

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44 minutes ago, Frost said:

I sure hope I'm not supposed to like Robyn's daughter, the spoiled brat.  I don't have any sympathy for how tough her life is.  

LOL!  This bratty daughter subplot reminds me of Jennifer Aniston's on "The Morning Show".  She was the worst.

43 minutes ago, ShellsandCheese said:

I don't know how I feel about this show. I like Queen Latifah, Chris Noth, and I like the supporting cast, especially Liza Lapira. But I am tired of law enforcement - law agency related procedurals. They couldn't find a comedy for Queen? She's got great comedic chops. 

Yeah when I was watching it I was sighing because it feels like we have seen variations on this theme many times before.....

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Dialogue was clunky as hell, but I enjoyed all the adult main characters. 

I'm intrigued to know more about the cop's story. He's so marvelously stoic and melancholy and righteous.  

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9 hours ago, WendyCR72 said:

Count me as another one not feeling Robyn's spawn. I get the show wants to contrast Robyn's "Equalizer" self with a personal life, but why couldn't she just be single and happy? The original series was better for no whiny kids in it. Of course, Robert McCall was an English dude in his 60s...but still!

But...not horrible. We'll see.

Scott was mighty whiny and self-righteous until fairly late in the show. However he popped up fairly infrequently.

I figure it's a pilot, they're often exposition city and clunky.

A cameo by Keith Szarabajka would be nice.

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I don't object to the blackwashing, which didn't actually happen here, but in the earlier DW movies that I loved (the first moreso than the second).

I don't object to the gender swap which I'm fine with.

I do object to the tame action sequences. Up-thread a poster suggested this might work best as a brains vs. brawn re-imagining, and I think that might work well, but if they are going to include action sequences and beat-'em-up footage, for goodness sake try to make it look like Robyn is actually kicking ass. If those sequences are expensive to make, have fewer of them.

I don't much like the Delilah character. I understand that it's an attempt to give some depth to Latifah's otherwise one dimensional character, but I always hate the rebellious/disobedient teenage character because in my culture such behaviour would have been eliminated years before by liberal application of the slipper at an early age. 

I'm hopeful for the character of Melody. I happen to like Liza Lapira as a rule, and hope, if used correctly, will add real substance to the show. We'll have to see how she is managed.

Annnnd... Harry the Hacker. <sigh> They just have to have one, don't they? Some guy who can hack his way into a wheel of cheese and come out with a toasted sandwich? Such a trope, and such bullshit. But I suppose that's easier than figuring out legitimate, believable ways to explain how the good guys come up with the information they need.

Plus, The Cop With the Heart of Gold. Who will, routinely, on a weekly basis, turn a blind eye to all the hi-jinks and sky-larking that is going on in his city.

Well, I guess I'm in. By which I mean, I'm theirs to lose.

 

9 hours ago, ShellsandCheese said:

I found it hard to believe that Jewel would be dumb enough to leave the apartment knowing that two men were trying to kill her and that whoever committed the murder she witnessed had the pull to edit security footage to make it seem like it was her.

But like me, you knew from the instant they told her not to go anywhere and not to use the phone, that that's exactly what she would do, right?

9 hours ago, ShellsandCheese said:

And I wish Hollywood would stop using waterboarding as the go to let's torture someone plot device. 

Much as I hate this, I prefer it to threatening someone with a 12 volt battery or battery charger. Which is as commonplace as it is laughable.

34 minutes ago, mertensia said:

A cameo by Keith Szarabajka would be nice.

Speaking of cameos, it's a pity EW is dead. I suppose most viewers wouldn't notice, but there must be a couple of olde fartes watching. Apart from myself, that is.

 

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17 minutes ago, Netfoot said:

I don't object to the blackwashing, which didn't actually happen here, but in the earlier DW movies that I loved (the first moreso than the second).

I don't object to the gender swap which I'm fine with.

I do object to the tame action sequences. Up-thread a poster suggested this might work best as a brains vs. brawn re-imagining, and I think that might work well, but if they are going to include action sequences and beat-'em-up footage, for goodness sake try to make it look like Robyn is actually kicking ass. If those sequences are expensive to make, have fewer of them.

I don't much like the Delilah character. I understand that it's an attempt to give some depth to Latifah's otherwise one dimensional character, but I always hate the rebellious/disobedient teenage character because in my culture such behaviour would have been eliminated years before by liberal application of the slipper at an early age. 

I'm hopeful for the character of Melody. I happen to like Liza Lapira as a rule, and hope, if used correctly, will add real substance to the show. We'll have to see how she is managed.

Annnnd... Harry the Hacker. <sigh> They just have to have one, don't they? Some guy who can hack his way into a wheel of cheese and come out with a toasted sandwich? Such a trope, and such bullshit. But I suppose that's easier than figuring out legitimate, believable ways to explain how the good guys come up with the information they need.

Plus, The Cop With the Heart of Gold. Who will, routinely, on a weekly basis, turn a blind eye to all the hi-jinks and sky-larking that is going on in his city.

Well, I guess I'm in. By which I mean, I'm theirs to lose.

 

But like me, you knew from the instant they told her not to go anywhere and not to use the phone, that that's exactly what she would do, right?

Much as I hate this, I prefer it to threatening someone with a 12 volt battery or battery charger. Which is as commonplace as it is laughable.

Speaking of cameos, it's a pity EW is dead. I suppose most viewers wouldn't notice, but there must be a couple of olde fartes watching. Apart from myself, that is.

 

EW?

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1 hour ago, mertensia said:

EW?

Edward Woodward the OG Equalizer.

I agree with posters upthead. I don't like the "action" sequences. It's like VDO in Criminal Intent. They're both bulky people, physically intimidating but not quick on their feet. They are not athletes. Make it more brains vs brawn, please. And ship that brat off to boarding school. I'll keep watching. A lot of really great shows had rocky starts.

Edited by peacheslatour
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It’s a pilot so it is rough.  But it also has potential.  I liked the Denzel movies and don’t mind the gender change.   It actually kinda works for me.  The kid is the week link but again it’s a pilot and unless she is incorporated into the main plot she would be the weak link anyway.  
 

This is a CBS show and CBS does one thing well and that is procedurals.  I actually like the police guy on Robyn’s trail without really knowing why.  Now that actually has the most long form potential as anything else.

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12 hours ago, Frost said:

I sure hope I'm not supposed to like Robyn's daughter, the spoiled brat.  I don't have any sympathy for how tough her life is.  

The pilot was a little uneven, but not too horrible for the first episode.  I hope Robyn can be more dependent on her brains than her guns in future episodes.

The daughter is an accident waiting to happen. How many episodes before she's arrested or worse??

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I enjoyed it.  All hail the Queen!  I like Latifah and will watch her in anything and I thought she was good in this role.  I liked the balance between her as an ex-FBI agent and her as a mom.  

I don’t like the daughter but she’s there to show us that when Robyn is home, she is just a mom, dealing with everyday mom problems.   Loved her line to her daughter when the daughter said the slinky short dress was saying “buy me”... “oh it’s saying buy me, just not in the way you’re thinking”.

Edited by blackwing
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3 hours ago, Netfoot said:

I don't object to the blackwashing, which didn't actually happen here, but in the earlier DW movies that I loved (the first moreso than the second).

I don't object to the gender swap which I'm fine with.

 

 

For me it is specifically Queen Latifa. There is just nothing about her that allows me to suspend disbelief and see her as an elite CIA agent.

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2 minutes ago, staphdude said:

For me it is specifically Queen Latifa. There is just nothing about her that allows me to suspend disbelief and see her as an elite CIA agent.

I'm having trouble with that too. I hope the show gets good enough that I can over look it.

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This is a CBS procedural, but I liked it, and I liked seeing Queen Latifah in it. Dialogue was clunky, but it's a pilot. I'm here for more. 👍

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27 minutes ago, Trini said:

This is a CBS procedural, but I liked it, and I liked seeing Queen Latifah in it. Dialogue was clunky, but it's a pilot. I'm here for more. 👍

I hope they do something like they've done with Vera. She is an older detective, on the bulky side and she always has a young subordinate who does the running, tackling and overpowering of the bad guys.

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4 hours ago, staphdude said:

For me it is specifically Queen Latifa. There is just nothing about her that allows me to suspend disbelief and see her as an elite CIA agent.

Well, there is that... I see her as firmly in the comedy camp, but given a good script, I will allow she might break out from behind her type-casting. The shit-kicking bad-ass will be difficult to swallow, though.

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I'm one of the old farts around here who watched the original Equalizer with Edward Woodward. Ok, sigh! I do have an issue with the gender change. Why can't there be a new show about a female agent, cop, hitman, or whatever, who is a single mom, but have a different title? Why the gender swap? Does everything have to be gender equality? There was a movie several years ago with Taraji P. Henson as a hitwoman. They could have made a tv show about that character. My wife saw this new version. Although she thought it was ok, it doesn't come close to the original one.

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28 minutes ago, Gillian Rosh said:

I don't know that they needed to give her a daughter.

Yeah. I liked it as well. Hopefully they will not have something happen to the daughter to give Robyn gravitas through trauma.  Send daughter away to college so Mama can work in peace.

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Sweeps week....

Inevitably, some bad guy will figure out her identity, kidnap the daughter, beat up her ex so they can have a blame game session in the hospital. Depending on his back story, the ex can tag along during rescue and die heroically.

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I liked it.  I'm not super into procedurals, but the cast (especially Latifah, of course) completely sells it on charisma.  If we must have yet another CBS procedural show, this is at least a little different.  And (along with Clarice, I think), unique in being anchored by a woman.  

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5 hours ago, tvfanatic13 said:

Well, I liked it. I guess I will sit at my really small table. 
 

I'll join you! This is a CBS procedural? Like Hawaii 5-0 and MacGyver and all those other shows I refer to as the "low-hanging fruit" of television? As long as it entertains me, not every show has to be Breaking Bad in quality. Sometimes I just like to see good guys going upside the heads of smug, douchey bad guys.

There were a few lines that got a laugh out of me, particularly the "not in the way you think" line about the dress. As much as I enjoyed the movies with Denzel they had little to no humor in them. The only scene I remember offhand that was funny was in 2 when Denzel confronted the bad guy and crew in front of the bad guy's wife (who didn't know what her husband was into) and he pretended they were all good buddies. As he was walking away he made finger guns at the villains while smiling at them. I am pretty sure that was one of the only funny moments in a fairly grim movie.

This show on the other hand, not so grim. The bad guys did not kill Jewel, who would have been a good candidate for a tragic death in a more spiteful series. And even though she got arrested at her interview they still let her back for a second one! I feel like that doesn't happen often if ever in real life. Even if the police come back the next day to say it was all a misunderstanding I feel like a school in the real world would not be so forgiving.

I feel like starting a vigilante service online would lead to a pretty quick arrest. I don't mess with the Dark Web myself but from what I understand half of it is criminals and the other half of it is cops.

Speaking of cops, who were the ninjas at the end? I suppose they could be CIA since this show doesn't even try to acknowledge that thing where the CIA is not supposed to operate on US soil. I don't think they were NYPD because that detective seemed genuinely surprised when evidence appeared on his desk. Ah wait, I almost forgot... CBS procedural. The good guys have set up their own version of Dial-A-Mook!

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I agree with most of comments:

I like Queen Latifah

I watched and enjoyed the OG Equalizer

They should use the old theme

Send the daughter away

Supporting cast is good

Will watch for a while

It's a CBS procedural

What I wish is that it was more cerebral than action oriented. There was a short lived ABC show Vengeance Unlimited starring Michael Madsen (1998-99) that would be a better basis for this. It was about righting wrongs by being more clever not by gunplay. I think that would be a better fit for Queen Latifah.

 

But I'll watch this.

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1 hour ago, dwmarch said:

Speaking of cops, who were the ninjas at the end?

They work for her old boss [Mr. Big / Mike Logan] as private security

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13 hours ago, paigow said:

They will stunt cast her ex.

Any guesses?

As I've seen these two guys in a gazillion recent shows, I'm going with either Harold Perrineau or Michael Beach

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1 hour ago, preeya said:

As I've seen these two guys in a gazillion recent shows, I'm going with either Harold Perrineau or Michael Beach

However being everywhere doesn't work as stunt casting in my mind. I would say an ex onscreen love interest. LL  Cool J is busy. Common, though he does movies might be a candidate. Or Isiah Washington from Living Single if he is welcomed back yet.

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8 hours ago, paisley said:

I agree with most of comments:

I like Queen Latifah

I watched and enjoyed the OG Equalizer

They should use the old theme

Send the daughter away

Supporting cast is good

Will watch for a while

It's a CBS procedural

What I wish is that it was more cerebral than action oriented. There was a short lived ABC show Vengeance Unlimited starring Michael Madsen (1998-99) that would be a better basis for this. It was about righting wrongs by being more clever not by gunplay. I think that would be a better fit for Queen Latifah.

 

But I'll watch this.

Since CBS made time for Hawaii 5-0 and Magnum PI's theme it would have been possible.  Perhaps in follow up episodes not needing the seconds to introduce everyone it will happen.

My concern is what type of vehicle will replace Robert's Jaguar?

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2 minutes ago, Raja said:

My concern is what type of vehicle will replace Robert's Jaguar?

Something incredibly 'green' and just as shitty?

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17 minutes ago, Raja said:

Since CBS made time for Hawaii 5-0 and Magnum PI's theme it would have been possible.  Perhaps in follow up episodes not needing the seconds to introduce everyone it will happen.

My concern is what type of vehicle will replace Robert's Jaguar?

Queen Latifah should do her own theme song.

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33 minutes ago, peacheslatour said:

Queen Latifah should do her own theme song.

I hated the era when the closing credits had a lame rap over the TV theme of what was usually a  comic version done in the movies. The question then becomes  Queen's rap or Dana singing a standard over an 80s techno beat

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17 hours ago, paigow said:

They will stunt cast her ex.

Any guesses?

I dunno ... Blair Underwood always plays the jerk ex....

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