Saturday, September 25, 2021

TV Show Review: The Equalizer (2021) - Season 1

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Action and adventure with characters we love
Cons: When the show decides to preach, it’s bad
The Bottom Line:
Helping those in need
Action, danger here in spades
Kept me tuning in



“I’m the One You Call When You Can’t Call 9-1-1.”

 As the good TV watcher I am, I pay attention to the show that gets the post Superbowl spot each year.  Normally, it’s an episode of an established show that the network is hoping to boost, but this past year, it was the pilot of a new take on The Equalizer.  Having never watched the original show or the movies based on that TV show, I had no expectations, but the premise sounded fun, so I tuned in for the pilot.  I was hooked and enjoyed the first season.

The show follows the exploits of Robyn McCall (Queen Latifah), an ex-CIA agent who has tried to leave that life behind to raise her daughter teenage Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes) with the help of her Aunt Viv (Lorraine Toussaint).

However, Robyn finds she can’t just turn off her CIA training and settle into domestic life.  When she runs across a teen on the run after being framed for murder, she steps in and helps.  And thus begins a secret life working with her friends Mel and Harry (Liza Lapira and Adam Goldberg) to help those who are facing overwhelming odds.  Over the course of the season, she gets involved in kidnappings and murders, trying to help those whose cries to the police are going unheeded for whatever reason.  Occasionally, she turns to her old CIA handler William Bishop (Chris Noth) for help.  Unfortunately, her activities have caught the attention of Detective Marcus Dante (Tory Kittles), who wants to arrest her as a vigilante.  Meanwhile, she’s also trying to keep her past and her new activities a secret from her family.  Can she juggle everything, help those who a relying on her, and stay one step ahead of Dante?

This shows airs on CBS, and to a certain extent, it fits into their procedural formula.  There’s usually a mystery that Robyn needs to solve to truly keep her client of the week safe.  While there are some ongoing story arcs, they are light and generally revolve around her relationships with her aunt and daughter and Detective Dante.

But don’t dismiss the show so fast.  The stakes of each episode are high, and that keeps us engaged the entire time.  Nothing is ever as easy as it first appears, and things rarely appear simple at the start of the episode.  We may feel that things are going to end a certain way, but trying to figure out how keeps us going.

The show includes some action each week.  It’s an action light show – this is a TV show, after all, and can’t go for the big budget action sequences we would see in a movie.  Still, those scenes are always well done and enjoyable.

And we love all of the regulars.  Robyn is fantastic whether she is foiling the plot of the week or trying to raise a daughter she’s mostly left behind while working for the CIA.  We like the rest of the regulars because of how they are reacting to her.  Yes, even Dante is likeable.

The credit for that goes to the actors, naturally, who are doing a great job bringing their characters to life each week.

The down side is that the show gets preachy a couple of times.  Unfortunately, today, I expect it, but it is still a turn off when it happens.  Those episodes don’t even try to hide what they are doing either, but go all in on preaching, with stereotypical characters instead of trying to show nuance.  What’s a real shame is that goes against the usual light nature of the show, so it is especially jarring.

And, despite the fact that we are dealing with some pretty hardened, nasty criminals, this show still finds the balance that makes it fun and enjoyable.  There’s some humor, and the characters and their relationships also help soften the darker elements of the show.

Because this show was a mid-season replacement, season one consists of only ten episodes.  They ended on a cliffhanger, and I can’t wait to see where the writers are going to go with things next season.

The first season of The Equalizer was fun.  I looked forward to seeing what danger Robyn would get into and out of each week.  If you are looking for a fun crime show, be sure to check it out.

1 comment:

  1. I would watch it, if for no other reason, because it has Queen Latifah. I think she is an amazing actress, comedian, and not shabby as a singer!

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