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Why I’m finally enjoying 'The Equalizer' season 2 and Queen Latifah as the lead

Queen Latifah as Robyn McCall in ’The Equalizer’. Picture: Supplied

Queen Latifah as Robyn McCall in ’The Equalizer’. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 27, 2022


When it comes to reboots and big-screen adaptations, writers like to switch things up to heighten the appeal.

For example, when the reboot of “Magnum P.I.” debuted on the small screen, the iconic role of Jonathan Higgins was amended with viewers introduced to Juliet Higgins, a role played exceptionally well by Perdita Weeks.

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And, to date, this is celebrated as a refreshing change as it balanced the testosterone-charged ambience of the series.

It was the same with “MacGyver” as the writers guaranteed its success by including engaging characters with compelling backstories.

This brings us to the TV adaptation of the box-office hit “The Equalizer”, with Denzil Washington in the lead. It got a shake-up with Queen Latifah (Robyn McCall) signed up as the drawcard.

But the first season disappointed with its prosaic character development and monotonous crime scenarios. The episodes seemed to blur into each other. I quit watching after episode two.

Sadly, it was Latifah who felt the sting of the show’s failings most.

I didn’t think this series would get a second season and was most surprised when I stumbled across it on DStv Catch Up.

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Hesitant at first, I watched it as I was curious to see if the writers course-corrected its former blunders. Well, it’s better. That’s for sure.

McCall (aka the Equalizer) is no longer the detached person we first met whose only strong suit was an applause-worthy hunger for vigilante justice.

As a divorced single mother, the former CIA operative has been imbued with a lot more empathy making her struggles with her teenage daughter Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes) relatable.

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The warm interaction between McCall and her aunt Aunt Vi (Lorraine Toussaint) offsets the high-octane action and suspense.

In the new season, McCall’s world has expanded while her anonymity remains intact.

Having detective Marcus Dante (Tory Kittles) and ex-CIA director William Bishop (Chris Noth) as her allies adds a wonderfully conflicted yet intricate dynamic to the story arcs.

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And McCalls trusted crew of Melody “Mel” Bayani (Liza Lapira) and master hacker Harry Keshegian (Adam Goldberg), who is also Mel’s husband, provide comic levity along with their unique skillsets.

“The Equalizer” isn’t a pioneering series by any means.

But it is a lot more entertaining the second time around, with Latifah’s character coming across as more sincere and likeable.

The fact that the writers have ramped up the script also helps.

It’s a fun, action-packed show. No need to overthink it!

The Equalizer” airs on 1Magic (DStv channel 103) on Tuesdays at 8.30pm.

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