"The Equalizer" was one of the most underrated TV series of the '80's. As a kid, I caught a handful of episodes on network TV back in the day & was impressed by what I saw, but never got into it that much at that time.
A while back, I got re-interested in the series, and ended up watching all four seasons back-to-back. Wow....This show is incredible! I watch a lot of TV, and I would have to say that this is not only one of the top ten TV shows I've ever seen, but is definitely one of my top five BEST T.V. series of the '80's. The show is so good, it's hard to believe it was a network T.V. show.
The show focused on Robert McCall (the UK actor Ed Woodward), who was a retired "agent" living in NYC. He would help those in need via a newspaper advertisement.
First, the theme music by Stewart Copeland is sublime; amazing use of synthesizer(s) - though the sound is very '80's, it's also very unusual & interesting as well. The soundtrack in the show itself was also excellent.....It helps that I was (and still am) a huge fan of the rock/pop group The Police.
Ed Woodward was incredible in this series; though some actors merely portray characters, Woodward WAS the Equalizer.
I liked how the show went back and forth between stories involving McCall helping those in need, to episodes involving his past coming back to haunt him, to episodes with (at the time) topical cold war themes.
Great supporting cast as well, including Mickey Kostmeyer, McCall's son Scott, Jimmy, Chad Redding, Control, Harley Gage, and others.
I was also very impressed with the show's themes of redemption/making up for past mistakes.
The show really captures the NYC of the '80's perfectly; watching the series is like going back in time, and it's nice that it was (or at least seemed to be) filmed on location in the city.
I was also pleasantly surprised by the copious amount of well-known guest stars on the show, including John Goodman, Stanley Tucci, E.G. Marshall, etc. Many of these became big later, but you also had appearances by Telly Savalas & Robert Mitchum, who were already big names by the mid-late 1980's.
Though the first two seasons were great, IMHO Seasons 3 & 4 were incredible. There were so many stand-out episodes I can't list them all, but some of my favorite include the following - note this is by no means a comprehensive list:
Breakpoint (Season 1): IMHO, this was the best episode in the first season. Impressive acting here by Tony Shalhoub, whom I almost didn't recognize as the actor who became famous much later playing the detective Adrian Monk (Monk is also one of my favorite shows...)
Memories of Manon, Parts 1 & 2 (Season 2): Excellent.
Beyond Control (Season 2)
Blood and Wine, Parts 1 & 2 (Season 3): Incredible opening episode, and IMHO definitely one of the top five episodes of the series. Telly Savalas was truly incredible in this, playing a completely different role from the past. The theme(s) of redemption were very pronounced here.
Mission: McCall Parts 1 & 2 (Season 3): I consider this to have the quality of a small film; great appearance by Robert Mitchum.
The Mystery of Manon, Parts 1 & 2 (Season 3)
Christmas Presence (Season 3): Amazing; very moving & poignant. Possibly the best stand-alone episode of the entire series.
The Last Campaign (Season 4): Excellent opening episode, and really set the tone for this superior final season...
Endgame (Season 4): Very disturbing & well-done; kept you guessing until the end.
Splinters (Season 4)
Silent Fury (Season 4): Extremely impressive.
Too bad the show didn't last longer; however, maybe it's best it ended in '89. In late '89 the Berlin Wall had fallen, and I'm not sure the cold war themes that were so central to the show would have been as relevant from 1990-on. Plus, by having the show go from '85-'89, it was a purely '80's show. And, four seasons is a very respectable length of time for a TV drama to last; in fact, the show was of such good quality that I'm surprised it lasted as long as it did (it seems that some of the best TV shows get cancelled after 1-2 seasons...)
Posted by JCU (Member # 2851) on :
The 1980's was a thing of beauty pertaining to television and The Equalizer is a gem not to be missed.
Posted by Crash (Member # 7484) on :
The Equalizer was great. Edward Woodward was just perfect as McCall and as was mentioned the technical credits on the show--especially Stewart Copeland's theme--were tops. Woodward could give you chills just by saying, "My name is Robert McCall. I'm the man you called."
Posted by Pittsburghgirl (Member # 7514) on :
Guess who has The Equalizer- The Complete Collection on its way?! It is the limited edition box set that was released last year. I had completely forgotten about it until I saw your post, Nostalgic. It includes all four seasons of the Equalizer, commentaries, all thirteen episodes of the tv show CI5, and the final movie Woodward starred in before his death.
Posted by Nostalgic for the '80's (Member # 37454) on :
quote:Originally posted by Pittsburghgirl: Guess who has The Equalizer- The Complete Collection on its way?! It is the limited edition box set that was released last year. I had completely forgotten about it until I saw your post, Nostalgic. It includes all four seasons of the Equalizer, commentaries, all thirteen episodes of the tv show CI5, and the final movie Woodward starred in before his death.
Glad to hear this! I don't have this set, but saw every episode of the series several years back.
I would definitely like to get this set at some point - it's on Amazon for an amazing price. However, there are a plethora of other old & new shows I want to watch beforehand.
[ 15. March 2017, 11:23: Message edited by: Nostalgic for the '80's ]