Home #Hwoodtimes Queen Latifah stars in the CBS reboot of crime-fighting drama The Equalizer

Queen Latifah stars in the CBS reboot of crime-fighting drama The Equalizer

The latest iteration of the Robin Hood vigilante franchise premiers this Sunday after the Superbowl. 

By Valerie Milano


Hollywood, CA (The Hollywood Times) 02/05/2021 – At a time when relations between law enforcement and the public are tense, The Equalizer delivers a timely plotline. In this latest iteration of the 1980s CBS police thriller turned-Denzel Washington 2014 blockbuster, Queen Latifah stars as Robyn McCall, an ex-CIA officer, super-agent, and mother, who will go above and beyond the capabilities of law enforcement to protect the downtrodden and mete out justice.

Queen Latifah and Chris Noth in ‘The Equalizer’ (CBS)

The pilot episode, which airs on CBS this Sunday directly after the Superbowl, begins with our protagonist battling night terrors and the demands of her angsty teenage daughter, Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes). Enter her old boss, William (Chris North), who offers McCall a lucrative position in his private security firm. McCall, jaded from a botched operation in Venezuela, declines the offer. When William tries to entice her to ‘get back onto the old chessboard’, McCall responds, “Everybody’s playing chess. Nobody’s thinking about the living, breathing pieces we sacrifice along the way.” McCall doesn’t want to be someone’s chess piece anymore. She wants to rescue the pawns before they become victims.


Enter the episode’s pawn. A young waitress named June witnesses a murder and is then framed for it. McCall rescues the young woman from a close encounter with some tough henchman. NYPD is after June, along with a shadowy cabal of mercenaries with paramilitary training. But Robyn knows the girl is innocent. To get to the bottom of the mystery, McCall enlists the help of some scrappy old pals whose skills are as unmatched as hers: Hacker extraordinaire Harry (Adam Goldberg), and his wife Melody (Liza Lapira), a sniper-turned-bartender. Their expert detective work leads them to a high-profile inventor and tech executive who will stop at nothing to ensure his misdeeds are protected.

Queen Latifah in “The Equalizer”

The spunk and attitude Latifah brings to her character makes Robyn McCall an appealing enforcer. The brisk pace at which McCall and her team move through the case keeps things fun throughout. While The Equalizer may feel like a typical primetime police procedural, it seems to have something more to say about the state of American society than others.

Towards the end of the episode, McCall drives her daughter Delilah, who nearly had a brush-up with the law, to a prison, to teach her a lesson. “The world is just looking to find a reason to put a young Black girl like you on the other side of that fence,” McCall tells her Delilah. The two make a deal: Delilah will volunteer to teach at the prison’s literacy program as penance for her wayward behavior.

Queen Latifah stars as a former CIA agent who decides to fight for the little guy in “The Equalizer,” a new series premiering after the Super Bowl. CBS

When asked to describe her character in an interview, Queen Latifah, who also is one of the show’s executive producers, said, “[McCall] is done working for the people who make high decisions…She’s done with the greed. She’s done with the uber-powerful. She is all about taking what she has learned through the years…and using it for everybody. Using it for the 99 percent of the population who don’t have access to people like her…”


Andrew W. Marlowe, the show’s co-creator and co-executive producer, said, “we’re living in difficult times, and it’s a time when people don’t trust the institutions that are supposed to protect and defend them…This is why the show is so exciting for us, because when the cops can’t help and the courts can’t help, who do you go to?”

Queen Latifah
MTV Video Music Awards, Arrivals, Prudential Center, New Jersey, USA – 26 Aug 2019 (Photo: Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock)

Latifah, Marlowe, and company hope viewers will get used to answering that question with Robyn McCall. Maybe, Latifah’s McCall is just the kind of enforcer that Americans are yearning for.


The Equalizer premieres on CBS on Sunday, February 7 after the Superbowl.

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Valerie Milano is the well-connected Senior Editor and Entertainment Critic at, a website that aggregates showbiz news curated for, and written by, insiders of the entertainment industry. (@HwoodTimes @TheHollywood.Times) Milano, whose extraordinary talents for networking in the famously tight-clad enclave of Hollywood have placed her at the center of the industry’s top red carpets and events since 1984, heads daily operations of a uniquely accessible, yet carefully targeted publication. For years, Milano sat on the board and tour coordinator of the Television Critics Association’s press tours. She has written for Communications Daily, Discover Hollywood, Hollywood Today, Television International, and Video Age International, and contributed to countless other magazines and digests. Valerie works closely with the Human Rights Campaign as a distinguished Fed Club Council Member. She also works with GLSEN, GLAAD, Outfest, NCLR, LAMBDA Legal, and DAP Health, in addition to donating both time and finances to high-profile nonprofits. She has been a member of the Los Angeles Press Club for a couple of years and looks forward to the possibility of contributing to the future success of its endeavors. Milano’s passion for meeting people extends from Los Feliz to her favorite getaway, Palm Springs. There, she is a member of the Palm Springs Museum of Art and a prominent Old Las Palmas-area patron.