The Equalizer (1986) – Dead Drop, and Wash-Up

When an innocent bystander, flower shop owner Barry (James Murtaugh) gets involved in a smuggling operation that is using mailed packages as a dead drop, he’s targeted for a quick end. But McCall (Edward Woodward) may be up to the task of helping him in Dead Drop.

Written by Maurice Hurley and Joel Surnow, this episode was first broadcast on 22 January, 1986, and actually shows lots of continuity at work as McCall pulls in some familiar faces to help on his assignment.

First on the list are Kostmayer (Keith Szarabajka), Jimmy (Mark Margolis), Sterno (Irving Metzman) and added to the team is Ginger Brock (Robin Curtis!) who has a bit of a beef with Kostmayer over a blown operation some time ago. There are familiar names, callbacks, and history all established and the series has layers because of it.

McCall runs into some grief of his own when he goes to Control (Robert Lansing) for help and discovers that Jason (Saul Rubinek) is causing all manner of problems in the Company and may have more power than McCall thought. But McCall will tend to that before the episode is over, I’m sure.

This is a smart well-told story that works as a bit of a spy thriller as McCall puts his team through the paces and is finally able to meet up with Steve (James Eckouse) to resolve everything amicably for Barry.

Next Generation fans should keep an eye out for Robert O’Reilly as the Fur Coat Man.

Wash-Up features Robert Davi (!) as the baddie.

Written by Mark Frost who went on to co-create Twin Peaks, this episode first debuted on 29 January, 1986.

Davi as Michael Riegert is a small time thug who is in over his head with the mob, and is having problems with his high-rise window washing operation that wants to unionize.

A pair of the employees reach out to McCall for help, whose apartment is being overrun by his housekeeper and her children, as they seek a new apartment of their own. When one of the washers ends up dead, murdered in broad daylight by Riegert, McCall is determined to bring him down.

Digging into Riegert’s past and proclivities McCall finds lots to leverage against him and goes after him with a vengeance. He calls in some help with Jimmy and Alex (Michael O’hare) and puts all the pieces into place to take Riegert down once and for all.

I like how the series is dark and gritty, but I also like how there is a little bit of continuity running through it. Something I definitely didn’t notice when I watched it as a teen, but love seeing now.

Let’s see who McCall helps out next time.

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