The Equalizer (1986) – A Community of Civilized Men, and Joyride

McCall (Edward Woodward) loses a potential romantic partner after resolving her issues at the beginning of A Community of Civilized Men when she’s murdered and McCall has to help her daughter, Valerie (Jennifer Grey) survive and elude a professional agent, and killer.

Written by Daniel Pyne and Scott Shepherd this episode was first broadcast on 22 October, 1986.

Julia Jacobs (Tammy Grimes) was mistakenly killed by Zahn (Lewis Van Bergen) when he believed that it was Julia, and not her daughter, that had video footage of his continued existence. Zahn works in shadows, with no visual records of his existence, but McCall recognizes him when he sees Valerie’s tapes of footage she has shot for her school project.

Zahn grabs Valerie and plans to kill her unless McCall, who he sees as a kindred soul, delivers information to him. But no matter what Zahn claims, McCall knows he can’t be trusted.

Throw Control (Robert Lansing) into the shadowy mix, and McCall knows he’s on his own, in trying to protect Valerie and keep her alive. And the only way to ensure she stays alive may be to take Zahn off the board. Permanently.

A sharp little thriller of an episode, it would have been episodes like this that helped me develop my crush on Grey. Woodward, who had settled into the role of McCall from the very first episode continues to be at his best.

A dark, gritty thriller of a show that is as smart and enjoyable today as it was when it aired.

And here’s a young, blonde-haired Christian Slater!

Joyride was written by Jim Trombetta and Charles Grant Craig. It hit the airwaves on 29 October, 1986.

A pair of teens decide to abscond with a hearse and go for a bit of a joyride with it. Unfortunately, they get shot at in the process by the mob. Not because there’s a body in the back, but because the casket is filled with drugs.

Steve (Michael A. Nickles) wants to make some money by selling it around school, but Michael (Slater) doesn’t want any part of it. When Steve disappears and another man ends up dead, Michael needs help. Enter McCall.

He takes on the dealers, and while it doesn’t blatantly trot out the don’t do drugs message, this is as close as the series has got to date. McCall knows he can’t stop the drugs, but he can work to help one family and their friends.

Robert McCall is also trying to help a friend and agent, Sonny Raines (Cleavant Derricks) deal with some of his debt and gambling issues, and both Ron O’Neal and Mark Margolis make welcome appearances in the episode.

Slater exudes charm and personality on the screen, and even though this is early days in his career, you can still see that he’s got something.

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