The Equalizer (1986) – Shades of Darkness, and Nightscape

William Sadler goes toe-to-toe with Edward Woodward’s Robert McCall in Shades of Darkness. Written by Jack V. Fogarty this episode was first aired on 5 November, 1986.

Sadler plays Rick Dillon, a murderer, rapist, sociopath and ex-soldier who has murdered a woman but Dan Turner (Lenny von Dohlen) is arrested for it when he’s found at the scene of the crime. Dillon makes a game of his hunts, and is delighting in the fact that Turner serves in the National Guard; now it’s soldier against soldier.

When Turner’s sister, Lorraine (Emily Heebner) goes to her priest (Edward Binns) for advice, he calls on his old war buddy, McCall to help.

Dillon is ready for McCall’s abilities or resources, but in the end, the pair have to face off in a deserted warehouse, weapons drawn, hunting one another to the finish.

Sadler has always been cool, here he just proves it (again).

There’s some nice chatter between the priest and McCall, giving some history and layers to Woodward’s character, but it all comes down to McCall pushing Dillon into making a number of mistakes that push him over the edge.

Dillon is a veteran, and he’s suffering from PTSD and even though he committed some horrible crimes needs some serious help – something he’s not going to get because of the terrible things he’s done, to people in-country.

One can have empathy for Dillon even though he’s a villain in this piece, and Sadler is able to get it.

Nightscape was written by Carleton Eastlake and debuted on 12 November, 1986. This one feels like it misses the mark a little because I don’t think it handled the story right.

Amanda Kaufman (Frances Fisher) is brutally gang-raped in the New York subway and while she attempts to deal with the stress and trauma of that her husband, Jim (Thomas G. Waites) takes up arms and goes in search of those who did this horrific thing to his wife.

So instead of dealing with her own problems, trauma, and recovery, Amanda has to worry about the safety of her partner. She reaches out to McCall and relates her story to him, he says he doesn’t take cases of revenge, but when he learns that she wants him to find her husband before he can do something that could destroy his life, McCall agrees.

And you know, now that he’s involved he’s going to take the actual animals responsible for this to task as well.

McCall deals with uncaring New Yorkers in his hunt, and it makes a pretty important commentary on how no one seems interested in helping anyone else.

And while I love the sound of the gunshots that close out this episode, I don’t think this was the way the story should have been told. There should have been more focus on Amanda.

It was still a solid tale, but I think it missed something. That’s okay because McCall will be back next week for more.

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