The Equalizer (1986) – Tip on a Sure Thing, and The Cup

McCall (Edward Woodward) with friend Sonny (Cleavant Derricks) at his side, discovers the seedy underbelly of bookies and off-track betting in Tip on a Sure Thing. Written by Scott Shepherd, it first aired on 3 December, 1986.

A horse named Not a Quitter and his jockey, Luis Rivera (Daniel Faraldo) is the lock to win a big race, so Chance (Robert O’Reilly) and Pike (Ted Ross) decide to make sure that they lose, and gather all the winnings for themselves.

To ensure that, Luis’ son, Roberto (Carlos Anthony Ocasio) is kidnapped by Pike to ensure that Luis loses the race. Greenleaf (Paul Gleason), a chronic better who connects to Chance, Pike and the Rivera’s, weaves through the story, and McCall is going to use any connection to find the kidnapped boy before start time at the track.

Pike is unsure of the whole plan as the episode progresses because Chance plans to kill the boy no matter how things play out, and Pike, despite being a villain, has grown to care for the boy.

McCall and Sonny are going to bring it all down, save the boy, and stop Chance.

It’s a fun, if simple episode lacking some of the darkness and grittiness that we’ve seen in other episodes of the series. Having one baddie be a real villain, and the other not so bad, it’s just a trope now and it doesn’t serve the story except to get to the conclusion quicker.

Still, Robert O’Reilly who would go on to play Gowron on The Next Generation is just wild to see as such a well-dressed baddie.

The Cup was penned by David Jackson and Carleton Eastlake from a story by Andrew Sipes and Eastlake. It first aired on 10 December, 1986.

Mickey Kostmayer (Keith Szarabajka) is back. He and McCall are enjoying a quiet football match when a new alert plunges the pair into a world of spycraft when Mickey’s brother, Father Nicholas Kostmayer (Dennis Christopher) is involved in a shooting that unveils a KGB assassination plot.

Constrained by the bonds of confession, Father Nicholas is on the horns of a moral dilemma while McCall and Mickey attempt not only to protect him, but to find out who is involved in the plot, who the target is, and how to stop it.

It’s interesting that despite the fact that the KGB is involved, McCall doesn’t reach out to Control for any assistance or information.

But perhaps that’s because McCall and Mickey don’t need it. They have the tech, and the skills, they just need Father Nicholas to come round and help just a little and avoid breaking his confessional bonds at the same time.

There’s some nice exploration of the relationship between the two brothers, but much like the previous episode, it’s not as dark and gritty as we’ve come to expect from the series.

We’ll see what The Equalizer gets up to next week.

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