The Equalizer (1986/1987) – Heartstrings, and High Performance

McCall (Edward Woodward) gets involved in bringing down an illegal adoption scheme when a new mother, Vanessa (Michele Dotrice) comes to him for aid when her newborn is taken from her before she even leaves the hospital with him.

Heartstrings was written by Loraine Despres and it first aired on 17 December, 1986.

Joining him on his investigation is Mickey Kostmayer (Keith Szarabajka) – two episodes in a row – and as they hunt down leads, and confront dirty doctors, and child thieves, they realize the answers lead higher up the chain than they imagined and McCall confronts Control (Robert Lansing) over his protection of their target.

It seems Hector Kouros (Aharon Ipale) has high connections in the government and is protected by it while he is in the continental United States.

McCall and Mickey go after Kouros with a passion, and it even jeopardizes McCall’s friendship with Control as McCall pursues what he knows is right, and Control has to tow the company line.

Both Mickey and McCall seem ready to go to all-out war to get this woman’s child back, and it also allows McCall to remind the audience that he and his wife lost a daughter when she was born, so he, like Vanessa can relate to what is going on.

There’s also a touch on teen pregnancy, trafficking, and just how wrong humans can be with one another. But McCall is going to do what he can to even the balance of right and wrong, continuing his efforts with the dirty New York City of the 80s as backdrop.

High Performance was written by Jack V. Fogarty and it was first broadcast on 7 January, 1987. It features a couple of well-recognized guest stars, James Remar and Michael Wincott! It also introduces a phobia for McCall, he’s afraid of heights.

I like that Mickey calls him on that because it doesn’t make sense that he’s done some of the missions he’s done if he’s afraid of heights, but McCall plays it off, and I will give Woodward credit in that he does bring the fear to life really well.

Sally (Patricia Charbonneau) works the high steel, though she suffers from acrophobia. One day she notices activity in the apartment building across the way; a man, Jordan (Wincott), is committing murder.

She goes to McCall for help, and finds that Tremayne (Remar) hired him to take care of some personal problems for him, but now that Sarah has seen what happened, he needs her removed as well.

Thank goodness McCall and Mickey are around to help her, and bring Remar and the killers he’s hired, to justice.

There’s some nice photography towards the end of the episode of McCall, Mickey and Sally having a quick break at height, but most of the episode is fairly grounded, and while not as dark as some of the stories we’ve seen, we learn more about McCall and see his friendship with Mickey growing.

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