The Equalizer (1987) – Beyond Control, and Carnal Persuasion

McCall (Edward Woodward) and Mickey (Keith Szarabajka) find themselves back in the spy game in Beyond Control. Written by Coleman Luck it first aired on 14 January, 1987.

Control (Robert Lansing) comes to McCall when a KGB mole is killed. To protect names, sources, and plans within plans Control has to work outside the Company coming to McCall to help him find secret stolen files.

A young woman, Elaine Ferris (Liane Curtis) finds herself in the crosshairs as KGB operatives led by Paul Coble (Brian Bedford) when it’s discovered that the dead mole was her uncle. Mickey works with Elaine to help find the files while McCall confronts Coble.

As things progress, McCall is able to even the odds, and he and Mickey are able to protect Elaine, recover the files, and find out who may be behind the whole thing. And that may put some extra strain on a friendship that has started to fray at its ends.

The series, for the most part, continues to be very tightly paced and Woodward exudes a cool charm that just makes the character that much more believable, and the world he and Mickey inhabit that much more frightening.

There are some great and tense stories in the series, and because of McCall’s past, he not only wants to right wrongs, to clear his ledger, but it allows him to be pulled back into Cold War stories like this.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing the way Mickey is being incorporated into more stories, this is the third one in a row!

Did I just jinx it? Is Mickey sadly missing from Carnal Persuasion? Nope, he shows up, as does Jimmy (Mark Margolis) shows up, and as a bonus John Cullum plays the villain.

Written by Dennis Manuel, Carnal Persuasion was first broadcast on 21 January, 1987.

Jake Hughes (John Laughlin) was arrested for heroin possession, but his wife, Lisa (Maria Holvoe) believes he is innocent. The judge overseeing his case, Tainey (Cullum) is willing to listen to her appeal and make arrangements to keep him out of jail with the right appeal, sex for his release.

She turns to McCall for help, and he and Jimmy dig into her case, eventually finding a connection between Tainey and those who framed Jake in the first place.

The story brushes right up against some dark subject material, skirting it, as much as one can on 80s episodic television confronting it as much as it can.

McCall uses his resources and his skills to bring Tainey down, and clear Jake’s name. It’s a solid episode, and well-executed, but for the first time, I just didn’t buy some of the performances or the way the characters interacted. In this case, Jake and Lisa, there was a complete lack of chemistry there, and that crippled the story.

It’s still a solid episode, but not the best the series has had to offer.

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