The Equalizer (1987) – Solo, and A Place to Stay

McCall (Edward Woodward) squares off against a dirty cop, Cole (Kevin Spacey), who is pursuing a woman, Sarah (Lindsay Crouse) for the murder of his partner in Solo, things become increasingly complicated when McCall becomes romantically involved with her. Written by Carleton Eastlake, Solo first debuted on 18 February, 1987.

Sarah approaches McCall after he stops an attempted robbery at a bar, telling him, eventually, the story of how she worked for a munitions factory, some of the arms were stolen and a dead cop she was seeing at the time was found at the scene.

The evidence on hand suggests that she murdered him, and Cole has been in dogged pursuit of her ever since, but Cole doesn’t seem to be playing above board, which leads McCall to believe he’s dirty, and his romantic involvement with Sarah makes him believe that she’s innocent.

And of course, McCall is right. Cole is very dirty, but there’s more truth about the situation. As McCall goes after the baddies, things escalate on all sides which means that McCall may be hurt in the end as a showdown in a deserted warehouse turns dangerous.

The episode also sees a quick reappearance by Austin Pendelton as McCall’s tech aide, Jonah.

A solid episode. Honestly, I thought introducing a romantic subplot to the story would cheapen the story because McCall never seems to mix business with pleasure, but this time out it actually works, for the most part. I just hope they don’t go back to this well too often.

A Place to Stay is a dark episode, so it’s quite at home in The Equalizer’s realm, but it shows how horrible people can be as McCall is called in by Walter (Ed Lauter) and Lynn (Alyson Kirk) Rowan to find their thirteen-year-old daughter, Melanie (Ann McDonough) who has run away from the suburbs to New York City.

The Rowan home is practically broken, there are arguments and abuse, but despite all the terrible things that happen in that home, none of them prepare Melanie for what she is about to encounter.

Written by Marc Rubin, Carleton Eastlake and Coleman Luck, it first aired on 25 February, 1987.

McCall works to find Melanie even as she is getting pushed into the horrifying world of child pornography and sex trafficking. A number of the sequences involving Melanie are increasingly uncomfortable and troubling, and that is exactly the point of the narrative, to put a face to these horrors.

Happily McCall not only tracks Melanie down in time before anything truly terrible happens, but also the money behind the photographer and McCall makes sure everyone knows who that person is.

Melanie is reunited with her imperfect family, and changes to home life will be attempted, do they come to fruition? That’s not part of the narrative for McCall. We were given a brief, 80s glimpse into the horrors of child pornography and it’s unnerving, jarring, and makes you want to go out and tear down every single person who would be involved with such a thing.

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