The Equalizer (1989) – Prisoners of Conscience, and The Caper

Even as the series closes in on its ending, we continue to get peeks into the character of Robert McCall (Edward Woodward), and this time he’s joined by his actual son, Tim Woodward, who takes on the role of McCall’s father, seen in flashbacks.

Prisoners of Conscience was written by Robert Eisele and debuted on 27 April, 1989.

When a young activist poet from Chile, Antonio Cruz (Tony Plana) is kidnapped after presenting at a university class overseen by Waldo Jarrell (Pat Hingle!), Jarrell reaches out to McCall and Mickey (Keith Szarabajka) for help.

McCall is initially reticent, but when one of the pieces of evidence ties directly to his own past and that man who killed his father, the Equalizer is determined to bring the kidnapper to justice, and perhaps execute the man who did the same to his father. That man is Randall Payne (Dan O’Herlihy).

For 80s television, the intimation of Cruz’s torture is pretty intense, and the narrative plays out incredibly well as we learn secrets about fathers and sons. Also, Mickey gets to kick some ass and shoot some things up, and it’s always great to see him in action.

It’s rather unfortunate that the series is almost over because it seems, except for the occasional episodic misstep, to be getting better and better. Not to mention that it seems to be doing a great job at securing solid guest casts.

I wonder if we’ll see Scott again before the end of the series, but as long as Mickey is there until the end, I’ll be happy.

Caper is a bit of a fun escapade, as it follows an elderly woman, Emily Rutherford (Maureen Stapelton!) who has called wolf one too many times with the police as she gets wrapped up in detective stories. But this time, it’s true.

Written by Tom Towler this episode was first broadcast on 4 May, 1989.

Emily sees Kenny (Zach Grenier) committing a murder in Central Park. When the cops don’t believe her, she turns to McCall, who decides she needs someone on hand to look after her. She doesn’t want a man, so Mickey recommends Trudy Collins (Laura San Giacomo!) to help look after Emily while McCall runs down leads on Kenny.

One of the leads is a dancer, Taffy (Alberta Watson) who gives McCall the info he needs to track down Kenny, who’s dead, and the people he worked for, including Jarrow (Michael Wincott!).

Will McCall be able to put paid to Jarrow before Emily slips Trudy’s watchful eye to continue her own investigation?

It’s fun to watch Emily and her friend, Frank (Richard Hamilton) investigate on their own, even as McCall and Trudy try to keep her safe. She uses a lot of old-school detective methods, and the whole thing plays out wonderfully.

But that sadly leaves us with only four episodes to go…


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