The Equalizer (1989) – Heart of Justice, and Race Traitors

McCall (Edward Woodward) finds himself on the hunt for a vigilante after an innocent man is arrested for his crimes. Heart of Justice is a very dark story. Written by Gail Morgan Hickman this episode was first broadcast on 11 May, 1989.

Michael Gianelli (John Shepherd) wants revenge on the two serial rapists (including Paul Guilfoyle) who raped his pregnant wife and then beat her with a steel pipe leaving her brain dead in the hospital. He wants to kill them, but somebody else does it for him. But it looks like Gianelli.

McCall with some help from Jacob Stock (Robert Joy) is able to put together the clues and discover that someone has been killing a number of criminals, and is near the breaking point. And he may be able to save Michael from making the same mistake.

McCall finds Koslo (Joseph Hindy) who is haunted and tortured by the things he’s done in the name of justice, and McCall uses that against him, giving him a redemptive but violent arc that saves Michael’s life, but he still has to deal with the fallout of his life and the assault on his wife.

It’s a dark episode, something the series has never shied away from, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. Gianelli has a tough road ahead, and on the flip side, we’re coming up, very quickly, on the end of McCall’s, with only three episodes to go. I doubt we’ll get anything like a series finale, but it feels like it’s time for the character and the series to move on.

Race Traitors was written by Donna Powers, Wayne Powers and Hickman. It debuted on 25 May, 1989 and dives into the terrifying world of white supremacy, skinheads, and Nazism.

Lawrence Fishburne guest stars as Casey Taylor the patriarch of a new family in a predominantly white neighbourhood who gets assaulted, and threatened. They reach out to McCall for help. He brings in Stock and Mickey Kostmayer (Keith Szarabajka) to help, but things prove difficult for Mickey.

He grew up in this same neighbourhood and he’s shaken to learn that a friend runs with the white supremacists led by Dale Stevens (David Andrews) and that the people he grew up with, the families he knew may be a little more racist than he realized.

Consequently, this episode really lets Szarbajka shine, he’s the one in the midst of all of it with McCall popping in and out. Mickey deals with things on the street level, and with his old friend, Nick (Michael Cerveris) and McCall goes after Stevens.

It doesn’t have quite the in-depth exploration of racism and violence as it should, but what it does dive into is harrowing because of regularity in society.

Next time, we finish the series and said goodbye to Mickey, McCall and New York.

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