The Equalizer (1985–1989)
7.1/10
33
1 user 1 critic

Pretenders 

McCall helps a rookie reporter who suspects her new neighbor of criminal activity. As McCall probes further, he discovers the man may have murderous intentions and is being protected by Control.

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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
Tony Musante ...
John Parker
Chad Redding ...
Beth Mackie
...
Brian
Albert Macklin ...
Dack
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...
...
...
Flynn
Katherine Cortez ...
Cynthia
Scott Rhyne ...
Officer Dysan
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Punk / Angel Fiskus
David Bailey ...
1st Suit
...
Harried Man
...
Karen
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McCall helps a rookie reporter who suspects her new neighbor of criminal activity. As McCall probes further, he discovers the man may have murderous intentions and is being protected by Control.

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TV-PG
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8 April 1986 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Quotes

Control: Maybe I'm getting to old to spot it, Robert
Robert McCall: Well if you're getting too old, where does that leave me? Hmm?
Control: I owe you a drink
Robert McCall: Fine. Didn't answer my question.
Control: [mumbled] You didn't want an answer to my question.
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User Reviews

The Journo Who Cried 'Wolf'
18 October 2014 | by (Toronto, Canada) – See all my reviews

Beleaguered rookie news reporter Beth Mackie (Chad Redding) can count herself lucky to have tasteful digs in a clean & trendy New York City apartment building. Where things get more complicated than her lease is in her troubles with the homicidal maniac (Tony Musante) living across the hall who goes by the alias 'John Parker'. Parker for his part (perhaps oblivious to the noise level) remains perplexed by the notion that he can't torture and murder house-guests as he pleases.

Beth has called the cops on him multiple times & they think she is a crazy drunk. She has told the city editor of her newspaper & he thinks she is an ambulance-chaser, which may put her in good stead for an opening on the city hall beat but will not get her the help she needs. A colleague instead brings to her attention an ad the paper has been running since early fall of the previous year - "Odds Against You?...Need help?...Call The Equalizer...212-555-4200".

She calls the number and sets up a meeting with Robert McCall (Edward Woodward) a philanthropic vigilante whom she has difficulty convincing of the purity of her motives. When he finally does agree to help he has problems getting Beth to leave it be as a potential story which could either take her career to the next level or get her brutally killed.

Journalists are always among the favourite prey of shadowy government agencies and terrorist groups. McCall knows too well that Beth could find that out firsthand. Having caught her snooping around his front door Parker not very subtly invites her to forget anything she has seen or heard under threat of death made to look like an accident.

McCall then attempts to trace who Parker really is and is obstructed by the demons of his past in government black ops. They include his old boss Control (Robert Lansing) - a duplicitous cold war intelligence czar who never seems to have that much 'control' or scruples or common sense but is nevertheless virtuous & wise in comparison with other members of the intelligence community we see.

Control knows more than he is saying about Parker but nevertheless not enough to know what is really going on. This is yet another considerably disturbing instance of haphazardly indiscreet violence committed by a dubious individual and clumsily covered up in service of a short-term intelligence strategy with highly uncertain odds of paying off. McCall saw enough of these to detect them via the sheer nausea he feels when he picks up on tell-tale signs.

So they ended season one touching base with the darker theme of the hero being forced to revisit the dark aspects & contacts of his past which were so odious as to make his own crusade as an avenging angel a necessity for facilitating his personal redemption.

The chosen adversary of this episode ties in well with that theme. 'John Parker' is of course one of many aliases for an individual whose real name causes a physical reaction for intelligence goons in the same way McCall's does but for different reasons.

McCall - Altruistic and erudite nevertheless regresses back to being a violent deont when cornered or sufficiently outraged and is again contrasted with the self-serving machinations of Control as well as the pathological volatility of 'John Parker' or whatever his real name is/was.

It all makes for a decent if unspectacular entry in the series.


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