Ahead of “The Equalizer 3,” Revisit All the Movies and TV Shows in the Franchise
It has been nearly five years since “The Equalizer 2” hit theaters, and on Sept. 1, Denzel Washington is returning to the big screen as Robert McCall in the action-packed “The Equalizer 3.” The film, which also stars Dakota Fanning, is the third installment of the film series featuring Washington and the fifth in “The Equalizer” franchise, which includes the 1985 and 2021 TV shows. The original show premiered in 1985 and starred Edward Woodward as Robert McCall, a former covert operations officer turned private detective who uses his specialized training and skills to solve the problems of his clients and bring perpetrators to justice.
After the first “Equalizer” TV series ended in 1989, it inspired the 2014 film adaptation with Washington, as well as the reboot series featuring Queen Latifah as Robyn McCall, a woman version of the famous vigilante. Unlike the previous films in the Equalizer film series, “The Equalizer 3” moves Washington’s McCall out of Boston to Southern Italy to take on one of his most threatening adversaries yet – the Sicilian Mafia.
If you’re looking for a refresh of the franchise or wanting to get an adrenaline rush before seeing “The Equalizer 3,” here are all the movies and TV shows in the beloved franchise.
The Equalizer Movies
Image Source: Everett Collection
“The Equalizer” (2014)
Robert McCall (Washington) left behind his career as a Marine and DIA officer and now lives a quiet life in Boston working at a hardware store. When a friend of Robert’s, a young sex worker named Alina (Chloë Grace Moretz), gets brutally beaten by her pimp, Slavi (David Meunier), Robert goes on a rampage of justice to find Slavi and take down anyone he’s connected with. Now pulled into his old lifestyle, Robert takes on the persona of “The Equalizer” and posts ads on Craigslist that read, “Odds against you? Nowhere to turn?,” to be of service to those in difficult situations.
“The Equalizer 2” (2018)
In the second installment of the film franchise, Washington reprises his role as McCall, who’s working as a Lyft driver while assisting his friend, DIA agent Susan Plummer (Melissa Leo), help victims of injustice. During an investigation of a murder-suicide in Brussels, Susan is murdered in what appears to be a botched robbery. Devastated by her loss and fueled by his passion for being a vigilante, Robert sets out to seek vengeance while also trying to survive multiple murder attempts by a group of professional assassins, one of whom he has a past with.
“The Equalizer 3” (2023)
In the third and final Equalizer film, McCall (Washington) leaves Boston and moves to Southern Italy to enjoy a retired life. All seems to be going well as he becomes acquainted with his new lifestyle and makes friends, but things go haywire when the Sicilian Mafia carries out a series of murders across town. With his new life and the lives of those he cares about under threat, Robert must put his retirement on hold and once again use his expertise to take down one of the most dangerous groups in the world.
The Equalizer TV Shows
“The Equalizer” (1985-1989)
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The show that started it all premiered on CBS in September 1985. It starred Woodward as Robert McCall, a former covert operative with a US Intelligence Agency known as “the Agency” or “the Company.” With the goal of paying for his past mistakes, Robert posts an ad that reads, “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer,” in a newspaper and responds by investigating problems or protecting those in need with the help of his old friends and colleagues. The show spanned four seasons before ultimately ending in August 1989.
“The Equalizer” (2021-Present)
Image Source: Getty / CBS Photo Archive
In the reboot of the original TV series, Queen Latifah plays the role of Robyn McCall, a single mother and former CIA operative who lives in New York City with her daughter, Delilah. Using her skills from her previous job, Robyn serves the city as a vigilante, a guardian, and a defender for those in trouble and in need of saving, all while seeking her own personal redemption. The series, which premiered in 2021, wrapped its third season in May 2023 and has a fourth season in production.