‘The Equalizer’ Boss on the New Team, Robyn and Dante’s Slow Burn & New CIA Spook

Queen Latifah as Robyn McCall in The Equalizer
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Equalizer Season 3, Episode 1 “Boom.”]

Last we saw Robyn McCall (Queen Latifah) on The Equalizer, she’d been kidnapped. And as the Season 3 premiere shows, that’s just the beginning of her troubles.

Yes, villain Mason Quinn (Chris Vance) is behind it, and his plans for Robyn are simple: frame her for a dirty bomb he’s going to set off somewhere in New York City. Fortunately, Robyn’s friends and loved ones — all coming together and knowing exactly who everyone is to her, including Dante (Tory Kittles) learning Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes) is her daughter — work together to not only find her but also remove the radioactive material before the bomb goes off. Thankfully, Quinn is vanquished during a final confrontation with Robyn.

So what’s next? We turned to co-showrunner Joseph C. Wilson for answers.

Talk about crafting the scenes where Robyn’s lives collide: Dante learning the truth, Mel (Liza Lapira) meeting Vi (Lorraine Toussaint)…

Joseph C. Wilson: We’ve got such a dynamic cast that to see them all play together and be in these scenes together, the walls had to come down. We’ve been architecting this for a while and McCall’s at the center. We see how they all care about her in different ways and it’s just gonna open up the storytelling for seasons to come.

Now that Dante knows who Robyn is, and has met Mel and Harry (Adam Goldberg), how does that change things up for the show going forward? It feels almost like a refresh in a way.

A little bit. We made a statement at the end of the episode when he looks around and goes, “so this is the team.” That’s teeing it up for what’s to come. The theme of the season is all about family: how your family can hurt you, how your family can help you, and the things you go through for your family. Your family just affects you in a different way, and this whole group is a big family and we’re gonna see them interact as one. So, you’re gonna see stuff with Dante and Harry, Harry and Aunt Vi. We’re gonna switch things up a lot this season. You’re gonna see some things you haven’t seen before.

Lorraine Toussaint as Viola “Vi” Marsette in The Equalizer

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Quinn seems to no longer be a threat. Has Robyn gotten closure in a way? Is it like there’s a weight lifted off of her?

I think there’s some satisfaction in what happened to Quinn, but the Quinn storyline isn’t quite over yet. I’ll just say that. So is there a closure? Partially.

More emotional closure?

More emotional closure. More like revenge because Bishop [Chris Noth] was so close to her and I love that line she drops, and she delivered it in such a fantastic manner, “That’s for Bishop.” But this is gonna haunt her for a while. This isn’t over mentally and emotionally.

What can you say about who may be popping up next?

I don’t know if we can reveal that part, but let’s just say it’s not over. [Laughs] There’s more to come. There are some connections that will be made that’s gonna be mind-blowing moving forward.

What do you want to do with the next villain compared to what we saw from Quinn?

Where Quinn was her white whale, if you will, this next big bad is gonna be from a more personal place. It is gonna hurt more because it’s such a personal closeness.

Lorraine Toussaint as Viola “Vi” Marsette and Tory Kittles as Detective Marcus Dante in The Equalizer

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Dante knows who Robyn is now, and that hug lingered. What’s next for them?

I think the attraction is clear. Both of these actors are fantastic in the way they play it. The flirtation is just off the charts. We can’t wait until they get together. But we’re gonna play the flirtation, the romance. You saw last season where Dante was in trouble and his happy place was to be with McCall mentally. We’re gonna play the push-pull of it all. We might separate them, bring them close, and who knows where it’s gonna land. We don’t want to take it too fast, but we understand the shippers and how they feel. We hear that and we want to see it, too.

… He still hasn’t been to the sanctum. There’s an episode coming up where you’ll see the family coming together — Harry, Mel, Vi, Delilah all at the house and Vi makes a joke, should we invite that nice detective over, too? It’s like, slow down. There’s still some distance in some aspects of it, but professionally, equalizing-wise, they’re all together. Personally, we’re taking that a little bit slower.

When will he see the sanctum?

I can’t reveal that one, but nice try. [Laughs]

Mel and Harry continue to be ride or die, literally, since he joined her at the bomb site. What’s next for them?

They’re such a fantastic couple and such a dynamic part of the show that we wanted to see Harry in the field more. You’re going to see him out of the sanctum a lot more. You’re gonna see him helping Mel out in the field. Because all the walls are down now, you’re gonna see a friendship with Dante. They’re gonna banter. You’re going to see a relationship between Harry and Aunt Vi. We’ve seen Aunt Vi create these master masterful dishes and all this food that she cooks and everything, and no one is going to appreciate it more than Harry.

Liza Lapira as Melody “Mel” Bayani and Adam Goldberg as Harry Keshegian in The Equalizer

Michael Greenberg/CBS

Will he continue to be a little too lax about people seeing him with computers, like at the bomb site?

We’re gonna address that, so that’s not gonna be a bigger concern that we’re gonna have him out in the field. We did that on purpose at the bomb site. We don’t want to handcuff him and what he can do out there.

Will we see more of Mel and Delilah?

You will not only see more of them together, they’re one of the pivotal storylines for this season and what happens and it’s going to affect the whole family, their relationship, and what they get into.

Robyn and Miles’ (Stephen Bishop) conversation may have been put on hold, but he did say this is far from over. How much of a problem that’s going to be for her?

It’s gonna be huge, with the theme being family this year. This is Delilah’s father, this is Robyn’s ex-husband, and that’s family for life. He just had to rescue his daughter from a potential dirty bomb that her mom is involved with. He’s aware of Robyn’s past, being military intelligence — that’s how they met, Doctors Without Borders, bullets flying over their heads — [but] he doesn’t know about the equalizing, and so he’s gonna put McCall in a precarious position: Is she gonna have to reveal that? Is she going to risk losing custody? He wants to know what’s happening, but it’s all about the love and care over their daughter. So he’s gonna become a big problem this season.

Queen Latifah as Robyn McCall in The Equalizer

Michael Greenberg/CBS

What can you tease about Colton Fisk (Donal Logue)?

He’s the ultimate spook. He’s, I won’t say Bishop 2.0, but he took it where Bishop didn’t want to take it. Bishop wasn’t willing to play the political games, where Colton mastered that game and took it to another level. He rose to levels of the CIA. If Bishop controlled the board from 30,000 feet, Fisk controls it from 50,000, just the moves around the world. He sees the value in McCall. He’s gonna play a pivotal role and he and Robyn are going to be at odds for a while. There’s gonna be some fireworks. His introduction to the world is one of the best I’ve seen. It’s fascinating the way it drops.

That wasn’t the last we saw of Brett Dalton, right?

Brett Dalton plays a pivotal role in what happens this season. He’s been a great addition. There’s a huge surprise somewhere around episode 305 this season and you’ll see him, you’ll see Fisk, you’ll see some great CIA-related episodes. He’s big in the season.

And Vi’s maybe going to find some happiness with her ex Trish (Gloria Reuben)?

She’s absolutely gonna find happiness. They put this on hold for so long and we were really excited to actually introduce her this season. We’ve talked about her a lot, and Gloria Reuben is just fantastic and an amazing actor and her and Lorraine Toussaint just light up the screen and we’d be remiss not to have her more. We’re gonna explore that relationship. We’re gonna see some of the moves that informed who Aunt Vi was and who she is now and how she got to be this magnificent woman you see in front of you. And we’re gonna get some of the history of how she got there.

But as they’re reconnecting, Vi will be keeping Robyn’s secret…

Absolutely. That’s part of the burden that McCall’s put on her family.

It’s not just what Robyn does, though — everyone gets caught up in it.

That’s part of the burden, and you’ll see in Episode 2 how that’s weighing on McCall. She says a bit of it in 301 where Mel rescues her at the van: “I got abducted in front of my family, what do I tell them?” That’s bothering her. That’s gonna resonate throughout the rest of the season. Can she keep this promise of keeping them safe and can she continue the duality of being the Equalizer and being a mom and a family member? These are constant problems.

Could the season end with her deciding to maybe give up being the Equalizer?

I’m not saying that, but I’m saying it’s going to be an issue for her to continue doing what she’s doing while trying to keep everyone safe. It’s gonna get to her.

The Equalizer, Sundays, 8/7c, CBS