‘The Equalizer’: Liza Lapira Warns ‘It Doesn’t Get Good’ Between Mel & Robyn Anytime Soon

Liza Lapira in 'The Equalizer'
Spoiler Alert
Michael Greenberg/CBS

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Equalizer Season 3 Episode 8 “He Ain’t Heavy.”]

The good news: Mel (Liza Lapira) saves her brother Edison (Travis Salter) in the latest episode of The Equalizer, with help from Robyn (Queen Latifah). The bad news: Things are still tense between the women.

Could that change soon? They’d fought over Mel training Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes) behind Robyn’s back, but now she’s on board. Still, as Robyn admits to Dante (Tory Kittles), she’s struggling to move past what she sees as a betrayal. But hey, at least Mel’s relationship with her sister Ruby (Camilla Mana) is looking up now that her siblings have an idea of what she really does after she used her skills to rescue Edison.

Lapira teases what’s ahead for Mel and Robyn as well as her family.

How’s Mel feeling at the end of the episode now that her siblings have at least an idea of what she really does? Relieved, right?

Liza Lapira: Yeah, she is relieved. I think it ends on an upwards note. I think her relationship with her brother is stronger than it’s ever been and you get to see how much she adores him, the real baby brother, big sister of it all. And then the audience gets to see her relationship with her sister somewhat repaired. We all make a pact to not tell her parents. So we’re together in the lie or continuing of the lie of omission of what Mel is actually doing with her life. And it’s just a harbinger of more family storylines to come.

My favorite part — well, there’s many favorite parts — of the show is it walks so many lines in terms of, there’s the procedural aspect, there’s the storylines that are not really explored as much or as in depth as the showrunners and writers do in the show, and then the fact that it centers on this family, the three women, Aunt Vi [Lorraine Toussaint], Robyn, and Delilah. You get three generations and you get the love in that house and you get to see three very different strong Black women loving each other and supporting each other. And to see that branch out into the other character’s family — Dante, his father, his mother, Mel, her siblings, and hopefully her parents at some point soon, Harry [Adam Goldberg], finding out about his history — I just think exploring the family theme of it all is going to be really exciting for the series going forward.

I need more scenes with Mel and Aunt Vi.

I do too! I do too. I was thinking about it. I get to be with Delilah, that’s obviously delightful. And then I’ve gotten to work with Dante and there’s more of that in this season. But I’ve just had a little bit with Aunt Vi and we seem to get along well. So I think there’s going to be more of that.

Speaking of the families, now I want to see a family dinner with Mel’s entire family and her parents not knowing and then Robyn’s family. That could be a really fun episode.

That’s a great idea. I’m going to tell the writers. I love that idea. We had one family dinner episode at the McCall house. I think it would be a great callback to that if the Bayanis came over.

Tory Kittles, Liza Lapira, and Queen Latifah in 'The Equalizer'

Michael Greenberg/CBS

And then if you throw Dante in because he’s just getting to know the truth about everything…

That’s right. And Vi trying to get the two of them together — she’s constantly pressuring Robyn to go out with him, as am I. So yeah, it would almost turn into a romantic comedy or a family movie.

You said you want to see more with Mel’s family, so is there anything planned coming up or are we going to hear about maybe Mel in contact with her sister more now because they are fixing things?

I don’t know what has been written thus far. I know we’re close to the end. If not this season, then definitely the next. I would imagine that with her baby brother in particular, because they have established that they’re the closest, that maybe he’s the one that she talks to for real of her family, that really bears all her struggles or her doubts about what she’s doing.

There’s an older brother that they refer to that he’s overseas and a military guy. And I wonder if at some point he’s going to come back from being overseas and if there’s going to be either an allyship or a conflict because if he’s a military guy, what Mel is doing is technically illegal, even though it’s for the good of others. So that’s a source of something either good or bad between her and that sibling.

Robyn’s agreed to let Delilah train with Mel. So how is that going to go this time now that it’s out in the open?

Now it’s going to be great because everybody knows about it. It’s above board. Nobody has to hide anything. It can be a real family endeavor. McCall can do it. Dante can do it. I can do it. Now that the gates have been open, she can be trained by anybody and she can be trained well.

Things are unresolved between Mel and Robyn though. So what is that dynamic in the next episode?

It’s not good. And it doesn’t get good for several episodes.

Oh, that’s going to be painful.

Yeah. I actually had a bone to pick with both the character of Robyn and the writers because I jokingly said, “What’s up with that? It takes her like three episodes to forgive me. Meanwhile, she gets into an argument with Dante and then by the end of the episode, 30 minutes later, they’ve made up. “And I’m like, “what is with the standard happening here?”

I guess the closer you are someone, the more it hurts.

That’s exactly it. That’s really insightful. That’s like psychotherapy insightful. Yes, you’re right. [Laughs]

What else is coming up for Mel?

There’s so many stunts, going into the field. There’s been a progression. First season, it seemed like the writers used Mel’s sniping skills a lot. And it slowly progressed to now Mel’s doing a lot of hand-to-hand combat, a lot of having Robyn’s back quite literally. She goes into the field. I’m the muscle and I just love the visual. I just love that I’m the muscle because it subverts so many visual assumptions. I’m the 5-foot-2 woman muscle and I’m doing the job really well. Well, Mel is. Liza doesn’t, but Mel does.

And the thing is, anytime that Mel gets in a fight, I expect her to win.

[Laughs] For the most part. Not to give him anything away, but there’s a couple moments where she does need to be bailed out. But there’s a lot more choreography for sure. There’s a lot more training with the stunts team, which is so much fun. First season, they had me out shooting just so I could get used to it. And this season, anytime there’s a confrontation or a really physical scene, it’s highly choreographed. There’s a whole team that designs it and helps show me what it is and then I get to rehearse it. So it’s really fun.

The Equalizer, Sundays, 8/7c, CBS