Why Queen Latifah Is So Passionate About CBS' 'The Equalizer' & Robyn McCall

Queen Latifah The Equalizer Robyn McCall
Preview
Barbara Nitke/CBS

Superstar Queen Latifah brings her quiet confidence and don't-mess-with-me vibe to this contemporary reimagining of the '80s TV thriller The Equalizer. She's Robyn McCall, an ex-CIA officer finished with a rigged system where only the privileged get justice.

"We see so many people with money and power doing whatever the hell they want," Latifah says. "You watch a story on the news and say, 'Someone should do something about that.' That's Robyn McCall."

Here are five more reasons the Oscar nominee is so passionate about the show:

1. This time, the Equalizer is a Black woman

Edward Woodward played Robert McCall in the original series; two films (2014, 2018) based on it starred Denzel Washington. "This is exciting for girl power, especially in this time where we see a lot of imbalance," says Latifah, who notes women are working at every level behind the scenes. 

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2. It's personal

Filming in her home state of New Jersey, on streets she walked down with her family, reminds Latifah of life lessons she learned from her father, a police officer: "How to respect guns, and stick up for people who couldn't stick up for themselves. As kids, my brother and I went through that, so we never liked bullies."

In the premiere, Robyn helps a young girl who's on the run, framed for a crime and watching her future slip away — someone who would've touched Latifah's late mother, a teacher.  

Queen Latifah The Equalizer Robyn McCall

(Barbara Nitke/CBS)

3. McCall's a boss at work but not at home

Latifah loves the juxtaposition of a woman who is aces professionally but flummoxed by her teen daughter (Laya DeLeon Hayes). "Robyn is not a superhero. She's strong, cool, skilled, tough but empathetic — and completely thrown off balance when dealing with her 15-year-old." Robyn's Aunt Vi (Lorraine Toussaint) helps. 

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4. She can really be part of the action

As an avid motorcyclist, Latifah's always ready to hop on Robyn's BMW, but it doesn't stop there: "We shoot, we run, we fight, things explode." 

5. Robyn doesn't work alone

McCall's former boss, William Bishop (Chris Noth), is a mentor: "He protects her; she protects him," Latifah says.

Queen Latifah Chris Noth The Equalizer Robyn McCall William Bishop

(Barbara Nitke/CBS)

And Robyn builds a team that includes martial arts expert and sniper Melody "Mel" Bayani (Liza Lapira) and hacker Harry Keshegian (Adam Goldberg). "Not everything is end-of-the-world. We laugh and have fun."

The Equalizer, Series Premiere, Sunday, February 7, after Super Bowl, CBS; Timeslot Premiere, Sunday, February 14, 8/7c