With the shocking events from the end of Season 2 hanging over everyone’s heads, The Equalizer returns to deal with the fallout in its Season 3 premiere, Sunday, Oct. 2 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.
In case you’re not following the action-packed adventures of Queen Latifah’s Robyn McCall, the second season ended with the former CIA operative being kidnapped by a mysterious group of armed attackers. Her daughter Delilah, played by Laya DeLeon Hayes; and aunt Vi, played by Lorraine Toussaint; were left in the middle road, struggling to deal with what just happened.
With the stakes so high, Robyn’s carefully crafted worlds will collide as her friends and family come together to save her. The cast of The Equalizer spoke with The Root about what to expect from Season 3, what real-world issues the show will tackle next, and what it’s like to have actual scenes with one another. But before we get to all the fun Season 3 hints, we’ve got an exclusive first look at the premiere episode. This short video gives us a quick glimpse at Robyn’s dangerous situation and the first meeting between Mel and Vi.
From the minute they found out about Robyn’s CIA past and her work as a vigilante, Delilah and Vi’s worst fear has been that something horrible would happen to her. Since she’s seen firsthand how important it is for McCall to be out there helping people, Vi understands why her niece’s work is necessary. However, that doesn’t mean she’s not still torn about the danger.
“It’s one thing to theorize what Robyn is doing and what she’s up to, how well she’s trained, the tools her history has given her. This is superhero time. If I was suddenly living with a superhero, I would, in theory, have the capacity to understand it,” Toussaint said of her character, Vi. “But coming face to face with the reality of what we saw at the end of the last season and what we’re seeing in this season, it is sobering. I think Vi has the capacity to romanticize the good that Robyn does. But the danger and violence that’s associated with it, I think still is beginning to dawn on her and that’s going to take some adjustments.”
For Laya DeLeon Hayes, who plays Delilah, Robyn’s kidnapping came at the worst possible time for the teenager. With help from her mom’s team, she took on the role of equalizing a problem for a friend who was the victim of revenge porn. The situation brought her and her mom closer and helped her understand McCall’s world.
“Helping her friend out was the first time she really understood what her mom does. It also is the first time that she even felt that she wanted to do more for her friends and other people. That all comes crashing down shortly after, because of the cliffhanger we left everyone on in Season 2,” Hayes said. “Season 3 we’re picking up right where we left off. And Delilah, the difference between the past few seasons and now is she’s going to want to take agency and become this baby equalizer that maybe at first she didn’t really understand. Now she finds inspiration in her mother because of that. I’m very excited not only to play with that this season but also for audiences to see.”
One of the special aspects of The Equalizer is the relationship between Robyn, Vi and Delilah. It’s really beautiful how these three generations of Black women live together, support one another and are constantly learning from each other. It’s an element of Black families we don’t usually get to see on TV.
“They love each other, but they also happen to like each other. Each of them has an authentic voice that is heard inside of this family, which, in many ways, is an ideal alternative family unit,” Toussaint said. “I love the fact that we don’t surrender our authority in this family. We don’t sacrifice it to be friends with Delilah or to be friends with each other. So mom is so mom, Aunt Vi is still Aunt Vi and the baby is still the baby—but the baby got a voice.”
As everyone works to get McCall home, her police contact, Detective Dante; along with her team, Harry and Mel; as well as her family will all finally meet. This means the cast members, who’ve been in separate stories for the first two seasons, finally get to have scenes together. It’s something everyone I spoke with was very excited about.
“It’s like McCall has been the glue throughout all of this. She is the center of everybody’s world. And the only way that these people are able to relate or know one another is because of her,” Hayes said. “Aunt Vi doesn’t know Detective Dante fully, not in the way that Delilah does. Same with Mel and Harry, she hasn’t really experienced them either, which is gonna be fun. That’s gonna be great in this third season. You’re gonna see a lot of characters who don’t usually have conversations with one another, actually be able to have conversations and scenes together. So you’ll have to see how that plays out. For me, it’s been a joy to work with more of the actors on our set. Because for Season 1 and Season 2, we were still so isolated from one another. And in Season 3, we’ve actually had to have some fun with our scene.”
The show excels at working real-world issues into its weekly cases. Something that the cast is particularly proud of is that the series will tackle gun violence this season. Liza Lapira, who plays Robyn’s friend Mel, is happy they will take on such a complicated issue in a “truthful” way. There will also be episodes focused on the opioid crisis and violence against women.
The Equalizer Season 3 premieres Sunday, Oct. 2 at 8:30 p.m. on CBS.