The Equalizer (2021)

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
The Equalizer (2021) TV Poster Image
Crime-fighter reboot has strong lead, predictable plots.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Fighting crime and helping underserved people get equal treatment in an unequal criminal justice system are major themes, as well as things like systematic racism, death, and divorce. 

Positive Role Models

Robyn McCall is a strong, smart Black woman who wants to redeem herself by helping people after being part of an organization that hurt so many. A divorced mother, she loves her daughter but has been away a lot due to her career. Her daughter Delilah is rebellious but overall is a teenager trying to cope with difficult circumstances. Not all the people Robyn works with do work that's legal, but they aren't trying to harm good people. 


Physical fights and shootings with guns and automatic rifles are visible, but blood is limited. Brief scenes of violent torture tactics like waterboarding visible. Teen stealing, incarceration discussed. Deportation and death of parents are discussed.


Subtle references to sexual behavior, and on occasion some flirting. 


Words like "hell," "ass," and "damn" are audible throughout each episode. 


Occasional references to brands and stores like Starbucks.  

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Drinking and bars are visible. References to adult drug use, as well as underage drinking and pot smoking. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this adaptation of The Equalizer features a strong Black female lead (Queen Latifah) in the iconic lead role of an unconventional justice seeker. There's lots of visible violence, ranging from point-blank shooting (some blood is visible) to physical fights and torture tactics like waterboarding. There are subtle references to sexual behavior, and on occasion some flirting. Discussions are had about inappropriate teen behavior like underage drinking, pot smoking, and stealing. The language can get strong ("ass," "damn"), and adult drinking is shown. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byGandJ March 1, 2021
4 episodes in and my 13yr old daughter and I are enjoying this show. She has seen all the Marvel movies, so violence and content wise this is no worse than thos...
Parent of a 17-year-old Written bybryofgod February 16, 2021

Like the original, it’s fine!

My spouse will love this series; I think it’s okay, just too formulaic. We both love seeing Queen Latifah & Chris Noth again.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

THE EQUALIZER, a reboot of the popular 1980s series, stars Queen Latifah as Robyn McCall, a former CIA operative seeking redemption by using her skills to secretly help people who need it. After becoming disillusioned, McCall quit her covert CIA job and appears to be living an ordinary life with her 15-year-old daughter, Delilah (Laya Hayes), and her Aunt Vy (Lorraine Toussaint). But with the help of best friend and club owner Melody "Mel" Bayani (Liza Lapira), tech genius Harry Keshigian (Adam Goldberg), and former CIA operative William Bishop (Chris Noth), she goes out of her way to help innocent people who get caught in the middle of dangerous criminal operations. But Detective Marcus Dante (Terry Kittles) of the NYPD is a little unclear about what she does, or how she does it. 

Is it any good?

This second adaptation in the universe of The Equalizer isn’t produced to look or feel exactly like the other franchise installments, which includes the original series as well as the movies starring Denzel Washington. Queen Latifah successfully plays Robyn McCall as a strong, intelligent single mother who wants the best for her daughter, as well as for the people she is helping. Meanwhile, the folks she identifies as needing her help are mainly Black and Latinx individuals as well as those from other underrepresented communities, victims of systematic racism and other biases. 

Despite these contemporary details, the overall show offers the same type of formulaic drama as other shows in the genre. Each episode's plotline is just elaborate enough to ensure that the innocent victims unwittingly caught up in any illegal activities are completely trapped in their situation, and to require McCall's sharp, tough-as-nails military and CIA training to infiltrate and bring wrongdoers to justice. It also has the standard eclectic team of colleagues helping McCall out, and just enough physical violence to give it some edge. The result is a show that looks different, feels predictable, but shines in the classic action sequences.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the fact that Queen Latifah is only the fifth Black woman in the history of U.S. television to play the lead role in an hour-long network drama. Why do you think there have been only five Black women to do so since the 1940s? What other ways have Black women been represented on television through history? 

  • What is it that makes The Equalizer franchise so popular? Is it the lead character? The plotlines? 

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love action

Character Strengths

Find more TV shows that help kids build character.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate