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Movie Reviews

10 Best Shows Like The Equalizer

The Equalizer debuted as a crime thriller series with Edward Woodward playing the titular street vigilante. After Denzel Washington’s two movies, Queen Latifah leads the second reboot of the franchise playing Robyn McCall, the ex-CIA operative who dispenses justice in the streets.

With its third season having debuted this month, Latifah is back in action with her character balancing not only her crime-fighting life but also her family commitments as a single mother. The show is bound to lead viewers towards more such exciting reboots of classic television shows as well as those who enjoy narratives featuring such crime dramas.

A remake of the iconic Chuck Norris-led Walker, Texas Ranger, Walker finds Supernatural alumnus Jared Padalecki playing Cordell Walker, a local law enforcer in his Texan hometown. Returning after a two-year-long undercover mission, a lot has changed in his town and at home.

Cordell Walker’s dual charges as a law enforcer and a caring single father for his two children is what would connect with viewers of The Equalizer. Walker is also a worthy reboot adding a darker and more humanized touch to its lead character. The original otherwise tended to take a preachy and moralistic tone at times. The new series, on the other hand, adds a bit more grit.

True to the character’s comic book origins, ex-military man Frank Castle vows to become a brutal vigilante ever since he loses his family to gang violence. However, his hyperviolent journey to redemption finds him battling his own inner demons while the audiences are made to question the very morality of all the bloodshed that comes out of Castle’s new identity as The Punisher.

With Jon Bernthal’s emotionally moving take on Punisher, the Marvel show is a difficult to watch yet highly introspective. The dark overtones are way less hopeful than the themes of The Equalizer, but it is definitely worth a watch for fans of the vigilante genre.

Alias deals with the numerous conflicts that arise when an agent is forced to turn on their own agency. In the case of this iconic JJ Abrams show, Jennifer Garner plays a secret agent who upon discovering that her organization is a counter-government unit, decides to serve as a double agent for the CIA.

Even though the protagonist of The Equalizer has quit the CIA, Alias is an interesting look at the agency and its operatives. The double agent angle only fuels the adrenaline further.

Thomas Magnum returns in a new avatar with Jay Hernandez stepping into Tom Selleck’s shoes. The narrative of this Magnum P.I. reboot is virtually the same as the iconic ’80s original with army man Magnum leaving service and becoming a private detective.

Hernandez adds a fresh, light-hearted touch to the titular character straying away from Selleck’s machismo while not disrespecting the original character. TV shows like Magnum P.I. and The Equalizer only go on to show how yesteryear classics can be reinterpreted in modern times.

Gabrielle Union reprises her Bad Boys character in this spin-off series that adds Jessica Alba as her partner. The show is a typical entry in the buddy cop genre but still boasts enough charisma from its two leads to be a light-hearted break from the more melodramatic cop dramas.

Queen Latifah’s take on the titular vigilante in The Equalizer similarly adds a slight dose of humor and liveliness with the rapper-turned-actress’ dramatic prowess also coming to good use in the serious scenes. After the discussions on morality and crime in The Equalizer, if viewers need a relatively light-hearted thriller to binge on, LA’s Finest can be a good option.

The Nathan Fillion and Stana Katic-led show Castle incorporates serveral genres ranging from crime thriller to romantic comedy. The title refers to novelist Richard Castle who encounters Detective Beckett after a psychopath seems to be committing crimes based on Castle’s novels. As the unlikely duo investigate more cases, their professional liaison turns into a romantic one leading to several twists and turns.

While Castle is hardly similar in its themes with The Equalizer, the show is what drove the writer duo and real-life couple Andrew W Marlowe and Terri Edda Miller to mainstream success. Both served as writers and executive producers on the show and now continues this collaboration with The Equalizer. Revisiting Castle only goes on to show their creative versatility in offering different takes on the crime genre.

With a prophetic machine that can prevent crimes even before they can happen, a disillusioned ex-CIA agent and a mysterious billionaire join forces to serve as tech-vigilantes. The connection between surveillance AI systems and crime prevention makes Person Of Interest a pretty interesting pick for its times even before Mr. Robot revolutionized TV shows about tech crimes.

In The Equalizer, Robyn relies on her fighting skills and street justice instead of any tech knowhow. Still, her CIA experience and her commitment to serve justice even after giving up her credentials is a major thematic element that is shared by Jim Caviziel’s John Reese who has had experience in the Special Forces as well as the CIA but prefers living as a burn-out vagrant. It is his newfound role as a vigilante that gives him a sense of purpose.

The neo-Western Justified stars Timothy Olyphant as Raylan Givens, a US Marshall who is intent on delivering his own brand of righteous justice in his native town. However, despite, the protagonist exhibiting a touch of an Old West gunman, the show takes a deeper look behind his heroism.

Personal arcs are explored in Justified giving enough space to Givens’ strained relationships with his ex-wife and father. The Equalizer similarly touches upon Robyn’s personal tussles as she also has to be a good role model to her family when she’s not fighting crime.

One of Queen Latifah’s earliest mainstream successes, Living Single focused on the everyday personal and professional lives of six friends who share a New York brownstone apartment. Around the same time, many other sitcoms like Friends used such a similar setting somehow eclipsing Living Single. But still, the ’90s cult favorite is a classic worth revisiting for a simple and nostalgic watch.

While Latifah already has enough fans thanks to her hip-hop and cinematic pursuits, The Equalizer is bound to regenerate interest in her TV acting career. Living Single would make for a binge-able starting step.

A forensic genius by day and a serial killer vigilante by night, Michael C. Hall’s twisted antihero Dexter Morgan presents an interesting duality that continues to make his gray areas even grayer. While Dexter justifies his killing by punishing only criminals who evaded justice, viewers are still forced to question their loyalties with the legal and the illegal.

While The Equalizer‘s brand of vigilantism is still against the law, Robyn would hardly stoop down to the homicidal levels of Dexter. But with the moral questions that Dexter brings out, it serves as enough food for thought for aficionados of vigilante stories.

NEXT: 10 TV Shows From The 2000s That Deserve Reboots, According To Ranker

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