Edward Woodward Saluted in The Equalizer Limited Edition

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The Equalizer, The Complete Series Limited Edition

Got a problem? Odds against you? Call The Equalizer. 212-555-4200.

Back in the 80s, those action packed nights of television drama, Robert McCall (Edward Woodward) was a sort of one-man A-TEAM. Disillusioned with his former career as a secret agent, McCall chose to retire and start standing up for the little guy. No situation was too large and no situation too small (although the smaller ones usually turned into subplots, while the larger ones drove the episode). Whether you were a high school kid being bullied or your invention has been stolen by a corporate giant, whether the bad guys are international terrorists or just a crumb-bum of a slumlord, anyone who called upon The Equalizer and truly needed him found him at their side -- and the fee was always quite reasonable.

Edward Woodward made the character of Robert McCall a standout among the action figures of the era. He was older, but he wasn't feeble. He was polished, but not effete. He used his brains first, effectively, but wasn't afraid to use physical intimidation. He was a combination of action hero and gentleman, from the school of David Niven and Michael Caine. And this massive DVD collection, THE EQUALIZER: THE COMPLETE COLLECTION LIMITED EDITION recognizes that. This set goes far beyond collecting the four seasons of THE EQUALIZER. There's a fifth case here dedicated solely to Edward Woodward. Yes, there's "The Story of the Equalizer" that includes interviews with Woodward as well as co-stars Keith Szarabjaka and Billy Zabka, a photo gallery, and an exceptional booklet encapsulating the series. There's also an entirely separate series collected here: CI5: THE NEW PROFESSIONALS, which takes up four discs of the bonus set. And capping things off there's a movie, A CONGREGATION OF GHOSTS, which starred Woodward as The Reverend Frederick Densham in his last filmed role before his death in 2009.

As with any series collected onto DVD, the stories must by nature share the foibles of the era in which they were created. THE EQUALIZER is quintessentially 80s, including the hair, fashion, music (the series' theme was composed by The Police's Stewart Copeland), and the apparent dearth of actors who could portray a convincing teen in a gritty drama. McCall's employment of a miniaturized reel-to-reel player/recorder was high-tech at the time, but seems almost quaint when viewed in retrospect. However, the fashion and technology doesn't detract from the human element of these stories, which is just as relevant today as it was then.

One of the particularly fun things when viewing a series from a few decades past is identifying the guest stars who went on to become bigger players in Hollywood. One episode here features a guy who'd just given up his job as a shoe salesman, in his second filmed appearance anywhere; today, Kevin Spacey is a household name. He wasn't the only up-and-comer to either need the help of The Equalizer (or present him a problem). Other actors included 8-year-old Macaulay Culkin, Vincent D'Onofrio, John Goodman, Laurence Fishburne, Ving Rhames, Steve Buscemi, Oliver Platt, Stanley Tucci, Melissa Joan Hart, and so many more people you'll be able to point to with an astonished, "Oh my God! I know that person!"

For some old-school spy action, heroic altruism, and feel-good 80s-era television, this professionally packaged set, with its compelling exterior design, is an excellent and attractive addition to your DVD collection.

4.5 / 5.0