Andrew Marlowe: We were lucky enough to get a straight-to-series pickup in January of last year without having shot a pilot. That’s extremely exciting and terrifying at the same time. When you haven't shot the show, you don't know what elements work or don’t work.
Right away, we had to solve the problem of how to take a franchise that has existed in different forms—from Michael Sloan and Richard Lindheim's original series in the 80s to the films starring Denzel Washington starting in 2014—and make it fresh.
When we started writing, we knew a key element was the reality of the world we're living in—a world where people across the political spectrum don’t trust the institutions that are meant to protect and defend them. They don’t trust the government, the courts, the cops. This is a relevant time to look at the Equalizer property, since it’s centered around someone outside the system who is willing to find justice for the little guy when there’s nowhere else to turn. Plus, once we knew Queen Latifah was involved, we felt like we had a big sandbox to play in. She brings so much to the roles she plays.
Terri Miller: Another key element was a black woman as the face of justice. And she’s not a superhero. We created a character who's a real person. She hurts when she’s hit, she has a family, she cares deeply and has tremendous empathy about the people that she encounters in the world, and as a former CIA operative, she has the skills necessary to help those people.
Lindheim was one of our executive producers, and he was so excited about our ideas and what Queen Latifah was bringing to the franchise. He was able to see the pilot before, sadly, he passed away. I was just so happy that he liked what we were able to do with the show.