Black female action stars used to be a staple of pop-culture, from Teresa Graves in the 1974-1975 ABC crime drama Get Christie Love! to Pam Grier's 1970s Blaxploitation films. During the Blaxploitation era, Black women were “seen as more built for bodily strength, and it was less of a risk to put them in those action roles,” said Jeffrey Brown, associate professor of popular culture at Bowling Green State University, in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. But when that era passed, he said, Hollywood found it more fashionable to cast “glamorous, petite, upper-middle-class white women as action stars. They supplanted the Black women who had paved the way.” Andrew Marlowe, who co-created The Equalizer reboot with Terri Miller, is excited that viewers will finally be able to root for a Black female action hero again. “It’s long past time to be able to see these characters on TV in these roles,” said Marlowe. “It’s an exciting cultural moment. We hope that in doing so, the show can find its success and we can normalize it. It’s very odd that we haven’t been able to see this before. Black women should be portrayed as the interesting, warm, powerful, complicated people that they are.”
The Equalizer shows CBS has been listening to critics of its "copaganda" shows: "The Equalizer is one of the first CBS procedurals to premiere since last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests," says June Thomas. "Back then, some critics dinged CBS, which has long dominated the ratings with cop-worshipping dramas, for the network’s tepid response to the racial reckoning. This show, which features a Black Robyn Hood at its center, and a Black male cop whose commitment to justice has him chafing against the system he’s part of, was greenlighted before George Floyd was killed, but its timing couldn’t be better."