Edward Woodward and Adam Ant on the cover of Ant News Today, 1985
The Equalizer was a crime drama starring Edward Woodward (The Wicker Man‘s Sgt. Howie) as Robert McCall, a secret agent turned private detective. Like the contemporary Miami Vice, The Equalizer brought in guest-star musicians to play the sinister jerks peopling its slough of rank criminality.
Also like Miami Vice, it was considered racy. Comparing the two series’ depiction of “raw, sometimes shocking underworld grit,” the LA Times reported in October 1985 that “several advertisers pulled their sponsorship of the [recent Equalizer] episode titled ‘The Lock Box,’ which starred Adam Ant as a purveyor of bizarre and forbidden sex.”
Many full episodes of this morally corrosive, sexually perverting entertainment are now playing on the world wide internet, and collected here are the ones with famous rockers. Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz (not yet 20!) plays the title role in “Mama’s Boy,” in which he gets mixed up with such drug dealers as Alex Winter’s Jeffrey. John Cale of the Velvet Underground wears his Songs for Drella ‘do in the role of “Aryan Leader” in “Race Traitors.” David Johansen of New York Dolls and Buster Poindexter fame and Stewart Copeland of the Police (writer of the series’ theme song) appear in “Re-Entry.” Though I haven’t watched Meat Loaf’s performance as Sugar Fly Simon in “Bump and Run,” I’m sure it’s some of his best work. And Adam Ant forces nice young women into prostitution in “The Lock Box.” (I haven’t been able to find the Quentin Crisp or John Cameron Mitchell episodes, but they must be on the DVD set.)
Below, watch John Cale’s, ah, understated performance as a neo-Nazi in “Race Traitors”: