EXCLUSIVE: CBS‘ The Equalizer is on break until February, but Deadine has your exclusive first look at scenes from episode 308 introducing Mel’s (Liza Lapira) siblings to be portrayed by Camilla Mana and Trevor Salter.
In the final beats of Sunday nights episode titled “Paradise Lost,” Mel is hot on the trail of a mysterious stranger who she believes knows the whereabouts of her brother Edison (Salter) for reasons as yet unknown.
Lapira, who brings to life the bad ass former sniper and Robyn’s (Queen Latifah) ride-or-die, shares some insight into that scene, the Bayani family reunion, and what’s ahead when the show returns in early 2023.
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“Episode 307 ends on a cliffhanger, so we only know that [the stranger] is somehow involved [in Mel’s brother’s disappearance] and she is going on a rampage to take his friends down. She keeps him alive and conscious to pump him for information because clearly, he knows where her brother is,” Lapira teases.
“We find out in episode 308 that Mel’s brother may or may not be involved in some high-level money funneling with the mob. So the stranger from 307 is revealed to have been hired help from that group to help extract Edison,” she adds.
When Mel questions the stranger, her aggressive energy was giving major big sister vibes. Lapira confirms Edison is the youngest of the Bayani siblings and her reactions to him going missing was exactly what she was aiming for.
“One hundred percent, yes. Edison is the baby even though he’s like six foot two now,” she reveals with a laugh. “Once that role is set within a family, it doesn’t matter if the younger siblings are seven feet tall or the CEO of a major company— the older sibling is the older sibling. Within her family, Mel is the oldest girl and before her there’s an older brother in the military overseas in a pretty high ranking position. It would be so exciting if and when that older brother comes back, and the potential of maybe seeing Mel play the little sister role. It’s especially interesting to me since they have that military connection and maybe exploring if there’s tension between them since she left [the military].”
“I’m asking these questions as an audience member not knowing the answers. They haven’t written any of this and no ideas for it are on the table yet,” she adds.
Mel is a character not to be underestimated. When confronting the stranger who has information on her brother’s whereabouts, her aggression against him was different than what we see her get into when she’s tackling cases. Lapira revels in the moments she is able to add layers to the character, especially when she can pull from her own life experiences.
“These emotions come from my own life as an aunt, those protective big sister and young auntie vibes. It can get violent if you hurt someone in my tribe. The gloves are off and I’m going to hurt you like she literally does at the end of the episode” Lapira shares. “You’ll see more of that in 308, sure, but also the frantic desperation, the fear, and the emotional roller coaster coupled with the challenges Mel is facing [following her disagreement] with Robyn. You’ll see us working together as sisters, but we’re fighting. It’s kind of like, ‘I’m mad at you but I love you. Robyn is of course instrumental in helping find her brother.”
Mel and Robyn fell out after the latter discovers the former is training her daughter Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes) against her wishes. Oh, and mom had already told Dee she wasn’t ready for training a fact Mel was fully aware of.
“From Robyn’s point of view, I agree that you don’t mess with other people’s children. Even if you love them, the buck stops with mom,” Lapira says. “But if then you step into Mel’s shoes, she has these visceral memories of young soldiers around Dee’s age she didn’t help leaving them unprepared. She is of the mindset of if you want something done right you do it yourself, which is fine if we’re talking about cooking or doing your taxes. Things get very serious for Mel when it’s a life or death situation; she sees Dee seriously does need to be trained. Mel and Robyn are just not going to see eye-to-eye on this.”
She adds, “She eventually gets to a place where there’s not only acceptance of it, but Robyn welcomes it. We eventually to get to a place where Robyn gives the go ahead for Dee to train. In the end, we’re both protective mama bears quibbling over how to protect Dee, who is surrounded by strong women who love her.”
Outside of Mel’s familial drama, there are weekly cases that will need solving. And with the addition of Donal Logue as Colton Fisk, Lapira teases whether or not the characters could interact in later episodes.
“I would guess so—but this is just me guessing because nothing has come out yet. But based on how the writers and the showrunners are determined to open up the worlds and tear down the walls, I feel like it’s only a matter of time before I meet this guy. I’m curious as to what my relationship with him will be because, it was not good between me and Bishop [Chris Noth]. I think Mel’s relationship with Fisk will be determined by how we meet,” she says.
“The reason things did not go well with Bishop was because the first time I met him, he knocked me out!” she continued. “I’m a woman from New York and the first thing he did was knock me out and throw me in his car. So, no, I don’t care how good you are. And then, of course, there was that thing with my husband Harry [Adam Goldberg]. So with Fisk, I think context is gonna matter. If we meet and he doesn’t throw me in his car and he treats me like a person, he has a shot at winning my respect.”
Fans of Lapira won’t have to wait until the new year to see her in action. Up next, she will appear in the Paramount+ holiday film, Must Love Christmas, airing December 11. She plays character totally different from Mel, a romance novelist who is an expert at writing love stories set during the Christmas holiday. However, she is not so eager as her characters to be paired off before ending up caught in a real life love triangle.
Additionally, fans can catch up with The Equalizer via Paramount+.
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