Liza Lapira Teases Mel’s Tense Family Reunion on ‘The Equalizer’

Liza Lapira Teases Mel’s Tense Family Reunion on ‘The Equalizer’

Liza Lapira Teases Mel’s Tense Family Reunion on ‘The Equalizer’

Last we saw Mel (Liza Lapira) on The Equalizer, she was demanding to know where her brother, Edison (Travis Salter), is.

Now, in the winter premiere, “He Ain’t Heavy,” she’s in for a tense family reunion with her disapproving sister (Camilla Mana) as they race against the clock to save him. But that mystery isn’t the only thing the team must deal with; there’s the matter of the fallout of Mel and Robyn’s (Queen Latifah) fight about training Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes).

Lapira previews Mel’s family reunion and teases what’s ahead for her and Harry (Adam Goldberg).

Last we saw Mel, she was looking for her brother. What’s going on?

Liza Lapira: Her brother has been carjacked — or it appears to be a carjacking — but it ends up that he was targeted and taken as hostage for a very thought out, nefarious reason. Mel just think that he’s disappeared [at first].

How is the person that Mel is when it comes to her family and being around them different from who we’ve seen her be? Because everyone is a little different around family.

It’s true. This episode gets to explore her sibling dynamics. What’s exciting about this episode is it opens up Mel’s family can of worms. We find out that she has three siblings, two of which appear in this episode. We find out the family dynamics between her and those siblings. She’s got two brothers and a sister. Things are tense with her sister. They just fundamentally don’t agree on life choices. Her baby brother is the one that she has a special connection to, he’s her best friend, and that’s the sibling that is in danger. So that’s exciting about this episode, that you can get a look into the Bayani family and hopefully they’ll be more of them to come.

And then as far as how she’s different, Mel has been set up to be this really protective, justice-oriented character. She has to be as McCall’s right hand woman, as it were, but with her family, I think it’s just a heightened version of that. It’s her inclination to use her military wherewithal to do the right thing, but it’s maybe tensioned with a little bit more emotion and desperation when it comes to her family.

Things are tense right now between Mel and Robyn because of her training Delilah, and it’s hard to see those two at odds. How does that affect how they work together here? Because just if they put things aside doesn’t mean that the problem just goes away.

It’s not good. We literally ended the winter finale with them having a big fight — the biggest we’ve had in the series. I don’t think we’ve ever had a disagreement this large or at all. So it’s not good. And immediately after that disagreement — which by the way, they both think that they’re 100 percent right because the argument is about protecting Delilah and they just disagree on the how of it — before either of them have a chance to recover or process it, Mel gets that call about her brother and they immediately go into search and rescue mode.

So there’s tension there, but you see that they’re both committed to each other and committed to helping each other in a really primitive way. So we kind of both go into work mode and we get the job done and then we end still unresolved.

Mel and Harry have been one of the best relationships on TV since the series premiered. What do you enjoy most about that relationship?

I enjoy that we have fun with each other. Harry and Mel banter, they tease each other, they love and support each other. I enjoy that they’re both individual characters that can exist in this world with their own skillset and independent of each other. But at the same time, they are interdependent. They work together well. They work separately and together as a unit. But mostly it’s just a lot of fun. We have a lot of fun with each other.

What’s coming up for them?

Mel gets to support Harry as he deals with his own stuff. There’s some revelations about his family and his old neighborhood gets attacked and we as a unit then go and try to fight that. That episode is about anti-Semitism, and we get to see Mel support him and his story and his struggles with his history, his family history, and his old neighborhood being terrorized basically.

The Equalizer, Sundays, 8/7c, CBS

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