The Equalizer kicks off with a young girl locking up a diner. When she heads out into the alley, a man comes running. Suddenly, two men show up and shoot him dead. The two men go after her, and she hides under the bar. They have to leave because of the police, leaving the young girl terrified.
The next day, the detective on the case, Dante, shows up at the scene of the crime. The young girl is still at the diner, and he brings her in to talk about what happened. He’s pulled aside to be shown security footage, which shows the girl shooting the victim and not the two men. When he walks back out, the girl is gone.
Queen Latifah’s Robin has been running a charity (supposedly), but now she’s staying home to raise her teenage daughter, Delilah. While she’s out shopping with her daughter, a man comes up and bumps into her. He drops her a note to meet him at Wonder Wheel at 10 p.m. The man, William Bishop, tells her that the CIA wants her back, and they’re going to offer her anything to make peace with her. He also tells her that she can come work for him in private security if she wants. Robin is hesitant. Something happened in the past in Venezuela, and she’s haunted by the people she couldn’t save.
The young girl from the diner, Jewel, is on the hunt for a new ID so she can get out of town. She heads to the amusement park where Robin is, and Robin is immediately suspicious when she sees the girl with an older man. When Jewel tries to leave, the men won’t let her go. Robin shows up and confronts the men. She gives them the opportunity to let the girl go and leave, but they laugh at her. They pull out their guns, and she owns them. It’s Robin’s world, and they better be glad they’re still living in it.
Robin agrees to help Jewel. Robin brings her to a secret apartment. Robin’s associates, Mel and Harry, wonder why she’s going to such great lengths to save this girl. Robin believes Jewel’s story and doesn’t want her to get caught up in something that could destroy her. Robin and her associates begin investigating. Robin manages to get herself out of a building she was looking into before it explodes. Despite the danger, she doesn’t stop trying to get answers. Even though she was explicitly told to stay put, Jewel shows up at her scholarship interview. When she does, she’s picked up by the police. Later, Robin breaks her out of police custody, and they take off on Robin’s motorcycle.
Robin’s investigation leads her to Reese Pruitt, a tech entrepreneur. She confronts him about the man who was killed, and he doesn’t give up any information. She taps into his phone, and he reveals to his team that he wants her dead. Robin gets a tip and heads to a library where she finds an SD card. Before she can take off, Robin is knocked out by the men who killed the man at the beginning of the episode.
When she wakes up, the men tell her that she’s going to die tonight. They waterboard her and probe her with questions. They admit to killing the victim, and that’s when the tables turn. She has backup and didn’t signal for them to come in until she had their confessions. William Bishop shows up to take care of them, and he tells Robin to go finish Reese. She goes after Reese and takes him down. While trying to bargain with her, he says everyone has a price. “Not me,” she says.
After the case is closed, she takes Jewel to her scholarship interview. Later, Robin admits to her daughter that she stole a car when she was a teenager. She got lucky with the judge and doesn’t want her daughter to take unnecessary risks like she did. Meanwhile, Detective Dante begins to pull information on Robin as she sends an anonymous message out to those who may need her help.