If you listen carefully to Robyn McCall’s teenage daughter Delilah on CBS’s The Equalizer (Sundays, 8/7c), she might sound familiar.
That’s because Laya DeLeon Hayes, the young actress who plays Delilah, voiced the title character in Disney Junior’s Doc McStuffins until last year. Now she’s using the same cute voice to give her mom Robyn (played by Queen Latifah) all the snark and back chat she can handle and more.
Fortunately, there is more to Delilah than just Sass. And when the revised procedure airs on Easter Sunday, fans will find out what the teen did when she volunteered at the local juvenile detention center. Episode 6, titled “The Room That It Happens In,” is a recall to the pilot when Robyn punished Delilah for shoplifting and lying by making her give back to the community and help girls her age who find it going less well.
“That whole scene was a really important scene when we went to the detention center because Delilah was very privileged compared to these girls,” DeLeon Hayes told TVLine. “And she didn’t have her mother with her. So she believes that she can get away with certain things that are really not good for her and that, given the color of her skin, could also put her in very dangerous situations. And I think that we had that scene was just very important. “
Since Delilah hasn’t spent enough time with her mother, a former CIA employee, she’s constantly testing the limits.
“It is one of the first times that Delilah really understands her mother,” adds the one-time Texan. “We get a lot of intimate and emotional scenes with Robyn and Delilah and that’s the beginning of them. And I think it was the perfect start. As a black girl, you think you can do certain things that your white friends or white co-workers can and you cannot. There are just always different consequences and it’s good that we noticed that very early on in the series. “
Delilah also has a civic side, as shown in Episode 4, “It Takes a Village” when she took over town hall to fix a pothole. She’s also curious about what her mom really does for a living, and caught Robyn, a shady but benevolent fixer for people who can’t go to the police, in a lie or two. Viewers can also expect more from these types of exchanges.
“We have a heated scene that we did in episode 106. After that, Queen said, ‘You did that. You made me believe that you were really mad at me. ‘But we always hug and joke after scenes like this, ”reveals DeLeon. “Delilah is causing a lot of trouble, a little more than we’ve seen from her before. And she has a girlfriend on this episode too, which is going to be exciting. “
“I love seeing Delilah with other 15 year olds her age,” she continues. “She won’t just hang out with her family and have an attitude towards her mother. You will also see more of her compassionate side and also that she tries to do things with that compassion that are not always best for her. You’ll see a lot more of that kind of energy in the upcoming episodes, as if she were interested in politics. “
Unlike CBS ‘original The Equalizer, which aired from 1985 to 1989 and played the late Edward Woodward as a retired CIA agent, Latifah’s character is a divorced woman who lives with her daughter and aunt Vi (Lorraine Toussaint). She has a former handler, William Bishop (Chris Noth) who helps and two pals (Liza Lapiras Mel and Adam Goldberg’s Harry) who have her back. But, as Latifah noted, she’s especially proud of what Toussaint and Hayes bring to the show.
“We see three generations of black women, not just one,” she says. “The world has to see how life is for us.”
DeLeon agrees. “We don’t see this on TV very often,” notes the Raven’s Home alum. “I know so many aunts and even grandmothers who have really played a vital role in raising children with single mothers. The fact that we can show black women how to do it on television, especially network television, is so important. Queen is a great equalizer and I knew she would be from the first script on. And Lorraine Toussaint is amazing as Aunt Vi. I love seeing all the tweets about her. “
The equalizer also challenges and enriches DeLeon, she says. For example, in episode 2, “Glory,” she had to show off her rap skills, an unexpected opportunity that still makes her smile.
“I didn’t know I could rap,” says DeLeon with a chuckle. “I had to bet and they said, ‘In this next episode, we want you to rap.’ And I said, “Rap? I’m not going to say no.” And that episode was so much fun. That was a great time. They trusted me a lot on the show, which is great.
“We filmed that part of it when we were doing the show before we got the response from Queen,” she recalls. “So she wasn’t there when we shot the actual performance scene. Then she watched the end of our shooting and gave me her consent. She said, ‘Girl, you did that. You did that. ‘This is Queen Latifah we’re talking about, so I have to be pretty good. “
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