According to NJ Advance Media, Queen Latifah — who plays operative-turned-vigilante Robyn McCall on the series — was born in Newark, N.J., and grew up in the nearby city of East Orange. She also lived in Jersey City, N.J., for a time and used a historic firehouse in the city’s Powerhouse Arts District as a headquarters for her production company, Flavor Unit Entertainment, the site reports.
The show has filmed all over New Jersey — and New York, too.
According to IMDb, filming locations for The Equalizer include Jersey City and Paterson, N.J., as well as the New York City boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens. And a press release from New Jersey’s Department of State reveals that the standing sets for The Equalizer are housed in the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J., which is also where Queen Latifah filmed her 2010 rom-com movie Just Wright.
Stephanie Daniels, creative director of Jersey City’s film initiative, FilmJC, spotted Queen Latifah filming The Equalizer in Jersey City in November 2020. “She was just so chill, just friendly and talking to people,” Stephanie told NJ Advance Media.
Meanwhile, the real estate website Dirt identified the home Robyn shares with daughter Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes) and aunt Vi (Lorraine Toussaint) as a Victorian house in Jersey City. According to the site, that eight-bed, three-and-a-half-bath house dates back to 1910 and encompasses 4,367 square feet. (Seems like “equalizing” pays off for Robyn!)
‘The Equalizer’ has saved millions through New Jersey’s film tax credit.
By filming in the Garden State, The Equalizer is benefiting from the New Jersey Film & Digital Media Tax Credit Program, which Governor Phil Murphy signed into law in July 2018.
“This is great news and is exactly the type of activity we envisioned when we reinstated the film and television tax credit two years ago,” the governor said in December 2020, after The Equalizer started filming in N.J., per Jersey’s Best.
“A network series filming in New Jersey can generate millions of dollars in economic activity and create hundreds of local jobs for our residents, not to mention showcasing New Jersey’s diverse landscape,” he added. “This one has the added benefit of showcasing New Jersey’s own Queen Latifah.”
And NJBIZ reported in July 2020 that The Equalizer had already received $33 million in tax breaks from the state.
Murphy expanded the tax credit in January 2020, renewing the coverage through July 2028. Other recent Hollywood productions that have filmed in the state recently include the acclaimed drama films Joker and The Trial of the Chicago 7, the action movie Army of the Dead, the miniseries The Plot Against America, and the upcoming movie musical West Side Story.
The Equalizer airs on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET on CBS.