After The Equalizer Addressed Antisemitic Hate, Star Adam Goldberg And Writers Break Down Harry's Message To The Attackers And Powerful Final Scene

Warning: spoilers ahead for the March 12 episode of The Equalizer, called “Never Again.”

The Equalizer never shies away from addressing difficult issues via the cases that McCall (Queen Latifah) and the team investigate, but the crimes of “Never Again” hit particularly close to home for Harry (Adam Goldberg). A local community in New York was terrorized by a series of antisemitic hate crimes, perpetrated by a group that not only attacked Jewish people within the community, but recorded their attacks to share with those who shared their hatred onlin. Goldberg as well as episode writers Adam Glass and Ora Yashar spoke with CinemaBlend to break down how Harry ultimately got the last word with this group and his cathartic final scene. 

“David Slays Goliath Every Time”

While Harry managed to find a way to prevent carnage at a synagogue, guaranteed that the antisemitic attackers would be arrested, and even outed the anonymous website users for their antisemitism to their employers and peers, it was a scarily close call, and very lucky that Harry got the last word. His parting shot to the hate group was to inform them that he hacked their “Nazi clownshow website,” and tell them: “Remember – we may be few, but David slays Goliath every time.” Adam Goldberg shared his thoughts on that particular moment for Harry: 

It's funny about that line, actually. I almost said I didn't want to say it, and I didn't tell them this, because it's sort of what I was getting at before which was that we found the perpetrators of this particular crime, but the much bigger problem obviously is still at large: antisemitism hate crimes. Since we shot the episode, there have been several incidents. I mean, it's incredible, and upticks. I think one of the things that people don't realize is that in the United States, antisemitism is second only to attacks on gay men. I mean, it's really incredible.

Goldberg had previously shared when he addressed his sense of responsibility about “Never Again” that this case for Harry was like “playing whack-a-mole with an enormous problem here that's hardly resolved” by the end of the episode. Harry and the team did get a win over these specific criminals in this specific case, but as the actor noted, that doesn’t mean a win every time. He continued: 

I kind of felt like 'Well, does David really slay Goliath?' And I guess in the end, it's more of a hopeful thing. I mean, that's sort of how I interpreted it, because we're still going and the slaying is the existing, is the still being there, however few the numbers actually are right. The Holocaust itself took a huge chunk out of the population. I can't remember what the numbers would be, but they'd be radically different were it not for the Holocaust. But still here, still fighting, still vocal. That's kind of how I view that.

A sense of hope was a way to end the very dark episode on an uplifting note, especially since Harry’s emotional journey still wasn’t over by that point. He’d go on to learn that his mother hadn’t just abandoned him due to a lack of love as a child, but because she struggled with what the rabbi described as “horrible bouts of depression” in an era when nobody really understood how to treat it. 

The writers also shared their takes on the idea of “David always slays Goliath” coming from Harry when the case was closed. Adam Glass, who is a co-showrunner on The Equalizer as well as co-writer of “Never Again,” was paired with fellow writer Ora Yashar when speaking with CinemaBlend, and he shared:

I think what was really interesting, Ora, is we always talked about this. We sort of knew we wanted Harry to win the day and we knew we wanted Harry to light the candle at the end. That we knew from day one, and then that line is Ora's line. Ora came up with that line. It was a great line, and it sort of perfectly fit the sentiment of what the episode was about.

Adam Glass echoed Adam Goldberg’s point about David slaying Goliath as a fitting sentiment of hope, and credited his fellow writer with coming up with how Harry got the last word in “Never Again.” Ora Yashar shared her own take on the idea, saying:

Definitely this idea of overcoming all obstacles, and the Jewish community has had to overcome so many times. It kind of feels like we're gonna continue to have to, and it's just continuous work. But yeah, I think it's definitely something we knew from the beginning.

As Adam Glass had noted, Harry winning the day against the antisemitic hate group in “Never Again” was the plan from the beginning, but that wasn’t the only thing that was in the works from the earliest stages. The final scene of Harry lighting a candle for his mother alongside Mel (Liza Lapira, who recently got a very big episode of her own) was always part of the plan.

Harry Lights A Candle And Says A Prayer

Harry had an eventful day in "Never Again," to say the very least, and he capped it off with a quiet moment that he shared with Mel as he lit a candle and said a prayer for his mother. Adam Goldberg addressed Harry’s motivation when he “discovers that his mother was troubled” and that she didn’t leave him because “she didn't love him and she didn't abandon him.” The actor continued:

He says this prayer, Kaddish, which is the Mourner's Prayer. That's a tough scene to shoot because... that could go either way. I don't know how it reads or not. I haven't watched it. I don't know if I will. But I know while shooting it I found myself really letting myself go there. It was to me not just the death of of this guy's mother that he's mourning, but an embracing of the Jewishness which he represented, of a heritage inside of him, which he I think disavowed in some ways, because he related it to to this mother of his that he felt that had abandoned him. For me personally, I just kind of really allowed myself to go there and really feel sad about what's been going on... I was deeply affected by it.

Adam Goldberg had not yet decided on whether or not he’d watch the scene, but I think it’s safe to say that it will be a standout for fans of the show. The actor portrayed a side of Harry that hadn’t been explored before, which is saying something since he’s been on board The Equalizer from the very beginning. Whether or not the show will continue to explore this side of Harry in Season 3 or beyond remains to be seen, but he was deeply affected by “Never Again.”

Adam Glass also weighed in on the candle scene with Adam Goldberg and Liza Lapira, revealing that the original vision for the scene was different from “the way [Goldberg] decided to do it.” The co-showrunner/co-writer reflected:

I remember we were on set with him that day, and he not only wanted to do it from an emotional place, [but] he wanted to do it from a place of like, 'I never said this prayer, right? So I don't know it that well.' And so there's a bit of [that in] the way he's doing it, the struggle as he's trying to read it. Liza has this moment where she touches his arm, and I thought it was really beautiful that he's also sharing this with someone he loves, who's not Jewish, and bringing her into the tradition. I thought it was a beautiful thing. It actually, in some ways, I thought was better than what we originally planned and thought of.

Adam Glass had previously shared that the background created for Harry in “Never Again” came from his own background as somebody who was “an Ashkenazi Jew and grew up in New York City.” For her part, Ora Yashar is a first-generation American whose family came from Iran, and this episode brought together the perspectives of herself, Adam Glass, and Adam Goldberg. She addressed the candle scene, saying:

I think there was this level of uncertainty that Adam brought to it, and it was a scary place for Harry to go, somewhere he hasn't been before, but he was willing. He was now willing to go there, so I think the moment came together really beautifully in that way.

Harry lighting the candle and saying a prayer was a poignant ending to a powerful episode, and the finished product of “Never Again” may go down as one of The Equalizer’s most memorable episodes. It’s certainly a standout of the show since its February return in the 2023 TV premiere schedule!

See what’s next for CBS’ drama with new episodes of The Equalizer on Sundays at 8 p.m. ET. If you can’t tune in live (or just want to revisit some earlier episodes), you can always catch up streaming with a Paramount+ subscription. The show is still going strong in Season 3, and serves as the lead-in to East New York as one of the network’s freshman dramas.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).