To fully appreciate The Equalizer’s love for Aunt Vi, just head over to social media Here, viewers tweet Lorraine Toussaint, the actress behind the character, countless posts full of awards and admiration.
Those same fans will be thrilled to know that their favorite supporting character has more to say and do when the Vigilante drama airs this Sunday (CBS, 8/7c) and features a subplot with Aunt Vi appearing on a dating Site is looking for love.
“As the season progresses, we see more and more of Aunt Vis’s backstory and a bigger vision of her, including her dating life,” Toussaint tells TVLine excitedly. “She’s a bohemian type of well-traveled girl. She has a date with men, she has a date with women, she is very open to her sexuality. Aunt Vi was probably a roadie.
“She’s been rolling with some rock and roll bands and has probably had several marriages that we don’t know about yet,” adds Toussaint. “She did everything from traveling with her guru in India to roadies for Sting.”
Aunt Vi is also the voice of reason in Robyn McCall’s house (Queen Latifah), which is home to three generations of black women. She’s a shoulder to lean on and the one Robyn’s daughter Delilah (Laya DeLeon Hayes) calls when she’s stuck in a traffic jam.
“Vi is a wonderful kind of modern Aunt Mame,” says Toussaint, referring to the 1958 film. “Every child needs an Aunt Mame like Aunt Vi. She’s the one who has questionable maternal instincts at times, but she’s fun and you can talk to her about anything. There is a kind of unconditional love that comes from Aunt Vi that can’t necessarily come from Robyn.
“I love this household and I grew up in such a household and enjoy it,” she continues. “Triangles are sometimes difficult to navigate in families, but that also makes for good drama. Fans have asked for more Aunt Vi and they will see a lot more of it. She always has the backs of Robyn and Delilah and often offers words of wisdom. “
It’s a kind of wisdom that helped the SAG Award-winning actress, whose career spanned nearly 40 years, stay grounded and loved growing up, she says.
“My mother got divorced and I was raised by generations of black women,” said Toussaint. “I’m divorced and my daughter is also raised by a village of black women. I think right now it’s very important to see non-traditional families. But even with all the current events, so much of the DNA structure of black families has been criticized and made malicious, and often these matriarchal houses are quite normal and caring within the black community.
“It’s nice to show that Delilah’s father is clearly very involved in her life,” she adds. “But this is our family unit and it is well known what is going on in the Black Community.”
Elsewhere in episode 7, titled “Hunting Grounds,” Robyn runs to find a marginalized black woman who has been kidnapped by a serial killer. The police could not connect the dots and take them seriously. The search also weighs on Robyn’s working relationship with Det. Marcus Dante (Tory Kittles) when things don’t go as planned.
“There are some big changes that will come in the next few episodes and fans will be very, very surprised,” Toussaint teases. “And these changes are really going to turn this small household upside down. There are some really fun things that get down to business, so this is the time to stay tuned. And we’re coming back for a second season, and that gives our storylines some degree of freedom to go further, which could normally happen in most first seasons. It’s not wrapped in a pretty little bow. Not at all.”
Scroll up to check out An exclusive look at Aunt Vi getting her dating groove back.