You’re Steele the One for Me – 2


We left Laura and a young man observing the funeral of … somebody.


Laura still is concerned for the young man. “Mike … if there’s anything else I can do …”

Aha. His name is Mike. That’s a little surprising.

He tells her to wait and goes to the coffin.


Uh, oh. Looks like we have a funeral crasher! (Whoever could it be?)


Why, it’s an impeccably dressed Mr. Steele! He takes Laura’s hand in his. “Laura. What can I say? I came just as soon as I heard. Tell me. What it – someone very close to you?”


Laura looks … happy (?) … to see him. “What are you doing here?” she exclaims.


“A hand to hold, a shoulder to cry on, whatever I can give. You mustn’t try and block your feelings,” he declares.


Laura is NOT comforted by his presence. “They’re not my feelings,” she explains, snatching back her hand. (Side note: Reminds me of Eaz’s observation about hand touching in the tag to the previous episode.)


Oh, and by the way, Mr. Seele: “Aren’t you supposed to be at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon right now?”


Turns out, Mr. Steele doesn’t like Chamber of Commerce luncheons. “Man can only doodle on his napkin for so long, Laura. The speeches were beginning to bore me to death.”

Oops. Not the place for gallows humor, Mr. Steele.


“Oh. Sorry.”


“That’s all right,” she reassures him. Anyway, Mr. Steele called Bernice, who mentioned something about a funeral, and naturally he assumed …


“Oh, naturally,” she agrees. Although we can’t see their hands (Hey! Film editor! What’s the dealio?), it appears to me as though Laura pats Steele’s hand at this point. She doesn’t seem irritated any more. Could it be that she realized Mr. Steele is doing a nice thing here? That’s he’s genuinely concerned about her sorrow? Or maybe she’s just sat through too many Chamber of Commerce lunches herself.


Mike is at the coffin. He says … something. Presumably in Japanese.


Laura fills Mr. Steele in on the case. “His brother from Japan called to say he was at the airport. But when Mike went to pick him up, he was gone. I told him I thought the police would probably be his best bet, but he sounded so worried, I thought the least I could do was make a few calls.” Thanks for the exposition, Laura!

“And?” Steele prompts.

“And I found him,” she says, nodding toward the coffin.


“Hit by a car. According to the report, he didn’t wait for the light and tried to run across traffic on Temple Street,” Laura expounds.


“And jaywalking claims another grim prize, eh?”

I’m going to assume Mr. Steele is referring to a local super-villain.



Laura tells Steele that’s all there is to it.


Then Mike returns. He is agitated. “I want to know who murdered my brother!” He dashes off.


Laura follows, giving Steele a chance to check out her caboose.


“But then again, on the other hand, one mustn’t jump to conclusions.”


Mike runs from the temple. That guy sitting at the bottom of the steps looks vaguely familiar …


Laura races after him! Steele races after her! And the sitting man gets up. Hey, it’s Fred the chauffeur. Long time no see, Fred!


The detectives come upon Mike fondling the top of the limo.  “Mike, what are you talking about?” Laura asks.


Mike launches into a protracted soliloquoy: “Maybe you don’t have a brother who sent you money ever since you were ten! Who set you up in business! Who would drop his job and come running from Japan whenever you called!”

Actually, Laura may indeed have a brother. Remember when Abigail mentioned that Laura is her middle child?

snarkwarning Remington Steele’s guest casting could be pretty uneven. On the one hand, they cast gifted actors like Keye Luke. On the other hand, they cast … this guy. Sorry, Marc.


Laura tries to assuage him. “I know this must be very difficult-“


“He didn’t even tell me he was planning a trip! And then he disappears at the airport. And then he’s dead!” Yada yada yada.

Laura points out that there’s absolutely nothing to suggest he was murdered. That doesn’t sit well with Mike.


“Look! You don’t want to take the case? I’ll find somebody to do it! Or I’ll do it myself!” He starts to stalk off …


… but Steele collars him. “Now just hold on, lad. You’ve just had a terrible shock. You’re hurt, outraged, desperately trying to find a way to fight back. Am I right?” (Sounds like Mr. Steele knows whereof he speaks!)


“Who are you?” Oh, Mike. Now you’ve miffed the famous Mr. Steele.


“Go on, Miss Holt, tell him who I am.”

Laura introduces him as Remington Steele himself!

Mike is not impressed. “So?”


“So, I’m personally going to review all the facts myself. But I won’t get very far with you crashing about now, will I?”

Mike says he just wants to find out what happened to his brother.


“So you shall, so you shall,” Steele assures him. “What say we all go some place quiet where you can give your grief a run for it’s money, eh?”  Um, what does that even mean? In the background, Fred is getting bored with all this talk talk talk. (I kinda know the feeling, Fred.)

But Mike would rather be alone right now. Laura tells him to call if he needs anything. As he walks off, Laura’s expression becomes a little grim.


“Well, you did it to me again, didn’t you?”


Mr. Steele seems genuinely surprised. “I did?”

Okay, after an exposition-heavy few minutes, let’s hope the pace picks up a bit. I did enjoy Mr. Steele taking charge. I think he feels a connection with this distressed young man – and a chance to make things better. As he was with nebbishy Sheldon a few cases ago, Mr. Steele likes to be the hero for little guys in trouble. I think under those expensive suits, Mr. Steele, you have a rather soft heart.






Filed under Season 1

You’re Steele the One for Me – 1

On to our next exciting adventure! This one is largely set in the Asian community in Los Angeles, an interesting change of venue. We begin on a glittering note:


We seem to be in some sort of chapel or temple. We hear chanting in the background.

The camera pans down and right …


Oh, dear. We seem to have stumbled on a funeral.

funfacticonThe transcript of this episode identifies this as a Shinto funeral. However, according to Shinto Funeral Beliefs & Rituals, the deceased should be in an urn, not a coffin. Oh, well. Dead is dead.


A cloud of incense rises as the first guest credit appears. It is that prolific Asian actor, Keye Luke!

behindthescenesKeye Luke (1904-1991) had a long and remarkable career. Born in Guangzhou, China, in 1904, he started in Hollywood as an illustrator. His first role was in “The Painted Veil” in 1934, and more than 200 roles followed, including four guest shots on Stephanie Zimbalist’s dad’s series, “The FBI.” Among his best known roles:



Next we see a line of chanting mourners, and our next guest star. According to imdb, Marc has had a more modest career, the high point being “The Karate Kid II.”


Suddenly the back door opens, and a young man enters, trailed by Laura. Also, Sab Shimono!

Mr. Shimono has had an active career. This is the first of two guest appearances on “Remington Steele,” the other being 1986’s “Steele at Your Service.”

The young man (who may or may not be Sab), appeared distressed.


Laura places a comforting hand on his arm: “I’m so sorry,” she says.

“It doesn’t make any sense!” he responds. “It can’t make sense.”


We cut to a mourner striking a bell. I don’t think it’s Reid Shelton.


Nope. Reid was Daddy Warbucks on Broadway! (Side note: Seriously? That Annie wig?)


We cut to a couple of grim-looking businessmen in the pews. Keye and Red, methinks! (Do Shinto shrines have pews? Maybe this is a multi-denominational worship space.)


Now we pan to a pretty woman, with the young man in the background. Whoever the dead guy was, he apparently didn’t have many friends.


Keye Luke rises and approaches the burning censer. He bows, picks up a bit of incense (?), throws it into the censer, and …


… departs without a word.


Laura gives her companion the side eye as Keye makes his departure.


Next, Daddy Warbucks pays his respects. What a dour face, DW! You won’t attract any bewigged orphans that way!


And that wrinkled suit! Tsk.


The lady in blue takes her turn.

randomalertIt seems Shinto funeral rites are much like Catholic funerals, in that both involve incense and rosaries. However, at our funerals, the incense smell mixes with the unmistakable odor of hotdish (noodly casserole, for you non-Minnesotans). I wonder if Keye and Daddy Warbucks have gone downstairs for hotdish and brownies?


It looks like the lady in blue is a celebrity, as she puts on shades as she leaves the premises, sparing only the subtlest of glances at Laura’s young man.

Celebrities LOVE sunglasses.


Here’s Pierce Brosnan in Persol 0714. Want the look? You can get yourself a pair for $214 on Amazon.

I’ll stop here. Well, so far this episode seems a bit languid. Perhaps the absence of Mr. Steele’s lively personality. I wonder where he is? Assuming the kid Laura is with is a client, we see here that Mr. Steele apparently doesn’t involve himself in all the agency’s cases. No Murphy, either. Must be a routine investigation. I guess we’ll find out!


Filed under Season 1

Etched In Steele – 17


And on to the tag!


Mr. Steele is in the office, doing what he does best: loafing. It must have been a slow news day in LA, as they give a six-column banner headline to the detective’s accomplishment. Also in the news today: Record 813,600 new claims for jobless benefits filed (yikes! seems like the collapse of the California economy would merit more ink); a drastic plan to un-jam airports (they’re getting rid of the planes, presumably); Senate votes to extend registration deadline; House plans program to fight crime (what need is there, with Mr. Steele in town?); and 24-hour notice demanded by oil workers (I think).

We hear the click of the door, and then Laura’s voice – low and a little breathless …

“She watched him … “


Mr. Steele lowers the paper a bit as Laura continues. ” … watched him even as he refused to look up and see her …”


Ah, there’s our girl! Decked out in a perky sweater vest and with a wicked gleam in her eye. “… for she was the one … [shuddering gasp] … who watched the watcher wound here.”


Mr. Steele offers his true opinion with his eyebrows. I think they’re saying, “Laura’s lost it.” His lips say, “You did that just a lick too well.” (I suspect there are many things Miss Holt would like to lick well.)


Miss Holt seems delighted by his observation.


“Could it be that, deep down inside, you were born to write hot and steamy novels?”

Laura responds that everyone should a little something to fall back on. Based on how brilliantly she’s invented the colorful Mr. Steele, I suspect she could indeed have a career in fiction.


Laura strolls over to Steele’s immaculately clean desk (does he even need that high-tech desk lamp?).

“What are you doing?” she inquires.

“Reading about us in the local paper.” (Wow! The story is even long enough to jump to an inside page!)

Nice of Mr. Steele to say “us.” Even though the public gives Steele the plaudits, he lets her know he recognizes it is a team effort. Note that he also includes himself in the victory – rather different from earlier, when he characterized himself as “a figurehead who contributes nothing but a winning personality and good looks.”

Laura, for her part, seems in an unusually good mood.

“Ask me what I’m doing,” she demands.


Steele’s willing to play along; he likes this banter. “What are you doing?”


She gives him a playful swat with the rolled-up magazine she’s brought with her, then gives him a grin: “Nothing.”


Mr. Steele is surprised and pleased by this turn of events!


“How do you like it?”


Hm. Laura doesn’t looks so sure … “It’s not as easy as it looks. I have this burning desire to balance my check book!”


Uh oh, Mr. Steele! She’s gonna cut and run!


But Mr. Steele will not allow her to backslide.


SuperSteele to the rescue!


“You have to fight it!” he counsels. “I find it helps to take a stroll at the height of the business day.”


“Irresponsibility is not a sickness. It’s an ART.”


And if anyone knows art, it’s Mr. Steele.


“Stick with me,” he urges. “I’m a master.”


Something tells me Laura is inclined to take his advice!

This is one of my favorite episode tags, as it shows so well the playfulness between these two when they aren’t at odds. I think Laura experienced a lot of growth in this episode, recognizing that life could be more rewarding – and fun! – than her rigid attitude has hitherto allowed. It was important for Mr. Steele, too, to acknowledge that he originally was hired to be a figurehead (and was happy in that role for a little while), but he is capable of more … and he WANTS that.












Filed under Uncategorized

Etched in Steele – 16

We left Mr. Steele eating crow and Laura having her a-ha moment. Now …


… Mr. Steele sits, looking morose, as the guests file out. Swell party, Mr. Steele!

CRIMEOFFASHIONAs the crowd passes by Mr. Steele, one guest commits a heinous fashion faux pas:


Visible panty line! (Not to mention that she seems to be wearing her nightgown). How would you like THAT to be your big moment on network television? And what the hell is the woman behind her wearing? Harem pants? But we digress.


Laura finds him there, and offers a comforting word. “Feeling pretty low, huh?”



Fortunately, Laura knows just the thing to perk him up:


“Why don’t we just sign those book contracts, then, and call it a night.”


Steele is skeptical. “You really think Forsythe House is gonna want to publish my book now?”


“You’re still Remington Steele.” (Laura admitting that the con man is “her” Remington Steele? You’ve come a long way, baby!)


Aw, Mr. Steele. You’re so cute when you’re hopeful.


You can almost see his little tail wagging, can’t you?


The usual suspects assemble in the drawing room den. Looks like Charlotte doesn’t hold a grudge against Steele for destroying her career. She asks Tony to relinquish the typewriter.


The Harvard gigolo serious writer goes to sit by Laura on the stairs. She asks him why he couldn’t spare even a moment to attend the party.

“Deadline pressure,” he admits. “Making revisions.”


“A lot?”

Tony says he had one big revision and a lot of little ones.  Begging the question,



Forsythe sits down to the typewriter … then realizes he doesn’t know how to type.  Anybody in the room got nimble fingers?


Don’t look at him her.

“The only Remington these nails have ever touched didn’t have keys,” she purrs, glancing toward keyless Remington.


He seems … turned on?


Maybe not.


“Miss Holt typed – oof!” Laura discourages Mr. Steele from continuing. With her spiky, spiky heel.

Laura declares that she never did learn to type. But surely there’s someone in the room …


Hey, wait a minute. This guy can type!

Tony admits he can type 65 wpm.

funfacticonI was once clocked at 103 words per minute. Yet another skill that doesn’t make me any money!


“Fire when ready,” Tony says. Perhaps not a great choice of words in a room where at least one person is a murderer. But maybe Tony knows something we don’t?


“Didn’t Mitchell Knight say the scene he read describing his death was neatly typed?” Laura asks.

Steele catches on fast. “Yes. Not dictated, typed. Which would explain why there are no tapes at all for the third book.”


“Tony wrote the third book, didn’t he?” Laura accuses.


Tony admits he used his gigolo degree BFA to write the third book “These people were in a jam,” he explains. “The stores expected a book for the holidays and there was no book. So we made a deal: they promised to publish my book if I wrote their book. They also promised not to tell anyone that I wrote it. I’m a serious writer; I have my reputation to think of. Mystery solved, case closed.”

Oh, not so fast Mr. Man! Laura’s not done with you yet.


“The case of who wrote the third book, perhaps. But not of who killed Mr. Knight.”


Tony is amused by her implication. “Laura … I thought we’d been through this.”


“No one killed Mitch; certainly not me. What possible motive could I have had?”

Steele has the answer!


“With Mitchell out of the way, you would write the Charlotte Knight books. Could be worth millions.”

I think Laura looks proud of her boy here, don’t you?


Tony reminds Steele (again) that he is a SERIOUS WRITER. He would never write sleazy books like Charlotte Knight’s torrid series.

Time for Laura to do her version of the Steele soliliquoy:


“Of course you are. Here you are, finally about to get your novel published. Is that why you killed him?”


Oh, don’t look so surprised, Tony.


Laura reminds him that Mitchell Knight had predicted the night of his death would be a “revealing evening.”  “Mitchell Knight planned to tell, didn’t he? Walk out into that party and tell the world you wrote a tawdry little sex thriller. Goodbye New York Times, goodbye Pulitzer Committee, goodbye Dick Cavett.”


Steele tag-teams her: “What kind of revisions are you working on? Could it be that you had to replace a scene involving a man being thrown from a balcony?”

Tony retorts that Steele can’t prove that.


Ah, but Forsythe can! “I have a copy of the original manuscript in my office. I’ve been meaning to read it.”


His scheme exposed, Tony makes a break for it! But Steele gets his man.


Tony go boom. Laura go “Eeek!”


“Lucky I had no feeling in that foot anyway,” Steele concludes dryly.


And once again the brilliant detective triumphs!

This great scene shows just how well Laura and Mr. Steele work together. Laura figured it out first, but Mr. Steele didn’t have to have the details explained to him – he immediately saw where she was going. In the end, Mr. Steele gets to keep looking like the master sleuth (and even gets a slight dig in at Laura with the numb foot remark). I’m pretty sure he’d declare that the victory was worth the pain.

Next up, the tag!


Filed under Season 1

Etched In Steele-15

A slightly ruffled Mr. Steele pulls Laura into “conference.”


“Who did it?” he demands.

Laura looks like the cat who ate the canary. Strange, since the reputation of her agency is on the line here. Is embarrassing Mr. Steele really worth that, Laura? In any case, she tells him she doesn’t know who did it.


“What?!” (Mr. Steele is not pleased.)


Oops. I thought this was supposed to be a confidential conference, Mr. Steele. The assembled guests look startled by his outcry.


“S’all right,” the detective assures them while Laura turns her back … to laugh? Oh, Laura. Steele tells his crowd of suspects he’ll be with them in a minute.

I suspect he’s contemplating Plan B:


What do you mean, you don’t know who did it? You always know who did it!”


Laura reminds him she TOLD him she didn’t think there was a case.


“You think I would have dragged us all the way up here, accused all these nice people of murder, made a blooming idiot out of myself, if I didn’t think that when everything went awry, you’d be there to jump in?”

You know what they say about assumptions, Mr. Steele.

Mr. Steele’s smile is looking a bit … forced here.



Laura is not intimidated by Steele’s clenched teeth.


Sucks to be you, Mr. Steele.


Oh, dear Mr. Steele seems to be on the edge of hysteria here. He makes his disappointment known:  “I don’t ask for much, Laura.”


Our hearts bleed for you, Mr. Steele.

Mr. Steele reluctantly returns to the party.


Ahem. “Ladies and gentlemen, my associate, Miss Holt, has, ah, pointed out to me that I would be doing myself and Forsyth House a huge disservice by divulging the ending to this case at this particular time.”


Sorry to disappoint them, Mr. Steele promises the exciting solution to this mystery will be included in his book! Meanwhile …


… Laura has remained behind (presumably to let Mr. Steele twist in the wind on his own). She hears something!


She follows the sound and finds Tony, who apparently wasn’t invited to the party. And he’s using a typewriter.  (Kids, a typewriter was what we geriatrics used to create documents before computers!)



By George, I think she’s got it!

Gotta admit I feel for Mr. Steele here. “His” dignity and reputation are as important to him as they are to Laura.  He’s also facing the discovery that his theories were wrong, and perhaps he isn’t as brilliant a detective as his silver screen heroes. Ah, well. Now that she’s onto the identity of the killer, I’m SURE Laura will apologize to Mr. Steele for letting him be humiliated … won’t she?



Filed under Season 1

Etched In Steele – 14

Picking up on Steele’s dramatic dissection of the crime …


Mr. Steele has just accused Charlotte Knight of killing her husband!

Brilliant deduction, Mr. Steele. Except …


Charlotte is prepared to come clean about her dirty little secret: “I didn’t write the books. Shoot me! But I didn’t kill my husband. Mitchell made me who I am; Mitchell made me Charlotte Knight. Without Mitchell, I was nothing. Besides, if I could have written the third book I could have written the first two, too. That makes sense, right?”


Laura seems inclined to agree.



Steele decides to backtrack.


Of course Charlotte’s denial makes sense. That’s why he quickly discounted her as a suspect!


Instead, he settled on the REAL culprit: “The man, in fact, who had negotiated the unprecedented film and paperback deals on the third book, an especially important negotiation, because he knew he would receive the lion’s share of the money, since he, in fact, authored the third book.”


“I am speaking, of course, of Dennis Baker!”



Only …


“Mitchell was one of my closest friends in all the world, which is why I didn’t negotiate the deal on the third book. If he wasn’t writing it, I didn’t want anything to do with it.”


“You didn’t negotiate the deal on the third book?”



Of course he didn’t! That’s why Mr. Steele ultimately identified the murderer as …


“Russell Forsythe!”


Forsythe is miffed. “This is not going to bode well for your next book deal, Steele.” But dogged Steele will not be intimidated!


“Knight was sick and tired of writing under his wife’s name,” Steele deduces. “He wanted to go public, expose the whole fraud to the world, write under his own name.”


“But you couldn’t allow him to do that because you knew Charlotte Knight was Forsyth House’s biggest success.”


“So you wrote the third book, then killed Mitchell Knight to keep the secret!”

Only ..


Forsythe points out that the day before he died, Mitchell signed Charlotte’s name to a brand new, three-book deal.  Apparently, Michell’s writer’s block had broken and he was raring to get back to the tape recorder.


So, Laura. What do YOU think?


I believe Miss Holt is praying this will all be over soon.


Our Mr. Steele seems to have developed a sudden bout of indigestion. I wonder why?


“Ummm … will you excuse me for a moment?”


Come along, Laura. Mr. Steele would like to have a word with you.

Well! This scene didn’t play nearly so well for Mr. Steele as it always does in the movies. It seems like Laura, knowing Steele was blowing smoke, could have interrupted early on and saved her figurehead some humiliation. Is she determined to put Mr. Steele in his place, remind him that he really doesn’t know what he’s doing? That SHE’S the professional here? Yet surely she’s shooting herself in the foot. How can it be a good thing to make the great Remington Steele look like a doofus?



















Filed under Uncategorized

Etched In Steele – 13



Mr. Steele is on the case!


The partners don’t look completely in tune, however.

Laura points out that they have no motive, no suspects, not case. Steele counters that the motive depends on the guilty party, they in fact have three good suspects and he now believes there is a case.


“If I’ve learned nothing else from you, I’ve learned to trust your instincts. You smelled a case and that’s good enough for me.”


“But I don’t smell it anymore!”

“That’s because now I’m on the scent.”

funfacticon Want your man to smell like Steele? According to several websites, Pierce Brosnan’s signature scent is Green Irish Tweed by Creed, a cologne supposedly created for Cary Grant. It’s said to smell like “a walk in the Irish countryside.” Though for the price, you might just as well send your man to actually walk around in the Irish countryside and soak up some of the native aroma.


The detectives arrive at their destination, which turns out to be Charlotte’s penthouse. Steele rings the bell. Laura looks on, still disgusted.

“I’d love to know how you were able to get Russell, Charlotte and Dennis together,” she says.

Mr. Steele looks confident.


They are welcomed by Forsythe into what is apparently another swank party. Notice the woman in the Grecian gown, inexplicably facing the wall. Also notice the art piece, which resembles a urinal. In any case, Laura is seriously under-dressed for the occasion.

Forsythe catches us up: “The man calls and tells me he want to nail down a book deal, asks me if he gets a party like the one I threw for Charlotte, I put it all together and invite over the world and what happens? The man is a half hour late.”


“Playful little bugger,” Laura grimaces, rubbing her hands together.


Forsythe gathers the crowd for a big announcement: “The reason I’ve asked all you freeloaders here …”


The assembled guests titter appreciatively at his funny, funny joke.


” … is that I’d like you to meet an exciting man who’s going to be writing his very first book for Forsyth House.”


Laura looks pretty excited about this.


“I guess it’s no secret, the man is Remington Steele and the book, Remington Steele’s Ten Most Famous Cases!” Forsythe concludes. He leads the crowd in polite applause.


Time for Mr. Steele to take the floor to deliver a thrillingly incise dissection of the crime!


“Thank you so much,” he begins dramatically. “I, too, am excited at the prospect of sharing my most, uh, exciting and intriguing cases with the reading public. Take, for instance, the case of the late ghost writer.”


Forsythe seems surprised by this turn of events. “What the hell are you doing?”


“About twenty minutes. Depends though; this looks like a tough room.”


You’re a funny man, Steele.


“It all started at a party … a party very much like this one.” Steele is just getting warmed up.


We’re treated to a screen dissolve meant to represent the next 20 minutes of Steele’s dissertation. Finally he concludes his soliloquy:


“And so, I quickly deduced whoever it was who wrote the third book also murdered the ghost writer. Suddenly  a baffling mystery fell into place, for there was but one person who fits the bill!”


I’m not sure Forsythe and Laura appreciate the master’s eloquence. The butler looks pretty bored, too.


Steele continues: “A woman who longed for the day she could enjoy all the spoils of her fame and not have to share them with the man she regretfully… regretfully … called her husband. The woman who, in fact, wrote the third book, then pushed her husband off the 35th floor balcony to his death, hoping to bury the secret of his ghost writing forever.”


“I am speaking, of course, of none other than – Charlotte Knight!”


Now, I’m not a brilliant sleuth like Mr. Steele, but Laura’s expression suggests to me that our debonair detective might be mistaken.

This is getting pretty long, so I’ll stop here. I love Mr. Steele in this scene. So confident in his “role” as the brilliant detective.  It’s the scene he’s seen played out in countless detective movies. He is Sherlock Holmes! Charlie Chan! Nick Charles! Or is he … To be continued.


Filed under Season 1

Etched In Steele – 12

As the next scene opens …


… Laura seems to have taken Tony’s words to heart. She’s lounging on her impossibly hideous couch, perusing a tropical holiday brochure, when the doorbell rings.


Laura smiles and adjusts her clothing as she goes to the door. I think she has an idea who it might be …


Yep. It’s Mr. Steele. Still in work clothes and bearing … gifts?


Both have confessions to make, which they state simultaneously:

STEELE: “Laura, you were right all along. Of course there’s a case.”

LAURA: “I realized you were right. There is no case.”


Um .. what?


Cut to a close-up of the Record-a-Memo machine. We hear a male voice on the tape:

“Prone Positions: Chapter 1 …. okay, okay … chapter 1 …”


As the camera pulls back to Laura and Mr. Steele listening, the voice continues:

“Damn! Damn!”

Mr. Steele must be thinking the same thing, perched in what can only be a very uncomfortable position on the arm of Laura’s couch. Apparently it’s intolerably lumpy as well as hideous.

Laura wants to know what she’s supposed to make of this.


“The Shining!” Steele declares triumphantly.

funfacticontheshiningposterThe Shining. Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers. Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Warner Bros. 1980. Initially panned by critics and considered a commercial disappointment, its reputation improved over time. It is now considered a classic in the genre. Here’s the trailer:

Mr. Steele wants to know if Laura’s seen it.


“Did anyone see The Shining?”


Well, he’s seen something like it. A few times.


Steele enlightens her: “Jack Nicholson plays a writer who agrees to become the care taker of a lodge that’s inaccessible all winter long …”


“… unfortunately he falls victim to cabin fever, becomes a stark raving looney, wanders around with a hatchet and does a lot of jokes about The Tonight Show,” Steele concludes, doing a creditable impression of raving looney himself.


“You see everything, don’t you?” (Maybe he’s lonely, Laura, and goes to movies to fill his time. DIDJA EVER THINK OF THAT?)


“At one point in the film, he sits down to write.” Steele begins to act the movie out. (Fun bit of physical work by Brosnan here.)


“The camera slowly circles him as he types, and then we see it! All he’s written is one line over and over again: All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy!”


Laura looks down at this, a little pouty. Presumably she thinks he’s offering up more criticism of her own lifestyle. But no!


“He was blocked! He couldn’t write anything else!”


Laura is unimpressed. “So maybe, just maybe, our ghost writer had a ghost writer.” That’s no motive for murdering Mitchell, she points out.


“All those people stood to lose by his death.”


“Don’t you see? You were right all along.” That must have been a hard admission for Laura to make. But Steele has changed his mind, too.

“Laura, I know there’s a case here!”


“Based on this tape? OK, he was blocked; maybe they even hired someone else to write the third book. What does that prove?”  Laura is as stubborn trying to prove his original point as she was trying to prove her own.


“It proves they didn’t tell us everything,”  Steele answers. You can see the gears ticking in his head. He KNOWS something is afoot!


He’s getting really worked up now: “These people are creating fictions, foisting frauds on the public, exploiting talented underlings for the aggrandizement of a figurehead who contributes nothing but a winning personality and good looks!”

Well, THAT sounds familiar!


But Steele is serious about this!


“Trust me, Laura. That’s my area.”  (A slightly poignant moment of self-awareness here.) “I know that whoever wrote the third book killed Mitchell Knight.”

Laura wants to know how he can be so sure.


How else? He SMELLS it.


Laura knows when she’s been bested.


 We see a nice little role reversal here, with Laura finally willing to let go, and Steele equally determined now to solve the case. I wonder if he would have pushed so hard if he’d known she was planning to go away with him after all? Again we are reminded of the parallels between Mr. and Mrs. Knight and Laura and Mr. Steele. Mr. Steele’s recognition of the con artist who “contributes nothing but a winning personality and good looks” is significant, I think. Is that why Mr. Steele is so adamant about solving this case? To prove he DOES have something to contribute to their work? If so, why is that so important to him?








Filed under Season 1

Etched In Steele – 11




The next scene opens on an alarming sight:


Laura, leaning over a high rise balcony. Don’t do it, Laura!


But wait! It seems Miss Holt isn’t alone. Is she engaged in a tawdry rooftop tryst? Don’t do it, Laura!


Oh. It’s just toy boy Tony! He tells Laura he’s sure Charlotte will be sorry to have missed her. By the way, what was it she wanted?


Oh, Laura’s just looking for … er … (Laura seems curiously interested in Tony the Tiger’s chest. Perhaps she’s checking her reflection in his shiny, shiny pecs.)


Hm. What was Laura looking for again? Oh, yeah: Physical ….. evidence.


Laura tears herself away from Tony’s torso to ponder: “I just find it hard to believe that a man would trip and fall over a three and a half foot wall. Ever since Mitchell Knight’s death I’ve had this feeling…”


“… that people are keeping things from you? That all is not as it appears to be, that there’s a deep dark secret somewhere? Pick a cliche, any cliché,” Tony supplies. (Why, Tony! Is that a hand in your pocket, or are you just – oh. No, it really is just his hand in his pocket. Carry on.)


Stung by his words, which so closely mirror Mr. Steele’s accusations, Laura turns to go. Tony puts a gentle, sweatband-sporting hand on her arm. “I’m sorry,” he says.  “I’ve never met a female private investigator before. I was just trying to be funny. Harvard isn’t know for turning out comedians.”

CRIMEOFFASHION80sworkoutgear Remember the 80s fitness fashion crazy? Oh, 1980s. You make me sad.


Laura is interested to hear that Tony is a Harvard grad. And also that he is, in his words, “an Ivy League gigolo.”

randomalert And now for a pointless musical interlude: That 1980s classic by David Lee Roth, “Just a Gigolo.”


Tony reminds Laura that he’s all about “what gives the public pleasure.”

Laura reminds Tony that she’s “not the public.”


They sit, and Tony explains who he REALLY is: “I graduated with an MFA in 1977, I wrote a novel for my thesis, Lamplight. A mutual friend introduced me to Charlotte and, ah, she’s been something of a mentor. As a matter of fact, she’s persuaded Forsyth to publish Lamplight and I’ve been living here revising it for the last six months.” (Thanks for the exposition, Tony!)

Laura wants to know how Mitchell felt about his wife’s … protégé.


Tony tells Laura Mitchell was pickled most of the time. He read Lamplight, was moved by it, but … it wasn’t really his cup of tea.


“In my book, when two people meet, they talk.”

You sly dog. You know what the lady likes to hear. I suspect you will be more successful as a gigolo than a novelist.

Laura gets up abruptly and walks away; Tony follows, noting, “This thing is really getting under your skin, isn’t it?”


“I suppose I react to a mystery the same way you do to a half-written chapter.”

Tony responds that he’s been known to throw a half-written chapter out.


“Are you suggesting that I throw away my questions about Mitchell Knight’s death?”


Nope. But Tony suggests Laura is asking the wrong questions. “You’re right. Mitchell Knight didn’t fall in a drunken accident.”


“In his own mind, Mitchell Knight was a very accomplished man, except no-one knew it. Can you imagine what it must have been like, working very hard but having someone else win the plaudits?”


Yeah. I think she can.

Tony has a simple explanation for Mitchell’s death: He jumped.


I think Laura has some things to think about, don’t you?

 This is an important scene, as it helps Laura put her response to this case in a new context. I think Tony – standing in for Steele here – helps her see that she has reacted so strongly to Mitchell’s death because she relates to his situation. Mitchell allowed his resentment to eat him up inside, and ultimately – perhaps – to destroy him. What lesson will Laura take from this?

 This scene also provides more evidence that a liberal arts degree, even from Harvard, is really pretty useless. #beenthere







Filed under Season 1

Etched in Steele – 10


We’re back, after a MUCH longer hiatus than I expected. I toyed with not bringing the blog back, because it hasn’t generated much interest. However, I hate to quit in the middle of something. So we’ll give it another go.

When last we left our intrepid detectives,


Laura had just announced to their prime suspects that Mr. Steele was convinced that someone murdered Mitchell Knight.


Later, headed back to the office, Mr. Steele seems somewhat doubtful …

“Convinced? Am I really?”

Laura assures him that yes, he is.


She can still smell it!


In the office, Bernice is … busy? I still wonder what the heck that art piece is on the wall.  Laura wants to know if there have been any calls; Bernice snorts. Laura and Steele retreat to their respective offices.


But Steele isn’t finished with this conversation! “Would you like to know what I think?” he demands, limping into Laura’s office.


“You know what you are? YOU ARE A WORKAHOLIC!”


Laura is .. stunned? “No, really?” She admits it’s a terrible vice; perhaps he should try it some time.


Steele continues his rant. “It just drives you crazy that there are no mysteries to solve! No clues to ponder, no suspects to … suspect!” Oh, Mr. Steele. By now you should know better than to question Laura’s motives.


Ahem. She most certainly DOES have a mystery to solve, clues to ponder, suspects to suspect! (Why Laura, what a wide mouth you have!)


Not to be outdone, Steele also opens his mouth very wide. ” .. heaven forbid that she has a second to stop and think and feel, and perhaps … perhaps …”


“… get close to some of the people she works with!” Steele points to himself with both hands here. Do you think he has someone specific in mind?


Uh, oh. All this shouting has woken the baby. Murphy appears, plaintively declaring, “I heard fighting so I knew Mom and Dad were home.”


Steele sees a potential ally -albeit an unlikely one – in Murph. He asks the junior detective if he’s EVER seen Laura just doing nothing in her office.


Nope. Steele’s on a roll. He hates hates hates all those little lists Laura keeps. “Check her desk, Murphy. I’ll bet it’s chock full of little lists!”


Um … Murphy would rather not. And get your impossibly perfect hair out of my face, Steele.


Laura’s had enough. NOBODY insults her lists! “Get out of my office!”


Murphy quails in the face of her wrath. “Can I go now?” He begins to sidle away …


… as Laura grabs her coat and stomps out.


Steele is in hot pursuit! He’s certainly determined to make his point.


Bum leg notwithstanding, Steele makes it to the door ahead of Laura.


“Laura – Laura – Laura – Laura! Wait – wait – wait – wait!”


“Last chance: Go away with me.” (Would YOU say no?)


Laura wavers … “What about the case?” she protests, half-heartedly. Play your hand smartly now, Steele.

“There is no case! In order for there to be a case, there has to be a mystery, a circumstance, an occurrence that remains unexplained,” he adds.


 “Who told you that?” I think she’s impressed by his recitation.



Laura reminds him that Mitchell Knight fell 35 stories to his death. “Why?” she demands, rhetorically.


“He was drunk as a skunk in a funk!” Very eloquent, Mr. Steele. But Laura’s not buying it. (Note: I don’t think Pierce is wearing his caps in this scene.)


“You’re wrong!” (Why is it so important to Laura that he be wrong?)


“About Mitchell Knight … or about you?” Steele presses.


Laura’s not going to dignify that with an answer. She turns on her heel and walks away.


A clearly frustrated Mr. Steele returns to the office, alone.

 A few thoughts: Mr. Steele’s limp seems to come and go – do you think he’s affecting it as a ploy to win sympathy from Laura? His comment about keeping lists certainly struck a nerve with Miss Holt; is she bothered that Mr. Steele considers her so rigid? Her turmoil about her feelings for Mr. Steele are fully on display here – she really, REALLY wants to go away with him … but Sensible Laura knows that would be a very dangerous thing to do. I wonder if Laura really believes there is a case here, or is she grasping at straws, inventing a professional obligation to focus on to distract her from her feelings for Mr. Steele? And Mr. Steele could certainly find any number of nubile young ladies willing to go away with him – why is he so determined that Laura give in to him this time?







Filed under Season 1