Steele Belted – 9

It looks like Waldo isn’t the only one having a lousy evening.

shapirojailed

Buddy Shapiro has been nicked, to use Mr. Steele’s parlance. He wants to know what went wrong!

somebodytippedDA

“Somebody tipped the D.A.’s office that you tried to leave the country,” says Hunky Barry, whose chin is nearly sharp enough to saw through the bars and spring his client.

BeardedSMiley Notice Mr. Steele rubbing the back of his neck behind HB? Body language experts call this a “pacifying gesture” in response to stress. A moment later, Steele slides his hand around to his face while looking at Barry: handonface

This gesture can be interpreted as suspicion. Isn’t science astounding?

terrific

Shapiro doesn’t care about body language. He’s IRKED. “If I hadn’t listened to you, I’d be in Brazil now,” he says to Steele.

Iguarantee

Laura starts to respond, But Steele beats her to the punch. “I guarantee your exoneration on all charges, Buddy,” Steele assures him. (Note the upward pointed finger: that denotes authority.) “Or my name isn’t Remington Steele.”

yournameisnt

“Your name ISN’T Remington Steele,” Laura notes peevishly as they return to the office. Incidentally, Steele’s hand in his pocket here may denote that he’s feeling insecure about his image or is hoping to avoid a situation. Which do you think it is?

technicality

“Merely a technicality,” Steele retorts. Their body language here is very tense, no?

shoothimthru

Back in the office, it’s Laura’s turn to use her finger. She points it in an authoritative way as they tells Bernice that the minute Murphy calls, she should “shoot him through.” Using the word “shoot” here, in combination with her gun-like hand position, suggests Miss Holt is in a fightin’ mood.

photoagain

Laura goes to her office and pulls out the photo Rubio and friend. They look like a happy couple!

steeletakesphoto

Steele enters and plucks the photo from her hands. “Is this our quarry?”  he asks in a congenial, almost conciliatory tone.

snatchesitaway

Laura rather brusquely snatches it back. “From here on out, let the pros handle things.”

ohsnap

Oh, snap!

vestedinterest

Laura tosses aside the photo and opens a file drawer, without any clear reason for doing so. Steele follows her, now as cranky as she is. “A man expired in my bedroom. Don’t you think that gives me a vested interest in what happens?”

I can’t say I disagree with him here. And by the way, how is ANYTHING that’s happened so far Mr. Steele’s fault?

Steele adds that he’s grown rather fond of Buddy.

notfondofHB

“Which is more than I can say about your Mr. Phillips!”

“MY Mr. Phillips?” Laura responds.

“I don’t trust him,” Steele says.

donttrustphilips

“That’s EXACTLY what he said about you,” Laura notes.

“Takes one to know one.” Interesting that Steele is willing to acknowledge his own history of questionable trustworthiness here.

extraordinaryhuman

Laura begins to rhapsodize on the merits of Hunky Barry: “He’s an extraordinary human being. Warm, caring, committed …”

I don’t think Mr. Steele is impressed by this litany of the saint.

turningshoe

Mr. Steele develops a curious interest in his loafer as Laura continues to relate how awesome HB is. “He’s turning down a partnership in a law firm so he can help those people who can’t afford those fat legal fees?”

bathestykes

Mr. Steele, who seems a bit pained by all this, asks if St. Barry also runs a home for unwed mothers …

perhapsorphanage

“… or perhaps an orphanage where he personally bathes the grimy little tykes.”

Does ANYBODY think this “discussion” is something other than a thinly veiled lovers’ quarrel?

bueller

I didn’t think so.

lauraisamused

Laura affects an air of blase amusement. “Hahaha. You’re wonderfully twisted …”

magnificentlybent

“… magnificently bent.”  This whole exchange plays like a scene from some sophisticated comedy written by Noel Coward. Seriously, Laura. Nobody’s buying this “I don’t care” pose.

shortestdistance

“Just because YOU think the shortest distance between two points is an angle, doesn’t mean everybody operates that way.”

lustforcottoncandy

“Sounds like you’ve developed an overpowering lust for cotton candy,” Steele dishes back.

dontexpectme

Laura drops the disinterested act. “You certainly don’t expect me to sit at home while you-”

whileIwhat

“While I what?” Steele says, loudly. He’s had enough of this little drawing room scene.

nevermind

“Never mind,” Laura sighs. (Still in melodramatic mode here, oddly enough.)

myapologies

Steele, the bigger man, extends his apologies. “Whom you choose to become involved with is none of my business.”

personallife

“I have no claim on your personal life.” Steele looks rather sad here, no?

noclaim

“I didn’t think you were interested in one.”

itsyourrule

“Well, it’s your rule. Never mix business with …”

pleasure

“Pleasure.”

wellyes

Steele seems a little embarrassed. Is he thinking back to his proposition of Laura in her office in “Tempered Steele”?

“Well … yes … I suppose …” He sighs.

hardandfast

“Well, it’s not a hard-and-fast rule,” Laura wavers.

savorthepossibilities

Mr. Steele lets that sink in.

Just then …

inopportunebernice

Bad timing, Bernice! Also, bad outfit! “Creighton Phillips on one,” she informs them.

thankytoushesays

Laura moves to the couch to take the call. “Thanks.”

forhim

“It’s for HIM.”

greenphone

Oops. Awkward.

steeletakesphone

Mr. Steele reaches across to claim the receiver.

steamytglance

“Steele here.” Is it me, or is that a smouldering gaze the two are sharing here?

Lots of interesting stuff beneath the surface here! I think it’s becoming more difficult for Laura and Steele to maintain the status quo, as their mutual attraction continues to heat up. Laura’s jealousy over Miss Taplinger provokes her to try to turn the tables with Steele, throwing the “superior” attributes of Hunky Barry in his face. I think Steele could easily shrug off her touting the lawyer’s warmth and caring – Steele’s shown he also has those qualities in spades. But her insinuation that Phillips’ honesty and willingness to commit make him the more attractive fellow must have stung. Steele well knows that Laura’s ideal man is the quintessential Good Guy, and that she feels he doesn’t qualify. Laura tries hard — TOO hard — to play up Steele’s deficiencies. She accuses him of being “twisted” and “bent” in an exaggerated, almost desperate way, as though she were trying to convince herself. 

Then, miracle of miracles, a moment of truth: Laura admits she might be open to exploring a business AND pleasure relationship with Mr. Steele. It’s a big concession for her, as she’s always stood firm on her principles (and pride). What might have happened had Bernice not appeared in the doorway?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steele Belted – 8

 

Still in Steele’s well-appointed apartment, Miss Stimulated is having trouble coping with her disappointment.

shakennotstirred

Steele prepares to administer a revivifying beverage.

steeleamused

She takes a swig while Steele looks on, seemingly amused.

souse

Steele starts to take the glass back, but she has not yet had enough liquid courage. Just then the door buzzes. Company? At this hour?

hereslaura

Oh, it’s Laura. Guess her date ended early.

heresbarry

Or not. Hunky Barry is persistent! (I can’t bring myself to call him Creighton.)

Laura and HB head for the bedroom to pay their respects to Waldo, and Steele checks back with his make up date.

gotthebottle

Yikes! Is there an open bar at this party? The lady seems to be slipping into a fugue state: “Everything was so tidy,” she murmurs. Steele leaves her with a little “buck up, honey” pat on the shoulder.

waldoallright

“Waldo Church, all right,” Laura comments when the trio have assembled beside the corpse. HB looks a bit taller than Steele here, but imdb lists Pierce’s height at 6′ 1 1/2″, Barry at just 6’1″.

toohandsybarry

Laura looks a bit green around the gills – too much junk food at the arcade? Hunky Barry hastens to provide support. Something tells me Mr. Steele isn’t too keen on HB’s big paws all over Miss Holt. HB wants to know if they’re all through in the bedroom. Interesting that HB is acting like the protective male here, and directs his question to Steele, not Laura.

catatonic

Laura tells Hunky Barry she and Steele can handle it from here. Miss Stimulated is still clutching her booze.

doublekisses

The two couples bid each other goodnight in the time-honored way. I think Hunky Barry is getting more action than Steele. Kissing on a first date, Laura? Tsk.

leavemycoat

Mr. Steele asks Hunky Barry to escort Miss Taplinger (so THAT’S her name) home. She perks up at the prospect of sharing a car seat with Hunky Barry. She decides to leave her mink as a parting gift for Mr. Church. She’s got plenty more at home.

interruptevening

After Thing 1 and Thing 2 leave the apartment, Mr. Steele sheds his jacket, ready to get down to business. Or is he?

“Sorry I had to interrupt your evening,” he says tersely.

rubiofound

Meanwhile, Laura is already in full investigative mode.

“Did you call the police?” (Not yet.) “Rubio obviously found that bill of sale,” she continues.

discussingcase

He: “No doubt you two were discussing the case!”

She: “He’s probably destroyed it by now.”

He: “I know how those business meetings can drag on.”

calledtheoffice

She: “He sold Buddy those coins, wanting him to get caught.”

He: “I called the office. You weren’t there.”

She: “Why? What’s the motive? What could he possibly gain by having Buddy sent back to prison?”

mirroring

He: “You weren’t at your apartment, either. I left a distraught message on the damned answering machine of yours.” Steele seems to be getting a little hot under the collar!

It’s fascinating to note how Steele and Laura mirror each other as they pace back and forth. Their thoughts are in different places, but their bodies are in sync.

funfacticon  “Mirror neurons” in the brain are responsible for unconscious copying of the actions of others. These neurons and are located in the part of the brain called Broca’s area, which is also the language center of the brain. This automatic syncing of actions is thought to create rapport between people.

beeperslaura

“You really should get one of those little beepers, Laura!” an agitated Steele snaps as Laura continues to yammer on about the case.

hardglance

His tone captures her attention at last. Laura seems to have some turbulent emotions under her cool exterior. Could it be her rambling dissertation was a way of avoiding having to explain what she was doing with Hunky Barry?

wherewereyou

“Where were you all evening?” Steele demands, rather petulantly.

amusementpark

“At an amusement park,” Laura answers, crossing her arms over her chest.

BeardedSMiley Crossed arms are generally interpreted as a defensive gesture. Do you think Laura is feeling defensive here? If so, why?

socialliaison

“So it was a social liaison!”

calledadate

“It’s called a DATE,” Laura articulates crisply. (Or maybe she just wanted Steele to notice she’d had her teeth cleaned.) “It happens quite a lot between men and women.”

steelesnark

“I didn’t think you went in for that sort of thing,” Steele smirks.

smirky

Snarkiness does NOT become you, Mr. Steele.

dates

“Dates?” Laura snarks back.

amusementparkshesays

“Amusement parks.”

cottoncandy

Laura suddenly appears vulnerable. “I like cotton candy,” she says softly.

makeshismove

Steele responds to the sudden shift in mood by taking a step toward her.

letscall

“Let’s call the police,” she says abruptly as he draws near.

callthepolice

Her cool, unruffled mask slips back into place as she heads for the phone.

steeleperturbed

Mr. Steele doesn’t seem to shake off the moment quite as easily.

phonesigh

Laura sighs heavily as she waits for 911 to answer the phone.

I find this a fascinating scene for what it reveals about the developing relationship between Steele. I didn’t see any particular jealousy on Laura’s part at the sight of Miss Taplinger; I suspect she knows Miss T is just another bimbo that Steele plays with and then moves on. But Steele is CLEARLY perturbed about seeing Laura with Hunky Barry. He reacts in a kind of knee-jerk way, behaving almost cruelly in suggesting that Laura isn’t interested in (or perhaps, he implies, isn’t asked out on) dates. Laura is curiously shaken in this scene, and I don’t think it was about Waldo’s demise. Having Hunky Barry act so proprietarily toward her in front of Steele unsettled her. Perhaps she was thinking about HB’s previous suggestion that Steele looks “erotically” at her, and doesn’t want Mr. Steele getting the wrong idea about her and Barry. Laura’s almost tremulous comment about liking cotton candy is interesting – how do you interpret her behavior here? And what was Steele’s intention when he moved toward her? A comforting hug? A passionate kiss? Share your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steele Belted – 7

While Laura and Hunky Barry are playing games at the arcade, Mr. Steele has his own amusements.

dooropening

We first see a door cracking open into a darkened room.

sofarsogood

A flip of the light switch reveals Mr. Steele and his date from the previous evening.

sotidy

She’s pleased with what she sees: “It’s so tidy!”

stimulatesme

Turns out the lady is a neat freak. A well-ordered habitation stimulates her!

BeardedSMiley Because I’m willing to go the extra mile for you, dear reader, I actually did some research to find out if there is a recognized sexual disorder/fetish for “neatness.” I found none; however, there is a disorder called mysophilia, in which a person becomes aroused by “dirtiness, soiled or decaying things.” So Steele’s date has whatever the opposite is of this.

shedsherfur

The lady begins shedding her fur as she takes in the ambiance of Steele’s apartment. She tells him that if the whole place is this well-ordered, it might take all night to calm her down.

calmmedown

Mr. Steele stands ready to assist.

totheboudoir

He directs his date to the boudoir, no doubt to freshen up before they pull out a board game. Scrabble, anyone?

gasfireplace

While he date is getting fresh, Mr. Steele turns up the heat.

calmalready

Suddenly Miss Stimulated reappears, looking a bit less … eager. Steele is disappointed; surely she hasn’t calmed down already? She replies that she found the bedroom a bit crowded for her taste.

two-tonedshoes

Steele and the lady enter the bedroom. Are those two-toned shoes? Oh, dear.

Happy news!

two-tonedshoesebay

You can get a pair of shoes just like this on eBay for only $79. I wonder if Waldo is the seller?

poorWaldo

Guess not. Waldo won’t be selling anything any time soon.

extremelydead

The sequined chick wants to know if he’s ….

“Extremely,” Steele confirms. Not to mention:

endanevening

Sequined chick expresses bemusement that there are so many creative ways to end an evening.

Either Mr. Steele particularly likes this woman, bringing her home two nights in a row, or it’s because she’s a sure thing (Laura’s not the only itchy one). Mr. Steele doesn’t seem all that stimulated himself – he is positively leisurely in setting the stage for seduction – and treats the lady with just slightly less detachment than he does the corpse. I’m a little sorry to see Waldo go. Not because I particularly liked him, but because his name was Waldo.

 

 

 

 

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Steele Belted – 6

In this segment, we explore just how itchy our Miss Holt is …

70sfamily

We open on a photo of Waldo, still wearing spats. Presumably that’s his wife and kid. Somehow he doesn’t look like … er … a family man.

photomurphy

We discover that the hand holding the photo belongs to Laura. She’s in a seriously seedy hotel room (same one where Steele got clobbered, presumably). And here comes good old Murph. He notes that the desk clerk (there is one?) was less than helpful.

shouldhaveseen

Laura begins to regale Murphy with the story of Steele’s performance with Shapiro.

quintessential

“He was the quintessential Remington Steele. Charming … persuasive … reassuring …” (You’re getting a little gushy there, Laura.)

valuableservice

A cranky Murphy objects. “For once I’d like us to have a conversation where his name didn’t come up.”

forallofus

“He performs a very valuable service for all of us,” Laura reminds him.

Murphy acknowledges that Steele has his place – professionally. “That’s not what I’m talking about,” he says.

notgonnachange

Laura ignores him as she digs through Waldo’s valise. She finds a return bus ticket to Bakersfield.

“He’s not going to change, Laura,” Murphy presses.

reallycare

“The longer you wait around for him to shape up, the more you shut yourself off from the people that really care about you.”

sadpicachu

Aw. You’re wearing your heart on your sleeve, Murphy. I kinda feel bad for him.

samevalues

Laura heads to the pay phone (remember those?) in the hall, while Murphy continues to make his case.

“What you need is somebody with the same feelings, the same values. Somebody you can share things with. But you’re never going to find that someone until you allow yourself a chance to look.”

anythingIsaid

“Have you heard anything I’ve said to you?”

She has! “Every word.” And then …

ascloseasitgets

Well! That was unexpected!

deludedmurphy

Murphy seems very happy! Blissfully happy, in fact. Laura tells Murphy he is right about everything!

heartstomp

Somehow I don’t see this ending well for Murph.

nottheplan

Turns out Laura was on the phone with Hunky Barry, accepting his dinner invitation. Now SHE looks blissful. Murphy, not so much.

itsover

Sad times.

oldvideogame

Our scene cuts abruptly to a very primitive video game. I’m going to assume this isn’t innovation that was going to make the Ratooi Company millions.

cottoncandy

It looks like Laura is playing games – perhaps in more ways than one.

“This isn’t at all what I expected,” she giggles at Hunky Barry. She thought he’d take her to a French restaurant, some snooty art show and a retrospective of Kurosawa’s films.

“That’s what I had planned for tomorrow night,” he says suavely.

letsgetthru

“Let’s just get through this evening first,” she answers coyly.

isthtit

Aw, Hunky Barry is disappointed. “Is that what you’re doing? Getting through an evening?”

nosaysshe

Laura is, quite appropriately, embarrassed. “No, er, I didn’… no!”

withyourboss

“Do you have something going with your boss?” (Cause if she doesn’t, Hunky Barry might be interested in taking a crack at him.)

whatmakesyouask

Laura is stunned (and perhaps a little defensive)! “What makes you ask that?”

He tells her it’s how she looks at him, how she hangs on his every word (not sure that’s true), and how he looks at HER. This would be romantic, if it weren’t Hunky Barry saying it.

hodoeshelook

“How does he look at me?” Laura seems … intrigued … by Hunky Barry’s insight.

erotically

“Erotically. VERY erotically.”

reallypleased

Oh, I think Laura is pleased to hear that. Trying to get your date turned on by talking about the guy she REALLY wants is a little tacky, Hunky Barry.

Laura assures HB that her relationship with Steele is purely professional. He’s glad!

morethanmeets

HB says he doesn’t trust Steele – there’s just something a little “shifty” about him. – as if he’s not quite what he appears.

Laura tells him he’s being ridiculous! He’s Remington Steele!

“Maybe there’s more to your Mr. Steele than meets the eye,” HB suggests.

Laura’s irked.

spendourdate

“Creighton, are we going to spend our first evening together talking about him?” Hm. Seems like Murphy said something similar to YOU recently, Laura.

And by the way … Creighton?

alwaystomorrow

“You’re right. Let’s forget about him for tonight,” CREIGHTON agrees. “There’s always tomorrow.”

randomalert Here’s a link to the song, “There’s Always Tomorrow,” from  the beloved holiday classic, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

I think Clarice the doe is a little like Laura in this scene – flirty!

gameover

Just then Laura’s PacMan expires.

monsterateyou

A smug-looking CREIGHTON (ugh) says, “Aw, tough luck. Monster just ate your last man.” IS THIS SOME KIND OF FORESHADOWING?

Well, I have to say Laura’s not making any points with me in this episode. She surely can’t be so obtuse as to not get what Murphy is hinting at; if she deliberately ignores him to avoid dealing with it, then it’s doubly wrong of her to KISS him in the hallway. Mixed signals much, Laura? Miss Holt is certainly itchy … but I wonder if she’s genuinely attracted to Hunky Barry CREIGHTON, or if she’s transferring her lust for Steele onto this convenient stand-in. I think Creighton think so – and is more than willing to use that to his advantage. Talk about shifty! You’d better watch yourself around this guy, Laura.

 

 

 

 

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Steele Belted – 5

We’re back at what may or may not be the Beverly Garland Hotel, circa 1982.

matchingoutfits

Laura and a now-nattily-dressed Mr. Steele arrive. Look! They’re wearing matching outfits!

BeardedSMiley Hm. Here’s what one psychotherapist says about couples who dress alike: “When couples dress similarly, it’s often because one of them has less confidence than the other. They fall into a copycat look which excuses them from finding their own identity.”  Do you think this applies to Laura and Mr. Steele? Is Mr. Steele following Laura’s lead as a way of cementing his new identity?

unlockeddoor

The two detectives enter the building via a door that, strangely, isn’t locked this time.

shapiromoney

They find their client counting his money. For a paranoid fugitive, he seems oddly unconcerned that his hotel door is standing wide open. The roses Laura gave him have opened up nicely.

presentsteele

“Mr. Shapiro, let me present Remington Steele,” Laura says. Shapiro seems unimpressed.

yiddish

“Gornisht nit helfn.”

randomalert As Elise predicted, it appears it might be helpful to have a working knowledge of conversational Yiddish to fully appreciate this episode. Here’s a site with some instruction, for us goyim. Learn Yiddish Slang.

funnyexpression

Based on their expressions, I think we can assume Laura and Steele are also goyim.

nothingwillhelp

“It means, ‘nothing will help,’” Lawyer Phillips helpfully translates.

sideeyesteele

While Laura explains that Waldo Church contacted Mr. Steele, Mr. Steele is preoccupied with  watching Barry. He is a fine specimen, Mr. Steele.

Here’s another gratuitous beefcake shot.

BarryVanDykea

(Try not to drool too much over Dick Van Patten. That neckerchief is some kind of sexy.)

gottabill

Shapiro wants to know if Steele’s got the bill of sale.

notassuch

“Not quite,” he admits.

Shapiro wants one good reason why he shouldn’t hit the road to Rio.

funfacticonroadtorio The Road to Rio. Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Paramount Pictures, 1947. Two inept vaudevillians stow away on a Brazilian-bound ocean liner and foil a plot by a sinister hypnotist to marry off her niece to a greedy fortune hunter.

urgehimnot

“Go on, sir,” Laura prompts. “Tell Mr. Shapiro why you urge him not to go to Brazil.”

languagebarrier

“For one … the language barrier,” Steele suggests, no doubt wondering (as we all are) why Laura chose THIS moment to let him be the spokesman.

berlitz

Shapiro says he’ll stop at Berlitz.

funfacticon The Berlitz Corporation, founded in 1848, offers immersion-centered language instruction. It has centers of study around the world.

Steele tries again.

doubledigitinflation

“A stagnant economy. Double-digit inflation.”

makedo

“So long as they can’t extradite me, I’ll make do.”

He’s a tough nut to crack, this Shapiro. One might even call him a farbissener. Oy!  (I’m likely to get myself in trouble here …)

greatdealofsense

“Not worth the price,” Steele says, a little half-heartedly. Still, Laura declares he’s making a great deal of sense!

But Steele has an even better idea:

trybahamas

“On the other hand, a place like the Bahamas seems ideally suited for your needs,” Steele advises. I’m not sure Laura is on board with this idea!

Steele continues his pitch: “They speak the Queen’s English, there are a million tax shelters, all sorts of dummy corporations …”

whosethedummy

Laura’s expression suggests there’s at least one dummy right here.

Steele backtracks. “On the other hand, you’d be admitting your guilt, be a fugitive for the rest of your life.”

quitecomfortably

“Of course, in the Bahamas, even a fugitive can live quite comfortably.” (Speaking from experience, Mr. Steele?)

ambivalentboss

Hunky Barry points out that Steele seems a little ambivalent here. Laura seems impressed by his insight!

nevertruly

There’s Mr. Steele, admiring Hunky Barry’s … exit … again. Meanwhile, Laura is still trying to save the case.

“What Mr. Steele means is, no matter how well you live, you can never be truly free,” she says.

idontknow

Her impassioned plea has an effect. “I don’t know!” he kvetches. He abruptly walks out, followed – after a nudge from Laura – by Mr. Steele.

barrysideeye

Now it’s Hunky Barry’s turn to ogle Steele. What’s going on here? Faygeleh? (Keri! Just.Stop.)

planournextmove

After Steele and Shapiro leave, Hunky Barry has a quiet word with Laura.

“Whether he stays or not, we’d better plan our next move.”

Hmmmm. This is curious; almost seems like Laura and Hunky Barry are in cahoots (a French, not a Yiddish term) about something.

Hunky Barry (HB) suggests they regroup over dinner. Somehow I don’t think he’s including Steele in this tete-a-tete (also French!).

regroupdinner

Laura seems … interested. Nevertheless, she makes it a rule never to go out with clients.

clientsclient

HB points out he’s not a client. His client’s a client.

flirtylaura

“An office seems more appropriate,” Laura purrs.

02-murphy-bed-office_1_jpg_jpg

Presumably she means THIS office.

HB is disappointed that Laura doesn’t mix her business with a smidgen of pleasure.

smidgen

“When I’m in the market for pleasure, Mr. Phillips, I want a lot more than a smidgen.”

sexynot

Oh, behave!

hesowould

Hunky Barry seems down wid it.

toohighclass

Just then Steele and Shapiro return. Shapiro’s decided the Steele Agency is too high class for this job. Steele looks like a trust fund guy. “Bed warmers, nannies, summers in the Alps.”

brixton

Steele wants to know if Shapiro is familiar with Brixton, in London. It’s the worst part of town. “Three quid gets you a night’s lodging and your throat cut. No jobs, no prospects, no hopes. Only two ways out: Get sent to the nick, or snuff it.”

Shapiro is impressed.

couldlovethisguy

“I think I could love this man.” He agrees to give Steele a few days to produce the bill of sale; if he doesn’t, Steele promises to personally help him escape to the Bahamas.

specialfeelings

“We all have special feelings for Mr. Steele,” Laura murmurs.

meaningfullook

They share a Meaningful Look. (I’m verklempt!)

Shapiro offers to buy Steele a drink; they depart. Hunky Barry asks Laura if that stuff about Brixton was for real.

wishIcouldtell

“I wish I could tell you.”

Wow, lots going on in this scene! We see Steele and Laura seemingly working as partners, but she inexplicably throws him under the bus by making him come up with reasons why Shapiro shouldn’t leave. What was her reasoning behind that? Did she really think he was glib enough to come up with a compelling argument? Or was she for some reason trying to put him in his place? There is certainly a heavy flirtation going on between Laura and Phillips, something Steele picks up on immediately. Steele seems to be sizing Phillips up – is it only because he sees him as a potential rival for Laura? Miss Holt seems VERY interested by the lawyer, which calls into question her attachment to Mr. Steele (and perhaps is another clue to where this episode should fit in the season). Is Laura really interested in Phillips? Is she trying to deny/distract herself from her attraction to Steele? Does she want to make Steele jealous? Let me know your thoghts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steele Belted – 4

We see the agency limo pulling up to a slightly less plush hotel than the one Laura is currently visiting.

HotelPanama

Hotel Panama?

i_panama_hotel

It’s a real place! Now it’s emergency housing for homeless people.

personalizedplates

We see the distinctive Steele license plate.

Steelecomfortable

Mr. Steele rolls down the window – perhaps to get a better view of the hotel, or maybe because Pierce Brosnan claims the inside of the limo smelled RANK.

seedyfrontdesk

He enters the seedy hostelry and approaches a rather dated-looking front desk. That radio looks to date from the 60s. “So this is Eagle Rock,” he mutters disdainfully. Actually, Mr. Steele, it’s 403 E 5th St. Are you sure you gave Fred the right directions?

dingythebell

Steele dings the little bell. It seems the hotel is understaffed.

wandersoff

Getting no response, the intrepid detective decides to investigate on his own. No nosy front desk guy HERE to thwart a determined investigator. Determined, perhaps, but not yet entirely competent. Steele fails to notice the shadowy form that crosses behind him as he heads down the hall.

LeatherMan

It’s Rubio, who checks his sexy look in the mirror before moving stealthily off after Steele.

loiteringman

Rubio is followed immediately by Waldo (were they both hiding behind the front desk?) Mr. Church also gives himself a quick once-over in the mirror. It’s sweet that these two are so concerned to look nice for Mr. Steele.

dooropen

Steele finds Waldo’s hotel room door ajar. That can’t be good. But Steele is dauntless!

halfsmoked

Steele discovers a half-smoked cigarette. Uh oh.

The_Smoking_Man_(X-Files)

Does that mean the REAL villain here is the X Files’ Smoking Man? The truth is out there – and Steele will find it!

crunch

Well, as soon as he wakes up, that is. Our well-dressed detective gets conked on the head from behind! (Is this the first of the many, many times Mr. Steele gets knocked unconscious in the series?)

fadetoblack

Fade to black!

murphydressbag

We next see a heavily-burdened Murphy headed back to the office.

murphlookin

He gives a lady a quick ogle as she passes. Is Murph beginning to see the writing on the wall with Laura and considering other options? Fickle!

Imback

Murphy trudges into his office. “Laura, I’m back,” he calls. (At least it wasn’t, “Honey, I’m home!”)

anyluckmurph

Laura appears from her office (?), wanting to know if Murphy found out anything in San Francisco Nada. “Somebody wanted us chasing Rubio in San Francisco,” he tells her. “If you ask me, he was never even up there.”

discouragingbusiness

“Sometimes this is a very discouraging business,” Laura complains. But Murphy *does* have a little news.

cameupwith1

He came up with a piece of information that he doesn’t think he was supposed to find …

mexicanhat

A photo of a cheerful couple. And a sombrero.

Laura recognizes the guy as Rubio. But who’s the girl?

tooclosemurph

“The ex-Mrs. Rubio,” Murphy explains. He’s awfully close to Laura here. A little personal space, Murph? But Laura doesn’t seem to mind … or even notice. Murphy says the photo was taken on a cruise to Acapulco (if Rubio wasn’t in San Francisco, where did Murph find the photo?). Anyway, Murphy figures if they find blondie, they’ll find Rubio.

fivehours

Laura feigns unconcern. “We’ve got plenty of time,” she notes. “Shapiro’s plane doesn’t leave for five hours.” Meanwhile, in the lobby …

steelerumpled

… Mr. Steele arrives, looking decidedly the worse for wear. That doesn’t seem to bother the lady in the hall outside, who gives his posterior an admiring glance. Speaking of posteriors, is that a pig’s butt on Bernice’s desk?

areuallright

“Mr. Steele! Are you all right?” Bernice seems almost genuinely concerned.

“Hanging by a thread, Miss Wolf,” he answers.

Bernice wants to know if there’s anything she can get him?

mytailor

“My tailor?” he sighs. I think the potential clients in the background may be rethinking their decision to seek Mr. Steele’s services.

shirthanging

Oh, Mr. Steele. Your dignity is as tattered as your shirt.

whathappened2u

Steele seeks out his colleagues.

“What happened to you?” Murphy wants to know.

“I was on the wrong end of a lamp.”

sordidhusband

“Sordid past, or jealous husband?” a rather callous Laura asks.

Really? He’s clearly had the hell beaten out of him, and she’s almost gleeful about it?

bashedoverhead

Steele exits to the executive washroom, where Laura finally shows a bit of concern. She checks his head for cuts and bruises.

foundit

She’s found some!

Steele tells them he was lured to some godforsaken place called Eagle Rock. (I bet the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce LOVED this episode!)

namedShapiro

As Steele goes to his office, he asks if he’s supposed to know someone named Shapiro. Laura is surprised!

whosshapiro

Armed with Q-tips and hydrogen peroxide, Laura engages in first aid while Steele grouses about not being in the know. Laura and Murphy fill him in about Shapiro being accused of stealing coins, but claiming they were sold to him by Rubio, yada yada. Suddenly Mr. Steele gets a faraway look in his eyes. Is he going into shock?

DOA

Nope. Just accessing his encyclopedic knowledge of classic films.

“D.O.A. Edmund O’Brien, Pamela Britton, United Artists, 1949.”

behindthescenes D.O.A. is actually listed as a 1950 film on Wikipedia. It’s a film noir drama, notable for its opening scene of a man walking into a police station to report his own murder. It features one particularly notable cast member:

Beverly_Garland_in_DOA

Hello, Abigail!

You can watch the whole darned movie, if you want:

whataboutwaldo

Laura isn’t interested in movie trivia. She wants to know about Waldo Church. Steele explains Waldo is in the same position as Edmund O’Brien: he has a bill of sale that will prove Shapiro’s innocence, and someone is trying to kill him for it. Murphy dashes off to the Hotel Saracen to look for Waldo.

 

tellbuddy

Laura, meanwhile, has a mission for Steele: “You’re going to tell Buddy Shapiro exactly what you just told us.”

“I thought I never involve myself directly in a case,” Steele points out, quite reasonably.

rehearsencar

“You’re making an exception this time.”

Steele resists; he has a mission of his own.

“I have to change,” he insists.

Laura tells him there’s no time. Ahem. Mr. Steele will MAKE time.

neverwrinkled

“Remington Steele never shows up wrinkled.”

godhelpme

Frustrated Laura appeals to heaven for patience.

Laura is not at her most sympathetic here. I get that she’s frustrated about the case, but her cavalier attitude toward Steele’s injuries, and lack of appreciation for his having uncovered some pretty vital clues, is off-putting. I’m a little surprised at how easily the baddie sneaked up on Steele in the hotel. You’d think a jewel thief would be a little more aware of potential threats. We seem to be back to the familiar Laura/Murphy vs. Steele dynamic here. I wonder if this episode was meant to precede “Thou Shalt Not Steele”? Or is there another explanation for the step backward in Laura and Steele’s relationship?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steele Belted – 3

As Mr. Steele prepares to make his move back at the office, we see Miss Holt doing the legwork on her case …

Laurasuit

She strides purposefully into what we soon learn is a hotel.

thepalmbar

Looks like a plush place!

shapirosroom

At the front desk, Laura asks for the room number of one Buddy Shapiro. (Where have we heard that name before?) The hotel guy says no dice; they don’t hand out that information.

onthephone

“Then could you get him on the phone?”

Nope. He’s not taking calls.

detectiveagency

Laura presents her card. “I represent the Remington Steele Agency.”

keepingbusy

“Glad to see you’re keeping busy,” he smirks. What a smug little toad. Mr. Toad tells Laura she can leave a message for her client.

She declines. Time for Plan B.

sendflowers

Laura stops by the in-lobby florist. She’d like to send a bouquet to one of their guests.  Clever Laura is clever!

folloflowers

Detective Holt follows a kid in a high school band uniform carrying the box of flowers.

sneaksin

The kid’s a little lax on security, as Laura easily sneaks in the door behind him.  Is this the same hotel that Meecham was staying at in “Tempered Steele”?

enters

Hm. The doors are rather distinctive. Anyway …

floristshop

Laura walks past the kid at the door, then stops and loiters while delivery boy knocks. Seriously, this youngster must be some kind of stoner not to notice her lurking in plain sight. Or more probably, he just doesn’t care.

signherplease

A kind of skeevy looking guy answers the door. He is wearing a “Kowalski” undershirt.

Here are some other guys who wear this look better:

undershirtcouture

likethemshapr

Laura makes her presence known.  “I hope you like them, Mr. Shapiro. They cost the agency $45.” (That does seem high in 1982 dollars.)

startledshapiro

“How’d you find me here?” a mystified Shapiro wants to know. Laura reminds him, it’s what she does for a living.

ifchinscouldkill

The scene cuts to sharp-chinned Barry Van Dyke, on the phone in the hotel room.

barrycowboy

And here he is as a cowboy! Or a member of the Village People. It’s hard to tell.  (Note: Barry doesn’t wear an undershirt.)

phillips

Laura greets Barry as “Mr. Phillips.” They seem to be acquainted.

leaveforrio

Barry tells Shapiro his plane leaves for Rio at 8:15. Laura looks askance at this news.

talksomesense

“You’re his lawyer!” Laura says. “Can’t you talk some sense into him?”

18mosinjail

Shapiro’s just spent 18 months in the slammer; he ain’t goin’ back.

excon

Shapiro concedes he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life on the run. He’s got season tickets to the Dodgers. But … “Honey, I’m an ex-con. No matter how rehabilitated I am, when you boil away the chicken fat, that’s what’s left.”

That’s pretty … profound?

hotcoins

Shapiro laments that everybody – the cops, the D.A., even the guy on the street – thinks he’s guilty. (Guilty of WHAT?)

ootzes

What ootzes (?) Shapiro the most is that anybody would think he’d deal in hot coins, when he was sent up for stock manipulation! (Ah. Now we know what he’s supposedly guilty of.)

rubioinsf

“You bought those coins from James Rubio,” Laura reminds him. Once the Steele Agency smokes him out, Shapiro’s in the clear! Apparently Laura and Murph have been working this case for three weeks, and Shapiro’s tired of waiting. “We think he’s in San Francisco,” Laura says.

showsup

“Wonderful,” Shapiro notes. “If he shows up, give me a jingle … in Brazil.”

 Not much to say about this very exposition-heavy scene. I did enjoy seeing a bit of how Laura works a case, and the tricks of her trade – she is no stranger to sneaky tactics, no matter how she frowns at Mr. Steele’s methods. One also gets the impression that none of the men Laura encounters in this scene have much respect for her; they all just kind of blow her off. Shapiro even calls her “honey.” Miss Holt really does have an uphill battle in a profession dominated by men. Your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steele Belted – 2

Our next scene opens on what is presumably the morning after …

intowork

Mr. Steele strides purposefully down the corridor toward the office.

openingmail

Inside the plush confines of Remington Steele Investigations, Bernice is opening today’s mail. It seems to be a busy day at the office.

nodtocowboy

Steele enters, giving a one-fingered salute (no, not THAT kind) to a cowboy.

diverseclientele

He is instantly surrounded by clamoring clients! The Steele agency’s fortunes seem to be looking up!

yesyes

Mr. Steele calmly directs the crowd …

makeyourselves

… into his office. Man, is he a skinny guy.

wait5

After securing the mob inside his office, Steele directs Bernice to wait five minutes, “then tell them I was summoned to an urgent meeting with the police commissioner.”

berniceunimpressed

Sometimes I get the sense Bernice isn’t entirely happy in her work.

shapirodisappeared

In Laura’s lavender office (which also seems to be the file room), she is explaining to someone that Buddy Shapiro disappeared, two days ago.

randomalertBuddy is an unusual name, but there are a few famous ones:

famousbuddies

dontinterrupt

Steele starts to tell Laura that someone broke into his apartment, but she waves him off. She’s working here!

whistle

As Laura continues her conversation with what turns out to be Murphy, Steele petulantly begins to whistle an (un)happy tune.

soundspromising

Laura tells Murphy his lead sounds promising … what she can hear of it.

determinedwhistle

Steele continues to whistle, about as tunelessly as he sings.

officeclutter

Laura says she has a lead on where he (Shapiro, presumably) might be staying. She’ll follow it up, “as soon as I get rid of some of the clutter in the office.” Ouch!

apartmentransacked

After she finally hangs up, Steele has serious business to discuss: “My apartment was ransacked last night.” He tells her nothing was taken, though he has a very fine collection of pre-Columbian art, not to mention an extensive collection of Impressionist paintings … (Hm. Wonder if he stole these pieces, or bought them with Laura’s money?)

skipinventory

Perhaps not wanting to become an accessory to any crimes, Laura tells him to skip the inventory. Steele tells Laura the intruder was obviously searching for a piece of information he thinks Steele has.

haveinfo

“You don’t have any information,” Laura points out, a little cruelly.

“He doesn’t know that,” Steele insists.

clueinfiles

“Perhaps the files will give us a clue to what he was after,” Steele suggests, beginning to rifle through Laura’s drawers.

musicfiles

Some of those files contain sheet music! A clue, or has Laura been practicing her glee club repertoire on company time again?

Laura points out that they’re not working on anything that requires ransacking.

sanctity

“The sanctity of my home has been violated. Some pervert pranced through my personal possessions!” I love that Steele genuinely feels like the apartment is his “home,” not just a temporary abode he’s enjoying until the next stop on his world tour.

sordidpast

Laura is unconcerned by Steele concern. “Probably someone from your sordid past,” she suggests. “Or a jealous husband, perhaps.” Oh ho! Is that the crux of Laura’s rather cool attitude this morning? Did she know he had a date last night?

laurajealous

Mr. Steele’s rather bemused expression suggests he might be thinking the same thing. Is it LAURA who’s the jealous one?

In any case, Laura can’t hang around and discuss it further; she has a client to meet. She leaves, and Steele goes into his office …

crowdedoffice

… apparently forgetting he left a crowd in there. What a diverse clientele the agency attracts!

littlejimmy

Steele extends his apologies; he’s just been summoned to an urgent meeting with … er …

“The police commissioner,” Bernice supplies.

Incidentally, who is the tiny man in the cowboy hat?

littledickens

Could it be impish Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens? Let’s say it is!

sparekey

After ushering the parade of clients out into the lobby again, Mr. Steele asks Bernice for a spare key to Laura’s files; he seems to have misplaced his. Bernice reminds him he never HAD a key.

cheese

Steele … appreciates? … Bernice’s attention to detail. She tells him there’s a call for him on line 6. (The office has six lines? That seems excessive.) Steele tells her to take his name and number.

wontleave

“He won’t leave a name and number,” she says, adding that he’s been calling every day for two weeks, refusing to speak to anyone but Steele, and it’s driving her bananas. (Hm. Does this suggest that Steele hasn’t been to the office for a couple of weeks, or that Bernice has just been putting off the caller, knowing Laura wouldn’t want him to speak to Steele?)

thankyouwolf

“Thank you, Miss Wolf. You’ve done your usual bang-up job,” Steele dismisses her.

smirkybernice

Bernice gives him a parting smirk.

Steele answers the phone.

wearingspats

It’s Loitering Guy! And he’s wearing … spats? That’s a bold fashion statement! He identifies himself as Waldo Church, the man from last night.

wentthru

“Are you the one who went through  my apartment?”

manfromlastnight

“Of course not. That was Rubio. He was after the bill of sale, but I still have it.”

shapirosinnocent

“I can prove Shapiro’s innocent!”  Hmm. Shapiro … wasn’t that the person Laura was talking about? The one who disappeared two days ago? What an unbelievable coincidence!

whoisshapiro

“Who?” Steele demands.

tryingtokillme

“He’s trying to kill me, Mr. Steele.”

shapiro

“Shapiro?”

rubio

“Rubio!”

steeleconfusedagain

Mr. Steele is having a little trouble following all this. (He also needs a haircut.) He asks Waldo where he is.

new-canaan-waldo

There’s Waldo!

The OTHER Waldo informs Steele that he’s at the Hotel Saracen in Eagle Rock.

funfacticonEagle Rock is a neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles. It’s named for a rocky outcropping of the same name. Here it is!

Eaglerock

justaminute

Mr. Steele discovers a problem: He doesn’t have a pencil with which to write down the address.

doh

intercom

He is forced to use the very high-tech intercom to ask Bernice for help.

pencilpusher

She cheerfully obliges.

grateful

Mr. Steele is … grateful? But there’s a new problem – no paper.

writesondesk

Fortunately, our detective is a resourceful man. He simply writes the address on the desktop. Brilliant! Now how are you going to wrestle the desk into the limo, Mr. Steele?

Well, it looks as though Mr. Steele is about to embark on a case on his own, without informing Laura. Something tells me that won’t end well. Laura’s coolness toward Steele, and her lack of interest in the fact that his apartment’s been ransacked – an apartment and furnishings paid for by the agency – is curious. Her demeanor is at odds with the warmth we saw at the close of the previous episode. Did Laura decide she’d tipped her hand too much, let Steele have too much control, during that case? Or has he done something else to earn her disapproval?

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Steele Belted – 1

Buckle up for our next exciting adventure, Steele Belted!

funfacticon Steel-belted tires have a steel wire mesh between the tread and body ply of a tire. They are more durable, but offer a rougher ride, than tires without this feature. It will be interesting to see how the title of this episode relates!

glovedhand

We open on a close up of a gloved hand/ID braceleted wrist/leather-clad arm doing bad things to the back of a painting.

beltedtitlecard

Behind the episode’s title card, we see that much damage is being done. Tell me it’s not the Five Nudes of Cairo again!

suedehat

We finally see the perpetrator: a bearded fellow wearing a suede hat – it features a jaunty little green feather in the band. I guess that’s what all the best-dressed cat burglars were wearing in 1982!

andrewbloch

It becomes apparent that we are in Mr. Steele’s swank penthouse (that chandelier gives it away). While Bad Guy starts destroying the best china, we discover that Andrew Bloch is a guest star on tonight’s episode.

behindthescenesandybloch Andrew Bloch has had a long career as a character actor, guest starring in series ranging from MASH to Barney Miller to Designing Women. According to imdb, he is best known for his work in “Jason Goes to Hell.” He continues to act and is also an acting coach in Los Angeles.

barryvandyke

Bad guy has just about emptied Mr. Steele’s armoire. Meanwhile, we’re informed of another guest star.

behindthescenesThe ruggedly handsome son of icon Dick Van Dyke, Barry has often worked with his Dad, most notably on the long-running series Diagnosis: Murder. In 1986, Stephanie Zimbalist guest-starred on that show (along with Philip Casnoff, our old pal Ben Pearson from “License to Steele.” What a small world Hollywood is!)

brosnanvandykeLast summer Pierce Brosnan was photographed chatting with Barry at an exhibition of Barry’s son’s art in Malibu. Perhaps they were reminiscing about this episode?

raymondsinger

Meanwhile, the agency limo pulls up outside Steele’s apartment. And Raymond Singer is another guest star.

ilenegraf

Steele and a woman get out of the limo, which Steele waves away; we see that Ilene Graff, best known as the mom on Mr. Belvedere, is also in this episode.

steelepointing

En route to the apartment, Steele pauses to point something out to his companion. I wonder what?

ransacking

Back in Steele’s apartment, it’s becoming apparent that this fellow isn’t part of the housekeeping staff.

saturdayeveningpost

He picks up some light reading from Steele’s coffee table. It seems our detective subscribes to The Saturday Evening Post!

funfacticon The Saturday Evening Post was founded in 1821 and was once the most widely circulated magazine in America. It’s particularly known for the cover illustrations by Norman Rockwell. The magazine ceased publication in 1969, but was revived in early 1982. This is the May 1982 issue, which featured an article titled, “Tom Selleck: Modest Man of Magnum.”

heretheycome

Just then bad guy hears laughter in the hallway. Someone’s coming!

outthebaclonydoor

He makes a quick getaway out the door to the balcony.

lousyhousekeeper

Mr. Steele and his date enter. Oh, ficus plant. You’ll come to be a beloved member of the cast.

“Did they take anything?” the woman asks.

“How can you tell?” responds a perturbed Mr. Steele.

wreckedpainting

The lady isn’t bothered by the mess. “We musn’t let this put a damper on the evening,” she insists.

damperonevening

Steele seems to have lost interest.

checkthebedroom

“Why don’t we check the bedroom?” The lady is persistent!

stealthysteele

Mr. Steele puts his sleuthing skills to use as he peers around the balcony door.

guyoutside

What’s this? Someone loitering down on the street!

alittlewave

He sees Steele looking at him and gives a little wave.

steelebemused

“I can see all this has made you a little tense,” the lady says. By the way, she’s a little tense herself!

untense

“Why don’t just untense one another,” she suggests. (Have a little self respect, girl! Haven’t you ever heard of playing hard to get?)

steeleruns

Steele is in a hurry – and not to get to the bedroom!

The lady isn’t going to let him get away without a fight: “Then, we’re all relaxed, we can view this in a calm and rational …”

calmrational

(Steele returns and gives her the old “just a sec” sign)

“… way,” the lady says, as the door slams behind Steele.

firescape

Meanwhile, we see someone shimmying down the fire escape.

uneasyguy

The loitering guy sees him.

badguycomin

More shimmying.

runner

Loitering Guy decides discretion is the better part of valor and hits the road.

pursuingbadguy

He is pursued by Shimmying Man, looking dapper (?) in his leather jacket and suede hat.

steeleentry

Steele appears in the doorway, his hair billowing. We see that the name of his building appears to be the Savoy Plaza.

supersteele

Steele strikes his favorite heroic pose. But it’s too late; the bad guy and loitering man have vanished.

comepray

The scene ends, inexplicably, on a shot of the sign for the Christian Science Center. Are they this week’s sponsor?

Well, quite an action-packed opening, no? There is some seriously disturbing stuff here – and by that I mean, who is this chick Steele is bringing back to his place for nookie instead of Laura? She certainly is direct in what she wants, perhaps a refreshing change for Steele from Laura’s ambivalence. Still, one can’t help but be a little disappointed. You’ll never win Laura’s heart that way, Mr. Steele! I’m not sure the Bad Guy is an experienced cat burglar; he doesn’t really dress the part. What do you suppose he was looking for in Steele’s apartment? And who’s going to pick up that mess? Stay tuned!

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Thou Shalt Not Steele – 19

And here we are at the end of another exciting episode!

bigurn

We open on a shot of a big old urn and a voiceover from Coxworth: “If Miss Holt doesn’t have it, and you don’t have it, where is the painting?”

inthemuseum

“In the museum, where it belongs,” Steele tells him.

carefulwithurn

He starts to handle the art, which seems to alarm Laura a bit. The agency is already in enough trouble!

paintingretrieved

Aha! Steele cleverly concealed the painting inside the urn! (When?)

quicklysecurityguy

Coxworth examines the merchandise. Yep, it’s the naked ladies, all right!

securitysmirk

Coxworth hands the canvas over the Head Security Guy, who inexplicably seems to have retained his job. “Quickly! Get this into its frame. There’s still a chance we could make the opening!”

toodloobye

Steele gives the disgruntled guy a little toodle-oo as he goes off to reinstall the painting in its frame (Are security personnel trained as art curators?) Now Coxworth wants to know why they didn’t just tell him where the painting was hidden.

nevercomeforward

“Too risky,” Steele explains. “Gutman had to believe the painting was in our possession, or he would never have come forward.”

tocapturehim

“For you to capture him,” Coxworth assumes. But Steele gallantly demurs.

missholtresponsible

“Actually, Miss Holt was responsible for that. I was indisposed at the time.” Technically true, I suppose: Laura did knock Gutman through the wall while Steele was hanging by his hands. Still, Mr. Steele downplays his role here.

mustapologize

Coxworth has the grace to apologize to Laura for being so hard on her at the police station. Then, citing several million things to be done (like hiring a new curator. And assistant curator. And security team.), Coxworth dashes away.

hardonsomeone

Looks like Laura is feeling a little sheepish, too. “I’m afraid I’ve been a bit hard on someone myself,” she concedes.

nonsense

“Nonsense!” Steele assures her. “Your mother’s a strong woman. She’ll get over it.”

Droll, Mr. Steele. Very droll.

couldhave

“You could have kept the painting and disappeared. What made you decide to leave it in the museum?”

bloodycurse

“You’re not serious!” Steele answers. “I don’t want the Five Nudes of Cairo. The painting’s got a bloody curse on it!”

partingshot

Cue the sprightly incidental music and roll the credits!

For me, a key theme in this episode (as it will be throughout the series) is the concept of identity. We are all different people, depending on whom we’re interacting with. Laura has a professional identity that is confident, determined and controlled - but that identity was challenged in this episode by her anxiety about Steele’s motives. Laura’s identity as a daughter, a role that is much more problematic and uncomfortable for her, is on display here. As cool as Laura is under normal circumstances, we see that she is vulnerable and self-doubting in the presence of her mother. Though she’s distanced herself from Abigail to pursue her own path, Laura desperately craves mom’s approval. We see Laura’s own worries about her life and future reflected in Abigail’s disapproval.

Mr. Steele, whose entire life has been about shifting identities, finds two of his in conflict. He is reminded of who he used to be by Felicia. On the other hand, he has established himself in this new role as the upstanding citizen and brilliant detective hero. I think it’s interesting that Steele doesn’t seem at all tempted by Felicia and her implied invitation to return to his old life; we see that Mr. Steele has staked a genuine claim to this new identity, and intends to keep it.

We also see some subtle shifting in Steele and Laura’s identities in relationship to one another. Laura is willing to open herself up emotionally to this man, even to take great risks for him. And Steele shows himself determined to be the kind of man Laura wants her Mr. Steele to be. They are good for each other.

Final thoughts?

Next up, Steele Belted!

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