Steele Away With Me – 10

We left Mr. Steele contemplating a closed door.


We next see Laura’s cute little VW Rabbit pulling up outside the theatre. We now know the name of the film that was playing: “Kokusai.”

randomalertGoogle tells me that “Kokusai” translates as “international,” a rather uninspired name for a film. But it doesn’t matter, because imdb tells me there never was a film called Kokusai. Maybe it’s referring to an international film festival playing at the theatre? And yet … it was a Japanese film in a Japanese theatre. SO MANY MYSTERIES HERE!

Anyway …


Laura stumbles upon Murphy, apparently waiting for his mom to pick him up after the show. He seems agitated. Laura wants to know if he’s come up with anything.

“I never got the chance, Laura,” he rants. “You gotta keep that guy and his mantle out of my hair!”

Um … anybody else get the feeling that Murphy might not know what “mantle” means?


Laura is confused. “His mantle?”


Murphy doesn’t have the vocabulary time to explain what mantle means. “He screwed up the whole operation, not to mention the fact that I nearly took his head off!”

Now, Murphy. I think Mr. Steele was actually the victor in that contest.

Laura is disappointed in you, Murph. So, so disappointed.


“Look, I know it’s been rough between you two, but I really thought you had better control than that, Murph.”

Murphy is wounded. “Laura, come on. You don’t mean-“

Just then …


Sumo Steele arrives with big news! “Oh, good. You’re both here. I just had a tete a tete with the girl.”

How much you want to bet Murphy thinks a tete-a-tete is some kind of sandwich?

Steele gives his sidekick Murphy a hearty slap on the back.


This show of affection is perhaps as shocking to Laura as his announcement. But down to business!

“YOU found the girl?”


“Murphy led me right to her. That’s teamwork for you, eh?”


Oh, Murphy. Now aren’t you ashamed?

No, as it turns out.


Steele has a determined glint in his eye and a pronounced quirk to his forehead.  “I wasn’t quite sure whether to believe it myself, but it appears that we’re on the right track with the Yakuza.”
“Yakuza?” Murphy questions. So many hard new words to learn today!

Let Laura explain.


“Robert Mitchum, Brian Keith, all about the Japanese underworld.”

Murphy is displeased with this answer.


“Oh, my God. He’s got you doing it now.” Do you think Murphy is feeling a little left out here?

Laura and Steele ignore Murphy’s barbs and continue their conversation.

“What did she say?” Laura wants to know.

Steele says he got the impression she and Kenji were “intimate,” but he apparently failed to mention his little bro.

What about the Palace of Heaven?


“Unfortunately, she ran back inside the theatre and disappeared before we got that far,” Steele explains, adding triumphantly, “At least now we know who claimed the body.”

“We do?” asks Murphy.

Come on, Murph. Try to keep up here.


“Sort of,” Laura says. I finally got Dickerson on the phone. He’s coming by later for a positive ID. But he said it was a Japanese man.”

Waita waita waita minute! This does not tally with Steele’s information.


“A MAN? But she told me SHE claimed the body!”

randomalertMr. Steele’s pained expression here reminds me of Pierce Brosnan’s astonishing turn in the musical “Mamma Mia.” In fact, I believe he wore just this same tortured visage while offering his now-infamous rendition of “S.O.S.” Let’s watch!


Laura, being a professional detective, makes a brilliant deduction: “Somebody is lying.”

Can I just say that Laura looks amazing in that fedora?


“Well, whoever claimed it had to sign the forms,” Murphy notes, desperately trying to stay relevant. “Who was it?”


Laura, whose maniacal expression suggests she’s perhaps seen one too many kung-fu movies herself, drops a bombshell: “MIKE ITO!”


“Oh, dear!” Mr. Steele says adorably. “This is beginning to go round in circles.”

Laura suggests that they’d better have a quiet word with their client. Steele agrees.


“Post-haste!” he declares authoritatively, making for the limo.


He stops and notices Laura heading for her own wheels. She gives him an enigmatic look. (What do you think Laura is trying to convey here?)

Steele is a man of decision, and he decides quickly …


… and sends Fred home alone.


Clearly, being on the case with Miss Holt holds more attraction than a ride in a high-class vehicle. He gives a bewildered looking Murphy a friendly pat as he passes. I think he believes they’re friends now! (Or perhaps the intimacy of their Sumo moment put their relationship on a very different footing. Suddenly Steele can’t seem to keep his hands off the bodacious Mr. Michaels)


Laura, belatedly remembering she has another employee standing on the sidewalk, asks if he wants to tag along.


“Oh, sure,” he grouses, clambering into the back seat. “Why not? Who knows: I may even figure out what’s going on around here.”

Aw, Murph.


This scene further shows us the marginalization of poor Murphy, who is left to do the lackey jobs (“legwork”) with little thanks from Laura, while Mr. Steele seemingly stumbles into important clues and gets all the attention, if not necessarily praise. Sadly, I think Mr. Steele actually does kind of like Murphy and thinks of him as a colleague, while Mr. Michaels will never see him as other than a phony and and an interloper.



Filed under Season 1

You’re Steele the One for Me – 9

We left Mr. Steele apparently discovering an Important Clue.


Looks like the Clue is in black and white.


We’re in a theatre (Don’t tell me: it’s the Palace of Heaven), where the latest Japanese blockbuster is not playing. Instead, it’s some movie hardly anybody wants to see. Someone who DOES is the woman we last saw at Kenji Ito’s funeral.


We see someone sidle in after the opening credits. Why, it’s Mr. Steele!


He settles himself and has a look around. Looks like the floor may be sticky. Perhaps it’s a Japanese porn theatre?




We see the mystery lady looking around. Is she waiting for someone? Or just embarrassed to be in this seedy theatre?


Mystery Lady gets out and exited, followed by someone else …


… followed by Mr. Steele.


The Super Sleuth is hot on the trail of his quarry. But the quarry seems to be on to him.

Wait a second. That quarry looks vaguely familiar.


Perhaps inspired by their surroundings, the two men fall natural into a sumo wrestling hold.


As Steele’s assailant muscles him into the wall, recognition dawns.

“YOU!” (Interesting that Murph refuses to call him Mr. Steele.)

YOU! suggests that they let go of each other.

Not so fast. Murphy wants to know what Steele is doing there.


“Working on the case!”

Murphy ain’t buyin’ it.


“I mean the REAL reason.”

snarkwarning Hm. I feel like Murph and Steele are trying to make up for Mike Ito’s lack of affect by over-emoting their little hearts out here.


Mr. Steele gives his colleague a big ‘ol shove. He’s had enough!

“Well, it certainly wasn’t to be pummeled about the head and shoulders by you!”


“Somebody followed me down here,” Murphy explains, though he wasn’t asked.


“It looked the other way round from where I sat.”


“I got a good description of the girl from the funeral from Laura. I caught up with her an hour ago and I followed her here!” Murphy is still snapping and snarling.

Steele is skeptical.


“You located an Oriental girl down here from only Laura’s description?” Steele is also VERY VEHEMENT.


“You know, some of us do this for a living!” Murph growls.
“I’ll try and remember that,” Steele exclaims. “As it happened, I also remembered that the name of this theatre was called the Palace of Heaven.”


“Kenji Ito was murdered for something called the ‘Palace of Heaven’.”

Okay, guys. I think somebody put testosterone in your cornflakes this morning.



“Since when has this meant so much to you?” Murphy’s belligerent chin wants to know.


“Since I assumed the mantle of Remington Steele.”


“The mantle of Remington Steele?”


I begin to think Murphy is hoping to break into the kung-fu movie industry.


Steele launches into a motivational speech: “I’ve realized he’s more than one man, Murphy. He’s a team. You, Laura, Bernice, and me, of course. We’re all part of that team. We’re *all* Remington Steele. Together, who could stop us?”


Now, I say, we go after that girl- and see what she can tell us.”

Also, win one for the Gipper!


Murphy seems stunned by Steele’s eloquence. “I don’t know. She’s long gone. I think I’ll … call in.”


He pauses at the … curtain. “You know, for just a moment there, I had the feeling that we- ”




“Oh, no.”  Murphy leaves.

Well, that was the most romantic moment I’ve seen all season.


After Murphy leaves, Mr. Steele rearranges his coif.


He finds a back door and exits …


… only to find himself cornered by his quarry. His real quarry this time. “I can’t run any more,” she says with very nearly as much inflection as our friend Mike – which is to say, none at all.


“I’m a little short of breath myself,” Steele remarks, eyeing the gun.

The girl says she knows he’s been following her, and advises him not to deny it.


“I know I am a dead woman. My mother told me, To love a Yakuza is to wish for an early grave.”

What? I thought you only risked your fingers by hangin’ with these guys. And unless you make your living as a concert pianist, that wouldn’t seem to be a death sentence.


“So it’s true. Kenji WAS Yakuza.”


“Don’t come any closer!”


“Look, with all respect to your mother, I’m not trying to harm you. Kenji’s death was a complete surprise to me. Caught his brother off guard as well.”

Mystery Lady don’t know nothin’ about no brother!


“His name’s Mike. Owns a restaurant on Tower Street.”

Oh, yeah. THAT brother.


“At the funeral. The man who came and sat in the back row,” she deduces.

Mr. Steele is surprisingly surprised to learn she was at the funeral, too. (Pretty sure Murphy already told you that, Steele. Pay attention.)

Mystery Lady says she arranged the funeral.


“I see. So you must have claimed the body too.”

Mr. Steele is pleased with himself.


“I really think we’re making progress here!”


Encouraged, Mr. Steele decides to pursue this line of questioning. “Now, tell me. This Palace of Heaven -”

Oh, dear. It seems that was the wrong thing to say.


The “Palace of Heaven’? I knew it. You are no different than the rest. Get back.”


Mystery Lady keeps Steele covered as she sidles toward the door …


… and is gone, leaving Mr. Steele to try to decipher the Japanese graffiti.

Well, this scene provides some exposition, or at least confirmation that Kenji was some kind of gangsta. It also provides some interesting interaction between Steele and Murphy. But frankly, I’m so put off by the bad acting all around (The actress is painful enough, but Pierce! James! Really!) that I don’t know what to say. Just .. ugh. I guess we do see that Mr. Steele has really come to see himself as part of something larger than himself – the Steele Agency and all it represents.




Filed under Season 1

You’re Steele the One for Me – 8


We left Laura dwelling on Major Eyebrows’ threats …


It looks like we’re now back at the Century Towers. Hope Laura at least got her sushi to go!


In the office, Bernice is filling Laura in on what she’s learned: “So far, Major Craddock checks out …”

Wait. I thought Bernice was the receptionist. Where’s Murphy?


Bernice hands Laura a stack of messages and continues: “But you’re gonna have to narrow the Palace of Heaven down for me. I mean, are we talking priceless Jade statue, Shanghai bordello, what?”


“I wish I could tell you,” Laura says. But Mr. Steele’s got his thinking cap on!


“Name seems to ring a gong,” Steele quips as he shuffles through the stack of messages that Laura has, rather surprisingly, handed him.

“And we’re billing this to an open-and-shut traffic accident, correct?” Bernice wants to know.

Laura says it’s developed a little from that.


Steele smugly corrects her. “E&F at last reading, I believe.”


“Or QWYA,” Bernice adds as she and Steele follow Laura toward her office.

“Too soon to tell,” Laura responds, grabbing a file folder.

Mr. Steele figures he’s getting the hang of this code:


“QWYA? Question Witnesses, Yank Answers!”



“Quit While You’re Alive,” Laura clarifies.


While Steele visibly processes this information, Bernice Laura to take a pass: “I mean it, Laura. I don’t like this one. Two accidental murders, Army intelligence-“

“And the Palace of Heaven,” Steele ponders.


“What about our responsibility to the client?” responsible Laura inquires.


“Refer him to the advice column in Soldier of Fortune magazine.”

funfacticonSoldier of Fortune, The Journal for Professional Adventurers, was founded in 1975 by a couple of army veterans. Wikipedia describes it as a “monthly mercenary magazine devoted to world-wide reporting of wars.” Well, that sounds like fun. It’s been sued several times because of their acceptance of classified advertising for “guns for hire.” Here’s the cover of the issue that was on the stands when this episode aired. Ooh! Special issue? Is it the swimswuit issue?Do you think there was a centerfold?december1982


Laura, who’s like a dog with a bone, objects that they can’t drop the case until they’ve made some sense of this!


“Or found the movie,” Steele suggests. Uh, oh. I can see him starting to get wound up here …

“What movie?” Laura, who apparently just met Mr. Steele, wants to know.


“That’s the question, isn’t it? Are we looking here at ‘Enter the Dragon’, with Bruce Lee on the trail of illicit narcotics?”


behindthescenesEnter the Dragon. Bruce Lee, John Saxon. Warner Bros., 1975. A martial artist agrees to spy on a reclusive crime lord using his invitation to a tournament there as cover. The film was released six days after Lee’s mysterious death.


Laura thinks Steele might be on to something. “Craddock did call Kenji a gun runner.”

This gives Steele ANOTHER idea!




“The Yakuza!”


“The Yakuza?”




“Robert Mitchum, Brian Keith?” Bernice contributes.


Well! That was unexpected!

Has Bernice been boning up on old movies? Has Mr. Steele been “tutoring” her after hours? WHAT’S GOING ON HERE?


Mr. Steele doesn’t seem surprised by Bernice’s sudden encyclopedic knowledge of obscure films. “Exactly!” he agrees. “Warner Brothers, 1975. ‘The Yakuza’. Japanese word for gangster. Ruthless code of honor.”


“Where do you GET these films?”


Bernice is even more convinced this isn’t a case for them. “Drop the case, Laura. The only way to apologize to these guys is to chop off your pinkie and hand it over in a handkerchief.”

funfacticonThe Yakuza are a real thing. So is the fingers bit. According to Wikipedia, “Upon a first offense, the transgressor must cut off the tip of his left little finger and give the severed portion to his boss. Sometimes an underboss may do this in penance … if he wants to spare a member of his own gang from further retaliation. Its origin stems from the traditional way of holding a Japanese sword. The bottom three fingers of each hand are used to grip the sword tightly, with the thumb and index fingers slightly loose. The removal of digits starting with the little finger moving up the hand to the index finger progressively weakens a person’s sword grip.” Okay, then.


Laura seems to be dwelling on Major Eyebrows’ ominous words. But she won’t be intimidated!

“Please. This isn’t getting us anywhere.”


“The movie had the same problem. Watched it half a dozen times, still couldn’t make head nor tails of the plot.”

behindthescenesThe Yakuza. 1974. Robert Mitchum, Ken Takakura, Brian Keith. Warner Bros., 1974. Directed by Sidney Pollack. Mr. Steele wasn’t the only one who had trouble following the plot, and famed critic Roger Ebert noted, “It’s for audiences that have grown accustomed over the last few years to buckets of blood, disembowelments and severed hands flying through the air.” A romantic comedy, then?

Mr. Steele still has something niggling at the back of his brain.


“Palace of Heaven,” he says, reaching for the phone. “I wonder-“


But Laura gets there first. “Who are you calling?” Steele asks.

“The morgue. We haven’t heard from Dickerson and I still have to know who picked up Kenji’s body.”

Wait a second, missy!


“This is my office,” Steele complains, looking downcast. (Or more likely, looking at the tantalizing expanse of leg that Laura’s slit skirt reveals.)


You just don’t know when to quit while you’re ahead, do you, Mr. Steele?


“No problem,” he capitulates at her look. “I’ll use the phone outside.”


He departs with a backward look and an impish grin. What is he up to?


In the lobby, Mr. Steele dials information. “Um, what city? I’m not sure, really. It’s just that the Palace of Heaven seems very familiar to me, and I was hoping you could tell me why. What did you say?” 

By George, I believe the game is afoot!

In this scene we see Mr. Steele bringing his own area of expertise to bear – and Laura learning from him. We also get a deeper sense of Laura’s sense of commitment as well as how much Major Eyebrows’ threats genuinely scared her. I’m a little puzzled by Bernice’s role in this – it seems to me that her lines might originally have been intended for Murphy. What do you think?






Filed under Season 1

You’re Steele the One for Me – 7

We left Laura on the way to call the office.


Ah. “Call the office” is a euphemism, it seems.


It appears that they bus the dirty dishes to the outside of the restroom at this place. That doesn’t seem too sanitary.


Oh, it’s one of those classy joints with a pay phone in the toidy. Laura digs for a dime. Perhaps after she calls the office, she can get in touch with the county health inspector. I think there are some violations here! But before Laura can do her public service in the public restroom …


A hand reaches in and pulls out the phone cord! Hey, that’s no lady!


It’s a big, white-haired man!

It’s clear this suspect really IS Santa Claus, albeit with shaved beard to conceal his identity. He managed to materialize in this small ladies room without Laura noticing him open the door three feet from her. In fact, since the door swung shut slowly when Laura entered, and it’s fully closed behind this guy, it’s apparent that Santa didn’t even enter through the door. Presumably he came down the chimney.


You’re not fooling anyone, Mr. Kringle.

In any case, he’s sorry to inform Laura the phone is out of order.


“In that case, thanks for saving me the dime.”  You’re one cool customer, Miss Holt.

Not St Nick wants to know if Laura remembers him.


“Kenji Ito’s funeral, wasn’t it?” she responds. “But there was such a crowd there, I might be mistaken.”


“No mistake, Miss Holt.”

You can tell this is a bad guy because of his evil eyebrows.


See? You can always tell by the eyebrows.


“Naming names, are we? Did you bring yours along, or do I have to go looking for it?”  Laura wants to know.


Santa presents his credentials. “”Craddock, Winslow. Major, Army, Special Intelligence,” Laura reads. You’re out of uniform, soldier!

She wants to know if it’s legit.


“Use your dime,” Major Eyebrows suggests. Aw, after you broke the phone? That’s just mean.

Laura points out that he obviously wanted to see her. (Or maybe the men’s room is full?)


“I had that little gun-running flea Kenji tight between my fingers. And I only let him go because I knew it would lead to the Palace of Heaven. His death doesn’t change that. It’s still mine.”

randomalertGun-running flea? What does that even mean?

Laura isn’t impressed with Major Eyebrows’ bluster.


“Palace of Heaven. What’s that?”

Sounds like a brothel to me.


“Come on. Stupid doesn’t suit you, Holt,” he snarls. “Just give it to me and get out while you still can.”

Wow. Santa seems a lot nicer during the holidays.


“”You trying to tell me this ladies’ room isn’t big enough for the both of us?”

Well, I’m pretty sure he’d have to use the handicap stall.


behindthescenesThe familiar cliché, “This town ain’t big enough for the both of us” comes from the 1932 film, “The Western Code.” (Columbia Pictures). It starred early cowboy hero Tim McCoy. Here’s a clip!


Kindly Major Eyebrows warns Laura that he doesn’t like to see civilians hurt.

“Is that a threat?” she asks, rather unnecessarily. (I’m pretty sure it is.)

“Consider yourself lucky. If Tenaka had found you first, he’d take a finger. And then turn nasty. Dwell on it.”

snarkwarning “Dwell on it?”  Who wrote this episode? Wait: Robert Butler and Michael Gleason? I’m disappointed, guys.


Major Eyebrows backs … slowly … out … the … door. As a military man, he knows always to keep the enemy covered with your most potent weapon. In this case, his menacing eyebrows.

It works!


Laura, visibly shaken, is left to Dwell.On.It.

Perhaps I’m a particularly snarky mood because it’s Valentine’s Day and I’m alone, but I found this sequence a little lame. Still, we found out a few things: Kenji was a gun-running flea, military intelligence is on the case, the ladies’ room at Mike Ito’s sushi bar doesn’t get much business (have you ever been in a ladies room for five minutes without somebody else coming in?), something called the Palace of Heaven is VERY IMPORTANT, whoever Tenaka is doesn’t like fingers, and even Gleason and Butler can have an off week.






Filed under Season 1

You’re Steele the One for Me -6

So what’s the most natural thing to do after a visit to the morgue?


Attend an autopsy. Go to lunch!


While they’re waiting for their raw fish to … stay raw, Professor Holt is delivering her next lecture: “He still seems very upset, So let’s not say we suspect anything just yet.” 

Is she referring to the dead guy?


Nope. It’s client Mike Ito.

snarkwarningThough to be honest, the actor’s lifeless performance makes it a little hard to tell the difference.


Mr. Steele is content to watch the master at work. “Whatever you think best, Laura.”


But he doesn’t want his inexperience to throw Laura off her game: “My looking over your shoulder isn’t making you nervous, I hope.”


Nope. It seems dead bodies and dead fish make Laura peckish. “All this sushi going by makes me hungry,” she confesses.

Mr.Steele can’t agree. “Raw fish, isn’t it?”

Laura is surprised that a man of Steele’s culinary acumen hasn’t tried the Eastern delicacy.


Something tells me today won’t be the day Mr. Steele expands his horizons. Yes, well, it all seems so desparate to me, rushing all that raw fish into my mouth when a few turns over the coals could have done us both a world of good.”

I’m inclined to agree, Mr. Steele. Anyway, speaking of dead fish …


“What the hell is this supposed to mean?” Mike demands says woodenly, slamming casually setting a manila folder on the countertop.


“We were hoping you could tell us,” Laura challenges, perhaps hoping to jar Mr. Ito out of his apparent stupor.

funfacticonfugu080505_1_560Fugu is a pufferfish served as a sashimi delicacy in Japan. Its tissues contain a neurotoxin that’s 1,200 times more potent than cyanide. It has been claimed that this tetradotoxin has been used to turn people into emotionless zombies. Young Mr. Ito should stop smoking fugu in the back room, methinks.


The detectives and their client take a seat to continue their heated lukewarm confrontation.

“I ask you to find out who killed my brother, and instead you run a check on him?”


“Just standard procedure,” Steele assures him.

Laura elaborates: “When you told us you didn’t expect a visit from your brother now, we thought someone in his company, Namu Printing, might be able to tell us why he came to the States so suddenly.”


“But according to this, there is no such company.”

oopssmileyIto says “according to this,” which suggests he’s referring to the file we saw him with earlier. But he left that on the counter. So apparently  he’s divining the story from the pattern on the empty tabletop in front of him.


“And he doesn’t seem to work for any other printing concern that we could find,” Steele says.


“Then where did he get the money for me to start this place? What’s going on here?” Ito snarls in a towering rage mutters indifferently.

Laura hastens to explain, but Steele hastens hastier!


“I’m afraid the cat’s on the roof, and we can’t get her down.” Oh, Mr. Steele. That old chestnut again?

behindthescenes Mr. Steele’s repeated cat references are what’s known in the biz as a “running gag.” Per Wikipedia: “… a literary device that takes the form of an amusing joke or a comical reference and appears repeatedly. Running gags can begin with an instance of unintentional humor that is repeated in variations as the joke grows familiar and audiences anticipate reappearances of the gag. Running gags are found mostly in television shows. “


Mike, showing perhaps his first genuine emotion of the episode, is confused by the change of topic.

Laura can assuage him-


-unless Mr. Steele gets there first.

“You see, Mike, there were these two brothers. One of whom had a cat he loved dearly. Well, he decides to go away on holiday and he leaves the cat with his brother-“

This is not the version of “looking over your shoulder” that Laura had in mind, Mr. Steele.


Bad boy! Bad!


“What Mr. Steele is trying to say is that the driver of the car who hit Kenji was killed yesterday in a very suspicious accident,” Laura deflects. “Are you certain you’ve told us everything?”

I like the look on Mr. Steele’s face here. He seems to genuinely appreciate her professionalism.

Mr. Ito … not so much.


“Wait a minute. You’re not accusing me now?”


“Of course we aren’t!”


“Are we?”

You’re finally learning, Mr. Steele.


Good boy!


“It’s just that we think whoever claimed the body and paid for the funeral must know something,” Laura says. “Now, you’re certain you never saw any of those people before who were at the funeral?”


Ito is indignant, in his passive kind of way. “I already told you that. Have I got it backwards Steele, or aren’t I paying you to come up with the answers?”


“That is the general arrangement,” Steele replies, showing remarkable restraint. (I would have told the kid to go to hell.)

Ito says that when the detectives come up with something that makes sense, he’ll listen to them. Until then, he’s got a business to run. He stomps wanders off.


Mr. Steele, withering under this blistering attack, complains to Laura. “It hardly seems fair … you holding the reins, me taking the whip.”


Laura avoids the issue by deciding to call the office.


Steele watches her go.

What’s Steele thinking here? Perhaps he’s beginning to realize that it’s not all glory, this detective business. Sometimes you have to deal with clients who aren’t very appreciative. Sometimes you have to tell people things they don’t want to hear. Sometimes you have to deal with actors who are so lousy that it’s really hard to stay focused on the scene. Who knows?


Filed under Season 1

You’re Steele the One for Me – 5

This is a short scene …

We last left our detective and detective-in-training at a rundown apartment in Little Tokyo, where Laura had pinned Santa Claus as the most likely suspect, and Steele had discovered that their quarry, taxi driver Hamata, was a dead end.




Laura and Steele follow a highly focused lab attendant into the morgue.

Miss Holt is slightly miffed at how well her student is learning his lessons.

“You really enjoyed that didn’t you?”  she sniffs.

“On my word as a gentleman Laura, I never asked that little man to tell me where Hamata was,” Steele protests.

behindthescenesThe L.A. County Morgue is at 1104 N. Mission Rd. conveniently located on the campus of UCLA Hospital. In 2010, the lab performed 6,500 autopsies, and the morgue averages 300 corpses on ice in any given week. Here’s what the place looks like.


Kinda nice. I could be comfortably dead here.


Laura is still fuming. “Watching me beat myself cross-eyed against the language barrier.”


Mr. Steele tries to soothe those ruffled feathers.

“On the contrary, I thought you handled the situation brilliantly. After all we got who we were after and I learned something in the bargain.”

“Really? What was that?”

“You’re an absolute pip at charades.”

Oh, Mr. Steele.


I don’t think that’s helping.


Nope. Laura’s feathers are NOT soothed. Meanwhile, Mr. Steele seems to have developed an interest in the lab attendant … and whatever he’s doing with his hand in his pocket.

Finally the kid discovers the right drawer.


“What happened to him?” Laura demands.

But the kid is engrossed in his music.

What do you think he’s listening to?


Laura yanks his chain earphone wire.

“What exactly did Mr. Hamata-“ she demands

Kid hastily consults his chart: “Broken neck. Accidental. Refrigerator door caught him at a bad angle.”

 funfacticon I was unable to find good statistics on refrigerator-related deaths. I did learn that entrepreneurs in the Sudan rent out refrigerators for people to sit in to escape the heat, with the unfortunate result that a number of customers have frozen to death.


Steele presses for details, but the kid says he’ll have to talk to the coroner.


Laura mentions Kenji Ito’s recent death. She wants to know who claimed the corpse.

Creepy kid seems a little turned on by this.


“Two stiffs in two days. You guys are really into this stuff, huh?”


“Just a hobby,” Steele clarifies.

Creepy Kid has disappointing news.


He knows no Ito. “Musta gone out on the night shift. Dickerson’s the man you want on that.”

Not to worry, Laura.

I’ve got your Itos right here.


Laura is apparently looking for a less lively Ito. She asks Creepy Kid to have the night guy call her when he comes in. Eager to be of some service, Creepy Kid wonders if he can offer the detectives something else.


“Uh, you know, I got a lady mud wrestler you could have a look at. Fresh.”

Laura’s not interested. Perhaps he can show her something from the gift shop?

funfacticon The LA Coroner’s Office operates a gift shop, Skeletons In Your Closet, out of the morgue. Happy news: They deliver.


I recommend the Deaddy Bears. Just in time for Valentine’s Day!


After the Creepy Kid leaves, Laura frets.

“First Kenji Ito, and then the driver that supposedly hit him.”

“Hardly C&D,” Steele points out, snarkily helpfully.


“More like E&F.”
“E and F?”
“Enigmatic and Frightening.”

Pretty sure you just made that up, Laura.  But anyway …



It appears that Laura is coming around to Mr Steele’s contention that this case may be worth investigating. Kind of a reverse of last episode, when he finally convinced her there was nothing to it – only to have him change *his* mind. That said, I don’t think Mr. Steele is seeing this case as much more than an amusing diversion at this point; he’s enjoying being with Laura and being able to tweak her pride.



Filed under Season 1

You’re Steele the One for Me – 4

We left Professor Holt and her eager student preparing to begin Professional Detecting 101.


It seems the lessons have indeed begun. We see the limo heading down a lightly-trafficked highway.


The inside of the limo, however, seems to be somewhere other than the exterior. There are a LOT more cars around them. Anyway, Mr. Steele has his notebook at the ready, and Miss Holt is schooling him on just the facts, man.

“To begin with, one must first go over all the known facts and see if they present any troubling questions,” Laura explains.


“Right!” Mr. Steele agrees, taking it down.


Laura explains that telling him to get his notebook out was a figure of speech.


But Mr. Steele declares it an excellent suggestion! He wouldn’t want to miss anything.

skeptical spock

Oh, I’m sure you’re not making fun of Laura, Mr. Steele. Are you?

The lesson continues.


“If Mike was Kenji’s only relative in town, and he didn’t know about the accident until today, then who claimed Kenji’s body from the authorities?”


*scribble *scribble* “Who claimed Kenji’s body.”


“And who arranged for the funeral?” Laura continues to count down the facts as Steele studiously jots them down. “And what were those other people doing there this morning?”


Wait a minute. Steele didn’t notice any other people.


Laura fills him in: “Before you came three people paid their respects and left. But I’m sure they weren’t together, and none of them seemed to know Mike at all.”

Mr. Steele is impressed.


“Remarkable! “The way you can make a routine case just- come alive with mysteries.”


Laura gives a nonchalant little toss of her head. She knows she’s remarkable.


Flattery will get you (almost) anywhere, Mr. Steele.


“Perhaps the driver of the car that hit him can tell us something.”

Sounds reasonable.


The limo arrives at its destination, apparently in Little Tokyo.

funfacticonThe Ida Market seen on the right here was started by  Miyo Higashi Ida and her husband. Mrs. Ida was born on Terminal Island, an artificial island in the Port of Los Angeles that was home to many newly immigrated Japanese before WWII. The couple were sent to the Manzanar internment camps where Japanese-Americans were essentially imprisoned during the war. They started Ida Market in 1947. It is no longer open. Tokyo Kaikan was a well-known restaurant known for being the first restaurant in the United States to offer a Tempura Bar. It is also closed.


Here’s what the area looks like now-ish (Thanks, Google maps!)


Apparently there are apartments above the restaurant. Kinda … sketchy.

Mr. Steele adjusts his cuffs and asks the name of the driver. It’s Mr. Hamata.


Laura doesn’t want any funny business from Mr. Steele, like he got up to with Mike. She starts to lay down the ground rules: “For the purposes of demonstration-“

Mr. Steele is way ahead of her.


“The reins are entirely in your hands. I’ll merely stand back and observe,” he promises.


“Thank you,” says Laura, adopting a professorial pose.


Laura gives the door a few sharp raps. “Mr. Hamata! This is Miss Crenshaw from the Renfro Insurance Company!”

Clever cover, Miss Holt. Unfortunately, it’s wasted on Mr. Hamata, who doesn’t seem to be home. But lots of his neighbors are.

nothamatas anotherneighborthirdguy

Laura remains intent on raising Mr. Hamata, but Mr. Steele has noticed their audience.


He offers his best “we’re completely harmless – nothing to see here” smile.


Laura finally figures out the apartment is not occupied. Fortunately, she has another idea! “No luck. Maybe we should break in and have a look around-”  She starts digging in her purse for her lock pick kit.


Breaking and entering, Laura? I’m shocked!

Mr. Steele doesn’t think it’s a good idea, either.


“Speaking purely as an observer, I don’t think that would be our wisest move.”


He gives a … subtle … sign to alert her.



It seems the teacher is taught by her student!

You are wise, Little Grasshopper.


Laura tries another “professional detective-type” tactic: Talk to the neighbors.

“Excuse me, but I’m looking for Mr.-“


Hm. The neighbors aren’t very welcoming. They must get a lot of pushy door-to-door salespeople.


No wonder they cower behind closed doors.


But Laura – who was certainly a Girl Scout herself – is nothing if not persistent. “Excuse me, I was wondering if you could help me. I’m looking for -“


Well. That’s discouraging. Still, everything is a learning experience, right?


“Should I be taking notes, do you think?” 

Laura doesn’t think it’s necessary at this time.

But don’t count her out yet! On to Plan C:


The old pretend-to-leave, then turn back quickly trick.


But no! Like any good Girl Scout, Laura gets her foot in the door. Well played, Miss Holt.


“Excuse me, but I’m looking for Mr. Hamata and I was wondering if you could help me-” 


The nice lady says … something.


Laura persists. “The man in that room down there. I need to talk him.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Steele doesn’t seem to be paying close attention to his teacher. Careful, Mr. S – there’s going to be a quiz later!


Oh. One of the other neighbors has caught Mr. Steele’s eye.


Mr. Steele tries to alert Miss Holt.


She tries to cross the language barrier with a little mime: “Screeeeech! Pow!”

Mr. Steele persists. Miss Holt is irked.


She’s making progress here! Watch and learn, Mr. Steele. Watch and learn.


Well, Mr. Steele will just stroll over here a minute. He can still observe Laura while he’s getting to know the other neighbors.


The elderly neighbor has top-secret information.


It appears Mr. Steele has found a use for his notebook after all.


Mr. Steele seems pleased by the transaction. And he’s made a new friend!


It seems Laura hasn’t had quick such a jolly time. Speaking of jolly, she has a hot lead: “I got something about a big man with white hair …”

Eureka! The killer is unmasked!

scared santa

The fiend!

Mr. Hamata, on the other hand, seems to be a dead end.


“Very much so, I’m afraid,” says Steele, pulling out his trusty notebook.

This is an amusing scene, as Laura takes her job of teaching Steele the tricks of the trade very seriously, oblivious to the fact that in the working-with-people department, Mr. Steele might have a sliiiiight edge. Mr. Steele is enjoying the time spent with Laura. I think he’s affectionately amused, rather than scornful, of her didactic attitude. He knows his own strengths, but if it pleases Laura to believe she’s honing his skills, it’s all good with him!




Filed under Season 1

You’re Steele the One for Me – 3

Laura and Steele are back at the office, and somebody must have cut Laura off in traffic, because she is in a FOUL mood.


“You come barging in, with no facts …”


“… no idea of what’s going on …”


” …and then you have the nerve to just take over!”

Oh-ho. I think we may have found the reason for Laura’s tirade: Mr. Steele acting like he was in charge when he promised Mike to look into his case. You forget your place, Mr. Steele. And Laura has no time for it!

But Steele is like a dog with a bone.


He pursues her into her office, offering an explanation: “Laura, the man was distraught!”

Oh, Laura knows distraught, Mr. Steele. She can HANDLE distraught. Hm. I wonder what she can’t handle?

Close, Jack, but no cigar.


Turns out, Laura can handle almost anything:

“I once had to convince a drug crazed killer that I was the Virgin of Guadalupe over the phone!”

Mr. Steele seems to find this amusing.

randomalertguadelupe Here is the Virgin of Guadelupe. Yeah, I can see the resemblance.



Laura knows ALL about distraught.

At that moment, Bernice appears. Long time no see, Bernice!


Bernice looks a little concerned at seeing Laura so obviously … distraught. Meanwhile, Steele wants to know more about Laura’s er, virginity. “He wanted to speak to the Virgin of Guadalupe?”

Now is not the time, Mr. Steele. Laura needs to explain the WORST thing he did.


“You left poor Mike thinking we’re really going to dig into this thing now.” She stomps off to the file cabinet, conveniently located in the lobby. I’m sure there’s nothing confidential in there.

Mr. Steele reminds her he just said they’d go over the facts.


You know, like the cat on the roof.

behindthescenesCat_roof Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. MGM, Elizabeth Taylor, Paul Newman, 1958. Paul resists Elizabeth’s affections Way Down South.


Steele expounds on his feline metaphor: “There were these two brothers, one of whom had a cat he dearly loved. Well, one day he decides to go away on holiday and leaves the cat with his brother. A few days later, the brother phones up check on the cat. His name was John, but that doesn’t really matter.”


Hey, look! It’s Murphy Michaels. Long time no see, Murph.

Steele continues: “He said, anyway, ‘Look, John, I was outside polishing my car the other day-” Yada yada, the cat’s name was Sidney, it was up on the roof.” I think you skipped part of the story, Steele.


Murph butts in. He wants to know if he’s interrupting.

“As a matter of fact, you are,” says Steele. Murphy doesn’t care.


Murphy hands over the report on Mike’s brother’s accident. It’s very C & D. Steele deduces that means “Complicated and Delicate?” Nice try.


“Cut-and-dried,” Laura corrects him, snatching the report away from Steele. You’re really wound up, Laura. Perhaps a stroll around the block might help relax you!




Murphy, smelling Steele’s blood in the water, goes in for the bite: “Don’t you have a Chamber of Commerce luncheon or something to go to?”


“He ran out of doodles.” Droll, Laura. Very droll.

funfacticonI suspect Mr. Steele’s doodles were quite good, given that Pierce Brosnan is a gifted artist. Here’s his gallery:

Laura heads back toward her office. But Steele has had ENOUGH.


He pursues her …


… and grabs her before she can reach her office.


Grabs her quite hard, actually, and drags her into his office. I don’t really approve of the manhandling, Mr. Steele. Rather at odds with your genteel image, isn’t it?

Mr. Steele seems to have worked himself to a dudgeon as high as Laura’s by this point.


Laura’s not intimidated by his he-man act.


Steele’s not intimidated by her not being intimidated. “Before we sling anymore mud at the wall, my dear, you might recall that I didn’t invent Remington Steele as your superior. You did.”

Hm. It appears Mr. Steele is on to the reason for Laura’s tantrum. And by the way, HE doesn’t appreciate being treated like a … doodler.


Laura points out that when she invented Mr. Steele, she didn’t anticipate that he would walk and talk. And look – they’re walking and talking in tandem here.

BeardedSMiley Per Wikipedia, “Mirroring is the behaviour in which one person subconsciously imitates the gesture, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Mirroring often occurs in social situations, particularly in the company of close friends or family. The concept often affects other individual’s notions about the individual that is exhibiting mirroring behaviors, which can lead to the individual building rapport with others..”

I’m not sure they are building rapport here.


Steele closes off Laura’s escape route. He’s got a few things to say! “”What exactly makes you think that being the flashy front man is exactly the cat’s meow?”

Cats again!

funfacticonkeelyscatsPierce and Keely Brosnan have fancy-schmancy cats.


“Bouncing around the rubber chicken circuit,” Steele complains. “Glad-handing a lot of old windbags in order to keep this agency’s name in circulation.”

“Somebody’s got to do it,” Laura snarks.


Mr. Steele is wearing his mad face. And with good reason! “Not to mention being shot at from time to time, or bashed about by people because they think I know something that you have conveniently forgotten to tell me!” Oh, yeah. There is that.


“You function best in a purely advisory capacity,” Laura retorts.

Sigh. That old line, Laura?


Steele doesn’t appreciate being treated like an invalid, not a detective!


“Because you’re NOT a detective!”


“Then teach me!”


Laura’s taken aback. “You’re not serious.”


Does this look like the face of a whimsical man? (I’m going to go with no here.)


“But-“ says Laura.

“”But? But? But, but, but- But *what*?” Steele counters. He wants to know why she won’t share her invaluable training.


“Your years of experience! The trained eye of the professional seasoned in the field!”


Hm. Laura doesn’t know how to react to this. Mr. Steele is admitting that she is capable, experienced, a real professional – and he wants to learn from her. Kinda hard to keep haranguing him after that, isn’t it Laura?


Well, she never thought –

“Well, I do,” Steele mutters.

Feeling conciliatory, Laura says that when their next case comes in, they’ll discuss it further.

No need to wait, Steele reminds her!


“The accident-hyphen-murder of Kenji Ito.”


Uh, oh. Laura’s losing patience again. “Kenji Ito was NOT murdered!”

Steele points out that makes it perfect: “A routine investigation done simply to ease the doubts of a grief stricken man. What could possibly go wrong?”

Famous last words, Mr. Steele. And Laura knows it.


She’d like to think about it for a while.


“Afraid I might learn the ropes and climb up by myself?”

Challenging Laura? You sly dog, Steele.

She takes the bait:


“Get out your notebook.”

After the low-key episode opening, passions are suddenly running high in this scene. We see Laura becoming increasingly agitated by her “creation’s” stubborn independence, and finding it’s harder than she expected to share the glory. Meanwhile, Mr. Steele is increasingly resentful of being treated like a pretty-boy lackey. He may have signed on to be a figurehead … but he’s seen how the game is played, now – and he wants in.



Filed under Season 1

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