Pardon the Interruption …

I’m going to have to take about a one-month break from the blog, as I’m planning a big, ‘ole party at my place that is sucking up all my time. Sorry for the delay. :-(

standby

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In the Steele of the Night – 18

And on to the tag, at last!

Backatoffice

It is apparently Monday morning, and we find Laura and Steele on the way to the office together. Did they meet by chance in the lobby? Does Laura have Fred swing by Steele’s place to pick him up in the mornings? Or did they spend the balance of the reunion weekend in one another’s company?

sostimulating

Steele seems in a particularly chipper mood for someone who had to work over the weekend. “So rewarding,” he gushes.

finestmind

“So stimulating. What a brain twister that was. A puzzle to test the finest minds.” (That finest mind, presumably, is himself.)

andyouMissHolt

He places his hands on Laura’s shoulders in a familiar way. “And you, Miss Holt, shone brilliantly.” He seems to be praising her as a superior would one of his subordinates … a little patronizing? Or genuinely impressed?

shonebrilliantly

Aw. Let’s not question the man’s motives. Prince Charming Mr. Steele goes on ahead to the office.

lauraseemspleased

I think she’s pleased, don’t you?

ivebeenthinking

Steele seems to have changed his mind about something. He returns to her side. “You know, I’ve been thinking,” he begins, striking a Napoleonic pose.

napoleon

Manifique!

reunioneveryyear

“Perhaps we should have a reunion every year!” Steele suggests. I can see where a man like Steele, who seems to be alone in the world, might welcome the diversion of such a gathering, even with sub-par company like the former employees of Havenhurst.

lauragrimace

Laura, however, seems dubious.

holdsdoorforlaura
As they enter the office (Steele holding the door in typical gentlemanly fashion), we hear Murphy’s voice. “Ballistics tests conducted several days after PROVED that the path of the bullet began INSIDE the industrialist’s body.”

shhhhhewhispers

Hey! It’s déjà vu all over again. Laura seems a bit shocked, but Mr. Steele is getting a kick out of this, methinks.

travelledout

“And travelled OUT,” Murph concludes dramatically.

thatsamazing

It turns out Murphy is blowing smoke at Bernice. She is suitably impressed. “That’s AMAZING. But how’s it possible?”

Yeah, Murphy. How?

howheechoes
“How? You wanna know how?”

shouldbesavored

Bernice, a good murder is like a good wine. It should be savored.”

considerandponder

So take the evening. Or the week, for that matter. Allow it to seep into your thoughts, invade your dreams, consider it and ponder it.”

meaningfullook

Emulating his new favorite man of mystery, Murphy prepares to exit.

alookback

He pauses, looking back at his  mentor. He seems … uncertain.

isthathowitsdone

“Is that how it’s done?”

Yes, Mr. Michaels. That is indeed the way it’s done. Mr. Steele is proud.

comealongway
“That boy’s come a long way,” Steele remarks cheerfully.

sharingalaugh

And the credits roll on their amusement.

It’s kind of interesting that Murphy is suddenly playing Steele’s game – if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em? Does he hope to make himself more attractive to Laura by imitating the man she’s so obviously infatuated with? Or does Murphy perhaps genuinely admire – albeit grudgingly – Steele’s panache and ability to bamboozle people? We’ll never know … but it’s fun to speculate!

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In the Steele of the Night – 17

Well! This episode does go on, doesn’t it. Let’s wrap this puppy up.

We left Mr. Steele contemplating Alan’s wardrobe.

digginginfiles

Now we’re watching somebody fumble through a file cabinet.

groupresearch
The Scooby Gang is sorting through the dead man’s files.

businessoff30

“His business was off thirty percent,” Laura tells them. “He let a lot of people go.”

whyanelevator

“Murphy, why do people put an elevator in their homes?” Don’t ask Murph hard questions, Laura. You’ll only embarrass him. And Carl – ever heard of a little thing called “personal space?”

ummmm

“Ummm …” See?
charleslaughton

“‘Charles Laughton. Witness for the Prosecution,” Steele provides, while thumbling through recipe cards. Still planning that lunch?

hadastroke

“Had a stroke,” he adds.

couldntwalk

“Couldn’t walk upstairs.”

behindthesceneswitnessthumbWitness for the Prosecution. Tyrone Power, Marlene Dietrich, Charles Laughton. MGM, 1958. Leonard Vole is arrested on suspicion of murdering an elderly acquaintance. He employs an experienced but aging barrister as his defense attorney.

hesgoodsayscarl

“He’s good,” Carl informs Laura. (So Donald is the only one who doesn’t think our detective is the bees’ knees. Guess who’s not getting a Christmas card from Steele Investigations this year.)

ohbrother

“Oh, brother,” grouses Murphy, silently.

alanwassick

“You know what I think?” Laura says. “I think Alan was a very sick man.”
I’d have thought we’ve pretty well established that, Laura. Alan was a sociopath at the very least.

creepyolddude

Creepy.
lauraatelevator
Laura returns to the scene of the crime. She presses the elevator button.

 

wheredidtheytcomefrom

When the door opens … surprise! Somehow the whole crowd has materialized behind her. Sneaky devils.

 

whatdoesshesee

“What are you doing?” Donald asks. Laura isn’t inclined to share her theories with him.

 

peacesign

The door closes. Inexplicably, Laura makes a peace sign … or V for Victory sign? as the door slides shut.

 

pressthatbutton

Laura presses the UP button.

 

pushonwall

Then checks the walls.

 

overtheshoulder

Poses dramatically!

 

jazzhands

Makes jazz hands!

 

looksup

Finally, she looks heavenward, presumably asking for guidance.

 

theresagrate

What’s this? Some sort of grate in the ceiling?

 

hmmshethinks

Aha! That’s Laura’s “I’ve got this thing figured out” look.

 

neatlydrawncorpse

We get a look at a very neatly taped outline of the corpse. Really, it must have taken Donald hours to create that little homage.

 

emptycorridor

The scene ends, inexplicably, on a view of the empty corridor outside the elevator.
desperate
Next we see Laura is sitting in Alan’s throne-like chair.

“Best murder,” she says. Wait. Isn’t this where we came in?

 

mangetsonelevator

“A man gets on an elevator. He’s all alone.”

 

nostops

“It makes no stops, but when the doors open, he’s dead.”

 

whathappened

“What happened?”

Aw, Laura. That was Alan’s best murder story. You couldn’t come up with one of your own?

Now we get a voiceover as the crime is recreated in flashback.

 

sometimeduringday

There’s creepy Alan pressing the elevator button.

 

beltfromrobe

“Sometime during the day, he must have taken the belt from Sandy’s robe,” Laura’s voice continues as we see Alan not taking the belt from Sandy’s robe.

 

alreadyattached

Alan gets into the elevator, closes the door. “It was already attached to the elevator cables, and sitting on top of the vent.”

 

alandandtool

Alan pulls out his tool.

Disapproval

Hey! Get your mind out of the gutter!

 

pulledoutbelt

“Now, I don’t know what he used, but he pulled it through the vent,” Laura explains.

 

myfingerprints

“And he must have transferred MY fingerprint to the elevator button.”

Wait … what? Is that even possible?

 

madeanoose

“And then he hooked it up into a noose. He put it around his neck …”

 

pressednumber2

“… and then pressed UP.”

Apparently we’re not going to see the actual demise. This was a primetime network show.

 

astheelevatorrose

“As the elevator rose, the cable jerked the belt tight, breaking his neck,” Laura concludes. “Only that wasn’t good enough. Suicide wasn’t what he had in mind.”

Really? Then it was a pretty dumb idea to rig up this self-hanging contraption.

 

noosewouldtear

“So he set it up so the noose would tear. That way, by the time the elevator reached the second floor, the cable would have pulled the belt back up through the vent.”

 

deadagain

Dead Alan again.

 

itjustdisappeared
“So it just disappeared,” Carl notes. (Presumably he’s referring to the belt, not the coherence of this plot.)

“In every way it looked like a murder,” Donald adds.

 

whyklaura

“Why, Laura?” Sandy wants to know. “Why would he do something like that?”

Laura’s got the answer!

 

didntneedclothes
“It takes MONTHS to lose 35 pounds. If Alan didn’t have clothes, it was because he was somewhere he didn’t need them.”

 

ahospital

“A hospital.” Murphy has his thinking cap on!

Okay, here’s a problem. If Sandy was Alan’s mistress, wouldn’t she notice if he went missing for several months. And when he returned, wouldn’t she say, “Hey, Alan! What’s up with the massive weight loss?”

 

carolburnettwhatever

Again.

 

shelvesofit
“Remember the dog food?” Laura asks Donald. “Shelves of it. The only thing missing was-”
adog
“A dog! We haven’t seen one all weekend.”

Well, but obviously it’s a ghost dog, like the ghost servants who cooked Mr. Steele’s breakfast and removed the funeral spray-like floral arrangements from the drawing room. Pay attention, Donald.

“When a man knows he won’t be able to take care of it, he’d probably find it another home,” Laura concludes.

Actually, creepy Alan seems more the type to take his dog with him to the grave.
threadsfingerprints
“The threads. The fingerprints. He probably put the gun in Carl’s bag, then in mine,” Donald says.

 

gunincarlsroom

He rests a hand gently on Carl’s inner thigh. I feel a new romance starting! “Why would he DO that to us?”

Carl has the answer!

 

hewasbetterthanus

“Alan was always letting us know he was better than us. He invited us here for one final, joke.”

 

lastvanity

“A last vanity, so to speak. Something to remember him by.” Oh, there you are, Mr. Steele. I thought perhaps you’d gone home.

 

youcouldhavebeenconvicted

Murphy is belatedly chivalric. “Laura, they might not have found out for years. You could have been convicted of murder. That’s no joke.”

It occurs to me that Murphy is the only one that Alan didn’t make a suspect out of in this little game. Wonder why?
truetohisword
“Alan was always true to his word,” Laura pooh-poohs.

clippoohhappy

Hello, Pooh!

 

elevatorserviceonMonday

“He said if we didn’t solve the murder, he’d explain it to us before we left.”

She opens Alan’s appointment book. “The elevator servicemen are coming on Monday. I’m sure they’re checking the cables. It’s just like him. They’ve have found the belt.”
And doubtless just thrown it away. Because elevator servicemen aren’t detectives or police or anybody who would know or give a damn about dead Alan and his slightly bumbling former colleagues.

Anybody else get the feeling the writer of this episode got a little sloppy about the denouement?

Next up … the tag!

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In the Steele of the Night – 16

Kind of a short one this time. Too many irons in the fire!

steelerunsupstairs

We find Steele still on a mission! When his Laura is in trouble, he can jog those stairs pretty quickly.

looksaround

He’s in one of the rooms – Alan’s?

openscloset

… and starts rummaging through his drawers (that joke just never gets old).

heremurphyagain

Well, look! Murphy has followed him. Going to apologize, Mr. Michaels? Beg for your job back?

murphwatchessteele

Nope. He’s just going to slouch and pout. Meanwhile, Mr. Steele is getting impatient.

staringusintheface

“It’s staring us in the face, damn it!” he growls.

Murphy remains impassive. “Do you know what you’re looking for?”

noidea

“I’ve no idea.” Refreshing honesty, Mr. Steele. “Something. Anything that seems out of place. Alan’s room is the only one we haven’t been through. Closet, closet, closet.”

closetcloset

Murphy points toward the closet. Have you been here before, Murph?

opensclothescloset

“The man had excellent taste,” he notes. “A little conservative. Someone should have told him that herringbone is out.”

 funfacticonInterested in learning more about herringbone? Well, who wouldn’t be! Here’s GQ with all the need-to-know info: http://www.gq.com/style/blogs/the-gq-eye/2013/11/dropping-knowledge-herringbone.html

lauraarrives

Murphy sits down, apparently to weep (my guess is he has a closet full of herringbone at home). Laura comes in. Steele continues his sartorial lecture.

actuallymurphy

“Houndstooth is au courant. Actually, Murphy, a trained eye can learn a great deal from a man’s clothes. We dress for what we are.”

orwhatwepretendtobe
“Or what we pretend to be.”

snappysnap

Oh, snap!

sparednoexpense
Steele will not be baited, sir! “Now what we have here is a man who spared no expense on himself,” Steele remarks. He goes and gets more suits.

custommade

“Silk suits, custom made, and by and large, always in style.”

embarrassing

Well, except for that appalling herringbone blunder.

lostagreatdealofweight

Laura seems to be getting a migraine as Steele continues to make observations about Alan’s sense of style. “A man who lost a great deal of weight, I would think.”

44to38

“He went from a size 44 to a 38 – with no stops in between. Hmm.”

Laura seems a little more interested, now.

eurekaLaura murphygetsittoo

Laura and Murphy exchange looks. “He’s done it again, hasn’t he?” Murphy asks.

didwhat

“Hmm?” Mr. Steele has no time for Murphy’s blathering. “Did what?”

ofcourseshesays
“Of course!” Laura exclaims.

allwrong

“We’ve gone about this thing all wrong!

dissectedeveryone

We’ve dissected everyone …

fromthestart

… but the one person we should have been looking at from the start!”
murphgetsinexercise
Murphy finds her performance gripping. “Alan!”
dontbeabsurd
“Alan?” Mr. Steele tries to be patient with dunderheaded Murphy. “Don’t be absurd. The man’s dead.”
gettingreadytoleave
“The others are calling the police,” Laura tells Murphy. “Getting ready to leave. We have to stop them!”

To the Batcave!
havetostopthem
Steele watches them go, then continues examining the suits. “Ha!”

tryingonforsize

Looks like Steele may beef up his own wardrobe. Well, at least he’ll get something out of the weekend.

examiningquality

“Well, maybe not.”

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In the Steele of the Night – 15

After a slightly confusing cut …

steeledozing

… we find our Mr. Steele twiddling and dozing in the dining room.

columbomoment

A bit of aimless wandering. It seems to have gotten dark. Wonder what they all have done for the past four and a half hours since Donald protested his innocence. How long does it take Murphy to process fingerprints? And how does he even do it? Does he just eyeball ‘em?

bidingtheirtime

All the suspects, sans Murphy, seem to have gathered in the dining room. Perhaps to gnaw on the floral centerpiece, since besides Mr. Steele’s magical breakfast, I don’t think any of them have eaten anything since they got here.

murphinsilhouette

Speaking of Murph … here he comes! He makes a slightly ominous silhouette.

whatdidyoufindmurph
“Ah, Murphy,” Steele announces. “There you are. Did you make a match? No disputing fingerprints. Finest crime fighting tool ever invented.”

lotofpartials

Well, he looks glum. Perhaps he found his OWN prints at the crime scene. He launches into his scientific dissertation on forensic technique.

“There were a lot of partials in the elevator. Many were unusable. Of the identifiable prints, most were Alan’s and there were a few I couldn’t match up.”
glassesonKent

Donald puts on his glasses, the better to see Murphy’s grim visage.

increduloussteele
Steele’s had enough of the stalling. “Murphy, the sun has set. The suspense is building!”

onward

“Onward!”

oneverygoodprint

“There was one very good print on the STOP button. It was a perfect match,” Murphy continues.

Not sure why a fingerprint on the stop button is definitive proof of the murderer’s identity … maybe if the print were on Alan’s dead neck.

 

seinfeldshrug

Whatever.

thenwehaveit

Steele is delighted! “Then we have it. Our murderer. A fingerprint is a good as a signed confession.”

irrefutableevidence

“Caught in the vise of irrefutable evidence!”

Oh, he’s getting wound up now.

sandywondersabouthim

Sandy seems to be wondering if he’s going off the rails.

counteraccusations

Steele continues, driving the point home. “No denials …”

asgoodasaconfession

“… no counter accusations will set this killer free!”

lauralooks

Laura begins to wonder when Mr. Steele is going to conclude this soliloquoy.

tellus

Perhaps sensing he’s losing his audience, Steele wraps it up. “So. Please, Murphy. Tell us: Whose print is it?”

laurasprint
“Laura’s.”
awkward

Well! That’s an unexpected twist.

wellthatsunexpected

Wait. What?

looksdownatlaura

Steele looks down at Laura. “Laura?”

ohdearLaura

Laura looks stunned mildly interested.

fadeout

The scene fades to black ….

defensiveLaura

And we’re back! Laura looks a little peeved. Being accused of murder by your business partner will do that for you.

steeleisthereforher

Mr. Steele offers his associate silent support.

ImsorryLaura

‘”I’m sorry,” says Murph.

neverinthatelevator

Laura is shaken, but unbowed. “I was never in that elevator.”

Aw, look at Mr. Steele being all protective.

twothingstosay

“I have only two things to say,” Steele begins authoritatively.

IhaveknownLaura

“I have known Laura Holt …”

houseOops

… erm …

erm

“I don’t what even to think how long I’ve known Laura Holt.”

clapping

Nice save, Mr. Steele!

Icansay

And I can say, without fear of repudiation…”

Repudiation? You’re going to have Murphy running for his dictionary again.

isincapable

“…that this woman is incapable of any foul play against Alan Grievey or anyone else.”

asupportivelook

Right, Mr. Steele!

Right, Mr. Steele?

arentyou

“Aren’t you?”

youhavetoask

Now is NOT the time to waver, mister.

rhetoricalqustion

“Rhetorical question.”

tapdancing

Keep dancing, Mr. Steele!

conferswithMurphy

Steele’s going to get to the bottom of this, by God! He will exonerate his Laura!

He pauses at the door to exchange a quiet word with Murph.

yourfired

“I also want to say …”

lauraisamazed

Laura looks puzzled …

thatsneertho

… then weirded out.  Is it because of Steele’s presumption at firing Murphy … or is she touched that he’s so adamant in her defense?

wellthisisawkward

An uncomfortable silence falls over the room. Alan throws a fun party!

grandexit

Murphy turns and follows Remington out the door …

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In the Steele of the Night – 14

Abruptly, Donald has had enough.

makingabigmistake

“I’m beginning to think we’re making a big mistake. Perhaps we SHOULD call the police.”

donaldshesays
“DONALD,” Laura says.

Anybody else remember how Ann Marie used to say that to her boyfriend?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cskPO-kF7t4

Well, this is a little corny. But still.

whatarewedoing

“What are we DOING?” NotDonaldHollinger asks.

toyingwithus

“Whoever did this is toying with us.”

Um, what?

manipulatingus

 

“They’re doing exactly what you said they would do. Planting evidence, manipulating us. Well, enough is enough. I’m going.”

purposefuldon

 

He goes!

timetopack

He packs! (A pink shirt. Is that significant?)

donisprecipitous
The Scooby Gang arrive to plead with him not to go. “Donald, don’t you think that YOU’RE being a little precipitous?”

There’s that word again. Good thing Murphy isn’t around to get all confused again.

isheleaving
Speaking of Murphy … “Hey! Is he leaving?”

Brilliant deduction! Yet another crack detective with killer instincts.

“Seems to be flirting with the idea,” Steele confirms.

tiredofplaying
“I, for one, am tired of playing detective for a day,” Donald says.

Wait. I thought you played detective every day. Isn’t that what you do for a living?

“I also have problems with playing sitting duck for a murderer.”

Eureka! The case is solved! And the murderer is …

elmerfudd

Well, that’s an unexpected twist!

makeapoint

Don gets touchy feely with Murphy. “I’ll make it a point to stop off at the police on my way home.”

theresagun

Wait a second – what’s that on top of Don’s suitcase?

itgoesoff

Bang!
murphyshanky
Murphy, not wanting to waste any more of his fingerprint powder, picks up the gun.

itsa38

“It’s a .38. The one I saw in Carl’s room.”

(He knows the same one because it’s got “Use This to Kill Alan” written on the grip in sharpie.)

youslime
Carl is not amused. “You slime! YOU set me up!”
againwithcarlanddon

And here we go again.

gettingboring

“This is getting very boring,” Steele assess. (I’m inclined to agree.)

giveoneagun

“Have Murphy give one of them the gun, and let’s be done with it.”

laughingminions

[ROFL]
murphmuscles

Murphy can get a job as a referee for the World Wrestling Federation after this case.

ofcourseitwasyou

“Of COURSE it was you!” Carl says. “You planted a gun in my suitcase, you let Murphy see it, then you took it back to KILL ALAN!”
Iwouldnt
Donald looks a little worried. “None of you believe that. You know I wouldn’t kill Alan, don’t you?”

youandalan
“Come on, Donald, everyone knows about you and Alan,” Sandy interjects.

OMG

Oh, ho! Now it’s getting interesting. This Alan was quite the play-ah!

behindyourback

“How when you were back at Havenhurst, he used to make you do all his dirty work for him. Took credit for all your accomplishments. Used to tell jokes about you behind your back – sometimes to your face.”

meangoats

Well, that’s just mean.
sayaaaaah
“Sure, sure, but that was ALAN,” Donald insists. “I mean, I admired Alan. And I’ll tell you something else. I LIKED being the second guy through the door- As long as that first guy was Alan.”

Now we know who Donald really was in this office.

screech

Screech.

tellyousomething

Screech continues. “Alan was very good. Sure, he could ride roughshod over your feelings. But we were a team. If he were here, he’d tell you that.”

(Anybody else think they’re subtly suggesting Don was in love with Alan?)
whenheleftHavenhurst
“Team, huh,” Carl mocks. “That’s why when he left Havenhurst, he didn’t take you with him. Stole every client your agency had and left you the king of NOTHING.”

Wait. Havenhurst was DONALD’S agency? He was the clueless, weak-willed boss whose employees ran roughshod over him? Guess he isn’t Screech after all.

MrCarlson

He’s WKRP’s Mr. Carlson.

And he’s had just about enough of people throwing shade on his and Alan’s very special, very beautiful relationship.
Isaidwewere
“I SAID WE WERE A TEAM!” And also,

nowirehangers

Okaaaaay.

youstoleclients

“Anyway, it was YOU who stole my clients, not him. As SOON as Alan heard about it, he called me.”

That’s sweet.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sPU3ymk2ms

Donald, circa 1977.
allrightdonald
Laura seems to expect Donald to pull out a dagger at any moment. “It’s all right, Donald. We still have to wait for Murphy to look at the fingerprints.”

sayaaahagain

“I couldn’t kill Alan,” Donald persists, apparently prepared to swallow anyone who contradicts him.  “I counted Alan Grievey among my closest personal friends. I remember this one case that we were on together – me doing the legwork, Alan handling the client relationships, dinner and whatnot. The firm that hired us said it, ‘You two are a hell of a team.'”

somuchpity

Well, THAT sounds familiar.

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In the Steele of the Night – 13

We left Mr. Steele and Laura making a hasty exit.

seekinglunch

Mr. Steele leads the way into the kitchen, presumably to rustle up some lunch. Laura follows with a declaration.

notworking
“This is NOT working.”

Oh? I think it’s working reasonably well. And if it’s not, that’s hardly Mr. Steele’s fault. He’s said everything you told him to, Laura.

Steele tells her as much.
carlssolid
“Certainly it is. I think Carl’s come up with a solid piece of evidence.”

And anyway, as any good flim-flam man knows, all they really have to do is stall a bit longer.

 

stayalive

“Besides, only five more hours until nightfall. So long as everyone can stay alive until then.”

Is that a cookie jar? Or a decorative dog food container. Laura seems ready to tell him why he’s wrong, wrong, wrong, until –

 

agirlyscream

Wait! What this, a woman’s scream? It seems to be coming from upstairs!

 

totherescue

Steele and Laura take off in search of the screamer.

 

starskyandhutch

So do Starsky and Hutch Don and Carl.

 

upthestairsagain

It’s another mad scramble up the winding staircase. Well, except for Mr. Steele.

 

awfullotofthis

He pauses on the landing, winded. “Seems like we’ve been doing an awful lot of this today.”

 

murphyandsandy

The foursome arrive in a room upstairs to find Sandy in Murphy’s arms. So you’ve finally made your move, eh, Murph? You sly dog.

“I followed her up,” Murphy explains. “And I startled her.”

 

barrowmanwink

I’ll just bet you did, Mr. Michaels. (Is that what the kids are calling it these days?)

 

startledher

He hands a piece of cloth to Laura. “Here. Looks like a perfect match to the fibers. She was trying to get rid of it.”

 

perfectmatch
Laura examines it and astutely notices something is missing.

 

wheresthebelt

“Sandy, where’s the belt?”
Ithinkshesinnocent

“For what it’s worth,” Murphy says, “I think she’s innocent.”

Hm. “Innocent” isn’t the first word that comes to mind with regard to Sandy.

Carl’s not buyin’ it.

 

asmokinggun
“Innocent? What do you people want? A smoking gun? All right, forget I said gun.”

 

justexplore
“Let’s just explore what we have here,” Mr. Steele, who seems to have persuaded himself he’s actually leading this investigation, interjects. “A set of fibers. From where?”

Um, duh.
alansneck
“Alan’s neck,” Carl reminds him.
sayswho

“Says who?” says Sandy. Meanwhile, Murphy seems to still be in the throes of whatever they were doing before the rest of the group came in. Do you need to excuse yourself, Mr. Michaels?
howdoweknow

“Sandy’s right,” Donald follows up. “How do we know where those fibers came from? How do we know Carl didn’t come up here, take ‘em from the robe, set her up?”

Are you trying to get close to Sandy, Don? Sorry. I think Murphy has the inside track here.
nevertoolatetostart
Carl is NOT feeling the love. “Donald, I’m not a murderer … but it’s never too late to start!”

 

theytussle

And they’re at it again.

 

theyhitthefloor

This is one of those male dominance things, isn’t it.

All this pointless tussling reminds me of this:

 

steelefindsdistasteful
Mr. Steele seems pretty bored with the whole thing. “Nothing like getting a bunch of old chums together, is there?” he murmurs to Laura.

Oh, dear. It’s always so embarrassing when you bring him home to meet the folks and they turn out to be these guys.
murphentersfray
Murphy plays bouncer again. “All right, come on, you guys! Carl!”
wherewerewe

“Now,” Steele recommences. “Where were we, gentlemen?”

Gentlemen? What about Sandy and Laura?
dontunderstand
“I don’t understand why Donald keeps protecting Sandy,” Carl quite reasonably asks.
notprotecting
“I’m NOT protecting Sandy!” Donald insists.

 

exceptyou

“I’m only trying to get at the truth. You can plant fibers, Carl. You can start fights. But there’s nobody here with motive to kill Alan except YOU.”

Something tells me that may not be strictly true.
ohreallyhesays
“Oh really? You wanna tell em, Sandy? Or shall I?” Carl addresses Sandy. She doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
aboutlivinghere
“I’m talking about a motive for murder. I’m talking about your husband. And Alan. And about living here.”

 

dorothyshocked

Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas any more.

 

laurafindsitdistasteful
“Living here?” Laura exclaims, her disgust a perfect complement to Steele’s indifference.

Explain yourself, Carl.

 

hewasntalone

“I was the first one here Friday,” Carl tells them. “Wanted to talk to Alan about a loan. A little restitution, if you know what I mean. But Alan couldn’t talk. He wasn’t alone. Sandy was already here. No car out front, no suitcases, an awful lot of clothes for just a weekend. Who are you kidding, Sandy? You didn’t slip away for a reunion. How long have you been here?”
smilingsandy
Sandy … smiles?

 

batescreepy

Creepy.

 

foryears

“Good, old Carl. Always could smell other people’s dirt a mile away. Been here for years. Been here … five days. I don’t suppose it’s any secret that Alan and I-

Play pinochle together? Have a brother-sister vaudeville act? So many possibilities!

 

alanandI

“But I decided that I wanted to get married. And Alan wanted no part of marriage. So along comes Robin Maxwell. Wealthy, powerful, aggressive, everything that Alan was … except Alan.”

 

Ithinkitwasasecret

Don and Murphy are riveted.

 

thisisawkward

Laura looks uncomfortable. Steele still looks indifferent.

 

pouredanother

“Well, three months after the wedding, I told myself I’d had too much to drink … then I poured myself another.

 

IdidAlan

“Some women knit, some women do needlepoint – I did Alan Grievey.”

 

howdroll

How droll!

 

murphlosesinterest

Uh, oh. I think you’ve blown it with Murphy, Sandy. He thought you were a nice girl!

 

graveSteele

Steele, on the other hand, seems to be pondering the possibilities this opens up.

 

smilingsandy

And … yada yada yada, her husband got wise to his wife cheating, hired Alan to tail her to find out who is … er … tailing her.

 

waitedaweek

“He waited a week to give Robin the good news. Now, you ready for the punch line? He even sent him a bill.”
alandidntwantme

Sandy continues her long and not-all-that-interesting confession. “So I had nowhere to go. I came here. I figured a girl could do a lot worse. But Alan didn’t want me around. Said what’s the point in having a mistress if you’ve got to come home to her every night? Told me I had to be out of here by Monday. Sure, I hated Alan Grievey. But I DIDN’T kill him.”

Again with the not buyin’ it from Carl.
ofcourseyoudidnt
“Of COURSE you didn’t,” Carl sneers.

 

stillfingerprints
Laura is unimpressed by this whole sordid episode. “Well. There are still fingerprints to be dealt with,” she reminds them.
conclusions
Steele concurs. “Miss Holt is quite right. Let’s not jump to any conclusions.” Right! They’ve still got three-and-a-half hours to kill before sunset!

 

muphygetshiskit

Murphy goes to get his print kit, while seemingly practicing his little turn on the catwalk. And with that, I’ll leave you with Right Said Fred.

 

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In the Steele of the Night – 12

Later …

The suspects have gathered in the dining room. This is where Michael McKean reveals that they ALL did it, right?

theevidence

“Can I ask where these came from?” Donald demands.

Um … is that a booger?

carlfoundthem

Carl says he found them. “On Alan’s body. On his NECK, to be precise.”

sandytakesevidence

Sandy wants a closer look. “Mr. Steele? With your permission?”

whatever

Whatever.

carlsonthecase

“I have a theory!” Carl proclaims, getting up to expound.

Sandy’s not buyin’ it.

offthescent

“No. You’d just like to throw us off the scent.”
seewhathehastosay
“Sandy, let’s hear what he has to say,” says a sulky-looking Murphy. You’re not much of a joiner, are you, fella?

thosearethreads

Carl continues his dissertation. “Those are threads. Pieces of fabric.

musthaveunravelled

Fabric that must have unraveled, been strained.”

madewiththosfibers

“Now, we know Alan’s neck was broken. I think whoever broke it used a rope, or a sash, or something made with those fibers to do it.”

columbo

Gosh. If his jacket were just a little more rumpled, he’d be this guy!

yoursuggesting

Now Laura’s killer instincts come into play. “So you’re suggesting we look for whatever these threads came from?”

riptheplaceapart

“Rip the place apart if we have to,” Carl demands. “But if you find the source of those threads, you’ve found your killer.”

Don ain’t buyin’ it.

rightcarl

“Right, Carl, we’ll rip the house apart.”

giveyoutime

“And give YOU time to hide the gun.”

I thought we’d pretty well established that the gun is ALREADY hidden.

diedofbrokenneck

“Forget the gun!” Carl snarls. “The man died of a broken NECK!”
couldntshoothim

“Of course! You got here, you realized you couldn’t shoot him without everyone hearing it, so you broke his neck, then you HID the gun.”

Oh, dear. Can’t we all just get along?

excellenttime

Laura has a quiet word with her “boss.” “Now would be an excellent time to lead them, guide them, show them how it’s done.”
ohsnap

Oh, SNAP!

people
Steele decides to lead and guide. “People?”

theylooktosteele

Yeeeess?

thoughtsaboutlunch

“Any thoughts about lunch?”

There goes Laura, assaulting the man again. Good thing her fingernails are short and blunt!

littlelevity

“A little levity,” Steele explains.

heheh

See? Laura thinks it’s very funny.

gunornogun

“Gun or no gun,” Steele continues, “it seems clear to me that Carl might be onto something.”

Just one question:

runupstairsagain

“Does this mean we all have to run up the stairs again?”

Not a fan of exercise, Mr. Steele? I’m reminded of a comment Pierce Brosnan made about his dread of having to get in shape for another Bond performance: “I’m going to have to do all that running again. And the gym is such a bore.” I agree, Mr. B!

Laura takes pity.

makeasuggestion

“Might I make a suggestion, sir?”

takeabreak

Why don’t we all take a break? Murphy needs to fingerprint everyone so he can have something to compare with the prints he took off the elevator.”

sharpeyesondon sulkymurphy

Looks like the rest of the group is ALL on board with that suggestion.

sourceofthefibers

Those of you who wish to look for the source of the fibers, can.”

She returns to Steele.

littlechat

“And those who wish to have a little chat can.”

splendidsuggestion

Steele grabs the lifeline. “Splendid suggestion, Miss Holt.”

musclepose

“We’ll all- regroup in an hour,” he concludes, striking a muscle man pose to emphasize his authority.

steelefollowslaura

And off they go. To chat.

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In the Steele of the Night – 11

When we return to our detective convention …

intothekitchen

Donald and Laura have found their way to the kitchen, which is deserted. So Mr. Steele DID have to make his own breakfast. As they enter, Donald is expressing his surprise at how the weekend has turned out.

“I figured we’d see some slides of the company picnic, maybe tell stories about the 78 Christmas party …”

backwardglance

Laura comes in behind him, giving a backward glance. Is she afraid they are being followed? They begin to root around for coffee beans.

lookingforcoffee

“Well, good old Alan always did have a sense of the theatrical,” Laura comments as she digs in Alan’s drawers.

senseoftheatrical

“Lots of dog food,” Donald says, “But no coffee.”

A new mystery!  WHERE IS THE DOG?

Neither detective seems concerned by the lack of a canine presence. Donald, however, has something on his mind:

canIbehonest

“Laura, can I be honest with you? I’ve been watching that Mr. Steele of yours, and while it’s certainly not my place to say … ”

uhoh

Uh, oh.

crackeduptobe

“I don’t really think he’s all he’s cracked up to be.”

whatdoyoumean

Laura is a little irked, methinks.

“What do you mean?”

justafeeling

“Well, it’s nothing I can put my finger on. It’s just a feeling I get.”

Wow! Apparently Don has killer instincts, too!
Meanwhile …

carlandfriend

Steele and Carl are having their little (one-sided) talk.

“Look, Mr. Steele, all I’m asking for is a chance,” Carl grovels.

askingforachance

“A chance to prove myself. To show you what I can do.”

betterchance

“And when’s a better chance gonna come along than this?”

beatsSteele

“Hey, nobody’s kidding anybody here, right? I’m down on my luck. You know it; I know it. I mean, the repo business is not exactly a growth industry.” Mr. Steele seems a little indifferent to Repo Man’s plight.

behindthescenesRepo Man. Harry Dean Stanton, Emilio Estevez, Universal Pictures, 1984. Young punk Otto becomes a repo man after helping to steal a car, and stumbles into a world of wackiness as a result. Here’s the trailer!

ablebodiesassistant
“Carl, I already have a most able-bodied associate in Miss Holt …”

He said able-bodied.

beavisbutthead

Heh heh heh heh.

murphyisadequate

“And Murphy Michaels is more than adequate-”

High praise!

Maybe Carl can be Fred’s relief man. We know he can drive.

Carl will not be deterred.

valuablepiece
“Steele, Steele, you’re looking at a valuable piece of manpower, here.”

Is that a come-on?

inappropriatetouching

Apparently it is. Inappropriate touching, Carl.

howtocrack

“I know how to crack this case. And I know how to make it stick.”

isthatapeninyourpocket

He reaches into his pocket …

drugpusher

… withdraws a small packet.

Wait a second. Is he offering our Mr. Steele drugs?

 

Just say no!

answertothiscase

“It’s right there,” Carl teases. “The answer to this case is right there.”

thedealgoesdown

The deal goes down. Oh, Mr. Steele! You’ve fallen in with bad companions.

Steelelooksitover

Steele begins to conduct a detailed examination …

 

 

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In the Steele of the Night – 10

Back to Carl’s bedroom, where Murphy seems to have been directed to “assume the position.”

assumethepositionMurphy

(Now bend over and cough?)

“No gun,” he declares.

whatamess

Uh, oh. The room looks like it’s been trashed by a 70s rock band.

 

randomalertRock bands used to trash hotel rooms, you know. http://www.rockworldmagazine.com/history-of-hotel-room-trashing/

steeleassess

“Must’ve stashed it somewhere else in the house,” Donald deduces.

Just when it looks like the mystery will never be solved, here comes their fearless leader. “The scene of the crime!” Steele pronounces.

(Huh? I thought the elevator was the scene of the crime, Mr. Steele.)
noneedtotellyou
Steele explains. “I have no need to tell you people that the scene of the crime is often the best single source of conclusive evidence.”

If nothing else, Mr. Steele has an excellent memory for lines. Maybe he should become an actor.

boyheisgood
“Boy, he IS good!” Sandy whispers to Murphy. Not sure Mr. Michaels agrees.

youmeantheelevator
“You mean the elevator?” Aha! Carl remembers where the murder took place. There’s those killer instincts again

precisely

“Precisely.” Not to mention indubitably, unequivocally, and incontrovertibly.

wevolunteer

Everybody’s ready to check it out. Steele knows where this headed, and heads them off with a brisk whistle.

 

wellallgo

“We’ll ALL check it, hmm?”

awaytheygoagain

Okay!
A moment later …

sixinanelevator

Gee, it gets a bit crowded when the whole gang crams into an elevator. And for their next trick:

crowded-phone-booth

 

Each master detective pursues the investigation in his or her unique way.

excusemeplease

Which is to say, they all look around randomly. Carl is getting uncomfortably up close and personal with Laura, while Murphy seems to have formed an inappropriate relationship with one wall of the car. Don wants to know what he’s up to.
whatsmurphdoing
“Dusting for prints,” the well-equipped Mr. Michales responds.

Oh, dear. Now you’ve set Carl off again. “He’s dusting for prints? Why is HE dusting for prints?”
dustingforprints
“‘Cause it’s MY dusting kit,” Murphy explains.

Honestly, the sexual tension between these two  is palpable, isn’t it?

Murphy isn’t about to share his toys, by the way. So:


noarguingwiththat
“No arguing with that,” Steele says, because it would be a stupid thing to argue about.

carlshadenough

Petulant Carl has had enough. He leaves the little huddle in the elevator.
gotaminute
“Mr. Steele? Got a minute?” he inquires.

offtheygothen

Apparently he does.
lauraobserves
Meanwhile, back at the ranch in the elevator, where Donald’s pose suggests the collective body odor may be growing intolerable, OOD declares, “This is ridiculous.”

wantsomecoffee

He suggests to Laura that they get some coffee. (Yet another man trying to get close to Miss Holt?)

lauradonleave
This leaves only Murph and Sandy in the elevator. Miss Thing checks out Murphy’s material assets,

sandyhitsbutton

leans over and presses the door close button.

Ineedthelight

“Hey!” Murphy finally notices. “Sandy, I need the light.”
sandygetsclose

Oh-ho! What’s this? Looks like Sandy would like to have some quality time with Mr. Michaels in the elevator. She wants a ride. Up and down.
“Murphy, listen,” she insists. “Forget about the dusting for a minute. I need your help.”
IdidntkillAlan
“What are you talking about?” See, here’s the thing. Murph just doesn’t have those killer instincts.

Sandy presses … her case. “I didn’t kill Alan. But I just know that any time now, somebody’s going to find something that makes it look like I did.”

murphyhasbighands

Murphy is perplexed stunned indifferent. Good heavens, Murphy. What large hands you have. No wonder Sandy wants some alone time …

 

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