In the Steele of the Night – 8

We left Laura and Mr. Steele about to have a palaver about the current situation.

hateworking

Mr. Steele professes to be disgruntled. “I HATE working on the weekends.” (As if you ever have, Mr. Steele!). “But if I must, I must.” He shakes out a silk handkerchief and pops it in his breast pocket.

Laura pulls it out again. “I didn’t ask you to come up here!” Then, inexplicably, she puts the handkerchief back. Trying to show who’s boss, Laura? Or do you just want an excuse to feel up his bod?

snatcheshankie

“They’re your friends,” Steele notes.

“Do me a favor and keep that in mind.”

Laura seems to imply he’s not worth of her friends. I’m pretty sure if I brought someone like Mr. Steele to my reunion, I wouldn’t feel embarrassed. In fact, I think I’d be all …

takethat

Neener neener.

everyoneofthose

Steele is (justifiably) wounded. “You’re absolutely convinced that I’m going to go out there and make a fool of you.”

“Every one of those people out there is a TRAINED investigator!”

pinkpanther

So was this guy. What’s your point?
understandsqueamishness
“Laura, I understand your squeamishness, but the fact remains that they’ve asked me to oversee this investigation, and oversee it I must,” Steele tut-tuts. “It’s only until nightfall. And I have to believe that TWO bright people like us can fool even the finest investigators for that amount of time.”

thatwinktho

That wink, tho!

laurasopinion

Laura eloquently expresses her opinion of his assessment.

newhankie

“Of course we can,” Steele continues.  “Just one question.”

He’s got yet another handkerchief. The man must have a separate bag for his accessories.
thatamtoftime
Yeesssss?

justonequestion

“Where should I begin?”

whatsheasks

“What?”  He’s asking for your advice, Laura. You’re the true brains of this outfit, remember? At least, you’re always telling him that.

whereshallIbegin

“It’s a simple question. Where should I begin? A starting point. Something to get the ball moving. Something to kind of keep them busy, impress them with my keen mind.”

ohkeenmind

“Ohhhhhhh.” Something tells me Laura has doubts about his keen mind. Either that, or she is about to sing the song of her people.

doghowl

“Arrooooo!”

startwiththelast

“Start with the last person to see the victim alive,” Laura advises.

Steele urges her to expound.

“The basic rule of detection. The last person to see the victim alive is either a superb witness or an excellent suspect.”

Ilikethat

“Ohh. I like that.” (And I like that little smile, Mr. Steele.)

youdohuh

“You do, huh?” Laura parries. Steele turns away, ready to begin his mission!

shescreams

Oh, dear. I think Laura may be feeling a little stressed.

deepyogabreathlaura

Take a deep yoga breath, Laura.

I love Steele’s confidence as well as his acknowledgement that he’ll need her help here. He is sure he can bluff the group into believing he’s Sherlock Holmes, yet doesn’t expect to be able to actually solve the case on his own. I think he’s also looking forward to the opportunity to partner with Laura in this. And Laura is slightly amused by his chutzpah, despite herself.

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In the Steele of the Night – 7

We left Laura staring in shock at the corpse of the weekend’s host, lodged in his own elevator.

everybodylooking

 

Looks like the rest of the Scooby gang is finally up and at ‘em.

“It’s a joke, right?” Sandy (who DOESN’T wear a robe) asks.

dwightshrute

Yes, just the kind of whimsical office prank that makes working for a living worthwhile. Or not.
itsajoke

“His neck was broken,” says OOD.

“How poetic,” notes Carl. How so? OOD’s line didn’t even rhyme!

“Snapped in two,” Laura agrees. I wonder how she determined that. Did she jiggle his head from side to side?

wetalkingmurder

Sandy is relieved to hear this. She points out that delicate little gals like herself and Laura aren’t the neck-snapping type.
OOD’s not buyin’ it. “Even a ninety pound weakling can break somebody’s neck if they know how.” Speaking from experience, Donald?

 randomalert Donald’s mention of a “97-lb. weakling” is a reference to the famous Charles Atlas comic book ads of the 1940s, in which the weakling in question gets sand kicked in his face at the beach, then uses Charles Atlas’s fitness regimen to become a REAL man.

Here’s the famous ad: Charles Atlas

 

whatareyoudoing
Murphy takes his turn to fondle examine the body. His old buddy Killer Instinct Carl objects.
“What do you think you’re doing?”

Killer instincts maybe, Carl, But smarts? Not so much.

“I’m moving the body out of the elevator,” Murphy explains.
“You’re tampering with physical evidence,” Carl points out.
“I’m NOT tampering with it. I’m MOVING it.”
“Yeah? Well, I wish you wouldn’t.”
“Well, we can’t very well leave the body where it is, can we?”

boxingcats

Now, boys. Can’t we all be nice? There’s enough body here for everybody to play with!

Carl’s not into sharing.

murphysgams

“MURPHY! All of you. There’s been a murder committed here. Apparently by one of us. That body just might be our biggest and best clue. I for one think it’s bad form to have your best piece of evidence moved by a potential suspect.”

murphyattacks

Hot-blooded Murphy isn’t going to take that kneeling down! He lunges for Carl, perhaps to demonstrate that even though he’s no 97-pound weakling, he still knows how to break a(nother) neck.

ifImoveit

Donald intervenes. “How about if I move the body?” he suggests.
Nope.

“Don’t you get it, Sherlock? We’re ALL suspects,” says Carl with a snarl.

clapping

Carl with a snarl. Now THAT’s poetry.
thatsforthepolice

“I think that’s for the police to decide, don’t you?” Laura suggests.

bitprocipitous

Uh, oh. Don doesn’t dig that idea.

“Don’t you think you’re being a bit precipitous, Laura?” Donald asks.

“Precipitous?” Murphy repeats, probably not having any idea what that word means and assuming Donald has just impugned Laura’s virtue. “The man’s DEAD!”

Donald points out that the police will want to question all of them as suspects in the murder. Laura doesn’t care. “That’s only a problem if you’re guilty.”

“Oh, that’s a lot of garbage,” Donald counters. He reminds them that a detective being a suspect in a murder is bad for business.

Sandy’s got other concerns.

robinandthekids

“Robin and the kids don’t know where I am. I didn’t tell them I was coming here.” It’s a “marital thing,” she says, and she’s not eager to phone hubby from the police station.

Fortunately, Donald has a plan!

proposeweinvestigate
“What I’d like to propose is that WE investigate the murder.” He suggests a time limit: until nightfall.
usinvestigateus

The others detect a potential problem here. “US investigate US? That’s NEVER gonna work!” Murphy blusters.

plantingfalseclues

“Murphy’s right,” Laura agrees. “We can’t even decide who’s going to move the body! How are we going to investigate a murder with the murderer still running around, probably planting false clues, destroying evidence?”

Well, there is ONE possibility …

murphygags

“Now, the only way this would ever work would be if there was somebody on the outside, somebody with no axe to grind. Didn’t know Alan, somebody we could trust. Somebody …”

Murphy, sensing where she’s going with this, isn’t pleased.

forgetthatlastthought.jphg

Oops. “Forget that last thought-.” Laura backtracks.

“Please,” Murphy begs.
mrsteelesheasks

“Mr. Steele?” Sandy suggests.

nosheobjects

Nah.

nononomurphy

Murphy and Laura are doubtful, but the rest of the gang seems to think that’s a fine idea!

herecomessteele

Well, speak of the devil! You’re looking particularly natty this morning, Mr. Steele.
didIsleepsoundly
“Morning! Morning, morning, morning!” Perhaps assuming everyone has been waiting for him to go down to breakfast, Mr. S heads for the elevator. “My goodness, did I sleep soundly,” he blathers. “Country air, I’ll wager. Sound sleep like that always makes me feel hungry. You know what I could go for? Large country breakfast. Hot cakes, sausages …”

steppingin

What’s this? It seems the elevator car is already occupied.

wellthatsasurprise

Steele takes a closer look.

manhasbeenmurdered

“The man has been murdered,” Laura explains.
Even an apprentice master detective can see that. And a good con man knows when to put distance between himself and the scene of the crime.

helltakethestairs

“I think I’ll take the stairs.”

mayIhaveaword
Laura grabs his arm. “Mr. Steele. Sir, sir, SIR.” (Oh, that must have hurt.) “May I have a word with you?”
offtheygothen
They sidle away …

I wonder why everyone assumes Mr. Steele can’t be the murderer? As an “outsider,” one might think he’d be the most suspicious. However, Laura’s comment about Alan’s former coworkers having axes to grind suggests it isn’t only Carl who had a beef with the dead man. I wonder what the others’ complaints are against good ‘ol Alan?

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In the Steele of the Night – 6

Note: Sorry for the infrequency of posts this week. I’m dog-sitting away from home and don’t have my computer with me. D’oh! Anyway …

meanwhileinthemorning

It’s morning at Alan’s palatial estate. Do you suppose the phallic evergreens are supposed to be some kind of metaphor? Or have I just gone too long without a date? But I digress.

Laurasleeping

Laura is asleep in a fairly ornate bed. Alone. Guess Steele had to find his own digs for the night.

lonelyLaura

Our detective’s blissful slumber is interrupted by a persistent whooshing sound. She tries to muffle it with a pillow. Or maybe she just needs something to hug. Mr. Steele would be happy to help you out with that, Laura.

satinnightie

Laura is wearing a pretty satin nightie, by the way. With lace! Not the sporty pajama set I would have expected from her.

putsonrobe

Finally she gives up trying to sleep. Rising from her bed with perfect hair, she pauses to put on her robe.

randomalert People in movies/TV shows always have a conveniently located robe to slip into. Grace Kelly complained, while filming “Dial M for Murder” that no woman who heard an intruder in her home would stop to put on a robe before investigating. I’m inclined to concur.

windydoor

Laura opens the door and takes a listen. Whoosh. Whoosh. Whoosh.

Whatever can it be?

passingamirror

She slowly makes her way into the hall to investigate, passing an image of her fabulous self in a mirror. This must be significant. But I don’t know why.

whatsthatsound

She rounds a corner and observes …

puzzledLaura

… something that causes her to look puzzled. In a beautiful, slightly tousled sort of way.

elevatordoor

Oh, it’s just that fancy-schmancy elevator that OOD was so impressed by. Guess it’s stuck or something. I wonder why?

shelooksdown

Laura lowers her gaze slightly …

ohdear

Good heavens! She sees something that alarms her. In an eyebrows-perfectly-plucked sort of way.

deadarm

Yikes! There’s an arm sticking out of the elevator door. In a perfectly manicured sort of way. Whose arm is it?

alancorpse

It’s Alan! And he seems to be dead! In a crunched-up-in-the-elevator sort of way.

Well! Finally a crime to solve. What happened to Alan? Why was Laura the only one disturbed by the whooshing elevator? And how does Miss Holt keep her complexion so nice when she wears make up to bed?

 

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In the Steele of the Night – 5

Back in the drawing room (or perhaps the mortuary waiting room, given the floral sprays and urns decorating the place) …

propreitary alan

Alan welcomes his new guest with a challenge: “Mr. Steele. We were just playing best murder. It would be an honor if you’d contribute one.”

What’s up with his hand on Laura’s shoulder?  I think Laura looks uncomfortable.

uncomfortableLaura

Laura does NOT think that is a good idea. “Alan, Mr. Steele’s been traveling all day.”

polarflights

Hm. Looks fresh as a daisy to me.

“Nonsense! Polar flights are second nature to me,” Steele pooh-poohs. Polar? Guess global warming hadn’t made it to Marseille by 1982. Either that, or Laura didn’t have time to brief Mr. Steele on where he’s supposed to have been.

“Good. Then it’s your murder,” Alan prompts.

Lauraneedsadrink

Oh, dear. Laura seems a little unsettled (or thirsty).

yeswell

“A murder. Yes … well …”

thinkingaboutamurder

“So many to choose from.”

tapdancingpenguin

Keep tap dancing, Mr. Steele!

brightsmileLaura

“In the morning,” Laura exclaims … exuberantly. “When your head is clear and I’ve had a chance to brief you on the business of the day–”
Based on the private eye code we learned in the last episode, Mr. Steele, I believe this is a K.Y.D.M.S. situation: Keep Your Damned Mouth Shut.

nonsensedear

“Nonsense, dear. Nonsense,” Mr. Steele pooh-poohs again.

pooh

Hello, Pooh!

quitedead

“Ah, yes. Here’s one. It was a hot day in July. I was called to the house of a wealthy industrialist by his wife.

ladyinred

We see Steele’s audience listening intently as he continues: “She met me at the front door of the residence …”

scowlingCarl

Hm. Carl doesn’t seem so impressed. Steel continues. “She escorted me into the study. And there, lying on the floor, was her husband. Quite dead. Shot, actually.”
disappointedalan

Alan seems disappointed. “THAT is your best murder?”

Hey, pal. Give him credit for guessing what this game is even about.
certainlyis
Laura is kind of throwing the booze back at this point.

 

spoileralert emoticonSpoiler alert: In the not distant future, we’ll hear Laura aver that she’s only had two drinks in 27 years. Well, I suppose this qualifies as one BIG drink.

 

pathofthebullet

“It certainly is,” Steele continues.

insidehischest

Your colleagues don’t remember that case, Mr. Steele. He presses on: “For ballistic tests conducted several days later proved that the path of the bullet began INSIDE the industrialist’s chest and traveled outwards.”

fromhisinsides
NOW Alan is impressed. “The bullet travelled from his insides-out?”

precisely
“Precisely.”

firedthefatalshot

“And since it is essential that a suspect be placed at the scene of the crime, and since it is difficult if not impossible to prove that someone fired the fatal shot from INSIDE the man’s chest …”

toomuchtodrink

Laura is feeling woozy. “I think I’ve had too much to drink.”

bestmurder

“Yes, I would call that a best murder,” the detective concludes.

notenoughtodrink
Murphy doesn’t think he’s had ENOUGH to drink.

murphyglass

Easily remedied, Murph!
thatsincredible
“That is incredible,” Alan says.

 

randomalertThat_s_incredible_1980-show “That’s Incredible!” was a 1980  “reality” series hosted by John Davidson, Cathy Lee Crosby and Fran Tarkenton (!). It was a spin-off from “Real People.”

 

Now Alan wants the answer to this perplexing case.
catatecanary

“The answer …”

Yes, Mr. Steele?

whatstheanswer

“The answer. Well, it seems to me that a great murder, like a great wine, should be savored.”

Uh-huh. Some wines take decades to mature into “great.” Is this like one of those, Mr. Steele?

taketheweekend

“Take the night – or the weekend for that matter.”

invadeyourdreams

“Allow it to sink into your thoughts, invade your dreams. Consider it. Ponder it.”

ponderit

“And then, if the answer is not obvious to you …”

notobvious

He trails off and sits down next to Laura.

veryglad
“I’m very glad you came, Mr. Steele,” Alan smiles. “You’re going to add a great deal to this weekend.”
lifeoftheparty

“That’s our Mr. Steele. The life of the party.” Have you ever partied with Mr. Steele, Laura? Have you ever partied with anyone?

spoileralert emoticonYes. She has.

propreitarySteele

Steele gives her an affectionate pat on the back. A little proprietary, sir. Much like Alan earlier. Is this shaping up to be a macho contest, with Laura as the “prize”?

untilthemorning

Alan’s suddenly ready to go to bed and “ponder” (Is that what the kids are calling it these days?)

thegrouprises

He and the crowd get up to leave.

Laurahasheadache

Mr. Steele sticks close to Laura. Perhaps he figures they’ll bunk together?

carlandalanlinger

Strangely, Carl and Alan linger behind. I thought you were tired, Alan.

steelecasing
Laura and Steele also dawdle. Mr. Steele seems to be casing the joint. The delay allows Laura to make a move on her boss.

steelecollared

She grabs him and pushes him up against a pillar. To ravish him? He seems amenable.

lauraleaningin

Alas, no. To snarl at him. “The bullet traveled from INSIDE his body OUT?”

I don’t think she buys your story, Mr. S!

fascinating

“Fascinating, isn’t it?”

mrspockgif

This guy seems to think so.

“What movie is it from?” Laura demands. Oh, she knows you so well. Or at least she thinks she does!
wouldIembarrassyou
Steele is wounded. “Laura. Do you I’d risk embarrassing you in front of all your friends by stealing a murder from a movie? What if someone else had seen it?”

“You mean-”
madeitup
Yep. He made it up.

Before Laura can congratulate him on his cleverness tell him what a fool he is, an argument breaks out downstairs.
youmakepromises
“It’s a question of honor, Alan,” OOG is growling at their host. “You made promises. You didn’t keep them!”

“Carl, you were MEANT to be used. You ask for it. You’d be disappointed if someone like me DIDN’T take advantage of you.”

Well, gee. That’s not very nice. Apparently Alan doesn’t know about Carl’s killer instincts!

restofthegang

The rest of the Scooby gang has reassembled at the top of the stairs to watch the show.

spongebobpopcorn

Everybody loves a good drama.

eyesup

Laura and Steele eyeball the crowd. Isn’t it cute how they act in unison? Meanwhile, at the bottom of the stairs…

dontpushme

“Four years is a lot of time to wait for restitution, Alan. A lot of anger builds up. So don’t push me!” Carl heads for the stairs.

allknowingalan

Well. That went well, don’t you think?

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In the Steele of the Night – 4

We left Carl OOG reminding (warning?) Laura of his killer instinct – something that he averred she shares.

Some time later, presumably …

brandysnifter

Alan fills an enormous brandy snifter that he’s about to … snift? He poses a challenge to his former colleagues.

mangetsonelevator

“Best murder. A man gets on the elevator on the tenth floor. He’s all alone. It’s an express. The elevator doesn’t stop again until the third floor. When the doors open, he’s dead. What happened?”

Well! This is indeed a puzzle.

basilrathbone

At last! The game is afoot!

funeralspray

OOG begins the interrogation. (Is that a funeral spray in back of Alan?)

“It didn’t go down to the basement and then back up to the third floor?” Carl asks.

Nope.

urns

“There was no one else on the elevator?” OOD, whose name is apparently Donald. Which still makes him OOD – Obligatory Office Donald. (Now Alan is standing between what appears to be two funeral urns. Whatever can it mean?)

“No,” says Alan.

Ood

This, by the way, is an actual OOD. They are servile and irritating … and can be treacherous. Hm. Like another OOD we know?

hasntstopped
Sandy asks, “It hasn’t stopped?”
Negatory.

poisoned
Murphy, a methodical sort, reviews the salient details before offering his solution. “It went from the tenth floor to the third floor, no stops, no people. Was he poisoned?”
notpoisoned
Nopey. “Not poisoned.”

hewasmurdered
Laura snaps her fingers. By George, I think she’s got it!

“But he WAS murdered.”

Um … that’s not really a solution, Laura. We already knew that part. Try to keep up.

thenameofthegame

“THAT is the name of the game,” Alan says, looking a little creepy.

whosthatknocking

Okay, a LOT creepy.

Suddenly – actually, not suddenly enough; it looks like the sound effect was slightly off – there’s a knock at the door. “Would someone get that, please?”

highkickLaura
Laura, perhaps contemplating a new career as a high-kicking Radio City Music Hall dancer (the girl is nimble!) springs into action, ready to serve. (Interesting how she adopts this role, essentially obeying Alan’s orders … perhaps unconsciously trying to “look good” in his eyes?)

alancomeon

Sandy’s not interested in Alan’s good opinion of her. “Alan, come on. That’s not fair,” she whines. “Now you’re supposed to tell us how the murder was committed.”
littleselfcontrol
“A little self control, Sandy,” he says. “I promise I won’t let you go home without the answer.”

laurapauses
We cut to Laura arriving at the imposing wooden door. Hard knocks are heard from the other side. Oh, look! There’s a tiny little door inside the big door. Laura, apparently fearing a vacuum salesman or Jehovah’s Witness has come to call, decides to take a little peek first.

hopenotlate

Oh, dear. “Hope I’m not late,” says the late Mr. Steele.
sheslamsit
I’m not sure Laura is happy to see him!

But she knows he’ll just stand there, with his nose pressed up against the window like a puppy, if she doesn’t shoo him away.

reopensit

She opens the little door again. “What are you doing here?” she demands.

wasinvited
He waves the envelope in her direction. “I was invited.”

Can’t argue with that. Laura lets him in.

welcomemrsteele

“Where did you get that?” Laura asks peevishly.
nottheonlysleuth
“You’re not the only sleuth around here, you know.” Mr. Steele tugs at his cuffs – a nervous gesture? Or a cocky one?

I think Laura would argue that she IS the only sleuth around here – the only one standing in the foyer, anyway.

“My wastebasket,” she deduces. (Wait. Didn’t we see Mr. Steele pull it out of his desk drawer?)

confusedkitty

A little confused, now.

wastebasket

Despite her apparent irritation, she gamely takes his arm.

We hear Alan from the other room: “Laura, who is it?”

knowthattrick

“So you know that trick as well, do you?” Mr. Steele goads. Is he reminding her that she is, in her way, as big a con artist as he is? He steps away from her and heads in the direction from whence Alan’s voice came.

heartburnlaura

Buckle your seatbelt, Laura. It’s going to be a bumpy night!

 

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In the Steele of the Night – 3

We left Murphy frowning in OOG’s room, wondering what good ‘ol Carl was doing with a gun in his suitcase. Presumably he will rush to tell Laura of his find and they’ll investigate further, right?

murphsmakingtime

Guess not. Seems our Murphy has been making time with another girl – the blonde from earlier, who appears slightly damp. Oh, fickle Murphy.

angrybuffy

Just like a man.

youfinallymarried

“So how are you doin’, Murphy?” OOB asks.

“Fair to middlin’,” he admits. (Not exactly bursting with joy about his life, is he?) “And you?”

“Okay. I’m married, kids … you know”

“Yeah,” he says. “Did I ever meet the guy you finally married?”
So Murphy knows what this chick has been up to, but had no idea that Alan was super-rich? “Finally married” suggests that our girl OOB was a playah back in the day.

leanin
OOB discloses that Murphy is the one who introduced her to hubby. He IS surprised at this. Murphy seems to be leaning into OOB’s personal space here. Is he making his move?

“Yeah. You were working at the agency … I don’t know …maybe a year?” she explains.  “You pulled a divorce case. A Mrs. Robin Maxwell. Convinced her husband was doing the dirty deed outside of marriage. He WAS guilty; you did catch him.”

I hate to stereotype, but this gal doesn’t strike me as the detective type. Was the she receptionist?

“Anyway, the next day, he came to the office,” OOB continues. “Pleaded with us not to give our information to his wife. You were working on something else, so I took the meeting. I told this guy my hands were tied. He tried to buy me with dinner that night.”

Murphy wonders so what. So do I.

buymewithdinner

“It worked,” she tells him.

“Ah, Sandy.” Turns out Sandy was not the receptionist, but rather the Obligatory Office Gold-digger. Sorry, Sandy. We already have an OOG. Maybe the OOH? (Obligatory Office ‘Ho?).

ohsnap

Oh, snap!

“Love is strange,” Sandy says.

So is this scene. What’s the point?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch on the veranda …

high-neckedLaura

… Laura has changed into a high-necked blouse and pinned her hair up. It’s 19th century chic!

casualwear

And here she is in casual wear, for hanging around the pool. (Is that Fred?)

seesthecouple

She observes Murphy and OOH. Is she jealous?

OOGiswatching

Doesn’t seem like it. Maybe she’s happy that her good pal Murph is likely to get some this weekend.

Wait, what’s this? It’s OOG – sneaking up on our Laura?

beenalongday

“What do you think they’re talking about?” OOG inquires. Laura is only a little startled.

But Laura’s not even a little interested in guessing games.
playdetective
“It’s been a long day, Carl. I’m tired – I don’t wanna play detective.”

missedopportunities

Turns out she doesn’t have to. Carl has all the answers already.

“They’re talking about missed opportunities. That’s what reunions are about, right? What if I had worked harder, what if I had been a little nicer – what if I, what if I, what if I. Right about now they’re saying, ‘What if I had noticed you when we were working together at Havenhurst?'”

Well, actually they’re not saying any of these things. But good try, Carl.

laurayawns

Laura is fascinated by his insight.

Carl doesn’t take the hint. “Fools like that never remember.”

pitythefool

Wait. Is he calling Murphy a fool? Guess that makes Mr. Michaels the OOF.

 

wasalan

OOG continues: “He never looked at her because he was always looking at you. And she never gave him the time of day. The only guy she wanted to know about was Alan.”

Laura’s still looking toward her colleague and his new squeeze. She doesn’t seem to react to Carl’s revelation that Murphy was interested in her all the way back to Havenhurst. Is it because she already knows? Is Carl trying to subtly suggest that Laura wasn’t very observant while back at Havenhurst, either?

Anyway, Carl’s tired of carrying this conversation by himself.

“Say something, Holt.”

saysomethingholt

“Huh?” She seems to be thinking about something else. I wonder what? Murphy … Alan …

 

winkingMiley

… or someone else?

younevertalkedtome
“You never talked to me. Never. Not back at Havenhurst. Not now.” Oh, dear. Something tells me Carl would designate Laura the OOB(eyatch).
sorrycarl
“I’m sorry.”

Pretty sure she’s not, really.

lotalike
“You know, we’re a lot alike,” Carl persists.

ohshemurmurs

Laura seems skeptical. Or about to suck out Carl’s liver. She reminds me of one of my favorite X File creatures here:

fluke-man

Fluke Man!

somethingbetter
Carl isn’t scared. “Sure. Alan’s got a big house, Sandy’s got a rich husband, but you and me, we got something better.”

And what is that, Carl?

killerinstinct

“Killer instinct.”

BA BA BUM!

Oooh, Carl is starting to look suspicious, isn’t he. But perhaps he’s a red herring. Of course, there hasn’t actually been a crime. The contrast between Sandy and Laura is interesting: Sandy is almost bare (and reveals much about herself to Murphy), while Laura is covered up, both physically and emotionally. Something tells me Laura is uncomfortable being among these colleagues again. Perhaps the energetic, confident Laura we know finds herself slipping back into an old, mousey, subordinate role she played at Havenhurst?

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In the Steele of the Night – 2

We left Mr. Steele standing alone in the lobby of Steele Investigations. Wherever can Laura and Murphy be?

LauraMurphydriving

Sitting in a stationary car in front of a green screen projection, it seems. A (virtual) drive in the country. Laura looks a little tense, but Murphy seems very relaxed. Quality time with Laura!

“You know, I think they’re going to be pretty disappointed when we show up empty handed,” Murphy comments. What, you’re not bringing a hotdish, or even a jello salad? Remind me not to invite you to my next reunion potluck.

“Reunions are supposed to be about catching up with old friends, seeing how everyone is doing, finding out who put on weight. If they want to meet Remington Steele, let them drop by the office,” Laura responds.

4yearssince

“What has it been? Four years since we left Havenhurst Detective Agency. Boy, it doesn’t seem that long, does it?”

Thanks for the exposition, Murphy!

But Laura’s mind isn’t on the good old days.

hahaha

“Imagine him, in a room full of detectives,” she chortles. “Ha! They’d be waiting all weekend for him to slip up – and when he did, they’d eat him alive.”

We learn some things here: Laura seems oddly fixated on Mr. Steele, considering she left him behind; the “old friends” they are going to see are apparently stab-you-in-the-back types; Laura’s “humor” seems a little forced. Is it possible she’s not as excited to see the old gang as she puts on?

someswankestate

The Rabbit arrives at the imposing gate to a huge estate.

Murphy is impressed. “Oh dear GOD,” he exclaims.

somebodyisrich

They turn on to the long, long driveway. An imposing edifice looms ahead.

“Sure does look like old Alan is doing well for himself,” Laura remarks.

“Oh dear God,” repeats Murphy, who apparently has never, ever been exposed to the lifestyles of the rich and famous before, despite living and working with upscale clients in L.A.

So whoever “Alan” is, apparently his fortunes have come up in the world over the past four years?

beardedguy

The scene cuts to some guy with a lot of hair. Alan, I presume? We’re now inside the mansion, I presume?

“No Remington Steele?” he presumes.

couldntbehelped

Laura, looking a little schoolgirlish in her A-line skirt and sweater, has his answer. “Couldn’t be helped. Last-minute thing in Marseille.”

The painting behind Laura is interesting. Lovers embracing? Could this be a clue to Laura’s former relationship with this Alan guy?

Alan’s not buying it.

marseilles

“Marseille? Come on, Laura; this is Alan. You remember me?”

Quite the ornate decorating scheme. Is that a Samurai on the landing above him?

fellawhotaughtyou

“I’m the fella that YOU to lie like that,” points out the fella who taught Laura to lie like that.

awkwardembrace

He draws Laura into what can only be described as an uncomfortable embrace.

awkwardembrace

Here’s a re-enactment. Awkward!

fessup

Alan demands that Laura ‘fess up: “He couldn’t come because the little missus put her foot down, am I right?”

Little missus? Really?

Raise your hand if you think this Alan is delightful.

bueller

Anyone?

thereisnomrs

“Actually, there is no Mrs. Steele,” Laura clarifies.

notyet

“You mean … not YET.”

You’re a funny guy, Alan. Is it just me, or is this guy leering at our Laura? Where’s Murphy, by the way?

ohyou

“Ohhhh ….” Something tells me Laura ISN’T charmed by this banter.

bodylanguagesaysno

Alan puts an arm around Laura. Laura visible recoils.

They seem … close, don’t you think?

“So tell me how good I look,” Alan prods.

“You do. You look wonderful,” she responds dutifully.

He tells her he’s lost 30 lbs.

killtolose

“Oh, I’d kill to lose five,” Laura answers, looking away from him. He’s giving her quite the lookee-loo, though.

“Where?” he wants to know.

placesyouhaventseen

“Places YOU haven’t seen,” she says. Something tells me he never will.

reunionsbegun

Suddenly the elevator disgorges a little crowd, including Murphy, two other guys and a blonde.

“Well obviously, the reunion’s already begun,” Murphy remarks. I get the impression he doesn’t like how cozy Alan has made himself with Laura’s physique.

anelevator

One of the other men – let’s call him the Obligatory Office Dork (OOD) – is astonished by the fact that Alan has an elevator in his home.

noticemyseville

The blonde chick – let’s call her the Obligatory Office Bimbo (OOB) – starts to say something, but is interrupted by the Obligatory Office Gasbag (OOG). “Did anyone happen to notice my Seville when you pulled in? Just got it.” As the rest of the crowd ignores him and begins to shuffle off, OOB adds, “Very happy with it, actually. I recommend them.”
herecommendsit

Murphy, taking pity, puts an arm around OOG. “Good, Carl.”
theofficenerd

Meanwhile, OOD – who apparently arrived at reunion from his home in the 14th century – is pinned in place by his astonishment over the magical technology. “Alan has an ELEVATOR in his house.”

casualmurphy

Later, Murphy appears in someone else’s room. “Carl?” he calls.  Ooh! Is it a secret romantic rendezvous?
isCarlhisroomie

Apparently OOG is in the bathroom. He appears, foaming at the mouth (perhaps because his old pals weren’t impressed enough with his Seville). “Yeah?”
Murphy forgot a tie. I’m going to go ahead and assume casual Mr. Michaels just doesn’t OWN a tie. Let’s call him Obligatory Office Slouch (OOS).

“Alan’s gonna hate that,” OOG clucks. “He said formal.”

Murphy knows.

OOG’s got more to say. “You see all that help in the kitchen?” (Trying to hustle a sandwich, Carl?) “Reunion my Aunt Fanny. You know what this is?”

Nope, Murphy doesn’t know. But I bet OOG will tell him.

“The Alan Greavey Show,” OOG tells him. He suggests Murphy check through his suitcase for a spare tie.
That seems like rather intimate offer, rummaging through somebody else’s tighty-whiteys. Do you think OOG and Murphy were a couple? (Mash up name: MOOG.)
selectingneckwear
Murphy starts rummaging. OOG keeps yammering. “Some things never change. Alan Greavey was a snake at the Havenhurst Agency, and he’s still shedding skin.”

alloverLaura

“You see him all over Laura?”

Oh, Murphy saw.

More exposition from OOG: “Havenhurst was such a zoo. Seventy detectives. I’m glad we all got out.”

So Havenhurst was quite a large agency – with an apparently high turnover rate.

Murphy puts on the least interesting of OOG’s ties. Meanwhile, OOG continues. “Everybody was always tripping over everybody else-“

murphfindsgun

Hello, what’s this? Ace detective Murphy discovers the gun in the suitcase. So now we know whose beat-up bureau that was in the opening. Looks like OOG isn’t doing as well as he’d like everyone to believe.

“Too big. Guys like me and you, they need some visibility.” Hm. I wouldn’t say Murphy is getting a lot of attention in his current gig, either. He’s pretty much invisible at the Steele Agency (at least since Steele arrived). Do you think OOG’s remark might give Murph something to think about?

thatcleftchintho

Murphy, who knows that the proper place to keep a gun is in a shoebox on a shelf in a closet, is unnerved by his discovery.

“Expecting a little trouble over dinner?”
Carl looks out. “Huh?”

Murphissuspicious

“A .38’s pretty serious baggage for a weekend in the country, isn’t it?”

Iwouldntknow

“I wouldn’t know. Never use one.”

BA-BA-BUM! The plot thickens. Now if we could just figure out what the plot is …

This is shaping up to be a weekend of deceptions, with everyone pretending to be someone other than who they are. Well, it’s just as well Mr. Steele wasn’t invited. He wouldn’t fit into THAT sort of environment at all.

 

 

 

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In the Steele of the Night – 1

And on we go to our next episode!

beatupdresser

Our episode opens on a close up of a battered bureau, with a silver tray on top.

paperclips

As a gloved hand pulls open the bureau drawer, and we see the title of the episode.

behindthescenes“In the Still of the Night” may refer to an American jazz Standard composed by Cole Porter. It was introduced by Nelson Eddy in 1937’s “Rosalie.” It could also reference a song of the same title recorded by the Five Satins in 1956. A film titled “Still of the Night,” starring Roy Scheider and Meryl Streep, was released by MGM in 1982. Does the title relate to any of these? Perhaps we’ll find out!

But wait! There’s something wrong here. Who keeps paperclips in the same drawer as their gun? Suspicious.

The Gloved One …

notthatone

Nope, not THAT Gloved One.

removesthegun.jp

THIS Gloved One withdraws the firearm from the drawer.

bulletsintrinketbox

Then he opens the little wooden box to reveal it’s full of bullets. Hm. I would have expected rubber bands.

pleatedtrousers

The camera pulls back to reveal that the Gloved One is wearing a cozy sort of sweater. My God! I know who the murderer is!

fred-rogers-lg

“It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood … TO BE DEAD! BWAHAHAHAHA!”

carlenewatkins

Our first guest star is revealed.

 

behindthescenesCarlene Watkins seems to have specialized in sitcoms, appearing in “Best of the West,” “Taxi,” “Mary,” “The Tortellis,” “Dear John,” “Bob,” “Frazier” and “Home Improvement.” Several of these series were produced by her husband, Ed. Weinberger, but I’m sure that’s simply a coincidence.

 killerisMrRogers

Gun in hand, Mr. Rogers proceeds … somewhere.

JeffPomerantz

And here’s our next guest star!

 

behindthescenesJeff Pomerantz has had a long career, dating from an appearance in “Combat!” In 1966 to an episode of “Modern Family” in 2013. He’s done a lot of soap work, including “One Life to Live,” “Santa Barbara,” “General Hospital,” “The Secret Storm” and “Search for Tomorrow.”

 philipcharlesmackenzie

behindthescenesPhilip Charles MacKenzie is best known for a role on the first made-for-cable sitcom, Brothers. He also has extensive acting and directing credits up until 2006.

ArthurRosenberg

Mr. Rogers creeps into some room … Is it Arthur Rosenberg’s room?

behindthescenesArthur Rosenberg has had a long career as a “working actor,” guesting on many popular series since 1976. His most active period was the 1980s, and his most recent role was an episode of “JAG” in 2004.

 

shirtinsuitcase

Ah! Mr. Rogers has gone into a bedroom where there is an open suitcase waiting.

placesgunin

He tucks the gun under a men’s shirt. Hope he’s not planning on traveling very far. Pretty sure that won’t make it through airport security.

writtenbyjoelsteiger

behindthescenesWriter Joel Steiger has had a long career in television writing and producing, specializing in mysteries. He’s written for Matlock, Diagnosis Murder, Perry Mason, Jake & the Fatman, and Father Dowling Mysteries, among his other credits. This is his only episode of Remington Steele.

 This is all very mysterious, isn’t it. Perhaps the greatest puzzle: who packs their socks like that?

lettertosteele

The scene cuts to another drawer opening. Inside we see an envelope addressed to Remington Steele Investigations, in a flowing, feminine-looking hand. A clue! To what? Beats me!

cordiallyinvited

It evolves that we are in the executive office of Remington Steele himself. Our hero turns over the envelope to reveal an invitation …

reunion

Oh, a reunion! EVERYONE loves those!

dyingtomeethim

Looks like Mr. Steele does, anyway. If I didn’t know our boy, I’d think that was a vaguely calculating look. Nah.

anemptydesk

It seems Mr. Steele is characteristically busy today. Can he make time in his schedule to attend this function?

MissWolfe

He proceeds to the lobby, perhaps to offer Laura a ride to this special event. How strange! The place seems to be empty!

“Laura? Murphy? Miss Wolf?” he calls. “Anyone?”

Well! Based on this opening, I don’t know whether this will be a better episode than the last one (but I bet it is). However, we can say for sure that Mr. Steele is very well dressed. And that’s something, isn’t it?

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You’re Steele the One for Me – Tag

We’ve finally reached the end of this episode, and what a long, strange trip it’s been. And by that, I mean:

weareboredA

Sigh.

We last left Laura and her protégé reflecting on the sad denouement of this case. Faced with such tragedy, what else is there to do?

abrickwall

Beat one’s head against a brick wall? Nope. That’s for US, the viewing public, to do to try to pound this episode’s lameness right out of our memories. What our intrepid detectives do is …

lauralovessushi

… eat raw fish. Well, Laura does. Steele seems a bit uncertain – though it’s possible his look of disapproval is actually for the ruffled neckline on Laura’s blouse.

CRIMEOFFASHION I’m ashamed to admit I had a blouse very much like this one in the mid 1980s. Actually, it was even worse. It looked like this: 80sfashionhorror

Go ahead and judge me. I deserve it.

theyakuzawasburied

Steele wants to know who was buried in Kenji’s place. Laura explains.

“The Yakuza that Tenaka said was missing.”

Iseehesays

“I see,” Steele says.

butdoeshe

But I’m not sure he does.

.But Mr. Steele has even more questions. Isn’t he hungry?

“And Hamata? The driver of the car that hit him?”

craddockkilledhim

“Craddock killed him. He was the big man with white hair that the old woman described to us when we went to see Hamata. Craddock thought he was Yakuza as well.”

So this U.S. military guy just randomly killed some guy because he assumed he was part of the Japanese mafia? I think you overstepped your authority, colonel.

horrifiedbysushi

Steele is horrified. Not by the senseless death of a blameless citizen, but by what Laura is putting into her mouth. Still, the apprentice detective is not without some compassion for the dead man.

caughtintheweb

“Another poor unfortunate, caught in the web of deception.”

Laura, on the other hand, is apparently entirely unmoved by the senseless death. She has more important matters to concern her.

youknowyou

“You know, you promised me you’d try at least one.”

hopedshewouldntremember

Steele had hoped she wouldn’t remember that.

Laura informs him it’s all part of the training program. Really? I didn’t see that on the syllabus, Laura.

Steele is thinking of dropping out of detective school. “Actually, I’ve been feeling the urge to become a flashy front man again.”

Laura won’t take no for an answer: “It’s good for you,” she insists. “Pure protein. There’s tuna, sea bass, yellow tail -“

seabass

Steele steels himself.

“I suppose this doesn’t look too difficult,” he concedes. “What is it?”

whatisitheasks

“Octopus.”  Oh, Laura. You led him to believe it was sea bass. That’s called bait and switch. Or in this case, bait and … bait.

bleah

Steele is disappointed in this phase of his education.

passthesake

A bit of sake to wash it down (or in this case, out) with?

finishthecatstory

Mr. Steele decides to put into play one of the new detective-type methods he’s learned: diversion.

“I never finished telling you about the cat on the roof, did I?”

twonbrothers

“You see, there were these two brothers, one of whom had a cat that he loved very much …”

laurathinksitsfunny

Laura seems to think this is very funny.

randomalertIn case you don’t actually know this old chestnut, here it is, courtesy of the Top Jokes Blog:

A man left his cat with his brother while he went on vacation for a week. When he came back, he called his brother to see when he could pick the cat up. The brother hesitated, then said, “I’m so sorry, but while you were away, the cat died.”

The man was very upset and yelled, “You know, you could have broken the news to me better than that. When I called today, you could have said he was on the roof and wouldn’t come down. Then when I called the next day, you could have said that he had fallen off and the vet was working on patching him up. Then when I called the third day, you could have said he had passed away.”

The brother thought about it and apologized.

“So how’s Mom?” asked the man.

“She’s on the roof and won’t come down.”

sheldonlaugh

Hilarious!

Well, kids, that’s about it. I wish I could be more positive about this episode, but it stank from beginning to end. The interaction between Laura and Steele in this tag was cute, I guess, but it’s hard to believe that an epicure like Steele (spoiler alert!) is so repulsed by sushi. I’m sure he’s eaten a lot weirder things. It is pleasing that they are sharing this light-hearted moment together, though, even if the stage around them is littered with bodies. Questions remain: How much did they have to pay Keye Luke for two scenes? Was it so much that they couldn’t afford to pay any other actual Asian actors, so they had to pick people off the street to fill key roles in this production? What of the secret code? Did the detectives turn it over to the authorities? If so, what does that mean for Mike’s security? If not, what does that say about the Steele Agency’s integrity? One might expect the death of a high-ranking military official who apparently murdered an innocent citizen might attract some publicity. Will the agency be swept up in that scandal? Since the funds Mike has been relying on to start and keep his business going are dirty money, is he going to have to forfeit/pay it back? Was there any point/relevance to the episode title beyond that rather clunky scene of the Japanese guy reading the note into the phone? And finally, did Dickerson ever get his autograph?

The mind boggles.

In the end, I think we can agree that the following sums up “You’re Steele the One for Me”

Bleah

Next up: In the Steele of the Night.

 

 

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You’re Steele the One for Me – 18

Good news! We’ve finally reached the exciting climax of this action-packed episode!

catyawning

templateagain

Here we are at the Japanese temple. Wait a second. Isn’t this where we came in? That can only mean …

groundhogday

NOOOOOOOO!

backatthetemple

Murphy’s at the wheel. “Think he could be here?” we hear him say as the car pulls up.

“If he staged his own death, he’d have to know who turned up for the funeral,” Laura’s voiceover replies.

confusion

Um … what? I’m not really following this, but apparently Laura knows what’s going on.

Murphy adds that they’ve already been everywhere else. What a long, long episode night this has been for everyone!

leapingsteele

Everybody but Murphy exits the car. Mr. Steele shows his Action Man persona by leaping energetically out of the backseat.

dontworrysaysmurphy

He pauses to give Murph his orders. “Oh, Murphy, would you-“

Murphy’s way ahead of him: “Don’t you worry. I’ll shoot any wild hoops that happen along.”

titters

Okay. Maybe it’s not THAT funny.

 

anothernoserub

Everybody but Murphy enters the temple. Steele is picking his nose again.

craddockishere

Oh, look. Craddock is already here … praying? (Must be a convert.)

Mr. Steele decides to interrogate him.

buhbyeCraddock

“Pardon me, I don’t mean to disrupt your reverie, but have you seen by chance-“

thud

Thud.

checkthepulse

Mr. Steele checks his pulse. He’s still quite rosy-hued, not the sickening gray pallor of most corpses. Can he still be saved?

Nope.

thiscantbe

Steele wonders if the dead man is Mike’s much older, much less Japanese brother.

“I don’t know who it is,” Mike assures him.

Laura fills in the blanks. “It’s Major Craddock,.” She asks for confirmation of the obvious. “I take it he’s …”

dickersonnotdisappointed

“Let’s just say that Dickerson won’t be disappointed,” Steele quips.

BeardedSMiley Sigmund Freud in his 1927 essay Humour (Der Humor) puts forth the following theory of gallows humor: “The ego refuses to be distressed by the provocations of reality, to let itself be compelled to suffer. It insists that it cannot be affected by the traumas of the external world; it shows, in fact, that such traumas are no more than occasions for it to gain pleasure.”  Okkaaaaay …. I guess that’s as reasonable an explanation as any for this lame joke.

shouldnthavecome

Suddenly there is a voice from the gallery.

muppetguys

Is it these guys? Sadly, no.

myownfault

Kenji Ito, I presume. “You shouldn’t have come,” he says. (I know, but we’re practically at the end. Too late to bail out now.)

He displays the same curious absence of expression and tonal inflection that characterizes his younger brother.

I begin to think we’re in the wrong movie again, Laura. It’s not the Third Man after all.

night3

These guys are zombies!

couldnoteasilyaccept

In slow, ponderous tones, Kenji begins to unspool his tale. “It’s really my fault. I worked so hard all those years to earn your respect. I should have known you could not easily accept my death.”

youryakuza

“You’ve been … Yakuza- all this time?” Mike asks.

carrymyshame

“I saw no reason for you to carry my shame. Away from me, in this country, you could have a decent life. A life with honor.” Ah, I was wondering when they were going to trot out that old “honor” stereotype. Let me guess: Kenji didn’t want his brother to “lose face.” Right?

neverknowthetruth

“And I would never know the truth.” Mike is clearly devastated by his brother’s betrayal.

Itoldhimnothing

Kenji explains that Craddock caught him, then released him, then spread the word that he had talked.

Whatever. Apparently Kenji stole some kind of computer code that details the Yakuza’s operation in Japan.

idontgetit

Does anyone?

palaceisacode

Laura does! She deduces that the computer code is the mysterious “Palace of Heaven.”

Yeah, that makes sense.

rumpledito

Kenji reaches into his inside pocket. OMG! Does he have a gun?

Nope.

doesntlooklikeapalace

It’s just a little book. “Doesn’t look like a ‘Palace of Heaven’, does it? I thought maybe I could trade it in for my freedom. But when I called you at the airport, I spotted one of Tenaka’s men following me and ran.”

caughtupwithhim

“But he caught up with you,” Laura surmises.

westruggled

“We struggled. I pushed him in front of a car.” It’s clear how deeply affected Kenji was by this horrific incident. I think his eyebrows even moved a little!

gavehimyourID

“So you gave him your identification and staged your own funeral,” Steele deduces. Brilliant! Can we go home now?

Nope.

nobodyhunts

“Nobody hunts for a dead man,” Kenji intones. “Nobody, that is, except Remington Steele.”

steeleisbored

Unfortunately, Mr. Steele is unable to appreciate this bit of praise, having dozed off. You and me both, Steele.

At Laura’s prodding, Kenji readily admits to having murdered Craddock. Bored him to death, presumably, since there wasn’t a mark on the body.

Ididnotbwetrayhim

“He left me no choice. This way, Tenaka will know that I did not betray him and would not seek revenge on Mike.”

Whatever. OMG, can we just get on with it?

youstillhavecodes

“But you still have the codes,” Steele points out.

keepitnow

“You will keep it now,” Kenji says, handing over the book. “To ensure my brother’s continued safety. Tenaka knows that you are a man of honor.”

So the detectives are just supposed to keep this book of codes detailing heinous crimes locked up in their file cabinet, thus allowing the Yakuza to continue their nefarious ways unimpeded and waiting for Tenaka’s thugs to break into the office to kill them and take back the codes?

legit

Okay.

steelenotsosure

Laura explains that they still have to call the police. Because of, you know, that whole murder in the temple thing.

fewminutes

This prompts Kenji to launch into another long soliloquoy. Or maybe it just SEEMS long because he says his lines so.damned.slowly. “You know, Mike, I dreamed, one day, to leave the Yakuza, and join you in business. The dream now has only a few remaining minutes of freedom. Now that you know the truth …”

No worries, Kenji.

mikeisdevastated

Mike isn’t upset. Or maybe he is. Who can tell?

The two brothers go off together someplace. Are they escaping? Going to commit ritual suicide? Running out for sushi?

We’ll never know.

sadwaytoend

 “You know, this is really a very sad way for things to end,” Laura comments.

If you are referring to the lethargic and pointless denouement of this episode, I agree!

Steele doesn’t.

killedorson

“Not really. In ‘The Third Man’, Joseph Cotten killed Orson Welles.”

Surely death would have been kind for all of us, Mr. Steele.

Well, this is one of my favorite segments, only because it finally brings us the end of this lame-o mystery. I have to wonder how Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan felt when reading this script and playing these scenes. This may have been the time Miss Zimbalist referred to in an early interview when she described the two of them going off to a bar over the lunch hour to wallow in their mutual fear of failure. Fortunately, this episode marks the low point of season 1 and is a strong contender for worst episode of them all. Cheer up, Laura and Rem – things are about to get better!

Next, the tag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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