License to Steele, I. ii.

We’re back at Remington Steele Investigations, watching Laura stride into her domain with a self-assured air.


She encounters another woman in the lobby and gestures toward one of the office doors. “He in?” “Waiting for you,” the woman replies.


PDVD_186Laura enters one of the offices. We can see that this must be an upscale, cutting edge agency, because her office contains a very high tech piece of equipment …for 1982 . Remember when we were wowed by futuristic stuff like this?old timey computer

She knocks on another door, and Murphy opens it. He’s checking his watch … worried about having to work overtime, Murph? Hot date? Or maybe he just wants Laura to admire his  manly, albeit slightly limp, wrist.


None of the above! He merely wanted to remind her, in a snarky tone, that it’s 5:05 – has she heard from “Mr. Steele” yet? Seems like Mr. Michaels has a bit of an attitude here, don’t you think? Well, just wait, Murphy. Pretty soon you’ll REALLY have something to grouse about!


Laura shows him who’s in charge as she sits down behind the executive desk, kicks off her shoes and props up her tired gams. I have to wonder if this moment is a sly homage to “Peter Gunn,” the noirish early detective series in which the hard-boiled detective’s secretary (played by Mary Tyler Moore) is shown only in the form of her shapely legs.

The Lady In Blue delivers beverages!


Meanwhile, Murphy reminds Laura that they made a deal: if anybody insisted on meeting the “boss,” they’ll take a pass.

PDVD_189But Laura has dollar signs and media spotlights in her eyes. Doesn’t Murphy realize the PR coup this case will be for the agency? It’s the whole reason she invented Remington Steele in the first place (Thanks for the exposition, Laura!) She proposes a little smoke and mirrors.


They’ll tell client Gordon Hunter that Steele is on the case … but inaccessible. “Wherever Hunter is, Steele will always be somewhere else!” Well, when she puts it that way, it all sounds so simple! What could possibly go wrong?




Knock! Knock! (Avon calling? I don’t think so!)


Hello, it’s Embroidered Man! But he’s ditched his pretty blouse. What is he wearing this time? Um …


In the commentary for this episode, I believe Pierce Brosnan calls this a “safari jacket.”  Okay.  Are those typically worn with a tie? And where’s his pith helmet?


Mr Johnson

Aha! THERE it is!









Okay, he may not be a sartorial superman. Never mind. Laura seems impressed anyway.


Hubba hubba!

Embroidered Man Gunga Din immediately introduces himself to “Mr. Steele.”




Laura is miffed! On the other hand, Murphy is …


… puzzled? Irritated? Turned on? A man of many moods, is our Murphy.

Gunga thinks Murphy looks vaguely familiar, but the cagey Mr. Michaels assures him he just “has that kind of face.”


Hm. The stylin’ safari man seems distracted. Perhaps by the lovely lady behind the desk?


Laura rises to introduce herself …


… but Lady Blue beats her to the punch!


She’s Bernice Foxe, tall, dark, handsome, oddly dressed stranger! PLEASED to meet you!  Gunga Din is impressed by how many secretaries the office employs. Oops again.


Laura tersely informs him that she is “licensed private investigator, Mr-”

(Pssst! Din, Laura. Mr. Gunga Din. See?) gunga din



Ah, it seems I am mistaken. This is not Cary Grant without his pith helmet. It’s Ben Pearson, special agent – “for wont of a better title” – for the South African government! We know he’s legit, because he uses high-falutin’ words like “wont.”


PDVD_202Sensing Important Business is about to be enacted (or perhaps feeling an urge to visit the ladies’ room), Bernice offers to “make fresh water.”

Agent Pearson explains he’s here on a “rather delicate mission.” He needs their assistance!


Even if they can’t verify his story, surely that eyebrow is sincere. I trust him!

He informs Laura and Murphy that the gems they’ve been paid to guard are stolen, smuggled out of South Africa and sold to a private museum.

Laura points out that this is a legal matter. Why doesn’t he go to the police? Murphy, for his part, seems still to be pondering Bernice’s promise to “make fresh water.”


Agent Pearson mutters something about the gems being tied up in litigation, yada yada. He reveals that the gems are Royal Lavulite – more precious than diamonds, because there are so few of them. Surprise! Lavulite is really a thing! Here’s a chunk of it in its raw state:


And here’s quite a large piece of it that you can get on SALE! on Ebay.

lavulite sale

Pretty sure a diamond that size would cost a little more. It seems the gems market fluctuates wildly!

Back to the case! Agent Pearson thinks it best if he’s “fully apprised” of their security measures.


Double eyebrows this time. Now we KNOW he’s genuine!

Yet Murphy is wary. He says they need to check Agent Pearson’s credentials first. Pearson agrees – he’d be disappointed if they didn’t! He fixes Laura with a smoldering, yet integrity-filled look. I trust him, don’t you?


Pearson makes his exit just as Bernice returns from “making fresh water.” Looks like she made it in a pot!


“Delightful aroma!” Pearson declares, rather bizarrely.

Well, Laura seems to think SOMETHING around here it delightful! (But I sense Murphy is not smitten.)


I’ll leave it here for now. Comments? Observations? Do you think Laura is taken in by “Agent Pearson?”   It’s interesting how ready Miss Holt is to pull the wool over her client’s eyes. Do you think she would have played it the same if the agency’s survival weren’t at stake?


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25 responses to “License to Steele, I. ii.

  1. eaz35173

    You had me rolling with Gunga Din and Safari Man – LOL!! I’m sure Bernice made tea and that was the aroma that Mr. Pearson was referring to, unless he was commenting on Bernice’s perfume (which I’m sure she freshened up while getting the tea).

    Seriously, tho, I think that Laura saw this client as an opportunity to put the agency in the black and she was capitalizing on that. Up until this point, as Murphy reminded her, they would turn down clients who insisted on meeting Mr. Steele. So, I do not think that Laura would have been so quick to pull the wool over her client’s eyes if the agency were on better financial ground.

    And, yes, I do think that Laura has been taken in by Agent Pearson. Who wouldn’t fall for those good looks and that charm as a distraction? I dare say that most of the female viewing public was taken in by “Mr. Pearson” (and probably some of the male viewers as well). 31 years later, we still can’t get him out of our system 😉

    • Glad you recognized the Gunga Din reference – that’s going back a bit! Yeah, “Pearson” was surely referring to the smell of the tea, or the smell of Bernice or both. “Make water” is an old-timey euphemism for going to the bathroom, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to make a couple of pee-pee jokes. I’m five years old.

      I wonder if the Steele Agency was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy at this time, which might be why Laura was so willing to take the risk of “producing” Steele for this one client. We see in the credits that the agency’s original office was apparently Laura’s first solo office, now under another name – but they have moved into decidedly higher-rent quarters. I suspect Laura may have taken a leap and moved the agency into offices beyond their means of paying for them, for the express purpose of attracting clients like Hunter. If so, and her gamble didn’t pay off, she could see her dream snatched away again. Strong motivation to play a little loose with the truth!
      It’s interesting that the paradigm the show sets up is ostensibly that Laura is the sensible, conservative one and Steele is the live-on-the-edge risk taker. We’ll see, as the series progresses, whether that is really accurate.

  2. Melissa

    Oh, I think Laura is perfectly fine with her Remington Steele concoction. She doesn’t seem to have any problem with deluding her clients. Murphy, on the other hand, hates it. I wonder why he left Havenhurst to come to RSI, if he wasn’t comfortable with the set-up.

    I think Laura is smitten with “Ben Pearson.” I think “Ben” is smitten with Laura as well. In his parting speech, he speaks to Laura, almost to the exclusion of Murphy.

    Oh, I love Murph! He’s such a straight shooter.

    • eaz35173

      I also think Laura is perfectly fine with her RS concoction – otherwise, why create him in the first place? In my comment above, I was speaking to the current ruse of duping the client into believing that RS is actually at the hotel and personally on the case.

      “Smitten” … I love that word!

    • Inés

      I think he left Havenhurst just to be beside Laura. He is in love with her! He is not comfortable with the set up, but remember that it could be less uncomfortable if only the three of them know the truth. But a case involving a secret agent from another government would be extremely dangerous to keep their secret hidden. Maybe his discomfort cames from there.

    • Good old Murph! He reminds me of another nice guy:  photo brothers_zpse09e6591.jpg

    • I love Murph too. Just wondering–do you think if Anthony Andrews would have been cast as RS that James Read would have picked up a greater fan base? Maybe a little cruel twist of fate that PB came along.

      • BJo

        I didn’t know Anthony Andrews was a choice for RS. It’s possible James Read would have picked up a bigger fan base. One of my favorite JR roles was in the made for TV movie “Full Circle”. It wasn’t a very big role, but I still remember it after seeing it a gazillion years ago.

      • eaz35173

        I could never see Anthony Andrews in the role of Steele – so glad that never happened!

      • I wonder if James Read would even have been cast if Anthony Andrews were in the role of Steele. There is a physical resemblance.

  3. BJo

    I do remember being wowed by those futuristic electronic devices! I think my first in school was a TRS-80. Think it didn’t take long before we affectionately called them Trash-80’s. 🙂

    I completely forgot about Murphy! And have no recollection of the Blue Lady. I really only remember Laura, RS and Mildred. But that is far into the future so I’ll say no more.

    PB is mighty hot looking with those smokin’ eyes directed to Laura. He looks pretty professional and dare I say it a little bit sexy. Laura, albeit pretty, looks a more casual with her hair that way – that style reminds me of my older sister’s hair when she was in high school! If she’s not taken in I think her heart is beating just a wee bit faster….

    Enjoyed your post – not sure what you mean by embroidered man – think I must have missed a post – I’ll go check.

  4. Inés

    I love your retelling! I could say that I enjoyed it more tan the chapter itself.
    I have to say something here: although he is supossed to be the conman in the story, Miss Holt is the conwoman since the opening! After …”I decided…”, everything is a con. Murph: sorry man, but don’t feel uncomfortable with Ben Pearson! He is a South African agent
    doing his job! A legal one, I should remark, at least until your detective abilities discover another thing.(Remember Murphy is so fussy about everyone doing their job, instead he is working for a conwoman, pretending having an imaginary boss)
    I’m sure Mr. Pearson is speaking about Bernice’s perfume. Is that one his first double meaning statement in the series? The first of many brillant phrases to come.
    And I can’t help but feel Murphy like a brother too, while Laura is smiling after his parting. Get ready to the ride, good man. You have a hard year ahead of you. I can say he feels that too since the moment that South African opened the door. Your words to describe him at that scene are perfect.

    • Poor Murphy! Yes, he surely followed Laura into this risky enterprise only because he’s in love with her. It makes one wonder … if Steele had never appeared on the scene, would Murphy have had a shot with Laura?

      • eaz35173

        I highly doubt that Murphy has a chance with Laura at all, Steele or no Steele. They’ve been working together how long already and Laura is oblivious to/or totally ignoring his puppy dog eyes for her. Laura needs someone else who loves excitement and adventure to keep up with her. Murphy is just as conservative as Wilson – it could never work between them. Plus, I truly believe that she sees Murphy as a brother.

    • I really do believe he was just talking about the aroma of the tea, but who knows,”Tyler and Austin” had a double meaning as well. I guess i am getting ahead of ourselves!

  5. Jenbo

    I am loving your commentary!
    Make fresh water?! That had me lmao at the mental image.
    Gunga Din? Hilarious, PB looks everso slightly ridiculous in that safari jacket.

  6. Dap

    Regarding the 2 secretaries comment, the Remington Steele character always made “cheeky” off- putting comments. He also did his homework when planning a heist, any con man or thief would. I think he knew full well who the Remington Steele detective agency was, who the employees were, and their respective positions before this Gunga Din meeting. I think the secretaries comment was part of his cover.

    • eaz35173

      I would have to agree with you, Dap. How else would he know to be out photographing Laura at the “dress rehearsal” for the gem transfer? He knew exactly who she was. Or, if he didn’t know who she was at the time he was taking the pictures, he would have made sure he knew who he’d find at Remington Steele Investigations before he ever got to the office as Gunga Din.

  7. Dap

    Taken in? Absolutely. When she pulled her legs off and put on her shoes, her face had the look of OMG. She was totally stunned and mesmerized. Can’t blame her. I know I feel the same way. He’s so FINE.

    • One of my favorite moments from this scene is at the end, when “Pearson” leaves as Bernice comes back in and she and Laura give each other a look like, “OMG!!” Because that’s what you do when Pierce Brosnan walks into your office!

      • eaz35173

        Yes, that’s exactly what you do when Pierce Brosnan walks into your office!! Or, you happen to see him outside Radio City Music Hall one day 😉

      • eaz35173

        Oooops, I mean Lincoln Center – see, just thinking about it is affecting me!!

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