License to Steele – 4

We rejoin Laura, who has added some kind of rolls to the top of her hairstyle, then hurried to give Mr. Gordon Hunter the good news (guess Murphy is tying up the phone lines at the office trying to prove NotPearson is a phony).


She finds their client in some venue, surrounded by men who appear to be wearing bathrobes. Is this a mental ward? Laura explains that “Mr. Steele feels the case warrants his closest attention.”   He’ll be arriving late tonight!


Hunter seems very happy. He gives Laura a tour of the event space, and takes the opportunity to take a tour of Miss Holt. Keep your hands to yourself, Gordo!


Apparently, Hunter has arranged this whole event to launch his new luxury car. And leased the jewels because …. er …. honestly, I’m not sure what jewels have to do with a car. But the big sign tells us they’re connected.


Hunter asks if Laura has ever had a dream to “get her talents recognized, her efforts applauded.” The slightly wistful look on Laura’s face gives the answer.


Hunter rattles on about how he’s dreamed of this since he got his first job welding car doors, worked his way through engineering school on three hours of sleep, took public speaking lessons, yada yada. Wonder if he took any business classes while he was at it? Oh, well. That’s probably not necessary to launch a major company, right? He tells Laura that this might just be a job to her, but it’s his life!


Irony! Laura cryptically answers that, “in my own way, I’m also risking everything I have.” For some reason, she omits that she’s concocted a phony figurehead to attract clients like Hunter to trust her with their life’s dream. I wonder why?

Hunter is happy with this explanation, declaring that he never likes to do business with anyone who doesn’t have as much to lose as he does. Because two desperate, teetering-on-the-brink-of-ruin heads are better than one!


Suddenly we find ourselves looking at a developing photograph, bathed in orange light.


A jaunty theme is playing on the soundtrack to accompany this. It sounds very much like Van Morrison’s “Moondance.” Good song! Not sure what it has to do with this, however.

We discover that the photos are being developed by our Mr. NonAgent NotPearson!


It’s not clear where this is happening. Did he convert his hotel room bathroom into a darkroom?  Presumably when the maid cleans the room next morning she’ll simply attribute the chemical smell to him cooking meth or something (did they have meth in the 1980s?)


NonAgent NotPearson scrutinizes a print carefully. Aha!


Busted, Murphy!  “Dr. Livingstone, I presume!” NonAgent NotPearson declares, apropos of nothing.

After a brief commercial interruption, we’re back! Laura is sitting in a lounge someplace. She appears to be waiting for someone. Blind date? You’re going to have to wear something a little more alluring if you want to snag a fella, Laura. Try showing a little cleavage.


Look at those two gentlemen sitting behind her. They couldn’t be bothered to remove their hats. How rude!  Hm. Nobody else in the restaurant is wearing a hat. These guys must be trying to appear inconspicuous! (#fail) In a possibly–but probably not–related development, Laura seems to have unrolled the top of her hairstyle …

Suddenly a waiter appears with a bottle in a bucket and a glass.


Laura informs him she didn’t order champagne. Waiter explains that a certain gentleman wants to buy her a drink. Who could it be?


Why, it’s NonAgent NotPearson! He’s traded in his safari gear for a very sharp suit. Laura declines the offer, but NonAgent NotPearson (NANP!) saunters over. He’s  very, very smooth.


Laura remarks on his oversized … bottle, wondering if NANP “always does things on such a grand scale.”


“Only when I’m aroused …” he answers suavely. Are your hands in your pockets again, NANP? Tut tut! Some things are meant to be private!


“… with curiosity,” NANP clarifies, for the benefit of dirty-minded bloggers who might be making snarky remarks 31 years later.

NANP shows himself to be a scintillating – if somewhat unconventional – conversationalist when he opens with,


“Tell me, Miss Holt. How did you become a dick?”

Laura is nonplused by this new form of flirting. She’s been out of the dating game for a while, it seems!


“I beg your pardon?”

NANP clarifies: “Isn’t that what you Americans call a private detective?”


“Only in movies.”  She explains that she’s always loved excitement. So she studied, and apprenticed, and eventually joined a large detective agency. Thanks for the exposition, Laura – except we already knew all that from the opening credits!

NANP wants to know if being a detective has “fulfilled her fantasies.” Why do I get the impression he’s picturing her in a trench coat with nothing underneath?


Laura admits she loved the work, but didn’t get enough recognition. I know how to solve that problem! Start your own agency and invent a fictional detective; you can do all the work, and he can get all the credit! Hmmm …

NANP clucks sympathetically about “tawdry” male chauvinism, and Laura reminds him he exhibited it himself when he assumed she was a secretary. He offers the excuse that private investigator is a highly unusual occupation for a woman, “especially one of such obvious breeding and intelligence.”


Oh, dear. Miss Holt seems less than impressed with this explanation. If you’re looking to get lucky tonight, NANP, you’d better try another tack!

NANP mutters something about the work involving “blazing guns and smashing fists.”


I think he’s intrigued by this feisty young woman, don’t you?

Laura tells him that private investigating …


 “… requires more brain than brawn.” She is SO OVER this macho attitude!

Steele is apparently still thinking about sexy trenchcoats, because he notes that “sex apparently isn’t a problem for Mr. Steele.” Of course, what he means is that Steele isn’t prejudiced against Laura’s gender.


On the contrary! Laura explains that Mr. Steele is the ideal man: “He’s the most generous, understanding, supportive man” she can imagine. Ha!

NANP pours Laura another glass.


Tsk, NonAgent NotPearson! You’re not trying to get Laura tipsy to take advantage of her, are you? Cad!

He admits Steele’s shoes would be difficult to fill, and Laura warns him few men would be foolish enough to try.


“Unless, of course, one enjoys impossible challenges.” Smooth, Mr. NonAgent NotPearson. Very smooth.

NANP feels Laura out about the security arrangements tomorrow. Will Steele be there? And that competent chap, Murphy? She reassures him that her associate will play a vital role.


“Until tomorrow, then!” Steele toasts. “May everything go as smoothly as I hope.”

Oh, NonAgent NotPearson, I begin to wonder if you have Laura’s best interests at heart.

Laura suddenly gets to her feet. It appears her “appointment” has arrived. She thanks NANP for the champagne … and the curiosity.


I’ll leave it here. What do you make of NANP and Laura’s conversation? Lots of sexual tension, no? But was he merely playing Laura for information? What do you think would have happened if Laura hadn’t had a previous engagement? Would NANP have continued plying her with liquor? How would she have responded to his flirting after another glass or two?


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12 responses to “License to Steele – 4

  1. eaz35173

    I loved the sexual innuendo and tension in their conversation! It’s one of the things that hooked me on the show! NANP was definitely plying Laura for information – both professionally and for personal reasons. I think the moment he met her, he was a goner, but he came there to do a job and needed her help. Laura is so trying to play it cool here, but you know that she is affected too. Love her smirk when she tells him thank you for the curiosity – she’s a goner, too! I think if she didn’t have another appointment, NANP would have had her on the way to being very flustered, and probably agreeing to have a date with him.

    • So you think it was love at first sight for the two of them? It will be interesting, as we go along, to try to determine just when each of them realized how they felt about the other.

      I think it’s interesting that Laura who we will learn (spoiler alert!) isn’t much of a drinker, not only accepts NotPearson’s champagne, but doesn’t protest when he refills her glass. Laura is technically on duty here – it’s a little surprising that she’d allow herself the distraction of a drink with this man. But he’s a hard fellow to say no to!

      • eaz35173

        It was definitely LUST at first sight for both of them. I have my theories of when love entered the picture for each of them, but I’ll voice those when we get closer to those episodes.

        Yes, Laura is on duty, but she is very distracted by NANP (and really, who wouldn’t be). Besides, I think she only takes one or 2 sips of the bubbly. She’s not really drinking.

  2. Oh their curiosities are definitely aroused! Very romantic scene, the lighting, the music and the banter—just wonderful!

    • I think it’s interesting to watch the interplay between the two of them here – it’s a kind of foreplay, but also shows them measuring each other up. It’s a bit like a jousting match or a dance … but we’ll see how important that metaphor is later!

  3. BJo

    OK – I haven’t seen this in 31 years, so I could be way off, but from reading it and looking at the caps I’d say Pearson is in it for the information. He was just beat up not that long ago and probably isn’t happy about it or looking for some action – at least not without taking some Advil. He is looking very suave and acting oh so smooth and she looks, well, professionally dressed with a ho hum coif for such gorgeous hair. There is a lot of innuendo here, but she doesn’t seem to be falling for it – at least not yet.

    • Well, setting aside the man’s astonishing recuperative powers (which we’ll see aplenty in upcoming episodes!), I think that you’re right that he’s not really looking to score with Laura. I think he finds her attractive in an objective sense (he is a connoisseur of many things, including women). I also think that even with the limited interaction he’s had with her, he is intrigued. Laura is certainly not the only smart, attractive woman he’s ever known, but there is something that sets her apart, and the fact that she doesn’t seem to use her “wiles” to get what she wants, as so many of the other women he’s known do, interests him.
      And finally, he certainly knows his power over women and it amuses him to use it – both in the service of gaining the information he wants and also just to see how even a savvy woman like Laura is affected by him.

      • eaz35173

        Perhaps, at first, he was just after information with Laura. And you are correct, he certainly does know his “power” over the fairer sex, but I think that after the champagne and banter, he realized that THIS woman offered him something that the others in his past did not offer – a challenge, which is quite arousing to him.

  4. Inés

    I think NANP is working just from the beginning. But he doesn’t know how not to mix business with pleasure. Both things work together for him. And as he is known to himself as a seducer, the first step of his job was to seduce the one that was in charge of the security of his target.
    I can’t imagine it was love at first sight. I think it was challenge at first sight for both of them.

    • You raise an interesting point, Ines! NANP turns on the charm for Laura as a tactic – what if it had been Murphy that he had to pump for information? How do you think he approaches male targets?

      • Inés

        Well, I think that he is an observer. He’d make a field work first, and look for some clue to start with his task. He could use sports, (Murphy looks like a sport guy), or something about being working in a luxury place while the others are enjoying (he can see that Murphy doesn’t belong to this place just from his clothes. He seems to be working there), or maybe talk about cars, or the drink Murphy would be drinking, just to start a conversation. His charming part is not only for female approaches. he can work that with male targets, showing himself as a professional, in the field that is needed at the time.

      • eaz35173

        Ines, I think you’re right. Just look at what he does in “Sting of Steele” (getting ahead of ourselves here), with both the airline guy and Hoskins.

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