Monthly Archives: November 2013

Tempered Steele – 14

Another screen wipe and we find ourselves in Mr. Steele’s apartment.

Laura’s not even going to ask if he knows what he’s doing – and just as well, because ..

. namecards

“I know exactly what I’m doing,” Steele assures her as he arranges placecards (not brass ones?) around the table. (He moves with brisk efficiency. Perhaps one of his former identities is a waiter?) Steele explains that William Powell did exactly this in “The Thin Man” – invited all the suspects to a dinner party, reconstructed the crime and fingered the murderer.


As Laura helps Steele into his dinner jacket, he tells her she makes a splendid Myrna Loy. She tells him not to be too cocky – he’s just lucky Dillon and Meecham had to forfeit the polo match!


“Where did you think you’d get $50,000 if you lost?” she demands. “I had no intention of losing,” he answers coolly.

Seeing these two dressed to the nines, they really do call to mind Nick and Nora Charles.


But there’s something missing from the picture. Where is their loyal, slightly scruffy lapdog?


Ah, there you are, Murphy! Mr. Steele suggests he might be slightly underdressed for a dinner party. Murph said he didn’t have time to change. page5

Laura’s able-bodied assistant hands her the autopsy report and tells her to look on page 5.


A delighted Laura is ready to get the show on the road!


And Mr. Steele is just glad they’re finally getting into the spirit of the evening! A fade out/fade in, and we’re at the dinner party. dinner

Looks like all the suspects showed up. That was cooperative of them! Mr. Steele rises to the occasion. He offers a toast:


“To our guests. May the conversation be as interesting as the company!”

lovelylaura smugmurphy

His associates seem … impressed (?) by Mr. Steele’s host-with-the-most routine.


Over dinner, the great detective lays out the case: “Wallace obviously discovered the killer removing the research from the library. There was a fierce struggle. The killer hit Wallace repeatedly.”


Laura hastens to clarify the super sleuth’s explanation: “What Mr. Steele means is that it could have happened that way, but didn’t.” The autopsy found no scratches or abrasions (isn’t that the same thing?) on the body.


“Whatever,” Steele says. “The point is, the killer dragged …”


“Lured …”


“… Wallace to the stables, where he was injected with a massive dose of muscle relaxant.”

vial syringe

“Same type found in this vial, using a needle exactly like this one – both of which were found in your stable, Mr. Dillon,” Laura finishes. surprisedDillon



Meecham – who seems to have left his baseball cap at home – is delighted with this turn of events!


Mr. Steele picks up the tale again: “Then the killer transported Wallace’s unconscious body to Main Street, hoping it would appear that he died of a drug overdose.”


Rodger is amused by the story. “Your food is wonderful, but your theory is absurd.” He points out that none of the suspects had any reason to steal from themselves. reason

“Wrong!” Steele declares. “One of you had the strongest possible reason: money. Isn’t that right … Meecham?”




Laura picks up the ball again. “But of course, as you pointed out, Mr. Steele, Rodger Dillon had an equally strong motive.”


Ummm … Mr. Steele doesn’t remember pointing that out!


Laura … ahem … reminds Mr. Steele that he pointed it out when he saw those “gentlemen” at the polo match.


Rodger declares that those gentlemen have nothing to do with Dillon Electronics. Laura’s not buyin’ it

. whysearching

“Why was one of them searching Wallace’s room?” She gives the side eye to Murphy …


… who excuses himself from the table.


Meanwhile, Mr. Steele is like a dog with a bone. “Tell me, Meecham: When Dillon Electronics went under, did you plan to buy up the rest of the company?” damnright

“Damn right,” Meecham confesses.


Suddenly Murphy re-appears, apparently having gone to tell the hired wait staff to knock off for the night. He’s just so eager to please!

He presents Mrs. Dillon with a hot cuppa.


Laura gives Mrs. Dillon the side eye. Perhaps she’s wondering why Murphy served her first! She asks Mrs. Dillon how she likes her tea. Mrs. D tells her it tastes like the kind she drinks. Turns out, it IS her special blend! Mrs. Dillon didn’t know anyone else had that recipe.


An impatient Mr. Steele does his best put-upon Nick Charles impression, like this!

Nick Charles is put upon


Steele tells the ladies to shelve the tea talk and get back to business! He accuses Meecham of wanting the land under Dillon Electronics for an industrial park. yougotit

“You got it,” Meecham admits.


Suddenly Mrs. Dillon interrupts the interrogation. “Where did you get that recipe?” she demands.


“You brewed Wallace a cup,” Laura replies, ignoring Mr. Steele and Meecham, who continue yammering on in the background. killedhim

“Right before you killed him!”


Uh oh! Mrs. Dillon is packing heat!

murphywatches murphyleaps

Watchful Murphy leaps to his feet!


Oblivious Steele leaps to his feet!


Murphy grabs for the gun!


Steele punches Meecham!


The gun fires!


Meecham falls backward!


The bullet shatters Mr. Steele’s swank art deco mirrored panel!


Laura says, “Eeek!”


When the smoke clears, Meecham is cowering under the table.


Murphy makes a citizen’s arrest!


Mrs. D calls her son a wimp. She goads him to tell them what kind of business he’s doing with Slick and Stocky!


Rodger tells mom to shut up!


Steele wonders what’s going on?


It seems Rodger is peddling classified technology to the highest bidder!


Well, THERE’S a crossover fanfic waiting to be written!


Mrs. Dillon says she wasn’t going to let her boy sell out his country so he can have more toys. She’d rather see the company go under than run by a traitor! She didn’t want to hurt Wallace – but he just didn’t understand what she was trying to do!


Uh … so Mrs. Dillon is a patriot? Well, that excuses everything!


It seems Mr. Steele doesn’t quite know what to make of these developments!


“You saved my life!” an awestruck Meecham gushes. (Does that mean he’s dropping the lawsuit?) Meecham thought Steele was going to accuse him of the murder.


“You? Don’t be absurd!”


Meecham admires Steele’s quick thinking. “Well, what else do you expect from Remington Steele?” the detective shrugs.


Laura does her best Nora Charles impression, like this!

Nora Charles knows the score


Something tells me Mr. Steele knows that Laura knows the score!

I’ll stop here. I enjoyed this scene, which was very much a throwback to  the caper comedies of the 30s. Laura solves the case and clueless Steele comes out smelling like a rose. I wonder if we’re supposed to feel some sympathy for Mrs. Dillon? We were still in the Cold War in 1982, so espionage was kind of a big deal. Still, the end didn’t justify the means, in my opinion. Wallace was a nice guy! I look forward to your thoughts on this scene.


Filed under Uncategorized

Tempered Steele – 13

We get a screen wipe into the next scene, where we find Mr. Meecham, Steele’s #1 suspect, about to mount his favorite pony!


“I hope you’ve got major medical,” he snipes.


Mr. Steele, who seems to have been swayed by Murphy’s collar-up fashion statement after all, reminds Meech that “polo is a contest where gentlemen exhibit the finest qualities of horsemanship and fair play.”


“Blow it out your ear.” Meecham seems cranky!


Wait a second! Do my eyes deceive me, or is Dillon wearing Steele’s shirt from the last scene? Perhaps there was a sale on at J.C. Penneys.


Steele salutes his opponents in the time-honored fashion.


Steele, dressed in white, prepares to get on a white horse. (Hm. I wonder who is the hero of this story?)

Laura expresses surprise that Steele plays polo. Her knight in white responds that he used to play with Charles whenever he was in London.


“Charles?” (Can I just say that Laura looks adorable as a stable boy?)

Steele tells Laura that he and Charles don’t play as often now that he’s married.

funfacticon Charles and Diana were married in 1981, so they were relative newlyweds when this episode aired.


Charles and Di, in happier times.


Mrs. Dillon approaches. “I like your boss,” she tells Laura.



Mrs. Cougar Dillon tells Laura that Steele has the same type of flair Packy had. “A little reckless, maybe, but lots of sauce.”

Laura seems a bit confused …


“Why do you say that?”

Mrs. Dillon explains that Rodger is a world-class player. Laura notes that “it’s only a game.”


“Not for 25,000 bucks, it ain’t.” Turns out, that’s what Steele bet Rodger and Meecham!


I’m not sure Laura was aware of that part of the game plan!


“Twenty-five thousand?!”




Cut to the game, where Mr. Steele is in the thick of it. (That actually looks like Pierce Brosnan to me.) Meanwhile …


… Laura slips off to the stables to do a little snooping!

And back on the polo ground …

kiss ponies

… the battle rages! Just then, Meecham gets off a vicious shot!


… and Steele is nearly beaned by the ball! At least, I think it was the ball. No?


These guys play rough!

Back in the stables …


… Laura is searching. And, um … snacking on a piece of paper? They must not have a concession stand at the polo ground.


Laura discovers a pharmaceutical bottle. What’s this? Orphenadrine Citrate! And the prescription is in Rodger Dillon’s name!

garbage mulch

She also finds a syringe and what looks like … mulch? in the trash.


Laura huffs the stuff.


Looks like she didn’t get the buzz she was hoping for.


Having gathered the evidence she needed, Laura high tails it outta there!

randomalertHIGHTAIL — a slang expression meaning ‘to leave in a great hurry,’ is a Western expression and was originally used to describe the way a herd of mustangs will break and race away when ‘spooked’ or frightened by the approach of cowboys.” From “Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins” by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).


On her way out, she sees a car with a familiar license plate …


Laura rejoins Mrs. Dillon, who is watching the match intently.


Two men walk into the scene behind them. Do we know these guys? They’re obviously bad news, because ominous music plays as they move through the frame.


Let’s call the little one with the greasy hair Slick, and the big guy in plaid, Stocky. (We won’t call the guy in the corduroy jacket anything.)


 Is it just me, or do two these two lack the charisma of our friends Mustache and Switchblade from “License to Steele”?


Slick, who at closer glance appears to be Asian, gives a polite little bow to …


… Mrs. Dillon, who doesn’t seem glad to see him!


Laura notices the two baddies. Does Stocky seem vaguely familiar? Laura asks Mrs. Dillon if the new guys are friends of hers. Mrs. D replies that they are Rodger’s new partners – not in the electronics business, but “some new venture.” Laura can’t help noticing that Mrs. Dillon doesn’t seem too pleased about it.


Back in the game, the ponies are maintaining a furious pace!


Well, except for Steele and Meecham, who seem to have stalled. Steele executes a cunning maneuver (he rides his horse away).


Rodger crashes into Meecham!

down1 down2 ouch

And … alley oop! That’s gotta hurt!


Mr. Steele, whose trousers are pleasingly tight here, pauses to survey the damage.


“Shall we count this as a time out, gentlemen?”



So we learn here that Mr. Steele has a good seat – on a horse, that is. He seems very proficient at the sport of aristocrats. We also learn that he hasn’t shared everything with Miss Holt – specifically, the HUGE bet (which the agency would surely have to cover) he’s made on the game. Laura gives a good demonstration of her powers of observation here, picking up several subtle clues in Mrs. Dillon’s behavior and the stuff she finds in the barn. And Murphy … apparently has the day off.


Filed under Uncategorized

Tempered Steele – 12

After a trill of dramatic music and a fade to black, we’re back! Mr. Steele enters the agency with a cheery greeting for Miss Wolfe. She doesn’t seem glad to see him.


“You’re becoming a regular fixture around here,” she comments drily.


Oh, now … that’s just wrong.


Laura wants to know if Bernice has anything yet on the license plate that Steele trapped in his steel noggin’. She says no, but Murphy is talking t the pathologist. Laura goes off to talk to Murphy …


… and Bernice gives Steele some kind of look. I suspect she’s beginning to get the feeling that Mr. Steele will be around a lot more often from now on – and that there’s more than meets the eye between him and Laura. Does she approve? Meanwhile …


… Murphy is trying to get the hang of this new-fangled invention called a “phone.”  Keep trying, Murph – we believe in you!


The pathologist gives Murphy some Important Information. Murph asks the doc to spell it for him. (It’s really a learning day for Murphy, isn’t it?).

What’s that #1 thing on Mr. Michaels’ desk. A trophy? Number One Second Banana? Oh, Murphy. Sometimes I feel a little sad for you.


Laura and Steele wait for Murphy’s report. They certainly look couple-ish don’t they? And poor Murphy is the odd man out, literally separated by that big honkin’ task light (?) on his desk. Steele looks at Murphy a little disdainfully – probably because the easygoing Mr. Michaels has carelessly left his collar up in the back. That’s NOT in the GQ Guide to Men’s Fashion!

Look! Mr. Steele is wearing one of those Izod alligator shirts that were all the rage in the 80s.


Alas! We’ve just missed our chance to snag a little of Mr. Steele’s cool cred. Sold out!


I can’t quite make out Murphy’s brand. It looks like a little spaceship or something. Anybody?

Anyway, Murphy is a little grumpy. Why?


“Well, what do you know. Looks like he was right.” Wallace didn’t OD on junk.


Try not to look too smug, Mr. Steele.


Murphy explains that Wallace was literally “relaxed to death”: injected with a form of “orphenadrine citrate.”

funfacticonOrphenadrine citrate is a muscle relaxant most often used for treating pain caused by muscle spasms. Thank you, Wikipedia!

According to Murph, this particular form of the drug is the kind used on horses. Well, that seems random … but wait!


“Dillon’s into polo,” Laura remembers. And there are stables behind the house!


Steele is pleased, having cracked the case: “Not only do we know how and where the murder took place, but who committed it!” He fingers Meecham.


“His briefcase is bulging with plans to tear down Dillon Electronics and build an industrial park.” He notes that it’s not a bad strategy to bankrupt a company by stealing its own research.

Laura ain’t buyin’ it.


“Don’t forget Roger Dillon,” she says; according to Meecham, he needed a lot of cash to float his lifestyle.

But Steele remains impressed by his own remarkable insight! “I think I’m getting the hang of this!”

Murph throws another suspect into the mix.


“What about Mrs. Dillon, insisting everything be moved to the house? Made it a helluva lot easier to steal.”


“My money’s on Meecham. Let’s nab him!” Steele declares decisively.


“Let’s nab him?” Laura mouths silently to Murphy. I don’t think Mr. Steele’s theory has her full confidence!


“I told you this was a mistake.” Try not to look too smug, Mr. Michaels.

Laura points out that they need a little thing called evidence … which means that somebody is going to have to get back into that house.


“Leave everything to me,” Steele says, having tied a sweater casually about his shoulders. (GQ Guide to Men’s Fashion, page 19)


“That is a lot more frightening than ‘Let’s nab him,'” Murphy warns.


I think Laura may be seeking heavenly guidance for how to make her two boys get along!

The interpersonal dynamics of this scene are interesting. We have Bernice, who increasingly seems to resent Mr. Steele’s intrusion into their business (worried about Laura?). Steele’s stance next to Bernice in that scene is almost defiant, as though he’s saying with his body language: I’m not going anywhere, lady. Then we see Murphy, sitting at his desk doing the kind of plodding, meticulous “legwork” that is the bedrock of investigative work … but which Laura may no longer see as quite so engaging after the adventures she’s experienced with Mr. Steele. Mr. Steele is trying hard to join Laura and Murphy’s exclusive little club (in fact, he wants to be the president!), but they are dismissive. THEY know what they’re doing, after all. I’m not sure if Mr. Steele is blithely unaware of their condescension, or if he’s determined to prove them wrong. In any case, he’s certainly in take-charge mode here! Your thoughts on this scene?


Filed under Season 1, Uncategorized

Tempered Steele -11

Our next scene opens on a very dated issue of GQ Quarterly (February 1972, to be exact):


“Fashion Handbook: A Comprehensive Advisor for Year Round Wardrobe Guidance.”  This is a very cleverly framed shot, no?


Astonishingly, Pierce Brosnan had to wait until November 2000 to make the cover of GQ, and then he had to share it with Matthew Perry and … is that Shaquille O’Neal? Excuse me … DAVID SCHWIMMER gets his own cover, and Pierce Brosnan has to share one? Does.Not.Compute. In fact, I’m so incensed by this that I feel compelled to share a sampling of other “celebrities” who were deemed more worthy to have their own covers.


Billy Crystal? David Caruso? Huey Lewis? Mike Myers? John Goodman? Johnny Knoxville?!!!

But I digress.


The fashion-conscious reader lowers the magazine to reveal our own Mr. Steele! He’s looking at Laura …


… who seems to be giving him the finger. Well, a finger, anyway. She points in the direction of …


… Meecham! Mr. Big Ass(ets) doesn’t notice Steele.


But Steele sees him!

drooling emoticon(Okay, I only included this image because … um … hubba hubba.)


Anyway … Steele leaves as Meecham sits down for a little chat with Laura.


We see Mr. Steele enter … someplace. His shirt is unbuttoned to a provocative degree!


Steele tries the knob on an impressively secured door. Locked!


Steele lets his magic fingers do the walking.


Oops! Steele’s busted by a couple of other hotel guests.


Steele concocts a cover story: “What was that, dear? No, no, no, no … it’s all right. I’ll wait for you out here.” Oh, yeah. THAT was convincing.


Meanwhile, Meecham is reminding Laura that “without the research, all you got’s a dead thief.” His shirt is also unbuttoned, but somehow it’s less alluring.


“Or a murder victim,” Laura counters. (That color is gorgeous on her, BTW.) She tells Meecham they’re waiting for the autopsy report.


Steele has gained entry. Whose room is this?

CRIMEOFFASHIONOh, dear. I’d deem those jeans unbecomingly high-waisted. And that belt! Perhaps you shouldn’t take fashion advice from a 10-year-old magazine, Mr. Steele.


Steele searches the room.


Back in the lounge, Meecham has fingered his suspect: “Six-two-and even (?), Dylan is the one who’s stealing our research,” he declares. He informs Laura that the only reason he got his cleats into the company was because Dylan ran it into the ground. Oh, Meecham. Mixed metaphors make me sad.


“He’s a rookie with a penchant for polo ponies, blackjack tables and little pieces of fluff that collect expensive pieces of jewelry.”


Cut to Laura, who gives Meecham an enigmatic smile. What is she thinking? My guess: “You’re a sexist pig.”


Back in the hotel room, Mr. Steele is getting serious about this search.


Oh ho! A briefcase!


And another lock.


Fortunately, Mr. Steele has mad lock-picking skills (and apparently very acute hearing)!


Well, perhaps not so acute after all. Mr. Steele resorts to brute force (or at least a letter opener) to get the job done.


Back in the lounge, Meecham takes his leave. He’s got his lawyer coming over with the papers for his lawsuit against the Steele Agency.


Steele has discovered some kind of schematics. Could they be the security plans for protecting the Royal Lavulite? Oops. Wrong episode.


Just then the phone rings. Steele almost answers it!


Laura is praying he does!


Steele hears Meecham coming back and makes like a hatstand.


As Meecham dashes for the phone, Steele dashes for the door.


Laura seems unsettled.


Perhaps because she was forced to call Mr. Steele on the Bat Phone!


Miss Holt has to think fast: “Who’s this?” she asks in a gruff tone (if it’s an Adam West impression, it’s not a very good one).


“Who’s this?” Meecham counters.


Sadly, Laura seems to be less adept at concocting plausible cover stories than even her partner.


Oh, to hell with it. Laura hangs up.

And that’s the end of the scene. In contrast to the previous scene, where Mr. Steele seemed a bit clueless in his investigative technique, here we see him in his element. He’s able to break into the hotel room and the brief case with relative ease. It’s Laura who struggles a bit this time: she’s unable to keep schmoozing Meecham long enough for Steele to get clean away, and panics when it’s Meecham, not Steele, who picks up the phone. I think this scene is a nice counterpoint to the previous one, showing how their skills complement and balance each other. What do you think?




Filed under Uncategorized

Tempered Steele – 10

We find ourselves back on the seedy side of town.


We see the limo driving under a fairly prominent product placement – though why Merit cigarettes would want to be associated with this environment isn’t clear. In any case, the limo pulls up outside the Lost & Found Mission, and the same group of indigents swarms the car.


I believe this used to be a “problem” in cities – homeless people approaching cars at stoplights, etc. to wipe the windshield in exchange for a handout. It’s my impression that cities cracked down on this practice. I wonder if it still goes on some places. But I digress.

Steele is apparently surprised to find himself outside the mission. Was he dozing in the backseat?

looking out

“What are we doing here?” he asks Laura as they watch the homeless guys get to work outside the limo.


They observe a group of gentlemen imbibing around a trash can fire. “The minute anything happens down here, everybody knows it,” we hear Laura explain. “Let’s see what they know about Wallace’s death.”


“See? I told you,” Steele comments as they exit the limo. “You’re good.”

toothpick again

Laura suggests Steele start with the trashcan guys.

randomalertThough it’s hard to see in the photo above, Mr. Steele is chewing on a toothpick again. What’s that about?


Mr. Steele muscles his way into the sacred circle …

Laura enters

… while Laura enters the mission. It’s dark and deserted. Is Wallace the only one on staff to make sandwiches?


She tries to engage a sleeping denizen in conversation, but no dice. Meanwhile, outside …


… Steele is bonding with the boys with the bottle! “Pity about Wallace,” he comments. His companions don’t seem interested in conversing.


Back to Laura, still wandering around the dark mission. She pauses outside the “Contact Office.”


Back to Steele, who seems to be making friends!


Suddenly we’re in an alley, where a mysterious (?) car is waiting. Or maybe just parked there. Who knows?


Steele seems to take an interest in the vehicle. Either that, or he’s looking for a place to “refund” the swig of cheap booze he just swallowed. He throws his precious toothpick into the fire. Things are getting serious!


… Aaaand back to Laura, still wandering aimlessly around the mission. What is she trying to accomplish, anyway?

snarkwarning Is it just me, or is this scene meandering a bit?


Aha! Laura suddenly sees lights in an office with conveniently opaque windows!


Back to Steele, who is closely observing the mystery car. Perhaps he’s in the market for a new ride?


Back to Laura, who knocks on the office door.


And back to Steele again!

dizzy-smiley-emoticonWhoa! Is anybody else getting dizzy?


Back to Laura again – and suddenly (finally!) something is happening. Specifically, she is being choked by an unknown assailant! Perhaps it’s the guy whose sleep she so rudely disturbed before.


Back to Steele, apparently absorbed by the complexity of his writing implement.


Back to Laura, in some difficulty.


Back to Steele, still pondering his pencil.


Back to Laura, still struggling for her life.


And … oh, for Pete’s sake.


Finally, having exhausted the wonders of his pencil, Steele looks around for some new shiny object to occupy his interest.


He observes, in the words of the old song, “Two silhouettes on the shade.”


Well, it’s no pencil. But still seems interesting enough to attract his attention.


He races to Laura’s rescue!


Tussles with the bad guy!


Is felled by a mighty blow from the assailant!


And his foe makes his escape!


Worried Mr. Steele hurries to tend to Laura. She’s still shaken up!


Ever the professional, she motions for him to pursue the bad guy’s car! (How did she know he had a car?)


“Fred! Block the alley!” Steele shouts as he rushes to intercept the baddie.


But Fred experiences some difficulty extricating himself from the attentive car guys.


Steele doesn’t have time to wait around!

This seems like an excellent opportunity to showcase one of Eaz’s amazing RS videos!



Alas! The perpetrator gets away!


Steele reconnects with a still-shaken Laura back at the limo. She wants to know if he got the license plate number.


“Right here,” he assures her. Steele’s brain is a steele trap!


“How did you know I was in trouble?” Laura asks.


“Actually, I was looking for a pencil,” he admits.

And that’s the end of that scene. I’m going to assume there is some larger meaning here, and they weren’t just trying to fill up those 47 or whatever minutes it takes to make a full episode. Perhaps the point was to show that Mr. Steele really isn’t as observant a sleuth as Laura (though she certainly didn’t see the baddie sneaking up on her), or perhaps that Steele will put himself at risk to save Laura when needed. Your thoughts?


Filed under Uncategorized

Tempered Steele – 9

Following Laura’s cryptic remark about Wallace turning up …


We find ourselves in a morgue, where an attendant opens a body locker.


Steele and Laura are present, looking grim. Laura wants to know, “Where did they find him?”


“Where they find most of ’em,” notes the not-very-sympathetic morgue attendant. “On Main Street. Needle still in his arm, five grand in his sock. He must have been celebrating his good fortune.”

Steele ain’t buyin’ it.


“He wasn’t an addict,” he says, looking down at his dead friend. The morgue attendant disagrees, suggesting “you could run the Southern Pacific on those tracks.”

Steele insists the needle marks are at least three years old.


“When is the autopsy?” Laura wants to know. The morgue attendant asks her if she’s ever heard of Proposition 13.

funfacticonCalifornia Proposition 13, passed in 1978,  limited real estate taxes in the state. Among its effects were loss of revenue to cities, resulting in budget cuts for public services, such as those provided by the county morgue.


“We don’t have the budget to cut up every junkie who pigs out on smack.”


He tells Steele and Laura that if they want an autopsy, they’ll need to “get this stiff to their own pathologist.”

Mr. Steele takes exception to his attitude!


“That stiff once made 27 straight passes in a crap game. He had a daughter he put through college, he liked to fish off King’s Point and he read the Wizard of Id.”



“That stiff was my friend.”


The morgue attendant appears chastened.

behindthescenesDon Dolan, who played the morgue attendant, had minor supporting roles in many television series between 1975-1994. He often played policemen or other law enforcement types. He was another of many Remington Steele guest stars who also played roles on “Scarecrow & Mrs. King.”



Laura watches a furious Steele stalk away. What do you think she’s thinking?


Next we see the limo speeding down a highway.


We see (barely; the lighting is terrible) Steele and Laura in the backseat of the limo.


“Harry,” Laura remarks suddenly. “Tonight you look like a Harry.”

spoileralert emoticonThis is remarkably prescient of Laura. We’ll be hearing the name Harry connected with Mr. Steele again!


Mr. Steele is feeling guilty. “He didn’t want to do this job. I soaped him into it.”

Laura reassures him that Wallace’s death wasn’t his fault. Steele insists that someone planted the money on Wallace to make it appear he stole the papers, then killed him.


“I’m gonna find that someone.”


“Well do it together,” Laura says gently.


Steele looks at Laura …


… then places his own hand over hers on his shoulder.

That’s the end of this segment. We see a different side of Steele here, and of Laura. The heretofore calm, cool and collected Mr. Steele is shown to be capable of great passion – even violence. And Laura shows a tender, nurturing side. She doesn’t question Steele about his association with a former heroin addict. She doesn’t argue with his conviction that Wallace has been set up. She is just there for him. I think it’s an important moment! Your thoughts?



Filed under Season 1

Tempered Steele – 8

Our scene opens with a scene from an old movie.


It’s Myrna Loy, and the dialogue reveals the film as “The Thin Man.” (William Powell, Myrna Loy, MGM, 1934).


Interestingly, this film was one of the inspirations for the Remington Steele series. According to Stephanie Zimbalist, “The production people kept saying we were supposed to be a sophisticated couple like Myrna Loy and William Powell, and they’d show us scenes from The Thin Man,” Stephanie explains. “Pierce and I were freckle-faced kids. And very nervous. We used to go across the street to a little pub and sit and wonder just what we’d gotten ourselves into.” (McCalls, August 1984). If you’d like to check out the “originals” for comparison with our dynamic duo, try this:

Who is watching this old movie? I think we can guess!


It’s Mr. Steele, apparently watching the movie in the back of the limo. He looks … pensive.

We hear the dialogue on screen: “The murderer is right in this room!”


“Well, there’s your murderer!” William Powell exclaims.


Is that a faint smile on Mr. Steele’s face as Nick Charles solves the mystery?


He reaches for the car phone. Meanwhile …


… Laura is attending to business. What’s that on her mug – apes? She’s looking at Wallace’s data file:


It seems our security expert’s first name is … Immel? He’s 47 years old, and he’s also known as “Glow Worm” and “Walley the Light.” Presumably his aliases speak to his particular area of expertise in the conman lingo – any guesses on what that is? He was born at Lake Ronkonkoma, New York.


It’s a real place!

funfacticonWallace’s last known address, Lost and Found Mission, 112 Main Street, LA. According to our friends at MapQuest, that address looks like this in 2013:


Looks like there has been some urban renewal over the past 30 years!


Laura’s research is interrupted by the phone. Who can it be?


“Steele here.”


“What do you want?” Oh, this playful, flirtatious banter! Just like Nick and Nora!

Steele wants to know if Laura is alone. (I’m guessing his next question is, “What are you wearing?”)


“No,” Laura informs him. “Wallace and I are sitting here making paper airplanes out of the research he stole.”


“That’s what I love about you, Laura. No matter how bleak the situation, you never lose your sense of humor.”

Laura wants to know why she’s talking to him.


“I think I’m onto something that could change the entire complexion of the case!” he assures her.


“You’re leaving town,” Laura replies acidly. Oh, Laura! You know you don’t mean it! After all, he just told you he loved you … in a manner of speaking.

Steele tells her his car (HIS car?) will be at her place in 45 minutes. She should make herself presentable:


“We’re having dinner.”


“Oh, no we’re not!” Laura objects … but too late. He has already hung up the phone. What will she do?


She gets up from her desk and goes to study her reflection in the mirror. Something tells me she’s thinking about making herself “presentable.”

We next see a limo (“Steele’s car,” presumably) pull up to a swank restaurant and a doorman open the door.


Laura disembarks, looking … presentable?


“Mr. Steele’s table, please.”

CRIMEOFFASHIONYikes! Perhaps recalling that Mr. Steele never carries cash, and having cut off his credit cards, Laura seems to have brought her own currency, in the form of a hideous necklace composed of gold coins (or washers?) and baubles. Oh, 1980s accessories. You make me sad.



Always a gentleman, Mr. Steele helps her with her wrap.


She sits. He sits.


“All right, I’m here. What startling news do you have for me?”


“I’m paying for dinner?” Heh.

Steele tells Laura that Wallace didn’t do the crime. “He’s of the old school, where there’s honor among thieves. He’d never rip off a fellow miscreant.”


“Then where is he?”


“He’ll turn up,” Steele predicts.

Laura is … ahem … dissatisfied with that answer.


“Your full-proof security system lasts exactly three hours and 15 minutes, the agency is looking at a $10 million lawsuit, I don’t have a clue to where that missing file is …


“… and you drag me halfway across town to tell me he’ll turn up?!”


“Sit down!” Steele commands. There’s something he wants her to know.


“You’re good. This Dillon thing is a temporary setback. I don’t want you for one moment to lose heart or confidence, because …


“… you are a skilled, resourceful and often brilliant investigator.”


“I’ve had an opportunity to observe your talents first hand, and I am terribly impressed. You’re practical, yet intuitive. You can see the large canvas without missing the small details.”

Oh, Mr. Steele!




“Have I said something wrong?”


“I hate it when you’re nice to me.”  She wants to know what to call him when they are alone.


“Well, I’m quite used to the name that you came up with.”


“It’s from a typewriter and a football team.”

He suggests she just pick one; he’s probably used it.


“You know, Murphy thinks you’re an international swindler … or at the very least, an ax murderer.”


Um …


Fortunately, Laura does not seem alarmed by her companion’s toothy grin. Just when things are getting merry, along comes the waiter.


“Excuse moi, Miz Holt! Telephone for you, in the foyer.”

Laura goes to answer the call. (Remember the days when not everyone in a restaurant was yaking on a cell phone?)

The waiter, Claude, asks permission to state his opinion.


“This young lady is by far the finest of a staggering array.”


Steele agrees. “You have exquisite taste, Claude.”

funfacticonThe actor playing Claude, Curt Lowens, has a huge number of credits dating from 1959 to the present day. He guested on many series in the 1980s, including “Hart to Hart,” “Scarecrow & Mrs. King,” “The Greatest American Hero,” “Dynasty,” “Knight Rider” etc. In the 1960s he made three appearances on “The FBI Files,” starring Efram Zimbalist, Jr – Stephanie’s father.

Claude wants to know if Steele intends to bestow a nameplate on this lovely lady.


“They’re solid brass, you know. And I’m afraid your largesse is beginning to run into big bucks!” (Way to screw yourself out of a tip, Claude.)


“If I do,” Steele comments, “it could very well be the last one I dispense.”

Just then Laura returns, looking grim.


“Wallace turned up.”

Whew! I’ll stop there. It’s been an eventful few moments in Steele-land, no? We see additional evidence of Steele’s love of old movies – and old detective films at that. The sophisticated banter of Nick and Nora Charles is rather different from Humphrey Bogart’s gritty, solitary dicks, however. Could it be that Mr. Steele is beginning to see the appeal of partners-in-fighting-crime? That moment of Laura looking at herself in the mirror feels important, too. It’s almost as if she’s wondering to herself if she measures up to Mr. Steele’s other women. Perhaps Laura is not as confident as she would like the world to believe. And then there’s Steele’s startling confession to Claude, that Laura might be the last recipient of his brass nameplate. Certainly sounds like he’s looking at a long-term partnership of some sort, doesn’t it? What are your thoughts on this pivotal segment?





Filed under Uncategorized

Tempered Steele – 7

Our scene opens on a close up of a sign on a van:

Dillon Electronics van

Dillon Electronics – wasn’t that the outfit that Meecham’s pencil-pusher told him to diversify into?

dillonfiles dillonestate

We see men unloading boxes from the van and carrying them into some swank-looking place. There seems to be a lot of activity going on! Meanwhile, inside …


Our Mr. Murphy is looking uncharacteristically dapper – and uncomfortable in a suit and tie.


Murph approaches Wallace, who seems very much at ease in his “dernier cri” duds.

“Your men are very efficient,” Murphy says.

“The best in the business,” Wallace assures him.

But I think Murphy has something else on his mind …


“Tell me, Mr. Wallace, where did you first meet Mr. Steele?”

Wallace says it was in the diplomatic corps, in Paris … in ’77? ’78? No, it was ’79.


“Are you sure it wasn’t Dannemora or Leavenworth?” Murphy demands.

funfacticon Dannemora is actually Clinton Correctional Facility in the Village of Dannemora, New York. Built in 1844, it’s also known as “New York’s Siberia.” Notable inmates have included Lucky Luciano and Tupac Shakur. Leavenworth is a medium-security federal penitentiary in Kansas. Thank you, Wikipedia.)



“Rats!” Wallace counters, explaining that “they have rats in the Seine as big as Volkswagens.”randomalert



Elsewhere, we find Laura expressing doubt over Wallace and Co.’s qualifications.


“Are you sure they know what they’re doing?”

An uncharacteristically casually dressed Steele tells her that between them they have over 75 years of experience.


“Who are you?” Laura asks next. “Where did you come from?”

Steele isn’t impressed with the third degree.


“Humphrey Bogart to Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca, Warner Bros., 1942.”

Laura tells him this is no time to be quoting old movies.


“Then stop asking old questions.” Oh, snap!

Steele walks off just as someone new enters the picture:


“Tea time!” says this woman, who seems a bit overdressed to be a maid. She asks Laura if she wants to “swill some of this.” Classy lady!


“Thank you, Mrs. Dillon,” Laura says. Dillon? What a coincidence – the Steele Agency happens to be working for some outfit called Dillon Electronics. Do you think this woman has something to do with that? She tells Laura to call her Hannah.

funfacticonHannah Dillon is played by Diana Douglas, ex-wife of Kirk Douglas and mother of Michael Douglas.)


Hannah is dismayed at the mess the workmen are making. “Packy’s probably doing a 360,” she says.

Packy, it seems, was Patrick Joseph Dillon, Hannah’s late husband. He started Dillon Electronics 40 years ago.


Dillon Electronics Showroom, circa 1942.


I’m not sure Laura finds the tea to her liking!

“Tastes like raw crude, don’t it?” Hannah says.

I guess that would make it Texas tea, eh? Presumably another one of Meecham’s diversified interests, in partnership with …

jed klampett

… this guy.


Hannah explains that she couldn’t stand Packy’s “special blend” while he was alive, but now it makes her feel close to him (Is it made from his ashes?). Laura comments that their son seems to be carrying on the family tradition.

family tradition

It’s not clear what “tradition” she’s referring to.


“Roger? Oh, he’s carrying on all right.”

Meanwhile, Meecham and Steele are inspecting the ongoing work. Meecham wonders why they’re carting all the sensitive documents into the house. Seems “bush” to him!


“Stop and smell the flowers, Meech,” Steele reassures him. “Santa Barbara is lovely this time of year.” (Judging by the preponderance of sweaters and heavy calfskin coat on display, the Dillon Estate must be in South Santa Barbara.)


Steele informs Meech that Dillon ordered the research kept here at the house.

(We see here Steele apparently picking his teeth. Spoiler alert: We’ll see later that Steele has a toothpick habit. It makes me wonder if he’s trying to conquer an oral fixation – smoking, perhaps?)


Meecham says Dillon might run the company, but “the old lady still runs him.” What a charmer!


“Now, Meech. I am personally supervising this entire operation. What could possibly go wrong?”

We next see things going very wrong:’

grappling hook ski masks glasscutting

Ski masks? Either it really IS cold in Santa Barbara this weekend, or there’s trouble afoot!


Busted! Mr. Steele’s alarm system foiled the intruders!

brokenwindow holeinefloor

(though not before the intruders did a fair bit of damage to the property. That would seem to be a design flaw.)

steele caged

Steele makes a grand entrance!


And unmasks the “culprits!” It’s his pal Wallace and associates!


“If the men who installed this system cannot breach it,” Steele proclaims smugly, “then I’d have to say it’s foolproof!”


Laura is impressed! “You gotta admit, he pulled it off!”

The moment seques into …


… a sharp rap on a door in the night!


Steele is awoken from a satisfied sleep. Who could be knocking? Perhaps Laura was so bowled over by Steele’s security expertise that she’s ready for some outrageously fulfilling teeth rattling!


Well! That’s an unexpected twist! But Dillon the Younger isn’t here for a rendezvous.


It seems the foolproof system has been breached!


The vital research has been stolen!



The next morning, everyone gathers at the crime scene in their jammies.


Meecham dons his … erm … thinking cap. He wants to call the police!


“No!” Dillon, Jr. exclaims. “If this gets out, we’ll lose our government contracts!”


Laura seems disappointed – though whether it’s because the security operation has tanked or because of Mr. Steele’s rather unsexy seersucker PJs isn’t clear.


Meecham explains that somebody turned off the $50,000 system and waltzed out with the research. It was an inside job!


At that moment Murphy, whose own bedroom ensemble is daringly low cut, arrives. “Wallace is gone!” he declares (a little too gleefully, if you ask me).


Meecham’s gonna sue the agency until it comes up as dry as his last oil well! But Steele has a ready answer:


“It seems to me … um …”


Laura is … impressed … by his eloquence!


“We got off on the wrong foot this morning,” Steele concludes, sheepishly.

I’ll stop there for now. There’s some interesting stuff in these scenes, I think. We see Murphy all decked out in a suit, looking very uncomfortable. This high-end job clearly isn’t his milieu, and he seems to be trying a bit too hard to upgrade his professional image. Steele, on the other hand, is dressed rather casually for him. He seems to be in his element here, studying the plans with evident understanding, directing the work, reassuring the client. He doesn’t feel the need for the “costume” of Steele in this situation.

Steele’s self-assurance makes the ending of this sequence all the more poignant. I really feel for him here. He was proud of his accomplishment, having been so determined to prove himself, to impress Laura – even spite her – and now it seems he may be the cause of her losing her agency in a lawsuit. Even worse, it appears his faith in his friend was misplaced, and has thrown his judgment of character into doubt. The Steele image is taking a beating.








Filed under Season 1

Tempered Steele – 6

We find ourselves looking at a black and white photo of a rather handsome man …


But whose well-manicured thumb is holding the snapshot? (and what is Steele wearing? A hoodie?)


Ah, it’s crack detective Laura Holt. She seems engrossed! So absorbed, in fact …


… that she doesn’t even hear Bernice enter with a box of … something. They put in some long hours at the Steele agency. Do you suppose Bernice gets time-and-a-half?


Laura seems to be having a rather pleasant daydream. I wonder what about? Pure speculation on my part, but perhaps something like …


Just a suggestion. Anyway …

Bernice enters and starts reciting a list of homework for Laura:


“… surveillance on Marlene York, insurance description of the Regatzi jewelry and a wrap-up on the Morton case.”

Bernice seems to sense Laura is distracted.


“Don’t you get enough of the real thing?”



Laura explains that she just happened to come across Steele’s photo on her desk.

Bernice ain’t buyin’ it.


“This is me, remember?” she says. “The belle of the ball? The life of the party?” Heavens! Is Bernice confessing to be a woman of easy virtue?


Bernice has seen that look before – she’s even had it a few times herself.


“Who is he?” Laura muses. “Who was he before he was Remington Steele?”


“Who cares?” Bernice suggests that Laura “go for it.”

(Go for what, Bernice? The gusto? The gold? Go for broke?)


“Then what?”

Bernice says that depends on what Laura is looking for.


Bernice knows what she wants: “A slightly dull, filthy rich husband.”  However, if she were in the market for …


“… a heart-stopping, teeth-rattling, eye-rolling fling …”


… she’d set her sights on Steele!


Laura confides that “it’s not just the free ride that keeps this clown around.”  Of course not!


It’s the circus peanuts! Or perhaps, as Laura suggests …


“It’s the challenge. I’m probably the only woman he’s ever met who didn’t tumble right into bed with him.”

Bernice notes that … erm … “tumbling” isn’t a bad way to break the ice.


“Yeeaaah …” Laura seems tempted. But, as she explains, she can barely keep him in line now.


“Can you imagine what he’d be like if we turned that corner?”


Bernice thinks it would be fun finding out!


“I’ve worked too hard to risk everything just to get my teeth rattled.”


“So where does that leave you?”



I’ll leave it there. Another rather risqué scene for the time, methinks. It’s interesting to see these women speak so candidly about their – ahem – needs. Why do you think Laura is so certain that sleeping with Steele could cause her to lose everything she’s worked for? Is it only because she doesn’t know his past, or is there more to it? Does she really believe Steele is hanging around just to get her into bed? How would she feel if Bernice had decided to “go for it” with Steele? (I think there’s a fairly graphic fanfic out there on that theme.)


Filed under Season 1

Tempered Steele – 5

We observe the Steele Agency’s limo driving through a seedy part of town.



It parks in front of something called the Lost & Found Mission, and Steele (and Fred the chauffeur) gets out. Meanwhile, inside the mission …


… a guy is speaking to a bunch of homeless men –


– one of whom appears to be a beloved sitcom character, fallen on hard times!

steele enters

Steele enters the mission.


MissionMan tells Gilligan he used to be “just like you. Shootin’ up all day and pukin’ up all night.” Gilligan? On drugs? It’s a dirty lie!



got themessage

MissionMan explains that he got the message: There was someone who cared about him …




Nope. “The Big C – Jesus Christ Himself.” MissionMan proclaims himself a living, breathing testimony to the powers of the “Big Fella.”


So he is talking about the Skipper?


Mr. Steele appears to be listening to the sermon with interest.


“If he (Christ, not the Skipper) can keep me straight for three years, he sure as hell can do the same thing for you bunch of bums.” (I can’t help thinking MissionMan might build a better rapport with his clientele if he referred to them as something other than bums. Indigents, perhaps. That at least sounds nicer.)

Spotting Steele, MissionMan tells his bunch of bums they can go get something to eat.


Mr. Steele seems … inspired? … by MissionMan’s oration. (Or perhaps he’s hoping to snag a sandwich.)

MissionMan goes to meet Steele. He looks like he’s glad to see him!


“Well, if it ain’t my old-“


Steele shushes him and presents his card.


MissionMan appears nonplused. “Remington Steele Detective Agency? How did YOU wind  up detecting?”

(Side note: I thought the business was Remington Steele Investigations? My guess is Laura refused to get Mr. Steele business cards, so he had some made up himself – and hasn’t spent enough time at the office to know the official name of the place. Or maybe “detective agency” sounds more hard-boiled and Bogart-like.)


“I have the face for it,” Steele explains. Really? Let’s test that theory:


One of these things is not like the others!


Steele tells MissionMan, whom he calls Wallace, that he is in “desperate need of your talents.”


Wallace declines, saying he’s not “in that line” any more. “The Big Fella frowns on it.”


Steele assures him he’s not asking him to do anything tainted. Since Wallace has circumvented so many security systems, Steele thinks he’d be the perfect man to install one. He offers Wallace $10,000 for a few days’ work (which leaves Steele with a $15,000 profit. That’s a lot of hay for Danny’s Dessert!). Wallace is tempted.


“What I could do for these bums with $10,000!”  Steele directs Wallace to his tailor, with instructions to whip him up something conservative, yet “dernier cri.”

(Thank you, Google, for translating that as “the latest fashion.”) Mon dieu, Monsieur Steele!


Wallace is amused. New name or not, Steele is the same old “high flyer.”


Steele doesn’t disagree!

I’ll stop there, because the next scene is a biggie. What do you make of this connection Steele has with Wallace? Apparently he is a former associate of the con man … but a fellow with personal demons. How do you think Steele feels about his old friend’s new mission? He appears to be setting up a scenario similar to the one he has at the agency: someone else does the work, and he’ll take the bows (and the lion’s share of the money). Yet it’s hard to believe Mr. Steele is really taking advantage of his friend; rather, he’s offering him a chance to make some money to do some good. Still, it’s not quite on the up and up, is it?






-one of whom might be



Filed under Season 1