Laura’s not even going to ask if he knows what he’s doing – and just as well, because ..
“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?
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!
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!”
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 …”
“… Wallace to the stables, where he was injected with a massive dose of muscle relaxant.”
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.”
“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
“Why was one of them searching Wallace’s room?” She gives the side eye to Murphy …
… who excuses himself from the table.
“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!
“You got it,” Meecham admits.
Suddenly Mrs. Dillon interrupts the interrogation. “Where did you get that recipe?” she demands.
“Right before you killed him!”
Uh oh! Mrs. Dillon is packing heat!
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!
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.