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

5 responses to “Tempered Steele – 5

  1. eaz35173

    I get the sense there is a genuine camaraderie between Steele and Wallace. Not that Steele was interested in the Mission, but he was definitely interested in Wallace. From their conversation, they obviously knew each other before. I guess this isn’t Mr. Steele’s first time in LA if he already has old buddies to call on. I think Steele has a soft spot for his friend and wants to give him a “hand up, not a hand out”. And Wallace seems appreciative of that. Yes, a healthy profit will still be had by Steele after the job is done. It’s not so much that it’s not on the up and up (because there is nothing illegal about his arrangement with Wallace), but more that he’s working an “angle”.

    I also had to look up that French phrase to figure out what he was talking about! Added a bit more mystery to our mysterious Mr. Steele.

  2. Inés

    I think he didn’t think about the mision at all at the first moment. He just went there to find his old friend. Maybe in the world that he lived before, friends would be more faithful tan in his new world. When he got that check in his hands, his first thought would have been someone relaiable: a truly friend.
    It’s interesting, because Steele is playing the role of a perfect executive. He knows where he would find the one who would make the work in a perfect way, and he would receive the congratulations. So, after all, he is not only a con man, capable to do the field work. He has an executive mind, and a perfect charme that leads everybody in his line of thinking.
    He is offering a big part of the $25K without hesitation, so, I think he likes to have his friend sharing the reward almost as equals (Laura would die if she knew!).

  3. I really like this scene. It says a lot about Steele. First, I think Elise is right–this isn’t his first time in LA–he seems to have contacts everywhere, all of them multi-faceted to say the least! It also alludes to the fact that both Wallace and Mr, Steele are very continental–as everyone has already pointed out, how many of us knew what “dernier cri” meant? Lastly, Mr. Steele is a well liked friend–well played by both actors in illustrating how one can pick up where you left off and feel such genuine affection for each other.

    Loved “one of these things is not like the other.” That’s for sure!

  4. I had a notebook where I kept notes on each episode after it aired. I wrote down all those phrases and words I didn’t know and then looked them up in the dictionary. My notebook had pages of words I didn’t know!! I was already teaching school in 1982, but we didn’t use *those* kinds of words in 3rd grade.

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