Back again! This is going to be a long post. Sorry.
Laura and Steele have brought a shaken Arnoch back to Steele’s apartment.
Laura helps him off with his jacket as he continues to fuss.
Arnoch stumbles off, muttering something about needing perspective. He asks where he’s going.
“The kitchen,” Steele provides helpfully. Arnoch is fine with that.
Once he’s gone, Laura lets down her upbeat façade. She’s discouraged. Steele concurs; every time they turn up someone who might help …
“… they get killed,” Laura finishes. Still, she thinks, there must be SOMEONE else they can talk to (bad luck for them, whoever they might be!).
“Somebody else who knew George, but maybe only peripherally. Somebody off the beaten path … someone who was around Ratooi tonight and might have seen something.” Well, that’s asking quite a lot, Laura. I wonder if there is anyone who fits that description? Steele knows!
“Manuel!” The young man who cleans the offices at night must know George, Steele reasons.
“Of course!” Laura exclaims. He might also have run across something while cleaning George’s office that might help the investigation!
Laura is pleased! She starts to dash off to see the hapless janitor, when …
… Steele pulls her back. (I love this little bit of physical business.)
“How are we going to find him at this hour of the night?” Steele asks. (Surely it must be close to dawn by now?)
Laura’s got a list of Ratooi employees back at the office. But she thinks one of them should stay here with Arnoch. I wonder which of them she has in mind?
Steele doesn’t agree! “But if we’re both out there looking …” he begins.
“Nah. I can handle it,” she said. Looks like you’ve been put back in your place, Mr. Steele!
On her way out, Laura stops to ask how he knows about Manuel.
“We’ve done a bit of cruising together,” he replies. Ahem. I’m going to assume “cruising” meant something different in the early 80s (or perhaps Cynthia was on to something?).
We fade into a shot of the exterior of Steele’s apartment building …
The Country Club Manor on Rossmore.
The Country Club Manor was constructed in 1926 and remains one of L.A.’s most exclusive residential properties (at least according to realtors trying to sell space there). I read somewhere that it was once home to Zsa Zsa Gabor, but can’t find the reference now. In 2012, a one-bedroom, one-bath condo sold for $550,000. You can take a brief tour of the building and apartments. The interior doesn’t much resemble Steele’s apartment, however.
We segue into Steele’s apartment, where we find …
… Mr. Steele, engaged in a heartfelt confessional: “I don’t quite know how to put this, Laura, but I feel like I’ve let the agency down …”
“I’ve let YOU down. I dragged us both into this thing …”
“… and now two people are dead, we’re nearly out of time and we still haven’t found George.”
“Perhaps you’re right. Perhaps I’m not really suited for this kind of work.”
As the camera circles, we discover that Mr. Steele is confessing to …
… Manuel! The young man objects to Steele’s strategy. “No, no, no! It’s too heavy, man! What are you trying to do, make the chick cry or something?” He tells Steele to keep it short and sweet; she’ll get the message.
By the way, it looks like Mr. Steele has provided a hearty breakfast for his new advisor. Just then the doorbell chimes. Steele goes to answer it.
“You’re right,” he calls back to Manuel. “Simple sincerity is the best route here.”
It’s Laura, in a foul mood. She’s been all over the city – twice! – looking for his kid Manuel.
Steele explains that Manuel is here, but he has something important to tell her.
“You mean he’s HERE?” Laura gasps. She wants to know how Steele found him.
Manuel informs her that if she comes into his turf in a limo, he’ll find HER.
Laura is pleased to meet Manuel! She’d like to ask him some questions about George Kaplan. Steele informs her Manuel has never actually seen George.
“But before we get into that,” he begins, “could I just-“
“You’ve never met him?” Laura interrupts. Manuel confirms, but reminds her he only works nights.
Laura wants to know about George’s office: is it typically clean, or messy? Manuel says he’s only had to clean it once a week or so. It’s like the dude was never there!
Steele tries to get her attention. “If I could just have a moment …”
Laura’s got no time to chitchat!
“Thank you, Manuel. You’ve been very helpful!” She’s got to call Murphy! (I think Laura may be on to something, don’t you?) She races off to call Murph, leaving Steele feeling …
Manuel tries to cheer him up.
He tells Steele he has a nice place … and a foxy lady! “Conquistala!” (Conquer it!)
“Con mucho gusto,” (“With pleasure”) Steele replies.
… Laura is on the phone, thanking Murphy for something.
Steele interrupts her call. He’s got something to say! “Laura, I think it’s time …”
“… that we started rechecking our assumptions,” she finishes for him. Hm. I’m not sure that’s what he was going to say, Laura!
She recaps their situation: “We’re given very little time to find a missing man. Worst result, we don’t find him. What happens then? What are Gruff and Reston really going to do about this?”
Steele admits he doesn’t know much about corporate types, but suggests Emery might be able to fill them in.
“Where is he?”
Steele points in the direction of the bathroom. But he wants to have a little talk before they proceed …
“There’s something that-“
Too late, Mr. Steele.
She’s already gone. He follows her, calling, “Laaaauuurrraaaaa…”
This seems like an opportune moment to share another of Elise’s amazing vids, a nice compendium of Mr. Steele speaking the name closest to his heart:
Love this so much!
Laura barges into the bathroom, despite Steele’s protestations:
“A man’s toilet should never be disturbed!”
Laura is not deterred. She wants Arnoch to answer a hypothetical question.
“You’re on the board of a large, multinational conglomerate that’s bought out a small, but highly profitable, company. On the day of the takeover, you discover a substantial amount of that company’s assets are missing, along with the plans for their next big project AND one of their top executives. What do you do?”
Arnoch – who is surprisingly buff – says he’d sweep it under the rug as fast as possible to avoid a scandal. “Soonest it’s forgotten about, the better.”
Satisfied, Laura hands him a towel and beats a hasty retreat from the bathroom, Steele hard on her heels.
She’s got to get to Murphy so they can figure out what’s going on. Otherwise, the agency could take a lot of heat! Steele asks her to give him a moment to change; they can talk in the car on the way to the agency.
“Oh, no!” Laura says.
“You’re taking Arnoch to the airport. STRAIGHT to the airport. Comprende?”
“What was it you wanted to tell me?” she asks, as an afterthought.
“It’ll wait,” he answers.
I have to admit I’m a little peeved with Laura here. In the first part of the segment, we see Laura and Steele working as a team, even finishing one another’s sentences. But as soon as Laura gets a whiff of a lead, she gives Mr. Steele the brush off – even though talking to Manuel was HIS idea! Steele once again proves his ingenuity when he is able to locate Manuel (presumably he had Fred drive him around the ‘hood until he attracted attention). Yet Laura gives him no credit for this, either. She’s so caught up in the chase that she has no time for a heart-to-heart with Mr. Steele. If only she knew what he wanted to tell her! (By the way, what do you think he was trying to get across to Laura with the speech he was practicing with Manuel?). At the last moment, Laura remembers that Steele wanted her attention … but the moment is gone.
It’s interesting that Mr. Steele, who had been so committed to the case before, is wanting to set it aside for a few moments to get things straight with Laura. I think this adds credence to the theory that his interest in the case had much to do with proving himself to her. Share your thoughts!