Signed, Steeled & Delivered – 2

We segue to …


… a pretty shot of the L.A. skyline at dusk. There are the Century Plaza Towers behind the palm tree at left.


Laura is working late.


Murphy walks in, fondling his ball. He tells Laura it’s her last chance! Laura resists the impulse to tell him to put his equipment away.


“I’m sorry, I just can’t,” she tells him.


Murphy shifts into Don Juan mode: “Sure you can.” She can get in his car, stop at her place for clothes and clubs, and they can be in Palm Springs by 8:30.


“If only it were that simple,” she responds. (Take the hint, Murph.)


Murphy tells Laura she’s got it all wrong: “It’s the MEN who are supposed to work too hard and die young.” Um … reinforcing traditional gender roles may not be the best way to seduce Laura, Murphy.


“It’s the weekend,” he presses. She hems and haws.


“You know, if a guy hadn’t known you so long, and didn’t like you so much and wasn’t so sure you’d never lie to him, he could convince himself you didn’t want to go, taxes or no taxes.”

Oh, Murph. You make me sad.


Laura seeks to reassure him. “But you do know me, and you do like me, and you know I wouldn’t lie to you.” Ah, but there’s a fine line between lying and avoiding the truth, Laura.


Murphy seems satisfied with her answer. “Goodbye, Laura,” he says.


She stops him at the door. “Murphy!”


“Have fun.”


“You bet.” Murphy departs, leaving Laura looking …


… wistful?

Before I continue, I wanted to comment on this little exchange. There seems to be a feeling of finality about this farewell to Murphy, as though Laura were saying goodbye to more than a weekend trip to Palm Springs. Could it be that Laura is closing the door, emotionally, to any thoughts she might have had about a relationship with Murphy? Although we’ve seen nothing to suggest their relationship is other than platonic, it’s clear that Murphy wants more. I suspect that, before Steele came into her life, Laura might have had Murphy in the back of her mind as a “settle for” possibility. He’s a nice guy. He’s her friend. Why not? But having met Steele, and experienced how he affects her, I think Laura realizes there can never be anything between Murphy and her – and she wants to start gently distancing herself from him.


Mr. Steele enters the offices, finding them empty.


“No crowds of troubled clients clamoring for my services?” he inquires, checking the appointment calendar.


Murphy reminds him that it’s Friday: “People would rather bowl.”


Murphy takes his leave, warning Steele not to get lost on the freeway. Huh?

Mr. Steele proceeds to his office, where he finds the executive washroom occupied.


Steele pulls the plug on his insubordinate subordinate!


Bernice doesn’t care; her hair is dry enough, it’s almost 6:00, and the offices will soon be emptying out of people who are dying to forget what they do for a living. If they’re lucky, they can make the “magic” last until Monday.


Steele is not impressed with her mating strategy.


“I prefer the tried-and-true method. One makes a date and casts a spell of one’s own.”

Which reminds Bernice …


“Gayle called.”


Excellent case in point! Steele lays out his itinerary: “Front row center for the Bolshoi, dinner at Andre’s, a leisurely drive back to my place …”


“She said she’s sorry she has to cancel. Something about the croup. Ta-ta!”

Steele proceeds to Plan B.


“Look at you!” he says to Laura.


“What?” she asks, with a self-conscious mien. I think Laura is a little insecure about her looks around the dashing Mr. Steele. (I think she looks spectacular, by the way.)


“Tell me that briefcase is just for looks,” he says. “You don’t really plan on spending your weekend cuddled up with all that paperwork, do you?”


Laura knows his intentions are good, and his motives pure, but she wants to know where he’s going with this.


“You look exhausted.”


“Really? Thanks!”

Mr. Steele, did you go to the Murphy Michaels School of Smooth Lines? Fortunately, Mr. Steele has a suggestion for Laura.


“A night on the town, away from the pressures of work.”


“You and me … on … on … on a date?” That’s the way, Laura. Play hard to get!



“Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?” Indeed, I might even be inclined to declare it …



Laura thinks it sounds wonderful!


“It will be!” he promises. He seems as eager as Laura!


Just one thing: When can Laura expect all this wonderfulness to happen?




Laura is displeased. “You wait until 5:45 on a Friday night to ask me out?!” Her investigative mind has already solved this mystery:


“Let me guess: Sheila has the mumps. Susan got hit by a car. Mary, measles. Doris, diphtheria!”


“Gayle. The croup. What difference does it make, so long as you’re free?”

Oh, Mr. Steele.


Excuse me?


“Just what makes you think I’m free?”



Steele wants to know if she has plans, then?


“As a matter of fact, I do!” she insists, as he gallantly helps her on with her jacket.


For his information, her briefcase is only a small part of what she expects to be a very full weekend!


Oh, yeah. Steele’s buying that.


Laura flounces out, leaving Mr. Steele to call after her:


“Am I correct in assuming tonight’s off?”

I’ll stop here. In this scene we see Laura interacting with the two men in her life – in very different ways! Murphy had apparently asked her to accompany him to Palm Springs well in advance, but Laura wasn’t interested enough to even remember the invitation. She’s much too busy to spend time with Murph. But when Mr. Steele makes an offer? Hoo boy! Where’s that “keep our relationship strictly professional” rule now, Laura? I can’t say I blame Laura for feeling hurt and embarrassed to discover she was Steele’s back up choice. She surely knows she showed her hand to him – she WANTED to go on a date. Laura let her cool, dispassionate mask slip for a second … and she got burned. For his part, I think Steele really does want to spend time with Laura, but perhaps didn’t feel she’d accept his offer. Only the lateness of the hour and last-minute cancellation by Gayle spurred him to take a chance. He must be gratified by the immediate positive response … and kicking himself for blowing it so badly.


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9 responses to “Signed, Steeled & Delivered – 2

  1. Daph

    I agree with you on every point. Steele knew she was lying about having a date (she had already showed her eagerness to go on a date with him). But there was nothing he could do about it. He blew it. And not just for tonight either, if he asks her out in the future she will not make the same mistake again by showing her vulnerable side.

    As for Steele, why did he mess up the date request so badly? Was it because he was embarrassed that he had been dumped at the last minute? Or did he lack the confidence to ask Laura so instead of telling her of his cancellation and appeal to her sympathy, he tried to play off casual cool and got busted? Or is he so used to women wanting him that he assumed Laura would jump at the chance? I am torn between embarrassment and lack confidence however these two do not explain his rather flippant remarks.

    • Melissa

      I think he was not wanting to reveal that his date cancelled at the last minute.

      I have a question, though. Croup is a child’s disease. Is Steele dating women with children? I would think he would prefer ladies without that sort of complication.

      Also, did it seem that Laura was going to say something different to Murphy when she said “Have fun”? It seems to me she changed what she was going to say at the last minute. What do you think she originally was going to say?

      Lastly, I love it when Steele calls Bernice “Ms. Wolfe”. Their mutual antagonism is hilarious!

  2. steeleinterested

    This whole scene has a familiar feel to it for me. I don’t think it is unusual, whether it is men or jobs, for us to have two choices that appeal to different sides of us. And they always seem to come in safe and comfortable or interesting/exciting and risky dichotomies.

    And I wonder if Murphy has always recognized and/or shown his interest in Laura on a more than professional level and how having Steele around has changed his outlook and approach? Had that been established on the series before Steele waltzed in, I wonder if it might have changed the originally hoped for triangle dynamic that never developed quite the way it was planned? Or would the PB/SZ chemistry still have incinerated any hope of that?

  3. Great comments! I agree the “croup” excuse sounds flimsy – could it be that this Gayle ditched Steele for a better offer? (hard to believe, I know …). I do think Steele was embarrassed, especially having Bernice know he’s been stood up. His flip attitude toward Laura may indeed have been about putting up a front to cover his shaken confidence.

    It’s possible that Laura started to say something that would keep Murphy “on the hook,” e.g., “Next time, Murph.” I think a part of Laura is afraid to close that door, but her personal integrity – knowing she could never feel *that way* about Murphy – prevented her from stringing him along.

    We will find out (SPOILER ALERT!) that Murphy has known Laura a long time, has no doubt watched her through previous relationships. I think he has been biding his time, waiting for her to realize these other guys aren’t what she wants. Then this Steele guy shows up, and it’s immediately obvious that there is a STRONG attraction. I think that creates some desperation in Murphy, spurring him to be more overt in his expressions of interest in Miss Holt.

  4. eaz35173

    It’s interesting, this scene with Murphy. In an earlier version of the script, this interaction with Laura and Murphy never takes place. All that was written was the scene where Steele comes in the office and encounters Murphy and his golf bag.

    I do think that Steele is unaccustomed to having a date cancel. And having the croup seems like a lame excuse and he’s probably thinking the same thing. Seeing Laura as an “easy mark” would probably help boost his confidence and prove he still “has it”. I think he doesn’t know Laura well enough yet 😉 . I do love how he doesn’t believe a word she’s telling him about her big plans for the weekend, tho. I DO think he is getting a clue about her stubbornness here.

    Even tho she is upset and he realizes he botched the whole date thing, I love that he is still a gentleman and helps her on with her coat and removes her hair from inside it. He did the same thing during their argument at the motel on Pico in Tempered. It seemed to be a very intimate thing to do (the fixing her hair) – like they were already in a relationship. I think these things don’t go unnoticed by Laura. As much as Murphy cares for her, he doesn’t seem to have a clue on how to show it.

    • I didn’t know about the previous script – I’m glad they added this little moment with Murphy. I wonder if they were trying to create sympathy for Murph, a last-ditch attempt to create the triangle scenario? I think they discovered pretty early on that it wouldn’t fly. Kind of a bummer for James Read.

      Although I can’t imagine anybody cancelling on Steele, the fact that Laura so readily rattles off a litany of potential excuses makes me wonder if Steele’s dates have called in sick before? If so, why? I think it’s plausible that Steele rarely has a *second* date with any woman; the ladies probably figure out pretty quickly that there’s no chance of an emotional investment from/with Mr. Steele.

      I think Steele was genuinely surprised when Laura seemed so receptive to his offer; she’s shut him down so consistently in the past. It is perhaps these very occasional “bones” she throws him that keep him trying.

      Do you think Steele is as intimate with his other dates as he is with Laura here (I’m referring to the helping on with her jacket, fixing her hair)? I would expect him to be chivalrous to all ladies he encounters – it’s one of the sources of his irresistibility to women (a characteristic of Pierce Brosnan as well, IMO). But I’m not sure he is as genuinely tender with the babes he’s trying to bed as he is with Laura.

      • eaz35173

        It’s possible that he has made up dates before, only to make up a reason that they cancel, in order to appear in demand to Laura. You’re right, he does seem a bit shocked that she would actually consider his request for a date – but Laura is thinking it may be for some time in the future, not for tonight. Once that info is revealed, he wall goes up again.

        Have we ever seen Steele help anyone other than Laura on with her coat? I’m sure he does that on dates, but I’m not sure he presumes to play with their hair in the process. We’ve seen him be gentlemanly with a coat with Miss Taplinger in Steele Belted, but she had short hair and he was helping her off with her coat. I think he’s probably more attentive to Laura, as she is the object of his affections. The other dates, in my opinion, are to help satisfy his male ego, among other things 😉

  5. Inés

    This is fantastic!!!!
    I love your comments!!!

  6. I love the running commentary as well! I am also enjoying the bits of trivia–very interesting!

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