Thou Shalt Not Steele – 2

We segue from a shot of the five nekkid ladies to …


… another shot of the five nekkid ladies, this time on a screen. (Remember slides? How quaint!) We hear Mr. Steele’s voice naming the painting: “The Five Nudes of Cairo.” He knows this from his reading!


“Then you are familiar with our painting?” says the guy on the left.

“Only from my reading,” Steele answers.

“Our most important acquisition!” says guy sitting down.

Bearded guy continues our rather boring exposition: “It represents the absolute peak of Fouchard’s career, and it was painted on Egyptian ground, during the-“


“-building of the Suez Canal,” Steele finishes. He seems very engrossed in this painting of five nekkid ladies. Feeling a little … er … frustrated, Mr. Steele?


“Your reading must be quite extensive,” bearded guy says. Steele notes that the work has a colorful history.

Gray-haired guy says this is what the crooks were after; bearded guy insists they must remove it from the display.


Gray-haired guy says they can’t; exhibit is scheduled to open tomorrow, yada yada. Bearded guy is peevish! He tells Steele to tell gray-haired guy that if the painting is stolen, there will be no exhibit. He calls gray-haired guy a Philistine.

funfacticonphilistine The Philistines were among the “Sea Peoples” who appeared in Canaan at the beginning of the Iron Range (circa 1175 BC). They were enemies of the Israelites. In modern parlance, a “Philistine” is a person who is said to be “ignorant, ill-behaved persons lacking in culture or artistic appreciation, and only concerned with materialistic values.” Presumably Bearded Guy is using the term in that sense to describe Gray-Haired Guy, though his bushy mane does look a little like the hat in this heiroglyph.


“Spare us your precious temper, Achmed,” says Philistine (aw, let’s just call him Phil). Phil reminds Achmed that the alarm system worked.


“Alarm system,” Achmed sneers. “Ptooey!” Hey! Are you gonna shampoo the rug, expectorating guy?


The argument seems to be pointless, since Steele informs the men that the Steele Agency can’t help them. Phil thinks it’s because of the money, but Achmed knows better:


“It’s because of the curse, isn’t it?”


Well, THAT’S ominous!

Meanwhile …


… Laura is having her own horror: dealing with insurance! Apparently she committed a moving violation, created a small dent in this guy’s car, and now has to pay for it. Is that a really, really tan Farrah Fawcett behind them?


Laura finally makes it to the office. She’s looking a little … schlumpy. Maybe it’s the polyesterish pantsuit or the schoolmarm hair.


Laura wants to know about her schedule for the week. Bernice starts to tell Laura that the museum guys are already there.


“I believe I asked about my schedule,” Laura snarks. Those aren’t polyester pants – they’re crankypants!


Bernice is … taken aback … at her boss’s attitude. She tells Miss Holt that her schedule for the week is light.


“Not good enough,” Laura says. “By punch-out time today, I want it wall-to-wall. Understand?”

So Bernice is supposed to go out and murder somebody to generate a case? Hope she gets time-and-a-half for that.


Bernice weighs her alternative employment options as Laura stalks off.

Back in Steele’s office …


… Phil can’t believe Mr. Steele is the superstitious type. Is it just me, or does Phil look like:


This guy, the alien scientist from “This Island Earth”? Or:


This guy, from the classic Star Trek episode, “The Apple”?

Maybe I watch too much cheesy TV.


Laura enters the office, and Phil introduces himself as Edward Coxworth. Just when I’d gotten used to calling him Phil!


Phil Ed introduces his colleague, the curator Achmed Kahlil. They’re disappointed that Steele feels his caseload is too great to take on their account!


Busted! Laura is surprised to hear of Mr. Steele’s reluctance. He explains.


“What with the Murphy affair and the Wolfe case …”


“As a matter of fact, something urgent just has come up,” Laura says.


She leads an uncomfortable looking Mr. Steele from the room. Given Miss Holt’s current mood, I have a feeling this isn’t going to be pretty! (not unlike her pantsuit)

I’ll leave us here on the cusp of another Holt-Steele confrontation. What is your impression of Mr. Steele’s attitude toward the painting. Does he really believe in a curse? And what’s put Laura in such a snit? The fender-bender, or is there something more? Stay tuned!


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7 responses to “Thou Shalt Not Steele – 2

  1. eaz35173

    Hey, that alien guy from Star Trek is David Soul of Starsky & Hutch fame (I watched way too much TV in my youth, too)

    Boy Laura is in a snit (in her crankypants – LOL!!)! But getting into a fender bender first thing in the morning and then finding out your fake boss is turning down cases can’t help her mood much. Wonder if her day will get any better?!

    The Murphy affair – was that supposed to be a play on words?

    Yes, how exactly was Bernice supposed to drum up appointments for Laura? I hadn’t thought about that before.

    I do think that Steele is superstitious. As an art thief, he must be well versed in certain “curses” that go along with prominent works of art or history. I’m sure he’s studied enough thefts and what eventually happened to those thieves. I’m guessing that even if he hasn’t totally bought in to the whole of the curse, he’d rather not tempt fate. He’s a pretty lucky guy, it seems, and why mess with the status quo, eh?

  2. daphgg

    Yes Laura’s outfit is awful, blue blouse and maroon suit. And the school marm hair. Murder someine to drum up business. You are SO funny. You got me chuckling all day behind these.

    I think Laura is in a bad mood because she has damage to her car and the victim car plus a ticket to pay for. With nothing on the books/ no money coming in, her mood is seriously foul. Besides Laura is a penny pincher.

    In addition to the curse, I think Steele also suspected that one of his previous associates would come after the painting and he doesn’t want to have to be the one to apprehend them. Funny how that subject was never really addressed or explored in any of the episodes.

  3. With the first scene and the Steele’s unease in this one—-you do wonder what might be afoot. He does seem to be “in the know” when it comes to the nudes. Yes, Laura’s wardrobe is generally awful. I think she makes these clothing choices to play down her femininity. Thankfully her wardrobe, as does her character, evolves over time!

  4. Luann

    Also possible he was afraid that since he had stolen the painting before, if Interpol or the insurance investigators got involved, that his RS cover would be blown.

    • eaz35173

      Spoiler alert??

      • Speaking of spoilers … the preview scenes at the start of the episode show Murphy saying, “He’s stolen it before!” Way to maintain the suspense. Thirty years later, we all know what’s going to happen, but the first time around, that would have been a spoiler indeed.

      • eaz35173

        Very true! I never understood why they showed those little clips before the episode played out. They spoiled their own episode every week!!

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