Monthly Archives: March 2014

Steele Belted – 5

We’re back at what may or may not be the Beverly Garland Hotel, circa 1982.


Laura and a now-nattily-dressed Mr. Steele arrive. Look! They’re wearing matching outfits!

BeardedSMiley Hm. Here’s what one psychotherapist says about couples who dress alike: “When couples dress similarly, it’s often because one of them has less confidence than the other. They fall into a copycat look which excuses them from finding their own identity.”  Do you think this applies to Laura and Mr. Steele? Is Mr. Steele following Laura’s lead as a way of cementing his new identity?


The two detectives enter the building via a door that, strangely, isn’t locked this time.


They find their client counting his money. For a paranoid fugitive, he seems oddly unconcerned that his hotel door is standing wide open. The roses Laura gave him have opened up nicely.


“Mr. Shapiro, let me present Remington Steele,” Laura says. Shapiro seems unimpressed.


“Gornisht nit helfn.”

randomalert As Elise predicted, it appears it might be helpful to have a working knowledge of conversational Yiddish to fully appreciate this episode. Here’s a site with some instruction, for us goyim. Learn Yiddish Slang.


Based on their expressions, I think we can assume Laura and Steele are also goyim.


“It means, ‘nothing will help,'” Lawyer Phillips helpfully translates.


While Laura explains that Waldo Church contacted Mr. Steele, Mr. Steele is preoccupied with  watching Barry. He is a fine specimen, Mr. Steele.

Here’s another gratuitous beefcake shot.


(Try not to drool too much over Dick Van Patten. That neckerchief is some kind of sexy.)


Shapiro wants to know if Steele’s got the bill of sale.


“Not quite,” he admits.

Shapiro wants one good reason why he shouldn’t hit the road to Rio.

funfacticonroadtorio The Road to Rio. Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour, Paramount Pictures, 1947. Two inept vaudevillians stow away on a Brazilian-bound ocean liner and foil a plot by a sinister hypnotist to marry off her niece to a greedy fortune hunter.


“Go on, sir,” Laura prompts. “Tell Mr. Shapiro why you urge him not to go to Brazil.”


“For one … the language barrier,” Steele suggests, no doubt wondering (as we all are) why Laura chose THIS moment to let him be the spokesman.


Shapiro says he’ll stop at Berlitz.

funfacticon The Berlitz Corporation, founded in 1848, offers immersion-centered language instruction. It has centers of study around the world.

Steele tries again.


“A stagnant economy. Double-digit inflation.”


“So long as they can’t extradite me, I’ll make do.”

He’s a tough nut to crack, this Shapiro. One might even call him a farbissener. Oy!  (I’m likely to get myself in trouble here …)


“Not worth the price,” Steele says, a little half-heartedly. Still, Laura declares he’s making a great deal of sense!

But Steele has an even better idea:


“On the other hand, a place like the Bahamas seems ideally suited for your needs,” Steele advises. I’m not sure Laura is on board with this idea!

Steele continues his pitch: “They speak the Queen’s English, there are a million tax shelters, all sorts of dummy corporations …”


Laura’s expression suggests there’s at least one dummy right here.

Steele backtracks. “On the other hand, you’d be admitting your guilt, be a fugitive for the rest of your life.”


“Of course, in the Bahamas, even a fugitive can live quite comfortably.” (Speaking from experience, Mr. Steele?)


Hunky Barry points out that Steele seems a little ambivalent here. Laura seems impressed by his insight!


There’s Mr. Steele, admiring Hunky Barry’s … exit … again. Meanwhile, Laura is still trying to save the case.

“What Mr. Steele means is, no matter how well you live, you can never be truly free,” she says.


Her impassioned plea has an effect. “I don’t know!” he kvetches. He abruptly walks out, followed – after a nudge from Laura – by Mr. Steele.


Now it’s Hunky Barry’s turn to ogle Steele. What’s going on here? Faygeleh? (Keri! Just.Stop.)


After Steele and Shapiro leave, Hunky Barry has a quiet word with Laura.

“Whether he stays or not, we’d better plan our next move.”

Hmmmm. This is curious; almost seems like Laura and Hunky Barry are in cahoots (a French, not a Yiddish term) about something.

Hunky Barry (HB) suggests they regroup over dinner. Somehow I don’t think he’s including Steele in this tete-a-tete (also French!).


Laura seems … interested. Nevertheless, she makes it a rule never to go out with clients.


HB points out he’s not a client. His client’s a client.


“An office seems more appropriate,” Laura purrs.


Presumably she means THIS office.

HB is disappointed that Laura doesn’t mix her business with a smidgen of pleasure.


“When I’m in the market for pleasure, Mr. Phillips, I want a lot more than a smidgen.”


Oh, behave!


Hunky Barry seems down wid it.


Just then Steele and Shapiro return. Shapiro’s decided the Steele Agency is too high class for this job. Steele looks like a trust fund guy. “Bed warmers, nannies, summers in the Alps.”


Steele wants to know if Shapiro is familiar with Brixton, in London. It’s the worst part of town. “Three quid gets you a night’s lodging and your throat cut. No jobs, no prospects, no hopes. Only two ways out: Get sent to the nick, or snuff it.”

Shapiro is impressed.


“I think I could love this man.” He agrees to give Steele a few days to produce the bill of sale; if he doesn’t, Steele promises to personally help him escape to the Bahamas.


“We all have special feelings for Mr. Steele,” Laura murmurs.


They share a Meaningful Look. (I’m verklempt!)

Shapiro offers to buy Steele a drink; they depart. Hunky Barry asks Laura if that stuff about Brixton was for real.


“I wish I could tell you.”

Wow, lots going on in this scene! We see Steele and Laura seemingly working as partners, but she inexplicably throws him under the bus by making him come up with reasons why Shapiro shouldn’t leave. What was her reasoning behind that? Did she really think he was glib enough to come up with a compelling argument? Or was she for some reason trying to put him in his place? There is certainly a heavy flirtation going on between Laura and Phillips, something Steele picks up on immediately. Steele seems to be sizing Phillips up – is it only because he sees him as a potential rival for Laura? Miss Holt seems VERY interested by the lawyer, which calls into question her attachment to Mr. Steele (and perhaps is another clue to where this episode should fit in the season). Is Laura really interested in Phillips? Is she trying to deny/distract herself from her attraction to Steele? Does she want to make Steele jealous? Let me know your thoghts!











Filed under Season 1, Uncategorized

Steele Belted – 4

We see the agency limo pulling up to a slightly less plush hotel than the one Laura is currently visiting.


Hotel Panama?


It’s a real place! Now it’s emergency housing for homeless people.


We see the distinctive Steele license plate.


Mr. Steele rolls down the window – perhaps to get a better view of the hotel, or maybe because Pierce Brosnan claims the inside of the limo smelled RANK.


He enters the seedy hostelry and approaches a rather dated-looking front desk. That radio looks to date from the 60s. “So this is Eagle Rock,” he mutters disdainfully. Actually, Mr. Steele, it’s 403 E 5th St. Are you sure you gave Fred the right directions?


Steele dings the little bell. It seems the hotel is understaffed.


Getting no response, the intrepid detective decides to investigate on his own. No nosy front desk guy HERE to thwart a determined investigator. Determined, perhaps, but not yet entirely competent. Steele fails to notice the shadowy form that crosses behind him as he heads down the hall.


It’s Rubio, who checks his sexy look in the mirror before moving stealthily off after Steele.


Rubio is followed immediately by Waldo (were they both hiding behind the front desk?) Mr. Church also gives himself a quick once-over in the mirror. It’s sweet that these two are so concerned to look nice for Mr. Steele.


Steele finds Waldo’s hotel room door ajar. That can’t be good. But Steele is dauntless!


Steele discovers a half-smoked cigarette. Uh oh.


Does that mean the REAL villain here is the X Files’ Smoking Man? The truth is out there – and Steele will find it!


Well, as soon as he wakes up, that is. Our well-dressed detective gets conked on the head from behind! (Is this the first of the many, many times Mr. Steele gets knocked unconscious in the series?)


Fade to black!


We next see a heavily-burdened Murphy headed back to the office.


He gives a lady a quick ogle as she passes. Is Murph beginning to see the writing on the wall with Laura and considering other options? Fickle!


Murphy trudges into his office. “Laura, I’m back,” he calls. (At least it wasn’t, “Honey, I’m home!”)


Laura appears from her office (?), wanting to know if Murphy found out anything in San Francisco Nada. “Somebody wanted us chasing Rubio in San Francisco,” he tells her. “If you ask me, he was never even up there.”


“Sometimes this is a very discouraging business,” Laura complains. But Murphy *does* have a little news.


He came up with a piece of information that he doesn’t think he was supposed to find …


A photo of a cheerful couple. And a sombrero.

Laura recognizes the guy as Rubio. But who’s the girl?


“The ex-Mrs. Rubio,” Murphy explains. He’s awfully close to Laura here. A little personal space, Murph? But Laura doesn’t seem to mind … or even notice. Murphy says the photo was taken on a cruise to Acapulco (if Rubio wasn’t in San Francisco, where did Murph find the photo?). Anyway, Murphy figures if they find blondie, they’ll find Rubio.


Laura feigns unconcern. “We’ve got plenty of time,” she notes. “Shapiro’s plane doesn’t leave for five hours.” Meanwhile, in the lobby …


… Mr. Steele arrives, looking decidedly the worse for wear. That doesn’t seem to bother the lady in the hall outside, who gives his posterior an admiring glance. Speaking of posteriors, is that a pig’s butt on Bernice’s desk?


“Mr. Steele! Are you all right?” Bernice seems almost genuinely concerned.

“Hanging by a thread, Miss Wolf,” he answers.

Bernice wants to know if there’s anything she can get him?


“My tailor?” he sighs. I think the potential clients in the background may be rethinking their decision to seek Mr. Steele’s services.


Oh, Mr. Steele. Your dignity is as tattered as your shirt.


Steele seeks out his colleagues.

“What happened to you?” Murphy wants to know.

“I was on the wrong end of a lamp.”


“Sordid past, or jealous husband?” a rather callous Laura asks.

Really? He’s clearly had the hell beaten out of him, and she’s almost gleeful about it?


Steele exits to the executive washroom, where Laura finally shows a bit of concern. She checks his head for cuts and bruises.


She’s found some!

Steele tells them he was lured to some godforsaken place called Eagle Rock. (I bet the Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce LOVED this episode!)


As Steele goes to his office, he asks if he’s supposed to know someone named Shapiro. Laura is surprised!


Armed with Q-tips and hydrogen peroxide, Laura engages in first aid while Steele grouses about not being in the know. Laura and Murphy fill him in about Shapiro being accused of stealing coins, but claiming they were sold to him by Rubio, yada yada. Suddenly Mr. Steele gets a faraway look in his eyes. Is he going into shock?


Nope. Just accessing his encyclopedic knowledge of classic films.

“D.O.A. Edmund O’Brien, Pamela Britton, United Artists, 1949.”

behindthescenes D.O.A. is actually listed as a 1950 film on Wikipedia. It’s a film noir drama, notable for its opening scene of a man walking into a police station to report his own murder. It features one particularly notable cast member:


Hello, Abigail!

You can watch the whole darned movie, if you want:


Laura isn’t interested in movie trivia. She wants to know about Waldo Church. Steele explains Waldo is in the same position as Edmund O’Brien: he has a bill of sale that will prove Shapiro’s innocence, and someone is trying to kill him for it. Murphy dashes off to the Hotel Saracen to look for Waldo.



Laura, meanwhile, has a mission for Steele: “You’re going to tell Buddy Shapiro exactly what you just told us.”

“I thought I never involve myself directly in a case,” Steele points out, quite reasonably.


“You’re making an exception this time.”

Steele resists; he has a mission of his own.

“I have to change,” he insists.

Laura tells him there’s no time. Ahem. Mr. Steele will MAKE time.


“Remington Steele never shows up wrinkled.”


Frustrated Laura appeals to heaven for patience.

Laura is not at her most sympathetic here. I get that she’s frustrated about the case, but her cavalier attitude toward Steele’s injuries, and lack of appreciation for his having uncovered some pretty vital clues, is off-putting. I’m a little surprised at how easily the baddie sneaked up on Steele in the hotel. You’d think a jewel thief would be a little more aware of potential threats. We seem to be back to the familiar Laura/Murphy vs. Steele dynamic here. I wonder if this episode was meant to precede “Thou Shalt Not Steele”? Or is there another explanation for the step backward in Laura and Steele’s relationship?














Filed under Season 1

Steele Belted – 3

As Mr. Steele prepares to make his move back at the office, we see Miss Holt doing the legwork on her case …


She strides purposefully into what we soon learn is a hotel.


Looks like a plush place!


At the front desk, Laura asks for the room number of one Buddy Shapiro. (Where have we heard that name before?) The hotel guy says no dice; they don’t hand out that information.


“Then could you get him on the phone?”

Nope. He’s not taking calls.


Laura presents her card. “I represent the Remington Steele Agency.”


“Glad to see you’re keeping busy,” he smirks. What a smug little toad. Mr. Toad tells Laura she can leave a message for her client.

She declines. Time for Plan B.


Laura stops by the in-lobby florist. She’d like to send a bouquet to one of their guests.  Clever Laura is clever!


Detective Holt follows a kid in a high school band uniform carrying the box of flowers.


The kid’s a little lax on security, as Laura easily sneaks in the door behind him.  Is this the same hotel that Meecham was staying at in “Tempered Steele”?


Hm. The doors are rather distinctive. Anyway …


Laura walks past the kid at the door, then stops and loiters while delivery boy knocks. Seriously, this youngster must be some kind of stoner not to notice her lurking in plain sight. Or more probably, he just doesn’t care.


A kind of skeevy looking guy answers the door. He is wearing a “Kowalski” undershirt.

Here are some other guys who wear this look better:



Laura makes her presence known.  “I hope you like them, Mr. Shapiro. They cost the agency $45.” (That does seem high in 1982 dollars.)


“How’d you find me here?” a mystified Shapiro wants to know. Laura reminds him, it’s what she does for a living.


The scene cuts to sharp-chinned Barry Van Dyke, on the phone in the hotel room.


And here he is as a cowboy! Or a member of the Village People. It’s hard to tell.  (Note: Barry doesn’t wear an undershirt.)


Laura greets Barry as “Mr. Phillips.” They seem to be acquainted.


Barry tells Shapiro his plane leaves for Rio at 8:15. Laura looks askance at this news.


“You’re his lawyer!” Laura says. “Can’t you talk some sense into him?”


Shapiro’s just spent 18 months in the slammer; he ain’t goin’ back.


Shapiro concedes he doesn’t want to spend the rest of his life on the run. He’s got season tickets to the Dodgers. But … “Honey, I’m an ex-con. No matter how rehabilitated I am, when you boil away the chicken fat, that’s what’s left.”

That’s pretty … profound?


Shapiro laments that everybody – the cops, the D.A., even the guy on the street – thinks he’s guilty. (Guilty of WHAT?)


What ootzes (?) Shapiro the most is that anybody would think he’d deal in hot coins, when he was sent up for stock manipulation! (Ah. Now we know what he’s supposedly guilty of.)


“You bought those coins from James Rubio,” Laura reminds him. Once the Steele Agency smokes him out, Shapiro’s in the clear! Apparently Laura and Murph have been working this case for three weeks, and Shapiro’s tired of waiting. “We think he’s in San Francisco,” Laura says.


“Wonderful,” Shapiro notes. “If he shows up, give me a jingle … in Brazil.”

 Not much to say about this very exposition-heavy scene. I did enjoy seeing a bit of how Laura works a case, and the tricks of her trade – she is no stranger to sneaky tactics, no matter how she frowns at Mr. Steele’s methods. One also gets the impression that none of the men Laura encounters in this scene have much respect for her; they all just kind of blow her off. Shapiro even calls her “honey.” Miss Holt really does have an uphill battle in a profession dominated by men. Your thoughts?










Filed under Season 1

Steele Belted – 2

Our next scene opens on what is presumably the morning after …


Mr. Steele strides purposefully down the corridor toward the office.


Inside the plush confines of Remington Steele Investigations, Bernice is opening today’s mail. It seems to be a busy day at the office.


Steele enters, giving a one-fingered salute (no, not THAT kind) to a cowboy.


He is instantly surrounded by clamoring clients! The Steele agency’s fortunes seem to be looking up!


Mr. Steele calmly directs the crowd …


… into his office. Man, is he a skinny guy.


After securing the mob inside his office, Steele directs Bernice to wait five minutes, “then tell them I was summoned to an urgent meeting with the police commissioner.”


Sometimes I get the sense Bernice isn’t entirely happy in her work.


In Laura’s lavender office (which also seems to be the file room), she is explaining to someone that Buddy Shapiro disappeared, two days ago.

randomalertBuddy is an unusual name, but there are a few famous ones:



Steele starts to tell Laura that someone broke into his apartment, but she waves him off. She’s working here!


As Laura continues her conversation with what turns out to be Murphy, Steele petulantly begins to whistle an (un)happy tune.


Laura tells Murphy his lead sounds promising … what she can hear of it.


Steele continues to whistle, about as tunelessly as he sings.


Laura says she has a lead on where he (Shapiro, presumably) might be staying. She’ll follow it up, “as soon as I get rid of some of the clutter in the office.” Ouch!


After she finally hangs up, Steele has serious business to discuss: “My apartment was ransacked last night.” He tells her nothing was taken, though he has a very fine collection of pre-Columbian art, not to mention an extensive collection of Impressionist paintings … (Hm. Wonder if he stole these pieces, or bought them with Laura’s money?)


Perhaps not wanting to become an accessory to any crimes, Laura tells him to skip the inventory. Steele tells Laura the intruder was obviously searching for a piece of information he thinks Steele has.


“You don’t have any information,” Laura points out, a little cruelly.

“He doesn’t know that,” Steele insists.


“Perhaps the files will give us a clue to what he was after,” Steele suggests, beginning to rifle through Laura’s drawers.


Some of those files contain sheet music! A clue, or has Laura been practicing her glee club repertoire on company time again?

Laura points out that they’re not working on anything that requires ransacking.


“The sanctity of my home has been violated. Some pervert pranced through my personal possessions!” I love that Steele genuinely feels like the apartment is his “home,” not just a temporary abode he’s enjoying until the next stop on his world tour.


Laura is unconcerned by Steele concern. “Probably someone from your sordid past,” she suggests. “Or a jealous husband, perhaps.” Oh ho! Is that the crux of Laura’s rather cool attitude this morning? Did she know he had a date last night?


Mr. Steele’s rather bemused expression suggests he might be thinking the same thing. Is it LAURA who’s the jealous one?

In any case, Laura can’t hang around and discuss it further; she has a client to meet. She leaves, and Steele goes into his office …


… apparently forgetting he left a crowd in there. What a diverse clientele the agency attracts!


Steele extends his apologies; he’s just been summoned to an urgent meeting with … er …

“The police commissioner,” Bernice supplies.

Incidentally, who is the tiny man in the cowboy hat?


Could it be impish Grand Ole Opry star Little Jimmy Dickens? Let’s say it is!


After ushering the parade of clients out into the lobby again, Mr. Steele asks Bernice for a spare key to Laura’s files; he seems to have misplaced his. Bernice reminds him he never HAD a key.


Steele … appreciates? … Bernice’s attention to detail. She tells him there’s a call for him on line 6. (The office has six lines? That seems excessive.) Steele tells her to take his name and number.


“He won’t leave a name and number,” she says, adding that he’s been calling every day for two weeks, refusing to speak to anyone but Steele, and it’s driving her bananas. (Hm. Does this suggest that Steele hasn’t been to the office for a couple of weeks, or that Bernice has just been putting off the caller, knowing Laura wouldn’t want him to speak to Steele?)


“Thank you, Miss Wolf. You’ve done your usual bang-up job,” Steele dismisses her.


Bernice gives him a parting smirk.

Steele answers the phone.


It’s Loitering Guy! And he’s wearing … spats? That’s a bold fashion statement! He identifies himself as Waldo Church, the man from last night.


“Are you the one who went through  my apartment?”


“Of course not. That was Rubio. He was after the bill of sale, but I still have it.”


“I can prove Shapiro’s innocent!”  Hmm. Shapiro … wasn’t that the person Laura was talking about? The one who disappeared two days ago? What an unbelievable coincidence!


“Who?” Steele demands.


“He’s trying to kill me, Mr. Steele.”






Mr. Steele is having a little trouble following all this. (He also needs a haircut.) He asks Waldo where he is.


There’s Waldo!

The OTHER Waldo informs Steele that he’s at the Hotel Saracen in Eagle Rock.

funfacticonEagle Rock is a neighborhood in northeast Los Angeles. It’s named for a rocky outcropping of the same name. Here it is!



Mr. Steele discovers a problem: He doesn’t have a pencil with which to write down the address.



He is forced to use the very high-tech intercom to ask Bernice for help.


She cheerfully obliges.


Mr. Steele is … grateful? But there’s a new problem – no paper.


Fortunately, our detective is a resourceful man. He simply writes the address on the desktop. Brilliant! Now how are you going to wrestle the desk into the limo, Mr. Steele?

Well, it looks as though Mr. Steele is about to embark on a case on his own, without informing Laura. Something tells me that won’t end well. Laura’s coolness toward Steele, and her lack of interest in the fact that his apartment’s been ransacked – an apartment and furnishings paid for by the agency – is curious. Her demeanor is at odds with the warmth we saw at the close of the previous episode. Did Laura decide she’d tipped her hand too much, let Steele have too much control, during that case? Or has he done something else to earn her disapproval?


Filed under Season 1

Steele Belted – 1

Buckle up for our next exciting adventure, Steele Belted!

funfacticon Steel-belted tires have a steel wire mesh between the tread and body ply of a tire. They are more durable, but offer a rougher ride, than tires without this feature. It will be interesting to see how the title of this episode relates!


We open on a close up of a gloved hand/ID braceleted wrist/leather-clad arm doing bad things to the back of a painting.


Behind the episode’s title card, we see that much damage is being done. Tell me it’s not the Five Nudes of Cairo again!


We finally see the perpetrator: a bearded fellow wearing a suede hat – it features a jaunty little green feather in the band. I guess that’s what all the best-dressed cat burglars were wearing in 1982!


It becomes apparent that we are in Mr. Steele’s swank penthouse (that chandelier gives it away). While Bad Guy starts destroying the best china, we discover that Andrew Bloch is a guest star on tonight’s episode.

behindthescenesandybloch Andrew Bloch has had a long career as a character actor, guest starring in series ranging from MASH to Barney Miller to Designing Women. According to imdb, he is best known for his work in “Jason Goes to Hell.” He continues to act and is also an acting coach in Los Angeles.


Bad guy has just about emptied Mr. Steele’s armoire. Meanwhile, we’re informed of another guest star.

behindthescenesThe ruggedly handsome son of icon Dick Van Dyke, Barry has often worked with his Dad, most notably on the long-running series Diagnosis: Murder. In 1986, Stephanie Zimbalist guest-starred on that show (along with Philip Casnoff, our old pal Ben Pearson from “License to Steele.” What a small world Hollywood is!)

brosnanvandykeLast summer Pierce Brosnan was photographed chatting with Barry at an exhibition of Barry’s son’s art in Malibu. Perhaps they were reminiscing about this episode?


Meanwhile, the agency limo pulls up outside Steele’s apartment. And Raymond Singer is another guest star.


Steele and a woman get out of the limo, which Steele waves away; we see that Ilene Graff, best known as the mom on Mr. Belvedere, is also in this episode.


En route to the apartment, Steele pauses to point something out to his companion. I wonder what?


Back in Steele’s apartment, it’s becoming apparent that this fellow isn’t part of the housekeeping staff.


He picks up some light reading from Steele’s coffee table. It seems our detective subscribes to The Saturday Evening Post!

funfacticon The Saturday Evening Post was founded in 1821 and was once the most widely circulated magazine in America. It’s particularly known for the cover illustrations by Norman Rockwell. The magazine ceased publication in 1969, but was revived in early 1982. This is the May 1982 issue, which featured an article titled, “Tom Selleck: Modest Man of Magnum.”


Just then bad guy hears laughter in the hallway. Someone’s coming!


He makes a quick getaway out the door to the balcony.


Mr. Steele and his date enter. Oh, ficus plant. You’ll come to be a beloved member of the cast.

“Did they take anything?” the woman asks.

“How can you tell?” responds a perturbed Mr. Steele.


The lady isn’t bothered by the mess. “We musn’t let this put a damper on the evening,” she insists.


Steele seems to have lost interest.


“Why don’t we check the bedroom?” The lady is persistent!


Mr. Steele puts his sleuthing skills to use as he peers around the balcony door.


What’s this? Someone loitering down on the street!


He sees Steele looking at him and gives a little wave.


“I can see all this has made you a little tense,” the lady says. By the way, she’s a little tense herself!


“Why don’t just untense one another,” she suggests. (Have a little self respect, girl! Haven’t you ever heard of playing hard to get?)


Steele is in a hurry – and not to get to the bedroom!

The lady isn’t going to let him get away without a fight: “Then, we’re all relaxed, we can view this in a calm and rational …”


(Steele returns and gives her the old “just a sec” sign)

“… way,” the lady says, as the door slams behind Steele.


Meanwhile, we see someone shimmying down the fire escape.


The loitering guy sees him.


More shimmying.


Loitering Guy decides discretion is the better part of valor and hits the road.


He is pursued by Shimmying Man, looking dapper (?) in his leather jacket and suede hat.


Steele appears in the doorway, his hair billowing. We see that the name of his building appears to be the Savoy Plaza.


Steele strikes his favorite heroic pose. But it’s too late; the bad guy and loitering man have vanished.


The scene ends, inexplicably, on a shot of the sign for the Christian Science Center. Are they this week’s sponsor?

Well, quite an action-packed opening, no? There is some seriously disturbing stuff here – and by that I mean, who is this chick Steele is bringing back to his place for nookie instead of Laura? She certainly is direct in what she wants, perhaps a refreshing change for Steele from Laura’s ambivalence. Still, one can’t help but be a little disappointed. You’ll never win Laura’s heart that way, Mr. Steele! I’m not sure the Bad Guy is an experienced cat burglar; he doesn’t really dress the part. What do you suppose he was looking for in Steele’s apartment? And who’s going to pick up that mess? Stay tuned!


Filed under Uncategorized

Thou Shalt Not Steele – 19

And here we are at the end of another exciting episode!


We open on a shot of a big old urn and a voiceover from Coxworth: “If Miss Holt doesn’t have it, and you don’t have it, where is the painting?”


“In the museum, where it belongs,” Steele tells him.


He starts to handle the art, which seems to alarm Laura a bit. The agency is already in enough trouble!


Aha! Steele cleverly concealed the painting inside the urn! (When?)


Coxworth examines the merchandise. Yep, it’s the naked ladies, all right!


Coxworth hands the canvas over the Head Security Guy, who inexplicably seems to have retained his job. “Quickly! Get this into its frame. There’s still a chance we could make the opening!”


Steele gives the disgruntled guy a little toodle-oo as he goes off to reinstall the painting in its frame (Are security personnel trained as art curators?) Now Coxworth wants to know why they didn’t just tell him where the painting was hidden.


“Too risky,” Steele explains. “Gutman had to believe the painting was in our possession, or he would never have come forward.”


“For you to capture him,” Coxworth assumes. But Steele gallantly demurs.


“Actually, Miss Holt was responsible for that. I was indisposed at the time.” Technically true, I suppose: Laura did knock Gutman through the wall while Steele was hanging by his hands. Still, Mr. Steele downplays his role here.


Coxworth has the grace to apologize to Laura for being so hard on her at the police station. Then, citing several million things to be done (like hiring a new curator. And assistant curator. And security team.), Coxworth dashes away.


Looks like Laura is feeling a little sheepish, too. “I’m afraid I’ve been a bit hard on someone myself,” she concedes.


“Nonsense!” Steele assures her. “Your mother’s a strong woman. She’ll get over it.”

Droll, Mr. Steele. Very droll.


“You could have kept the painting and disappeared. What made you decide to leave it in the museum?”


“You’re not serious!” Steele answers. “I don’t want the Five Nudes of Cairo. The painting’s got a bloody curse on it!”


Cue the sprightly incidental music and roll the credits!

For me, a key theme in this episode (as it will be throughout the series) is the concept of identity. We are all different people, depending on whom we’re interacting with. Laura has a professional identity that is confident, determined and controlled – but that identity was challenged in this episode by her anxiety about Steele’s motives. Laura’s identity as a daughter, a role that is much more problematic and uncomfortable for her, is on display here. As cool as Laura is under normal circumstances, we see that she is vulnerable and self-doubting in the presence of her mother. Though she’s distanced herself from Abigail to pursue her own path, Laura desperately craves mom’s approval. We see Laura’s own worries about her life and future reflected in Abigail’s disapproval.

Mr. Steele, whose entire life has been about shifting identities, finds two of his in conflict. He is reminded of who he used to be by Felicia. On the other hand, he has established himself in this new role as the upstanding citizen and brilliant detective hero. I think it’s interesting that Steele doesn’t seem at all tempted by Felicia and her implied invitation to return to his old life; we see that Mr. Steele has staked a genuine claim to this new identity, and intends to keep it.

We also see some subtle shifting in Steele and Laura’s identities in relationship to one another. Laura is willing to open herself up emotionally to this man, even to take great risks for him. And Steele shows himself determined to be the kind of man Laura wants her Mr. Steele to be. They are good for each other.

Final thoughts?

Next up, Steele Belted!


Filed under Season 1

Thou Shalt Not Steele – 18

We left Mr. Steele hanging around in a warehouse. But here comes the cavalry!


Laura’s little Rabbit pulls up outside 7249 Hammond Street.


Felicia seems to have come along for the ride. She’s put a red jacket over her hideous blouse.


The ladies bond while searching for Steele. Felicia thinks it’s sweet that Laura has employed her mom! (Laura has changed into a conservative, business-like suit.)


The two gals round stacks of boxes and barrels … surprise!


Mr. Steele being seen in public without his suit jacket? This must be serious!


The ladies are alarmed!


They race to the rescue …


“Ah, Laura! Felicia!” he greets them. (He actually says “Laura” as he’s looking down at Felicia. Freudian slip?)


“For a moment we thought you …” Felicia begins.


“Just resting, actually,” he says with Bondlike coolness. (And can I just say his anti-perspirant is amazingly effective!)


Uh, oh. It’s Gutman … and now he’s a Gunman! He’s glad the ladies could join them. “You brought the others with you, I trust.”

Okay, it took me an unreasonably long time to figure out he was referring to the Nudes of Cairo. Can’t anybody just call this thing a painting?


Back at Remington Steele Investigations, Abigail seems to be settling into her new role. It’s Laura on the line, apparently wondering if Bernice and Murphy are back yet. They’re not.


At Laura’s prompting, Abigail enters Steele’s office …


… and heads for the couch and Mr. Steele’s reverent homage to himself. I’ve always gotten a kick out of these photos. Steele at the firing range! Steele throwing out the first ball at the stadium! Steele and the ballerina! Steele at the piano! What a Renaissance Man.


Abigail fishes behind the couch and retrieves a tube that presumably contains the naked ladies.


“Yes, dear, I found it. What should I do now?”

Meanwhile, back in the warehouse …


Felicia is waxing nostalgic with a gently swaying Mr. Steele. I had no idea he was a swinger!


Oh, behave! (I’m incorrigible!)

“I’ll miss you feeding me strawberries on the Riviera, wild drives with the top down along the Autobahn …” Felicia sighs.  She gives Laura smug look: “He’s shown you his mastery of the Tibetan massage, hasn’t he?”


“Not recently.”


So Tibetan massage is a real thing. Doesn’t look that erotic to me. Different strokes! (Literally.)


“There’s no point trying to make Miss Holt jealous, Felicia. Ours is a strictly professional relationship.,” Steele insists.  Felicia ain’t buyin’ it … but she says she’ll keep their secret. Just then we hear Abigail calling from a distance.


“Mother, don’t come any further!” Laura calls. “Just leave the painting and leave!”

Too late.


Gutman grabs Abigail and roughs her up. Cad!


The scoundrel flings Abigail across the room into Laura’s arms.


“I’m so sorry you had to get dragged into this,” Laura apologizes. It’s interesting that Laura and her mother are dressed quite a lot alike here.


Gutman has unwrapped the canvas. Looks like the nudes were painted using invisible ink.


Gutman doesn’t find the joke funny. Meanwhile, Stakovsky is apparently so bored with the proceedings that he’s put the gun to his own head.

oopssmileySmall continuity error here. The shot cuts from the view of all the players, where we see Stakovsky holding the gun on the hostages, to a close up of Gutman, where we see Stakovsky holding the gun up


Anyway, Gutman tells Stakovsky he can go ahead and kill whichever one he wants, in order to get Steele to give up the painting.


Looks like Stakovsky was only half cocked.


Abigail finds this all very upsetting.


In fact, she collapses with an asthma attack!


“You don’t expect us to fall for that twice?” Gutman sneers.


“SHE’S NOT FAKING! SHE NEEDS HER INHALER!” Laura shouts. She is really distraught!


Desperate to help her mom, Laura makes a break for it.


Foiled! Gutman grabs her and throws her back.

Big mistake.


Laura’s had enough. “You son of a –“



Laura slugs Gutman with her purse, sending him tumbling backward, where his heft carries him …


… right through a plywood wall!


Steele takes advantage of the distraction to put Stakovsky into a headlock, knocking the gun from his hand.


It skids across the floor …


… and is immediately snapped up by Felicia. Meanwhile, in the background, Mr. Gutman is apparently dead.


Steele is still in hand-to-hand – or rather hand-to-thigh combat with Stakovsky. “I wouldn’t resist further, gentlemen,” he says, apparently not having noticed that Gutman is deceased. “Felicia is a rather good shot.”


Felicia pivots to cover Gutman, who remains glassy-eyed and slack-mouthed. Pretty sure Strakovsky is the bigger threat here, Felicia.


Laura races to retrieve her mom’s purse. Look, even their purses match.


As Abigail uses her inhaler, a badly shaken Laura repeats, “Oh, Mother, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry, I’m sorry …”


Abigail pulls Laura into a hug. “Don’t be, darling,” she says. “It’s all right. Now I know what you really do!”

I find the dynamics between the characters very interesting in this scene. First there is Laura/Felicia. Again we see Laura in serious, professional mode, while Felicia is flashy in her red jacket. Although Felicia is ahead of Laura as they walk through the warehouse, Laura takes the lead  when they discover Steele hanging. When they get to Steele, Laura immediately reaches upward, looking for a way to release him, while Felicia turns Steele to face her – she wants to be the focus of his attention. (It’s not clear to me whether Felicia knew this was Gutman’s lair and expected to come upon a scene much like this; perhaps that’s why she hung behind Laura.)

Then we see Felicia/Steele. Felicia seems unconcerned for her paramour’s plight, only lamenting what SHE stands to lose when the bad guys kill him. Steele, for his part, seems mildly disgusted. Felicia wants to rub her previous intimacy in Laura’s face with the Tibetan massage crack. Steele’s rejoinder that Felicia is wasting her time trying to make Laura jealous is interesting; he gives her several looks as he says it, as if to gauge her response.

The dynamic between Laura and her mother is the most interesting, in my opinion. We see that Laura has changed into an outfit her mother would surely approve of – it’s modest, sensible and almost matronly. Was Laura trying to convince her mother that she wasn’t wild and irresponsible after the break-in debacle? Despite the tension between them, we see that Laura cares very much about her mother, and what her mom thinks of her. She is as distraught as we ever see her when Abigail is in the midst of her asthma attack, and afterwards sounds like a little girl pleading with her mommy to forgive her. I’d like to believe Abigail’s affectionate reassurance at the end of the scene marks a turning point in their relationship, but a small piece of me wonders if Abigail’s tenderness wasn’t prompted by Laura’s vulnerability.

I look forward to your thoughts on this scene. Next up, the tag!



Filed under Season 1

Thou Shalt Not Steele – 17

As Laura is stewing over Steele, the man himself is in a phone booth.


Steele is evidently on the phone with LAPD. He tells them to proceed at once to the address he gave them to find the murderer of Ahmed Khalil. The killer’s name is Gutman. His car is a silver four-door of the German persuasion. When they search the car, they’ll find Khalil’s personal effects, and perhaps the murder weapon.


Leaving the phone booth Steele proceeds to Das Auto, conveniently parked across the street from the phone booth. He starts to plant the evidence (which seems to be Khalil’s purse?) …


… when he is rudely interrupted by a man with a gun and rather fetching gold bracelet. Steele plays dumb: he says he thought it was his car.


Hey, look! It’s Elevator Guy. The credits identify him as “Stakovsky.” Anyway, he ain’t buyin’ Steele’s story.


Just then his boss Gutman appears. He reminds Steele that he (Steele) called him (Gutman) and promised to give him the painting, but Gutman has been to Steele’s apartment and didn’t find the painting there. What gives?

dizzy-smiley-emoticonHm. I’m not sure I’m following this. So sometime during the night Steele phone Gutman (presumably having gotten his phone number/address from Felicia) and told him to meet him at his apartment, where he’d turn over the painting. But instead he came to Gutman’s place and waited until morning to try to plant the evidence in Gutman’s car? Whatever.

Gutman tells Steele they’re going to have a chat in a quieter place. He asks the detective to drive.


Steele would rather walk, but he’s flexible. Meanwhile …


… Laura and her mother have returned to the office. Abigail is worried about what Mr. Steele will think of his employee being a jailbird.


Laura’s gone into “ignore mom” mode. She asks Bernice if Murph is still out looking for Steele. Yep. And there’s someone from the museum here to see Laura.


She seems delighted!


Bernice is on her way to Steele’s apartment to see if he’s there. Laura tells her to check in every hour. Bernice can read the handwriting on the wall.


“If we don’t find him, that’s it for us, isn’t it?”


“You think he’s gone for good too?” Bernice says she’s not worried about herself – she only has a job to lose … the clear implication is that Laura stands to lose a lot more. Meanwhile, in Mr. Steele’s office …


… Felicia is drinking Kool-Aid? Sherry? Cranberry juice? Anyway, she’s tippling.


“Miss Simone!” Laura says. “Or should I call you Felicia?”


Felicia notes that Steele has obviously told Laura everything.

CRIMEOFFASHIONIs it just me, or is that a seriously ugly outfit Felicia is wearing?


Laura concedes that Mr. Steele hasn’t told her EVERYTHING.


Felicia says she was looking for a blue ribbon cat fight, “but now there hardly seems much point in all that scratching and spitting.”


I don’t know … I’d kind of like to see it.

Felicia says she only blackmailed Steele because she needed his help to steal the painting; she would never have exposed him.

brosnan speedo

Let me take care of that for you, Felicia.


“You mean as Michael O’Leary,” Laura says.


“Oh, that’s not his REAL name,” Felicia teases.


Laura seems … interested in this information. “You know what it is?”


Nope. Apparently nobody does. “But if across some satin pillow he should tell you, I’ll expect a telegram. That much you can let me have,” Felicia says. (Not clear why Laura’s under any obligation to give this chick anything.)


“I don’t think you understand,” Laura demurs. “Ours is a pure-“


Felicia ain’t buyin’ it. “He stood me up to steal the painting with you.” Felicia is surprised; Laura doesn’t strike her as the guy’s type.”


“Me neither,” Laura acknowledges. Is she disappointed?

Meanwhile, back in the lobby …


… Abigail is making herself useful by manning the phones.


Mr. Steele on line 1! He seems … a bit turned around.


You might want to suggest Stakovsky keep his distance, Mr. Steele.


Mr. Steele is just hanging around, hoping to talk to Laura. Abigail tells him she’s in a meeting.


“Interrupt her.” (Kudos to Brosnan for this scene, which must have been genuinely uncomfortable.)


Abigail takes this opportunity to try to explain about Laura being in jail. She meant well! Mrs. Holt hopes Laura’s boss won’t be upset.


I’m afraid he’s already upset, Abigail. Mrs. Holt asks Steele if he knows how to work the phone system; what button should she push?


Gutman has had enough of the chitchat. He tells Steele to tell Abigail to bring the painting to 7249 Hammond Street.


Here is Hammond Street in Los Angeles!


Abigail is confused. Steele tries to tell her to warn Laura …


“You’ve already been clever enough for one day, Steele,” Gutman says. “Or are you in a rush to join Achmed Khalil?” He explains that Khalil had discovered Felicia wasn’t who she said she was and threatened to report her to the authorities. They couldn’t let him do that. (I wonder if Felicia knew about Khalil’s murder?)


Steele would love to continue this conversation … right side up.

For me, the most interesting part of this segment is the interaction between Laura and Felicia. They certainly played up the difference between them here: Laura is still relatively makeup free, looking very natural and a little vulnerable, while Felicia is made up to the gills and projects an attitude of casual insouciance. I wonder if she really is as indifferent to “Michael’s” relationship with Laura as she appears? It’s interesting that Steele has been operating solo since last night, trying to engineer the capture of Gutman on his own. Is it because he wants to prove to Laura he can do it – and that he was working in the service of the agency all along? Or is he reluctant to further involve her in a situation that is growing more dangerous by the minute? 


Filed under Season 1

Thou Shalt Not Steele – 16

When last we saw Laura, she was being hauled off by Nameless Museum’s dedicated security staff, while Mr. Steele high-tailed it.


We next see Laura in the custody of an even more brutal oppressor: her mother! Apparently Laura used her one phone call to ask mom to bail her out. Not Murphy? Not Bernice? Not some random stranger? Any would probably have been preferable in this situation. Abigail tells Laura she fed the fish, picked up some groceries and listened to her answering machine messages.


“Mother!” Laura exclaims, “I just spent the night in jail!”


Abigail is aware of that fact! “That would have been all right in the 60s. Everyone’s children went to jail in the 60s.”


“My timing is lousy!”


“Are you all right?” a rattled Abigail wants to know. She’s read about women in prison!


Like this one?


Laura seems shocked by her mother’s insinuation! Just then …


… Good old Murphy arrives on the scene.


Um … what’s going on with his crotch here? Anyway …


Murphy apologizes for not getting there sooner; he’s spent the night looking for …

air quotes



“This someone you’re looking for … you don’t mean?”


Oh, yeah. He means. “I told you this was going to happen. He set us up.” Murphy seems rather too pleased that his boss has been humiliated and their livelihood placed in jeopardy.


“There might still be a good explanation,” Laura protests weakly.

Murph wants to know why she’s protecting him.


“Just what exactly went on in there last night?” Murphy demands.

“Oh, you know about women in prison, too!” Abigail contributes.


Like this?


Just then Edward Coxworth (remember him?) appears. He’s disappointed in the Remington Steele agency’s services.


Laura assures her client that there’s a goo- a VERY good explanation!


Coxworth ain’t buyin’ it. “My curator has been murdered, a painting worth several million dollars has disappeared and the exhibit around it is set to open in a few hours.”

Laura’s reassurances that the agency is going everything in its power fail to sway the museum bigwig. “What your actions lack in competence they may yet make up for in being criminal!”


Abigail takes exception to the man’s characterization of Laura as incompetent. “How dare you talk to her like that! Laura may have her faults, but she is not incompetent! She is an intelligent and capable young woman …”


Well, it’s about time! Curiously, Laura doesn’t seem pleased by her mother’s belated support.


“MOTHER, PLEASE!” she shrieks.


Abigail is disappointed by Laura’s tone.


Laura suggests that Coxworth reserve judgment “until Mr. Steele personally (sob) can present us with all the facts.”

One has to feel for Laura here. She’s stuck her neck out a long ways for Mr. Steele, and it seems her trust has been betrayed. Yet she continues to defend him and give him the benefit of the doubt. It’s hard to see Laura, normally so controlled and strong, trying desperately to maintain her composure here. You better have a darned good excuse, Mr. Steele! I do wonder about Murphy’s actions. Did he see Laura being hauled out of the museum and tossed in the paddy wagon? Or did he see Steele, disguised as a guard, exit the museum sans Laura? Or did he just sit in the back of the museum, with his big engine running, until he decided something must have happened?


Filed under Season 1

Thou Shalt Not Steele – 15

We’re still in the museum, and Steele and Laura are still in hiding. Laura asks Steele to promise her one thing:


“Never tell my mother about this.”

Just then we hear a voice shouting in the distance: “Hey, Flip! Come here, get a look at these!”

Well, there’s your problem right there:


Would you hire this guy to handle security?


Steele informs Laura it’s time they parted company.




He explains he’s only guessing on the security system around the painting; if he trips the alarm, he’ll need her in another wing as a diversion.


Laura argues that he’ll need help getting around the security system.


Mr. Steele finds this … amusing? Painful? Sexy? (There goes Pierce, showing off those $5,000 teeth again.) Steele tells her the alarm is probably heat sensitive, so two warm bodies will only set it off sooner.


“I really think we should stay together.”


“You almost sound as if you didn’t trust me.” Guess the heart-to-heart portion of the evening is over.


Mr. Steele slinks away, leaving Laura to fend for herself.


Oh, Mr. Steele.

Meanwhile, back in the well-appointed confines of Chief Security Guy’s office …


… the man himself is trying to convince his superiors he’s not drunk.


The rest of the guys will back him up! Let’s assume that standing around playing with the toys is all part of some cunning plan to thwart the evil doers. Meanwhile …


Steele sneaks into the gallery. Aw, he looks all Joe College with that backpack.


There’s the nekkid ladies. “Hello again, my lovelies,” Steele says. I don’t know; they’re okay, but some of those girls are a little hippy.


Steele unpacks a fire extinguisher from his magical bag. Safety first – he might spontaneously combust!


Next comes a … WaterPic? Well, that’s random.


Oh, it’s a Geiger counter thingy. Or at least it makes a crackling noise.


Mr. Steele sprays extinguisher foam along the path of his contraption’s crackly sound. (I’m sorry, is this getting too technical?)


He finally reaches the paintings. He tells them to cover up, so they don’t catch a chill. He’s so gallant! So considerate of the ladies …


Oh, wait.

There’s Laura, still hiding. And she seems to have urped up her cognac all over the marble table. Embarrassing!


Laura makes her move (perhaps looking for the ladies’ room).


Meanwhile, Steele is still yammering on to the nekkid ladies as he cuts them out of their frame: “I was always a cut above the rest, don’t you think?”

funfacticonPierce Brosnan has said he hated all the corny puns and one-liners he had to utter as James Bond. Guess this was good practice for you, Pierce.


Meanwhile, Laura is making her way somewhere, not very stealthily. More like sauntering. Or moseying.


Back to Steele, who has rolled up the painting.

randomalertHey, this reminds me of that episode of the Brady Bunch where Mr. Brady lost his super-important architectural drawings in the amusement park. Remember?


Perhaps feeling overdressed for the occasion, Mr. Steele removes his stylish cravat.


What ho! Turns out the neckwear is also a cunning fabric tube for storing stolen paintings. One of those versatile pieces that goes from office to evening seamlessly. Meanwhile, back in the security office …


Chief Security Guy is assuring his boss that of course he didn’t turn off the security system. ‘Cause that would just be STUPID.




Uh, oh! The laser beams are back, and Laura is in their crosshairs. Or something. Anyway, they make a big, scary noise.


The crack security team put down their toys and scramble into action!


Meanwhile, Mr. Steele seems to be having trouble with his jacket zipper.


Aha! Turns out he has a security guard uniform on under there. Did Laura know about this?


Speaking of Laura, she’s on the run …


… pursued by a couple of guys.


Back to Steele, who honestly looks more like a theatre usher than security guard. Where did he get the hat? (Magic backpack again.)


A guard bursts in. “They got the painting!” Security Steele shouts. “Follow them! They went thatta way!”


Head ’em off at the pass, Pilgrim!


Security guy goes one way, Security Steele goes the other. He flips up his collar as he leaves, because he’s THAT COOL.



What a coincidence! Security Steele runs into Laura. No time to chat!


They’re soon surrounded by other clowns security guys, who rough Laura up a little.


They start to drag Laura away, when Chief Security Guy glances back at Security Steele. “Hey, you! Go check the grounds. There might be another one!”


Security Steele hesitates. Will he really leave Laura to face the music alone?




I think Laura is a little disappointed in how their first date turned out.

So we see the uneasy alliance between Steele and Laura broken. Laura is understandably wary when he skips off to steal the painting without her. Steele is perhaps unreasonably irked by her distrust. We’re clearly meant to wonder whether Steele was indeed pulling a fast one. Certainly there were details of his plan that Laura wasn’t privy to. Whatever the reason, Mr. Steele letting a frightened, desperate Laura be dragged off alone was one of his least likable moments.


Filed under Season 1