Thou Shalt Not Steele – 11

We’re back after a short hiatus! And things are tense at the offices of Remington Steele Investigations …


Laura enters, looking crisp and businesslike in a linen suit and matching purse. No hat today?


Bernice intercepts her, wanting to know if she’s aware of what’s going on. It seems their “titular head phoned me at 6:00 this morning …


… with a helluva shopping list. A hundred feet of nylon rope, six pounds of marbles …”


“A speargun!” Laura gasps. Murphy, looking unusually professional in a shirt and tie, grouses that Steele told him to go rent a dark station wagon with a big engine.

funfacticonThe station wagon, defined as “an automobile with one or more rows of folding or removable seats behind the driver and no luggage compartment but an area behind the seats into which suitcases, parcels, etc., can be loaded through a tailgate,” first became widely popular as a family car after World War II. It was for decades the quintessential “mom” car, reaching the zenith of its popularity in 1973, when 1.3 million were produced. They were eventually largely supplanted by SUVs and cross-over vehicles.

Here are some famous station wagons!

I think it’s safe to say Mr. Steele has never owned a station wagon.


Laura wants to know how Murphy is coming on background checks of museum employees.


He tells her they all check out so far. She wants him to dig deeper on the sexy curator, Ms. Simone. Also, she wants him to find out what he can about someone named Guttman. (I thought it was Guffman?)


“How long are you going to let this one go, Laura?” Murphy prods. (This suggests there have been other … indiscretions … in the past.)

She admits she doesn’t know.


In Mr. Steele’s office, the “titular head” is perusing a set of floorplans. Can we assume it’s the museum?


Laura approaches somewhat hesitantly, looking grim. “I’m troubled,” she says quietly.

BeardedSMiley Body language experts say holding ones hands clenched in front of you shows you are holding back a negative response. Alternately, hands folded in front of you are a sign of vulnerability. I think Laura’s probably dealing with a little of both, don’t you?

Steele tells her that she needn’t worry about the late-great Khalil: “The police found him this morning in a phone booth. Not far from where you live, actually.”

Well, there’s that taken care of. Sucks for Khalil, but apparently nobody will miss him. It’s possible to argue that this is yet another death indirectly attributable to Mr. Steele: this time through his association with Felicia.


She thanks him, but adds that it doesn’t alter the situation.

“What situation is that?” he inquires while continuing to scribble notes.


“I’m no longer sure our arrangement is in the best interest of this agency.”


That’s got Steele’s attention. “We’re close to that point, are we?”




Steele gets up from the desk. He wants to know if there’s any way back from the edge. Why does he get up and approach her? Is he hoping his physical proximity will fluster her? Charm her into backing down? Or does he move to the front of the desk to equalize the power positioning between them – removing himself from the Seat of Authority to indicate he recognizes she is really in charge (or at least on the same level as him)?


“You might try an explanation of your actions,” she says, stepping back to give him room to come around the desk.

protect agency

“Suppose I said I was only out to protect the good of the agency,” he counters.


“I wish I could believe that. Keep trying.” To me, it almost looks like Laura has tears in her eyes. Anyone else see that?


“How about, an old lover in desperate trouble has suddenly reappeared and is blackmailing me into criminal behavior?”

Those eyebrows look sincere to me!



Laura’s not as easily convinced as I am. “Maybe this was a bad idea,” she says, pacing.


“Are you really telling me the truth?”


“I think I’m trying,” he says. He sounds a little surprised himself!


She needs more than that. “Some statement or gesture that indicates you appreciate the gravity of this situation.”


“How about stealing the painting with me tonight?”

wasnt it

“That wasn’t it.”

In this scene we see Laura seriously conflicted. She’s aware of how far out on a limb she is putting herself and the agency by continuing to allow this man to be part of her life and business. She has no reason to trust him, and every cause to doubt him. Yet she is almost desperate to give him a chance to explain himself, prove that Murphy isn’t right. And Mr. Steele seems very interested in finding a way to do just that. I suspect in any other situation, this would be his cue to cut and run. Why not take Felicia up on her offer to return to the “good life” of crime?  Felicia would never demand he prove himself to her. Why does Laura’s opinion mean so much?


Filed under Season 1

12 responses to “Thou Shalt Not Steele – 11

  1. eaz35173

    That’s quite a list Mr. Steele gave Bernice!! Oh, and my parents had a station wagon while I was growing up. My brother, sister, and I would all fight to sit in the “back back”, as we called it, so we could wave to the drivers behind us!

    I also noticed that it looked like Laura had tears in her eyes. I think she is very frustrated, and like you said, she wants to believe him but has the agency to think about.

    Script Note …. There was a scene cut shortly before Laura enters Steele’s office. Steele was on the phone with Felicia. Here is the dialogue …

    … Tell me Felicia my pet, when you got into the room with the nudes, what exactly happened? … I see … I’m just working on that now … how does tomorrow night sound? … Yes, just like old times …


    So, it seems that according to the original script, Steele was planning on doing something with Felicia tomorrow night. BUT, he asks Laura to steele the painting with him TONIGHT! I wonder if this was his plan all along – to double cross Felicia, or since Laura came in, did he think of steeling the painting with her on the spur of the moment?

    I like to think that double crossing Felicia was his plan all along and that he was planning on inviting Laura on a little outing as part of that plan. I’m actually glad they cut that extra scene. It takes the doubt away, in my opinion.

  2. Interesting about the cut scene! It would certainly create a different spin to the next scene. I find Laura particularly sympathetic in this episode. She really is so torn, between her heart and her good sense. Mr. Steele isn’t making it any easier on her! Is he deliberately testing her faith in him?

  3. I am trying to put myself in Laura’s place as a business owner. First I am looking at exactly what Steele has done to incriminate himself. An almost dead man shows up at Laura’s home while he was there. Obviously he has nothing to do with that because he has been with Laura and her mother most evening. Second (this is in reverse order) Steele initially answered the door to let Laura in at his apartment, he was totally committed to going out with her and her mother. After when rotten-Felicia appears on the scene and Laura storms out, what does he do? He leaves with Laura’s mother and Laura finds him at her home when she escapes her kidnappers. That by itself should have told Laura that Felicia and Steele were not an item especially considering Felicia’s comments which indicated that they had not slept together yet. In fact her comments were such that she was interrupting Laura and Steele’s plans, not the other way around. Again Steele is innocent. The only incriminating evidence is the equipment order he gave Berniece.

    So when you add everything up Laura has no reason to think Steele is on the take. However she is afraid. Yet she still trusts him enough to ask him for reassurance with tears in her eyes. She does not want to lose him now and certainly not like this. He has no intention of leaving now either so he recognizes at this moment how committed Laura is to him and their arrangement and because of this decides to pull the phony heist with Laura instead of Felicia and leave Felicia hanging. It is easier this way because now he doesn’t have to figure out how to keep the nakked ladies painting out of Felicia’s greedy hands after stealing it.

    I think Steele is embarrassed that “his” con man is being conned via blackmail by an ex-lover. I would love to hear him explain to Laura why they need to steal the nekked ladies and her reaction to that.

    We had a station wagon too, a pale icy blue. So glad there was no wood panels on the side. Us kids used to fight to sit in the back too. Except me because the first time I did I got so car sick and dizzy I immedately switched and never sat in back again.

    Steele looks embarrassed when telling Laura about being blackmailed. I am sure that was unexpected for Laura which is why she asks if he is telling the truth.

  4. One thing I forgot to mention in my post: the comment from Bernice about Steele calling her at 6 am. We’ve been led to believe that Mr. Steele is a late riser, so this is a clue that when he’s really engaged in something, he’s willing to put in the long hours/do what it takes to get it done.

  5. steeleinterested

    Yes, I agree that the Laura in this episode allows us to feel with her more than in many episodes. And I don’t think he is intentionally testing her but…I suspect subconsciously he does have a need to know she will believe in him even when all evidence is to the contrary and perhaps believe even when he is uncertain about himself. I wonder if we looked if positive behavior follows when she takes a leap of faith and believes and more negative or neutral behavior follows when she doubts him or tries to reign him in?

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