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.
The 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.
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.
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.
“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?”
“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?