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