We find ourselves now outside some kind of shop with an eclectic mix of cars in the parking lot.
Is it some kind of strip mall? Nope, it’s Rodeo Drive!
We see Murphy loitering next to a pole, checking his watch. Is it me, or does he have freakishly long hands?
The agency limo pulls up and Murphy gives his report: “Well, she’s practically bought out the entire street. She’s in there right now. Let’s go.” He’s a man of action, our Murph. But who is the “she” they’re talking about?
Oh, her. This is the chick from the boat photo, yes? Her hairstyle reminds me of Yeoman Janice Rand from the original Star Trek.
Here she is. I’m not sure that hairdo is entirely practical for work on a starship. Fortunately, our blond doesn’t work on a starship; she buys purses!
Apparently Murphy doesn’t meet the store’s dress code, so Steele and Laura enter without him. This environment is the stylish Mr. Steele’s milieu. “I’ll handle it,” he tells Laura.
“Mrs. Shapiro?” he opens. I’m not sure she’s glad to see him!
“I’m Remington Steele,” he continues.
“Perhaps you’ve heard of the Remington Steele Detective Agency?”
Something tells me she has!
Laura seems as concerned as the rest of us about possible damage to Mr. Steele’s face. You couldn’t have kicked him in the groin instead, Mrs. Shapiro?
As La femme Shapiro continues to pursue a still-smarting Steele, Laura and the sales clerk try to fend her off. The Boy Scout mannequin behind them does not offer assistance.
Laura manages to corral Mrs. S. Mr. Steele is still holding his wounded jaw. What, he’s never been hit by a woman before? I find that hard to believe. Meanwhile, the saleslady is appalled at the scene.
“Please! Please!” she protests. “You’re on Rodeo Drive!”
This gal reminds me of someone …
Oh, yeah. That’s where I’ve seen her before.
Laura attempts to soothe the agitated woman. “It’s all right, Mrs. Shapiro. No one wants to hurt you.”
Mrs.S. ain’t buyin’ it.
“I know you work for Buddy,” she declares, while offering Laura an opportunity to examine her tonsils. “So you go back and tell him to leave us alone!”
Laura informs the lady that they’re trying to locate Rubio. (Incidentally, the arrow there points to what we at my house refer to as “gaposis” – that awkward moment when your blouse strains at a button, creating an unsightly gap. It even happens to incredibly gorgeous actresses! That makes me glad.)
Mrs. Shapiro begins to rant through her perfect teeth: “James is innocent. But Buddy would do anything to ruin my life. Even accuse poor James of some dumb crime. All right, look, maybe he had a little bit of trouble in the past, but that’s all behind him now. We’re in LOVE! And that schmuck Buddy can’t stand the thought that I could be happy without him. Well I CAN. And AM!”
I think we can agree that Ilene Graf gives an understated, nuanced performance here, no?
Laura reminds the ex Mrs. Buddy that the cops are looking for Rubio, too, and he’ll be charged with murder unless they (the detectives) find him first.
Mrs. Shapiro seems curiously unmoved by her lover’s potential legal troubles.
“Can I ask you a question?” she inquires of Miss Holt. Laura says sure.
“Which one do you like better? The red or the pink?”
The pouty missus shoves the articles at Laura and stomps off.
I prefer the red!
Meanwhile, the wounded Steele is being ministered to by a couple of nurses-in-training. One of them is swapping at … nothing … above his eye.
As Mrs. Shapiro passes, Mr. Steele calls after, “Nice chatting with you!” That’s our Mr. Steele – even mortally injured, he maintains his joie de vivre!
Laura arrives to find Mr. Steele apparently more emotionally affected than he let on. Thank goodness he had that pocket handkerchief handy to mop away his tears.
“We’ll just have to stick with her. Eventually, she’s got to lead us to Rubio,” Laura remarks.
Suddenly there’s a scream from the parking lot. Steele and Laura race – well, mosey, actually – to see what’s going on.
Oh, dear. Looks like Rubio got tired to death of waiting for his girlfriend.
Mrs. Shapiro is taking it hard. “We were goin’ to Vegas! We were gonna get married! I was gonna wear taffeta! James!”
The sales ladies pull her gently away.
Laura, Murph and Steele survey the scene of the crime. Due to the corpse-eye view of the camera, we find ourselves gazing up at Mr. Steele’s … nether region. I think they call this the “money shot.” And look! Steele’s handkerchief is neatly back in his pocket.
Is that your hand in your pocket, Steele, or are you just happy to see dead Rubio? Oh. It really just is his hand in his pocket. My bad.
Steele squats next to the trunk and fondles the dead man’s digits. He notes that the dead man has his hands clenched into a fist. “The victim always clenches a piece of evidence that ultimately traps the murderer!”
“Hmmm,” he ponders as he reads Rubio’s palm. “He had a very long lifeline.”
In this scene we initially see Mr. Steele take charge – with disastrous results. His extreme reaction to being clobbered with a purse is an interesting contrast to his macho posturing of the previous scene. Once again poor Murphy is the outsider here – literally, in this case – as he does the tedious grunt work so that Steele can sweep up in the limo and make a grand entrance. So now we have two corpses and few clues to the culprit. I have to admit, this is only of the more neatly plotted episodes of the series. Your thoughts?