Monthly Archives: May 2014

Etched in Steele – 4

We left Laura hot and bothered and Steele bemused on their way to the publishing party.

rufflebottom

And they’ve arrived! As they’re shown in, we see Gomez at the bar, apparently getting sloshed and smoked next to a statue of a naked guy. In the background is a lady with feathers on her bodice and a ruffle at the bottom of her skirt. Really? Too much.

theyarrive

As Steele is divested of his jacket by a gloved butler (hot-blooded Laura apparently didn’t wear a coat), Laura pats her tummy. Hungry, or nervous? Her outfit is sparkly … but is it zipless?

bushbeating

Laura wants to know if Steele sees Forsythe; she’s anxious to get this over with.

“Laura, I do think we should wait for an opportune moment,” Steele stalls.

Miss Holt ain’t buyin’ it. “I just don’t want you beating around the bush.”

Steele is affronted. “Bush beating? ME?!”

Just then Mr. Forsythe calls to them. As he approaches, Steele reminds Laura that these people think SHE works for HIM.

forsythegreeting

“I see you took me up on my invitation,” Forsythe says. Does this mean you’re serious about my proposition?”

mostvalued

Steele makes the introductions: “Russell Forsyth, Laura Holt, my most valued associate AND an integral part of whatever arrangement we finally agree to.”

Agree to? Laura doesn’t know anything about “agree to.” It doesn’t matter; Forsythe isn’t here to talk business. He advises them to eat and get drunk so he can take advantage of them in later negotiations. Sounds reasonable to me.

Laura figures she’d better take matters in hand, and turns to follow Forsythe. Just then …

rudebump

Tipsy Gomez appears, bumping rudely into Laura. That’s no way to treat a lady!

thisisatreat

Gomez introduces himself to Steele, noting what a treat it is to meet them man his wife Charlotte reads about all the time.

marriedtocharlotte

“Are you married to Charlotte Knight?” Laura asks. Suddenly this party is looking more interesting!

manbehind

“The man behind the woman,” Gomez announces. Not what you expected, huh?” 

Before Laura has to respond to this awkward remark, Steele steps in.

womanbehindman

He introduces Laura as his associate, very much the woman behind the man.”

Laura is giddy with this brush with greatness. It’s a real pleasure, I’ve read all of -“

oops

Busted.

really

“Really?” Steele needles.

nobodyreads

Gomez tells Laura not to be embarrassed. Nobody admits to reading Charlotte’s books, but they sell 3 million copies.”

baffled

Steele and Laura aren’t quite sure what to make of this guy.

stepoutbalcony

Mysteriously, Gomez invites the detectives out onto the balcony with him.

suspicious

Hmm.

fingergesture

Gomez is persistent in his request.

theyfollow

Laura and Steele follow, though Mr. Steele isn’t too excited about it.

enjoytheview

Laura very much appreciates the view from 35 floors up, but Steele seems less impressed. Gomez isn’t excited about it, either.

idiotic

“Idiotic, living 35 floors up in Los Angeles, but Charlotte adores it,” he declares. (Why is it idiotic to live in a high rise in LA? Smog?)

The trio looks back at the party inside …

ladyinblue

… where Charlotte has made her appearance.

inspirational

She’s inspirational, isn’t she?” Gomez breathes. Sometimes I sit for hours just watching her move, the way her body rises and falls when she breathes, the way it glistens when she perspires.”  Oh, yeah. Sweat is sexy.

sweatypeople

See?

warmgreeting

We see Charlotte greeting a guest … warmly.

thegardener

“The man with her is Tony, our gardener,” Gomez explains. “Can’t let the lawn go when you’re 35 floors up!”

“Heh, heh, heh,” Steele and Laura respond uncomfortably.

notjealous

Good thing I’m not the jealous type, huh?” Gomez remarks. He adds that he doesn’t think Charlotte’s new manuscript is up to snuff. 

somethinginteresting

Gomez finally gets to the point: He’s brought them out here to share some interesting information.

“As you know, my wife is a famous author with a reputation for writing, shall we say, provocative literature. My wife’s first book,Twice Nightly. A work of fiction? Hardly. The first four years of our marriage.” 

baitedbreath

“My wife’s second book, Bated Breath? The second four years of our marriage.” Laura seems curiously affected by his words.

hotandbothered

Is it getting warm in here?

pronepositions

Gomez reveals that Char’s newest masterpiece is an erotic thriller, Prone Positions. It’s about a woman who kills her husband.

mayIask

“Erotic thriller. Husband murdered. May I ask how?”

thrownoff

“He’s thrown off a 35th floor balcony.”

canwegoin

“Magnificent. Can we go in now?” Steele responds. I think he doesn’t like getting tangled up in domestic disputes!

Gomez knows they think he’s just soused, but he insists he’s seen it with his own bloodshot eyes, in black and white!

ifyouthink

Laura adopts a reasonable tone. “Mr. Knight, if you’re truly afraid your wife is planning to murder you -” 

leavecharlotte

Leave Charlotte? I couldn’t do that. I can’t leave her and she can’t leave me. We’re supposed to be a team, you know.”

howcanwehelp

“Then how can we help you?”

enjoytheparty

Gomez seems a little crestfallen. Maybe this is premature. Well, I’m sorry to have bothered you. I do hope you enjoy the party. I suspect it may prove to be quite revealing.”

oddlittleman

They return to the party. What an odd little man,” Steele whispers.

charlotteseessteele

“Hard to believe he is married to her,” Laura adds, while Charlotte pointedly notices the handsome Mr. Steele as they pass.

“The secrets that bind two people together … what a confounding mystery,” Steele agrees. (Gosh, do you think Mr. Steele is only talking about Charlotte and Gomez?)

sadtale

Laura tells Steele she doesn’t like this place or these people. She wants to find Forsythe, tell him the sad tale of his abortive literary career, and skedaddle.

screaming

Suddenly there is a shout! And a scream! Steele and Laura race mosey to the balcony to see what’s going on.

crowdonbalcony

They discover a crowd on the balcony, but someone seems to be missing. Where’s Gomez?

bodyonsidewalk

Oh. THERE he is. Wow. This power couple go above and beyond to drum up interest in their books.

lauraisupset

Laura is distressed by the untimely, but predicted, demise of Gomez. Or maybe she’s just glad of a chance to get up close and personal with Mr. Steele?

I don’t think this is the opportune moment to discuss business,” Mr. Steele decides.

 This scene presents two couples: Steele & Laura, and Charlotte & Gomez. Both are supposed to be teams, but in each case we see that the woman takes the dominant role. In the case of Mr. & Mrs. Knight, this seems to have broken the man’s spirit. He is dependent on his wife and feels himself being more and more marginalized. On the other hand, Mr. Steele seems not at all threatened by Laura’s strength. Indeed, he goes out of his way to point out that she is the “woman behind the man.” It is Laura who appears insecure, needing to assert her power and keep Mr. Steele in his proper place. Yet when confronted with the horror of Gomez’s death, she turns immediately to Steele for comfort and protection. Is the spectre of Mr. & Mrs. Knight a warning to Laura and Steele of what can happen when a team is out of balance?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Etched in Steele – 3

We left Mr. Steele and Miss Holt having just made a date of sorts (though I suspect Laura would dispute that description strenuously).

mayflower

Now we see the agency limo heading down an L.A. street.

funfacticon The Mayflower sign in the background identifies the Mayflower Hotel, opened in 1927. Apparently it’s now a Hilton.

whoatparty

Inside the limo, Laura and Steele are – wait a minute! That’s not Fred! The agency’s usual chauffeur must have the evening off. Anyway, in the backseat, Laura and Steele are sitting rather close together. Steele is in a tux and Laura is dolled up.  She wants to know who else is going to be at this party.

charlotteknight

“Actually, it’s being held to celebrate the completion of a new manuscript by Charlotte Knight,” he informs her. This gets her attention! Apparently Laura is familiar with this Charlotte’s work.

creamywhite

Laura waxes lyrical. “Have you ever read any of her books? Every thigh is creamy white, every breast is full and heaving. Men don’t caress their women, they seize them …”

ziplessencounters

“…and people don’t meet and fall in love, they have zipless encounters and disappear into the night.” Hm. Laura seems a little turned on. What exactly is a zipless encounter, anyway? Mr. Steele seems a bit nonplused by Laura’s ardent recitation.

howquaint

“How quaint,” he remarks. “Sounds as if you’re a fan of this Miss Knight.”

neverread

“Well, no, no, I’ve never actually read any of her books,” Laura insists, uncomfortably. Mr. Steele’s expression suggests he’s thinking …

liar

But what he actually says is, “Of course.”

Laura clarifies that she’s only HEARD about Charlotte Knight’s work.

sideeyesteele

“Mm-hmm, reading is such a chore,” Steele smirks.

This is a short entry, but the next scene is quite long, so I thought it best to do it separately. In this little scene, we get some insight into Laura. First, she has taken some pains to dress for the occasion – which hardly seems necessary if the plan is to show up, tell Forsythe the deal is off, and leave again. She’s interested in who else will be at the soiree – I get the impression Laura is a bit excited to be moving in such glittering society. Presumably the day-to-day legwork of the detective has not afforded many such opportunities before Mr. Steele came on the scene.

We learn a bit about Laura’s reading habits, too. It seems the no-nonsense, business-before-pleasure girl has a weakness for steamy literature. Perhaps since she doesn’t allow herself the indulgence of a real-life relationship, she has to seek vicarious gratification through the pages of these bodice rippers. Does it hint at a more passionate, sensual side to Laura than we have been allowed to glimpse so far?

 

 

 

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Etched in Steele – 2

Meanwhile, at Mr. Steele’s well-appointed condo …

steelepropounding

Dostoevsky Mr. Steele is dictating his memoirs while plagiarizing Dickens: “Chapter One: It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” It’s interesting that Mr. Steele is apparently familiar with A Tale of Two Cities, the novel from which this line is derived. Of course, he’s probably quoting one of the many movie versions.

CRIMEOFFASHION Not exactly a crime of fashion, perhaps, but Mr. Steele’s smoking jacket seems a bit over he top. In the Victorian era, such jackets were donned to protect a gentleman’s clothes from cigar smoke.  They have become a symbol of a kind of decadent smarminess.

smokingjackets

Here are some other smoking jacket aficionados.

boththebest

The woman recording these utterances suggests an amendment: “”Shouldn’t that be, it was both the best and the worst of times?”

behindthescenes The transcriptionist is played by someone named Linda Caputo. This was her second – and last – screen credit. Linda, we hardly knew ye.

doorknock

Steele agrees that is more economical language. Just then there is a knock on the door.

howdareyou

Why, it’s Laura! She doesn’t seem happy. “How dare you!” she snaps.

creativejuices

Sensing Laura’s mood, Mr. Steele hastens to shoo the stenographer out the door, telling her he feels his creative juices ebbing.

whoisforsyth

Once she’s gone, Laura starts in again. Who is Russell Forsyth? she wants to know. (Um, I believe he’s the same guy you were reading about in the paper, Laura. Have you forgotten?)

successfulpublisher

Steele fills her in anyway. “A most successful publisher, a man of great taste. He’s asked me to write a book.”

top10cases

“Remington Steele’s Ten Most Famous Cases!”

Laura is not impressed.

careerinfiction

“Planning a career in fiction, are we?”

Oh, Laura. It’s almost like you want to make Mr. Steele see you as a beyatch difficult woman.

buffy

Well, that’s a bit harsh.

lackofenthusiasm

Mr. Steele is unruffled. “Correct me if I’m wrong, Miss Holt, but I sense a certain lack of enthusiasm on your behalf.”

haventhadcases

Laura peevishly reminds him that not only has he not had ten famous cases, he hasn’t even had ten cases.

preoccupationwdetails

Steele parries by wiggling his fingers at her. “Really, Laura, your preoccupation with details …”

He’s a Big Idea man, Laura!

digestit

“I’m going to tell you something,” Laura says. “Listen to it. Digest it. Try to remember it.” She’s on a roll now! “You are NOT Remington Steele. I made him up. You are playing a part! For me! I want you to pick up that phone, call Russell Forsyth, and tell him you’ve had a change of heart.”

pensivesteele

Mr. Steele appears to consider her suggestion seriously.

changeofheart

“Or shall I?” Laura threatens.

phaserblast

That’s right, Laura. Show him who’s boss.

Still, Remington isn’t ready to just sit down and … er … explode.

byandabout

“A book by and about Remington Steele could create a demand for the Agency’s services where people have never even heard of us before,” he suggests.

branchesin

“Imagine! Branches in New York, Paris, London!”

I call this expression Pierce Brosnan’s Fred McMurray look.

therealfred

See?

Steele continues his pitch.

sneakersmall

“Why, we could end up in shopping malls! Think of it, Laura.”

lauraseekspatience

I don’t think she’s buyin’ what you’re sellin,’ Rem.

asithappens

“Whole families going to the mall, buying sneakers, picking up snow tires, leaving clues?”

Snow tires? In Los Angeles? You’re reaching, Mr. Steele.

Laura is unmoved.

dial

“Dial.”

partytime

Mr. Steele mentions that Forsyth has invited him to a party. He hates to spoil the soiree with business talk, but if he must …

youmust

He must.

pickmeup

Then: “What time are you picking me up?”

Well, that was unexpected.

ohhesays

Mr. Steele seems to think so, too.

 Laura seems to be continuing the peevish theme we saw in the last episode. Is she merely jealous of the attention Steele is getting? Does she believe acting prickly and irritable is how one creates sexual tension? Or is she, as I suggested earlier, subconsciously trying to push Mr. Steele away? Is she frightened by his attraction to her, and hers to him? Let me know your thoughts!

 

 

 

 

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Etched in Steele – 1

And on to our next exciting adventure!

etchedtitlecard

It was a dark and stormy night.

funfacticon “It was a dark and stormy night” is the opening phrase of an 1830 novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton. It has been described as  “the archetypal example of a florid, melodramatic style of fiction writing.” However, it’s also the first line of all of Snoopy’s novels, so how bad can it be? snoopy

downtownLA

The scene shifts to what is apparently downtown L.A., during that same d&s night.

There follows all the opening credits. However, since there don’t seem to be any guest stars of particular note in this episode, I’ll skip them.

someonereading

Suddenly we find ourselves looking at someone reading an untitled manuscript. Who can it be?

lookslikegomez

Gomez Addams?

choosegomez

unhappyGomez

Whatever Gomez is reading, he doesn’t seem impressed.

goesupstairs

He gets up and crosses what appears to be the living room of a swankish apartment.

charlottehecalls

He pauses at the bottom of the stairs and calls up:  “Charlotte? Charlotte! I know you’re listening to me, Charlotte. Hear me, I’ve just read the new manuscript. What do you want me to make of it, Charlotte?”

Apparently it’s important that we know he’s talking to someone named Charlotte.

creepycharlotte

And this, one must assume, is her.

madeline kahn-evening gown1980s

Getting kind of a Madeline Kahn vibe from her. Only creepier.

fulloncreepy

As the camera pans back to reveal Creepy Charlotte, dressed in red satin and feathers, lying on satin sheets, we hear Gomez calling up to her. “You know I can’t stand still for this. I won’t! It’s as simple as that. Charlotte? Charlotte!”

Whatever can this all mean?

meanwhiletowers

Suddenly we’re outside the Century Towers, presumably the next day.

phonenotringing

Bernice strolls into Laura’s office, bearing a couple of mugs. With Laura’s feet propped up, we can see how worn the bottom of her shoes are. That’s legwork for you! Laura seems uncharacteristically relaxed. Bernice points out that the phone isn’t ringing, the lobby is empty and it’s been like this for a week.

holidays

Laura, who has her very own personalized mug, remains unruffled. “It happens every year this time,” she says. “Holidays, peace on earth, goodwill to all men. Nice thought, but it really raises havoc with the balance sheet.” 

behindthescenes Wikipedia lists this episode as airing on November 19. A bit early for fa la la-ing. I wonder if this episode was originally meant for later in the season?

Based on this conversation, we can infer that Bernice is a relatively new employee of the Steele Agency, not having been here at this time last year. I had the impression she and Laura were close, so this surprises me a bit. I’m also surprised at how calm Laura is, with no clients in the offing. She’s usually pretty uptight about finances and such. Is this a sign that business has been so good since Steele came on board that they can weather this slow period without much stress?

lexicon

Suddenly Murphy calls from his rather-more-spacious-than-Laura’s office. “Laura! Ten-letter word for lexicon?”

lookitup

“Did you look it up?” Laura calls back.

courseIdid

Of course he did! But apparently our Mr. Michaels isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Laura has to inform him that the word he’s looking for is dictionary.

laughingminions

Oh, Murph!

juicymurder

It seems Laura is finally starting to feel a little antsy. Noting that the drought is likely to last through New Year’s, she comments, “What I wouldn’t give for a nice, juicy murder.”

Foreshadowing? What foreshadowing?

surprisedlaura1

Returning to her paper, Laura suddenly sees something that surprises her.

surprisedlaura2

Really surprises her.

surprisedlaura3

She seems pretty rattled, and perhaps a bit nauseous.

pic1532196

Oh, dear. What can be upsetting her so?

seenabouttown

Ah, it’s a nice publicity pic of Mr. Steele and some dude. Caption says, “SEEN ABOUT TOWN … famous sleuth Remington Steele and publishing kingpin Russell Forsyth. Can a Remington Steele book be far behind?”

Well, gee, Laura. You DID hire him to be the public face of the agency.

hewrites

At least Bernice seems impressed. “He writes?”

wontread

“When I get through with him, he won’t be able to read!” Laura exclaims.

madlaura

She stomps out, growling, “Where is Dostoevsky?” 

I’m afraid your morning is about to get a little uncomfortable, Mr. Steele.

Thoughts on this opening?

 

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Steele Belted – 15

And at last we come to the tag of what has come to seem like a very long episode. When last we saw our dynamic duo, Mr. Steele had just surmised he’d broken his hand when he knocked out Hunky Barry.

exhilarating

Looks like he was right again! Mr. Steele is definitely on a roll. He seems pretty pleased with how things turned out. “I’m beginning to see why you chose this line of work, Laura,” he says. “Exhilarating experience, helping the innocent and apprehending the guilty.”

It’s interesting how they are positioned here, with Steele standing higher than Laura. A symbol that he got one up on her in this case, perhaps?

wasntclutching

Laura’s still not ready to give him his due. “Except for the way you did it. James Rubio wasn’t clutching anything in his hand.” (Side note: Laura’s back to the schoolmarm hair, but the periwinkle suit is pretty.)

catchbadguys

Yes, and Mr. Steele is a little peeved about that. “Well, he should have been. How else are we supposed to catch the bad guys if they don’t leave any clues?”

Perfectly logical question. However, Laura has something else on her mind.

behonest

“Tell me something. And I want you to be honest. As honest as you can ever be.”

ohsnap

Oh, snap!

stckouttongue

I don’t blame you for your reaction to that, Mr. Steele. I stuck my tongue out at her, too.

goneafterhim

“If I hadn’t been involved with Creighton Phillips, would you have gone after him?”

Was Laura really involved with Hunky Barry? One cone of cotton candy does not a relationship make, Miss Holt.

pendingsneeze

Steele affects nonchalance. Or nausea. It’s hard to tell.

“A good investigator never allows his personal feelings to get in the way of a case.”

onthebed

“However, it did distress me to find you fooling around on the bed with a murderer.”

howdidyou

Busted!

Looks like you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do, Laura.

gotcha

Go ahead and collect your thoughts. Mr. Steele will wait.

shapirosreunited

Oh, look. It’s our buddy, Buddy. And the little ex-missus! Buddy is happy with Steele’s work:  “They reinstated my parole, thanks to you, you son of a gun!”

partofthejob

“All part of the job, Buddy,” Steele demurs.

Lauragrimace

Laura looks … proud?

kissesShapiro

It turns out that all the fuss brought Buddy and Ivy back together.

steeletakescredit

I think Steele is prepared to take credit for this development, too.

getinlimo

The soon-to-be-renewlyweds get into the Agency limo. Because they also run a taxi service on the side, I guess.

oopssmileyHow did Fred sneak behind the wheel? When last we saw him, at the beginning of the scene, he was standing some distance away.

exhilarating

See?

Anyway …

littlewave

Mr. Steele gives them a little wave as they pull away. Laura seems to be in a better mood now, too.

goingtovegas

Laura wonders where the Shapiros are headed (in the agency’s limo).

“Las Vegas. Ivy has a brand new trousseau, reservations in the honeymoon suite, and ringside for Sinatra,” Steele explains. “What better way to renew a relationship?” Mr. Steele seems to have spent some time helping the couple plan their getaway. Does Steele Investigations offer travel agent services as well?

Laura seems pleased by the romance in the air … but it does occur to her to wonder how they’re supposed to get back to the office. Mr. Steele has a surprise for her!

purchasedIvys

“I purchased Ivy’s car. At a substantial savings.”

coolredcar

That is a cool car.

danglingkeys

Laura seems impressed, too! Steele hands her the keys.

“For me? That?” she gasps. She seems tickled that Steele would present her such a lavish gift.

“You deserve it.” What a gallant gesture, Mr. Steele!

Steele is, however, going to have the trunk re-carpeted. Because …

deadbuddy

This.

keystoLaura

Oh, there’s just one thing.

appreciteacheck

“Ivy would appreciate a check as soon as possible.”

lastlook

Oh, Mr. Steele!

Since we never see that car again, presumably Laura didn’t send that check. I do like the teasing look between them at the end, though. I have to wonder if Steele’s comment, “You deserve it,” has a double meaning here. He’s gone ahead and made a deal for this car without consulting Laura – kind of like Laura tried to work the case without involving him, though he had a strong stake in the situation (they broke into his house – twice – and left a body in his bedroom!). I feel like Laura was in a state of ambivalence through this episode. She’s “itchy,” knows she’s attracted to Steele, but still unwilling to have a fling with him. Did she think Creighton was a better bet for a long-term relationship? Was she, consciously or unconsciously, trying to make Steele jealous? The fact that she calls him on his motivation for solving the case suggests she was at least aware of that possibility.

Laura is not entirely sympathetic in this episode, but I think Steele has her off balance … and that’s somewhere Laura HATES to be. She needs to feel in control and on top of things, and wants to keep the assigned roles very clear: she is the real detective, and Steele is the window dressing. As Steele becomes more and more involved in the agency’s work, and shows himself to have a genuine knack for it, Laura feels the stable worldview she’s created eroding under her feet. It scares her, and she becomes prickly in response. It will be interesting to see if this push him-pull him behavior will continue as the season wears on.

Final thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Steele Belted – 14

Apologies for the delay in posting this; it’s been a crazy couple of weeks. Anyway, when last we left our detectives, Mr. Steele had just secured a few locks of Hunky Barry’s hair, presumably for the locket he wears around his neck. He’s a sentimental guy, our Rem. The next scene opens …

BackinOfice

… back in Mr. Steele’s office, where Laura, Murphy, Hunky Barry and their client, Buddy Shapiro, are discussing the case. HB is outlining his courtroom strategy: if necessary, he’ll ask for a change of venue. (Because Buddy is super famous, like OJ Simpson, I guess.) There seems to be one party missing from this tete-a-tete. Whither Mr. Steele?

herecomessteele

Ah. Here he comes. He seems brisk and confident, albeit a bit miffed:

whisperstoLaura

“Sorry I’m late,” he explains. “No one informed me of the meeting. An oversight, no doubt.”  It does seem a bit unfair that Mr. Steele, who after all has been pretty involved in this case, was purposely left out of this meeting. Murphy and Steele were working together just a scene or two ago; wouldn’t he have known Steele should be present? But perhaps it was Murphy who tipped Steele off to this meeting. In any case …

tosseshisjacket

… as Steele divests himself of his trench coat, HB explains that they were going over the plan for Buddy’s preliminary hearing.

guiltyparty

Mr. Steele suggests it might be more profitable to try to identify the real guilty party.

skirtslit

Just then Bernice arrives, showing a surprising amount of leg for an office environment. Presumably she spied Hunky Barry and paused to unbutton her skirt before she entered.

takenotesMissHolt

Mr. Steele takes a large notepad and pencil from Bernice (as we know, he doesn’t keep office supplies in his own desk), and offers them to Laura. “Would you be good enough to jot down some thoughts, Miss Holt?”

She protests, but he will not be gainsaid.

randomalert gainsay: to contradict,” c.1300, lit. “say against,” from O.E. gegn- “against” + say. “Solitary survival of a once common prefix” [Weekley], which was used to form such now-obsolete compounds as gain-taking “taking back again,” gainclap “a counterstroke,” gainbuy “redeem,” and gainstand “to oppose.”

Sorry for the detour. I’m a logophile (lover of words).

Jot

Mr. Steele is insistent. “Jot.”

Bernice, apparently miffed at the fake boss’s treatment of the real boss, stomps out.

firstrequisite

Mr. Steele goes into full Sherlock mode. The game is afoot! “Now. The first requisite for our killer is, of course, a relationship with James Rubio.”

IvyQualifies

HB points out that Ivy Shapiro qualifies.

excellentchoice

Steele agrees that’s an excellent choice!

ivykilledrubio

“Are you saying Ivy killed Rubio?”  Buddy doesn’t seem convinced.

Hm. It appears Mr. Shapiro is wearing a gray flannel suit identical to Mr. Steele’s.

funfacticongreyflannelsuit The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit (Gregory Peck, Jennifer Jones, Twentieth Century Fox, 1956) was a film based on a popular novel, and depicted a businessman’s search for meaning in the dog-eat-dog world of business. It has nothing to do with this episode.

planningtomarry

Laura is also doubtful. “She was planning to marry him,” she notes. “That’s hardly an ideal motive for murder …”

sir

“…SIR.” Oh, Laura. So smug and condescending. I wonder if you’ll be sorry.

 

steelelittlegrin

Mr. Steele reacts to Laura’s snarkiness with an enigmatic smile. I think he may have something up his sleeve!

Creighton, meanwhile, suggests that Ivy and Rubio may have had a falling out. HB seems all on board with this theory!

visibleconnection

But it turns out Ivy was a red herring. (Funny, I would have called her a ham. Well, herring at least is kosher.) Steele explains, “We need someone who knew Rubio a long time ago. So there was no visible connection.”

collegeroommate

“…  An old college classmate, for instance.”

Oh, ho!

murderweapon

Inexplicably, Creighton suddenly turns on his own client. “What about the murder weapon? It’s Buddy’s.”.

randomalert “My Buddy” is a 1922 song by Walter Donaldson and Gus Kahn, considered an American standard. It became especially popular during World War II. Here’s Doris Day singing it!

buddytrusted

Mr. Steele affects a pose of … insouciance? Confusion? Intestinal upset? “That only means our killer was somebody Buddy trusted. Someone with unquestioned entrée to his home,” he insists.

toofast

Mr. Steele pauses to make sure he’s not moving too fast for Miss Holt.

slowdownabit

“Well, you could slow down JUST a bit, sir,” she answers. Hm. Is she finally beginning to see that Steele is on to something?

wouldntwant

“Wouldn’t want you to get lost.”

Guess not.

thanksforsarcasm

Mr. Steele appreciates her support.

Creighton points out that Buddy’s fingerprints were the only ones on the gun. (Gee, with advocates like this, who needs enemies?)

plasticgloves

Murphy finally speaks up. “Plastic gloves would have taken care of that.”

Why plastic gloves?

ojgloves

Don’t killers usually wear black leather gloves?

mythicalkiller

Hunky Barry wants to know what this “mythical killer’s” motive is.

moneybottom

“Money’s usually at the bottom of these things,” Steele shrugs.

unfaithfulpartner

“Unless it’s a crime of passion, in the case of extreme, unendurable jealousy brought on by an unfaithful partner.”

bazinga

Well played, Mr. Steele.

rulethatout

“I think we can rule that out, sir,” Laura responds.

hopeso

Steele hopes so!

(The subtext in this exchange is interesting, no? Steele seems to be implying that Laura becoming romantically involved with someone else would constitute a betrayal of her relationship with him. And Laura makes a point of indicating that’s not the case.)

Incidentally, we are given a nice view of Mr. Steele’s chin dimple here.

lostalimony

“You know, Ivy Shapiro stood to lose a great deal of alimony money when she married Rubio,” Creighton interjects.

dogbone

Well, he’s just like a dog with a bone, isn’t he?

shesflaky

But Shapiro ain’t buyin’ it. “Would you stop trying to pin this on my ex wife? She’s a little flaky, maybe. Rotten taste in men, but she really wasn’t a bad broad.”

notakiller

“And certainly not a killer,” Steele agrees. There’s that dimple again!

Buddy wants to know who’s left on the suspect list.

frustrateddisappointed

“A very frustrated and disappointed fellow. You see, he counted on being made a partner in his law firm.”

catchingon

I think Laura is beginning to catch on!

murphyeyescreighton

Not to mention Murph! (I just noticed that Murphy, like Laura, is wearing red. I wonder what that means? Is Murphy trying to align himself as Laura’s partner by mirroring her attire?)

uhohbuddy

Looks like Buddy’s getting a clue, too.

spiel

Steele continues his spiel.

funfacticon Our Yiddish education continues! Spiel: A long, involved sales pitch, as in, “I had to listen to his whole spiel before I found out what he really wanted.” From the German word for play.

“When that didn’t come to pass, he decided to strike out on his own,” Steele says. “But where would he get the capital to lease offices, hire a staff, purchase a suitable residence in which to impress potential clients?”

igavehim

“Wait a minute. I gave him my power of attorney before I was set up,” Buddy makes the connection.

evileyecreighton

Hunky Barry turns a sinister eye on his client.

buddyrises

Buddy rises slowly to his feet. “You were stealing me blind, weren’t you?”

buddyattacks

He lunges at his attorney (who seems curiously unconcerned).

murphyintervenes

Murphy, earning his salary as the “muscle” of the agency, drags Shapiro off HB.

onlydid18

“You thought I’d serve the whole five years, didn’t you? But I only did eighteen months. And you didn’t want me to look at my books. Is that why you were so hot to get me back inside? Huh?”

lauraisstunned

Laura’s mind = blown.

wontwash

A still-unruffled Creighton gets to his feet. “Won’t wash, Steele,” he smirks. “Nothing ties me to those murders.”

Hey, look! Hunky Barry has a chin dimple, too. Battling dimples!

chindimplesfamous

Here are some more!

firstnoticed

Mr. Steele and his dimple advance on his opponent. “You know one of the first things I noticed about you, Creighton? May I call you Creighton?”

nohesays

“No.” Hunky Barry wields his dimple vehemently.

yourhair

“Your hair. Thick, lustrous, incredibly healthy.”

Takes one to know one, Mr. Steele.

evidencebag

The detective produces a little baggie. “I’m sure the lab will have no problem matching these strands with your own.”

bustedbarry

Barry seems to believe he’s busted.  “Where did you get those?” 

victimclutch

 “The victim will often clutch a piece of evidence that ultimately traps the murderer.”

Wait a sec … I thought the only thing in Rubio’s cold, dead hand was his long lifeline! Surely Mr. Steele isn’t .. bluffing!

thewindup

Even Barry seems impressed with Steele’s investigative brilliance. Or is he?

heturns

He begins to turn away, then …

heswings

… he swings!

unsuspectingsteele

Steele has no idea what’s coming … or does he?

swingamiss

Steele dodges the swing!

steeleretaliates

And retaliates, more successfully than his foe.

creightonflying

Hunky Barry goes reeling!

lauraoutoftheway

He’s down for the count! Fortunately he didn’t knock the coffee cup off the table; that carpet is hell to clean.

scrambledLaura

Laura scrambles out of the way of Hunky Barry’s flying carcass. Something tells me they won’t have a second date, even to a cotton candy factory.

steeleadjustties

“That was most rewarding. Except for one thing,” a slightly disheveled Steele says.

lauragazes

Laura looks at Mr. Steele with a combination of shock, awe and … admiration? “What?” she asks him.

brokemyhand

“I think I broke my hand.”

spoileralert emoticon Okay, this scene-closing gag always irked me, even before a later episode revealed Mr. Steele’s pugilistic experience. After solving the case, it seems a shame that Mr. Steele’s triumph is blunted by this suggestion that he’s a bit of a wussy.

This episode is notable for me because Mr. Steele essentially solves the case entirely on his own, based on his instincts. There is no indication that Laura or Murphy suspected Hunky Barry. I do wonder if Steele would have discovered Creighton’s dirty dealings if he hadn’t been interested in Laura. Mr. Steele certainly WANTED to find some skeleton in HB’s closet to discredit him with Laura. Perhaps it was just his luck that his rival turned out to be the villain. Still, good for Mr. Steele for putting the puzzle pieces together. It shows that when he is very motivated – in this case by jealousy over Laura – his sharp mind is a force to be reckoned with.

Next up, the tag.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With sincere condolences

I interrupt our current episode discussion to offer tribute to Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., Stephanie’s Dad and the jaunty Daniel on RS, who has passed away at the age of 95. He had an extraordinary career and was, by all accounts, a good man. I extend my sympathy to Miss Zimbalist and her family in this time of loss.

t-with_dad Daniel1

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Steele Belted – 13

We left Murphy and Steele in the office with chills.

guardedgate

We now find ourselves outside some kind of guardhouse.

oneglovedhand

We see a couple of hands: one gloved, one bare.

compadres

When the camera pulls back, we see that it’s our partners in crime, Murphy Michaels and Remington Steele. They’re fiddling with some kind of contraption.

sendyoupacking

As Steele continues to tinker, Murphy notes, You seem to know an awful lot about jumping telephone lines.”

So THAT’S what they’re doing!

Steele assures Murphy that he picked up the skill at the cinema.

randomalert And apparently this is something people really do:

phonehack

Looks like Steele is doing it the right way.

memethis

Murphy reminds Steele that just because they’re working together on this, doesn’t mean Murph is going to stop trying to send Steele packing.

“Wouldn’t have it any other way, Murphy. Keeps us both on our toes.”

listening

Perhaps tired of Murphy’s constant kvetching, Steele puts on what appear to be sound-cancelling headphones. “You’re on,” he tells Murph.

expectingaguest

Murph uses a red phone to place a call. Disguising his voice, he informs the gate guard on the other end of the extension that he is Creighton Phillips, and he’s expecting Remington Steele as his guest.

randomalert In popular legend, there is a red phone on the desk of the president of the United States, with a direct line to Moscow. There’s even an example of it in the Jimmy Carter museum: redphone

But apparently it’s all a big, fat lie. There was a direct line to Moscow, but it was first a teletype, then a fax machine, and currently email. Next you’re going to tell me Batman’s red phone isn’t real, either!

Istillbelieve

I still believe!

Anyway …

welldone

Mr. Steele is pleased with Murphy’s impression of Hunky Barry.

carapproaches

We now see the Steele limo approaching the guarded gate.

guardlooks

The gate guard approaches. His uniform identifies him as being from “Consolidated Guards” Hm. I thought Graybridge Security Services had a lock on all the uniformed flunky business in L.A.!

buckyagain

Why, look! It’s Murphy behind the wheel. Apparently the Steele Agency is cracking down on overtime for Fred. Murphy tells the guard he has Mr. Steele to see Creighton Phillips.

steeleinshadow

Steele waits pensively, handsomely, in the back seat as the guard confirms: “Yes, sir. You’ve been cleared. Follow the drive all the way to the top, it’s the first townhouse on your right.”

nicelydone

As the car proceeds through gate, Mr. Steele is moved to compliment his accomplice: “Nicely done. In fact, that outfit rather becomes you.”

dontpush

Murph is not amused. “Don’t push it.”

junkysideroad

The limo proceeds to a rather junky looking patch inside the gated compound. Is this the servants’ entrance?

Steele and Murphy emerge from the limo.

notdirty

Then Murphy bends down in front of Steele. If this weren’t a wholesome, family-oriented blog, I’d make a crude joke here. Feel free to insert your own.

honk

Murphy’s object was to give Steele a boost to the roof of the limo. What, Steele couldn’t climb onto the hood by himself? “Do sound the horn if anyone happens by,” Steele requests.

nightinjail

“Oh, sure. It’ll be a real shame if you had to spend the night in jail,” Murphy retorts.

ourtheme

Steele starts climbing up the side of the building, offering us another nice butt shot. This seems to be becoming the theme of this episode. Is there a Yiddish word for butt? Of course there is: tuckus. Steele has a nice tuckus.

lauraHBworking

Meanwhile, inside Hunky Barry’s place, he and Laura are engaged in working on the case. “First, I’ll move to dismiss for failure to establish a prima facie case,” HB says. “Mmm hmmm,” Laura agrees. They’re so engrossed in their work that they fail to see the man in black outside the window.

johnny_cash_by_harvy355-d6y8002

Nope, not that one.

thatone

This one.

annoyedwatcher

“You know, it seems to me that there’s more here than legal maneuvers, Creighton,” Laura says, as Steele eavesdrops outside.”We should be concentrating on the killer.”

Steele continues to climb upward, leaving the detective and the lawyer to continue their discussion.

workinonit

“Any candidates?” HB asks.

Laura says she’s working on it.

coffeetime

Hunky Barry goes to get more coffee. Is he afraid his witty repartee isn’t enough to keep Laura awake?

Meanwhile …

enterstheroom

… Steele has arrived at his destination and slips inside what is apparently HB’s bedroom.

closesthedoor

He closes the door, then turns back …

tripslikeadufus

… and stumbles over something. So much for cat-like grace! Oh – it turns out it’s an actual cat, which yowls in protest at having been stepped on.

whatsthatthump

Downstairs, HB and Laura hear the commotion.

“Sounds like Gomie,” HB says.

I’m going to assume Gomie is the cat, not HB’s pet name for his  pool boy,

gomer11

Gomer.

By an unbelievable coincidence, I just got a new cat myself:

myremmy

Meet Remington!

steeleunderbed

As HB and Laura go to see what the racket is, Steele squeezes himself under the bed.

HBnters

Just in time! HB enters. “Gomie, where are you?”

angrycat

Right here, Dad!

steeleandfriend

Mr. Steele is being scrutinized by the resident watch cat.

cathatessteele

I don’t think Gomie likes you, Mr. Steele.

steelehatescat

The feeling is mutual!

funfacticon Though Remington Steele doesn’t seem overly fond of felines, Pierce Brosnan seems to like them well enough. Here’s a picture of his new Abyssinian kittens!

kitties

Could they be more adorable? They could not.

hbsearching

HB is still looking for his pussy (yes, I went there). He’s likely to find more than Gomie under that bed!

steelegrabscat

Desperate, Mr. Steele grabs the ferocious feline and throws him out from under the bed. I’m afraid I’m going to have to report you to the ASPCA for that, Mr. Steele.

catunderfoot

Gomie takes off like, well, a scalded cat*. “What’s the matter with him?” Laura wonders.

*I strongly disapprove of scalding cats.

steelebody

Mr. Steele gets as comfortable as possible in his hiding place. Just then, HB makes his move.

mattercat

“Maybe he didn’t like it up here,” Hunky Barry says.

hitthelights

“But then, he didn’t have you to keep him company.” HB switches off the light. Seduction requires a certain ambiance!

Laura suggests they get back to work.

settlesin

Mr. Steel rolls over onto his side, disgusted with Barry’s amateurish technique. He knows a professional first plies the lady with alcohol.

gotthebottle

Ahem.

takeabreak

Meanwhile, HB counters Laura’s work ethic with his own suggestion: “Let’s take a break.” Laura is hesitant.

flyingleap

Undeterred, Barry makes a swan dive onto the bed, presumably to test its springs.

oofmattress

Mr. Steele takes the brunt of Barry’s sudden passion, as the mattress whacks him on the head.

helpBuddy

Laura reminds HB what they’re there for – to help Buddy. But Barry is soooooooo tired.

alittlepushy

But not too fatigued to grab Laura and pull her onto the bed with him. This is getting worrisome!

awkwardposition

Mr. Steele listens as Laura tries to fend Hunky Barry off.

“I have been trying to think of a way to get you up here all night. I KNEW there was a reason I kept that cat around,” he hears HB purr.

“Creighton, now, stop. Now cut it out!” Laura protests.

“Do you know what it’s like trying NOT to smell your perfume?” HB continues.

Just when it looks like Mr. Steele is going to have to reveal himself to protect Laura’s honor, the lady takes care of the situation herself.

allright

She escapes the gorilla’s clutches and heads back downstairs. He follows, disappointed.

crawlsout

Once they’ve gone, Steele crawls out from under the bed.

scrapesbrush

Crossing to HB’s dresser, he picks up a hairbrush and removes a few hairs, perhaps as a memento of this romantic evening. It can’t be to conduct DNA testing, since that didn’t come into being until 1985.

takeshisleave

His mission accomplished, Mr. Steele departs.

Some thoughts on this long sequence … It seems Murphy’s scruples aren’t quite as ironclad as he’s led us to believe. When it’s about protecting Laura, he’s willing to resort to illegal tactics. It was interesting that he reminded Steele that this is only a temporary truce: once the Hunky Barry problem is taken care of, Murph will return to his primary objective – ridding the agency of Steele. It appears that Steele actually gets a kick out of the rivalry, the cat-and-mouse game with Murphy. I’m not sure Mr. Michaels finds it quite so amusing – perhaps because he knows he’s outmatched.

I wonder if Steele and Murphy knew Laura was at HB’s house? Since Laura is not an attorney, it’s not clear what she hoped to accomplish with this late-night strategy session. But she’s clearly in work mode here: I don’t see a hint of the flirtatiousness she exhibited on their date. Clearly HB has other ideas, and doubtless would have come up with some other reason to get her up to his bedroom had Gomie and Steele not provided the impetus. I find myself surprised that the man even has a cat – he seems more like a big dog kind of guy – a Doberman or Shepherd perhaps. Does he keep a cat as his “wingman” to help him seduce the ladies?

Hunky Barry’s aggressiveness with Laura in the bedroom was disturbing. He clearly doesn’t know enough about Laura if he thinks a quick “break” is going to interest her. I wonder if Laura is regretting her previous flirty statement about wanting more than a “smidgeon of pleasure.” Hunky Barry seems determined to take her up on that. I’m slightly surprised that Laura is willing to go back downstairs and continue to work with the man after this incident. I’d expect her to give him a knee to the groin and take her leave.

I look forward to your thoughts on this segment!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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