Etched in Steele – 8

With apologies for the delay, we’re back! We last left Mr. Steele pumping Charlotte Knight … for information about her writing process. Some time later:


Mr. Steele is back home, scuffing up his expensive coffee table while he examines some small device. Ah, there’s someone at the door!


Or technically, across the hall. It’s Laura, and she looks like she plans on staying awhile.


Steele declares he still thinks this is a waste of time. Laura is more upbeat – and she brought snacks: “…popcorn, diet soda, a little salami, some cheese…”


“You really want to spend an evening doing this?” Steele inquires as Laura makes herself comfortable on the floor. I’d think the sight of Laura in a semi-prone position on the floor would make the exercise worth it, Mr. Steele.


“Bring on the papers,” Laura answers, putting on a pair of big honkin’ glasses. Mr. Steele, amused, expresses surprise that she wears glasses. Laura explains that she got them in college as a means of seducing her calc professor.


“I thought they would make me look brainier,” she notes.

CRIMEOFFASHION Big glasses were a thing in the 80s and in the 70s, when Laura would have purchased her pair. Here are some examples of 70s high fashion eyewear.



Mr. Steele wants to know if Laura scored with the prof.


“Wouldn’t you like to know?” she says coyly.

So … if Laura doesn’t need glasses, and only bought these to bring the sexy on back in college, why did she pack them for tonight’s seemingly work-related activity? Hmmm. Ulterior motives, Miss Holt?

In any case, now ocularly prepared, Laura is ready to read.


“Not read,” Steele corrects her. There won’t be any eyestrain this evening. “Charlotte Knight doesn’t write at all; she dictates,” he explains.


He shows Laura the little machine he was studying earlier. It’s a mini-recorder. And the pile of little tapes? Each tape represents one chapter of Charlotte’s latest opus.


“Shall we begin?”


He pops in Chapter 1, and the steamy recitation begins: “He couldn’t get over her velvet thighs and crimson smile -“


Steele is increasingly uncomfortable with the … er … plot. He quickly assesses that there is nobody jumping out of the window in THIS chapter and turns off the recorder.


Steele suggests they try another tape and press on. “By all means,” Laura agrees. “Press on.”


Something tells me Laura is enjoying this!

The next tape is similarly lurid: “He stood there all of him, his body was a dare, a dare she had decided to take -“

Steele has had enough.


“What say we break out the salami?”

Oh, dear. I’m not sure Laura is ready for the salami, Mr. Steele.

Laura asks Steele what he thinks he’s protecting her from. Steele protests that he wouldn’t presume to protect her from anything!

That’s good, because, Laura explains,


“Remember the calc professor? The glasses worked.”

Note: This confession has always bothered me, perhaps because I worked many years in academia and saw enough of this kind of thing. For some reason, the idea of Laura sleeping with her prof makes me queasy. It just seems kind of … cheap. Anyway …


Mr. Steele doesn’t seem offended by Laura’s spicy past. Indeed, one gets the feeling he’s rather intrigued. “Did the trick, did they?”


Laura reaffirms her academic indiscretion. “Why don’t you turn the tape back on and let’s get this over with, OK?”
I wonder if she’s having second thoughts about her candor?


Steele turns on the recorder and we hear Charlotte’s bodice-ripper continuing: “And at that moment they knew more about each other than either had thought possible. They didn’t need.words – only time, and each other.”

Steele and Laura seem strangely discomfited by these lines …. and the scene fades from Steele pensive face to:


The mini tapes, scattered over the carpet.


The camera pans to Mr. Steele’s body, laying on the floor. Just what went on after that fade out?


Then on to Laura, who is positioned perilously close to Mr. Steele’s … pleats.

Meanwhile, the tape is still playing, but the voice is different: masculine now. “First one rung, and then another, and then he reached it – the window – and it was as if she had known for just the slightest -“


Laura is (a)roused by this passage and begins to stir.


She picks up the recorder, puzzled by the change in timbre of the narrator. She shakes the recorder, but nothing changes.


Laura gives Mr. Steele a little shove to wake him.

“I’ll be out in a minute, Mother,” he mumbles.

spoileralert emoticon Without going into what we don’t yet know, this seems a strange thing for Mr. Steele to sleep-talk. This is the second mention of his mother in this episode. Is there something about this case that is reminding him of his childhood? Is there something in his past that is behind his seeming reluctance to get involved with this case? Perhaps we’ll find out!


“Listen,” Laura urges him. Mr. Steele does, and pronounces the storyline “disgusting.”


“No! No! Listen! Listen!” she insists.

“And he watched her…” the male voice intones from the recorder.


“Sounds like Mitchell Knight!”


Steele listens while we look at his gold necklace. It’s not his usual watch-back pendant. He likes his bling, does Mr. Steele.

randomalert Speaking of bling, you can get these little gems on Etsy!

Pierce Earrings


You’re welcome.


The tape continues: “Day after day, studying her, the way her body would rise and fall every time she took a breath, the way it glistened when she would perspire….”
Well, THAT sounds familiar. Who do we know that has a sweat fetish?

“It IS Mitchell Knight!” Steele declares.


“He wrote the books,” Laura surmises. “So where does that leave us?”


“A long way from the Caribbean,” Steele concludes sadly.

 In this scene we see Laura and Steele working together – after hours – on the case Steele didn’t want to pursue. Murphy is nowhere in sight (presumably Mr. Steele didn’t invite him to participate.) I’m slightly surprised that Mr. Steele seemed genuinely prepared to work; I might have expected soft lighting and champagne on display. It’s Laura who seems flirty this evening. Is the lusty literature causing her to fantasize about being the seductress in her own little passion play?









Filed under Season 1

9 responses to “Etched in Steele – 8

  1. eaz35173

    You’re back!! And in top form! It was worth the wait!!
    * Perilously close to his pleats – LOL
    * Breaking out the salami – LOL (I thought the same thing while watching this – oh, what got past the censors back in the 80’s)
    * I think the necklace is still the same one that holds the watch back, because I’ve seen it before. I think the pendant portion may have slid to the back of his neck and we’re seeing more of the chain design.
    * Too funny about those PB earrings

    Yes, why did Laura bring those glasses over to read the manuscript??? She certainly knew the subject matter of Charlotte’s writings. She said the glasses made her look brainier, so if she wasn’t planning to seduce Steele (which I’m not sure she wasn’t), perhaps she thought the glasses would be a turn-off for him … that he might not be so attracted to her if she wore those big, honking glasses? She’s not exactly as smooth as he is in the seduction department, that’s for sure.

    I was never really bothered by Laura’s confession about the calc prof. I guess I looked at it that Laura was attracted to him, wanted him to notice her, and went after something she wanted. I never figured it was for personal gain in the classroom – which I would have had a problem with. Knowing how studious and meticulous Laura is, I figured she saw a man she liked and went after him. But I can see your point, especially since you witnessed this kind of behavior all too often.

    I think the reason Steele seemed ready to work was to be able to prove to Laura that there was no case. The sooner he got that out of the way, the sooner they could start planning that trip together – which is what probably prompted his comment about not being closer to the Caribbean.

  2. daphgg

    I agree. Steele’s motive for not wanting this murder to be a case is because he wants to take Laura to the Caribbean.

    Warning, I am going off on tangents here. First did you see how blue his eyes were when he lifted his head off the floor and recognized Mitchell Knight’s voice? I have never seen PB in person and only heard about his eyes but I could not see his necklace for his eyes … so gorgeous. The blue shirt probably accentuates them too. Ahhhhhhh.

    Another tangent, I always felt like Steele wasn’t really sleep when he said “I’ll be out in a minute Mother”. I always thought he was joking around or being humorous. Although we would later learn about Steele’s upbringing, how many adults dream about answering their mother?

    Also our Mr. Steele seems to be a little prudish or disapproving about explicit sex material. He was not turned on by sitting on floor with Laura, her glasses, her calculus professor story, her seducing attitude, or the sexy tapes. Something was a mood buster for him. He didn’t even try to seduce her. No quips either.

    Yep what was Laura trying to do with those glasses? Adding some humor to a dull work night, seduction, providing an excuse to delve/ share, adding geek to put off seduction ideas? It felt weird to me especially when she squashed any romantic notions when Steele appeared to warm up on the idea.

    I love that you found the Steele earrings.

    Too funny about the pleats.

    Laura’s professor seduction didn’t bother me only because she didn’t need to protect her grades. Afterall she was a math major at Stanford so calculus should be a breeze. I think her being a math major at Stanford came out in a previous episode or am I getting ahead of myself?

    • eaz35173

      Yes, those eyes!!! SIGH!! I love it when the costume department dresses him in blues.

      I think the “I’ll be out in a minute, mother” comment is not related to his dream. I always took it as a response to a young person being startled and woken by their parent (like for school), and uttered while half-asleep.

      I’m not sure when we learn Laura was a math major, either.

      I’m also not sure why Steele seems so prudish about the whole erotic element here. Spoilers …… Love Among, anyone?? Lord Marchmaine in Molten?? Perhaps it’s Larua’s reactions he’s trying to guage, or he is too involved in actually trying to solve the case? Puzzling.

  3. Luann

    This ep has two “mother” references, oddly. They bug me, I freely admit. It would have been much more in character for Steele to have made a quip about being awakened by Laura. Missed opportunity.
    I don’t read his reaction to the material as prudishness so much as a a rejection of tacky, bad writing. Given his response to Charlotte, I think he’s just put off by the sordid and obvious sleaze of the situation.

  4. Ines

    Fantastic as always, Keri!

    A ton of interesting comments. Learning…learning…

    About Mr. Steele stunning blue eyes, there’s only two more times I can remember right now, with his eyes as blue as they are here. (spoiler alert) One it’s when he has this conversation with Mildred, giving her a whole idea about his situation; and the other is when he is with Clarissa at his appartment.

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