In the Steele of the Night – 5

Back in the drawing room (or perhaps the mortuary waiting room, given the floral sprays and urns decorating the place) …

propreitary alan

Alan welcomes his new guest with a challenge: “Mr. Steele. We were just playing best murder. It would be an honor if you’d contribute one.”

What’s up with his hand on Laura’s shoulder?  I think Laura looks uncomfortable.


Laura does NOT think that is a good idea. “Alan, Mr. Steele’s been traveling all day.”


Hm. Looks fresh as a daisy to me.

“Nonsense! Polar flights are second nature to me,” Steele pooh-poohs. Polar? Guess global warming hadn’t made it to Marseille by 1982. Either that, or Laura didn’t have time to brief Mr. Steele on where he’s supposed to have been.

“Good. Then it’s your murder,” Alan prompts.


Oh, dear. Laura seems a little unsettled (or thirsty).


“A murder. Yes … well …”


“So many to choose from.”


Keep tap dancing, Mr. Steele!


“In the morning,” Laura exclaims … exuberantly. “When your head is clear and I’ve had a chance to brief you on the business of the day–”
Based on the private eye code we learned in the last episode, Mr. Steele, I believe this is a K.Y.D.M.S. situation: Keep Your Damned Mouth Shut.


“Nonsense, dear. Nonsense,” Mr. Steele pooh-poohs again.


Hello, Pooh!


“Ah, yes. Here’s one. It was a hot day in July. I was called to the house of a wealthy industrialist by his wife.


We see Steele’s audience listening intently as he continues: “She met me at the front door of the residence …”


Hm. Carl doesn’t seem so impressed. Steel continues. “She escorted me into the study. And there, lying on the floor, was her husband. Quite dead. Shot, actually.”

Alan seems disappointed. “THAT is your best murder?”

Hey, pal. Give him credit for guessing what this game is even about.
Laura is kind of throwing the booze back at this point.


spoileralert emoticonSpoiler alert: In the not distant future, we’ll hear Laura aver that she’s only had two drinks in 27 years. Well, I suppose this qualifies as one BIG drink.



“It certainly is,” Steele continues.


Your colleagues don’t remember that case, Mr. Steele. He presses on: “For ballistic tests conducted several days later proved that the path of the bullet began INSIDE the industrialist’s chest and traveled outwards.”

NOW Alan is impressed. “The bullet travelled from his insides-out?”



“And since it is essential that a suspect be placed at the scene of the crime, and since it is difficult if not impossible to prove that someone fired the fatal shot from INSIDE the man’s chest …”


Laura is feeling woozy. “I think I’ve had too much to drink.”


“Yes, I would call that a best murder,” the detective concludes.

Murphy doesn’t think he’s had ENOUGH to drink.


Easily remedied, Murph!
“That is incredible,” Alan says.


randomalertThat_s_incredible_1980-show “That’s Incredible!” was a 1980  “reality” series hosted by John Davidson, Cathy Lee Crosby and Fran Tarkenton (!). It was a spin-off from “Real People.”


Now Alan wants the answer to this perplexing case.

“The answer …”

Yes, Mr. Steele?


“The answer. Well, it seems to me that a great murder, like a great wine, should be savored.”

Uh-huh. Some wines take decades to mature into “great.” Is this like one of those, Mr. Steele?


“Take the night – or the weekend for that matter.”


“Allow it to sink into your thoughts, invade your dreams. Consider it. Ponder it.”


“And then, if the answer is not obvious to you …”


He trails off and sits down next to Laura.

“I’m very glad you came, Mr. Steele,” Alan smiles. “You’re going to add a great deal to this weekend.”

“That’s our Mr. Steele. The life of the party.” Have you ever partied with Mr. Steele, Laura? Have you ever partied with anyone?

spoileralert emoticonYes. She has.


Steele gives her an affectionate pat on the back. A little proprietary, sir. Much like Alan earlier. Is this shaping up to be a macho contest, with Laura as the “prize”?


Alan’s suddenly ready to go to bed and “ponder” (Is that what the kids are calling it these days?)


He and the crowd get up to leave.


Mr. Steele sticks close to Laura. Perhaps he figures they’ll bunk together?


Strangely, Carl and Alan linger behind. I thought you were tired, Alan.

Laura and Steele also dawdle. Mr. Steele seems to be casing the joint. The delay allows Laura to make a move on her boss.


She grabs him and pushes him up against a pillar. To ravish him? He seems amenable.


Alas, no. To snarl at him. “The bullet traveled from INSIDE his body OUT?”

I don’t think she buys your story, Mr. S!


“Fascinating, isn’t it?”


This guy seems to think so.

“What movie is it from?” Laura demands. Oh, she knows you so well. Or at least she thinks she does!
Steele is wounded. “Laura. Do you I’d risk embarrassing you in front of all your friends by stealing a murder from a movie? What if someone else had seen it?”

“You mean-”
Yep. He made it up.

Before Laura can congratulate him on his cleverness tell him what a fool he is, an argument breaks out downstairs.
“It’s a question of honor, Alan,” OOG is growling at their host. “You made promises. You didn’t keep them!”

“Carl, you were MEANT to be used. You ask for it. You’d be disappointed if someone like me DIDN’T take advantage of you.”

Well, gee. That’s not very nice. Apparently Alan doesn’t know about Carl’s killer instincts!


The rest of the Scooby gang has reassembled at the top of the stairs to watch the show.


Everybody loves a good drama.


Laura and Steele eyeball the crowd. Isn’t it cute how they act in unison? Meanwhile, at the bottom of the stairs…


“Four years is a lot of time to wait for restitution, Alan. A lot of anger builds up. So don’t push me!” Carl heads for the stairs.


Well. That went well, don’t you think?


Filed under Season 1

7 responses to “In the Steele of the Night – 5

  1. handful of sky

    I love these recaps!

  2. eaz35173

    I used to watch That’s Incredible and Real People … your commentary is much more entertaining!! Laura’s drinking is very funny. Again, showing off her subtle comedic skills. Steele thinks well on his feet, but what a convoluted murder he concocts. Steele’s charm is working like a charm on everyone but Murphy and Laura. So charming that Alan must retire to the bedroom to “ponder” – LOL! You’re too funny!!

    I love the blocking of the scene when Laura traps Steele up against that column. It does look a bit intimate, doesn’t it? And Steele is just reveling in the fact that he can push her buttons – one of the great things about this first season.

    Alan’s hand on Laura is still creepy. Thank goodness she had the foresight to wear that librarian shirt to cover up as much skin as possible! One thing that Steele does that bugs me here is call Laura “dear”. I think he’s only ever done it one other time – during the Charlotte Knight case when he grabs her and drags her into his office, he says something like “my dear” – and it was said very condescendingly. I feel it’s used the same way here. I checked the script, and strangely, “dear” was not part of this line in the version I have. I wonder if it was in a later version or if Pierce inserted it himself – knowing that it could be a way for Steele to irk Laura and get her attention.

    Wonder what that fight was all about at the bottom of the stairs?

    • Laura’s body language in “leaning in” to Steele mirrors Murphy’s pose earlier with Carol – coincidence? (“Leaning in” always reminds me of a scene in “While You Were Sleeping” when Bill Pullman explains to Sandra Bullock what that means). I think Steele’s behavior in the “drawing room” was a reaction to the vibe he was getting from Alan. Alan had a kind of patronizing attitude toward Laura, so Steele, wanting to be an equal adversary, perhaps unconsciously matched his tone with his dismissive, “Nonsense, dear” remark. I suspect he may come to regret that …

  3. daphgg

    I agree. Steele as a con man “read” the room and figured out the best way to “play” the scene. Plus he is getting Laura back for not leaving him out of this social event. Everyone in the room seems to expect Steele to patronize Laura. Maybe the reason is she had to close her first detective agency and is now working “for” Steele. In their eyes she is a failure.

    I love this scene. It is so funny with Laura wanting to disappear into the wall while trying to get drunk and Murphy tying on another one. Plus Steele is spinning a long wad of poop. Love your commentary! It was perfect.

    Very intimate how Laura pins him against the wall to confront him. That is definitely not the way to give a serious, scolding and from the look on his face I say he is really enjoying the physical moment. Interesting too how prim Laura dressed for relaxing with her friends. It is almost as if she is wearing armour (no skin, no sexy hair) to keep her distance from them. She’s very nervous that they will find her out about RS; she can’t enjoy herself except when she is pinning him against the wall.

    One thing though how can Laura and Steele be talking on the stair landing and look up at the commotion occurring at the bottom of the stairs?

    • eaz35173

      Great insight, Daph. To answer your question about them looking up from the landing … I think they were looking up at Murphy and the peanut gallery that was looking down on the argument. Carl and Alan were on the main floor. Steele and Laura on the landing in the middle, and Murphy and the rest were all on the 2nd floor. At least that’s how I saw the scene.

      • daphgg

        That makes sense. Thanks. Just another example of how in sync they are. Most people would look down at the commotion; not them. They look up at the onlookers and do so at the same time. Perfect.

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