Nothing like the sight of a fresh corpse to work up a good appetite, eh, Mr. Steele?
The others don’t seem to be hungry. I wonder why? (Since no one else even has a plate, can we assume Mr. Steele rustled up his own breakfast? He sets an elegant table!)
“Forgive me. Ravenous,” he explains.
Ravenous. Guy Pearce, Robert Carlyle, David Arquette. 20th Century Fox, 1999. During the Spanish-American War, the leader of a partying journeying west resort to cannibalism and finds he likes it. Oh, dear. Is the plot of this episode about to take a very surprising twist? (Nope. It’s unlikely Mr. Steele was referencing this film, which was released 17 years after this episode aired.)
Steele begins to dazzle his audience with his investigative acumen: “Now then. Let’s begin at the beginning. Being dyed in the wool professionals…”
“… we all know that the last person to see the victim alive is either a superb witness-”
Hm. It seems like Laura’s heard this song before, as she mouths the words as he says them: “… or an excellent suspect,” Steele (and Laura) conclude.
“He’s very good,” Sandy whispers. Does Laura agree? If so … what is it he’s very good at?
The Great Detective takes up his cuppa. “So then: The question I put to all of you is quite simple:”
“Who was the last person to see Alan Grievey alive?”
“The murderer.” There’s that killer instinct again. He’s one sharp cookie, our Carl.
His colleagues turn to look at him … accusingly? He apparently thinks so.
“What is this? A set up?” He gets to his feet and begins to pace the room. “I know you all heard me and Alan last night. But I wasn’t the last one with him, and I didn’t kill him!”
So how do you know who was the last one with Alan, Carl?
“You HATED Alan,” Sandy insists.
“Well listen to Walter Cronkite here with the latest breaking news,” Carl says.
Walter Cronkite was the anchor of the CBS news broadcast for nearly 20 years (1962-81) and was known as “the most trusted man in America.” Here’s his famous sign-off:
“Sure, I hated Alan,” Carl continues, pacing. “You know how the Alan Grievey Agency got so big so fast?”
Tell us, Carl!
“Alan had me copy every phone number, every file, and every client who had ever done business with Havenhurst. And you know how he thanked me? He laughed in my face. Said he didn’t have any positions for people who couldn’t be trusted.”
Steele is enjoying the show as much as the breakfast.
Carl continues. “Then he called good old Donald over here, made sure HE knew what I’d done.”
“By the time I got from Alan’s to Havenhurst, my name was off my parking space. Thanks to good old Alan, no one will touch me.”
And thanks to you, Carl, for the exposition! Sounds like our man Alan was a real nogoodnik!
Don isn’t very sympathetic. “Don’t anybody get out the violins,” he snarks, in his mild-mannered way. “The man drove up in a Cadillac.”
Yeah, what about THAT, Carl?
“I repossessed it yesterday afternoon. It goes back to the dealer on Monday. That’s what I do for a living now, folks.”
Oops. Awkward. Still, you need killer instincts for that kind of work, right?
“You should always catch me on the weekends, Laura. That’s when I look good.”
Huh? Is all this about Carl trying to make an impression on Laura? Miss Holt seems as puzzled as I am.
“Sure I hated Alan,” he concludes. “We ALL hated Alan.”
Did we? Why did we ALL hate Alan?
Murphy wants to know about the .38 in OOG’s suitcase.
Carl doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
Murphy gets all up in Carl’s biznus. “I saw it!”
Oh, you crazy kids. Why don’t you just admit you’re in love?
Mr. Steele knows how to get to the bottom of this! “Miss Holt, would you be kind enough to check Carl’s room?”
Laura’s ready to go.
Carl’s not having it. “No way! She works with Murphy. How do I know she’s not gonna plant something?”
Donald says he’ll go. Carl likes that even less.
Sandy volunteers. Nope.
“Not on your life!” Carl grouses.
Now what, Mr. Steele?
“What if we all go?”
Apparently they’re on board with that idea.
In Carl’s room they start tearing it apart as Steele and Laura watch from the doorway.
Oh, dear. Housekeeping’s not going to like this. (Why does no one think to question the household staff, by the way? And where IS the household staff?)
Strangely, Laura doesn’t seem engaged in the hunt. She’s more interested in Mr. Steele. (Can’t say I blame her.) “You wanna tell me about that amused smirk on your face?”
She can tell his smirking without even looking at him. They know each other so well!
“You thought I was going to embarrass you,” he answers. “These people need someone to lead them, someone to guide them. Someone to show them how it’s done. And they chose me.”
Great, kid. Don’t get cocky.
“They don’t KNOW you,” Laura retorts a little sullenly.
“Their loss.” I’m not sure Steele is referring to the rest of the group. What do you think?
He makes his exit …
… followed by Laura. Look at that Breck bounce in her hair!
They leave the Keystone Kops to finish tossing Carl’s room.
Walking down the hallway, they pass a painting of lovers embracing. Significant?
Around the corner, Mr. Steele has a question for his associate.
“What do we do next?”
“Me? YOU’RE asking ME?” Laura puts that community college theatre minor to good use!
Drama queen much?
“I thought YOU were going to LEAD them, GUIDE them, show them how it’s done.”
Now, Laura. Let’s not be petty.
Steele seems unaffected by her sarcasm. “And I am. As soon as you tell me how to do it.”
Don’t make him grovel, Laura. He hates that. “Oh, come on. Something. Anything. Last person to see the victim alive -”
“Wonderful! Sounds so … official. Happen to have another one like that?”
That grin, tho. Laura, you know you can’t resist the man.
“Scene of the crime,” she offers.
Steele needs more.
“Scene of the crime. The best single source for conclusive physical evidence is almost always the scene of the crime.”
“Thanks!” Steele is back on the case, ready to dispense his hard-won wisdom.
There’s that look again, Laura. Perhaps you should see your doctor when you get home. I think you’re developing a nasty tic.