Tag Archives: Steele

Steele Trap – 3

titlecard

At last! The credits! How we’ve missed you, darling.

someisland

We’re up in the air, looking down at a small island. We can tell it’s off the coast of California, because it’s kind of smoggy.

helicopterflyby

Now we’re on the island, watching the approach of a helicopter. From what we can see, the place looks as bleak and barren as James Read’s and Janet Demay’s prospects for meaningful airtime in this episode. Sorry, guys.

Lynnerandall

Back in the helicopter again. I’m getting a little motion sick. Speaking of queasiness, we’re at last getting to see who will be featured guests in this episode. First up: Lynne Randall.

behindthescenesLynne Randall here makes the first of three appearances on the series. She must be an extraordinary talent to warrant such attention! Nope. She’s the wife of series creator Paul Gleason.

paulhecht

Back on the island, we see that the helicopter’s name is Paul Hecht. What a coincidence! That also happens to be the name of another of this episode’s guest stars.

behindthescenesPaul Hecht has had a long career, mostly in television. His first role was as “Johnny Cypher in Dimension Zero” (1967), which seems like the sort of cheesy show I’d enjoy very much. JohnnyCypher

Johnny Cypher, presumably at home in Dimension Zero.

brucekirby

Here comes the helicopter! And here’s our next guest star.

behindthescenesBruce KirbyIn a long career dating back to 1955, Bruce Kirby has played many cops and other authority figures. He also played Pete “The Crank” Frank on Punky Brewster. Do you think that’s who he’ll be in this episode?

kempstilwell

Since our final two guest stars don’t merit a title card of their own, I’ll address them together.

behindthescenesBrandis Kemp has had mostly minor guest roles on various series, and Diane Stilwell is best known for her small-but-pivotal role in “Earth Girls Are Easy.” (1988)

copterlands

The helicopter finally lands in a muddy clearing. Wait … what island is this again?

gilligansisland

Hurray! No?

gilligan

Aw.

disembarking

Mr. Steele helps Laura out of the helicopter as Lynne Randall’s husband and some other woman’s husband get their due.

notFred

Mr. Steele tells the driver (Hey! That’s not Fred!) to pick them up on Monday morning.

doctorkit

A stylishly dressed Steele and Laura mince away from the helicopter as we discover that Michael Gleason wrote (and presumably cast) this episode.

highheels

Steele and Laura, who apparently missed the shuttle bus to the hotel, head off into the jungle. Mr. Steele is wearing sensible shoes. Laura is not.

chiccouple

Laura sets the agenda for the weekend: “The first thing we do is introduce you as Dr. Bellows.”

whatifsomeoneknows

“What if someone knows the real Bellows?” Steele wants to know. Good point.

I-Dream-of-Jeannie-Wallpaper-i-dream-of-jeannie-4878870-1024-768

“I Dream of Jeannie” was very popular in its day.

lauraplaysnurse

“We’ll hit him with the suicide and gauge the reaction.” Laura informs Steele that she will be playing the role of his nurse, Tracy Lord.

tracy

“I’ve always loved that name: Tracy. It’s so … shimmery.”

behindthescenesTracy Lord was the name of the character played by Katherine Hepburn in the classic film, “The Philadelphia Story.” (Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, James Stewart, MGM, 1940) I wonder if Laura was aware of this when she selected that alias? Kate was certainly shimmery in the role.

Katharine-Hepburn-Tracy-Lord

Tracy Lord, shimmering.

steelelaughs

Mr. Steele seems intrigued with this information, or perhaps the discovery of Laura’s shimmery fantasies.

We’ll leave Dr. Bellows and Nurse Lord being welcomed to the Devil’s Playground …

 

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Steele Trap – 2

murphsdressingbetter

Our next scene opens on Murphy, who seems to have stepped up his wardrobe. Trying to be more like a certain smooth operator you claim to despise, Murph?

fingerpointing

Bernice (long time no see, Miss … Wolf? Fox? OMG, even I can’t remember any more!) directs the associate investigator into the executive office.

dustingthegallery

Finances must be tight this month, as we find Laura and Mr. S doing some light housekeeping. They’re dusting the many photos of the illustrious detective with his grateful admirers. Murphy, having just come from the coroner’s office, natch, has some information for them:

arthurbellows

“I’ve got a preliminary background check on our … almost client.”

See? This is why you get a credit card number before you start the work so you can at least recoup the cost of the drive across town. You kids need a good financial manager

 

spoileralert emoticonMildredKrebs

baseballguys

Murphy makes a rather startling (to any classic TV fan) announcement: “Arthur Bellows was a cosmetic surgeon.

Dr-Bellows-i-dream-of-jeannie-6921734-720-576

You’re slipping Murphy. I’m pretty sure Dr. Bellows was an Air Force psychiatrist.

But apparently he relocated from Cape Canaveral to LA and began a new practice.

drunkkenness

“You know, lift this, tuck that.”

Niptuck_season_2

Guess I missed that season.

Sounds like Dr. Bellows was as lousy a cosmetic surgeon as he was a shrink; Murphy reports he’s recently lost three malpractice suits and drinks like a fish.

whatsdevilsplayground

Laura wants to know if Murphy’s found out what this Devil’s Playground is.

“Some kind of resort. It’s on an island off of Baja California.”
StMartin

Hm. This is the only island I found off Baja, California: Isla San Martin. Looks a little bleak for a resort.

steeleisinterested

“Resort?” Steele asks, suddenly attentive. “On an island? How intriguing.”
7-1-fantasy-island-Facebook

Sorry, Mr. Steele. It’s not this island.

guykilledhimself

Murphy’s done wasting time on this. “Forget it, Laura. The guy killed himself. The reasons aren’t important.”
callousmurphy

Mr. Steele is offended by Murphy’s callous disregard for the late Dr. Bellows. “How cold, Murphy. How callous. Perhaps you’ve been at this too long.”

atthistoolong

Mr. Steele, having learned a thing or two about how to pique Laura’s interest, continues: “You’re asking yourself – could that invitation have triggered his death?”

skinnysteele

“And you know- the only place to find the answer is in the Devil’s Playground.” He heads for the door.

littleblackbags

Mr. Steele briskly commands Bernice to “run out and get me one of those little black bags Robert Young used to carry around.”

Jim Anderson

Wait. I thought Jim Anderson was an insurance salesman?

marcuswelby

Oh, THIS Robert Young. Steele also wants medical paraphernalia.

Laura declares herself clueless. “Appropriate props are the key to any convincing characterization,” the master of disguise explains.

murphyiobjects

Murphy is all appalled again. “You’re going to IMPERSONATE Dr. Bellows?”

steeleprotests

Steele declares this is the only way to get to the bottom of the tragedy. A man of compassion, is our Mr. Steele.

gettingawayfromus

“Laura, it’s getting away from us again,” Murphy warns.

justascurious

“Laura, you’re as curious about this as I am,” Steele persists.

hasustheremurph

“He has us there, Murph,” she admits.

Steele-1, Murphy-0. Par for the course, I’d say. Poor Murphy.

anhourtopack

“Give me an hour to pack,” Miss Holt says, with a fair amount of enthusiasm.

Oh, ho! Laura is going to accompany him to this sordid soiree? I didn’t think she was the type!

impersonatingsteele

Perhaps sensing Murphy’s disapproval, Laura explains. “If I allow him to go out there on his own, impersonating Remington Steele IMPERSONATING Arthur Bellows, can you imagine the outcome? Give me twenty minutes,” she explains.

steeleissmug

Steele is pleased. Murphy is NOT.

murphsontohim

“I know why you’re so hot to pursue this nonexistent mystery,” Mr. Michaels accuses.

perishthethought

“You want to get Laura alone on that island, don’t you?”

quickeyebrow

“You know what I most admire about you, Murphy?” Steele says.

“What?”

Is it possible for Mr. Steele to be any more smug? Yes! It is!

steeletriumphant

“Your perception.”

Oh, Murphy. You can dress like the master, but that doesn’t make you the master.

murphdefeated

Murphy throws down his coroner’s report in disgust.

reluctantadmiration

Game, set and match to Steele!

And STILL no opening credits …

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In the Steele of the Night – 16

Kind of a short one this time. Too many irons in the fire!

steelerunsupstairs

We find Steele still on a mission! When his Laura is in trouble, he can jog those stairs pretty quickly.

looksaround

He’s in one of the rooms – Alan’s?

openscloset

… and starts rummaging through his drawers (that joke just never gets old).

heremurphyagain

Well, look! Murphy has followed him. Going to apologize, Mr. Michaels? Beg for your job back?

murphwatchessteele

Nope. He’s just going to slouch and pout. Meanwhile, Mr. Steele is getting impatient.

staringusintheface

“It’s staring us in the face, damn it!” he growls.

Murphy remains impassive. “Do you know what you’re looking for?”

noidea

“I’ve no idea.” Refreshing honesty, Mr. Steele. “Something. Anything that seems out of place. Alan’s room is the only one we haven’t been through. Closet, closet, closet.”

closetcloset

Murphy points toward the closet. Have you been here before, Murph?

opensclothescloset

“The man had excellent taste,” he notes. “A little conservative. Someone should have told him that herringbone is out.”

 funfacticonInterested in learning more about herringbone? Well, who wouldn’t be! Here’s GQ with all the need-to-know info: http://www.gq.com/style/blogs/the-gq-eye/2013/11/dropping-knowledge-herringbone.html

lauraarrives

Murphy sits down, apparently to weep (my guess is he has a closet full of herringbone at home). Laura comes in. Steele continues his sartorial lecture.

actuallymurphy

“Houndstooth is au courant. Actually, Murphy, a trained eye can learn a great deal from a man’s clothes. We dress for what we are.”

orwhatwepretendtobe
“Or what we pretend to be.”

snappysnap

Oh, snap!

sparednoexpense
Steele will not be baited, sir! “Now what we have here is a man who spared no expense on himself,” Steele remarks. He goes and gets more suits.

custommade

“Silk suits, custom made, and by and large, always in style.”

embarrassing

Well, except for that appalling herringbone blunder.

lostagreatdealofweight

Laura seems to be getting a migraine as Steele continues to make observations about Alan’s sense of style. “A man who lost a great deal of weight, I would think.”

44to38

“He went from a size 44 to a 38 – with no stops in between. Hmm.”

Laura seems a little more interested, now.

eurekaLaura murphygetsittoo

Laura and Murphy exchange looks. “He’s done it again, hasn’t he?” Murphy asks.

didwhat

“Hmm?” Mr. Steele has no time for Murphy’s blathering. “Did what?”

ofcourseshesays
“Of course!” Laura exclaims.

allwrong

“We’ve gone about this thing all wrong!

dissectedeveryone

We’ve dissected everyone …

fromthestart

… but the one person we should have been looking at from the start!”
murphgetsinexercise
Murphy finds her performance gripping. “Alan!”
dontbeabsurd
“Alan?” Mr. Steele tries to be patient with dunderheaded Murphy. “Don’t be absurd. The man’s dead.”
gettingreadytoleave
“The others are calling the police,” Laura tells Murphy. “Getting ready to leave. We have to stop them!”

To the Batcave!
havetostopthem
Steele watches them go, then continues examining the suits. “Ha!”

tryingonforsize

Looks like Steele may beef up his own wardrobe. Well, at least he’ll get something out of the weekend.

examiningquality

“Well, maybe not.”

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In the Steele of the Night – 15

After a slightly confusing cut …

steeledozing

… we find our Mr. Steele twiddling and dozing in the dining room.

columbomoment

A bit of aimless wandering. It seems to have gotten dark. Wonder what they all have done for the past four and a half hours since Donald protested his innocence. How long does it take Murphy to process fingerprints? And how does he even do it? Does he just eyeball ‘em?

bidingtheirtime

All the suspects, sans Murphy, seem to have gathered in the dining room. Perhaps to gnaw on the floral centerpiece, since besides Mr. Steele’s magical breakfast, I don’t think any of them have eaten anything since they got here.

murphinsilhouette

Speaking of Murph … here he comes! He makes a slightly ominous silhouette.

whatdidyoufindmurph
“Ah, Murphy,” Steele announces. “There you are. Did you make a match? No disputing fingerprints. Finest crime fighting tool ever invented.”

lotofpartials

Well, he looks glum. Perhaps he found his OWN prints at the crime scene. He launches into his scientific dissertation on forensic technique.

“There were a lot of partials in the elevator. Many were unusable. Of the identifiable prints, most were Alan’s and there were a few I couldn’t match up.”
glassesonKent

Donald puts on his glasses, the better to see Murphy’s grim visage.

increduloussteele
Steele’s had enough of the stalling. “Murphy, the sun has set. The suspense is building!”

onward

“Onward!”

oneverygoodprint

“There was one very good print on the STOP button. It was a perfect match,” Murphy continues.

Not sure why a fingerprint on the stop button is definitive proof of the murderer’s identity … maybe if the print were on Alan’s dead neck.

 

seinfeldshrug

Whatever.

thenwehaveit

Steele is delighted! “Then we have it. Our murderer. A fingerprint is a good as a signed confession.”

irrefutableevidence

“Caught in the vise of irrefutable evidence!”

Oh, he’s getting wound up now.

sandywondersabouthim

Sandy seems to be wondering if he’s going off the rails.

counteraccusations

Steele continues, driving the point home. “No denials …”

asgoodasaconfession

“… no counter accusations will set this killer free!”

lauralooks

Laura begins to wonder when Mr. Steele is going to conclude this soliloquoy.

tellus

Perhaps sensing he’s losing his audience, Steele wraps it up. “So. Please, Murphy. Tell us: Whose print is it?”

laurasprint
“Laura’s.”
awkward

Well! That’s an unexpected twist.

wellthatsunexpected

Wait. What?

looksdownatlaura

Steele looks down at Laura. “Laura?”

ohdearLaura

Laura looks stunned mildly interested.

fadeout

The scene fades to black ….

defensiveLaura

And we’re back! Laura looks a little peeved. Being accused of murder by your business partner will do that for you.

steeleisthereforher

Mr. Steele offers his associate silent support.

ImsorryLaura

‘”I’m sorry,” says Murph.

neverinthatelevator

Laura is shaken, but unbowed. “I was never in that elevator.”

Aw, look at Mr. Steele being all protective.

twothingstosay

“I have only two things to say,” Steele begins authoritatively.

IhaveknownLaura

“I have known Laura Holt …”

houseOops

… erm …

erm

“I don’t what even to think how long I’ve known Laura Holt.”

clapping

Nice save, Mr. Steele!

Icansay

And I can say, without fear of repudiation…”

Repudiation? You’re going to have Murphy running for his dictionary again.

isincapable

“…that this woman is incapable of any foul play against Alan Grievey or anyone else.”

asupportivelook

Right, Mr. Steele!

Right, Mr. Steele?

arentyou

“Aren’t you?”

youhavetoask

Now is NOT the time to waver, mister.

rhetoricalqustion

“Rhetorical question.”

tapdancing

Keep dancing, Mr. Steele!

conferswithMurphy

Steele’s going to get to the bottom of this, by God! He will exonerate his Laura!

He pauses at the door to exchange a quiet word with Murph.

yourfired

“I also want to say …”

lauraisamazed

Laura looks puzzled …

thatsneertho

… then weirded out.  Is it because of Steele’s presumption at firing Murphy … or is she touched that he’s so adamant in her defense?

wellthisisawkward

An uncomfortable silence falls over the room. Alan throws a fun party!

grandexit

Murphy turns and follows Remington out the door …

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In the Steele of the Night – 10

Back to Carl’s bedroom, where Murphy seems to have been directed to “assume the position.”

assumethepositionMurphy

(Now bend over and cough?)

“No gun,” he declares.

whatamess

Uh, oh. The room looks like it’s been trashed by a 70s rock band.

 

randomalertRock bands used to trash hotel rooms, you know. http://www.rockworldmagazine.com/history-of-hotel-room-trashing/

steeleassess

“Must’ve stashed it somewhere else in the house,” Donald deduces.

Just when it looks like the mystery will never be solved, here comes their fearless leader. “The scene of the crime!” Steele pronounces.

(Huh? I thought the elevator was the scene of the crime, Mr. Steele.)
noneedtotellyou
Steele explains. “I have no need to tell you people that the scene of the crime is often the best single source of conclusive evidence.”

If nothing else, Mr. Steele has an excellent memory for lines. Maybe he should become an actor.

boyheisgood
“Boy, he IS good!” Sandy whispers to Murphy. Not sure Mr. Michaels agrees.

youmeantheelevator
“You mean the elevator?” Aha! Carl remembers where the murder took place. There’s those killer instincts again

precisely

“Precisely.” Not to mention indubitably, unequivocally, and incontrovertibly.

wevolunteer

Everybody’s ready to check it out. Steele knows where this headed, and heads them off with a brisk whistle.

 

wellallgo

“We’ll ALL check it, hmm?”

awaytheygoagain

Okay!
A moment later …

sixinanelevator

Gee, it gets a bit crowded when the whole gang crams into an elevator. And for their next trick:

crowded-phone-booth

 

Each master detective pursues the investigation in his or her unique way.

excusemeplease

Which is to say, they all look around randomly. Carl is getting uncomfortably up close and personal with Laura, while Murphy seems to have formed an inappropriate relationship with one wall of the car. Don wants to know what he’s up to.
whatsmurphdoing
“Dusting for prints,” the well-equipped Mr. Michales responds.

Oh, dear. Now you’ve set Carl off again. “He’s dusting for prints? Why is HE dusting for prints?”
dustingforprints
“‘Cause it’s MY dusting kit,” Murphy explains.

Honestly, the sexual tension between these two  is palpable, isn’t it?

Murphy isn’t about to share his toys, by the way. So:


noarguingwiththat
“No arguing with that,” Steele says, because it would be a stupid thing to argue about.

carlshadenough

Petulant Carl has had enough. He leaves the little huddle in the elevator.
gotaminute
“Mr. Steele? Got a minute?” he inquires.

offtheygothen

Apparently he does.
lauraobserves
Meanwhile, back at the ranch in the elevator, where Donald’s pose suggests the collective body odor may be growing intolerable, OOD declares, “This is ridiculous.”

wantsomecoffee

He suggests to Laura that they get some coffee. (Yet another man trying to get close to Miss Holt?)

lauradonleave
This leaves only Murph and Sandy in the elevator. Miss Thing checks out Murphy’s material assets,

sandyhitsbutton

leans over and presses the door close button.

Ineedthelight

“Hey!” Murphy finally notices. “Sandy, I need the light.”
sandygetsclose

Oh-ho! What’s this? Looks like Sandy would like to have some quality time with Mr. Michaels in the elevator. She wants a ride. Up and down.
“Murphy, listen,” she insists. “Forget about the dusting for a minute. I need your help.”
IdidntkillAlan
“What are you talking about?” See, here’s the thing. Murph just doesn’t have those killer instincts.

Sandy presses … her case. “I didn’t kill Alan. But I just know that any time now, somebody’s going to find something that makes it look like I did.”

murphyhasbighands

Murphy is perplexed stunned indifferent. Good heavens, Murphy. What large hands you have. No wonder Sandy wants some alone time …

 

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In the Steele of the Night – 9

Breakfast time!

steeletucksin

Nothing like the sight of a fresh corpse to work up a good appetite, eh, Mr. Steele?

noappetite

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!)

ravenous

“Forgive me. Ravenous,” he explains.

behindthescenesravenousposterRavenous. 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.)

dyedinthewool

Steele begins to dazzle his audience with his investigative acumen: “Now then. Let’s begin at the beginning. Being dyed in the wool professionals…”

asuperbwitness

“… we all know that the last person to see the victim alive is either a superb witness-”

heknowshislines

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.

hesverygood
“He’s very good,” Sandy whispers. Does Laura agree? If so … what is it he’s very good at?

questionIputtoyou
The Great Detective takes up his cuppa. “So then: The question I put to all of you is quite simple:”

whowaslastperson
“Who was the last person to see Alan Grievey alive?”

carlsfinger

“The murderer.” There’s that killer instinct again. He’s one sharp cookie, our Carl.

headsswivel

His colleagues turn to look at him … accusingly? He apparently thinks so.

asetup

“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?

youhatedalan
“You HATED Alan,” Sandy insists.

waltercronkite

“Well listen to Walter Cronkite here with the latest breaking news,” Carl says.

funfacticonWalter 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:

sureIhatedAlan

“Sure, I hated Alan,” Carl continues, pacing. “You know how the Alan Grievey Agency got so big so fast?”

Tell us, Carl!

copiedeveryfile

“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.”

steeleisengrossed

Steele is enjoying the show as much as the breakfast.

goodolddonald

Carl continues. “Then he called good old Donald over here, made sure HE knew what I’d done.”

offmyparkingspace

“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!

drovecadillac

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?

thatswhatIdo

“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?

catchmeontheweekends

“You should always catch me on the weekends, Laura. That’s when I look good.”

whenIlookgood

Huh? Is all this about Carl trying to make an impression on Laura? Miss Holt seems as puzzled as I am.

weallhatedalan

“Sure I hated Alan,” he concludes. “We ALL hated Alan.”

Did we? Why did we ALL hate Alan?

whataboutthegun
Murphy wants to know about the .38 in OOG’s suitcase.
didntbringagun

Carl doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

carlIsawit

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?

checkcarlsroom

Mr. Steele knows how to get to the bottom of this! “Miss Holt, would you be kind enough to check Carl’s room?”
sherises

Laura’s ready to go.

sheworkswithmurphy

Carl’s not having it. “No way! She works with Murphy. How do I know she’s not gonna plant something?”
illgo
Donald says he’ll go. Carl likes that even less.
youno
“YOU?! No!”
thenillgo
Sandy volunteers. Nope.
“Not on your life!” Carl grouses.

Now what, Mr. Steele?

weallgo

“What if we all go?”

takeoffrunningaparadesearchingtheroom

Apparently they’re on board with that idea.

strippingbed
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?)

amusedsmirk
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!

leadthem

“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.

dontknowyou

“They don’t KNOW you,” Laura retorts a little sullenly.

theirloss

“Their loss.” I’m not sure Steele is referring to the rest of the group. What do you think?

He makes his exit …

shefollows

… followed by Laura. Look at that Breck bounce in her hair!

stillhunting

They leave the Keystone Kops to finish tossing Carl’s room.

loverspainting

Walking down the hallway, they pass a painting of lovers embracing. Significant?

Around the corner, Mr. Steele has a question for his associate.

lurkingtogether

“What do we do next?”
youreaskingme
“Me? YOU’RE asking ME?” Laura puts that community college theatre minor to good use!

dramaqueen

Drama queen much?
guidethem

“I thought YOU were going to LEAD them, GUIDE them, show them how it’s done.”

Now, Laura. Let’s not be petty.

tellmehowtodoit

Steele seems unaffected by her sarcasm. “And I am. As soon as you tell me how to do it.”
wonderful

Don’t make him grovel, Laura. He hates that. “Oh, come on. Something. Anything. Last person to see the victim alive -”

haveanotherone

“Wonderful! Sounds so … official. Happen to have another one like that?”

thatgrintho

That grin, tho. Laura, you know you can’t resist the man.
sceneofthecrime
“Scene of the crime,” she offers.

Steele needs more.

conclusivephysicalevidence
“Scene of the crime. The best single source for conclusive physical evidence is almost always the scene of the crime.”
thankshesays
“Thanks!” Steele is back on the case, ready to dispense his hard-won wisdom.

silentscream

There’s that look again, Laura. Perhaps you should see your doctor when you get home. I think you’re developing a nasty tic.

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In the Steele of the Night – 8

We left Laura and Mr. Steele about to have a palaver about the current situation.

hateworking

Mr. Steele professes to be disgruntled. “I HATE working on the weekends.” (As if you ever have, Mr. Steele!). “But if I must, I must.” He shakes out a silk handkerchief and pops it in his breast pocket.

Laura pulls it out again. “I didn’t ask you to come up here!” Then, inexplicably, she puts the handkerchief back. Trying to show who’s boss, Laura? Or do you just want an excuse to feel up his bod?

snatcheshankie

“They’re your friends,” Steele notes.

“Do me a favor and keep that in mind.”

Laura seems to imply he’s not worth of her friends. I’m pretty sure if I brought someone like Mr. Steele to my reunion, I wouldn’t feel embarrassed. In fact, I think I’d be all …

takethat

Neener neener.

everyoneofthose

Steele is (justifiably) wounded. “You’re absolutely convinced that I’m going to go out there and make a fool of you.”

“Every one of those people out there is a TRAINED investigator!”

pinkpanther

So was this guy. What’s your point?
understandsqueamishness
“Laura, I understand your squeamishness, but the fact remains that they’ve asked me to oversee this investigation, and oversee it I must,” Steele tut-tuts. “It’s only until nightfall. And I have to believe that TWO bright people like us can fool even the finest investigators for that amount of time.”

thatwinktho

That wink, tho!

laurasopinion

Laura eloquently expresses her opinion of his assessment.

newhankie

“Of course we can,” Steele continues.  “Just one question.”

He’s got yet another handkerchief. The man must have a separate bag for his accessories.
thatamtoftime
Yeesssss?

justonequestion

“Where should I begin?”

whatsheasks

“What?”  He’s asking for your advice, Laura. You’re the true brains of this outfit, remember? At least, you’re always telling him that.

whereshallIbegin

“It’s a simple question. Where should I begin? A starting point. Something to get the ball moving. Something to kind of keep them busy, impress them with my keen mind.”

ohkeenmind

“Ohhhhhhh.” Something tells me Laura has doubts about his keen mind. Either that, or she is about to sing the song of her people.

doghowl

“Arrooooo!”

startwiththelast

“Start with the last person to see the victim alive,” Laura advises.

Steele urges her to expound.

“The basic rule of detection. The last person to see the victim alive is either a superb witness or an excellent suspect.”

Ilikethat

“Ohh. I like that.” (And I like that little smile, Mr. Steele.)

youdohuh

“You do, huh?” Laura parries. Steele turns away, ready to begin his mission!

shescreams

Oh, dear. I think Laura may be feeling a little stressed.

deepyogabreathlaura

Take a deep yoga breath, Laura.

I love Steele’s confidence as well as his acknowledgement that he’ll need her help here. He is sure he can bluff the group into believing he’s Sherlock Holmes, yet doesn’t expect to be able to actually solve the case on his own. I think he’s also looking forward to the opportunity to partner with Laura in this. And Laura is slightly amused by his chutzpah, despite herself.

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In the Steele of the Night – 7

We left Laura staring in shock at the corpse of the weekend’s host, lodged in his own elevator.

everybodylooking

 

Looks like the rest of the Scooby gang is finally up and at ‘em.

“It’s a joke, right?” Sandy (who DOESN’T wear a robe) asks.

dwightshrute

Yes, just the kind of whimsical office prank that makes working for a living worthwhile. Or not.
itsajoke

“His neck was broken,” says OOD.

“How poetic,” notes Carl. How so? OOD’s line didn’t even rhyme!

“Snapped in two,” Laura agrees. I wonder how she determined that. Did she jiggle his head from side to side?

wetalkingmurder

Sandy is relieved to hear this. She points out that delicate little gals like herself and Laura aren’t the neck-snapping type.
OOD’s not buyin’ it. “Even a ninety pound weakling can break somebody’s neck if they know how.” Speaking from experience, Donald?

 randomalert Donald’s mention of a “97-lb. weakling” is a reference to the famous Charles Atlas comic book ads of the 1940s, in which the weakling in question gets sand kicked in his face at the beach, then uses Charles Atlas’s fitness regimen to become a REAL man.

Here’s the famous ad: Charles Atlas

 

whatareyoudoing
Murphy takes his turn to fondle examine the body. His old buddy Killer Instinct Carl objects.
“What do you think you’re doing?”

Killer instincts maybe, Carl, But smarts? Not so much.

“I’m moving the body out of the elevator,” Murphy explains.
“You’re tampering with physical evidence,” Carl points out.
“I’m NOT tampering with it. I’m MOVING it.”
“Yeah? Well, I wish you wouldn’t.”
“Well, we can’t very well leave the body where it is, can we?”

boxingcats

Now, boys. Can’t we all be nice? There’s enough body here for everybody to play with!

Carl’s not into sharing.

murphysgams

“MURPHY! All of you. There’s been a murder committed here. Apparently by one of us. That body just might be our biggest and best clue. I for one think it’s bad form to have your best piece of evidence moved by a potential suspect.”

murphyattacks

Hot-blooded Murphy isn’t going to take that kneeling down! He lunges for Carl, perhaps to demonstrate that even though he’s no 97-pound weakling, he still knows how to break a(nother) neck.

ifImoveit

Donald intervenes. “How about if I move the body?” he suggests.
Nope.

“Don’t you get it, Sherlock? We’re ALL suspects,” says Carl with a snarl.

clapping

Carl with a snarl. Now THAT’s poetry.
thatsforthepolice

“I think that’s for the police to decide, don’t you?” Laura suggests.

bitprocipitous

Uh, oh. Don doesn’t dig that idea.

“Don’t you think you’re being a bit precipitous, Laura?” Donald asks.

“Precipitous?” Murphy repeats, probably not having any idea what that word means and assuming Donald has just impugned Laura’s virtue. “The man’s DEAD!”

Donald points out that the police will want to question all of them as suspects in the murder. Laura doesn’t care. “That’s only a problem if you’re guilty.”

“Oh, that’s a lot of garbage,” Donald counters. He reminds them that a detective being a suspect in a murder is bad for business.

Sandy’s got other concerns.

robinandthekids

“Robin and the kids don’t know where I am. I didn’t tell them I was coming here.” It’s a “marital thing,” she says, and she’s not eager to phone hubby from the police station.

Fortunately, Donald has a plan!

proposeweinvestigate
“What I’d like to propose is that WE investigate the murder.” He suggests a time limit: until nightfall.
usinvestigateus

The others detect a potential problem here. “US investigate US? That’s NEVER gonna work!” Murphy blusters.

plantingfalseclues

“Murphy’s right,” Laura agrees. “We can’t even decide who’s going to move the body! How are we going to investigate a murder with the murderer still running around, probably planting false clues, destroying evidence?”

Well, there is ONE possibility …

murphygags

“Now, the only way this would ever work would be if there was somebody on the outside, somebody with no axe to grind. Didn’t know Alan, somebody we could trust. Somebody …”

Murphy, sensing where she’s going with this, isn’t pleased.

forgetthatlastthought.jphg

Oops. “Forget that last thought-.” Laura backtracks.

“Please,” Murphy begs.
mrsteelesheasks

“Mr. Steele?” Sandy suggests.

nosheobjects

Nah.

nononomurphy

Murphy and Laura are doubtful, but the rest of the gang seems to think that’s a fine idea!

herecomessteele

Well, speak of the devil! You’re looking particularly natty this morning, Mr. Steele.
didIsleepsoundly
“Morning! Morning, morning, morning!” Perhaps assuming everyone has been waiting for him to go down to breakfast, Mr. S heads for the elevator. “My goodness, did I sleep soundly,” he blathers. “Country air, I’ll wager. Sound sleep like that always makes me feel hungry. You know what I could go for? Large country breakfast. Hot cakes, sausages …”

steppingin

What’s this? It seems the elevator car is already occupied.

wellthatsasurprise

Steele takes a closer look.

manhasbeenmurdered

“The man has been murdered,” Laura explains.
Even an apprentice master detective can see that. And a good con man knows when to put distance between himself and the scene of the crime.

helltakethestairs

“I think I’ll take the stairs.”

mayIhaveaword
Laura grabs his arm. “Mr. Steele. Sir, sir, SIR.” (Oh, that must have hurt.) “May I have a word with you?”
offtheygothen
They sidle away …

I wonder why everyone assumes Mr. Steele can’t be the murderer? As an “outsider,” one might think he’d be the most suspicious. However, Laura’s comment about Alan’s former coworkers having axes to grind suggests it isn’t only Carl who had a beef with the dead man. I wonder what the others’ complaints are against good ‘ol Alan?

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In the Steele of the Night – 4

We left Carl OOG reminding (warning?) Laura of his killer instinct – something that he averred she shares.

Some time later, presumably …

brandysnifter

Alan fills an enormous brandy snifter that he’s about to … snift? He poses a challenge to his former colleagues.

mangetsonelevator

“Best murder. A man gets on the elevator on the tenth floor. He’s all alone. It’s an express. The elevator doesn’t stop again until the third floor. When the doors open, he’s dead. What happened?”

Well! This is indeed a puzzle.

basilrathbone

At last! The game is afoot!

funeralspray

OOG begins the interrogation. (Is that a funeral spray in back of Alan?)

“It didn’t go down to the basement and then back up to the third floor?” Carl asks.

Nope.

urns

“There was no one else on the elevator?” OOD, whose name is apparently Donald. Which still makes him OOD – Obligatory Office Donald. (Now Alan is standing between what appears to be two funeral urns. Whatever can it mean?)

“No,” says Alan.

Ood

This, by the way, is an actual OOD. They are servile and irritating … and can be treacherous. Hm. Like another OOD we know?

hasntstopped
Sandy asks, “It hasn’t stopped?”
Negatory.

poisoned
Murphy, a methodical sort, reviews the salient details before offering his solution. “It went from the tenth floor to the third floor, no stops, no people. Was he poisoned?”
notpoisoned
Nopey. “Not poisoned.”

hewasmurdered
Laura snaps her fingers. By George, I think she’s got it!

“But he WAS murdered.”

Um … that’s not really a solution, Laura. We already knew that part. Try to keep up.

thenameofthegame

“THAT is the name of the game,” Alan says, looking a little creepy.

whosthatknocking

Okay, a LOT creepy.

Suddenly – actually, not suddenly enough; it looks like the sound effect was slightly off – there’s a knock at the door. “Would someone get that, please?”

highkickLaura
Laura, perhaps contemplating a new career as a high-kicking Radio City Music Hall dancer (the girl is nimble!) springs into action, ready to serve. (Interesting how she adopts this role, essentially obeying Alan’s orders … perhaps unconsciously trying to “look good” in his eyes?)

alancomeon

Sandy’s not interested in Alan’s good opinion of her. “Alan, come on. That’s not fair,” she whines. “Now you’re supposed to tell us how the murder was committed.”
littleselfcontrol
“A little self control, Sandy,” he says. “I promise I won’t let you go home without the answer.”

laurapauses
We cut to Laura arriving at the imposing wooden door. Hard knocks are heard from the other side. Oh, look! There’s a tiny little door inside the big door. Laura, apparently fearing a vacuum salesman or Jehovah’s Witness has come to call, decides to take a little peek first.

hopenotlate

Oh, dear. “Hope I’m not late,” says the late Mr. Steele.
sheslamsit
I’m not sure Laura is happy to see him!

But she knows he’ll just stand there, with his nose pressed up against the window like a puppy, if she doesn’t shoo him away.

reopensit

She opens the little door again. “What are you doing here?” she demands.

wasinvited
He waves the envelope in her direction. “I was invited.”

Can’t argue with that. Laura lets him in.

welcomemrsteele

“Where did you get that?” Laura asks peevishly.
nottheonlysleuth
“You’re not the only sleuth around here, you know.” Mr. Steele tugs at his cuffs – a nervous gesture? Or a cocky one?

I think Laura would argue that she IS the only sleuth around here – the only one standing in the foyer, anyway.

“My wastebasket,” she deduces. (Wait. Didn’t we see Mr. Steele pull it out of his desk drawer?)

confusedkitty

A little confused, now.

wastebasket

Despite her apparent irritation, she gamely takes his arm.

We hear Alan from the other room: “Laura, who is it?”

knowthattrick

“So you know that trick as well, do you?” Mr. Steele goads. Is he reminding her that she is, in her way, as big a con artist as he is? He steps away from her and heads in the direction from whence Alan’s voice came.

heartburnlaura

Buckle your seatbelt, Laura. It’s going to be a bumpy night!

 

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In the Steele of the Night – 3

We left Murphy frowning in OOG’s room, wondering what good ‘ol Carl was doing with a gun in his suitcase. Presumably he will rush to tell Laura of his find and they’ll investigate further, right?

murphsmakingtime

Guess not. Seems our Murphy has been making time with another girl – the blonde from earlier, who appears slightly damp. Oh, fickle Murphy.

angrybuffy

Just like a man.

youfinallymarried

“So how are you doin’, Murphy?” OOB asks.

“Fair to middlin’,” he admits. (Not exactly bursting with joy about his life, is he?) “And you?”

“Okay. I’m married, kids … you know”

“Yeah,” he says. “Did I ever meet the guy you finally married?”
So Murphy knows what this chick has been up to, but had no idea that Alan was super-rich? “Finally married” suggests that our girl OOB was a playah back in the day.

leanin
OOB discloses that Murphy is the one who introduced her to hubby. He IS surprised at this. Murphy seems to be leaning into OOB’s personal space here. Is he making his move?

“Yeah. You were working at the agency … I don’t know …maybe a year?” she explains.  “You pulled a divorce case. A Mrs. Robin Maxwell. Convinced her husband was doing the dirty deed outside of marriage. He WAS guilty; you did catch him.”

I hate to stereotype, but this gal doesn’t strike me as the detective type. Was the she receptionist?

“Anyway, the next day, he came to the office,” OOB continues. “Pleaded with us not to give our information to his wife. You were working on something else, so I took the meeting. I told this guy my hands were tied. He tried to buy me with dinner that night.”

Murphy wonders so what. So do I.

buymewithdinner

“It worked,” she tells him.

“Ah, Sandy.” Turns out Sandy was not the receptionist, but rather the Obligatory Office Gold-digger. Sorry, Sandy. We already have an OOG. Maybe the OOH? (Obligatory Office ‘Ho?).

ohsnap

Oh, snap!

“Love is strange,” Sandy says.

So is this scene. What’s the point?

Meanwhile, back at the ranch on the veranda …

high-neckedLaura

… Laura has changed into a high-necked blouse and pinned her hair up. It’s 19th century chic!

casualwear

And here she is in casual wear, for hanging around the pool. (Is that Fred?)

seesthecouple

She observes Murphy and OOH. Is she jealous?

OOGiswatching

Doesn’t seem like it. Maybe she’s happy that her good pal Murph is likely to get some this weekend.

Wait, what’s this? It’s OOG – sneaking up on our Laura?

beenalongday

“What do you think they’re talking about?” OOG inquires. Laura is only a little startled.

But Laura’s not even a little interested in guessing games.
playdetective
“It’s been a long day, Carl. I’m tired – I don’t wanna play detective.”

missedopportunities

Turns out she doesn’t have to. Carl has all the answers already.

“They’re talking about missed opportunities. That’s what reunions are about, right? What if I had worked harder, what if I had been a little nicer – what if I, what if I, what if I. Right about now they’re saying, ‘What if I had noticed you when we were working together at Havenhurst?'”

Well, actually they’re not saying any of these things. But good try, Carl.

laurayawns

Laura is fascinated by his insight.

Carl doesn’t take the hint. “Fools like that never remember.”

pitythefool

Wait. Is he calling Murphy a fool? Guess that makes Mr. Michaels the OOF.

 

wasalan

OOG continues: “He never looked at her because he was always looking at you. And she never gave him the time of day. The only guy she wanted to know about was Alan.”

Laura’s still looking toward her colleague and his new squeeze. She doesn’t seem to react to Carl’s revelation that Murphy was interested in her all the way back to Havenhurst. Is it because she already knows? Is Carl trying to subtly suggest that Laura wasn’t very observant while back at Havenhurst, either?

Anyway, Carl’s tired of carrying this conversation by himself.

“Say something, Holt.”

saysomethingholt

“Huh?” She seems to be thinking about something else. I wonder what? Murphy … Alan …

 

winkingMiley

… or someone else?

younevertalkedtome
“You never talked to me. Never. Not back at Havenhurst. Not now.” Oh, dear. Something tells me Carl would designate Laura the OOB(eyatch).
sorrycarl
“I’m sorry.”

Pretty sure she’s not, really.

lotalike
“You know, we’re a lot alike,” Carl persists.

ohshemurmurs

Laura seems skeptical. Or about to suck out Carl’s liver. She reminds me of one of my favorite X File creatures here:

fluke-man

Fluke Man!

somethingbetter
Carl isn’t scared. “Sure. Alan’s got a big house, Sandy’s got a rich husband, but you and me, we got something better.”

And what is that, Carl?

killerinstinct

“Killer instinct.”

BA BA BUM!

Oooh, Carl is starting to look suspicious, isn’t he. But perhaps he’s a red herring. Of course, there hasn’t actually been a crime. The contrast between Sandy and Laura is interesting: Sandy is almost bare (and reveals much about herself to Murphy), while Laura is covered up, both physically and emotionally. Something tells me Laura is uncomfortable being among these colleagues again. Perhaps the energetic, confident Laura we know finds herself slipping back into an old, mousey, subordinate role she played at Havenhurst?

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