Altared Steele
From the episode written by:
Jeff Melvoin
Thanks, Jan, for the added scene!

We open the episode in the midst of a nightmare. Lightening, a bell, waves crashing violently, a clock, and a hatchet.

A man wakes up in a motel room, fully dressed, looks outside, then goes to the phone. "May I help you?" the operator asks.

"Yes. This is uh--"

"Yes? Sir, You'll have to speak up."

"Uh, I'm sorry, this is- this is room- 12-" he bends to look at the number, and an arrow flies through the window, hitting the wall just over his head. He turns around to the window, then at the arrow in the wall.

"Sir? Mr. Dannon?" Dannon breaks off the end of the arrow. "I can't hear you, sir. Mr. Dannon?" He's dropped he phone. "Sir, can I help you?" Dannon leaves the room, terrified. "Mr. Dannon?" the operator asks again.


Laura and Mildred are carrying files out of Laura's office, and putting them on Mildred's desk. Laura looks as if she'd rather be *anywhere* other than where she is. Mildred, however, is in her element. "Ready for the next batch?" she asks.

"Your enthusiasm for this kind of work amazes me, Mil-" Her stack of files slides over onto the floor.

"Oh. Are you kidding? This is fun. I've been reading through these cases, and the intrigue, and the romance, and the- ooh, the adventure-" Laura follows her back into the office, glancing at Steele's door on the way. "It's so dangerous." They each grab another pile. "Sometimes I think that our boss is too good to be true."

"Speaking of the heroic Mr. Steele, wasn't he supposed to join us about an hour ago?"

"Oh, well, he has so much work to do, that I told him that we girls could handle this by ourselves." Laura glares.

Steele enters the office. "Ahh, good morning, ladies, good morning!" He throws them a kiss.

"Oh, good morning, sir. You have several phone calls, but nothing urgent." Laura stands, waiting for Mildred to stop fawning. "Coffee this morning?"

"Uh, tea, actually, Mildred."

She taps his arm. "You got it, boss."

Steele laughs, delighted to be so spoiled. He turns back to Laura, who is not happy. "Ohh, remarkable woman, ey? Filled with spirit, consumed with dedication-" Laura faces him.

"This has got to stop."

Steele looks at the files on Mildred's desk. "Oh, a couple more hours should do it, I'd think, don't you?"

"I mean you and our Miss Krebbs are going to have a little talk."

His face falls, like a little boy who's told he can't stay in the candy store. "Really? What about, I wonder?" He turns toward his office, and Laura follows.

She turns him back to the desk. "About who *really* runs this agency. If I want a file, she asks you first. If I want a paperclip, she asks you *first*."

"Well, you must admire the woman's consistancy."

"I don't care how you do it or which method you choose, but somehow you're going to convince her that we are a least equals," she says, holding out her hand.

He takes it, holding it. "Ah, but Laura, think how it would shatter the perfect harmony of that woman's universe-" Dannon walks into the office. "I think in situations like this, the truth is always more trouble than it's worth. Don't you?" Laura doesn't buy it for a second.

Dannon clears his throat. "Pardon me, but, I'm looking for Remington Steele?"

Steele hurries to him, finally releasing Laura's hand. "Yes. At your service, Mr -"

"Oh. Dannon. Well, Frank Dannon."

Steele turns to Laura as she approaches. "And my loyal associate, Laura Holt." She and Dannon shake hands. "What can we do for you, Mr. Dannon?"

"Well, I need you to find someone."

"Excellent. Who?"


Steele looks at Laura.


In Steele's office, Laura asks Dannon, "And you can't remember anything about yourself?"

"Not a thing, Miss Holt."

"No memories at all," Steele asks. "Family, friends-"

"Well, I didn't even know my name until that motel operator told it to me, and the next thing I knew, someone was shooting arrows at me-"

"Arrows?" Laura questions.

"Boy that's strange, huh?" Dannon says.

Steele approaches Dannon. "It's abundantly clear that we're dealing with a classic case of amnesia, of which there are two characteristic types." He studies Dannon. "Traumatic and hysterical." He grabs Frank's head as Laura flinches. "In the absence of any bumps, bruises, or other obvious injuries to the skull, I think we're safe in concluding that this man is suffering from the hysterical form of the condition."

"What does that mean?" Frank asks.

"Someone or something recently scared the living daylights out of you."

"Oh," Frank says, smiling. He sees the bell from his nightmare again,the clock the hatchet, and he's backing away, "Wait a minute." He closes his eyes, frightened, sees himself on the floor, trying to escape the hatchet. He looks up a Steele. "Someone tried to kill me."

"Uh huh."

"With a hatchet," he says.

"A hatchet?" Laura repeats. "Would you excuse us for a moment, please," she says, pulling Steele toward her office. Inside, she says, "An arrow? A hatchet? This man doesn't need a detective, he needs a psychiatrist."

"I must admit that it's not the most plausible story. It's obvious that the man has been on the receiving end of some terrible psychological blow. After all, Laura, even paranoids have enemies."

"Then we'll refer him to a good counseling service where he can get the kind of help he needs. By the way, where'd you get this stuff on amnesia?"

"Spellbound?" Steele asks.

"Yes, I was, actually."

"Gregory Peck, Ingrid Bergman, Selznick International, 1945."

"Why do I ask?" she wonders aloud as he goes to the door. He opens it. Laura rubs her hands together and begins. "After careful consideration to your plight, Mr. Steele has decided-" she stops as she sees the end of an arrow in Frank's hands. "Spellbound?"

Steele says, "Or Robin Hood."


Laura looks at the mark on the arrow, a white circle with a W in crosshairs. They are at a store with that symbol on it, "Weapon World." The store is doing a booming business, families, little old ladies -

"Everything for the Modern Survivalist," Steele reads as they watch a family come out with a machine gun and ammo, the little boy carrying a GI Joe doll. All three are shocked. They go inside to find a little old lady going through a bin of hand grenades as if they were fruit.

"This is kind of a longshot, isn't it?" Frank asks.

Steele watches the old lady. "Interesting choice of words."

"Until we can generate some information on who you are," Laura tells him, "This arrow is all we have to go on." The lady moves her cart.

We see someone putting on a pair of gloves.

Laura approaches the counter. "You the store manager?"

"Affirmative." He sees the arrow. "Say, little lady, you're not gonna stop too many commies with one of those. What you need is our basic Armegeddon package for self defense."

"We're not interested in purchasing anything," Steele tells him.

"Hey. Think of it as an investment. Believe me, when the Red Army appears outside your door, you're gonna thank the good Lord you've got the firepower to protect your own perimeter."

"No, you don't understand-" She indicates the arrow.

"If price is a problem, we got installment plans that will just blow you away."

The gloved hand, a bracelet with a bell on the wrist, loads a row of machine guns in the center of the store. The manager is still trying. "Now, you just can't improve on the government issue colt. Automatic, dependable, lethal."

Laura's had enough. "Tent HUT! We're private investigators," she tells him, holding out the arrow. "We need to know who purchased this particular arrow. Do you keep records on that?"

"What are you? One of those flaming liberals who wants to take arrows out of the hands of decent, law abiding citizens? Huh?"

The woman wearing the gloves, pushes the switch for the machine guns. They start firing, and everyone drops. Finally, Steele raises up and grabs a hand grenade from the bin. "What are you doing?" Laura yells.

"Sands of Iwo Jima. John Wayne, Republic, 1949!" he tells her, tossing the grenade at the guns. It works, and they lift their heads. "Everybody all right?" he asks.


"I'm okay."

"I think so!"

The manager comes up with a pistol. "Come on, ya heathens. We're ready for ya."

Laura turns where Frank is laying. "Frank?" He doesn't move. "Frank?"


The next scene is in a cemetary, where a coffin is ready to be lowered into the ground. Nearby, out of sight, Laura looks at a newpaper, with the headline "Mystery Man Dies", and a picture of Frank.

"Tragic," Steele comments.

"But effective," Laura points out.

"Let's not forget who came up with the idea," he says. Laura glances sideways at him.

Frank calls from behind the tree. "Hey, what's going on? I can't see anything." Steele reaches over and pushes a shrub out of his view.

"That better?"

"Much. Are you sure this'll work, Mr. Steele?"

"At the very least we'll know more about you when we see who shows up," Laura assures him.

"My experience with the criminal element leaves no doubt in my mind that whoever's trying to kill you, Frank, will appear here out of some kind of perverse sense of symmetry." Laura gives him a look of disbelief. "A certain psychotic compulsion to confirm the ultimate resolution of the crime."

Frank speaks from his hiding place. "Yeah, but- what if you're wrong, Mr. Steele?"

"Wrong?" He turns to look at Frank. "Remington Steele?" Laura rolls her eyes heavenward. A limo pulls up.

"Seems to be working," Frank comments.

Mildred has a camera, starts to take a picture, then realizes the lens cover is still in place, and quickly removes it, hoping no one notices. A beautiful dark haired woman gets out of the car.

"Wonder who she is, anyway?" Frank asks.

"We were hoping you could tell us," Laura says.

"A sister, maybe?" Frank speculates.

Another limo arrives, deposting a a blonde, then a third, with another brunette, and then a fourth, with a tearful blonde, then a fifth limo arrives, this time with a buxom red head. "I must come from a large family," Frank says.

"Dearly beloved," the minister begins. "Let us begin. Will the wife of the deceased please step forward?"

All five women step forward, glaring at each other. Laura and Steele turn to look at Frank, who faints.


At the office, all four of them go over the slides that Mildred took of the wives. The teary eyed one was first. "Terry Lowell Dannon, according to the funeral home register," Laura says. "Ring any bells?" she asks Frank.

"Total stranger," he says.

Next slide. "Widow number 2," Steele says. "Barbara Troy Dannon."

"No, I-"

"Nancy Stinson Dannon," Laura says about the third one, the beautiful brunette who arrived at the cemetary first. "Is this doing anything for you?" He shakes his head.

The red head was next. "Stella Martino Dannon," Steele reads.

"She's not my type," Frank says.

"Everyone appears to be your type," Mildred comments. Laura shoots her a look, and Mildred backtracks. "I mean you, seem to have such a democratic taste with women, Mr. Dannon."

Laura looks up. "Next slide, please, Mildred."

The other blonde. "Oh, I wish I remembered her," he sighs.

"Mary Howell Dannon," Laura tells him. "That's it."

"Five wives at the same time?" Mildred says. "Oh, boy."

Frank's hand is to his head again. "I have five wives," he recalls, his eyes going back into his head as he starts to zone out again, reliving the nightmare.

Steele taps his face. "Come on. Stay with us. Stay with us-" All three of them huddle around Frank. His head comes up. "Yes."

"Are you all right?" Laura asks.

"I- I just keep having these flashes, like in a dream. No, more like a nightmare, really. And nothing makes sense until the end when someone tries to kill me with a hatchet."

"Who's trying to kill you?" Laura asks.

"Well, I can't see who!" Frank insists, seeing his nightmare again, seeing the arm with the bell bracelet lift the hatchet. "But I know it's a woman."

"What a surprise," Mildred comments.

Steele is thoughtful. Suddenly, he says, "I've got it."

"You do?" Mildred asks.

" 'Mirage'. " He starts to rise. "Gregory Peck, Walter Matthau, Universal, 1965."

"I don't remember that one," Frank says, as Laura gives Steele that "not again" look.

"I'm not surprised. Peck plays a man with amnesia who's in great danger. He has these recurring flashbacks that unravels the entire mystery."

Mildred's eyes are huge as she finally gets a chance to watch the great detective at work. "Frank's dream is the key?"

"Precisely, Mildred."

"Oh, that's wonderful, Mr. Steele. Oh, that's-" She laughs. "Isn't it amazing how our boss uses even old movies to get to the heart of things?"

Laura looks at Steele. "Stupifying," she says, as Steele basks in the glow of Mildred's adoration.

"Yeah," Frank tells them, "But I don't remember much about it. Except for the hatchet."

"Relax," Steele tells him. "Peck couldn't figure it out until he was staring death in the face."

"Oh, terrific," Laura says, "do you think we might get there a little earlier?"

"Well, at least we have solid suspects."

"Five, to be exact," Mildred points out.

"Mildred," Laura warns.

"Oh, but who's counting?" Mildred adds.

"My wives?" Frank asks.

"Maybe one of them tried to give you a quickie divorce," Laura suggests.

"How do we find out which one, Mr. Steele?"

Laura looks at Steele expectantly. "Excellent question. Miss Holt, why don't you run Frank through that plan I've been devising, ey?"

"Yes," Laura says, totally off guard. "Well. Since it was Mr. Steele's idea to stage a funeral- What goes better with a funeral than-"

"A wake?" Mildred says. Steele is watching Laura work the room now, amazed as Mildred had been earlier.

"Of sorts. A little get together, where the widows can drink to the dear departed."

"And while you have all the suspects gathered under one roof, you smoke out the killer," she says, looking at Steele.

But it's Laura who answers. "Exactly."

Mildred is beside herself. "Ohh. Absolutely brilliant, Mr. Steele." She reaches out, then grabs her cheeks and pinches them. "Oh, it's just brilliant."

Steele shrugs, basking again. "Well, one does what one can, Mildred" he tells her, as Laura silently fumes at his taking credit for her idea. "I'll handle the cold cuts," he tells Laura.


At her loft, a veritible feast is laid out. Steele places a record on the machine, only to have the "Wedding March" issue forth. Laura comes in with some hor derves. "Wrong side," she tells him.

"Obviously." He turns it over to a death march. "That's more like it."

The doorbell rings. Laura twirls. "How do I look?" She's dressed in black, with an engagement ring on her left hand.

"A bit more distraught would help," he comments, and she begins to weep softly, grabbing his black handkerchief from his pocket as he goes to the door. "Portrait of grief," he tells her on the way.

Barbara is the first to arrive, passing Steele and going straight to Laura. "Laura. I'm Barbara."

"I'm so glad you could come." They shake hands. "Oh, this is my friend and attorney, Sterling Gillette." Steele gives her a look for that one.

"I'm sorry to hear of your loss, Mrs. Dannon," he tells Barbara. "So tragic-"

"And curious. I came tonight because I want to know how five of us ended up in black."

Laura looks at the ring on her left hand. "We were supposed to be married next week. I was out of town, when- and then I heard at the funeral-" She starts crying again. Barbara takes her into her arms.

"Oh, baby." Steele is amazed at the female bonding ritual. " It's alright. I know how you feel."

The bell rings again, and Steele lets Terry and Stella in. Again, neither acknowledges him, as Stella is saying, "Gentle? Frank? You're joking, right?"

"No," Terry insists. "My Frank was soda sweet." Steele follows them.

"The man was an animal. Pure carnivore," Stella insists. "Didn't he ever-" She looks at Steele. "Hey, pal, this is girl talk. Why don't you go pour us a couple of shots, huh?"

Steele nods, moving away, muttering,"Why don't you come in, ladies?"


At Steele's apartment, Mildred double checks the terrace doors. "I don't think anyone's tampered with those in the past ten minutes," Frank tells her.

"Look, buster, those are mean streets out there. Where a man's life can be bought for bus fare. And a woman's virtue's as- thin as the paint on her face."

"Oh, Miss Krebbs. You don't really think any of those nice women would try to kill me, do you?"

"All I can say is, I wish I was packin a rod."

"A rod?"

"A gat. A roscoe. An equalizer. Artillery. But the boss doesn't like us carryin'. I'm gonna have to talk to him about that."

Frank puts aside the art magazine he was looking at. "Look, if so many women married me, I must be a loveable guy, right?"


"If only I could talk to them. I'm sure I could straighten things out. Because obviously, there's been some kind of misunderstanding."

"You're dead, mister. And as far as I'm concerned, you're gonna stay dead so no one can kill ya."

Frank gets up. "All right, Miss Krebbs. I know when I'm licked. I think I'll - just take a shower and call it a night." Mildred nods, watching him into the bedroom.

Once the door closes, Mildred smiles, pleased with herself. She picks up a hat from near the door, and puts it on, going to the mirror. In her best Bogart voice, she says, "I'm sending ya over, angel."

In the bedroom, Frank turns on the shower, then sneaks out the bedroom window and trips.


At the party, the widows are getting to know each other. Mary asks Nancy, "But my dear, how could you be married to the man, and not know that he was an aerospace engineer?"

"Because, my dear, the man I married was a neuro surgeon," Nancy tells her as Laura comes up to offer them something to eat.

Terry gasps. "That explains it." They look at her. "My Frank was a- history professor. But one night, when we were in the middle of- " she stops, shy. "You know. He started shouting. 'Clamp it! Clamp it!' Laura moves off, and Steele appears.

"More champagne, ladies?" he asks. Nancy's attention is caught.

"Please," Mary says.

"Oh, hi, blue eyes. I could use a refill. Say, you're a lawyer, right, honey?" She takes his arm, and pulls him aside. "I just find the law so- stimulatin'."

"Yes," he agrees. "Corpus delecti, ipso facto, rigor mortis. Endless fascination, Mrs. Dannon."

Nancy traces his lapels.

Barbara tells Stella, "And he told me that he had to be away a lot, in order to acquire antiques for his shop." She pulls out a cigarette from a case.

"The truck drivin' man I married wouldn't know an antique from a crankshaft." Laura brings some food over. As Barbara is putting the cigarettes up, Laura sees a small handgun in the purse.

"Cold cuts, anyone?"

Barbara shakes her head as Stella grabs a handful. "No thanks." Laura moves away.

Stella stares after her. "I wonder what Frank saw in a little thing like that." Barbara turns and looks at her.

Across the room, Nancy is still tracing. "Terrible thing about your husband," Steele says.

"Why talk about him," she pouts. "You know, that adorable little Laura says you're handlin' Frank's will-"

He's surprised, but says, "Yes. That's right."

Nancy smiles. "That's just wonderful. Why don't you just- tell me all about it? You know, like- how do much do I get? I can keep a secret."

Laura calls. "Mr. Gillette." Steele doesn't hear her. "Mr. Gillette!"

"Ah, Miss Holt. I'm just going over the finer points of-"

"I can see the points you were going over. May I speak with you a moment?" she asks, smiling at Nancy.

Steele looks at Nancy. "Certainly. Certainly." He tells Nancy, "I'm sure you'll get over your greif in time. Excuse me, please." He and Laura move off, as Laura gives Nancy a very catty look.

"I spotted a gun in Barbara's purse," she tells him.

"Ummm. And our raven haired Yum-Yum over there has been plying me with questions about inheritance. What are you getting from the others?"

"A fascinating portrait of the energetic Mr. Dannon. Apparently he was all things to all women."

"You're beginning to sound like a jealous fiance."

Laura laughs. "Let's just put it this way: if his case went to trial tomorrow, I'd have a hard time knowing which side to root for."

"I'm certainly glad Frank isn't around to hear that."

The door bell goes, and Stella manages to pull herself away from the cold cuts. "I got it, honey," she calls, sliding the door open.

Frank is there, holding two arm fulls of rose, smiling. "Hi, everybody."

Mary faints, Nancy, Terry and Barbara are shocked, and Stella attacks him, knocking him to the ground and trying to strangle him.

Steele tries to herd the five 'widows' out of Laura's apartment, yelling to be heard over the din of their raised voices, "All perfectly legitmiate questions which I'm sure will all be answered in good time. HOWEVER, Mr Dannon is incapacitated for the time being .." pointing to Frank lying on the bed. Laura is sitting beside him with her back to the women pushing Frank onto the bed with a wash cloth covering his mouth indicating to him that he is to remain where he is. ".. so I suggest that we ALL go home," the doorbell rings, "relax, and I will contact you in ..."
Nancy breaks away from Steele's outstretched arms as Steele rushes to open the door. He manages to grab Nancy as she reaches the steps while Laura is still gagging Frank and holding him down. "Oh Nancy, please, please don't go up there," Steele turns her around "Okay ladies, he's very, very ill isn't he?"
He turns around to Laura who nods in agreement while mouthing a silent "Thank you."
"Yes, yes, well here's the doctor," Steele continues yelling to be heard. A very upset Mildred walks into the fray. Steele sees Mildred and yells out, "Ah, Doctor Krebbs!" The women all stop talking.
"Oh, I'm so sorry Mr. .." starts Mildred.
Steele cuts her off before she says his 'real' name, "Ah, don't be sorry doctor, you've arrived in
record time."
"Oh, but I blew it," continues a distraught Mildred.
"I know you need some place private to do your work so go right ahead doctor," he points in Frank's direction, " Go on, go ahead doctor, don't let us disturb you." Steele turns his attention back to the five women yelling to be heard over them because they have all started talking again.
"Goodnight ladies! Goodnight Mrs Dannon, Goodnight Mrs Dannon, Goodnight Mrs Dannon, Goodnight all, Goodnight Mrs Dannon, Goodnight, Goodnight to you!" Finally he is able to shut the door and silence descends upon the loft. Laura stands up, letting out a sigh of relief while throwing the wash cloth at Frank.
Steele runs across to the bedroom as Mildred starts apologizing again, "Oh, Oh I'm sorry it's all my fault."
Steele reaches the bed and puts out a hand to Mildred saying rather breathlessly, "It can wait Mildred, it can wait."
Laura admonishes Frank, "I *hope* you understand how badly you've complicated things by showing up here tonight, Frank."
"Well, I just thought ..."
Laura continues, "Not only have you destroyed all our painstaking work we've done thus far but now everyone knows you're alive."
Steele comments, "But looking on the brighter side, Frank, we've learned that you're no run of the mill bigamist. Do you realise you've posed as an antique dealer, a truck driver, a neurosurgeon, a college professor and an aerospace engineer while simultaneously maintaining five households?"
"Disgusting," a disapproving Mildred offers her view.
"Mildred," cautions Laura, "we're professionals. We've been hired to protect Mr Dannon .." she gives him a sickly smile while moving around the bed to stand next to Mildred, ".. to the best of our abilities and we will do so regardless of our personal feelings- whatever they might be." Laura looks at a chastised Mildred before turning to Frank and muttering, "You *swine*," as Mildred's eyes open wide.
Frank puts on his 'little boy' look and covers his face with the wash cloth.

Outside Laura's apartment, Laura, Steele, Mildred and Frank come outside. "You'll be safer at my apartment," Steele tells Frank.

"You really think I'm still in danger?"

"Frank, please. A few minutes ago, one of your spouses tried to use your head as a basketball."

"I think you're making too much of this. I can't believe one of my wives would actually-" Someone fires two shots, and they drop to the pavement.

Laura looks at him. "You were saying?" Steele tries to see the license number on the car, but it's gone too quickly. "Are you all right?" she asks Mildred and Frank.

"They were over there," Steele tells her, leading the way across the street to where the car was parked. His foot hits something. "What was that?" He searches for it. "Where is it?" Picking it up, he shows Laura the tiny bell. "Well now."

Laura takes it. "Perhaps one of our ladies dropped this. You get Frank to bed, and I'll see if a certain gun's been fired in say the last five minutes."


At Steele's apartment, Steele unlocks the door, and ushers Frank in. "In we go. There we go. How about a drink, ey?" he asks, removing his jacket, then starting to open the waiting bottle of champagne.

"Oh, I'd love one," Frank says, sitting on the couch while Steele takes the chair. "You know, it's just like Stella to try and choke me. She's so impulsive."


"Mr. Steele?"

"You're remembering."

They both laugh. "That's right."

"Ah, well, this calls for toast."

Frank sits forward, no longer smiling. "Now if only I could remember who came at me with that hatchet."

"Uh uh, don't push it. Let's just be thankful your memory's returning. However slowly. There we go. Viola." He lifts his glass. "To uh- to happy memories. And what makes them."

They clink glasses. "To Mary. I'll never forget that week in Cape Cod." Steele starts to drink, but Frank says, "And to Terry.Those long nights with Dickens," Again Steele tries to drink. "And to Stella, too. You know, a man couldn't ask for a better bowling partner." This time, Steele waits, watching. "And to Barbara's - style. To those nights with Nancy. On that bearskin rug in front of the fireplace. She rubbed-"

"I'll drink to that," Steele says quickly. They click glasses again, and they finally drink. Steele turns to sit down.

"How did I ever get into this mess?" Frank asks.

"I'm afraid you're the only one who can answer that, Frank," he says, putting his feet up, loosening his tie.

"I remember it was fun, most of the time. Always something to look forward to. New job, new romance."

"Can you recall how it all started?"

"In college, I was always switching majors, then I dropped out,- then I joined the Navy. Yeah, that's right. I enlisted. Medical orderly. We were somewhere in the China Sea. Took on some wounded. And one of the doctors collapsed. The patient was dying, blood- was everywhere. So I just- picked up some instruments-- I mean, I'd seen plenty of operations--and, uh, I saved that man's life." He sits down.

"Did you tell anyone?"

"In the Navy? Oh, yeah. That would have landed me in the brig. But it was that experience that made me realize - I had a gift. I could watch somebody do something and pick it up-" he snaps his fingers "-right away."

"Suddenly you saw you life was different from that of most men. You didn't have to be trapped in a single identity." He speaks as if he's not talking about Frank, but about himself. "No one could tell you what to do."

"That's right," Frank says. "You really understand, don't you?"

Steele laughs. "Tell me though, how do the women figure in all this?"

"Oh, as I recall, it just happened. I fell in love, got married -Then I fell in love with someone else-"

"And married her, too."

Frank laughs, embarrassed. "I guess I'm just an old fashoined guy."

"Yes. But did you ever consider how *they* might feel about it?"

"No, I guess not. Maybe it's too bad that hatchet missed."

"Listen, Frank, I think that's bein' a bit extreme. I mean, look at it this way: at least you're capable of making a committment."

"Now, what kind of committments did I make, Mr. Steele? I was playing roles. Imagining I was putting something over on life, when in fact, I was only fooling myself." They look at each other. "I guess I was too scared to make a real committment."

"It's not an uncommon failing, Frank. Hey, listen, it's been a long day. A tough day. I've got the couch, you take the bedroom, okay?" Frank gets up and goes to the bedroom. "Goodnight, Frank."

In the bedroom, Frank closes the door behind him, and takes off his jacket, not seeing Nancy come from behind the drapes and move toward him.


Barbara lets Laura into her house. "What are you doing here?" she asks.

"Somebody took some shots tonight at Frank after you left-"

"Oh, no. Is he alright?"

"He's alright."

Barbara takes a few deep breaths. "I'm sorry. Uh, let's move into the study. This is quite a shock, but I don't understand why you came here-"

"I saw the gun in your purse tonight, Barbara."

Barbara turns to face her. "I see. And you suspected that -"

"You had the means, the motive, and the opportunity."

"You sound just like a policeman."

"I am. The private kind. Frank's my client."

"Oh. I see. Well, I may have had the means to shoot Frank, but you are wrong about the motive. I owe that man more than I could ever possibly repay. When I first met Frank, I was an ambitious dress designer." She goes to a drafting table. "I had no time for running anything but my own business. Frank showed me how hollow that life was. Without someone to share it with - my success meant nothing. Frank Dannon saved me from becoming a very cold, hard woman. He taught me how to love again."

"I'd still like to see that gun," Laura says.

"Of course." She reaches for the purse.

"May I?" Laura asks.

"Certainly." Laura opens the purse. The gun's not there. She gives it to Barbara. "It's gone."


In Steele's bedroom, Frank and Nancy are on the bed. Nancy's kissing him. "Oh, Frank."

"Nancy-" He shushes her.

"Whaddaya say we run away tonight, huh?"

"Oh, I-"

"We'll rent a room with one of those beds like we had that weekend in Pittsburgh."


"Do it all over again, huh?"

"Oh, Nancy, I don't-"

She covers his lips. "Now hush. I don't care about those other girls. I know you couldn't care for them the way you care about me, could you? We'll just pretend like- nothing ever happened." She kisses him.

The door opens, the lights come up, and Steele walks in. "Come into my parlour, said the spider to the fly."

"What?" Nancy asks.

"What's to stop her from taking you to some nice,secluded spot and slitting your throat, Frank?" he asks Frank.

"Why would I do that?" Nancy asks.

"Inheritance, Nancy. The only subject on your mind from earlier this evening."

"Well, I thought he was dead," she said, trying to justify her questions. "I just wanted to see what was coming to me."

"Same old cash problems, huh, Nance?"

"Well, now, hon, I'm just a little bit overextended, but you know how picky those credit card people can be." She pulls Frank to her chest. "But I wouldn't hurt a hair on my Frank's head," she tells Steele. Frank manages a satisfied smile. "This is the only man who's ever respected me for more than just my body."

"Isn't she something?" Frank asks.

"Oh, yes, Frank," he agrees. "She's definately something. Definately." He turns and leaves the room.


Laura returns to her loft, only to find herself confronted by Stella- and Barbara's gun. "Alright, honey. Where is he?"

Laura tells Stella that Frank's on his way, and sits, and Stella begins to pace. Stella finally looks at her. "You said he'd be here ten minutes ago. So where is he?"

"Stella, why don't you sit down-" She stands, only to stop as the gun comes up again.

"I can't sit down. This is my life we're talking about, honey."

"I thought Frank's life was the issue here."

"Frank? Frank's got it made. He's got the pick of the litter. Where is he, anyway?"

"Come on, Stella. You think I'd let him walk into a bullet? You missed once. I wasn't going to give you a second chance."

"What are you talking about? Me, shoot Frank? You're joking, right?"

"Somehow you'd be more convincing without the gun."

"You wouldn't understand. I'll never find a man to replace Frank. Look at me, honey. This isn't exactly a body that men lust after. But I'll tell you something. Frank made me feel like a queen. Roses, candle light dinners, the works. Obviously, things can't go back to the way they were before-so, who is he gonna choose? You think a hundred and forty pounds of cellulite can compete with- you, or any of those other broads? Fat chance."

"Stella, come here. Come here. Sit down." Stella does.

"Trying to force ourselves on him is only going to make things worse. He's got to want to come to us. Without that, it doesn't matter how much we feel for him. We'll only drive him away. Love doesn't work on demand."

"You've been through this before, huh, honey? But can a man who has that many surprises up his sleeve be worth all the effort?"

Laura smiles. "I think so."

"I hope you're right."

"Maybe I'd better hang onto that, huh?" Laura asks about the gun.

Stella looks at it. "This? Sure." She hands to to Laura, pointing it at her.

Laura gingerly takes it, smells to see if it has been fired. She looks at Stella, surprised.


In his office, Steele places a coat over a sleeping Frank as the man lay on the couch, then goes out into the reception area, where he finds Mildred waiting. "Ah, Mildred. Thanks for coming. I thought it best somebody spend the night with Frank-" Mildred looks upset. "What's left of it, anyway. This is the last safe place we can keep him." He puts his coat on. "Why don't you bed down in Miss Holt's office for the evening?"

Mildred doesn't look him in the eyes. "I can't do that, sir."

"Well, then, uh, use the couch out here."

"Sir, I- I came to tender my resignation."

"Oh, Mildred. I'm stunned."

"I failed you, sir," she tells him tearfully. "And on my first major assignment, too."

"You're referring to Frank's untimely ressurection."

"It was a sucker play, and I fell for it, just like a schoolgirl. I don't deserve the confidence you placed in me."

"Mildred, we all make mistakes."

"No," she says, still tearful. "Not you, sir. No, I can't continue here, feeling like a fraud." He puts an arm around her shoulders. "I'm just a washed up bureaucrat and I should be home knitting, instead of trying to be something that I'm not."

"Come on, Mildred. Sit down."

"Oh, sir." He leads her to the couch, where they sit.

"Perhaps you don't realize this, Mildred, but you are tremendous asset to this agency. You're intensely loyal, a dedicated worker, one who relishes those dreary assignments that most people detest-"

"You're just being kind," Mildred says.

"Then let's talk about frauds," he says. "Mildred, you are looking at one of the biggest frauds you've ever seen. I'm not Remington Steele."

"You're not?"

"Not the Remington Steele *you* think I am. Oh, I know, I appear to be the super sleuth, with all the answers, dapper, debonair, worldly--but it's all an act. One conceived by Miss Holt that I work very hard to maintain in order to support this agency's image. She's the real detective. If I'm anything more than a figurehead, I owe it to her. I've made more mistakes since I've been with Laura than I care to remember, but I'm still here, Mildred. So we'll have no more talk about resigning. We'll find our way together, ey?" She's teary again, and nods. "Until the morning, then," he says, and leaves her sitting, crying.


Downstairs, before the fountain, Steele and Laura are enjoying a few moments alone. "Where's Frank?" she asks.

"Upstairs, asleep at last, with Mildred at the drawbridge. Incidently, I had a word with our Miss Krebbs."

"Did you tell her?"


"Everything?" Laura wants to know.

"Within reason."

"How did she take it?"

"It was a bit of a shock, but, she'll get over it."

"It must have been difficult for you."

"Telling the truth is something I've always worked hard to avoid."

"Past tense?" Laura asks, stopping before him.

"Increasingly so, I'm afraid," Steele admits.

"You know, you're rapidly becoming the man I envisioned when I created Remington Steele. Honest, courageous, caring, good humored-" She kisses him. He smiles. "Sexy." They kiss again, pull apart, and then kiss again.

"I must say," Steele tells her between kisses, "it's satisfying being able to do this without Mildred interrupting,-" another kiss, "- phones going, -" and another, "-bullets flying."

"I agree," Laura says. They kiss deeply.


In the office the next day, the four of them are going over a bulletin board with the photos of the wives. "I think we can eliminate Barbara as a suspect," Laura tells them.

"That's one," Mildred says, pulling the photo down.

"And Nancy didn't harm Frank when she had the opportunity to in my bedroom," Steele points out. "Shouldn't that clear her?"

"Two down," Mildred says, pulling Nancy's picture.

"Stella took Barbara's gun, which means she had the means to shoot Frank, but it was never fired. Besides, I don't think an imaginative killer like the one we're after, would try to choke Frank to death in a room full of witnesses."

"Three oout," Mildred says. "Any more?"

"I think that's it for now," Laura decides.

"That leaves Terry, and Mary. Terry's the least likely suspect of them all. Shy, sweet, a college professor whose only excitement in life is provided by Victorian novels. Which means its definately her."

Laura looks at him. "How did you arrive at that?"

"It's always the least likely suspect you've got to watch, Laura. And at the moment, the only one I could suspect more would be the butler- if there was one."

Laura frowns. "Mary had a violent reaction to Frank's reappearance. It was more than sudden shock that made her faint. It was the horror of seeing the man she murdered coming back from the grave. Besides, she has an accent. Always a dead giveaway."

Steele looks upset. "Hardly conclusive evidence, Laura," he insists. "Some of the nicest people I know have accents."

"Oh, please, people," Frank says. "This isn't getting us anywhere."

Laura holds up the bell. "Well maybe this will."

Frank is stunned. "I gave that charm to Terry," he says, and Steele smiles, his suspicions apparently confirmed.


"But, I also gave one to Mary," he admits.

Laura turns to Steele. "Aha."

"Why did you do that?" Steele asks.

"Well, I gave one to each of my wives," he tells them.

Mildred just *has* to join in. "Aha." They look at her, she shrinks slightly.

"It was kind of a trademark," Frank explains.

Laura nods. Steele says, "Well, then, our job is simple. Find out which of our prime suspects is missing that trinket."

"Should work like a charm," Laura says, tossing the bell up and catching it.

Mary is digging in her flower garden when Laura, Steele, and Frank arrive. She sees him and runs to him. "Frank!"

"Mary," he says, kissing her.

"What are you doing here?" she asks.

"It seemed only fair to share him with everyone," Laura tells her.

Steele holds out his hand. "You remember me, umm-"

"Sterling Gillette," Laura supplies.

Mary shakes his hand. "Of course."

He notices her bracelet. "Oh, what a lovely bracelet. And what a lovely charm," he enthuses, showing the bell to Laura. "ey, Miss Holt?"

"Lovely," Laura agrees.

Mary smiles brightly. "Thank you. I always wear it. Frank gave it to me. Didn't you, dear?" She kisses him again.

Frank turns to Steele and Laura. "Alright, let's go." He tells Mary, "We got a job to do."

"But you just got here," she pouts.

"Frank," Laura says, still put out that Mary isn't the killer. "Why don't you stay awhile with Mary? I'm sure Mr. Gillette and I can handle everything to your satisfaction."

"It'll be better for all concerned, Frank," Steele assures him. "Trust me, ey?" they move off, Steele giving Mary a final once over as he follows Laura.

Mary takes Frank's arm. "Honey."


At the college, Steele tells Laura, "I must say, Laura, I think you're taking Mary's innocence quite well."

"No I'm not."

"Now, remember, this is a vicious killer, who's tried bullets, arrows, hatchets. Don't let appearances deceive you. She's capable of anything."

They find Terry, crying her eyes out, her left hand in her pocket. Laura sits beside her, placing the box of tissues out of her reach. "I haven't been able to stop crying since last night," she says.

"It's been hard on all of us," Laura tells her, taking a tissue out.

"I- I can't believe it. You see, Frank is such a good man."

Steele isn't taken in. "The best."

"He's kind," Terry says. "Funny."

"Hysterical," Laura agrees.

"What a creep!" she says, still crying.

"Pardon me?" Steele questions.

"How could he do this to me?" she wants to know.

"You had no idea that Frank was two timing- I mean, five timing you?" he asks. She starts crying again, looking for another tissue. Steele picks up the box. "Here. Take the whole thing," he offers, tossing it at her. She takes her hand out of her pocket, revealing a bracelet- complete with bell charm.

"Oh," Laura says, "my, look at this!" She slides over, and Steele sits.

"Oh," he says.

Terry pulls back, scared. "Oh, I'm sorry," Laura apologizes. "I was just admiring your bracelet. It's quite an unusual charm wouldn't you say, Mr. Gillette?"

"Remarkable, yes," he agrees glumly.

Terry smiles. "Frank gave this to me on our wedding day," she tells them. She holds up the bell. "You see? There's our wedding date." Laura and Steele exchange glances, and Laura gives him the other charm as Terry starts to cry again. She pulls out her notebook.

"Two. Eleven. Eighty three," Steele reads.

Laura jumps up. "Oh my *God*!" she exclaims, taking off, Steele right behind her, leaving a confused Terry behind.


At Mary's, she and Frank are having a reunion, kissing each other. "Oh, Mary," he says. "I had forgotten how much I enjoy just- being with you."

"Oh, Frank," she sighs. "I'm so glad you explained everything to me. Makes what happened easier to understand. For awhile there, I thought I'd lost you. But now you're found- you'll never leave my side again."

"That's the way I feel," he agrees, kissing her again. On the coffee table is something that, as it moves in a tilting motion, looks like ocean waves.

Mary pulls away. "Look at me."


"I'm a mess."


"I wanted to look so special for you."

"You never looked better to me," Frank insists.

"Let me go clean up," she says. "I won't be long." She gets up, leaving him sitting there, smiling, until he hears the clock from his dream chiming, and sees the waves crashing again. He sees the hatchet again, but this time, he sees who's holding it: Mary, trying to kill him. Frank gets up, realizing that it was Mary all along, as she enters from outside, smiling. She brings up a crossbow, pointing it at Frank. "You've been a tough man to kill," she tells him. "Not like the others. A real challenge."

Frank's arms are in the air. "But, I don't-"

"But now, it's bye bye." Laura comes into the room behind Frank, and rushes forward.

"Stop right there, Mrs -" Mary turns the weapon on her, surprised, and Laura quickly grabs a *very* thick book from a stand, holding it before her. The arrow is stopped just inches from Laura by the book. She turns to run out, but Steele rushes into the room through the doors she's trying to get to, and hits her in the head.

"Where is she?" he asks, then Mary falls to the floor. "Oh," he says, "Sorry."

Laura looks at the book and arrow.


The next day, Laura, Steele, Mildred, and Frank are looking at copies of the LA Tribune, whose headline reads: "Black Widow Killer Arrested. Murdered 7 husbands, Almost got Eight."

Frank is stunned. "I still can't believe it."

"Yes, well," Steele says, "seven bodies buried in her rose garden and all for their money. No passion involved whatsoever."

"Well, I loved her," Frank insists.

"If you hadn't, you wouldn't have developed amnesia," Laura tells him. "It was the shock of seeing someone you totally believed in trying to kill you tha snapped your memory."

"Poetic justice," Mildred mumbles. Laura gives her a chastening look.

"What was that?" she asks.

"I said it was- so nice to see justice done," Mildred says.

"But, how did you know it was Mary?" Frank asks. "I mean, after all, she had the charm."

"Yes, but we had the one with the date on it," Steele tells him, still engrossed in the paper.

"A lady who coolly conceives seven murders was clever enough to realize that a missing charm might give her trouble, so the next morning she just went out and bought another."

"Well, I'll tell you one thing," Frank says, and Steele turns around. "I've learned my lesson. From now on, it's strictly the straight and narrow. One job, one woman, and one Frank Dannon."

Mildred pins him. "I hope so."

He nods nervously. "Well, thanks for everything, Mr. Steele, and Miss Holt. And thank you- Mildred?" he says, with that little boy charm evident.

Mildred's ice melts. Laura smiles at Steele, then at Mildred. Frank opens the door, then pauses as he sees his four remaining wives entering the office.

"We want to talk to you, Frank," Barbara tells him.

"What about?" he asks nervously.

"Your future," Stella tells him. They gather round him, drawing him to the door.


In the doorway of Steele's office, Laura laughs. Frank looks back at them over his shoulder, not certain what's going on. Laura looks at Mildred. "Mildred, I understand you and Mr. Steele had a very important discussion last night."

"Oh, that we did," Mildred confirms, a wide smile appearing. "And it certainly was an eye opener for me," she tells Laura. Steele looks uncomfortable. "Never in my wildest dreams did I think Mr. Steele would go to such lengths to try and keep me here." Steele starts looking confused. "I mean, do you know that he actually tried to convince me that *you* invented him?" She laughs, as does Steele, only his laugh is nervous. "Anybody who can come up with a story like that has my undying devotion," she tells him. Laura is *not* laughing. "I'll fix you a cup of tea, boss," she says, leaving.

"Okay, Mildred, thanks," he says, still laughing. The laughter stops as Laura looks at him. She points an accusing finger, and he shrugs, not exactly sure what went wrong.