A jetliner takes off at night. Inside, a stewardess carries a tray past some sleeping passengers in the first class lounge as a pianist plays. Stopping before a well dressed, elderly woman with a pink poodle in her lap, she asks, "A little more pate, Mrs. Sinclair?"
"Thank you, my dear," Mrs. Sinclair says, taking one of the canapés and feeding it to her dog as the young woman watches.
Another stewardess brings a tray to another man as a similarly uniformed manicurist finishes her work. The young woman hands him a glass, and is hailed by yet another passenger, this one elderly. "Oh, miss, more champagne. I just made two million over the Rockies." Another passenger looks on, interested in his statement, as the stewardess smiles. "General Motors is up a quarter."
"Of course, Mr. Dayton," she tells him, continuing on.
The interested man tells Dayton, "Congratulations."
Dayton looks at him. "Tell me more about that tax shelter."
In the kitchen, the stewardess is pouring champagne. Another stewardess brings coffee through the lounge and to the cockpit. She tells the Captain, "I thought you'd like a fresh one before we land."
"Thank you, Sally," he says, taking his cup.
She turns to the co-pilot, who smiles at her as he takes his cup from the tray. "You're the cream in my coffee," he sings.
Sally smiles and leaves the cockpit.
The plane lands, and in the baggage waiting area for "Platinum Airlines", the passengers are gathered to wait for their luggage to be retrieved from the airplane via a chute. Cases slide down onto the carousel, and are retrieved by uniformed men.
"Fabulous flight," Mrs. Sinclair tells Dayton. "As always."
"The whole operation is simply flawless," Dayton declares.
Suddenly the body of a man slides through the chute and onto the carousel. Mrs. Sinclair screams, hre dog barks. A young woman in a skimpy outfit, holding a tray with two glasses of champagne, turns nervously to the passengers. "Champagne, anyone?"
Laura enters the reception area of Remington Steele Investigations and tells Mildred, "Let me know when Mr. Steele arrives."
"He's arrived," Mildred informs her, none too happily.
"This early?" Laura asks, surprised.
"He's hiring," Mildred tells her with raised eyebrows.
"One of his students."
It's obvious Laura has no idea what is going on as she asks, "What students?"
"From USC," Mildred tells her. "He's been guest lecturing..."Introduction to the Criminal Mind."
"Well, he should know," Laura says matter-of-factly. Then looking toward his office, she adds, "Time to give the professor a little pop quiz."
Steele is lounging on his sofa, beneath the wall of photos, talking to an eager young man. "Although it takes years to develop the imagination of a master sleuth," Steele is telling him, as an angry Laura watches from the doorway, "To hone the instincts to a razor-sharp sensitivity, to-" Laura clears her throat to get his attention. "Ah, Miss Holt," he says, sitting up and then standing. "Come in! Come in! Please. Yes, yes." He puts his arm around the young man. "I'd like you to meet Marvin T. Slottman, Jr."
Laura shakes Marvin's hand. "What a pleasant surprise," she says, smiling an over-sweet smile.
"Yes, indeed," Steele agrees. "Marvin has come on board as our intern," Steele informs her, hugging Marvin again. "Our detective in the making. Ours to- Ours to shape. Ours to mold."
"I can't tell you what an honor it is to be working for Mr. Steele," Marvin tells Laura.
Steele waves away the praise as Laura smiles as well. "I've always found it a challenge to find the right words," she tells Marvin. "May I -see you in my office, Mr. Steele?" she asks brightly, pointing in that direction with her purse.
Steele looks a trifle nervous. "Yes. Certainly," he says as she walks off. "Probably a crime solving case that demands my immediate attention, Marvin," he tells Marvin slowly, his gaze following Laura from the room. "Please, enjoy the photographs, will you?" he looks worriedly toward Laura's door as he heads that way.
Marvin's attention turns to the photos.
Steele enters Laura's office, frowning as she closes the door. "You've been lecturing at USC *without* telling me?" Laura asks.
"Oh, just one or two special appearances, Laura," he tells her. "I didn't think you needed to be bothered."
"And- now what are you doing?" she asks, pointing toward the office door and Marvin beyond.
"Oh, merely easing the burden of an unwieldy caseload," he assures her. There is a knock on the door. "Yes?" Steele calls, smiling.
The door opens, and Marvin is there. "Excuse me, sir, may I ask you a question?"
"You see?" Steele tells Laura. "Eager to learn. Fire away, my boy."
"Was that heavy, or medium starch on those collars?" Marvin asks.
Laura looks away, as Steele pushes Marvin out of her office. "Uh, we'll- uh, we'll clarify that later, Marvin," he says. "Thank you very much. Good boy," he says, closing the door again, looking uncertainly at Laura.
"Unwieldy caseload?" Laura questions.
"Well, there are some ancillary responsibilities I had in mind for the lad," Steele admits.
Laura checks her watch. "We've gotta fly. We will discuss this later."
"Laura, can I just point out-"
"Later," she repeats firmly. "We've got a case." She turns toward the reception area. Steele raises a brow, then follows her.
Mildred is crossing toward her desk with a cup of coffee when Laura's office door opens. "Mildred, we'll be at Platinum Air," Laura tells her.
"What about Joe College?" Mildred asks.
"We'll settle that this afternoon," Laura says, continuing to the doors.
Steele looks thoughtful and tells her quietly, "In the meantime, Mildred, find a suitable place for the young man, will you? Splendid." He blows her a kiss as he leaves.
Mildred looks uncertain and a bit miffed as she turns to see Marvin come from Steele's office with a decidedly proprietary air. Mildred's spine stiffens as she meets his gaze. Marvin looks suddenly nervous and smiles at her, stuffing a hand in his pocket.
At Platinum Air, the baggage carousel is now empty, as is the lobby. Laura and Steele walk up to it as a man tells them, "Plopped right down here like a sack of potatoes."
"Any idea how the body got on board, Mr. Ketchum?" Laura asks.
Ketchum looks at Steele. "Good question. It couldn't have been a passenger that brought him on. We keep records of everything the passengers check."
"Which means it must be one of the crew members," Steele says as Laura looks on, frustrated at being ignored.
"Bingo!" Ketchum tells him. "We don't keep track of what the crew brings on board. Never had a reason to before. Our new baggage handling system is strictly state of the art. The bags are vacuum tubed from the cargo hold right down to the carousel. No one touches 'em the moment they leave the plane." He picks up a torn canvas bag and shows it to Steele. "He's the bag the stiff was in."
"Hmm. Still a few termites in the system, eh?" Steele asks.
"Police still haven't been able to ID the corpse," Ketchum tells him.
"He wasn't a passenger?" Laura asks.
Ketchum laughs. "Oh, no. Wrong tax bracket. Thirty percent at the outside from the looks of his suit," he tells Steele. "Besides, the lab boy said he was dead long before he was put on the plane."
Steele puts the torn back down. "I notice the news media haven't broken the story yet."
"Well, let's just say I've got- friends in high places," Ketchum says. "But I can't keep this under wraps for long. I'll level with you, Steele. Platinum Air is an image business. One word of this gets out, I'm grounded. You've got to find out which of my crew is behind this, and you've got to find out pronto."
"Not to worry, Mr. Ketchum," Laura assures him, shaking his hand. "We pride ourselves on discretion and results."
Ketchum looks at Steele again. "I knew I could count on you, Steele," he says.
Laura looks a little upset to be so ignored yet again.
Platinum Air's plane takes off. On board, Steele is sitting in the lounge, reading the paper. As the stewardess walks by, he lowers it. "Oh, Miss?"
She stops, and turns. It's Laura, dressed as a stewardess. She's carrying a pot of coffee, and walks back to him as he smiles at her, holding his cup. "A touch more coffee, if you please?"
She bends down to pour. "I hope you're enjoying this," she mutters.
He looks over her legs beneath the short skirt. "Oh, come now, Laura. We all have our place. You don't expect me to prance around in a little tutu like that, now, do you?" She glares at him as she finishes pouring. "Thank you." She moves off.
As she leaves, the man with the tax shelter idea notices her, and tells Steele, "With scenery like that, who needs a window seat?" Steele grins. The man sits down. "I could use another club soda."
Steele smiles. "Oh, allow me," he insists, flipping the call switch on the table beside him with a flourish.
Laura returns. "You buzzed, sir?"
"My companion appears to have run dry," Steele informs her.
Laura smiles, taking the glass. "I'll take care of it right away."
"Thank you," the other man says.
Laura starts toward the kitchen, but Steele, spoon in hand, eyes on the paper, stops her. "Oh, miss?"
"You bellowed, sir?" she says, still smiling.
"My pillow," Steele tells her.
"Yes." Laura puts down the coffee pot and returns to pound his pillow in frustration, causing Steele to pause momentarily. She drops the pillow behind him and walks away.
Steele and the man watch her, then the man turns to Steele. "Uh, Barry Holder. Holder Investments," he says, holding out his hand, which Steele takes. "We specialize in investment stock portfolios. Strictly high yield."
"Trevor Keach," Steele tells him. "Commodities my game."
"Yeah? Which one?"
Steele looks blank. "Potpourri, actually," he covers.
Barry sits forward. "You into options?"
"I keep mine open," Steele says, picking up his cup.
Barry smiles. "You know, I have a tidy little investment that might interest you. Forty percent return in two years. It's a honey of a deal."
"Forty percent, eh?" Steele repeats as if he's considering it.
"Yeah. I can let you in for- only two hundred grand."
"Hmm. That's a lot of pork bellies." He points at Barry to say he's kidding and they laugh.
Laura enters the kitchen, where another stewardess is working. She approaches Laura. "You must be Laura. I'm Lorraine Maywood."
Lorraine points to another woman. "And that's Wanda."
"Hi," Wanda says with a nervous smile.
"Nice to meet you," Laura says.
Sally enters. "Emergency in the aft cabin," she says. "We are *out* of gin."
Lorraine tells her, "I usually hide a spare down here somewhere," she says, looking under the cabinet and coming up with a bottle. "It's your lucky day."
"Um hmm," Sally agrees.
"Ladies," Lorraine says, "did you see Trevor Keach in 2C?"
Wanda turns to her. "NOT interested."
Sally points a warning finger at Lorraine. "Lorraine, you know the rule."
Sally turns to Laura. "Laura, they just rang from the cockpit for some coffee."
"Right, right," Laura says, picking up the coffee pot. Sally leaves, and Laura turns to Lorraine. "What rules?"
"Paragraph 15, Section 8?" Lorraine reminds her. "Employees are strictly prohibited from fraternizing with the passengers after hours."
"Hmm," Laura muses.
"You get caught, it's good-bye friendly skies."
"No- layovers?" Laura questions suggestively.
"You got it," Lorraine confirms, then smiles. "Of course, sometimes it's worth the risk. Think Mr. Keach might be ready for a little-" she lifts the tray she's holding and sways her hips, "dessert?"
Laura smiles tightly as Lorraine sashays from the kitchen.
In the cockpit, the engineer turns and removes his headphones. "Rangers are down by two," he tells the others.
"They haven't played the same since Esposito hung 'em up," the pilot says as Laura comes in with a tray of coffee.
The co-pilot smiles. "Hey, pretty lady. What's your name?" he asks.
"Laura, is the face in the misty night," he sings. "How about dinner?" he asks.
"How about no?" she replies, turning and leaving the flight deck.
The pilot and engineer smile.
"She's crazy about me," the co-pilot insists.
The plane lands in New York. As the stewardesses are leaving the airplane, Laura tells them, "I'm so exhausted I can hardly walk."
"Not me," Lorraine says. "It's samba night at the Ramada."
"Don't you ever stop?" Sally asks her.
"No. You gotta kiss a lot of frogs before you find yourself a handsome prince," Lorraine insists.
"Yeah, well, you would know," Sally says.
"Oh, what is that supposed to mean?" Lorraine asks.
"Oh, come on," Sally begins.
Wanda interrupts the impending argument. "I'll catch you later. I'm meeting my cousin for dinner." She looks nervously at Laura. "I'll see you tomorrow," she says, then rushes off.
Laura looks at her watch. "I have to make a call," she tells Lorraine and Sally.
"What about the bus?" Lorraine asks.
"I'll- catch the next one," Laura tells her, then takes off.
Wanda enters a hallway to see Barry enter. She joins him. Laura comes around the corner and sees them, presses herself to the wall to watch. Wanda is upset by something, and Barry tries to calm her down. He finally gives her a long kiss, then picks up his case and they leave together. Laura follows.
Steele enters the baggage center control room for Platinum Air. It's dark, so he finds his cigarette lighter and flicks it on, bathing the entire room in bright light. As he's bending down investigating something, someone knocks him over the head. He falls to the floor with a groan
A few moments later, Remington's prone body comes flying through the baggage vacuum and lands on the revolving luggage carousel. He manages to roll himself over to the edge of the conveyor belt, roll over onto the floor, and groggily picks himself up. As he brushes himself off, he suddenly realizes he's in the crowded terminal and everyone is looking at him and his bloody forehead. He assumes a very non-chalant air, strolls over to the shocked baggage man, and pulls some bills out of his pocket.
"Brown suede, leather handles..." Remington calmly tells the man. "Keep an eye out for it, old man, will you?"
Remington hands the baggage man the wad of bills, turns and walks over to the Platinum girl in the skimpy outfit who is carrying drinks on a silver tray. He picks up a glass of champagne, takes one swallow from it, removes the rose from his lapel and sniffs it. He then drops the rose into the glass of champagne, sets the glass back on the tray, and walks away without saying a word. The girl can't help but grin as she watches him walk away.
An exhausted Laura unlocks her hotel room door and enters. As she's closing the door, the lights come on, and the co-pilot begins to sing. "Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away."
Laura drops her case and turns to find him laying on the bed, his shirt unbuttoned, glass of champagne in hand. "Hi, babe," he says. "What's happening?"
"HOW did you get in here?" Laura asks him.
"Oh, the desk clerk and I go way, way back," he tells her, picking up a key from the night stand and standing up.
"Out," she tells him.
"I dream of Laura with the light brown hair," he sings, touching her hair.
"I don't think you're getting the message."
"Ah, you gotta relax, baby," he says, moving closer.
Sally opens the door. "Laura, have you got any-" she stops upon seeing the couple, an angry look on her face. "Don't let me interrupt," she says, and takes off.
"Sally!" he calls, running after her.
Laura sighs and goes to close the door. As soon as it's closed, there's another knock. Opening it, she says, "Now listen, you sexist dog!-"
It's Steele, with an abrasion on his forehead. "I'm all ears," he assures her, entering the room as she steps back.
"I've had about all I can take on this assignment," Laura frets, following him to the bed, where he sits down. "I've been pinched, pawed, clawed, man-handled-" she looks at him. "What happened to you?" she asks.
"Merely a brush with death," he tells her casually.
"Let me see," Laura tells him, going to pour some champagne on a napkin as Steele opens his coat.
"Someone wanted to make damn sure I didn't poke around that baggage claim area," he tells her.
She comes back and begins to clean the cut on his brow. "Well, it wasn't Lorraine or Sally. They checked in with me. And Wanda left the airport with Barry, that passenger with the Investment company. So she's out."
"We can certainly account for the whereabouts of young Boff," Steele comments.
Laura looks at him. "Biff," she corrects.
"Hmm. Sounds like a brand of car wax to me," he says.
"Which leaves Captain McBride or Freddy the flight engineer," Laura notes as Steele checks the softness of the bed.
"Splendid piece of deduction, Miss Holt," he agrees, unbuttoning her uniform jacket and looking inside. He pulls her down to face level. "Um, now that we've, uh, narrowed the focus of our investigation down, what say we give the old gray matter a rest and call it a day, umm?" he suggests, moving closer for a kiss. But the phone rings, interrupting them. Steele gives the phone a sideways glance. "Couldn't you get an unlisted number?" he asks.
Looking a little disappointed, too, Laura goes to the phone and sits down on the edge of the bed. "hello?"
"Miss Holt?" Mildred says over the line.
"Oh, hello, Mildred. Any luck on the ID of the body yet?" she asks. Steele looks around, then at Laura, then bounces on the bed.
"It's right here on my desk. Hold on a second," Mildred says. Marvin is watching Mildred on the phone. As she fumbles with the papers, she says, "Oh, Miss Holt, have I got an ID for you!" Marvin rushes to another extension and picks it up.
"Miss Holt? Marvin Slottman here. We're come up with four aliases on the body in question."
Mildred fumes at his interruption.
"Four?" Laura asks as Steele removes his jacket and slides toward her.
Mildred glares at Marvin. "I'll handle this Marvin," she declares, then tells Laura, "What's important is the guy's real name is Johnny Beldon." Steele moves up to the headboard, smiling.
"Johnny Beldon?" Laura asks, glancing at Steele as he takes a pillow out to put behind his back.
"Yeah," Marvin answers. "He's a contract killer, Miss Holt. A hired gun."
"Cool it, Marvin," Mildred warns. She picks up a paper. "Now, according to my research, Beldon works out of Manhattan," Mildred tells Laura.
"*I* found that out, Miss Holt," Marvin insists.
"No one cares, Marvin," Mildred tells him with a frown. "Besides, *I* found out about his trademark."
"What trademark?" Laura asks.
Steele, who is rolling up his sleeves and loosening his tie, smiles in anticipation. He then leans over and kisses Laura's shoulder, straightens the legs of his trousers, and leans back against the pillows.
"A pair of bullet holes to the base of the neck," Mildred tells Laura.
"Yeah," Marvin interjects. "It's like his signature. You see, the organized crime branch of the NYPD said..."
"That tears it!" Mildred declares, and puts down the phone as she stands up to go over to Marvin.
Laura frowns. "Will somebody please tell me what's going on?"
Mildred pulls the extension from the wall and drops the end into Marvin's lap.
Laura looks confused. "I guess we were cut off," she tells Steele as she hangs up.
She reclines on the bed beside Steele, facing him. He pulls her even closer by putting his arms around her, and looks at her very seductively.
"What is a big league hit man doing on the baggage carousel of Platinum Air?" she wonders aloud.
Remington, preoccupied with thoughts of romance, merely says, "Not much, I presume."
Biff comes down the hall, a handkerchief to his eye. He bends to use his pass key to enter Laura's room, then stops as he hears Steele's voice.
"Laura, I'm much too weak to move tonight. Perhaps I'll just, uh, pitch my tent here, hm?"
Biff grins, realizing he's got blackmail material to use against Laura.
We hear the sounds of kissing, and Laura says, "Recharge your batteries, so to speak?"
Grinning, Biff leaves.
Still kissing, Laura tells Steele, "I'm sorry, Mr. Steele. Company policy, remember? You wouldn't want me to lose my job." She gives him another kiss, then gets up and pulls him from the bed. He's disappointed by the turn of events.
They go to the door, and he opens it. "Wish I weren't so damned dedicated," Steele mutters.
"Sweet dreams," Laura tells him, then closes the door.
On the return flight, Biff corners Laura in the kitchen. He's wearing sunglasses to hide his black eye. "Laura, you naughty girl," he admonishes.
"Has anyone ever told you you're incredibly obnoxious?" Laura asks, trying to pass him.
"Careful, sweet cheeks. Better be nice to the old Bifferino," he tells her, touching her hair. "Or I might spill the beans."
"What *beans*?" Laura asks.
"Breaking training. Passenger in your room."
"Put a sock in it, BOFF," she says, deliberately mispronouncing his name before moving past him to the passenger lounge.
Biff lowers his glasses. "BIFF," he corrects, angry.
Lorraine shows Steele onto the flight deck. "And this is the cockpit," she tells him.
"Fascinating tour, Miss Maywood," he tells her, smiling at Freddy.
"First time with us, Mr. Keach?" Freddy asks.
"No, indeed. I jetted in yesterday," Steele informs him, looking toward the front of the cabin. "Didn't I see you last night?"
"Not unless you were at the Garden, Mr. Keach," Freddy says. "Rangers played the Oilers. My Rangers, I don't miss them for nothin'."
Steele smiles. "Must be the uniform." He leans forward to say, "Perhaps it was Captain McBride, eh?" he suggests. McBride's face is made of stone as he flies the airplane. "No, of course not. What am I talking about? Carry on," he says, leaving the cockpit.
McBride doesn't look happy.
Wanda is carrying a tray of glasses, and drops one on the floor as she gets to the bar where Laura's standing. She looks distraught. "It's just a glass," Laura tells her, bending to pick it up.
Wanda, puling nervously at her fingers, kneels beside her. "I guess I'm a little shaky these days," she admits.
"It's that passenger Barry Holder, isn't it?" Laura asks.
Wanda stands, terrified. "How do you know about Barry?"
"I saw you two at the airport last night," Laura admits.
"Oh, please don't tell anyone, Laura," Wanda begs.
"Look, Wanda, what's between you and Barry is none of my business. But if you ever-"
Sally comes out of the kitchen, glaring. "Let's move it ladies," she says. "We've got passengers with empty glasses out there." Wanda takes off. Sally comes around to Laura as Laura picks up a tray of drinks. "Laura. Stay away from Biff. Or somebody might just clip your wings."
Laura gives her a look, then heads out with the drinks. A passenger passes her, pinching her bottom. She nearly spills the drinks as Steele looks on. She moves to his side. "Your club soda, sir."
"Anything to report back here?" she asks.
"The salmon's a trifle salty," he tells her.
Laura frowns. "Anything else?"
"Freddy appears to have an alibi. I bet McBride's our man." He drinks, chokes. "Miss! This is a lime! I wanted a lemon!" he gives the glass back to her.
"But you asked for a lime, sir," Laura reminds him.
"Yes," Steele says, sounding like the typical difficult passenger as he looks at his magazine. "But now I want a LEMON!" he declares.
"Aren't you carrying this a little too far?" Laura asks between tight lips?
Steele flips through the magazine, smiling. "Oh, just thinking of our cover, Laura," he insists. Laura looks at him, then "accidentally" spills the ice-cold lime water into his lap. Steele gasps in shock.
"Oh!" she cries apologetically. "I'm terribly sorry. How clumsy of me, sir. Here, let me get you're a napkin," she says, dabbing at his lap as he drops the magazine and glares after her.
The plane lands in LA, and as they enter the office, Laura tells Steele, "I hope Mildred's making some progress."
They stop, the door open, as they hear Mildred's voice. "*I*'ll make the coffee around here, Marvin."
"Well, I really think Mr. Steele would prefer tea," Marvin says from the coffee/storeroom.
"Oh, listen to the expert! He's been here twelve seconds, and he knows everything!"
The phone rings, and both Mildred and Marvin appear, running toward the phones. Marvin picks up the re-connected extension first. "Remington Steele Investigations," he says.
Mildred has picked up the one on her desk as well. "Remington Steele Investigations. May I help you?"
"Go ahead, please," Marvin says.
Mildred looks at the phone. "He hung up, bright guy."
"Well I answered FIRST," Marvin insists.
Laura looks at Steele. "I hope you're proud of yourself," she tells him, then whistles loudly to get Mildred and Marvin's attention. Steele winces at the shrill noise, and pokes at his ear. "Alright, you two, neutral corners. Marvin, in there," she says, pointing to Steele's office. "Mildred, in my office, please."
"But I was-" Mildred says.
"Now," Laura insists firmly.
Mildred and Marvin go to the offices. Laura turns to Steele. "Mr. Slottman is history. Break it to him anyway you want."
Steele nods as Laura goes to her office. "I'm sorry, Miss Holt," Mildred tells her. "But if that pipsqueak's gonna be here, I'm gonna-"
"Marvin has been terminated, Mildred."
Mildred stops. "Oh?" Laura nods. "Good."
"Now, have you come up with any reason why someone may have wanted to smuggle a dead hit man onto the airplane?"
"Bumpkis," Mildred says.
Laura turns to lean against her desk beside Mildred. "Well, as soon as Mr. Steele is through, we'll get to the bottom of it," she says, folding her arms. Mildred does likewise as they book focus on the closed door to Steele's office.
Steele is having trouble. "Marvin, my boy, there comes a time in every relationship . . . a critical phase . . . when a gap . . .sometimes a vast chasm develops."
Marvin looks at his watch as the alarm on it goes off.. "Oh. Sorry, sir. That means the alterations on your new suit have been completed." He opens his ever present clipboard and takes out his pen. "I'll- pick it up right away." Steele looks stricken. "Oh, incidentally, your hair cut is at four o'clock tomorrow. Oh, and by the way, the theatre was sold out for Saturday night-but I persuaded the manager to give you the VIP box." He adjusts his glasses. "Sorry to interrupt."
"Not at all, Marvin. Not at all. No. As I was saying, sometimes chasms aren't as vast as they seem. Carry one. Yes.." He moves thoughtfully past Marvin, pausing once. "VIP box, eh?" he asks, smiling, then leaves.
Marvin smiles, pleased with his work.
At the elevators, Laura asks Steele, "How did he take it?"
"Fairly well, under the circumstances."
"When is he leaving?"
"Six to eight weeks," Steele tells her as the elevator arrives and he turns to get in.
Laura is furious, and joins him. "What?"
"Every employee needs decent notification, Laura," Steele reminds her as the doors close.
The second elevator opens, and a man exits. He goes to Suite 1157 and enters. "Is Mr. Steele here?" he asks.
"He just left," Marvin says.
"You just missed him." Mildred glares at Marvin again. "Can help you?"
The man looks at them. "No, I don't think so." He starts for the door.
Marvin moves to stop him. "Perhaps I can be of some assistance. I am Mr. Steele's personal attaché."
"Yeah?" Mildred questions.
"Allan Bentley," the man says. "Time Magazine."
He shakes Marvin's hand. "We're doing a report on the country's leading Detective Agencies- you know, the biggies? Could be my first cover. You're sure Mr. Steele isn't here?" he asks again.
"Gone with the wind," Mildred says, shrugging.
"Gosh. That's too bad. I really wanted to include the Steele Agency in my report. But I've got a deadline."
"Perhaps we could chat in *my* office," Marvin suggests.
"You don't *have* an office," Mildred reminds him.
"I really have to talk to somebody in the know," Bentley tells them. "I need facts, background."
"Background?" Mildred repeats, taking his arm. "I can give you background. I've been here since the beginning. Well, almost the beginning," she corrects. Marvin follows them. "Let's say since the end of the beginning." She turns to Marvin. "Hit the road, Junior." She and Bentley continue toward Steele's office.
Marvin stands there for a moment, then starts toward the office, too. Mildred slams the door in his face.
That night, at the "Final Approach Bar", Laura and Steele arrive. Laura sees McBride sitting by himself at the bar. "Bingo," she says, pointing him out to Steele, then leaves him standing in the middle of the floor.
Lorraine, talking to someone else, sees him. "Trevor!" she calls out, rising to go to him. "What are you doing here?" she asks.
"Developed a sudden thirst," he tells her.
Lorraine places her hand on his chest. "Oh."
Laura joins McBride. "You know, I'm a sucker for a man in uniform," she tells him. He turns to face her, and she straightens his tie.
"Oh, yeah?" he asks.
"I've always wondered what life was like in the cockpit," she says suggestively.
McBride smiles. "Baby, I could write a book."
"I'm an avid reader."
"What say we start the first chapter?" he says.
Lorraine is standing very close to Steele as he looks at Laura and McBride. "Come on, Trevor. Why don't you let me throttle your engines?" she says.
Steele looks at her. "I'm afraid I'm out of gear," he tells her.
"I can fix that," Lorraine assures him, turning his face back to hers again for a kiss. Steele sees Laura leaving with McBride.
"Just a second," he says, stepping back and turning away, only to find himself face to face with a rather large, angry man.
"Take a hike," he orders.
"Gladly," Steele says, but Lorraine grabs his arm to stop him.
"Get lost, Carl," she tells the man, gazing up at Steele. "Trevor's more man that you'll ever be." She touches his face. "He's sensitive."
Steele faces Carl. "Actually, Carl, I can be quite callous," Steele starts to say, but Carl grabs him and picks him up, tossing him into another table. Steele stands up, smiling. "All right. We all feel better now?" he asks, and is promptly hit on the jaw.
Outside, Laura and McBride are waiting for his car. "You're gonna love the Jacuzzi," he tells her.
"Sounds delicious," she replies, glancing back toward the bar, looking for Steele.
She moves away for a moment, and McBride's attention is caught by a copy of the Los Angeles Tribune in a nearby newspaper rack. The headline blares, "Platinum Air, Meat Wagon in the Sky". Below it are pictures of Remington Steele and Laura Holt. The smaller headline reads, "Secretary Tells All."
Inside the club, Steele and Carl are still fighting.
Laura returns to McBride, nervous now, as Steele isn't behind them. The valet arrives with McBride's sports car. McBride opens the door for Laura, then gets behind the wheel. They drive off.
Steele knocks an unconscious Carl into Lorraine's arms, and declares, "You make a perfect couple." He leaves to applause.
Outside, Steele sees the taillights of McBride's car as it pulls away into traffic.
Laura and McBride enter his apartment. He puts his jacket over a chair. "Been with Platinum long?" he asks.
"A couple of months."
He dims the lights. "So how do you like that London route?" he asks her. "A real bear, huh?"
"Absolutely," she answers.
McBride comes up to her and turns her toward him. "You know, it's funny. We don't *have* a London route." Laura tries to get away, but McBride stops her. "Just what kind of a game are you up to, Miss Private Detective?"
"You're the one who's going to need some answers. Like why you killed Johnny Beldon?" Laura responds.
"I don't know any Johnny Beldon."
"You knew him well enough to stuff him in that duffle," she says.
He lets her go. "Hey, I had nothing to do with that."
"Sure. And I bet you didn't know he was a contract killer, either."
"Wait, wait, wait a minute," McBride is saying, when the doors burst open and Steele enters, out of breath.
"It's all over, McBride," he says.
McBride pushes Laura into Steele and takes off. Laura pushes away from Steele. "Great work," she tells him, and takes off after McBride.
"What kind of thanks is that?" Steele asks her, then follows her.
They chase him through the complex. "He was about to tell me everything!" Laura tells Steele.
He stops. "Well, pardon me for trying to save your neck!" he tells her.
Laura sees McBride running around the pool, and throws herself at him, sending them both into the water as Steele looks on. Laura pulls McBride out of the water. "Now what's this all about?" she asks.
McBride opens a crate to reveal some preserved meat. "Brisket?" Steele asks Laura.
"Pastrami," she clarifies.
"It's worth a fortune in Honolulu," McBride tells them, sitting on another crate.
"Honolulu?" Laura questions.
"Did you ever try to get a decent pastrami sandwich on the islands? Ugh. Taste like cardboard and you pay through the nose." Steele sits down. "So me and my buddy, we got this idea. You see, I fly New York/LA, he flies LA/Honolulu. So we figured, why not ship the real thing? The freshest, juiciest pastrami in New York City, direct from the Big Apple to Waikiki?"
"You've been using Platinum Airlines to smuggle black market pastrami?" Laura questions doubtfully.
McBride grins. "Uh huh. Cuts through a lot of red tape. And the savings on freight is unbelievable. Course, we pass most of that onto our distributors."
"Just how profitable is this- fly by night operation?" Steele asks.
"On pastrami, about thirty thousand. Course, the margin's about twice that on macs."
"Macs?" Steele questions.
"Macadamia nuts. Oahu - New York. Tax free, of course."
Steele grins. "I suppose you're the one who gave me the free ride on the baggage express, eh?"
"I'm sorry about that, I really am. But I was just protecting my investment. I mean, you can imagine when I saw that headline-"
"What headline?" Laura asks.
Laura and Steele are in his office, staring at a copy of the Trib. Ketchum grabs it from them, angry. "You told me you'd be discreet. This your idea of discreet?" he asks them
"To be brutally honest with you, Ace," Steele begins, but Laura tries to salvage things.
"It's all part of Mr. Steele's plan," she insists. "To flush out the killer."
"It is?" Ketchum asks, looking at Steele.
"Oh, absolutely. Yes. Elaborate, will you, Miss Holt?" Steele says, lost.
Laura looks up at him as she continues. "Yes. Well, for security reasons, we couldn't even let *you* know how close we've come to breaking this wide open."
"Precisely," Steele agrees, turning Ketchum toward the door. "Now that the trap has been set, it's only a matter of hours before we- reveal the guilty party," he assures the client as he and Laura edge him forward. "Now, you sit tight, don't breath a word to anyone."
"You can count on me," Ketchum promises. He stops in the doorway and taps the headline on the paper. "By gum, Steele. You're as good as they say you are." He leaves the office.
Laura takes a deep sigh of relief, then looks at Steele. "Speaking of guilty parties," she says.
Mildred sits in a chair in the middle of the reception area, looking warily at Steele and Laura as they approach. Marvin stands behind her, clipboard in hand. "He said he was from Time Magazine," Mildred tells them. "He even talked in short sentences." Laura looks at Steele. "How was I supposed to know he's just a local reporter?"
"You might have asked for his credentials, Mildred," Steele points out.
"Oh, if you had been here, Boss, you would have-"
"'Secretary Tells All'. Mildred, how COULD you?" Laura asks.
Mildred points to Marvin. "Look, Marvin was making me crazy."
"We're not talking about Marvin," Steele reminds her.
Mildred stands up. "What is this? An inquisition? So I made a mistake. Big deal."
"Big deal?" Laura repeats. "You've totally blown our cover."
"And you've totally blown my authority in this office," Mildred points out.
"Really, Mildred, I don't think this is the time," Steele begins.
"Oh, I bust my chops for you. And what thanks do I get? You bring in Twinkle Toes over here. Oh ho, I can see the handwriting on the wall. I've got some of my own," she tells them, going to the desk and picking up her purse. "I quit." She goes to the door and leaves.
"Do something," Laura tells Steele.
"She'll be back," he says.
Sure enough, a second later, Mildred comes back through the doors. Marvin smiles at Steele, who smiles back. Mildred picks up her name plate, gives Steele and Laura a go to hell look, and leaves again.
Laura looks at Steele, who looks ill.
At Mildred's condo, she's sitting at her kitchen counter, going through the want ads, when Steele knocks at the back door. She turns, sees him, and then goes back to the paper, ignoring him.
"It's me, Mildred, open up."
"Nobody home," she tells him. Desperate, Steele picks the lock and enters. "Hey. That's cheating."
"All's fair," he reminds her.
"So what do you want?" she asks, going to the table and sitting down.
Steele picks up her cup and puts it before her. "You know what I want," he says. "What Miss Holt wants." He stands there, nervous.
"I'd like to hear it," Mildred tells him, looking at the paper again.
"We want you back," he tells her.
She looks up at him, shakes her head. "I don't think so."
"Look, Mildred," he says, sitting down. "I apologize. I'm really sorry." She keeps circling ads. "Would you at least do me the courtesy of looking up while I grovel?"
"I don't want you to grovel."
"Tell me what you *do* want, then."
"How about a little respect for once?"
"You've always had that, Mildred."
"Yeah? Then how come when you look at me, you only see someone to fetch your coffee and make your appointments?" she asks. Steele sits back, looking away. "Oh, I know why you brought Marvin in. Because lately I'm spending more time with the Agency business, and you miss your personal attention."
Steele smiles. "You were so winning as the adoring subordinate, Mildred."
"Well, you can't turn back the clock. And I learned your secret in London, and it's just changed my outlook."
"I see. Is my secret really that meaningful? I mean, we're a team, the three of us. You, Miss Holt, me. Let's not break that up."
"Look, before I signed on as your major domo, I was a member of the IRS fraud squad, remember? It's very discouraging to find out that I have more qualifications for your job than you do."
"Well, I may not have had the formal training, Mildred, but I-"
"I figure that if you can play detective, I can play more than pencil pusher. And that's that."
"So that's it," Steele says, upset. He stands. "There's nothing else I can say to get you back."
Mildred looks up at him. "Well, I wouldn't go quite that far," she says, smiling. Steele returns the smile, sensing a break-thru. "But- there have to be some changes." Steele sits down again. "Minor changes."
"Uh huh. Flexibility is our motto."
"Well, let's see. Oh, nah. We'd have to run this by Miss Holt, anyway."
Steele takes her hand. "Mildred, I guarantee-from now on, the buck stops right here," he says, hitting the table. "Fire away. Please. Go right ahead."
"Well, eventually, I'd like to get my private investigator's license."
"Splendid notion!" Steele declares.
"Which means I'd have to be much more involved in our cases."
"You will?" Steele asks, frowning slightly.
"You have to apprentice for three years before you can even apply for a license."
"Three years," Steele mutters. "Ohh. Hey, listen, Mildred. Go for it, eh?"
"And I figure, that if I'm gonna be of more value to the agency, that should be reflected in my salary, don't you think?"
"Oh, absolutely. Say, uh, another fifty dollars a week?" he says with a smile.
Steele's smile falters. "A hundred?"
Mildred hits the table, laughing. "Done!" she declares, then takes his hand to shake on it. "And you'll tell Miss Holt?"
"Oh, uh, the moment I see her. Yes," Steele agrees nervously.
Laura knocks on the back door. "Oh. Speaking of the devil," Mildred says, getting up to let her in. Steele is trying to figure out how to do this. He picks up Mildred's coffee cup, drinks, then looks at the contents with a strange expression. "Come on in," Mildred tells Laura.
"Mildred, you look like the cat that just swallowed the canary," Laura comments. Mildred is glowing, about to bust with her news. "Does this mean you're coming back?" she asks, putting an arm around Mildred's shoulders.
Steele standing now, looking ill. "Are you kidding?" Mildred says. "Of course I'm coming back. "Boss?"
"Eh? Oh, Miss Holt!" he says, joining the ladies. "Nice to see you, Laura. Hi, how are you doing? What are you doing here?" he asks.
"It just came over the news, a body washed up onshore in San Pedro. Two bullet holes at the base of the neck."
"Beldon's trademark," Steele recalls. "Let's get down there right away," he tells Laura. Mildred tries to stop him.
"Chief," she says.
"Later, Mildred. It seems that the ghost of our contract killer just claimed another victim. Coming, Miss Holt, not a moment to lose. Yes, coming. Coming," he tells her, passing Mildred, who grabs his coat tail to try and stop him. He bats her hold away and follows Laura out.
Mildred puts her hands on her hips, fully aware that he's afraid to tell Laura about their agreement.
At the Medical Examiner's office, Laura and Steele are looking at the body of the dead man. "Interesting color," Steele comments, looking sick.
The ME tells them, "Well, he spent the last few nights in a kelp bed."
"Still be down there if that fishing trawler hadn't dragged him up."
"Any luck with an ID?" Laura asks.
"No prints," the man tells her. "His fingers nibbled away."
"Nibbled?" Steele questions.
"By what?" Laura asks.
"Well, there's lots of things down there that nibble," the little man tells them with a strange smile. "You shoulda seen the guy they brought in here last week. His fingers wasn't the only thing that was missin'."
"Would you skip the inventory part?" Steele begs.
"May I?" Laura asks, going around to lift the sheet again. Steele moves off as she examines the body closely. "Hmm. Any idea how long he was down there?"
"I'd say from the state of decomposition, at least four days."
She lowers the sheet over the body. "Well, that's it for me. Any questions for you, Mr. S-" she stops, realizing that he's gone. "Mr. Steele?"
Back at the office, Laura paces Steele's office as he sits behind the desk, sipping his coffee. "Try this on for size. Somebody hires a contract killer to murder whomever's in the morgue, and then decides to get rid of the contract killer as well."
"Yes, but which crewmember hired the killer in the first place and why?" he asks.
Mildred comes in with a coffee pot. "Thought you'd need a refill."
"Oh, thank you, Mildred," Laura says, getting her refill and turning away, still consumed with the case.
Mildred fills Steele's cup, mouthing at him "Did you tell her? Do you want me to tell her?"
"I can do it," Steele mouths back.
"Well, let me know if you need anything else," Mildred says, leaving them alone again.
Laura perches on the edge of the desk. "She seems awfully spry today."
"Ah, yes, no doubt she's just delighted to be back among us. Um-" he stands up. "I was thinking, Laura-" he joins her on the edge of the desk. "What if Beldon- our contract killer- was blackmailing the fella who hired him. Then the fella who hired him would have to get rid of Beldon as well."
Laura nods. "Not bad. Not bad."
Mildred comes back in. "I hate to disturb you, but Sally Devon is on line one for Miss Holt."
Laura looks confused. "Is there something wrong with the intercom?"
"Oh, no," Mildred tells her, laughing. "No, I just thought you'd appreciate the personal touch." She looks at Steele. "Anything else, Boss?" she asks pointedly.
"Not yet, Mildred," he tells her firmly.
"Well, I'm here if you need me," she says, turning toward the reception area again with a laugh.
Laura asks Steele, "What exactly did you tell her?"
Steele picks up the phone and shakes his head as he hands it to her. "Here you go."
Laura keeps looking at his guilty face as she answers. "Laura Holt . . . Start at the beginning . . . How long ago? . . . We're on our way." She hangs up the phone. "That was Sally," she tells him. "Wanda called and she's hysterical. Something about a life and death emergency."
"Where does Wanda fit into this puzzle?" Steele wonders, joining her as she leaves the office.
"Mildred, we'll be at Wanda Sutton's apartment," Laura tells Mildred.
"Later, Mildred," Steele says, passing her as she tries to get his attention again. He waves his hand at her, putting her off again.
Mildred starts working on some papers on her desk as Marvin comes out of the coffee room, carrying his stuff. He stands there, looking at her. She pretends to ignore him. Finally she looks up at him, and he comes to the desk. "Well, I guess this is goodbye," he tells her.
He starts to move off, then stops. "Listen, I didn't realize how important you are to this organization until Mr. Steele spelled it out for me," he tells her.
"Spelled what out?"
"Well, right after you left, he explained how irreplaceable you are. How there's really no need for an intern in this office."
"The Boss said that?"
"Yeah," he says, nodding.
"Can't you get another internship?" Mildred asks him.
"Too late for that now. But I'm young. I'll bounce back. Maybe I'm not cut out for this, anyway."
"That's not true. All you need is a little seasoning from a real pro."
"Pull up a chair," Mildred tells him. Marvin smiles.
At Wanda's Steele knocks on the door. "Wanda?" he calls.
Lorraine approaches. "What's going on?" she asks.
Steele and Laura turn to look at her. "In the neighborhood, Miss Maywood?" Steele asks.
She smiles fetchingly. "I live- two doors down," she explains.
Sally and Biff come up. "Any luck?" Biff asks.
"Well, either she's not home, or she can't answer the door," Laura tells them.
"All right," Steele tells her. "Stand back." He starts to run toward the door, and is almost ready to hit it, when Biff yells out.
"Wait!" Steele looks at him. "I've got a key." He tosses it to Steele as Sally glares at him. "Come on, Sal, it was a long time ago. Huh?"
They enter the apartment. "Wanda?" Steele calls.
Laura leads the group into the bedroom, which is a mess. Clothing and bedcovers are strewn everywhere. "Wanda?" Laura calls softly.
Steele opens the bathroom door, and Lorraine is right beside him. Laura sees a high-heel sticking from under the bed, and as she turns, Lorraine sees it too. She cries out, grabbing Steele. Laura kneels slowly and closes her eyes, then grabs the shoe- which is empty. There's no body under the bed, as Laura bends to confirm.
"So where's Wanda?" Biff asks.
"Coming thru!" Mildred calls, entering the room with Marvin right behind her. "Stand aside!" she pushes through Biff and Sally to get to Steele and Laura.
"Mildred, this is not the time," Steele tells her, pulling Lorraine away from him as he speaks.
"Oh, no, Boss. We got the low-down on that stiff."
"Well, actually, Mildred did most of the research," Marvin explains.
"Oh," Mildred says, looking at him. "Don't sell yourself short, Marvin. You did a lot of the groundwork."
"Would one of you please tell us what you found out?" Laura asks.
"That guy was an SEC investigator on the trail of a massive Wall Street investment scam!" Mildred declares.
"And the company he was investigating- Holder Investments- owned by Barry Holder," Marvin finishes.
"He's the passenger who was having the affair with Wanda," Laura says. "I knew there was something strange going on here. I bet she discovered what he was up to."
"Well, if that's true, we'd better find her before Barry does," Steele tells them. "Come on, let's go."
At Platinum Air, Ketchum is disbelieving. "You want me to ground all flights?"
"You want to catch a killer?" Laura asks.
"Gotcha," Ketchum agrees, and takes off.
"Your intuition better be right on this one, Laura," Steele tells her.
"If I were a stewardess and wanted to leave town fast, I'd deadhead out on the first available flight."
"Let's hope we don't give new meaning to the word, shall we?" he suggests, leading her away.
Barry pulls Wanda across the tarmac. He sees some guards, and pulls her in another direction.
Laura and Steele search Platinum Air's flights. "They're not here," Laura tells him.
"Okay, the cockpit," Steele says.
McBride is at the controls, and frowns when they enter. "Oh, not you again."
"Wanda Sutton," Steele says.
"I swear, I never touched her!" McBride insists.
Laura points outside the plane. "Look."
Barry is pulling Wanda away from the plane. "McBride, old man," Steele says, "We're gonna need a lift."
McBride puts on his headset.
Ketchum tells the ground controller, "You're damn right I'll take the responsibility! You give that pilot any clearance he wants!" He watches the plane taxi on a monitor.
"Okay, hold her steady, McBride," Steele tells the pilot, loosening his tie and unbuttoning his collar.
"Where are you going?" Laura asks as Steele stands up.
"I'm going to get a breath of fresh air," he tells her.
Laura's confused, remains in the cockpit with McBride.
Barry sees the jet coming toward them on the ground, and is so concerned that Wanda manages to break free and run away. Barry keeps running from the plane as Steele opens an emergency hatch and climbs out onto the wing.
Laura glances out and sees him on the wing, and pats McBride on the shoulder to show him. McBride looks worried, but keeps going.
The plane catches up to Barry, and Steele jumps onto him from the wing, knocking him down. Steele picks him up. "Happy landings," he says, then hits Barry, knocking him out.
Steele pulls the handkerchief from his pocket and wipes his face before walking away.
Later, on the walkway surrounding the ground control tower, Ketchum asks Steele and Laura, "Let me get this straight. This guy Barry really was using MY airline as a meat wagon?"
"That's right," Laura confirms. "He masterminded an investment fraud worth millions. Your well-heeled clientele were perfect pigeons."
"But when Barry found out there was an SEC agent on his tail, he decided to hire a contract killer to dispose of the problem," Steele continues. He holds up his hand like a gun and clicks his tongue twice. "Two bullet holes in the back of the neck."
"Then he had innocent Wanda smuggle the body on board YOUR airplane. Wanda had no idea what was in that duffle."
"The body of the SEC man arrived here in Los Angeles, Barry claimed the body- and dumped it in the ocean."
"Why'd he do that?" Ketchum asks.
"To create the perfect alibi," Laura points out.
"Barry's in New York, the body washes up on shore here in LA."
"When the contract killer got greedy," Laura says, "Barry killed him and tried to pull off the same scheme."
'Um. And it would have worked, too, if it hadn't been for your faulty baggage system."
"Well, thank heaven for small glitches," Ketchum agrees. "You know, I gotta admit, I had my doubts about you, Steele. But you did a first rate job."
"Well, thank you."
"You too, little lady. Maybe I underestimated you."
"Why thank you, Ace," Laura says.
Ketchum moves between them, pinching Laura's bottom as he goes.
Laura glares after him, furious. "Why that chauvinistic, overbearing-"
Mildred and Marvin come around the corner behind them. "Ready for home, Boss?"
"Absolutely," Steele agrees.
"Shall I bring the car round, Miss Krebs?" Marvin asks.
"Go ahead, Marvin," she tells him. "We'll meet you at the curb."
"Right," he says, and leaves them.
"He's a good kid," Mildred tells Steele and Laura. "I'm gonna tutor him on the side. Listen, Boss, I need to talk to you about vacation time. But- maybe I'd better wait until you've had your talk with Miss Holt." She turns to follow Marvin.
"What talk?" Laura asks Steele.
Steele's nervous again. "Now, Laura, you know how fervently you wanted Mildred to return-"
"How the Agency wouldn't be the same without her?"
"Let me put it another way, Laura. At least we get to keep our offices," he informs her with a nervous smile.