Etched In Steele
Transcribed by SteeleChic
From the Episode Written by:
Glenn Caron

Lightening flashes across the night sky, the city streets are humming with the regular flow of traffic. Up high in an apartment, Mitchell Knight closes the manuscript in his hand and stands up, a curious expression on his face.

He runs to the bottom of the staircase, "Charlotte.....Charlotte!" he calls, "I know you're listening to me Charlotte. Hear me, I've just read the new manuscript. What do you want me to make of it Charlotte?"

Charlotte is lying in the middle of the bed, calmly smoking a cigarette, an odd smile on her face, as she listens to Mitchell rant.

"You know I can't stand still for this, I won't! It's as simple as that. Charlotte? Charlotte!!"


At Century City, Bernice enters Laura's office with coffee, "It's 11 o'clock and the phone hasn't rung. Nobody's waiting in reception," she gets no response from Laura who is reading the paper, feet propped on the desk, "Laura! It's been this way for a week!"

"It happens every year this time," Laura announces without looking up, "Holidays, peace on earth, goodwill to all men. Nice thought, but it really raises havoc with the balance sheet." She takes a sip of coffee.

"Laura, ten letter word for lexicon?" Murphy calls from the next office, needing her help with his crossword.

Laura smiles, "Did you look it up?"

"Of course I did," Murphy replies.

Laura is grinning now, "Dictionary!" she tells him.

Murphy looks down at the dictionary in his lap.

"How long does this usually last?" Bernice asks.

"Till after New Years," Laura answers, taking another sip of coffee and opening the paper, "Have to give everyone's resolutions time to wear off. What I wouldn't give for a nice, juicy murder."

Suddenly, she almost chokes on a mouthful of coffee.

"What?" Bernice queries, as Laura jumps up and points to something she's seen in the paper, drawing in a gasping breath. It's a picture of Steele and another man shaking hands and Bernice reads aloud, "Seen about town, famous sleuth Remington Steele and publishing kingpin Russell Forsyth, can a Remington Steele book be far behind?" She looks up at Laura."He writes?"

"When I get through with him, he won't be able to read!" Laura fumes, "Where is Dostoevsky?" She snatches her coat from the stand on her way out the door.


Steele is in his apartment dictating, "Chapter One. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times..."

"Shouldn't that be, it was both the best and the worst of times?" the young woman inquires.

"Really?" he asks and she nods, "Yes, you're quite right, much more economical," he decides.

There is a knock at the door. He puts his wine down and answers it to a furious Laura.

"How dare you?" she demands.

"Ah...ha...I, uh, I feel the creative juices ebbing, perhaps we should call it a day," he says, choosing to ignore Laura and address the young woman on the couch.

She gets up to leave and as soon as the door closes, Laura begins again.

"Who is Russell Forsyth?"

"Russell Forsyth? A most successful publisher, a man of great taste. He's asked me to write a book," at Laura's questioning look, he continues, "Mm-hmm, Remington Steele's Ten Most Famous Cases."

"Hmm," Laura replies scathingly, "Planning a career in fiction, are we?"

"Correct me if I'm wrong, Miss Holt, but I sense a certain lack of enthusiasm on your behalf."

"You haven't had ten most famous cases," she says moving in front of him, "You haven't had ten cases!"

"Really, Laura, this preoccupation with details-."

"I'm going to tell you something, listen to it, digest it, try to remember it," she tells him, "You are NOT Remington Steele, I made him up. You are playing a part! For me! I want you to pick up that phone, call Russell Forsyth, and tell him you've had a change of heart. Or shall I?"

"A book by and about Remington Steele could create a demand for the Agency's services where people have never even heard of us before," he tries to convince her hurriedly.

Laura stalks over to the phone and he continues, "Imagine! Branches in New York, Paris, London! Why we could end up in shopping malls, think of it Laura."

She picks up the receiver.

"Whole families going to the mall, buying sneakers, picking up snow tires, leaving clues?"

She hands him the receiver, unimpressed, "Dial!"

"As it happens," Steele begins, "Russell's invited me to a party this evening, I'd truly hate to spoil the frivolities with business talk but, if I must..."

"You must!" Laura insists, "What time will you be picking me up?"

"Oh," he says, amused by what he perceives as her weakening resolve.


In the limo on the way to the party, Laura asks, " So who else is going to be at this party?"

"Actually, it's being held to celebrate the completion of a new manuscript by Charlotte Knight," Steele tells her. This gets Laura's attention.

"Charlotte Knight?" she repeats.

"Mm-hmm," he answers.

"Have you ever read any of her books?" Laura asks, "Every thigh is creamy white, every breast is full and heaving. Men don't caress their women, they seize them and people don't meet and fall in love, they have zipless encounters and disappear into the night."

"How quaint," Steele replies, not quite sure what to make of Laura's animated description, "Sounds as if you're quite a fan of this Ms Knight's."

"Well, no, no, I've never actually read any of her books," Laura mutters, uncomfortable and fidgety.

"Of course," Steele answers, teasing her now.

"I've just heard about them," Laura insists.

"Mm-hmm, reading is such a chore," he goads her.

"Yes," Laura agrees, oblivious to his sidelong glance and hidden smile.


Mitchell Knight is at a table alone, drinking, when Steele and Laura come in.

"Do you see him yet?" Laura asks, "I don't want to waste a lot of time on this." They take drinks from a waiter.

"Laura, I do think we should wait for an opportune moment," Steele insists.

"I just don't want you beating around the bush," Laura accuses.

"Bush beating?" Steele is offended, "Me?"

"Steele!" Forsyth calls.

"Do keep in mind, these people think you work for me," he reminds Laura.

"I see you took me up on my invitation," Forsyth says, shaking Steele's hand, "Does this mean you're serious about my proposition?"

"Russell Forsyth, Laura Holt, my most valued associate AND an integral part of whatever arrangement we finally agree to."

"Agree to?" Laura asks sweetly.

"Oh, that's another conversation," Forsyth says, " I'm just thrilled the both of you came. Now, why don't you go, nosh, drink and then when you're under the influence, I'll come back and we'll hammer out a deal, OK?"

"Ha, ha," Steele laughs.

"I don't think he got the message," Laura declares, turning on her heel.

"Don't think so," he chases her, reaching for the back of her sequined jacket, "Just a second."

Mitchell Knight knocks into Laura, reaching past her for Steele's hand.

"Remington Steele," he says. He is quite obviously drunk.


"Oh, this is a treat. When Russ told me you might be coming...My wife Charlotte reads about you all the time."

"Charlotte?" Laura pipes up attentively, "Charlotte Knight. Are you married to Charlotte Knight?" She sounds like a schoolgirl.

"The man behind the woman," Mitchell announces proudly, "Not what you expected huh?"

"Well -" Laura begins, but Steele interrupts.

"Mr. Knight, Laura Holt, my associate, very much the woman behind the man."

Laura shakes Mitchell's hand happily, "It's a real pleasure, I've read all of -" she stops suddenly.

"Really?" Steele looks down at her in interest.

"Don't be embarrassed," Mitchell says, "Nobody admits to reading Charlotte's books, but they sell 3 million copies."

Steele looks a little baffled at this.

"Listen, I realize this is hardly the place to discuss business, but I wondered if I could impose on the two of you to step out on the balcony with me."

Mitchell wanders off. Steele looks vaguely confused but Laura urges him to follow and they move out onto the balcony.

Laura looks around, enchanted, prompting Mitchell to volunteer, "Thirty five floors up."

"Beautiful," Laura gushes.

"Magnificent," Steele is clearly unimpressed.

"Idiotic," Mitchell adds, "Living 35 floors up in Los Angeles, but Charlotte adores it."

They turn and look back into the party.

"Look at her," Mitchell tells them, "She's...she's inspirational, isn't she?" They watch her greet someone inside, "Sometimes I sit for hours just watching her move, the way her body rises and falls when she breathes, the way it glistens when she perspires. The man with her is Tony, our gardener. Can't let the lawn go when you're 35 floors up!"

Steele and Laura feign amusement at his joke.

"Last year she wrote him off on her taxes as research. Good thing I'm not the jealous type, huh?" He pauses to take a drink, "Have you heard about the new manuscript? Between us, I don't think that it quite measures up to the first two, but then they can't all be gems, can they?"

"I suppose not," Laura concedes, but Mitchell moves past her to take Steele's arm.

"The reason I asked you both to come out here? I think I might have a little something you'll find interesting. As you know, my wife is a famous author with a reputation for writing, shall we say provocative literature. My wife's first book, Twice Nightly, a work of fiction? Hardly. The first four years of our marriage," Laura takes a drink as Steele listens, "My wife's second book, Baited Breath, the second four years of our marriage."

Laura gulps practically all of what's left in her glass, probably recalling the events of the book, while Steele's face remains expressionless.

"The new book, Prone Positions, it's an erotic thriller, you know what it's about?" Mitchell asks.

"One could only imagine," Steele says dryly.

"It's about a woman who kills her husband," Mitchell explains, "Mr. Steele, Miss Holt, I'm concerned."

"Erotic thriller, husband murdered, may I ask how?" Steele questions.

"He's thrown off a 35th floor balcony," Mitchell replies glumly, looking over the edge.

"Magnificent!" Steele turns to Laura, "Can we go in now?"

"You think I've had too much scotch," Mitchell cries, "I saw it with my own two eyes, neatly typed, right there in black and white."

"Mr. Knight, if you're truly afraid your wife is planning to murder you -" Laura begins.

"Leave?" Mitchell finishes, "Leave Charlotte? I couldn't do that. I can't leave her and she can't leave me. We're supposed to be a team, you know."

"Then how can we help you?" Laura asks, "That is, if you're asking for our help."

"You're right," Mitchell says, "Maybe this is premature. Well, I'm sorry to have bothered you," he escorts them back to the balcony door, "I do hope you enjoy the party. I suspect it may prove to be quite," he pauses, "revealing."

"What an odd little man," Steele remarks, once they are out of earshot.

"Hard to believe he is married to her," Laura agrees, as they pass Charlotte Knight.

"The secrets that bind two people together, what a confounding mystery," Steele comments.
They stop at the bar and Steele holds up two fingers to the waiter.

"I don't like this place," Laura tells him, "I don't like these people. Why don't we just find Russell Forsyth, tell him the sad tale of your writing career and get out of -"

She is cut off by a man's shouts, followed by a woman's screaming as everyone rushes to the balcony.

Pushing through the crowd, they reach the railing and look over. At the very bottom they see Mitchell Knight sprawled on the pavement. Laura turns to Steele for comfort, burying her face against his chest, as Charlotte does the same with Tony. After a minute, Laura looks again.

Over the crowd, Steele glances at the pavement and then at Laura, "I don't think this is the opportune moment to discuss business."


Much later, Steele and Laura are still on the balcony.

"So," a voice comes from behind them, causing Steele to almost jump out of his skin, "You're the famous Shamus, eh? Dennis Baker, Charlotte's agent."

"Ah, Laura Holt, my associate," Steele introduces Laura and Dennis shakes her hand.

"Hello," Laura says.

"Quite an evening," Dennis remarks, "You two know Mitch well?"

"Actually, we met him for the first time tonight," Laura answers, "He seemed very..."

"Drunk?" Dennis finishes, "That was Mitch. People would see Charlotte Knight on television and say to themselves, what I wouldn't give to spend a night next to that. But it takes its toll, like owning Fort Knox, you're so busy guarding it, you can't enjoy spending it. Mitch.... stupid fool, never could hold his liquor."

Steele and Laura follow Dennis back inside.

"He would have had to be a fairly athletic alcoholic in order to fall over that railing," Laura comments, "Don't you think?"

"What are you getting at?" Dennis asks.

"She'll be all right," Russell Forsyth appears, "Tony's with her. Everybody know everyone here?"

"Aren't either of you concerned?" Laura demands, "Mitchell Knight just died in a manner identical to the one in his wife's new book."

Dennis and Russell look at each other.

"I'm sorry Miss Holt, you've lost me," Russell tells her.

"You mean to say there is no scene of a man falling 35 floors to his death in the new book?" Steele asks.

"In Prone Positions?" Russell repeats, "I wish there was, that sounds great. In the book, the people are so busy jumping on each other that nobody has the chance to fall 35 floors. Here's a copy of the manuscript," he hands it to Laura, "Read it, if you can. I was in the Navy and I blushed. I see a look in your eye. That mean that you know something that we should?"

"Forgive us gentlemen," Steele explains, "Miss Holt and I deal in death daily, occasionally our imaginations tend to run away with us and we tend to look for treachery where there clearly is none."

"Gee, that's too bad," Russell says, "A little treachery could have gone a long way this evening. I'm not opposed to calling your book Remington Steele's Eleven Most Famous Cases."

"Russ," Dennis complains, "They haven't even hosed Mitch's blood off the sidewalk."

"You wouldn't negotiate the deal Dennis?" Russell wonders.

"About that book," Steele begins, only to be effectively silenced by Laura stomping on his foot.

"Yes! Won't it be wonderful," she gushes, "Remington Steele's book. Who knows, maybe someday he'll even have his own cartoon show on Saturday mornings." And with that, she hustles him out.


In the office the next day, Steele is soaking his bruised foot when Laura walks in.

"Look at that!" he complains, "It's already twice it's normal size. We really must develop a more practical signal for you to use when you wish to silence me."

"You can smell it, can't you?" Laura says eagerly.

"Oh, my humblest apologies," Steele responds, miffed, "And I suppose your feet have no odor."

"I mean- the murder," Laura explains.

"Murder, what murder?" Steele is confused.

"The murder of Mitchell Knight," Laura continues.

"So that's why you tap danced on my toes last night, you didn't want me to cancel that book deal because you wanted to keep your hand in this ridiculous murder business," the truth dawns on him.

"Charlotte Knight killed her husband," she muses.

"Laura, Mitchell Knight fell, he was highly intoxicated," Steele argues, "Did you see the look in the man's eyes? He was seeing a lot of shows that aren't listed in the TV Guide."

"She wrote about it, made it part of the new manuscript, described every detail," Laura speculates, "Then made sure that her husband saw it, made sure it sent him running for the bottle, and then Charlotte waited, -waited until she had plenty of witnesses to see just how drunk Mitchell was, and then she did it. She pushed or coaxed him over the side."

"Laura, Russell Forsyth told you there is no such murder in the new book," Steele argues.

"I said she was cocky," Laura laughs, "Not an imbecile. One Mitchell had read that scenario, it would be foolhardy to keep it in there, certainly would make things easier if we could find that scene," she turns to go to her own office.

"Laura!" Steele follows, "Laura, you haven't been listening, there is no scene because there was no murder. I have an idea, business is slow, why don't we close down for a week or two, perhaps all four of us could go away somewhere. The Caribbean, how about it?"

"I've got work to do!" Laura moves away from him and towards the computer.

"Work? What work? We don't even have a client," Steele tries to persuade her.

"Do you wanna keep it down in here? There are people trying to sleep in the next office," Murphy pipes up, opening the connecting door.

"Murphy!" Laura greets him; "I'm glad you're here. Charlotte Knight, Russell Forsyth, Dennis Baker, find out everything you can about them."

Steele snatches the printout, "Take it from me Murphy, don't waste your time. Laura will you agree that if there is no death scene, there is no murder?"

"Nothing personal," Murphy snatches it back, "But all I've got is time."

"What are you driving at?" Laura asks, simply to humor him.

"I'm going to get every single scrap of paper ever written by Charlotte Knight," he tells them.

"How are you going to do that?" Murphy wants to know.

"My mother," Steele begins, "Mrs. Steele."

"Yeah," Murphy is skeptical.

"Always taught me - it never hurts to ask," and with that, Steele is off. Over his shoulder he announces, "I'm also going to pick up four tickets to Jamaica. Pack light!"

Laura and Murphy exchange a bemused look.


Steele rings the doorbell to Charlotte Knight's apartment.

"Charlotte Knight?" he inquires when she answers, "I'm Remington Steele."

"Oh my goodness, you are, aren't you?" she answers.

Steele notices Tony, clad only in jeans, inside the apartment and Charlotte quietly continues, "Let me just get rid of a couple of things in here first and we'll have a chat, OK?" She closes the door, leaving him to ponder on the doorstep.

When they are settled enjoying champagne and strawberries, Steele begins.

"It certainly is wonderful of you to see me now, especially now in your hour of grief."

"Grief, right," Charlotte muses, "Let's be honest with each other Mr. Steele. It must be more than apparent to you that I'm far from devastated by Mitchell's passing."

"I had noticed a certain casual indifference," he tells her, "I just assumed you were putting up a god front."

Charlotte giggles, "Really? Isn't that sweet," she takes a strawberry, "Don't misunderstand, I'm not made of stone Mr. Steele. I loved Mitchell, I loved him very much, it just wasn't the love of a woman for her man. Am I making myself clear?"

"As a bell, Mrs. Knight" Steele tells her, "As a bell." He stands.

"What's the matter?" Charlotte asks, "Do I make you nervous?"

He clears his throat, "Let me tell you why I'm here. Perhaps you've heard, Russell Forsyth has asked me to write a book."

"Mmm, isn't that thrilling?" Charlotte gushes, "We are going to have so much in common."

"Yes, well," Steele falters, "I was just wondering, if I'm not being too personal.."

"I don't think that's possible," Charlotte all but purrs.

"Just how do you do it?" he asks outright.

"Do you mind repeating that question," Charlotte says.

"How do you do it?" Steele says again.

"Do what?"

"Write," Steele explains.

"What kind of a question is that?" Charlotte is confused, "How do I write? I write, um, wonderfully..."

"No, no, no, no, no, I mean, ah, do you use a pencil and paper, or do you type. Do you know what every chapter is going to be about before you put it on paper, or do you make it up as you go along?" he elaborates.

"That really is why you came here, isn't it?" Charlotte is baffled.

"Humph," Steele mutters as Charlotte is crestfallen.


Steele's apartment door buzzes and he answers it to Laura, laden with goodies.

"I just want to make this clear from the outset, that I think this is a terrible waste of time," he announces as she enters.

"Good to see you too," Laura jokes, "I brought popcorn, diet soda, a little salami, some cheese..." she sits on the floor and leans against the coffee table. Steele takes the sofa.

"You really want to spend an evening doing this?" he queries.

"Bring on the papers," she answers airily, getting out a pair of glasses and putting them on.

"Hm, hm, hm," Steele chuckles, "I never knew you wore glasses."

"I don't," Laura confesses, "I go `em in college when I had a crush on my calc professor. Thought it would make me look brainier."

"Mmm," Steele ponders this for a moment, "Did it work?"

"Mmm, tee hee," Laura gives a devious giggle before peering over the rims at him, "Wouldn't you like to know?" She clasps her hands together, "All right, let's read."

"Not read," Steele corrects her, reaching for a brown paper bag and tipping its contents on the floor beside Laura, "Listen," he stretches out on the carpet next to her, "Charlotte Knight doesn't write at all, she dictates."

"Dictates?" Laura repeats.

"Into one of these," Steele confirms, "Tiny tape recorder, works on batteries. That way, wherever she is, whenever an idea strikes...." he snaps his fingers.

"And all these are...?"

"Each one is a chapter," he tells her.

"Chapters," she echoes.

"Shall we begin?" Steele asks.

"Let's," Laura agrees.

Steele hits play and Charlotte's voice drifts out, "He couldn't get over her velvet thighs and crimson smile -"

Steele hits stop in embarrassment, "Well," he says, "No-one jumping out of windows in that chapter, are they?"

"Velvet thighs? Oh my," Laura is holding back laughter, enjoying watching him squirm.

"Shall we press on?" he asks, "Know what I mean?"

"Yes," she agrees, "By all means, press on."

Charlotte's voice fills the room again, "He stood there all of him, his body was a dare, a dare she had decided to take -" Steele stops the tape again.

"What say we break out the salami?" he reaches behind him onto the coffee table.

Laura laughs, "What is it you think you're protecting me from?"

"Who me? Protecting you?" he is all innocence, "Why, I wouldn't presume to do such a thing."

She takes off the glasses and looks at him. "Remember the calc professor?" she asks.

"Mm-hmm," he nods.

"The glasses worked," she reveals.

"Did the trick, did they?" a smile tugs at Steele's lips as he watches her, suddenly seeing the straitlaced Miss Holt in an entirely different light.

"Mmm," she confirms, "So why don't you turn the tape back on and let's get this over with, OK?"

"OK," Steele agrees, still watching her with guarded intrigue.

Charlotte's dictation continues, "And at that moment they knew more about each other than either had thought possible," Laura and Steele sneak sidelong glances at each other as the somewhat prophetic story continues, "They didn't need.... words, only time, and each other." It is what seems like hours later and Steele and Laura are asleep on the floor, the voice coming from the tape recorder has turned deep, a man's voice, "First one rung, and then another, and then he reached it, the window, and it was as if she had known for just the slightest -"

Laura moans, raising a weary hand to her eyes and lifts her head. Picking up the recorder, she shakes it to try and make the sound return to how it was.

"Barely enough for anyone on the street below to see anything..." When the sound refuses to right itself, Laura drops the recorder and rolls to face Steele, shaking his arm.

"Uh," he starts, "I'll be out in a minute, Mother."

"Listen," Laura urges.

"His face pressed to the glass," the tape continues.

"Disgusting," Steele pronounces.

"No, no, listen, listen," Laura whispers.

"And he watched her..."

"Sounds like...Mitchell Knight," Laura exclaims.

"Day after day, studying her, the way her body would rise and fall every time she took a breath, the way it glistened when she would perspire...."

"It is Mitchell Knight," Steele confirmed.

"He wrote the books," Laura continued, "Where does that leave us?"

Steele shakes his head forlornly, "Nowhere near the Caribbean."


The next morning, Laura and Steele meet with Charlotte Knight, Russell Forsyth, Dennis Baker and Tony, and play back to them the last tape they had listened to.

"He watched her. Day after day, studying her, the way her body would rise and fall every time she took a breath, the way it glistened when she would perspire...."

"As I was explaining to my associate, Miss Holt, I'm sure there's a logical explanation for all of this," Steele is saying, "From these tape recordings, it would almost appear that Mitchell Knight is the writer."

"Steele, stop it already," Russell interrupts, "It's not necessary, you got us. Mitchell is the - Mitchell was the writer. We had this machine made, he could dictate and then when you played it back on a regular machine, the voice was higher, sounded like a woman, hopefully like Charlotte. So you got us, Steele. Damn, you're sharp!"

Steele makes a gesture, like, what can I say? Laura on the other hand, is still processing this revelation.

"Then you didn't write any of the books?" she asks Charlotte.

"It was Mitchell," Charlotte tells her, "It was all Mitchell."

"I represented Mitchell Knight for 17 years," Dennis begins, "If he made three thousand dollars a year, it was a banner year. Then, seven years ago, I sent Russ Mitch's manuscript for Twice Nightly."

"It left a stain on my fingers," Russell continues, "Garbage, pure garbage. I read the first 25 pages and threw it away," he moves to sit beside Steele, "But, that night, I went to a party. Dennis was there; Mitch was there and so was his new wife Charlotte. Remember that night Charlotte? Charlotte did everything she could to - persuade me - to purchase her husbands manuscript. Oh, we spent a lot of time together, she'd go on and on, she'd talk about this character and that character and didn't I like this little plot twist. I was entranced. Out of his mouth, it sounded like pornography, but, out of her mouth, it was.... erotica."

"Charlotte was a natural for the talk shows," Dennis picks up the conversation, "Very visual, it seemed like a wonderful idea."

"So you created a fictitious person to sell the books to the public," Laura surmises knowingly.

"Which brings us to a rather delicate point in the conversation," Russell adds.

"Charlotte Knight is more than just a lady who writes acceptably dirty books," Dennis explains, "She's a whole industry. Loose talk could put an awful lot of people out of work."

"Look, isn't there something we can do to help you see your way clear to, ah, forget all this?" Charlotte inquires.

When Steele and Laura pause to exchange a conferring glance, Tony jumps in.

"Does it matter?" he asks, "Does it really matter whether or not the Charlotte that we see on television or read in the magazines is the same person who writes the books? Of course not. What's important is the myth. I've heard a rumour that Thomas Edison didn't really invent the lightbulb." Steele and Laura are sitting in contemplative silence as he continues, "Some man who worked for him did, And for that matter, William Shakespeare, a lot of scholars don't think he really wrote all those plays, but does that matter? What matters is what gives the public pleasure, and if lonely people, all over the world, prefer to think that this beautiful, sensuous woman writes those vividly evocative books, then I say, what a beautiful secret to be asked to keep."

"I think you can rest assured that Mr. Steele and I understand your problem," Laura hedges.

"Better than you know," Steele adds.

"However, we're still left with one unfortunate complication," Laura says.

"What's that?" Russell asks.

"Mr. Steele is convinced that someone murdered Mitchell Knight," Laura tells them all.

"I am?" Steele asks automatically, earning himself a swift kick from Laura. He clears his throat, "Convinced." he repeats a little more confidently.


"Convinced? Am I really?" Steele rants as they stride down the hall towards the office.

"Absolutely, positively," Laura asserts.

"May I ask why?" Steele says.

"I can still smell it," Laura states matter of factly as they round the corner.

"Of course you can," comes the sarcastic reply.

"Any calls?" Laura asks Bernice on the way past.

"Hah!" is the only response.

They each walk into their respective offices but Steele is through the connecting door and into Laura's office in a second.

"Would you like to know what I think?" he demands.

"About the murder?" Laura queries as he limps in.

"About you," he answers, aiming a finger in her direction, "You know what you are?" he gives her no time to answer, "A workaholic. That's what you are!"

"No? Really?" the sarcasm fairly drips from her tone, "Terrible vice, you oughta try it some time."

"It just drives you crazy that there are no mysteries to solve," he goes on, "No clues to, to ponder, no suspects to, ah, suspect!"

"Hah! Speak for yourself," she argues, "I have a mystery to solve, I have clues to ponder, I have suspects to suspect!"

"Ho, yes indeed! Nothing frightens Laura Holt like having time on her hands," Steele analyses, "Or heaven forbid that she has a second to stop and think and feel, and perhaps, perhaps actually get to close to some of the people she works with!"

The door to Murphy's office opens. He pokes his head in and deadpans, "I heard fighting so I knew Mom and Dad were home."

Steele seizes the opportunity for some back up and clamps a hand on Murphy's shoulder.

"Murphy," he begins, "In all the time that you have known Laura, have you ever come into this office and found her sitting here doing nothing?"

"No, I can't say that I have," Murphy answers.

Laura does her best to ignore them both, sifting through things on her desk.

Steele pounces on this, "Because you haven't," he cries, "Because she's always doing something, because she's always thinking, because she's always making little lists!"

"Get out of my office!!!" Laura finally snaps.

"Check her top drawer Murphy," Steele says, "I bet it's chock full of lists."

"I'd really rather not," Murphy begs off.

"OUT!!" Laura yells.

"I bet you're one of those kinds of people who never forgets a birthday," Steele keeps at her.

"Can I go now?" Murphy backs away, sensing danger.

"I bet you know what kind of clothes you're going to wear to work the day after tomorrow," Steele speculates.

"That's it!" she screams, "I'm going."

"That's it, is it?" he keeps baiting her, "That's it then, go, go home, you'll probably do something useful like line your shelves, darn your stockings, eh?"

Steele follows her out the door, watching as she flicks her purse strap angrily at Murphy on the way past. Steele looks to Murphy for agreement but Murphy merely emits a low whistle and shuts himself back into his office.

"Laura!" Steele cries, hurrying after her, refusing to let her go that easily, "Laura! Laura, Laura, Laura, wait!" He jumps in front of her in the doorway to the agency, "Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait," his hands are up in a peace seeking gesture, his tone softens, "Last chance, go away with me?"

She stops still, her face a myriad of emotions, predominantly confusion, as she does battle with her inner self, weighing up the attractiveness of his offer.

She picks up pace again, "What about the case?" her voice is vague and childlike.

"Laura, there is no case," he tells her.

"How can you say that?" she is still dazed.

"In order for there to be a case, there has to be a mystery, a circumstance, an occurrence that remains unexplained," he argues.

"Who told you that?" she questions, in the same wonder-filled, childish tone.

"You," Steele answers. This seems to snap Laura out of her momentary haze.

"Mitchell Knight fell 35 floors to his death! Why?" she demands.

"He was drunk as a skunk in a funk," Steele all but shouts, "Next case!"

"You're wrong!" Laura insists shrilly.

"About Mitchell Knight," Steele presses gently, "Or about you?"

His accusation has hit home and she gazes at him a moment longer before turning her back and walking away, leaving him to return to the office alone.


Laura is peering over the balcony from which Mitchell Knight fell when Tony comes up behind her.

"I know Charlotte'll be upset that she missed you," he says, startling Laura, "Do you know what you're looking for?" he asks her.

"Ah, well, physical um," his shirtless form has distracted her, her hands motion uselessly, "ah, evidence," she concludes with a nod.

"Gotcha," Tony replies, somewhat amused.

Laura pulls herself together, "I, uh, I just find it hard to believe that a man would trip and fall over a three and a half foot wall. Ever since Mitchell Knight's death I've, I've had this feeling..."

"That people are keeping things from you?" Tony finishes, "That all is not as it appears to be, that there's a deep dark secret somewhere? Pick a cliche, any cliche," he offers with a smile.

"Well, thank you for letting me look around," Laura is put off, "And tell Charlotte I'm sorry I missed her."

"Oh, I'm sorry," Tony apologizes, halting her motion with a hand on her arm, "Now listen, ah I've never met a female private investigator before, I was just trying to be funny. Harvard isn't know for turning out comedians."

"You went to Harvard?" more of a statement than a question.

"Well, somebody's got to," Tony jokes again as Laura makes to leave.

"Now, don't be so quick to run away," he calls following her, "How often do you meet an ivy league gigolo?"

"Is that what you are?" Laura asks, "A gigolo?"

"Well, that's what some people like to think," Tony explains, "Like I said before, whatever gives the public pleasure."

"I'm not the public," Laura tells him quietly.

"Then I'm not a gigolo," Tony counters, "I graduated with an MFA in 1977, I wrote a novel for my thesis, Lamplight. A mutual friend introduced me to Charlotte and, ah, she's been something of a mentor. As a matter of fact, she's persuaded Forsyth to publish Lamplight and I've been living here revising it for the last six months."

"How did Mitchell feel about that?" Laura queried.

"Mitchell didn't feel much of anything, Mitchell was pickled most of the time," Tony admitted, "Actually, he read the book, was moved by it. Ah, I don't think it was his cup of tea. In my book, when two people meet, they talk."

Laura stands up and heads back to the balcony.

"This thing is really under your skin, isn't it?" Tony observes.

"Mitchell Knight's death?" Laura says, "I suppose I react to a mystery the same way you do to a half written chapter."

"I've been known to simply throw the first half out," Tony offers.

"Are you suggesting I should throw away my questions about Mitchell Knight's death?' Laura asks.

"I'm suggesting that you're asking the wrong questions," Tony tells her, "You're right, Mitchell Knight didn't fall in a drunken accident."

"He didn't?" Laura is intrigued.

"But he wasn't murdered either," Tony adds, "This may be difficult for you and me to appreciate, but, in his own mind, Mitchell Knight was a very accomplished man, except no-one knew it. Can you imagine what it must have been like, working very hard but having someone else win the plaudits?" Laura smiles knowingly, "Miss Holt, the answer to your mystery is very simple, and also very tragic. Mitchell Knight," he pauses and takes a deep breath, "jumped."

As she takes this information in, Laura looks again towards the balcony.


Laura is lying on the couch in her home, flipping through a travel brochure, when the doorbell chimes. Hastily adjusting her appearance, she opens the door to admit Steele.

He steps inside the door and looks down at her, her face turned up to his, and they begin to speak together.

"I realized you were right, there is no case," she says, while at the same time he tells her,

"Laura, you were right all along, of course there's a case."

"What?" she blurts out as Steele looks around in confusion.

He sets up the tape and they listen to Mitchell's voice, "Prone Positions, chapter one," Steele points as they hear, "Damn, damn, damn!"

"What am I supposed to make of this?" Laura wants to know.

"The Shining," Steele tells her.

"The what?" she asks, completely baffled.

"Did you see The Shining?" he asks, as if it was perfectly obvious all along.

"Did anyone see The Shining?" she retorts.

"Jack Nicholson plays a writer who agrees to become the care taker of a lodge that's inaccessible all winter long, unfortunately he falls victim to cabin fever, becomes a stark raving looney, wanders around with a hatchet and does a lot of jokes about The Tonight Show," he sits back, expecting Laura to fully understand now.

"You see everything, don't you?" Laura is amazed.

"At one point in the show, he sits down to write," Steele is excited now, circling Laura in mime of what he's saying, "The camera slowly circles him as he types, and then, we see it! All he's written is one line over and over again," he's behind her now, his hands outstretched, envisioning the typewriter in front of her face, "All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy!" Laura gives him a sidelong glance, prompting him to continue, "He was blocked! He couldn't write anything else!"

"So maybe, just maybe, our ghost writer had a ghost writer?" Laura concludes.

"Exactly!" Steele exclaims proudly.

"That doesn't change the fact that there was no motive for killing Mitchell Knight," Laura insists, "All those people stood to lose by his death. Don't you see, you were right all along."

"Laura, I know there's a case here," he tries to convince her.

"Based on what?" she demands, "Based on this tape? OK, he was blocked, maybe they even hired someone else to write the third book, what does that prove?" She is perplexed by his sudden change of attitude, perhaps even a little disappointed that the window of opportunity for their Caribbean getaway seems to be slowly closing.

"It proves they didn't tell us everything," he explains, "These people, these people are creating fictions, foisting frauds on the public, exploiting talented underlings for the aggrandizement of a figurehead who contributes nothing but a winning personality and good looks!" he pauses a moment to settle down, "Trust me Laura, it's my area."

"And that's why you think there's a case?" she says.

"There's more than that, much more," he asserts, "I know that whoever wrote the third book, killed Mitchell Knight."

"How do you know that?" she is genuinely interested.

"I can smell it!" he declares, looking uncertainly at her vaguely skeptical expression.


Steele and Laura are riding the elevator.

"So we have no motive," Laura tallies.

"The motive depends on the guilty party," Steele reasons, "It's important that we remain flexible, Laura."

"No suspect," she adds.

"Oh, on the contrary, three," he counters, "Russell, Dennis, Charlotte. Any one of them could have done it."

"Or not done it," Laura pipes up, wholly unimpressed with the situation.

"Exciting, isn't it?" he misses her obvious lack of enthusiasm.

"In fact we really don't have a case," she continues.

"Nonsense, Laura," he argues, "If I've learned nothing else from you, I've learned to trust your instincts. You smelled a case and that's good enough for me."

Laura is slightly exasperated, "But, I don't smell it anymore."

"That's because now, I'm on the scent," Steele explains as the elevator doors open.

He steps aside to let her exit first and they walk to Charlotte's front door. Steele rings the doorbell and Laura sighs.

"I'd love to know how you were able to get Russell, Charlotte and Dennis together," she confesses worriedly, but before he can respond, the door is opened.

"Well, Steele, it's about time," Russell greets them, "The man calls and tells me he want to nail down a book deal, asks me if he gets a party like the one I threw for Charlotte, I put it all together and invite over the world and what happens? The man is a half hour late."

Laura laughs somewhat uncomfortably, "Ah, yes, yes, playful little bugger, isn't he?" Steele eyes her, hearing the veiled crabbiness in her tone.

Russell taps a spoon against his glass to call everyone's attention.

"Could I have everybody's attention please?" Russell announces, "Now, the reason I've asked all you free loaders here," the crowd laughs, "Well, aside from the fact that I keep hoping you'll return the favour someday, is that I'd like you to meet an exciting man who's going to be writing his very first book for Forsyth House. I guess it's no secret, the man is Remington Steele and the book, Remington Steele's Ten Most Famous Cases!"

The crowd applauds as Russell steps aside and Steele takes his place.

"Ahem, thank you," he says, "Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you so much. I, too, am excited at the prospect of sharing my most, uh, exciting and intriguing cases with the reading public. Take, for instance, the case of the late ghost writer," his tone is melodramatic. In the background, Russell looks towards Laura. "It's about a writer who falls 35 floors to his death." The crowd looks shocked and begins to talk amongst themselves.

"What the hell are you doing?" Russell demands, near Steele's ear.

"About twenty minutes, depends though, this looks like a tough room," Steele answers before taking a deep breath. "It all started at a party, a party, very much like this one," and he begins to tell the whole story, winding to a close with, "And so, I quickly deduced, whoever it was who wrote the third book also murdered the ghost writer. Suddenly, suddenly, a baffling mystery fell into place, for there was but one person who fits the bill," Russell eyes Laura again, who merely smiles painfully. "A woman who longed for the day she could enjoy all the spoils of her fame and not have to share them with the man she regretfully... regretfully called her husband. The woman who, in fact, wrote the third book, then pushed her husband off the 35th floor balcony to his death, hoping to bury the secret of his ghost writing forever. I am speaking, of course, of none other than - Charlotte Knight!"

The crowd gasps and murmurs. Laura's expression is one of pained embarrassment.

"All right," Charlotte is unfazed, "I didn't write the books. Shoot me! But I didn't kill my husband. Mitchell made me who I am; Mitchell made me Charlotte Knight. Without Mitchell, I was nothing. Besides, if I could have written the third book I could have written the first two, too," she turns to Steele, "That makes sense, doesn't it?"

Laura nods in bemused agreement because, yes, it does make sense. She, too, looks to Steele.

After a pause he bursts out with, "Of course it does. Which is why I quickly dismissed Charlotte as a suspect and turned my attention to a man who had been part of this charade all along. The man, in fact, who had negotiated the unprecedented film and paperback deals on the third book, an especially important negotiation, because he knew he would receive the lion's share of the money, since he, in fact, authored the third book. I am speaking, of course, of Dennis Baker."

The crowd erupts again.

"Are you crazy?" Dennis asks calmly.

"Hah," Steele scoffs at this.

"I didn't kill Mitchell Knight," Dennis stands and moves to the center of the crowd, "Mitchell was one of my closest friends in all the world, which is why I didn't negotiate the deal on the third book. If he wasn't writing it, I didn't want anything to do with it."

Steele's resolve is slipping, he's beginning to look more and more perplexed, "You didn't negotiate the deal on the third book?" he asks, confused.

Dennis shakes his head, "So I certainly didn't write it."

Steele ponders this before gushing, "Of course you didn't! The man who wrote the third book didn't need an agent, he would only be negotiating with himself. Russell Forsyth!"

The crowd is awash with sound again. Steele licks his lips in relief, thinking he's nailed it with this one.

"This is not going to bode well for your next book deal, Steele," Russell warns, but Steele launches into his explanation.

"Knight was sick and tired of writing under his wife's name, he wanted to go public, expose the whole fraud to the world, write under his own name, but you couldn't allow him to do that because you knew Charlotte Knight was Forsyth House's biggest success, so you wrote the third book, then killed Mitchell Knight to keep the secret!"

"The day before he died, Mitchell signed Charlotte's name to a brand new, three book deal, Steele," Russell explains carefully.

"He did?" Steele has been thrown for a loop.

"He was thrilled about it," Russell says.

"He was?" Steele echoes.

"Sure, the block was broken," Russell tells them, "He couldn't wait to get back to the tape recorder."

Both men turn to look at Laura, who is doing her best to hide in a corner. She steeples her fingers under her chin and grimaces. "Really?" Steele muses, clearly uncomfortable, "Ah, would you, ah, excuse me for a moment please," he tells the crowd. Reaching behind Russell, he grabs Laura by the sleeve and tugs her away, out of earshot.

The smile is still frozen to her face as she leans against the stairs, attempting to look natural.

"All right, who did it?" Steele asks her quietly.

"Who did what?" she returns sweetly.

"Laura, I seem to be missing the final pages of the chapter, and an awful lot of people are waiting. I need an ending, fast!"

"I don't have an ending, I don't know who did it," she answers, still sporting a ridiculous grin.

"What?" he shouts, drawing everyone's attention. Laura turns her back to the crowd in embarrassment.

"It's all right," Steele tells them all, "It's all right, nothing's wrong. I'll, uh, I'll be with you in a minute." He returns to Laura.

"What do you mean, you don't know who did it?" he demands in a hushed tone, "You always know who did it!"

"Well I don't this time," Laura defends herself, "I told you I didn't even think there was a case!"

"You think I would have dragged us all the way up here, accused all these nice people of murder, made a blooming idiot out of myself, if I didn't think that when everything went awry, you'd be there to jump in." He turns his back on her as she makes a gesture with her hands, as if to say c'est la vie. He turns back, deciding to play the injured party, "I don't ask for much Laura," he tells her, before returning to the party.

He squints under the lights, "Ah," he clears his throat, "Ladies and gentlemen, my associate, Miss Holt, has, ah, pointed out to me, that I would be doing myself, and Forsyth House, a huge disservice by divulging the ending to this case at this particular time," the crowd makes their disappointment clear. "However," he uses his hands to try and shush them, "However, I do pledge to you that the answer to this crime shall be contained in the pages if my new book, and I encourage you to go out and buy a copy and discover for yourselves, the solution to this fascinating mystery."

About the time he was pledging to the crowd, a sound caught Laura's attention and she followed it to another room where she peered in and found Tony busy typing away. Looking back to the party, where Steele is fielding the disappointment of the guests, her face lights up and her jaw drops as the solution to the case hits her.

The guests are filing out when she returns to the main room and sits on the steps beside a glum looking Steele.

"Feeling pretty low, huh?" she asks.

"Uh-huh," Steele mutters.

"Why don't we just sign those book contracts, then," Laura suggests, placing a comforting hand on his arm, "And call it a night."

He looks at her, a little hope lighting his eyes, "You really think Forsyth House is gonna want to publish my book now?"

"You're still Remington Steele," she plays to his ego, and he smiles.

Tony is still hard at work when they all enter the study.

"Tony darling," Charlotte coos, "Could we borrow your typewriter? Russell has some final clauses to type into a book contract."

Tony takes his page from the machine and vacates the desk. Russell takes a seat and feeds the contract in as Tony sits on the step beside Laura.

"I heard you typing away in here," she says, "Couldn't you spare even a minute for the party?"

"Deadline pressure," ha answers, "Making revisions."

"A lot?" Laura asks.

"Well, one big one," he explains, "And then a lot of small ones that were affected by the big one."

"All right," Russell announces, "Let's get this all down in a memo. Does anybody here type?"

"The only Remington these nails have ever touched, didn't have keys," Charlotte says with a smile in Steele's direction.

"Miss Holt typed -" Steele begins but is cut off by Laura's foot coming down on his own.

"You don't have to tell the whole world," she interrupts, "Never could type. But surely someone..." She is deliberately open ended, looking around the room. She turns to Tony.

"All right," he concedes, "65 words per minute, fire when ready." Russell points out where to start and Tony begins typing.

"Didn't Mitchell Knight say the scene he read describing his death was neatly typed?" Laura asks innocently. Tony's keystrokes falter.

"Yes," Steele answers her, catching on to her revelation, "Not dictated, typed. Which would explain why there are no tapes at all for the third book."

"Tony wrote the third book, didn't he?" Laura states, standing up.

"Yes indeed," Tony admits, "Tony wrote the third book. What does that prove? These people were in a jam. The stores expected a book for the holidays and there was no book. So we made a deal, they promised to publish my book if I wrote their book. They also promised not to tell anyone that I wrote it. I'm a serious writer; I have my reputation to think of. Mystery solved, case closed."

"The case of who wrote the third book perhaps," Laura agreed, "But not of who killed Mitchell Knight."

"Laura, I thought we'd been through this," Tony says, "No-one killed Mitch, certainly not me. What possible motive could I have had?"

"With Mitchell out of the way," Steele deduces, "You would write the Charlotte Knight books, could be worth millions."

"Me? Write sleazy Charlotte Knight novels for the rest of my life?" Tony is incredulous. "I'm a serious writer, Steele."

"Of course you are," Laura takes control, "Here you are, finally about to get your novel published. Is that why you killed him?"

"What?!" Tony exclaimed.

"He said it would be a revealing evening," Laura explained, "Mitchell Knight planned to tell, didn't he? Walk out into that party and tell the world you wrote a tawdry little sex thriller. Goodbye New York Times, goodbye Pulitzer Committee, goodbye Dick Cavett."

"What kind of revisions are you working on?" Steele asks, "Could it be that you had to replace a scene involving a man being thrown from a balcony?"

"You can't prove that," Tony tells him.

"No, but I can," Russell interjects, "I have a copy of the original manuscript in my office. I've been meaning to read it."

All eyes turn to Tony in expectation, Charlotte's filled with shock and sadness. Tony makes a run for it, but Steele sticks out his leg and trips him, sending him crashing headfirst into a wall. Laura shrieks, bringing her hands to her head and Steele watches his handiwork.

Straightening his cuffs and jacket he says calmly but pointedly, "Lucky I had no feeling in that foot anyway."

Laura's lips narrow and she is not amused.


In the office the next morning, Steele is reading the paper, the headline reads `Steele Traps Literary Killer'. Laura's voice from the doorway causes him to lower the paper ever so slightly.

"She watched him," she says in a breathy voice, "watched him even as he refused to look up and see her," she is poking her head through the door, "For she was the one," she gasps theatrically, "Who watched, the watcher, wound here."

He lowers the paper and looks at her. "You did that just a lick too well." She grins and moves the rest of the way into his office, "Could it be that, deep down inside, you were born to write hot and steamy novels?"

"A person should always have a little something to fall back on," she jokes, coming to stand beside him. She sighs, "What are you doing?"

"I'm reading about us in the local paper," he answers.

"Ask me what I'm doing," she prompts.

"What are you doing?" he bites, tearing his eyes from the paper and playing along.

"Nothing," she tells him proudly, poking him with the papers in her hand.

"Oh," Steele says, his face lighting up as he folds the paper, "How do you like it?"

"I don't know," Laura's smile fades, "It's not as easy as it looks. I have this burning desire to balance my check book," she confesses and begins to race out of the room.

"You have to fight it," he calls, hurrying to catch up to her. He takes her arm to stop her, "I find it helps to take a stroll at the height of the business day."

"Really?" she looks at him.

"Truly," he confirms, leading her to the door, "Irresponsibility is not a sickness," he explains, "It's an art." He opens the door for her, "Stick with me," she turns to look at him. "I'm a master."

Laura reaches up to touch his chin and simply grins at him.