- 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
"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,
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
"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
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
"Laura, I do think we should wait for an opportune moment,"
"I just don't want you beating around the bush," Laura
"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
"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
"Remington Steele," he says. He is quite obviously
"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
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
"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?"
"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
"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
"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
Dennis and Russell look at each other.
"I'm sorry Miss Holt, you've lost me," Russell tells
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"As a bell, Mrs. Knight" Steele tells her, "As
a bell." He stands.
"What's the matter?" Charlotte asks, "Do I make
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
"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.
"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
"Humph," Steele mutters as Charlotte is crestfallen.
Steele's apartment door buzzes and he answers it to Laura, laden
"I just want to make this clear from the outset, that I
think this is a terrible waste of time," he announces as
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"It was Mitchell," Charlotte tells her, "It was
"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,"
"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,"
"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
"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
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,"
"Who told you that?" she questions, in the same wonder-filled,
"You," Steele answers. This seems to snap Laura out
of her momentary haze.
"Mitchell Knight fell 35 floors to his death! Why?"
"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
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
"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
"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,"
"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
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
"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
"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?"
"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
"Laura, I know there's a case here," he tries to convince
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
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
"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
"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,
"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,
"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
"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
"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.