Hearts of Steele
Original script by:
Charles Rosin

A car is driving through the LA streets to a spot on the coast highway, where it pulls over. The driver, obviously a woman, is shown to have a bottle of wine in the seat beside her. When she stops, she pulls a bottle of poison and syringe from a bag and injects some of the poison into the bottle of wine through the cork. We see that the bottle has a card attached with the words, "To Malcolm Marcall, Esq." Then, putting the poison and syringe back into the bag, she tosses them over the edge of the road, where the bottle shatters against the rocks


Laura and Steele are on a golf course, walking, carrying their golf bags.. Steele looks uncomfortable as Laura instructs him, "Now whatever happens, it is imperative that you and I stay together."
"Peppler." Steele is muttering to himself, obviously displeased. He turns to Laura, "Peppler? Bob and Judy Peppler?"
"What's the matter with Bob and Judy Peppler" asks Laura, not sure what he is upset about.
"I'm sorry. It's bad enough being asked to be a *Bob* but to add insult to injury with *Peppler*" explains Steele before grunting in disgust.
"It's too late. Malcolm Marcall is one of the most famous divorce attorneys in the country, and he's expecting Pepplers. Married ones." Steele glances down at the checked pants he's wearing. "Besides, there's nothing wrong with it. I'm a Peppler, she's a Peppler, we're a Peppler, they're a Peppler, wouldn't you like to be a Peppler too?" she asks. Steele doesn't react to her little joke. "Come on. Where's your sense of humor?"

"I'm wearing it," he says in a deadpan voice. "Must one truly parade around in loud pants to play this game?"

"Wouldn't want anybody to mistake you for a tree, now, would we?" she asks.

Steele grimaces, not appreciating the humor at all. "Oh, ho, ho ho."

Laura lifts a club in greeting. "Malcolm!" she calls.

Malcolm Marcall is standing with a woman. "Judy," he says, greeting her with a handshake, then turns to Steele. "Bob." He looks at the other woman. "My wife, Loretta."

"Hello," Loretta says.

"This is Bob and Judy Peppler - the couple I told you about?"

"Oh, not you too," Loretta moans. "You're not really considering divorce, are you?" she asks.

Malcolm turns to her. "Now, Retta, we're here to play golf," he reminds her.

"I know that," she replies as they head for the first tee.

Laura goes first, and Malcolm is impressed. "Handsome shot, Mrs. Peppler." Retta's horrible slice gets no comment from anyone, and Malcolm simply looks disgusted. Steele, however plays rather well. "Nice shot, Peppler," he says.

"Beginner's luck," Steele tells him.

"I have the feeling that you and I are going to have to play through." He leaves the women to join Steele.

Retta puts her arm around Laura. "I'm sure Judy won't mind sticking with me," she says, not seeing Laura's dissatisfied face.

As they walk toward the golf cart, Malcolm tells Steele, "I appreciate your going through with this charade, Steele. The main thing is that Retta not know."

"Oh, of course," Steele says.

Malcolm gets into the cart. "I need your help. Someone is trying to kill me."


Laura is watching as Loretta is trying to get out of a sand trap. "How many strokes is that this hole? Twenty two?" Loretta asks.

"Twenty three. If we don't count the times you missed the ball," she says, handing Loretta a rake. "And we won't."


"Four days ago," Malcolm tells Steele as they sit in the clubhouse, "somebody tried to run me off the road. And then yesterday morning, I discovered that my car's exhaust system had jury rigged back into the passenger compartment." He picks up a glass of milk.

"Sounds thrilling," Steele comments.

"Yes, indeedy." He touches glasses with Steele. "To thrilling lives." He looks around. "Listen, if you see my wife, let me know. Dinner parties are one of her small pleasures in life. I'm not particularly anxious for her to know about my stomach trouble." Steele nods. Malcolm laughs. "Did you read where some scientist says that milk is now bad for your ulcer? I got this fantasy where the same fella discovers booze is the only cure."

"Here comes Mrs. Marcall," Steele says quietly, and Malcolm quickly switches drinks with Steele.

"Did it," she tells him proudly. "Broke one fifty."

"Ah, that's my girl," he says as Laura looks up at Steele.

"And how did you do, dear?" she asks.

"Just peachy, darling."

"Oh, I can't wait to hear all about it," she assures him.


As they head for the rabbit, Laura says, "Who would want to kill Malcolm Marcall? How about half the women in Los Angeles?"

"He suspects it might be one of the four women he's currently battling in court," Steele tells her.

"He DOES, does he?"

"Yes," Steele says, putting his clubs into the car. "He does. Laura, I think we're about to have our first fight."

"Yes," she agrees, "I think so. I didn't spend all this time setting this case up just so you could waltz in and pretend to be a DETECTIVE!" she rants.

Steele, at the same time, says, "I will not allow myself to live in fear that everytime I'm alone with a client, you're off somewhere, stewing!"

They pause, aware that it arguing in public might not be a good idea. The Marcalls are leaving the club, and Loretta tells her husband, "Such a shame about them."

Laura takes a deep breath. "About the case. Perhaps Malcolm does have a point. Those four women certainly have the most immediate motive. You give me their names, and I'll have Murphy interview them."

He gets behind the steering wheel. "Interview them? Oh, but that's so--"



"Oh, really? And do YOU have a better idea?" she asks snidely, getting into the car herself.

"As a matter of fact I DO. Something more dramatic. Something to get their attention."


In front of the courthouse, Malcolm Marcall looks on as his newest "client", Bob Peppler, is accosted by his soon to be "ex-wife", Judy. "I don't care WHO your lawyer is, that house is MINE!" She takes a swing at him, clipping him on the chin. "You're right," she tells him through gritted teeth, "This is a WONDERFUL idea."

"You think so, eh?" Steele asks as he watches her, nursing his sore jaw.

"You wanna play dirty, Bob?!" she yells. "All right, we'll play dirty!" Another slap on the chin. "How was that one?" she asks. "Did that look real?"

"Are you kidding?" he asks, a hand to his jaw again.

"What do you think -one more to sell it," she says. He shakes his head tightly. "Sure, why not?" She takes her purse and swings. "ANIMAL!"

Both men duck and she misses them before stalking off in a huff.

Steele turns to Malcolm. "Very good," he says about the ducking.

"Had a lot of practice," Malcolm assures him.

"Ahh." Steele puts a hand to his jaw again.

Laura is walking down the sidewalk when a woman approaches her. "Hold it, dear." Laura turns to face the tall blonde. "Janet. Janet Kimmell. Welcome to the club."

"Excuse me?"

"You don't know, do you? You've just joined a very exclusive sorority. It isn't every woman that has the opportunity to get worked over in court by Malcolm Marcall."


Steele and Malcolm are walking, and Malcolm says, "Wanna hear something funny? I HATE what I do for a living."

"Not so funny."

"You didn't spend three years going to law school. I just hate divorce. I'm good at it, but- well, the whole business makes me feel a bit like a carpet bagger. I bought some land in the desert a year and a half ago. Next month, Loretta and I are gonna call it a day with the law and Beverly Hills and- " he glances up at Steele. "You think I'm full of it, don't you, Steele?" They start across the street, and Steele barely pulls Malcolm back as Janet's car whizzes past.

Laura turns to Janet. "You just missed him!" she exclaims.

"I know, dammit! One of these days, he's gonna zig, and then I'M gonna zig and we're BOTH gonna make headlines." Laura is looking behind them. "How do you feel about Mexican?" she asks. Laura looks at her, confused.


Over a table at a Mexican restaurant, Laura is sitting with four other women, drinking margaritas. One of the women, a bleach blonde, says, "The problem, it seems to me, is that when you're 23, you marry this guy who's 26. And a year goes by, he's 27 and you're 24, and it just keeps going on that way, until one day, you wake up and you say, 'Hey, who's this 35 year old guy with the big gut who's lying next to me?' And he wakes up and says, 'Hey, who's this 32 year old babe with the dark roots and droopy everythings that's lying next to me?'" Laura takes a drink, obviously it's not her first.

"Of course," Janet says, "in Angela's case," she tells Laura, "She just when out and bought herself another bottle of peroxide, and got herself another 26 year old."

Angela laughs. "Yeah. Until that scum Marcall found out. Now my ex husband, the liquor store magnate is dragging me back into court. I could KILL that Marcall. I really could."

"Easy, Angela," Janet says. "It could be worse. You could be Megan." Megan is a twenty something blonde with a somber expression.

The fourth woman tells Laura, "Megan lived with Anthony Paruchi- the race car driver? Marcall drew up this cohabitation contract. So that whenever the relationship turned sour, Megan left with what she came in with. Ask what she came in with."

Laura asks. "What did she come in with?"

"A bathing suit," Janet responds. "A very SMALL bathing suit." Angela laughs. "Tell her what you do now, Megan," Janet says.

"For a living?" Megan asks, revealing that she's not the brightest in the bunch. "Aerobics," she tells Laura, smiling. "I teach aerobic dancing." Laura nods. "At a gym on 5th Street. You know, if Anthony would have had any other lawyer, I'd have a condo on Wilshire, I'd be driving a real nice car- Instead, I'm 28 years old and I touch my toes for a living. Damn that Marcall. I wish he were dead."

"Speak of the devil," Angela says, and they all turn to see Marcall and Steele coming into the restaurant.

"Oh my goodness," Megan sighs. "What's with him and is it taken yet?"

"That's R-" Laura begins in a strange voice, then stops herself. "-bert," she manages. "Robert. My ex. My ex to be. He's mine, you can't have him," she says as Steele and Marcall see them as they're being shown to a table and decide to leave. "Not yet."

The fourth woman is amazed. "You're divorcing HIM?"

Janet picks up her drink. "I think Judy's ready for something in the vodka family," she decides.


Later that night, in Steele's office, Steele, Murphy and Bernice - fidgeting with her hands - are all waiting worriedly for Laura.
"Where do you suppose she is?" Bernice asks.
Murphy raises his hands from behind his head, looking at his watch. "We just have to keep reminding ourselves she's a big girl."
Steele is tapping on his desk, but stops and looks up when he hears Laura's voice, singing off key to the Rolling Stones 'Satisfaction.'
"When I'm watchin' my tv...and that man comes on to tell me..." Laura opens the office door and staggers in. They all look unsure what to do but then slowly rise to walk through to the reception area.
Laura removes her purse from her shoulder and tosses it into the chair, still singing. "Well he can't be a man 'cause he doesn't smoke the same cigarette as me." She crawls on top of the desk to lie down. "Can't get no..." Then noticing the stares, she asks, "What's everybody looking at?" She slides from the desk, unsteady on her feet. "Come on. What are you guys staring at?" she asks a surprised Bernice, Steele, and Murphy. "Two drinks, twenty seven years - that's not bad."

Steele tells Murphy and Bernice, "You two take off." He goes toward Laura. "I'll have the limo drop her."

Murphy pushes past him, to grab her arm. "Leave her like that with you?"

Steele takes her other arm. "She's a big girl, remember, Murphy?"

"Come on, Laura, I'm taking you home," Murphy says, as they both start out of the office with her between them.

"Laura," Steele assures her, "I've called Fred and the car is on its way as we speak-"

Laura pulls away from them and turns back toward Bernice. "Men! Men, MEN!" She almost falls, but catches herself on the desk. "MEN!"

"What does that mean, 'Men'?" Steele questions Murphy. He hasn't a clue, but Murphy is shaking his head.

"He wants to know what that means," Laura tells Bernice, pointing at Steele. "You wanna know what that means? I just spent an afternoon listening to the most HORRIFYING stories. You're all alike. Your hearts are in your pants and your brains are in your heads!" Murphy is having trouble not laughing as he and Steele meet each other's eyes.

"You take her arms," Steele tells him, "I'll take her legs." They pick her up as Bernice tries to stop them.

"Put her down!" she says, but they don't listen.

"The way you use us!" Laura says. "And then discard us. As though we're nothing more than mere objects."

"Umm huh," Murphy says.

"Created for your pleasure," Laura says, continuing her lecture. She turns in their arms. "Nothing more than mere afterthoughts. Playthings for your amusement." Bernice watches them , shaking her head, as Laura continues her tirade, "Nothing more than mere trappings, as if .." Steele uses the heel of her shoe to hit the lift button, "..God himself had looked down upon the garden of Eden and said nothing but ..."
"Spare ribs?" Steele suggests to Murphy who laughs as he nods in agreement, "Right." Laura moans in agreement. Steele continues, "We'll *all* go in the limo." They carry her into the lift.
Laura continues until she the lift door closes, "*Trophies* to display on your mantelpiece. Collect 'em, trade 'em ..."


The same car that we saw in the opening sequence pulls up to a house and the driver gets out, takes the wine to the door, then leaves it there.


The next day, Laura gets into the passenger side of the rabbit wincing as Steele slams her door, closing her eyes and rubbing her forehead as Steele gets into the drivers seat. He slams the door, and Laura jumps, wincing.

"Not your usual chipper self this morning," Steele points out.

"Must you gloat so loudly?" she asks. He revs the engine. "PLEASE!"

"Sorry," he apologizes, and they set off.

They arrive at the gates to a house, and Steele parks the car and gets out. Laura remains in the car until he taps the hood to get her attention. The house is on the beach, and Steele has to keep waiting for Laura to catch up. As they approach the house- the same house at which the wine was left, they hear dogs barking. Steele knocks, and the door opens.

Two vicious, barking Doberman dogs are there, and Malcolm is trying his best to control them. "Down! Quiet! Sit!" He pushes them into the house. "Retta's the only one they listen to, and she took a drive into town," he explains, closing the door. "I heard these sounds last night," he tells them.

They go to where his car, a red Jaguar, is parked. "Sounds?" Laura asks.

"Yeah, like the car hood being raised," he explains. "Must have been around-three in the morning. I was in bed- I suppose I could have been dreaming -" He looks at the car. "No. I don't believe that. I heard what I heard. Somebody down here, doing something to my car."

"Perhaps we should alert the local police," Laura suggests, "And they could send the bomb squad." She looks at Steele. "Wouldn't you agree, sir?" He nods.

"I was hoping to avoid the police," Malcolm points out. "And the attendant publicity. I also would rather Loretta didn't know." He shakes his head. "I guess I'm being naive. I mean, you ARE Remington Steele. I just assumed-"

"You assumed quite rightly," Steele tells him. Laura looks at him, confused. He walks a little away, taking off his jacket as she comes over to him.

"What are you doing?" she asks.

"The man's paying for Remington Steele," he says, rolling up his shirt sleeves, "he has a right to get what he paid for. Besides, it's only a problem if there really IS a bomb in the car. Excuse me." Laura looks as if she's worried that he's starting to believe that he really IS Remington Steele.

Later, Steele wipes his hand. "I think I can say, without fear of repudiation- that this car is free of any and all explosive devices." He closes the hood and goes to the door, tapping the roof. Malcolm holds up his hand.

"Thank you, but-"

"Would you prefer if I-?"

Malcolm looks from him to Laura. "Would you?" he asks, handing Steele the key.

Steele takes them. "Be delighted." He gingerly gets into the low slung sports car as Malcolm draws Laura a distance away. He looks at the key, then turns to look behind him, before leaning out of the window. "I wonder if I might have a word with Miss Holt for a moment?" he asks.

Laura looks at Malcolm. "Excuse me." He nods as she moves toward the car and kneels.

"Give me a prayer."


"My mind keeps going blank. I mean, all I can think of is "Now I lay me down to sleep," and that's not the one I want in this particular situation."

Laura looks at Malcolm. "You mean, you're not sure there isn't-" He places a hand over her mouth.

"It has nothing to do with being sure. It has to do with being prepared for any contingency." He takes his hand away. "Now. Give me a prayer."

"The Lord is my shepard," she starts. He stops her again.

"Got it. Isn't it funny how you can never think of those things when you really need them?" He waves at Malcolm, and turns back into the car. Laura gets shakily to her feet and joins Malcolm.

Steele closes his eyes and puts the key into the ignition, then turns it over, relaxing and smiling as the car doesn't explode. Malcolm and Laura return to the car. "Good show," Malcolm comments.

"You don't know the half of it," Laura says.

Steele looks at them. "Beautiful machine. Do you mind if I throw her in gear and take her for a spin?" he asks Malcolm.

"Certainly not."

"Ciao," he says, then puts the car into reverse. As he steps on the gas, the car shoots forward instead, launching itself over the embankment, exploding as it hits the ground.

Laura and Malcolm rush to the edge to see Steele below them. He looks up. "Those people could certainly learn a thing or two from Detroit," he says, coughing.


On the beach, Murphy tells Laura, Steele, and Malcolm, "Whoever did it knew exactly what they were doing. Completely regeared the car so that when you threw it into reverse, you were actually going into first."

"Megan lived with Anthony Paruchi, the race car driver," Laura recalls. "She probably knew a lot of people who could pull off a trick like that." She and Murphy and Steele join up.

"Which one was Megan?" Steele asks.

"I hardly begin to know how to describe her," Laura says.

"The short one with the big rack?" he asks as Murphy grins. "I learned that from Murphy." Laura looks up at Murphy.

"When did you ever hear me say the short one with the big-"

"Yes," Laura says. "The short one with the big rack." She looks at Murphy again as Steele grins. "Anything else happen that I should know about?"

"You got a call from a Janet Kimmell," Murphy tells her.

Laura looks worried. "Did she leave a message?"

"She wanted to know if you like Italian," he says.

Laura pinches her face. "OOOH," and rests her head on his shoulder.


At the restaurant, Laura is asked, "So how long until it becomes final?"
"To be perfectly honest, we're trying to work it out." Her wedding ring is on the bread-stick she is holding between her two hands.
All four women look at each other knowingly. Janet appears to be speaking for all of them, "You've already started seeing lawyers, it's too late."
"Actually," she pauses as she glances shyly around the table, "Mr Marcall is trying to help us." Laura twirls the bread-stick around.
The four women sigh. Janet starts again, "Beth, tell her how Mr Marcall helped you."
"I didn't even want a divorce," the fourth woman tells her. "I don't think Roger did either."
Laura looks puzzled. "But that doesn't make any sense, nobody *forced* you."
Beth answers, "What I mean is I don't know why I got a divorce. I don't know why anyone gets a divorce. I mean, in my mother's day a woman would cheat on her husband, a husband would cheat on his wife. But this is the eighties, we have no vices. We've given them all away, left them to our children. I just don't know *why* I got a divorce."
"Sure you do, you were bored, or disappointed" observes Angela.. "I mean you're married for a while and believe it or not divorce seems kind of, ah, romantic" she laughs at how silly her comments sounds. "At least it's new. And the GROUPS. You get to join so many groups. 'Parents without Partners', 'Singles Anonymous'. You start going back to school. Make women friends. Look at us. I mean, three weekends ago, we took our kids to Disneyland," she tells Laura. "Together. But it's- hard. And it stinks. And I hate it."

"Understand something, Judy," Janet says, "A good lawyer is good closer. You may not go in there thinking about a divorce- but by the time you walk out, the sale is made."

"Janet owns her own business," Angela says. "Floral shops? And about once a week you can count on her for a speech. Makes her feel like a captain of industry."

Janet rolls her eyes. "I'm not the captain of anything," she says. "Except my own destiny. And that's not all it's cracked up to be."

"But that's why we have each other," Megan says, smiling. "For help, advice, friends." She touches Laura's hand.

"Which reminds me," she says, "Maybe one of you could help me. Does anybody here know anything about-" she looks at Megan, "cars?"

Megan quickly takes a sip of her drink as the other three exchange looks.


Laura approaches glass doors to the offices of "Marcall, Prescott & Davidson, Attorneys At Law, Suite 307". She's none to steady on her feet, obviously she's been drinking again. She sees Malcolm come from his office with a folder and points in his direction before pushing open the door. Malcolm sees her and turns to smile.

"Well. Thank you. Thank you very much," he tells her as she smiles a silly smile. "I suppose there's some solace, knowing that, although the Remington Steele Agency seems incapable of safeguarding their clients against foul play, they do come promptly when you call them," he says, turning toward his office.

"Mr. Malcolm," Laura says, taking an unsteady step toward him. "I washh- just paged at the restaurant- and given a meshage to come here. I don't know what you're so upset-"

He takes off his glasses and looks at her more closely. "You've been drinking."

"What?" She laughs. "Oh, sipping, maybe, but certainly not drinking-"

"Last night, my wife Loretta- she was alone at home and someone set FIRE to the premises," he tells her. Laura takes a deep breath as Steele enters the office. "I don't believe this," he says, turning away.

"Mrs. Marcall," Steele says, catching Laura as she turns toward him and almost falls, "is resting quite comfortably, just a slight case of hysteria." He keeps his arm around Laura to support her.

"It's nice to know that- all you have to do is almost lose your life to get the head of the agency to actually work your case," Malcolm says. "You're fired." He starts to turn away again.

Laura reaches out. "Mr. Farkle-!" she says, as Steele grabs her and Malcolm turns back.

"Young lady, your agency has just been fired. Steele, you might tell your help that it reflects badly on your whole operation when they show up for work-" he pauses before entering his office, "smelling like a vineyard!"

"Now what?" Laura whispers.

Without looking at her, Steele pulls out a box of breath mints, flips the top open. "Chew," he says, dropping one into her hand.

She looks at it as we hear Malcolm telling someone, "To be perfectly honest, I didn't know which way the court was going to go, and I knew the suspense was killing you-" He comes back to the door, still talking. "So as soon as the decree came, I called, and what it amounts to is that" he sees Laura and Steele still standing there. "she owes YOU money." His secretary comes up to him, and he hands her the file he's holding. "Take out that bottle of St. Jacques du Par and some glasses," he tells her. He's about to speak to them when the client comes out.

"I can't believe it. I just can't believe it. You're a miracle worker, Malcolm." He sees Steele and Laura. "Oh, sorry," he says, lifting his hand. Laura tries to return the wave, but Steele stops her. "I didn't realize there were other people here."

"They were just going," Malcolm says pointedly.

"Well why don't you stay," the client suggests, "and join us for a toast?"

Laura looks as if she's willing, but Steele refuses. "Uh, the truth is, ummm-"

"Hey, I just lost my wife, half my friends, the house, the dog, the record collection- You can't say no to me. I'm on a roll." The secretary gives the client and Laura a glass of wine.

"Be delighted," Laura says, lifting her glass.

Steele pulls her hand down. "Let's not and say we did," he tells her. Malcolm returns with a cigar.

"To community property," the client toasts. Laura tries to take a drink, Steele pulls the glass away again.

"Lau-ra," Steele cautions.

"Here's how." He drinks as Laura steps on Steele's foot.

"OOOOO," Steele cries out.

The client gets a strange look on his face. "AUGH!!" Suddenly he falls to the floor. Laura stares at him.

Steele kneels to feel for a pulse. "Somebody call his ex wife- tell her she's a widow."


Loretta is lying in a hospital bed, watching TV when Laura enters the room. "Mrs. Marcall?"

"Judy," Loretta says, smiling.

"I came by as soon as I heard," Laura says, handing her a basket of flowers.

"Oh, well, aren't you wonderful." Laura puts them on the table.

"So. How do you feel?"

"Me? I feel fantastic, actually," Loretta assures her, smiling. "Aren't hospitals wonderful places? They let you sleep all day, and they bring you your meals, and if you don't want to answer the phone, you don't have to. If you just want to stop, and - think-. Too bad you have to be sick to get in."

"When did the fire start?"

"I don't know. Suddenly I turned around, and there was all this smoke. Not much damage, though, and- we were gonna move, anyway, so I guess we'll just- knock a little off the price." She laughs.


"Nothing. I mean, it's just so silly...You work like hell for a house in Malibu- you work like hell to be a lawyer. I love that house. I really thought he did too. I loved having parties that used to spill out into the beach- And I like going to legal conventions, being Mrs. Malcolm Marcall, Esquire. I loved our friends, I love the clubs, and I love playing golf on Sundays. Seems like it's that way with so many things in life. Jobs, people. You want something- or someone, and then you get it- them. Then you realize- maybe you were wrong." She realizes that Laura's watching her closely. "But, thank god for that, huh? Otherwise, there wouldn't be any expensive divorces, right?"

"I guess so," Laura says.

Loretta frowns. "Oh, I'm sorry. I forgot. How are things with you and Bob?"

"Oh, well-"


In the office, Steele is sitting at his desk as Laura and Murphy are perusing the paper. "I don't see a thing," Murphy says.

"Umm. So we're safe for the moment." Steele is watching and listening. "Marcall was able to keep it out of the papers."

"I delivered a sample of wine to the lab so we should know just what the poison was by the end of the day," Murphy says.

"And the coding on the bottle should give us a clue as to where it was purchased," Laura tells him.

"Forgive me for butting in," Steele begins, but they ignore him.

"We know the bottle was sent to the house," Laura tells Murphy, "By a supposedly greatful client."

"Yeah, and that Malcolm brought it from the house to the office," Murphy continues.

"May I say something?" Steele asks, only to be ignored again.

"You know, in all probability, it came from one of our four suspects," Laura says.

"Now, I'm no detective," Steele begins, "but it seems to me simply-"

"Murphy," Laura says, turning to Steele, "I think I'm hearing things-"

"It seems to me," Steele continues now that he has their attention, "simply a matter of rounding up the suspects, presenting them with the wine in question, and then seeing who will-"

"Go back to the part where you're not a detective," Laura suggests, looking at the paper again. Steele doesn't like being brushed off.

"Yes," he says, getting up. "Why don't I run along, then? Let you honest to goodness detectives get down to the business at hand." He goes to the door, pausing there. "What was the name of that wine again?"

"St. Jacques du Par, 78," Murphy tells him, sitting on the edge of the desk as Steele nods and closes the door behind him.

Laura frowns. "Oh, I did it again, didn't I, Murph?"

"What's that?"

"I came down on him a bit hard. Don't you think?"

"You're asking me, Laura? I'm one of those people who believe with all my heart you can't be too rich, you can't be too thin, and you just can't come down too hard on that guy." Laura turns back to the paper as Murphy continues to look at the door. "But uh yeah, I think you did."


Steele is in the limo, and beside him are four brand new bottles of St. Jacques du Par, 78. Fred pulls the limo to a stop before a house. Steele picks up a bottle, then leans forward. "If Miss Holt calls, Fred, ummm-"

"Lie, sir?" Fred asks.

"Well put," Steele says. Fred smiles. "Treat yourself to an oil and grease job, Fred, and keep up the good work," he says, getting out of the car. Fred nods and then turns slowly back around.

In the house, Megan is doing exercises when there's a knock on her door. She gets up and peers through the glass. "Yes?"

Steele looks back at her. "Megan? Megan O'Toole?"

She smiles, and opens the door, leaving the chain on. "Hi. I know you."

He puts his face in the door, looking suddenly uncertain. "I'm sorry. This is all wrong. I'm sorry I bothered you." He takes off.

Megan quickly unfastens the chain and comes out, following him down the walk. "Mr. Peppler! Bob! Hey, Bob! Is something the matter?" she asks as he sits on a wall.

"Oh, this is so unfair. You don't even know me. I'm the husband of a friend, you're a kind looking lady I happened to see in a restaurant- Oh. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world. Hmm. Never mind."

"Did you want to tell me about it?" she asks.

"Oh, what's to tell? Judy filed the papers today. My son won't speak to me. The dog ate my slippers-"

"Oh, I'm sorry," she sympathizes, she pulls his jacket from his shoulders and begins to massage them. Steele smiles "You're so tight," she complains.

"Speaking of which," he says, "I've got something here. Sort of a - friendship offering? A gift," he says, holding up the bottle. "This bottle of wine. From my attorney, Malcolm Marcall."

"Boy, I thought you were talking something really romantic," she says, continuing to massage his shoulders. "You know, like, candles, and lotions goodstuff-"

"Next time, maybe. May I pour you some?" he asks.

She comes closer. "I don't really think we need that kind of stuff," she tells him, kissing the side of his neck.

"We don't?" She shakes her head, continuing to kiss him as he asks, "What's the matter? The vintage?" She keeps kissing his neck and jaw, moving closer and closer to his lips. "The bottler." She gives him a BIG kiss.

"See, I don't - how do you say?- don't imbibe. You know, no meats, no cigarettes, no-" She moves away.

"St. Jacques du Par 78?"

"Definitely not that," she tells him.

He looks at her. "Then there's absolutely no way I can possibly persuade you to share a drop with me?" he asks. She shakes her head, smiling. "What if I threatened to-" She looks a bit alarmed, until he grabs her. "Ravish you?"

"The corkscrew is in my kitchen," she tells him.


Later, Steele staggers back to the limo, and Fred starts the car. As Steele gets in, Fred asks, "On to- Janet Kimmell, sir?"

Steele nods. "That will be fine, Fred," he says, his speech slurred, almost asleep.

"Certainly, sir." Fred turns around and puts the car into gear, throwing Steele's head back. He winces.


Laura is in Steele's office, legs on the desk, talking to Murphy on the phone. "A herbicide?. . .Injected through the cork- not bad for a night's work, Murph. . . Uh huh. So what have we got? We've got Megan- who lived with a man who raced cars- perfect for the first three murder attempts- We've got Janet, who owns a floral business- perfect connection for the herbicide. Yeah. There'd be a wonderful neatness to it all if we could prove that the wine came from one of Angela's stores-Right. A wealth of riches. Three. Count em. Three perfectly good suspects - for a case -" she frowns, "we've been fired from." She laughs. "Let's use just one and save the other two for the next time we've got a case we can't solve. . . Okay. Night, Murph. Get some rest." She hangs up the phone. Her eyes widen as she hears Steele's voice from the doorway.

"WOMEN!" he declares. "Women!" He makes his way unsteadily across to stand before the desk.

"What about them?"

"What about them?" he repeats. "What about them? I've known FISH who were more faithful." Laura smiles, laughs, as she takes out the breath mints and shakes some onto the desk.

"Smells like you've had a busy day," she comments.

He studies the mints. "All in the line of duty, my dear," he informs her, tossing a mint toward his mouth. It misses, as does the second. "All in the line of duty."

"Uh, if you don't mind my suggesting-, you might want to SIT down before you FALL down."

He looks at her. "It's surprisingly dizzy up here," he admits, then makes as if to sit down- only there's no chair and he winds up flat on his back on the floor.

Alarmed, Laura jumps up. "Oh, no," she says, coming around to him.

Steele smiles up at her. "You know, you look just lovely this evening," he tells her.

Laura bends over him, "Did you hurt yourself?" she asks.

He tugs on her slacks. "What are you doing all the way up there?" he asks, and she sits on the floor, putting her legs beneath his head. "Oooh. That's better. You know- you look just as lovely upside down."

Laura laughs, smooths his hair. "All the drunks say that."

"Only because it's true," he assures her. "May I ask you something? You've been at this private eye thing awhile now, right?" She nods. "Then explain this to me. I go to each of these ladies with a bottle of wine that matches the one that was poisoned. Now. The theory here is: the guilty party will absolutely refuse to touch a drop. Good idea, wouldn't you say?"

"Very good," Laura agrees, finally understanding where he's been all afternoon.

"That's what I thought. Hell, it had to be good. Claudes Rains did it in 'Notorious'." They both laugh. "Anyway, that's what I've been doing all after noon."


"Not one of them would touch a drop," he tells her. "I had to drink all by myself."

She's running her fingers through is hair. "Tough way to make a living," she commiserates.

"A man's got to do what a man's go to do. If I tell you something, will you promise never to repeat it? Never, never, NEVER remind me I said it?"

"What are you talking about?" she wants to know.

"Oh," he says, running his hands over his face, "what's the point of being drunk if you can't say the things you'd never say if you were sober?" Laura looks at him expectantly. "I rather enjoyed being a Peppler," he admits, looking her in the eyes. "Shame about the divorce. They were so good together, those two."

Laura smiles. "They are. Aren't they?"

"Yes." She bends over, and is about to kiss him, when the phone rings and she jumps up to answer it. Steele's head hits the floor. "Oooh, Laura!" he cries out as she picks up the phone. "Don't leave me on the floor like this!"

She puts her hand over the receiver. "SHH! Remington Steele Investigations-" She hears gunshots and a frantic Malcolm is on the phone.

"I'm under siege here! There's a sniper outside my house firing at me!" he yells, hiding beneath a sink. "Help me! Please! Help me!"

"We'll be right there," Laura assures him, hanging up as Steele moans on the floor. She starts for the door, then runs back to help him up. "Come on!" She says. "We have to get to the Marcall's."

"Malcy-Marcall's, yes," he says. Laura almost falls as she helps him to his feet. "Never could skate," he tells her. "Weak ankles." He rests his arm behind her neck. "Rather wonderful, the way I snuck my arm round, eh?" he asks.

"Oh," she says, turning them toward the door. "I can't leave you alone like this. You're coming with me. But stay in the car." She closes the door behind them.


At the Marcall house, Laura is worried when she sees the ambulance at the gate. She turns to Steele, who's asleep, and reaches over to pull his jacket over him. "The great Remington Steele," she says, smiling. After smoothing his hair, she gets out of the car and goes to the house.

The dogs are barking as she knocks, and the door is opened by Loretta. "Heel!" she orders the animals, letting a paramedic out of the house.

"Mrs. Marcall."

"I made them bring me home the moment I heard about the attempt on Malcolm's life, Miss- Holt. It IS Miss Holt, isn't it?" Laura looks surprised. "My husband's told me everything."

"He has?"

"I'm sure you've heard we've had quite an evening here," Loretta says. Why don't you come through the house? He's waiting for you down below for you on the beach."

"Thank you." Laura enters the house and Loretta closes the door.


In the rabbit, Steele is awakened by the sound of the ambulance starting. He looks around, getting his bearings. Getting out of the car, he fights getting his jacket back on as he searches the fence for the gate into the yard. The ambulance drives off. The dogs are at the door, barking, and Loretta comes up, calling their names. "Lie down!" she orders. They go to the side, still barking, and she tells them, "STAY!" and opens the door to a smiling, swaying Steele.

"Steele here," he says. "Oops. Pardon me. Peppler. I'm a Peppler."

Loretta looks at him strangely. "Won't you come in, Mr. Steele? My husband has been expecting you. It's- straight through to the back."


On the beach, Malcolm tells Laura, "I've already made the necessary phone calls. Depending on the availabilities of the moving men, we could be out of Los Angeles by Wednesday."

"Mr. Marcall," Laura says, confused.

"I'm sorry about that little- scene in my office, Miss Holt. This is all- very new to me."

"Mr. Marcall, I assure you, death threats are hardly run of the mill for anyone."

"I don't mean that. I mean- fear. Huddled under that sink there, I knew, for the first time in my entire life, that someone wanted me dead. Pinned there tonight, I could - I could FEEL the hate." He pulls something from his pocket. "This should cover your fees and expenses." He gives her the check.

"Thank you."

Steele stumbles up. "Am I interrupting something?" he asks.

Malcolm stares at him. "I was just explaining to your asso-" He frowns. "This man is- polluted."

Laura tells him, "I'm not cashing this check, sir. Not yet. Not until we discover who it is that's stalking you."

Malcolm is still staring at Steele. "You people should seek professional help. This is- apparently- an agency wide problem."

Steele gives him a silly grin as Laura says, "Good night, Mr. Marcall," and turns Steele away.

"G'night, Malcolm," Steele says.

Malcolm shakes his head.


Early the next morning, Steele is in the bathroom attached to his office. He takes a swig of mouthwash, as an antacid bubbles in another glass. Placing drops in his eyes, he says, "Oh, bliss, bliss, bliss." Taking a drink of the antacid, he looks at the mirror. "Oh, what a relief it is," he says, still VERY hung over.

"Yoo Hoo!" Laura calls out brightly.

"Morning! Morning, morning, morning, morning," he calls back as she joins him.

"Rough night?"

"Do you have any idea of the price one pays for abusing alcohol the way I did last night?"

"No." She comes closer. "What is the price one pays for abusing alcohol the way you did last night?"

He picks up a store receipt. "Uh, ten seventy seven. But then again, I didn't shop around. Probably could have done better on the mouthwash." He finishes the antacid. "I have a confession to make. I don't like drinking. I don't like what it does to me," he tells her, turning her toward the office with him.

"What does it do to you?" she asks.

"Well, for one thing- last night."

"I remember it well," Laura tells him.

"I don't," he says. "Not a lick of it. What happened?" he asks, buttoning his vest.

"Oh, I couldn't possibly tell you without blushing," Laura says. "But suffice it to say we both ended up on the floor," she tells him, pointing to the floor.

He looks surprised. "Really?"


"Damn." He looks as if he's not sure whether or not she's putting him on.

"I, too, have a confession to make. I swore it off."

He's tightening his tie. "What? The floor?"

"Alcohol. Never again." She salutes. "Not even in the line of duty."

"Oh, speaking of duty, I knew there was a reason I asked you here. I've cracked the case."

Laura looks totally surprised.


Murphy, cup of coffee and newspaper in hand, enters the offices to find Bernice, still in her coat, half asleep over the typewriter as she reads a paper. "You mean he called you too?" he asks her.

"Emergency meeting. Get to the Agency as soon as possible. Pick up pastries on the way." She points. "They're in there waiting for you."

Murphy enters Steele's office. Steele sees him and rises from the chair. "Murphy. Murphy, Murphy. Do come in, sit down, make yourself at home," he says, going to close the door behind him.

Murphy sits down near Laura, who's reclining on the sofa. "Give me a hint," he tells her.

"He has a theory," she says.

"About what?" Murphy asks her.

Steele sits down. "About the Marcall case. I was having trouble sleeping last night. Nasty hangover." Laura examines her nails, Murphy tries not to look TOO bored. "So I pulled myself out of bed and turned on the television set. "And there it was."

Murphy looks at Laura. She returns the look. "Why don't you?"

"There WHAT was?" Murphy asks.

"The solution to this mystery. Right there on Channel Six in glorious color. Paramount, 1974. A veritable cavalcade of stars. 'Murder On The Orient Express'." Murphy just looks at him before rising.

He turns to Laura. "I'm gonna get some more coffee," he tells her. "Want some?"

"I'll go with you," she decides, also getting up.

Steele heads them off. "Murder on the Orient Express," he insists. "Didn't you see it? Albert Finney, WONDERFUL actor- funny accent." Murphy and Laura sit back down. "Plays master detective Hercule Poirot. He's a passenger on board that famous European train, the Orient Express." Laura watches him. "Early in the trip, Richard Widmark is killed. Murdered." Murphy yawns. "And now it's up to Hercule to find out Who Done It? Was it Lauren Bacall? Vanessa Redgrave? Could it have been Michael York? Ingrid Bergman. Pretty Jacqueline Bisset?" Laura is starting to frown, thoughtful. "Dastardly Antony Perkins? Who, who WHO?!"

Murphy looks at Laura. "Want some Danish with that coffee?" he asks.

"They all did," Steele tells them. "They all knew that if they worked together, no single person could be implicated." Laura is still looking thoughtful, Murphy looks ill.

"Any special kind of Danish?" he asks her again.

"So you're saying-" she says to Steele.

"Exactly!" he answers.

Laura looks at Murphy. "Murphy, it doesn't go past this room - but I think he makes a lot of sense." Murphy winces.


Steele taps him on the arm. "Hey. It's the best theory we've got. I say--we run with it."

"RUN with it?" Murphy questions.

"He's been watching football again," Laura explains.

Murphy looks at Steele, who's smiling, and shakes his head doubtfully.


At the Marcall house, Steele is explaining his theory to Marcall and Loretta. "Could it have been Michael York? Ingrid Bergman? Pretty Jacqueline Bisset? Dastardly Antony Perkins? Who, who, who?" Steele looks into his glass of wine.

Laura jumps in. "Mr. Marcall, we invited all four women here today."

"Oh, my," Loretta worries.

"Under the guise that you would be leaving town and that your clients might wish to discuss settlements- out of court prior to your retirement." The dogs start barking.

"What's that going to prove?" Malcolm asks.

The doorbell rings, and Laura tells Steele, "I believe our first guest has just arrived?"

Steele goes to the door as Loretta orders the dogs, "Heel!" They move back with her.

Steele opens the door to find Megan there. "Bobby."

"Megan, darling." He takes her hand, kissing it as he draws her into the house and into the living room. "Do you know everyone?" he asks. "Does everyone know you? Megan O'Toole. Former live in lover of Antony Paruchi. Her job? Jerry rig Malcom's exhaust system. And, when that failed, regear his transmission." Megan looks shocked. "Isn't that right, Megan?"

"What?" she asks.

The dogs start to bark again, running to the door as the bell rings. Loretta tells them once again to heel, leading them back into the living room with her, as Steele opens the door.

This time it's Angela. "Robert."

"Angela," he says, taking her hand. "Do come in." He signals for her to remain quiet and leads her into the other room. "Now, Angela, tell us how you supplied the wine that was ultimately poisoned in an attempt to kill Malcolm Marcall," he says, as she gives the dogs a wide berth, since they're barking again.

Angela looks confused. "What are you- I came here to talk settlement," she insists. Seeing Laura, she says, "Judy?" Laura waves as Steele glares at Angela.

"Now, Angela, it's true, isn't it?"

"I don't know what you're talking about," she insists. I would never buy wine for Marcall. For one, I don't LIKE him. And for two, he doesn't drink." Loretta looks surprised. "Everybody knows that."

Laura sees Loretta's reaction as the dogs start up again. The doorbell rings. Loretta chases the dogs once again. "HEEL!" Malcolm goes to a closet and takes the dogs' leads out.

"Retta," he says, giving her the leads. "Would you and those beasts come over here?"

Steele opens the door and it's Janet. She smiles. "Well. Surprise, surprise." She takes his hand and comes in. "Are you my settlement?" she asks. They enter the living room, and Janet is surprised to find her friends there. "My goodness, what have we here?"

"What we have here," Steele tells her, ushering her further into the room, "is a scenario for murder. A group of four women, embittered by their various domestic situations. Due to return to court to face Malcolm Marcall-" the dogs bark as he gets too close to Marcall, and he moves away. "Each woman, contributing one part to the murder scheme, so no single woman could be implicated. "You, Janet, provided the deadly herbicide that ultimately poisoned the wine."

"Says who?" Janet asks.

"Says anyone with a facility for deductive reasoning. You spirited your herbicide into this house - where it was injected into a bottle of-"

"*I* snuck into the house?" Janet questions as the dogs bark again. "Past those- panthers?" she asks. Loretta is having some trouble keeping the dogs quiet.

Steele looks put out, and glances at Laura. "Why don't you take a seat, Janet?" he suggests, then moves to a thoughtful Laura. "Tell me again how much you admire my theory."

"Love to," she says. "The truth is, I'm developing one of my own."

"Well, feel free to jump in whenever the urge hits," he says, turning away.

Laura watches the dogs barking as Loretta tries vainly to make them stop. "Loretta-" Loretta turns and looks at her. "You didn't hear anything? The night someone set fire to this house?"

She looks frightened, and it's Malcolm who answers. "What're you driving at?"

"What about you, Mr. Marcall? The night you heard someone tampering with your car? What ELSE did you hear?"

"Hear? Uh -Hear? Retta, will you shut the damn dogs up?"

"Heel!" Loretta commands. The dogs are quiet.

"You didn't hear the dogs," Laura says quietly. Malcolm looks at Loretta, who's looking at Laura.

"Loretta?" Malcolm says. The dogs sense Loretta's fear and become active again, jumping at Steele.

"Will you HEEL!" she yells. Malcolm is in shock. She looks at him. "Oh, Malcolm. What did you want me to do? Take you to divorce court?"

"Mrs. Marcall," Steele begins, but the dogs jump and begin to bark once again - and this time everyone leaps out of the way. Steele onto the bar, Angela onto a desk, Janet and Megan onto chairs, and Laura leaps onto the mantle.

Loretta tells Malcolm, "You selfish, no good son of a -." Steele tries to get down, but the dogs send him back to his perch, as he frets about not being able to do anything.

"Now, Loretta," Malcolm says, nervous himself.

"I put you through school, remember? I'm the one who cooked your meals- washed your clothes and worked as a waitress, getting her fanny pinched, until you passed your bar exam. Do you remember that, Malcolm?"

"I loved you for doing that," he tells her.

"SURE you loved me. You BETTER love me. I INVESTED in you, Malcolm. We invested in each other. I worked through my eighth month of pregnancy for you. And after the baby was born, I kept on working so you could clerk. And when you started your own practice, who did the books and answered the phone for the first year and a half? I thought we were partners."

"We ARE," he says, still without a clue.

"Then who are you to announce that you're quitting law?! Huh?! Just when my half of the investment was beginning to pay off? What the hell right have you got to throw in the towel without asking me, Malcolm?!"

The dogs start growling again, and the doorbell rings, distracting Loretta, giving Steele the chance to jump down and grab her by the shoulders, using her as a shield from the dogs. "I believe the word for tonight is "heel"," he tells her. "If you would kindly do the honors."

"Heel," she says. Everyone else comes from their perches.

"Man's best friends?" Laura asks Steele.

"Yes," he agrees. "If one leads a truly lonely life." Megan heads for the door, with Laura and Steele close behind, leaving Malcolm staring at Loretta in shock.

Megan opens the door, only to find Beth there in the arms of her husband. Laura and Steele watch from nearby as the couple finishes kissing. When they part, Beth looks embarrassed. "Oh, I was just waiting for somebody to answer the door- and - Roger came up the path, and-" Laura smiles. "There was no place to go- One thing led to another, and- oh, well," she takes his arm and they turn and leave together.

Laura rests her head on Steele's shoulder. "Isn't love lovely?" she asks.


At the driving range, Laura is practicing her swing while Steele watches. "Vast improvement," he tells her.

"Thank you."

He looks at her. "How did you know?"

"I didn't. Not until you started speaking. And I realized no one could enter that house without those dogs barking. And that no one had ever mentioned HEARING them bark. Not Loretta, not Malcolm, when he heard someone, and not me, the night he called about the gunshots."

"Loretta always silenced the dogs so as not to give herself away," Steele says.

"Exactly. That, and - her serving wine- "

"What about the car?" he asks.

"She had it professionally done. Told the mechanic that she couldn't adjust to the European shifting pattern, and could he regear it."

She addresses the ball and swings. Steele comes up behind her. "Handsome shot, Mrs. Peppler," he comments.

Laura looks at him and smiles as he kisses his fingers in salute.

The End