Hounded Steele
From the original episode written by:
Jeff Melvoin

Mildred Krebs arrives at the run down Sleepy Rest Motel in a cab. Getting out, she frowns. "Sleepy Rest, huh? Looks about as restful as a split lip," she comments, taking a paper from her purse.

"Okay, lady," the driver says.

She points at him. "You wait for me, amigo. Capish?"

"Okay, lady," he says again.

Mildred shakes her head and moves toward a bungalow. She knocks on the door and hears a dog bark. "Oh," she says. When no one answers, she sneaks around to the side of the building and looks inside the window. She sees a small dog laying on the bed, a rope around his neck. He barks when he sees her, and Mildred puts a finger to her lips to try and silence him. She opens the window and tries to climb inside, but the window comes down on her legs. The dog is still barking. Mildred gets inside and goes to the dog. "Okay. Okay, sweetheart. We got you. Oh goody. Wait," she says, untying the rope. "Wait, wait, wait, wait." She picks him up. "Okay. Here we go." She goes to the window as she hears someone at the front door. Mildred tosses the dog outside. "Cheese it!" she tells him, then tries to scramble through as the man, who was carrying a bag of groceries and has a rather crazed look about him, drops the bag and pulls a gun. He fires three shots, but Mildred's out of the window. The cab driver, hearing gunshots, takes off. Mildred chases him with the dog in her arms.. "I TOLD you to wait!" she yells. The man comes around the corner. "I'll have your green card for this!" she says, running away, chased by the man from the motel.


Remington Steele walks into the office smiling, "Ah, morning Mildred." He taps the side of her desk as he walks past and then stops to look around as he realises she is not there. He goes to the coffee room door and feels the coffee pot for warmth before picking up a cup and saucer and serving himself. He hesitantly enters his office, eyes widening as he approaches his desk, placing a hand on it and patting its' empty surface uttering, "Newspaper." Steele takes sip of his coffee and nearly chokes. He manages to clear his throat and walks to Laura's office calling out, "Laura!"
Laura is on the telephone in her office as she opens some mail. "No, I'm afraid I can't help you with that, either."

Off camera, we hear Steele bellow. "Laura!" She lifts a hand to silence him as he comes in carrying a cup in his hand, looking inside it uncertainly.

"Sir, SIR, I don't KNOW whether the steno pads we ordered are a canary yellow or a wintermint green." Steele stands there, impatient. "Look. You'll just have to call back later about all this. Yes, well, I'm SORRY. Good bye!" She hangs up.

Steele shows her the cup. "Have you tried this?"

"I MADE it," Laura tells him. "I don't have to DRINK it," she says, standing up.

"It's like a hot cup of the Thames," he tells her. "Where's Mildred?"

"The question of the hour."

"The newspaper wasn't on my desk, the coffee is toxic, my morning calm has been shattered, Laura. Utterly shattered."

"Bear up, Mr. Steele. This is the first time Mildred has been late. I'm sure she'll be here soon to restore order to our UNIVERSE!"


Mildred and the dog are somewhere, still hiding from the man.


Steele is on the telephone, frowning. "Hmm. No answer at her apartment."

"She must be on her way," Laura says as there's a knock on the door. "You see?"

"Yoo-hoo," a feminine voice calls, and then the door is opened. "Is anybody home?" A middle aged, blonde woman enters. "I have a nine o'clock with Mr. Steele," she tells them.

Laura glances at the appointments. "Mrs. Clairborne?"

"That's right," she says, smiling. She's well dressed, obviously well to do.

Laura smiles, coming around to shake her hand. "I'm Laura Holt, Mr. Steele's associate." She looks at Steele. "You remember, Mr. Steele. Mrs. Clairborne," Laura pauses, stumped for a moment. "Is the lady who asked us to locate her former classmates for a reunion," she says, relieved.

"Elmhurst Finishing School," Mrs. Clairborne tells them. "Class of '47."

"Oh, yes, of course," Steele says. "Delighted, Mrs. Clairborne."

Laura checks the calendar again. "I have you down for ten."

"Oh, yes, I know. I changed it on Friday. Well, surely your secretary told you."

"We've had a bit of a mix up this morning," Laura explains. "Would you mind taking a seat out here for a few minutes?" she asks, showing Mrs. Clairborne into the lobby only to find a delivery man there with a clip board.

"Uh, I'm looking for a Mildred Krebs?"

"Who isn't?" Laura wonders as the telephone rings. She answers it. "Hello?- uh, Remington Steele Investigations." The delivery man wheels in a huge tree.

"Where do you want it, ma'am?"

"I don't know," she tells him. "Anywhere. No. I was talking to somebody else," she tells the person on the phone. What were you saying?"

Steele asks Mrs. Clairborne, "Tell me, Mrs. Clairborne, would an accomplished woman like yourself know how to make a potable cup of coffee?"

She's stunned. "Oh, well, I sometimes make it on Maria's day off. And my husband doesn't complain TOO much. Is that what you mean?"

He smiles. "Excellent. Excellent. Right this way," he says, leading her toward the coffee maker.

"Call back this afternoon," Laura tells the person on the phone. "Ask for a Mildred Krebs." The delivery man is still delivering plants. "Yes. K-R-E-B---B-S. This afternoon. I don't know ANYthing about it. Thank you." She hangs up, turns, and walks into a plant that Steele is hiding behind.

"Planning a nursery, are we?" he asks.

"What ELSE can go wrong this morning?" Laura wonders as three women come into the office.

"Come on, girls," one of them says.

"You had to ask, didn't you?" Steele questions Laura as they turn to face the women.

"Is Mildred Krebs in?"

"Not yet. May we help you?" Laura wants to know.

"We're the Dragon Ladies," another woman says.

"Oh," Steele says, without a clue.

"Mildred's bowling team," the third woman says.

"Ah," Steele says.

"Of course," Laura says.

"That's Hazel, Esther, and I'm Rose," Rose says.

"Hi," Laura says. A short young woman comes up behind them. "And what do you want?" she asks the woman.

"Um. Plant lady," she explains. "Monday and Thursday."

" Oh. Right. Sorry. Go- Go ahead."

Steele turns to the Dragon Ladies. "What can we do for you ladies, eh?"

"We're looking for Mildred," Rose explains.

"She missed practice last night," Esther tells them.

"She's NEVER done that before," Hazel adds. "And semi finals are tonight."

Rose tells them, "Now, I tried reaching her until midnight. But no luck. So," she looks at her friends, "we thought she might be off on another- hush-hush assignment."

"Mildred?" Steele questions. Laura frowns.

"I told you, girls," Esther says, "they can't talk about it."

"Talk about what?" Laura wants to know.

"It's okay, honey," Hazel assures her. "We understand."

Steele looks troubled, raises an eyebrow as Rose says, "Mildred's told us the kind of work that she does."

"The intrigue," Hazel says. "The danger."

"I didn't think you could talk about it if your `top op' was on a case," Esther tells them.

"Top op?" Steele questions.

Laura's figured it out. "Mr. Steele," she says, indicating that he follow her.

"Would you excuse us a moment, ladies?" Steele asks.

They go into Laura's office, where the plant lady is tending the plants. "Regardless of whatever tall stories Mildred has been spinning, I'm worried."

"Yes," he agrees. "It isn't like her at all, is it?"

"Excuse me," the plant lady says, trying to get to a plant.

"Sorry. I have a key Mildred gave me to her apartment in case of emergency, I think," Laura tells Steele, who's worried that the plant lady got water on his shoes.

Steele tosses the newspaper onto her desk. "Well, I suggest we use it."

Laura gets up to leave, and the plant lady blocks her way. They dance for a second until Laura moves her to the left and goes to the right, leaving the little woman to tend her plants.

In the lobby, Steele says, "Uh, ladies, I don't think Miss Krebs is in any sort of trouble, but Miss Holt and I are going to make sure. If you would like to check back with us, later. . ."

"We can wait," Esther says.

"She's the rock of our team," Hazel tells them. "We don't stand a chance without her tonight."

"Suit yourselves," Laura tells them, but is prevented from leaving by Mrs. Clairborne bringing a cup of coffee to Steele.

"Here you are, Mr. Steele," she says.

He takes the cup. "Ah, Mrs. Clairborne. Would you be an angel and watch the phones for a moment? Miss Holt and I will be right back." He pulls Laura around the ladies.

"Why, yes, I suppose so," Mrs. Clairborne says, surprised.

"Splendid. Good luck, then," Steele tells them. "Toodle-oo."


Mildred is still on the run. She's clearly exhausted and scared, but she takes the dog into a phone booth and closes the door, then puts her money into the slot.

The phone rings, and Mrs. Clairborne answers. "Yes?"

"Who is this?" Mildred asks.

"Susan Clairborne. Who is this?"

Mildred hangs up, gets another dime and places the call again.


"I'm calling Remington Steele Investigations," she says.

"This is Remington Steele Investigations, Susan Clairborne speaking."

"Forty five minutes late and already they've replaced me?" Mildred questions.


"Put Mr. Steele on the phone."

"I'm afraid Mr. Steele isn't here."

"Well then, give me Miss Holt."

"She's not here, either," Susan says, as the dog growls, alerting Mildred. She looks around to see the man who's been chasing her. Mildred ducks down. "You'll have to speak up," Susan tells her.

The man walks to the phone booth, rubbing his eye. Mildred is huddled in the booth, as Susan calls "Hello? Hello?" over the phone. Mildred puts down the dog and carefully hangs up the telephone.

Susan hangs up, angry. "Young people today."

Mildred and the dog sneak past the man and high tail it in the opposite direction.

At Mildred's Laura comes downstairs. "Bed's made," she announces to Steele, who's standing by the fireplace. "Everything's as neat as a pin."

"No question where Mildred feeds her overactive imagination," Steele tells her, giving her some paperback books, all murder mysteries. He takes a photograph from the mantle. "Have a look at this."

It's a photo of Mildred and the Dragon Ladies with a bowling trophy. The only other photo is of Steele and Laura. "Besides us, it seems the Dragon Ladies are all she has."

Steele looks at the photo. "Odd. I've never really thought about what Mildred does outside the office."

"Neither have I," Laura admits. "Must get pretty lonely for her. Divorced, no children. Just a sister, living in Seattle."

Steele puts the picture back. "Makes it easy to understand why she might exaggerate to her friends." He picks up a trophy as Laura examines a carved fish. "Add a little colour to her life."

"And theirs, too, obviously. Oh, I hope nothing's happened. . . ." She looks up to see a man staring into the apartment. Laura takes off, leaving Steele no choice but to follow. They lose him in the alley.


Back at the office, Laura and Steele return to find Susan with a man. "Ah. Mr. Steele. Miss Holt. This is Kevin Masters."

"Hello," Laura says.

Masters shakes their hands as the Dragon Ladies come closer. "How do you do? I'm just here to get my dog," he explains.

"Excuse me?" Steele asks.

Hazel says, "You must be Shirley's friend."

"That's right," Masters confirms.

"Who's Shirley?" Steele asks.

Before anyone can answer, the dirty, tired little dog enters the office. Masters smiles, kneeling down. "There he is. Good boy!" The dog barks, and comes to him.

Mildred appears in the doorway. "Mildred!" Laura says.

"Mr. Steele. Miss Holt. I'm sorry I'm late," she apologizes, and starts to sway. Laura and Steele barely reach her in time to stop her from falling, and Steele takes out his handkerchief and starts fanning her with it.


She's laying on the sofa in Steele's office, as Laura places cold compresses on her head. "This man was shooting. And I couldn't get away," she tells them.

"Rest, Mildred," Laura says. "We'll talk later." Mildred nods, her eyes closing.

In the lobby, Esther asks, "How is she?"

"Fine. She just needs some rest," Laura tells them.

The dog comes up to Steele and barks, wagging his tail. The Dragon Ladies giggle. "He must like you, Mr. Steele," Hazel guesses, as the dog grabs Steele's pants leg and starts tugging at it.

Steele tries to ignore it, Laura frowns in confusion, and Masters, says, "Bad dog." When the dog doesn't stop, he apologizes. "Sorry, Mr. Steele. I guess he's just excited by all the attention."

"Perfectly understandable," Steele says, but he's not happy.

"Mr. Masters," Laura says, "Do you think you can fill us in on just what you and your dog are doing here?"

Hazel lifts her hand. "I can explain. Shirley gave me a jingle, so I rang up Mildred, and Mildred buzzed Shirley."

"Who's Shirley?" Steele asks again.

A woman comes in. "I am. Shirley Melisch is the name." She sees the dog and smiles. "Ah, look at little fella." She looks at Masters. "Hello, Mr. Masters. I see you made it all right. You Steele?" she asks.

"Me Steele," he says.

"Miss Melisch," Laura says, "Do you think we might have a word with you in my office?"

"Sure," she says, then follows them through the greenery. "Oh, boy. A jungle."

"Straight through," Steele instructs, "do sit down, please." Laura closes the door, and Steele sits beside Shirley. "In matters of this nature, Miss Melisch, I find it advisable for subjects to focus on the initial stages on their narrative and then to proceed chronologically."

Shirley looks at Laura. "What'd he say?"

"He means, start at the beginning."

"AH. Got ya. Well, Mr. Masters drops off his pooch on Sunday, like always. I groom dogs, see. I wash em, clip em, whatever they need. So, I take care of his dog, and I put him out in the back, when I hear something. I run out and there's this guy, making off with the dog. So I chased the creep, but he hops in this car and he drives off. BUT- not being a dimwit, I copied down the license plate number. But now I have a problem," she says.

"Why didn't you simply call the police?" Steele asks.

"Well, you see, Mr. Steele, I run the business out of my home for the last fifteen years. You know, nice and simple, no formalities . . ."

"And no business license," Laura says.

"On the nose, honey," Shirley agrees. "So, I don't think the boys in blue would take too kindly to that."

"I think you're right," Laura says. "But why did you call Mildred?"

"I didn't call her. I called Hazel. Hazel called Mildred. Mildred called me." Laura nods, having heard it before.

"Go on."

"So Mildred says no problem. She'll have the dog back at noon today. And so she does. End of story."

"Thank you, Miss Melisch," Laura says, going to the door.

"Sure," she says. Steele rises as she does. Shirley leaves, Laura closes the door behind her.

Steele sits down, putting his feet on Laura's desk. "It isn't enough that I have to cover for YOU as a detective," she says. "Now I have Mildred to worry about."

"I suppose we ought to have a little chat with her about misrepresentation?"

"YES. Why don't you talk to her about it?" she suggests. "Being an expert in the subject."

"Oh, come now, Laura. Calm down. After all, she did get the dog back," he points out.

"You're missing the point. Obviously, she used MY confidential sources to trace that license plate. Personally, I find that offensive. And professionally, it's fraudulent. Real detectives lose their licenses for things like that."

"Perhaps YOU'RE missing the point. Regardless of any improprieties, it appears that Mildred has had a harrowing time, and - for reasons presently obscure at best." She nods.

"You're right. First things first. What could be so important about a dog that somebody would kidnap it, then shoot to keep it?" She goes to the door and calls the dog.

Steele moves closer. "Laura, let's not be hasty," he says, as the dog grabs his trouser leg again and starts growling, nearly pulling Steele off his feet.


In Steele's office, Masters joins Mildred. "I'm Kevin Masters," he tells her. "It was my dog you recovered." Mildred smiles. "I just heard the whole story, and well, I wanted to say thank you."

"Oh," Mildred says. "It was nothing."

"Well, I better let you get back to sleep," Masters says.

Mildred puts out a hand. "No, that's okay. You can keep me up a little longer." Masters laughs.


In Laura's office, Steele is resewing his trouser hem as Laura holds the dog. "I thought you got along with dogs."

"I do. Dogs love me. I love dogs. THAT, Laura, is obviously not a dog. It's some other animal masquerading as a dog."

Laura laughs. "I see." She notices something and frowns as she sees the dog's collar, row after row of jewels. "Wait a minute. Look at this." Steele puts a hand out, but the dog snaps and snarls. Steele pulls back as Laura takes the collar off. "Am I imagining things? Or are these real diamonds?" she asks.

The dog snarls again as he takes the collar from her. He examines it. "Well, they do appear to be authentic enough," he says, handing the collar back as the dog snaps again.

Susan knocks on the door and comes in. "Excuse me. There's a gentleman here to see you."

Laura's looking at the collar. "Tell him to wait outside, Mrs. Clairborne. We're very busy."

"Well, the gentleman is very insistent. In fact, he has a GUN!" She runs for cover as the man who was following Mildred, now wearing a stocking over his head, enters. Steele starts to rise, stops.

"Give me that," the man says. Laura hands him the collar. "Not THAT," he says. "THAT!" She gives him the dog, and he leaves a stunned Laura looking at the collar.

Masters comes from Steele's office. "Hey! That's my dog!" he yells, and jumps the kidnapper, only to be thrown to the ground. Laura and Steele come out, sidestepping around Masters. In the corridor, the man turns and fires a shot at them, causing them and the others in the hallway to duck. They reach the elevator as the doors close. Laura runs to the stairs, but Steele shakes his head.

"No, no, no, no, no. Eleven flights, Laura."

"You're right," she agrees. "He'd be in Poughkeepsie by the time we get down the stairs." They turn back to the office, where the ladies are helping Masters to his feet.

"Grooming charges are on the house this week, Mr. Masters," Shirley tells him.

He sees Laura and Steele returning. "Did you catch him?" he asks.

"No," Laura tells him. "May we have a word with you, Mr. Masters?" she asks.

Steele heads toward his office. "Through here, excuse me" he says to one of the ladies. Opening his door, he sees Mildred, who's asleep. "Oops. Uh, this one's taken."

They go to Laura's office. "Would you mind telling me what makes your dog so popular?" she asks Masters.

"I don't know. I'm as baffled as you are," he assures her.

"Oh, come now, Mr. Masters," Steele insists. "I mean, dog-nappings at gunpoint are hardly an every day occurrence, even in Los Angeles."

Laura pulls the collar from her pocket. "What about this, Mr. Masters?"

"His collar," Masters says.

"Um hmm," Steele says as Masters takes it. "What are real diamonds doing on a dog collar, Mr. Masters?"

Masters looks at them. "That dog is all I have in the world. He and I go back a long way. I, uh, don't have anyone to spoil, so I'm afraid I spoil him."

"But why would somebody take the dog and not the collar?" Laura wonders.

"I don't know. But I'll pay you anything to get him back. Here. Take the collar as collateral." He holds it out. Steele starts to reach for it, but Laura stops him.

"That won't be necessary," she tells him. "We'll see what we can do, Mr. Masters."


Mildred is telling them about her morning. "So I took buses, cabs. ANYthing to get away from the man. I have been to places the last twenty four hours that I never knew existed," she tells them. "West Covina. Azusa." Laura smiles. "Do you know there's a place called `City of Industry'?" Laura laughs.

"Go on, Mildred," Steele prods gently.

"There's not much more to tell," she says. "I thought I finally gave him the slip. But I guess not."

"Perhaps we should start at the place where you found the dog," Laura suggests.

"The address is in my purse," she tells Laura, who hands it to her. "I called your friend Al - at the DMV- to trace the car," she says hesitantly. "And it was a rental from Johnson Leasing. I called them and got a local address." Laura takes the paper, frowning. "You're not mad at me, are you?" Mildred asks.

"We'll talk about it later," Laura assures her.

"For the moment," Steele says, "we're just glad you're all right, okay?"

"I didn't think it would turn out like this," Mildred insists. "When Hazel called, it seemed so minor. A stolen dog, for cryin out loud. And-well, I've been telling them all for awhile now that-uh-that I'm more than a secretary," she said hesitantly again as Steele smiles at her. "I couldn't say no."

"You're very important to us as you are, Mildred," Laura insists.

"Perhaps you haven't realized this," Steele puts in, "but, you're very much appreciated around here. Really."

"Well," Mildred says, looking down, "maybe. Sometimes. But you two. You're so young. You're admired. Your lives are important. And -I don't even pretend to understand your relationship," she says as Laura and Steele look uncomfortable, "but you do seem to have each other. And sometimes, well, sometimes it's hard for me. I'm just an old bureaucrat with a busted marriage and fading memories."

"Mildred," Laura protests.

Steele does more. He pulls Mildred into his arms to hold her. "Come on. Come on. Here you go, Mildred."

"I mean, sometimes, I don't know- I-I just want to feel important too."


Susan is on the telephone with a friend. "Yes," she says, wide eyed. "And they've asked me to stay on the rest of the day. I mean, can you imagine, Carol. ME, working? Actually, it's not nearly as unpleasant as I'd always imagined it was. . ." she confides.

The Dragon Ladies are talking to Laura and Steele as Mildred comes out. "Now, Miss Krebs," Steele tells her. "The ladies will see you home."

"Do you want me to make that court appearance for you on the Williamson matter, Miss Krebs?" Laura asks.

The ladies are impressed. "Oh, certainly, Miss Holt," Mildred responds. "And extend my apologies to the judge."

"I've just reviewed the Rothenburg dossier, Miss Krebs," Steele tells her. "First rate, as always. Anything else we need to know about in your absence?" he asks.

"I think you've been brought up to date," Mildred decides. "But, uh, keep me advised of any developments in the Masters case."

"You got it," Laura assures her as Steele smiles.

"Oh, and Mr. Steele? Don't you think we should do something about these plants?" she asks.

"Right away," he tells her with a sour expression.

"Good," Mildred says, then takes Rose's hand. "Come on, girls. Let's take the limo."

"Good bye," everyone says as Steele watches them go.

Laura smiles at his discomfiture. "You know, Laura, I hadn't realized until this moment just how frustrating it must be for you to pretend that I'm the head of the agency."

Laura is beaming, feeling vindicated at last. "It's about time."

He gives her a sideways glance. "I mean, for over a year now, you've had to put up with countless charades, and indignities of the sort that I've just experienced for a brief moment," he tells her as she rolls her eyes, "and yet found quite demeaning even at that. It's truly remarkable the way you've been able to keep your emotions in check while I take the glory for all your efforts." Laura's not smiling now. She looks sick. "Truly remarkable. Yes." He pats her on the back as he turns toward his office. "Keep up the good work." Laura takes a deep breath and then turns to follow him into the office.


They take the Rabbit back to the motel. "Number four," Steele tells her. "John Smith."

"That's not an alias, you suppose?" Laura wonders. As they approach the cabin, shots are fired, and they both drop to the ground, before Steele rushes the door and tries to push it open as the kidnapper heads for the window with the dog.

The door is blocked by a dead body. The dog, sensing that his rescuer is Steele, jumps from the man's arms. The man takes off through the window. Steele and Laura go to the window, in time to see the man drive away as the dog attacks Steele's pants leg again. He shakes the dog off, and they run back to the body, closing the door.

"It's the man from Mildred's apartment," Laura tells him. They start searching for ID, and Steele finds it.

"Here you go." He opens it, and frowns. "Oh, my."

"What is it?" Laura asks.

He hands it to her. "Jonathan Hemmings. Interpol."

"Oh my," Laura repeats as Steele straightens his tie nervously.

Outside the unit a black hearse is preparing to leave as a police lieutenant walks to where Steele and Laura, holding the dog, are standing. "I didn't know you had a dog Laura?"
"He belongs to Mr Steele." Steele turns around at her comment as Laura pats the dog and continues, "Mr Steele just *loves* dogs."
"Mmmn," replies Remington looking at her unimpressed. He turns to the police lieutenant. "You say you knew this Hemmings, Lt.?" Steele asks.

"He came to the office, that was about it. Said he was trying to find a former Interpol man. Name of, uh, Anatole Blaylock?" Steele looks intrigued. "Seems this Blaylock is still going around using Interpol credentials and contacts."

"Any idea why?" Laura asks. He shakes his head. "Thanks, Tom," she says, shaking his hand.

"Sure." He moves away.

Once they're alone, Laura tells a thoughtful Steele, "I'll bet Blaylock is the one we're after. It would explain what Hemmings was doing at Mildred's apartment. He saw Blaylock chasing Mildred, picked up on her identity somehow and decided to check her out."

They approach the Rabbit. "Laura," Steele says, "this case just became extremely interesting." Laura puts the dog into the back seat. "Several years ago, Interpol put Anatole Blaylock in charge of apprehending a brilliant thief known as Le Renard."

"The Fox," Laura translates.

"Um hmm," he confirms. "Blaylock failed utterly. So, Interpol had him cashiered out. Apparently Blaylock became unhinged by it all." He's still thoughtful.

Laura gets into the car. "How do you know so much about Blaylock, anyway?" she asks.

He smiles, gets into the car. "Because, for a while, Interpol thought I was the Fox."

"Were you?" she asks.

He smiles again. "There were times I wished I was," he confesses, putting on his sunglasses.


At Mildred's, Kevin Masters is having some coffee and cookies. "Good cookies," he tells her.

"They're just chocolate chip," she tells him. "The recipe's on the package."

"Yeah, but some people put nuts in em," he tells her.

Mildred looks worried. "Right."

"I don't like em with nuts," he tells her, smiling.

"Me either," Mildred says. "That's why I didn't put them in." They both laugh. "Here I am, prattling on about myself, and- I don't know anything about you, Kevin."

"Not much to tell, Mildred. I'm retired. Nowadays, I mostly take walks with my faithful companion."

"Your wife?"

"My dog," he corrects.

Mildred laughs. "Oh. I love the little guy," she tells him as the Dragon Ladies knock on her door.

"Yoo-hoo! Millie! It's us!"

Mildred looks nervous, Kevin puts down his cup and stands. "Well, I should be going," he tells her.

Mildred gets up to walk him to the door. "Well, uh,-"

"Maybe I'll- drop around tomorrow?" he suggests. "IF you'll be around, that is."

"I'll be here," she assures him, opening the door.

The ladies are floored to find Kevin Masters there. "Good day, ladies," he says as he leaves.

One of them gives a wolf whistle as they enter the apartment carrying groceries. Mildred sees them all look at her. "He's just a friend," she tells them. They give each other a disbelieving look.


As Masters leaves, Blaylock watches him go, then looks toward Mildred's apartment.


At Steele's apartment, the carpet is littered with newspapers as Steele reads from a book and orders, "Stay." The dog ignores him. "Stay." Laura is immersed in another book. "When I say stay, you bloody well stay, damn you!" he yells at the dog, who walks away from him.

"Wonderful technique," she comments, laughing.

"I'm on the verge of a break-thru, Laura," he tells her. "I can sense it." He looks at the dog again. "Laura, observe." She sighs and looks. "Sit!" he says in a high, sing song voice. The dog lays down, then gets back up. Steele looks frustrated. "Stand. Stand." The dog rolls over. Steele flips some pages, reading, as Laura tries not to laugh. "Walkies!" he says. The dog looks at him, then comes over to him. Steele smiles broadly at Laura, who's laughing now.

"Mr. Steele!" she manages, pointing at the dog, who's going to the bathroom on Steele's shoe. "It sickens me to think that you and Old Yeller are members of the same animal family. Get!" he tells the dog, pushing it way as he tosses the useless book across the room.

Laura's returned to her reading. "These scrapbooks are amazing."

"Hmm," he mutters, still angry as he sits on the arm of the chair.

"Sort of a catalogue of classic burglaries in our time."

"Um hmm, well, some children collect comic books," he tells her, "others baseball cards." He opens another album.

"You collected larcenies," she says. "There's quite a lot here about Le Renard," she says. "Gentleman thief. Only stole from the very rich, never used weapons, never caught. He dropped out of sight several years ago," she says.

Steele hands her the book he's been looking at. "Here you go," he says.

Laura's eyes widen as she sees the photograph of a diamond necklace with the headline, Le Renard Strikes Again, Makes off with Kronesbourgh Necklace "This is the collar that was around the dog," Laura realizes. "You mean, Kevin Masters?"

"Le Renard?" Steele questions.

"I don't believe it," she says. "We have a master criminal for a client?"

"Makes for a nice change of pace, eh?" Steele says, delighted.

"No, now, let's be serious for a moment," Laura insists. "Some of these articles mention an alleged accomplice. Dolittle." The dog barks.

"He was never identified either," Steele tells her.

"Irish, isn't it?" Laura asks. "Dolittle?" The dog barks again.

"I suppose so," Steele agrees, looking at the dog as Laura does the same, but for different reasons.

"Listen," she says. "Dolittle." The dog barks.

Steele frowns at the dog. "Will you be quiet, please? I'm trying to listen!"

Laura shushes him. "No, no, no. Don't you see? Dolittle!" The dog runs to Steele and lifts his leg.

"Dolittle," Steele mutters, a sour expression on his face.


Later, they arrive at a trailer house. "I would have thought a master thief would have grander digs," Laura mentions as they approach the house with the dog. She rings the doorbell, and Masters answers the door.

"You found him!" He takes the dog. "Come in, come in!" He pets the dog. "Hello there, boy. How are you?"

"Dolittle's a good dog, isn't he?" Laura asks.

"Yes, he's a fine . . ." he responds, then stops, looking uncertain. "Did I tell you his name?" he asks.

"You know," Steele says, "I'm told that one of the great frustrations of being a master criminal is the inability to take credit for one's own craft. Take- Le Renard, for instance, who pulled off such remarkable jobs as the Macedonian Chalice, the Hapsburg Triptic, the Panther's Eye Ruby of Simba- what restraint he must have, not to throw open the shutter to the world and shout, `I did it!'." Masters is still looking at them.

"You must love that dog an awful lot to give him a collar that could put you away, Mr. Masters," Laura points out.

"Does, uh, Miss Krebs know?" he asks. Laura shakes her head no. "Please. Come on in. Sit down." They sit down on the sofa. "Well. What's this all about?" he asks.

"Anatole Blaylock," Steele tells him.


"Uh hmm," Steele confirms.

"Cruel chap. But not too quick, thank God. I thought he'd quit searching for me years ago. Why are you looking at me like that, Miss Holt?"

"I'm finding it hard to believe that you're a famous cat burglar," she says, smiling slightly.

He laughs. "Dog burglar, actually. Never cared for cats, they're haughty creatures. But Dolittle here, and his forebears, have been a great help to me." He sits down with the dog. "Haven't you? You mustn't judge me too harshly, Miss Holt. I'm a man whose talents put him- outside the law. Actually, I learned my trade working for Uncle Sam during the war. Undercover operations in Europe. When the war was over, I stayed on in England."

"What happened to all the money?" Laura wants to know.

"You mean this?" he asks, looking around at the trailer. "I spent it when I had it. No regrets. This place suits me fine. Nice neighborhood, pretty quiet. Gardening's my hobby now. Must be the English influence." He points to Steele. "You Brits really love your gardens, don't you?" Steele nods, looking away. "Well, I guess you have to turn me in now, right?" he asks.

"For what?" Steele asks. "Hmm? The statute of limitations on the Kronesbourgh Necklace ran out years ago."

"I don't see any evidence of wrong doing in our baliwick," Laura tells him.

"Mighty nice of you," Masters tells her.

"Let's just say I have a soft spot for charming men with mysterious pasts," she says. Steele looks uncomfortable. "But we do have a problem to solve."

"Blaylock," Masters says.

"What do you think he wanted with Dolittle?" Steele wants to know.

"I don't know. But whatever he's after, I don't think he'll stop now."


Mildred, dressed in her bowling outfit, comes downstairs with her shoes, whistling. As she puts the shoes into the bag, Blaylock grabs her from behind. "You are going to make a little call for me, Miss Krebs," he tells her.


Masters is on the telephone with Blaylock as Laura and Steele listen. "What makes you think I'll do that, Blaylock?" he asks. "Hello Mildred?" Laura and Steele listen more closely. "Are you-Yes, I get the point, Blaylock. Ten o'clock." He hangs up.

"He has Mildred?" Laura asks.

"What does he want?" Steele wants to know.

"The Jennings diamond. If I don't get it to him by ten, he'll kill Mildred."

Steele laughs mirthlessly. "So that's what he's after, eh? He wants you to steal for him."

"And he was using Dolittle as leverage," Laura points out. "But now he has Mildred instead."

"He must have tailed me," Masters tells them. "Seen that I'd taken a liking to her."

"Hmm. How did she sound?" Steele asks.


"We'd better call the police," Laura decides, moving toward the phone.

Steele stops her. "No. Blaylock's already killed once today. I believe he'll do it again if provoked."

Masters says, "Well, I'd better get ready to come out of retirement."

"Uh, with all due respect," Steele says, "not even you can pull this one off. I mean, even if you DO get into the Gem Exchange building, the diamond's in a case with a unique alarm system. Disturb the glass in any way and you'll set the whole bloody thing off."

"I don't have much choice, do I?" Masters says.

"But it's impossible," Laura tells him.

"I know for a fact it isn't," he says. "I may not have the tools anymore, folks, but a retiree's gotta keep his mind active. You see, I spend months working up a tough heist, all in my head, of course, and when I've solved it, I move onto another. The Jennings diamond was one of my `assignments.'"

Laura grins, amazed. "Fantastic."

Masters looks at them. "I'll- need some help, though."

Steele looks delighted to make the offer. "Well, it would be an honor to assist someone as gifted as- Le Renard?" He sees Laura's slight frown and tempers his enthusiasm.


Atop the building across the street from the Gem Exchange, Laura and Masters watch as Steele shoots a line from a cross bow across the space between the buildings. Steele goes first across the line, then Laura. Masters puts Dolittle onto hooks. "Okay, boy, we're back in business," he says, then sends the dog across to Laura and Steele.

Steele thrusts the dog into her arms. "Here you go. You take him."

Masters prepares to come across. "By the way," Laura asks Steele, "What are we going to do AFTER we steal the diamond?"

Steele looks as if he's drawn a blank before answering. "Well, we'll cleverly trap Blaylock into a web of his own devising, hmm?" he suggests.

"Any idea how?" she asks.

"One thing at a time, Laura. One thing at a time, please." She rolls her eyes.

Masters starts across. "Once more into the breech," he says, rolling across the line. Halfway across, he loses his grip and nearly falls.

Once he makes it, Laura asks, "Are you all right?"

"Fine," he assures her. "A little- grease on my glove, that's all." But his look says that he knows his lie didn't fool Steele. He tried to use a screwdriver to open an electrical box, but drop the tool.

"May I?" Steele offers.

"Bit chilly," Masters explains to Laura, who nods as she still holds Dolittle. Steele opens the box. "Pull out one four two." Steele pulls something from the box. "Punch up seven six five," he says, and Steele pushes the buttons on a keypad. Masters hands him a board. "Put this in," he says.


Blaylock is standing in Mildred's apartment looking at his watch. "They must be well into it by now." He walks to the telephone and starts to dial.
Mildred, sitting on her couch demands, "What gives you the right to make another man steal for you?"
Blaylock puts down the telephone and glares at her with a slightly crazed look in his eyes. "What gives me the right? That man destroyed my life. Do you know what it's like to have your name dragged through the mud? Mmhn? Have your colleagues shun you? To be the butt of newspaper reporters and their stupid *little* columns? Huh?" He picks up the telephone and dials again. "I was a good investigator. I deserve better." Mildred starts to speak but he "ssh's" her. "Yes sergeant. This is Inspector Anatole Blaylock of Interpol. It might interest you to know I've uncovered a plot to steal the Jennings diamond." Mildred is confused. "Tonight. That's right. The Gem Exchange building." Mildred's confusion turns to shock. "Yes, I thought your department might want to share credit. I'll meet you there."

Mildred's angry now. "I thought you wanted Kevin to steal for you."

He looks at her. "Do you think money can pay for the humiliation I've suffered?" he asks. "No. Tonight, when I announce to the world that Blaylock, the bumbler, the scapegoat, has unmasked the greatest thief of our time, caught him in the act, as it were, I shall have what I've lived for these past five years: my vindication."

"You'll never make it stick, Blaylock," Mildred tells him.

"Oh, no?" he questions softly.

"No. Kevin will tell the police that you forced him into it."

"Ah," Blaylock agrees, sitting beside her. "But he'll need YOU to back him up," he points out.

"And you don't think I'll talk? I will sing a song that will put you away . . ." she breaks off, realizing what she's saying. "On the other hand, what business is it of mine?" she asks. "I-I mean, I hardly know the guy. Nah, I wouldn't talk. No skin off my nose." Blaylock is shaking his head. He stands up, pulling out a gun.

"Get your coat."

There's a knock on the door. "Millie, it's us," Rose says.

"Don't answer it," Blaylock orders quietly.

"I have to. That's my bowling team."

"Get rid of them," he says.

"But. . . ."

"Unless you want your friends to join you," he says menacingly.

Mildred goes to the door, Blaylock is behind it, holding the gun. "Well, come on, girl," Esther says.

"You girls run on ahead without me," Mildred tells them. "A little emergency came up at the office. I'll get there by myself.."

"But, Mildred . . ." Rose says, confused.

"Do me a favor on the way over, would you? Pick up my bowling ball. It's at the Claremore Shop on Vermont."

"What? The Claremore Shop?" Rose asks.

"On Vermont," Mildred confirms, then closes the door.

"Get your coat," Blaylock tells her again.


At the Gem Exchange, the trio climbs down at ladder into a vent. Laura and Steele make it fine, but Master's hand gives out again, and he falls. "My ankle," he says.

"How bad?" Steele asks.

"Bad enough to keep me here," Masters tells him.

Laura, holding the dog, looks up. "Well, that's it, then."

"No, it isn't. Dolittle's all you need from here," Masters tells them.

Steele looks uncertain. "Oh, no. I'm not taking him without you."

"Tell that to Miss Krebs," Masters reminds him. Steele looks frustrated. "Look, I've explained the voice commands. He'll obey you. You're in good hands, believe me."

Steele looks at Dolittle, who shows his teeth and growls. Steele growls back.

In the vents, Laura asks, "How are we going to get Master's OUT of here?"

"One thing at a time, Laura," he reminds her as they come to a grate that leads out to the room where the diamond is on display. A guard enters the room, and they hide. He puts a card into a slot on one side of the room, then goes across the room to another door and slot. He opens the door and leaves.

Laura removes the grille and she and Steele put on infrared glasses, which reveal a pattern of beams criss-crossing the room. "Okay, Dolittle," she tells him. "Fetch. Fetch. Go on." Dolittle leaps down. "Slide," she orders. "Crawl." "Jump." They laugh. He gets to the slot and card. "Pick it up," she orders. He grabs it. "Okay, Dolittle. Home." He starts back. "Crawl. Jump. Slide!" He gets just out of reach and stops. "Come on, Dolittle. Bring it back."

"Come on, Dolittle," Steele says.

"Come on, sport, come on."

"Come ON, Dolittle, you bloody twit," Steele mutters.

"Oh, SWELL," Laura sighs.

Steele swings his leg out of the hole as Laura keeps trying. "Walkies," Steele says. Dolittle comes and lifts his leg as Steele frowns and Laura laughs.

"You're an inspiration to us all, Mr. Steele," she tells him as he shakes off his shoe. "Come here," she tells Dolittle. "Give me the card." He gives it to her. "All right, good boy." She reaches out and puts the card into the nearby slot, which turns off the light beams.

Steele and Laura get out of the vent.


On the street below, a man drives up in a car. "Diamond one to Diamond two," he says into a two way radio. "Report, over."

In another car, a man responds. "Diamond two to Diamond one. In position, over."

"Diamond one to Diamond three. Report, over."

"Diamond three to Diamond one. In position. Over."


At the docks, Blaylock forces Mildred out onto a pier. She falls down in some sand. "Get up," he orders. She does, but she throws some of the sand into his face, then takes off down the pier as he shoots at her. At the end of the pier, she falls into the water. Blaylock looks into the dark water, but doesn't see anything. So he leaves.

Laura and Steele set up a tripod over the case holding the diamond. Attaching a suction cup to the tripod and the case, they pull the base from beneath the case.

On the sidewalk, the Dragon Ladies stand there. "All right," Esther tells them. "We're here. The corner of Claremore and Vermont. All I see is the Gem Exchange. Now what?"

"I still don't get it," Hazel insists.

"It's a clue, Hazel" Rose explains. "Mildred's a top operative. She wouldn't have sent us here without a reason. We just have to figure out what it is."

"So what do we do?" Hazel asks.

"Reconnoiter, girls," Rose says. "Reconnoiter."

In one of the cars, a man says into his radio, "Diamond one, this is Diamond three. We have three female subjects out front. Middle aged, all wearing what appear to be bowling shirts with- `Dragon Ladies' written on the back. Please advise. Over."

Diamond One isn't happy. "Damn," he says into his radio.

Upstairs, Steele is using a cutting torch on the bottom of the jewel case. Laura is at the window, and notices the Dragon Ladies downstairs with the police. Turning to Steele, she asks, "What is Mildred's bowling team doing down there?"

"Sorry. Can't talk right now," he says.

Laura watches another few moments as the women move away with the police. Steele removed the plate from the bottom of the case, then reaches inside to withdraw the diamond. "What do you say to that, eh?" he asks Laura.

She frowns. "Put it back," she says, putting on a coat.


"It's a set up," she tells him. He looks upset.


Rose is trying to explain. "You see, officer, there isn't any Claremore Shop. We interpreted that to mean the corner of Claremore and Vermont." A police car with sirens approaches. "Now, the question is, . . ."

"Look, I'm sure you're right, lady, but some other time," he says, as the police cars stop before the building and several uniformed officers get out and head to the door. "Now what?" He rushes to them, as does his men, asking what's going on. "What are you doing here?"

As he unlocks the doors, an officer explains, "Some people got locked in the building accidentally. The old man's got a sprained ankle." Laura, Steele, and Masters come out, wearing jackets and looking presentable.

"Okay, everybody," the detective orders. "Up against the wall."

"There's a perfectly good explanation for this officers," Laura tries to explain.

"I'm SURE there is," the detective says doubtfully.

Blaylock strides up. "Congratulations, officer. You've just arrested a world famous thief," he says.

Steele turns from the wall. "What have you done with Mildred?" he asks, only to be pushed back against the wall.

"If you check that man's pockets," Blaylock says, "I'm certain you'll find the Jennings diamond."

One of the detectives turns around. "They're clean, lieutenant."

"What's this all about?" the lieutenant asks Blaylock.

"He has the diamond! He MUST!"

Steele turns around. "This is the man you want, Lieutenant! He killed an Interpol agent! Will you listen to me?!"

Mildred, dripping wet, runs up. "Arrest this man!" she says.

Blaylock snaps, pushing Mildred into the crowd gathered around them, and takes off. Masters grabs the dog and sends him down the street, yelling, "Dolittle! Tango!" The dog grabs Blaylock's pants legs, tripping the man. He reaches for his gun, but Steele kicks it out of his hand and the police grab Blaylock.

"Take him away!" the lieutenant orders.

"Well," Steele says, "I suppose that dog is good for something after all."

Laura grins. "Uh, Mr. Steele," she points down and laughs as Steele grimaces.


The next morning, at the office, Masters and Dolittle are with Laura and Steele. "Well, I think it's safe to say that the Fox has finally retired," Masters tells them.

"Well, at least you won't have Blaylock to worry about anymore. According to the police, his failure snapped him for good."

"Umm hmm," Steele agrees. "Just sits in his cell, repeating, `Le Renard, Le Renard'."

"How can I ever thank you?" Masters asks.

"How about picking up my dry cleaning bill, eh?" Steele suggests as they shake hands, laughing.

Susan Clairborne comes into the office. "Mrs. Clairborne," Laura says.

"Thought you might need a little more help today," she says brightly.

"No way, Jose," Mildred answers, entering the office. The phone rings, and she answers it. "Remington Steele Investigations, one moment, please." She puts the line on hold. "Good morning, everyone."

Masters says, "I thought we might have lunch, Mildred."

"Oh, great. I only get an hour," she tells him, then pushes the button on the phone. "Yes? No, I'm afraid that won't do. When we order canary yellow pads, we expect canary yellow pads." Laura and Steele are watching, and Laura laughs as Steele smiles. "Let me speak to your supervisor, please." Masters smiles, watching Mildred at work.

Susan looks at Steele and Laura. "You said she was a very important part of this agency."

"She is, Mrs. Clairborne," Steele assures her. "She is." He winks at Mildred.

The End.