A man, tall, dark-haired, is apparently taking photographs of his "family", a woman and two children. "Just in a little bit- that's it. Fine," he says with a British accent. "Wonderful. Look at your mother. That's fine. That's it. Okay. okay." But the photos aren't of the family. They are of the arrival of the limo and armored car. He catches sight of the linen truck being unloaded, and takes a picture of the driver. He gives the woman some money. "Thank you. You have an enchanting family."
"For another fifty, you can keep the kids," she tells him.
He smiles at the little girl. "I'm afraid my suitcase isn't big enough." The family moves off as the man goes to his car, a blue Mercedes.
From an upstairs window of the hotel, two men are watching the photography session through binoculars. One, a rough looking man with a mustache, tells the other, "Didn't take him long to pick up the scent, did it?"
His companion, a rat faced man with a Cockney accent, opens a switchblade. "Only this time, we saw 'im, before 'e saw us." He closes the knife smugly.
Laura and Hunter watch in the security office as the metal box is unsealed and opened to reveal a load of bricks. Hunter frowns. "I must say, Miss Holt, that I am LESS than impressed. This is NOT why I retained the Remington Steele Detective Agency."
Laura turns to the guards. "Thank you, gentlemen." The men leave them alone.
"I could have arranged this method of transportation myself," Hunter tells her. "It does not take a security genius to hire an armored car service."
"Mr. Hunter, this is only a divers-"
I've got 2.6 million dollars worth of gems arrivin' tomorrow. If anyone wants to take a shot at 'em, all they gotta do is blow that tin can apart and run like hell!"
Laura remains calm. "If they do, they'll come up empty," she tells him. "The art of security is a lot like a magic act, Mr. Hunter. It's built on deception. While everybody's looking here-" she indicates the box, "The gems, will be over here. So if anybody wants that box, they're welcome to it." She goes to the safe and pulls out another box. "Because THIS is the one that counts." She opens the box to reveal a silver lining as Murphy enters. "Murphy will go through the service entrance with the gems neatly tucked away in a linen cart."
Hunter laughs. "NOW, I'm impressed."
"Mr. Steele will be pleased to hear that."
"I'll tell him myself tomorrow.
Murphy returns the box to the safe as Laura says, "I'm afraid that won't be possible. He isn't in Los Angeles at the moment." Murphy turns to watch the scene, wary.
"You mean he's not going to supervise this operation personally?"
"We explained that Mr. Steele never involves himself directly in a case. He functions best in an advisory capacity."
Hunter is disturbed. "The insurance only covers HALF the value of those gems. If your little magic act turns sour, I'm on the hook for a million three. You wanna hear a little secret? I don't GOT a million three. So I want Steele in the trenches." He goes to the door. "Or I'm goin' somewhere else."
Murphy nods. "We're sorry you feel that way. We'll submit a bill for services to date."
Laura steps forward, ignoring Murphy's worried look. "Uh, Mr. Steele will be calling in around 5. I'll discuss the situation with him and see how he wants to proceed."
"I'll expect an answer by six," Hunter tells her.
Laura enters the offices of Remington Steele Investigations as Bernice Foxe comes from the main office. "Is he in?" Laura asks, pointing at Murphy's door.
"Waiting for you," Bernice says.
"Good. Let's get started." She enters her office - the middle one, and knocks on the connecting door to Murphy's. She removes her hat as Murphy opens the door.
"It's five after 5. Have you heard from Mr. Steele yet?"
Laura smiles, removing her jacket. "We all know the problem. Let's talk solution." They go into the main office, where Laura sits at the desk, shoes off, feet up.
"Simple. Say goodbye to Mr. Hunter," Murphy tells her.
Bernice enters with some tea and coffee. Laura looks at Murphy. "Isn't that a little precipitous?"
"We made a rule. If a client insists on dealing DIRECTLY with Remington Steele, we pass."
"Gordon Hunter is creating a media event. Television, newspapers, 'People Magazine' for god's sake. Whoever provides security for the gems gets kissed by the same spotlight. The publicity is worth its weight in clients."
Bernice frowns. "And you want Remington Steele to personally oversee security." "That's right."
"Can I ask a dumb question? How is Remington Steele going to do that if he doesn't exist?"
Laura stands. "We don't have to produce a real, live, Remington Steele. Hunter just wants to know he's there." She moves to her office, closing the main door to it. "The trick is to keep our non-existent Mr. Steele involved, yet inaccessible. Wherever Hunter is, He'll be somewhere else." She closes the door to Murphy's office. "By the time Hunter realizes that he hadn't met or even seen, Remington Steele, we'll have done out job." She closes the door to her office as Murphy shakes his head.
"I think we're courting disaster."
Laura looks at Bernice as she returns to her seat behind the desk. "Touch on the overheard."
"It's killing us. These offices, the rental on the furniture, not to mention the limousine-"
Laura looks at Murphy. "The reason I invented Remington Steele to begin with was to attract client like Hunter. I'm telling you, all we have to do is manufacture his presence for a few hours - and we can permanently dispense with the red ink -"
A voice comes from the outer office. "Hello?" He taps on the door and opens it. It's the photographer from the hotel. "Anyone about?" Laura puts on her shoes as he enters, her eyes wide. He approaches Murphy, hand out. "Mr. Steele -"
Laura speaks. "I'm sorry. Mr. Steele's out of town."
Murphy smiles, suspicious of this handsome foreigner. "I'm his associate. Murphy Michaels."
The man looks Murphy, his gaze moving from him to Laura and back again. "Have we met before?" "I don't think so."
"Odd. You look vaguely familiar."
"I've got that kind of face," Murphy tells him.
The man's attention turns to Laura as he answers. "So you do."
Laura puts out her hand. "Laura Holt -"
She's interrupted by Bernice. "Bernice Foxe."
He smiles. "Quite a busy office with so many secretaries."
Laura frowns. "I'm a licensed private investigator, Mr. -"
"Pearson. Ben Pearson." He pulls out an ID.
Laura looks at it. "Special agent."
"For want of a better title. I represent the South African government. Sorry to barge in unannounced, but I thought it best not to make a formal appointment."
Bernice sidles up to him, the coffee pot in her hand. "Would you like some coffee? I'll make a fresh pot." She starts to turn, then stops and purrs, "Or, tea, perhaps? I'll make some fresh water." She slinks out the door as Pearson and Murphy both watch.
Pearson looks a bit embarrassed, and continues. "I'm on a rather delicate mission and I need your assistance. Those gems you're guarding-"
Murphy is still uncertain. "What about them?"
"They're stolen. They were smuggled out of South Africa, quite illegally, and eventually sold to a private museum in Rome. From there, they were lent to museums in Paris and London, and now they're here on some sort of promotional tour of the states. Naturally, my government wants them returned."
Laura joins Murphy. "That's a legal matter. Why come to us?"
"Ownership is currently tied up in litigation. But if the gems should be stolen now it wouldn't matter who they really belong to."
"Do you think there will be an attempt?"
"They are the rarest gems in the world. Royal Lavulite. More precious than diamonds because there are so few of them. The only known deposits reside in my country. Yes, Miss Holt, I think there WILL be an attempt. That's why I'll need to be fully apprised of your security measures."
Murphy asks, "You don't mind if we check you out first."
"Not at all," he says, his gaze mostly on Laura. "Quite frankly, I would be rather disappointed if you didn't. It would indicate a certain laxity on your behalf that would not be very reassuring to my government."
"Then we'll see you again, Mr. Pearson?" Laura asks.
"Count on it, Miss Holt." He shakes Murphy's hand, gets to the door as Bernice returns with the tea.
"Delightful aroma," he comments, then leaves.
Laura and Bernice exchange smiling glances as Murphy picks up the telephone. "Does anyone know what time it is in South Africa?"
Pearson unlocks his hotel room door, only to see a knife go through the wood. He pauses long enough to see the knife being removed, and pushes the door open, throwing his would be attacker back into the room, where Pearson gets him in a head lock. He is attacked from behind by another attacker, winds up nearly being choked by his tie and falling to the floor. The two men who were watching him earlier are the attackers, and the American, Kessler, asks, "Who are you?"
Loosening his tie with a slight grin, Pearson answers, "Just a happy go lucky tourist, out to see a bit of the world."
Neff, the knife man, drops some passports on him. "That why you got five dif'rent passports from five dif'rent countries with five dif'rent names?"
"I keep trying for a good picture," Pearson responds.
Kessler says, "Those gems belong to us."
"I was under the impression that they belong to the South African government."
"We have a proprietary claim. After all, the courier who smuggled them out of the country initially worked for us."
"Only he got greedy and sold them on his own," Pearson comments.
"He's been properly chastised for his indiscretion," Kessler informs him.
"May I get up now, or do you prefer me in the groveling position?"
Kessler extends a hand to help him, which Pearson releases as soon as possible, obviously not trusting the man. "Each time we try to reclaim those stones you get in our way. First in Paris, then London. Here you are again."
Pearson smiles. "We must have the same travel agent."
Neff, standing behind him, says, "I'm 'ungry. Let's kill 'im and get somethin' t'eat."
"That won't satisfy anything but your appetite," Pearson warns him. Neff jabs him in the back with the closed knife held at ready. "I admit that we may have been at cross purposes up to now. Perhaps it's time we joined forces."
Kessler is untrusting. "Why?"
"It certainly beats the alternative," Pearson comments.
Kessler, apparently satisfied, turns to go leave. Neff follows him, opening and closing the knife as he tells Pearson, "Keep in touch."
Pearson scratches thoughtfully his cheek with the passports.
Hunter is signing some papers in the banquet room when Laura appears. "Mr. Hunter."
"You can afford to be when you bring good news," she tells him.
Hunter smiles broadly. "He'll be here."
"Mr. Steele feels your situation warrants his closest attention. He'll be arriving late tonight."
Hunter is pleased as the man leaves. He indicates the covered car. "Well, what do you think?"
"It seems very adventurous, building an automobile, the way the industry is these days."
"You ever have a dream, Miss Holt? A desire to see your talents recognized, your efforts applauded?"
Laura smiles, dreamy eyed as she answers. "Yes."
"Ever since I started welding door panels on the assembly line, I dreamed of having my name on the finest automobile ever built. I went to engineering school at night, I even took speech lessons so that people would listen to WHAT I said instead of HOW I said it. I averaged 3 hours of sleep a night for 6 years until I was running a division of my own. I've mortgaged everything but my vital parts to get this beauty launched. This maybe just another job to you, but it's my life."
Laura meets his eyes. "I assure you, Mr. Hunter, in my own way, I am also risking everything I have."
Hunter smiles. "Good. I never like doing business with someone who doesn't have as much to lose as I do."
In a makeshift darkroom, Pearson is developing his photographs. He notices something and gets his magnifying glass, identifying Murphy in a linen company uniform. "Dr. Livingstone, I presume," he says.
Laura is sitting in the hotel dining room when the waiter brings over a magnum of champagne and sets it beside the table. "I didn't order this."
The waiter tells her, "The gentleman wishes to buy you a drink."
She looks past him to see Ben Pearson sitting at a table. He lifts his glass to her in silent salute. "Tell the gentleman that I appreciate the gesture, but I'm waiting for someone-" She jumps as the cork releases, and watches at the waiter pours a glass of the wine before leaving. Pearson approaches. "A magnum of champagne?" she asks.
"You looked thirsty."
"Do you always do things on such a grand scale, Mr. Pearson?"
"Only when I'm aroused- with curiosity. May I?" She indicates the other chair, takes a drink, almost choking on it as he asks, "Tell me, Miss Holt, how did you become a dick?"
"I beg your pardon?"
"Isn't that what you Americans call a private detective?"
Laura smiles. "Only in the movies. I always loved excitement. So I studied and apprenticed, and eventually joined a large detective agency."
"And did it fulfill your fantasies?" he asks.
"The work was rewarding, the recognition was nil. It seemed that no matter how successful my efforts were, the lions' share of the credit always went to my male counterparts - regardless of their contribution."
"Tawdry thing, this male chauvinism."
"You exhibited it a bit of yourself."
"When you instantly assumed I was a secretary."
"You must admit, your occupation is highly unusual for a woman. Especially one of such obvious breeding and intelligence."
"You carry the same prejudice most people do," Laura accuses. "Because of my sex, I'm not BUILT for the job."
"It IS a rather rough and tumble trade. At least the way it's portrayed in your cinema. All those blazing guns and smashing fists -"
Laura smiles. "Believe me, it requires more brain than brawn."
"I take it sex isn't a problem for Remington Steele. Yours, that is."
Laura sits back, relaxed. "On the contrary. He's the most generous, understanding, supportive man I could imagine," she says, drinking a toast to her boss.
"He seems to have rather large shoes to fill," Pearson comments, his eyes on hers.
"Few would be foolish enough to try."
"Unless, of course, one enjoyed impossible challenges." He takes a drink. "Will he be involved tomorrow?"
Laura smiles again. "Mr. Steele's presence will be felt rather than seen."
"And his associate-"
"Murphy Michaels," Laura supplies.
"I certainly hope he's involved. He seems an awfully competent chap."
"Oh, he'll play a vital role."
Pearson lifts his glass. "Tomorrow, then. May everything go as smoothly as I hope."
Laura drinks to the toast, then her eyes widen as she sees who she's been waiting for. "Excuse me," they rise. "Thanks for the champagne- and the curiosity."
Murphy is with a cart of luggage as Laura approaches him. "Murphy. I've reserved the penthouse suite in Remington Steele's name. Take the bags up, arrange the clothes and hang out the Do Not Disturb sign."
"I hate this, Laura. I really hate this," Murphy tells her, smiling all the while.
"It's working. Don't fight it," she begs. "Don't fight it." She leaves a very frustrated Murphy behind as she goes down the hall.
Pearson finds himself in the company of Kessler and Neff as the two drink champagne. Kessler is pleased. "Very clever, getting on team with Steele's associate."
"Just sowing seeds, gentlemen, just sowing seeds."
"And when can we expect the harvest?" Kessler asks.
"Tonight. She's going to show me the route the gems will take."
"Nat'r'ly, you're gonna share that little tidbit with your new associates."
"I want you to follow us." He rises, as do they. "Of course, if you're not interested, gentlemen- I'll make the trip alone. Excuse me." He starts down the corridor after Laura. Kessler and Neff catch up with him, and he holds out some car keys. "Take my car. Blue Mercedes." He starts to give them to Kessler, but he points them toward Neff. "And for god's sake, don't loose us," he says, leaving them to follow as he approaches Laura.
She's about to get into the limo when he calls her. "Miss Holt! I wonder if I might impose on you for a lift?"
Laura hesitates a moment, then smiles. "Certainly."
Pearson gets into the limo, as Kessler and Neff run to his car.
Pearson examines the interior of the car. "Plush," he comments.
"Mr. Steele graciously allows me to use it whenever he's away."
He glances behind them. "Your Mr. Steele sounds too good to be true."
"Where can I drop you?"
"Wherever there's an abundance of police cars."
"Are you in some kind of trouble?" Laura asks.
"Depends on how quickly we can locate one."
Laura leans forward to tell the driver, "Cut across to Sunset."
"Do you pack a rod, Miss Holt?"
Laura smiles, laughs softly. "You've seen too many movies, Mr. Pearson. No, I don't 'pack a rod'. I've never found the need for one."
"The courier who smuggled those gems out of South Africa-"
"What about him?"
"He was brutally murdered by the two gentlemen behind us in that blue Mercedes." Laura turns to look as Pearson picks up the telephone. "May I use your phone? It's a local call-" Laura turns back, concerned. "Mobile operator? This is T-7328. I'd like the police." Laura slides down in the seat as Pearson looks at her. "Yes, it's definitely an emergency."
Laura leans closer, speaking softly. "Why are they following US?" she asks.
"Police? I'd like to report a stolen vehicle. Blue Mercedes 380SL. License number-" he can't recall it, so he turns to read it from the car as Laura covers her face. "1DRO373. The last time I saw it, it was traveling-"
"East on Sunset," Laura says, "just past Dougheny."
"East on Sunset, just past Dougheny," Pearson tells them. "Please hurry. I had some medicine in the back seat for my grandmother-" Laura turns to stare at him. "If she doesn't receive it-" He smiles. "Bless you." He hangs up, notes Laura's expression and shrugs. "Everyone needs a little added incentive now and then." He pauses. "In the light of this disturbing development, I suggest we change our strategy."
"In what way?" Laura asks, still shaken.
"Use a decoy, then slip the gems in when no one's looking."
She's surprised. "You're very good at this sort of thing, Mr. Pearson."
"Have I read your mind, Miss Holt?"
"Let's just say it's been considered."
"So are you," he tells her as the sound of a police siren is heard.
"Good at this sort of thing." He looks back and smiles to see the car pulled over by the police. Laura sits up and looks too. "Rather reaffirms one's faith in the local constabulary."
The next morning, Bernice greets Laura when she enters the office. "Cutting it a little close, aren't you?"
"I had the most INCREDIBLE evening," she confides, smiling.
"With who?" Bernice asks, following Laura to the main office.
"I want to hear all the gory details."
"First, he bought me a bottle of champagne," she tells the woman
Murphy, frowning, appears from the bathroom, wearing the linen company uniform. "Who bought you champagne?"
"Actually, it was a magnum."
"I thought you didn't like champagne?" Murphy asks.
"What happened after the champagne?" Bernice pumps.
"We went for a drive," Laura tells her as she retrieves a step stool to bring it to a high storage area. "And that's when things really got hairy."
Murphy, tired of being ignored, says, "WHO went for a drive?"
"Laura and special agent Ben Pearson," Bernice tells him as Laura pulls a box from the storage space.
"You went joyriding with a man who could be an international jewel thief? Or for all we know a mass murderer? That's not like you, Laura." Both women look at him.
"Didn't he check out?" Laura asks.
Murphy is chagrined. "Yeah, he checked out. I talked to his supervisor this morning. The only bump is that Pearson wasn't supposed to arrive until today. So just to be sure I requested a wire photo."
Laura takes a gun from the box, looks at Bernice. "Where are the bullets?"
Bernice leaves to room as Murphy asks, "What are you doing?"
"This isn't going to be the piece of cake we thought it would be. The men who originally stole those gems are brutal murderers." She takes the bullets Bernice brings her and starts loading the weapon. "They followed us last night. Even though Ben took care of them brilliantly-"
Laura gives the gun to Murphy. "I'd feel better if you packed a rod."
Murphy is totally lost. "A rod?"
Laura picks up her purse and starts for the door, telling Bernice, "Page Remington Steele in exactly-" she checks her watch. "27 minutes just to keep his presence alive. I'll tell Hunter that Mr. Steele has already left for the airport."
"Good luck," Bernice calls as the door closes behind her.
"Sounds like he got a lot for his lousy bottle of champagne!" he says, obviously jealous.
Bernice smiles. "It was a MAGNUM," she reminds him.
Pearson exits the elevator and starts through the lobby, only to find his path blocked by an angry Neff. Turning away, he finds Kessler there. "What a relief, gentlemen. I thought you'd never get here in time."
"Wonderful thing about Los Angeles," Kessler tells him. "It has twenty four hour bail bond service."
Neff is at Pearson's back. "I told you. We should 'ave killed 'im straightaway."
"It's very difficult to maintain a relationship built solely on mistrust, gentlemen."
A page begins calling, "Remington Steele. Telephone call for Remington Steele."
Kessler looks at Pearson. "To the elevator, dear boy." They turn.
"Remington Steele, telephone call for Remington Steele-"
Pearson turns to her. "Miss?"
"Mr. Steele?" she asks.
"You've found me," he tells her, going with her.
"This way, Mr. Steele." She takes him to a phone. "There you are, sir."
"Thank you." As he picks up the phone, Neff jabs the closed switchblade into his back, causing him to grunt. "Steele here."
A shocked Bernice frowns. "Who? Where?!"
"Can't talk now Miss- Wolfe?"
"I knew it was some sort of primitive creature," he says. Bernice frowns. "Sorry to be abrupt, but I've got to run-" he hangs up and starts to make a getaway as Gordon Hunter appears with several security guards.
"Mr. Steele." He shakes hands. "I certainly feel safer with you here."
"My sentiments precisely." He smiles nervously at Kessler and Neff.
Hunter puts an arm around his shoulders to steer him. "Come with me. There's someone I want you to meet in the security office."
Moving away, he smiles at Kessler and Neff's frustration. "Security office? Sounds very- secure."
Hunter smiles. "You know, somehow I thought you'd be older."
"Oh, I can age on demand," he assures Hunter, glancing back at his angry would be kidnappers.
Laura arrives, waves off the limo, and enters the hotel as Hunter escorts the man he thinks is Steele into the security office where another man is waiting.
"Remington Steele, may I present Special Agent Ben Pearson of South Africa."
The men shake hands. "Mr. Steele. A pleasure, sir. I've heard a great deal about you."
"And your name has preceded you, Mr. Pearson," Steele assures him, smiling.
"Mr. Pearson's here to assist you in protecting the gems," Hunter tells him.
"Ah. That's a piece of good fortune I hadn't anticipated."
"I assume you're aware of Raymond Kessler and Leo Neff?"
Steele looks thoughtful. "The gentlemen who murdered the courier. Yes. They've left an indelible impression."
"Well at least they're a known quantity. But I am afraid there's a bit of a hiccup in all this."
"Yes. It seems as though someone's been impersonating me."
"He did it in Paris and then again in London."
Steele paces away. "You wouldn't by chance have a description of this- impostor?"
Pearson shrugs. "My build, general colouring."
Steele smiles, still nervous. "Could be anyone. Even me -" he laughs at the joke.
Pearson doesn't laugh, obviously hasn't much of a sense of humor. "Mr. Steele, how may I be of service?"
"You could detain messieurs Kessler and Neff - I believe they're in the hotel now."
"Would that help you accomplish your objective?"
"It WOULD go a long way," Steele confirmed.
Hunter becomes impatient. "Now, could we get on with it?"
Laura is pacing the hallway, waiting for someone, when Hunter approaches, smiling widely. "Miss Holt."
"I just spoke with Mr. Steele-" she begins
"So did I," Hunter tells her.
"He just left-"
"He just arrived," Hunter corrects.
His words finally sink in, and Laura goes pale. "Mr. Steele just- arrived?"
"Yes," he tells her, pointing to Pearson and Steele as they leave the security office. "There he is with Special Agent Ben Pearson."
Steele moans as he sees Hunter talking to a stunned Laura.
Pearson glances up at him. "Something wrong, old chap?"
"Stomach's a bit queasy."
"I wouldn't doubt it. Be a little gaseous myself protecting over two million in rare gems. But not to worry. Just remember, I'll be watching you every step of the way." He moves off.
Laura and Hunter approach, Laura watching the man's departure closely, still shocked. They stand for a moment until Hunter speaks up.
"You have less than 20 minutes to get to the airport," he tells them.
Laura looks at the man she still thinks is Ben Pearson. "Shall we?"
"Why not?" he asks.
Hunter goes ahead, and Laura stops Steele, whispering, "That man that was with you-"
"Yes?" he asks nervously.
"He ISN'T Remington Steele."
"He's an impostor."
"But don't say anything," she pleads.
"Oh, you can count on me," he assures her.
As they approach the limo, Steele says, "Why don't you pop on ahead, Miss Holt, and I'll stay behind - to reconnoiter the area, as it were-"
But Hunter is having none of that. "Nonsense. I want you BOTH at the airport." They get inside the limo, and follow the armored car away from the hotel.
Laura asks, "What did he say?"
"He wants us both at the airport."
"No, I mean that phony Steele."
"Oh, not much, actually. We were merely introduced."
"He's obviously after those gems."
"Why didn't Gordon Hunter blow the whistle on him?"
"Well, he's never actually MET Mr. Steele. You see, Mr. Steele was out of town when he accepted this assignment."
"But surely our charlatan realizes he'll be exposed once the real Steele comes upon the scene." He pauses. "When do you expect him?"
"That's difficult to pinpoint."
"But you did say he'd be involved in this operation-"
"Yes. EXTREMELY involved," Laura confirms.
"But unseen," Steele says.
"This is awfully tricky, Mr. Pearson," Laura tells him.
"So it appears. No pun intended."
"You mustn't tell Mr. Hunter," she pleads. "It would only undermine his confidence in the entire operation."
"How long do you think we can keep this charade going?"
"Just until the gems are delivered safely."
"And then you'll nail this ersatz Remington Steele?"
"To the wall, Mr. Pearson. To the VERY wall!"
"Can I count on your cooperation?"
"Believe me, mum's the operative word here."
Laura puts a hand on his shoulder. "Thank you. Thank you so much. You're the only one I can turn to."
Steele smiles, putting an arm around her. "There, there, Miss Holt. As long as you trust me, you have nothing left to worry about."
They return to the hotel, and as she watches the security guards, she smiles at Murphy, who is unloading his linen cart. When she turns to go inside, Steele remains where he is, watching Murphy as well. Realizing that he's not with her, Laura turns. "Mr. Pearson?"
"Yes. Of course." Another glance at Murphy, and he follows her, but stops to let her continue to the security office alone with the guards. She knocks on the door and gives him the "okay" sign as it opens.
He waves at her as Hunter calls, "Mr. Steele." He's obviously delighted. "Everything went without a hitch."
"Yes. Cracking good job, wasn't it?"
"You know, Steele," he says, turning them toward the elevators, "I must admit I was somewhat- skeptical. Your Miss Holt certainly protects you."
"That's part of her function," he says as they wait for the lift.
"Yes, but this was bordering on the ridiculous. I couldn't see you- talk to you. Not even on the phone. You were always unavailable or out of town - I was beginning to think you didn't exist." They get on the elevator, as Steele laughs. He hesitates over the button, letting Hunter push the penthouse one. "What is this fetish you have for secrecy?" Hunter asks.
"Anonymity is an asset in my profession," Steele points out.
"Yes, but- no photographs, no interviews, never involving yourself directly in a case. And it wasn't only mine. I spoke with several people who dealt with your agency and it was the same story. Plenty of Miss Holt, none of you."
"Well, now you have a great deal of me. Who knows? Before this is over, you many rue the day you ever met me."
The elevator doors open, and Steele lets Hunter go first, following him to the Penthouse. He pats his pockets, then looks embarrassed. "Hmm. I seem to have left my key at the desk-"
Hunter turns to the maid who is passing. "Would you let Mr. Steele into his room? He seems to have forgotten his key." She nods, unlocking the door as Hunter tells Steele, "So, I'll look for you tonight." Steele peeks into the room. "Tonight?"
"Yes. The formal unveiling of the Hunter JetStar 6000- and of course the gems."
"Of course. Wouldn't miss it for the world," Steele assures him, waiting until Hunter is around the corner, then smiling at the maid before cautiously entering the room. He puts out the Do Not Disturb sign, closing the door behind him, then inspects the briefcase on the desk. It's empty.
He goes to the bedroom, finding a $200 suit laid out on the bed, complete with price tag. In the dresser, he finds all brand new, unopened shirts. His curiosity peaked, he moves to the closet, where he finds more new clothes, and shoes that have no marks on them at all. Moving into the bath, he picks up the hairbrush and examines it, then puts on some cologne, smiling at his reflection in the mirror.
"Pleasure to meet you, Mr. Steele."
At the reception later, Laura asks Steele, "No sign of him?"
"Where do you suppose our impostor is?"
"I keep asking myself that same question," Steele tells her. They sit down as Hunter begins to speak.
"Ladies and gentlemen, could we take our seats, please? We've got an awful lot to accomplish, not the least of which is the unveiling of THE finest automobile ever engineered by man." Steele scans the room, looking for trouble. "But before we knock your socks off with the Hunter JetStar 6000, I'd like to take a moment to thank the Remington Steele Agency -"
Laura smiles, leaning closer to Steele. "Great endorsement." Steele gives her an uncertain look.
"Transporting and protecting the most precious gems in the world requires brilliant planning, daring execution, and plain old street savvy. So, without further ado, I would like to introduce to you to the person responsible for the safety of the Royal Lavulite."
Laura blushes, keeping her head down, and Steele is decidedly more and more uncomfortable. "This is so embarrassing," Laura mutters. "I wish he'd stop."
"Wait," Steele tells her.
"An absolutely astounding human being," Hunter finishes, "Ladies and gentlemen-" Laura starts to rise, only to freeze as Hunter says, "Remington Steele." Her eyes move to her companion in shock.
"Years from now, when you talk of this- and you will--please, be kind. Deborah Kerr to John Kerr, "Tea and Sympathy", MGM, 1956." He goes to the podium, smiling nervously at Laura, while she fumes. "Thank you, thank you. You're most generous with your applause. But it would be unworthy of Remington Steele if he didn't single out his most able and most valued associate. Truly, the woman behind the man, Miss Laura Holt." He applauds. "Please, Miss Holt, stand up and take a well deserved bow." She rises stiffly, her eyes on him the entire time, then slowly sits back down, folding her hands before her. "And now, you have far more interesting things to look at than me. So, please, Mr. Hunter. Show us your creation." He remains near the podium, as if hoping some of Laura's anger will dissipate before he returns to her.
Hunter comes back up. Thank you very much. Without any further pause, I'd like to introduce to you the Hunter JetStar 6000. The cover is lifted from the car, a band starts playing music, and Steele decides he can't put off going back to the table any longer.
He sits down, smiling at the room. Laura's still furious. "YOU-"
"I didn't know he was going to do that. My sincere apologies."
"What are you going to do when Mr. Steele arrives?" Laura asks hitting his arm.
Steele smiles for a camera, straightening his tie. "I'd like to meet the man whose shoes I'm attempting to fill. How am I doing so far?"
"Atrociously. You're NOTHING like Mr. Steele. He's honest," she stands. "Dedicated-" Steele pulls her back to her seat so not to create a scene, smiling at passersby. "Better looking. You're nothing but a treacherous liar," she hits him again with her hand, "a cheap crook, a cut-rate con man!" She uses her purse to hit him then rises, starting toward the dance floor away from him. Steele quickly rises to follow, pulling her into his arms, ignoring her attempt to get free, smiling. "What are you doing? Let go of me!" He smiles at the other dancers. "Whatever possessed you to think you could get away with this?!" she asks, stopping her struggles as he leads her into dancing. She's still furious, her breath coming in short gasps.
"Impeccable man, your Mr. Steele. You know there's not a piece of lint, a speck of dandruff, a hank of hair on any of his suits? And he obviously wears a shirt once and then discards it, since there's no laundry marks to be found. The same with the shoes. The soles seem never to have touched the ground. Not one single, solitary scuff mark."
Laura met his look. "The man's fastidious. Almost to a fault."
"Of COURSE not!"
"Then he's blessed. I'm forever plucking stray hairs out of my comb and brush. Positively demoralizing, but an inescapable part of the human condition." He paused. "Does any of this say anything to you, Miss Holt? It does to me." They stop dancing as he says, "It fairly shouts: Remington Steele in an elaborate ruse. He does not exist. You invented him."
"What are you going to do with this ABSURD supposition?" she asks.
He starts dancing again. "Nothing. Believe me, Laura, I didn't plan on assuming Remington Steele's identity. I'm after something entirely different."
He shakes his head. "Uh-Uh. The courier- the one who was murdered? He was my younger brother. I'm here to see that Kessler and Neff pay for his death."
"I don't know whether to believe you or not."
"That's understandable. The moment they're apprehended, I'll be gone, and your secret shall leave with me."
Laura sees Murphy and Bernice enter the room, waving her to them, both with angry expressions.
"Excuse me," she says.
Murphy tells Laura, "That guy's a fake. I told you, Laura. I warned you about him-"
"I know. I KNOW."
He shows her a photo. "That's the special agent from South Africa." They watch as Steele talks to someone, laughing.
"What do we know about the courier who was murdered?" Laura asks Bernice.
"Let's see. His name was Otto Detmueller, he was born in Johannesburg-"
"How OLD is he?"
"Sixty-three or four, I think."
Laura frowns, tells Bernice, "Keep an eye on him." She taps Murphy on the arm. "Come on."
Steele, still talking to someone, sees them go, his smile fading a bit.
In Steele's original room, Laura finds the passports. "He certainly gets around. Douglas Quintain, England," Murphy meanwhile, has found a book on Steele's bed and is leafing through it. "Michael O'Leary, Ireland; Paul Fabrini, Italy; John Murrell, France; Richard Blaine, Australia."
"Wait a minute. Run through those names again," he says, looking at the book.
"Blaine, Murrell, Fabrini, O'Leary, Quintain."
Murphy laughs. "I don't believe it."
"I know. He doesn't look like a Fabrini."
"No. Each of those names is from a character Humphrey Bogart played in the movies."
Laura put the passports down with a sour expression. "Well, we know one thing."
"He likes Humphrey Bogart." She goes to the bath, looking inside, then opens the closet door, only to scream and run back toward Murphy upon finding Ben Pearson's body hanging from a coat hook on the door.
"Well, now we know something else," he says.
"What?" Laura asks, still in shock.
"He's a murderer." He goes to the phone.
"What are you doing?" Laura asks.
"Calling the police."
"Laura, the guy's dangerous! Just ask special Agent Pearson just HOW dangerous."
"I want the agency to bring him in. It's the only way we can come out even on this fiasco. Besides, he's made the whole thing very personal."
Murphy hangs up the phone. "He's not gonna stick around after this."
"He wants those gems. He won't leave until he's taken a shot at them." She turns toward the door, but stops as Murphy calls her.
"Laura! I hope it's only the agency that you're trying to protect."
"It's the only thing I'm interested in, Murphy," she assures him.
He finally smiles. "Okay."
Laura finds Hunter in the empty hall, drinking. "Mr. Hunter."
"Welcome to the party. Pull up an empty promise and sit down."
"There may be an attempt to steal the gems," she tells him. "Possibly tonight."
"The way my luck is running, it'll succeed."
"We know who the potential thief is - we're doing everything we can to locate him."
"They ate my food, they drank my booze, but they didn't buy my car," Hunter muses.
Laura sits beside him. "I'm sorry."
"I completely retooled an abandoned tire factory in Toledo, Ohio and hired 800 people to turn out a car nobody wants. Let me tell you, Miss Holt, dreams aren't all they're cracked up to be."
Laura takes his glass. "No, Mr. Hunter. Sometimes they AREN'T."
In the penthouse, Steele is going over hotel blueprints, obviously planning the robbery. He hears a key in the lock and quickly stuffs the plans under the bed in the other room before going to the door to spat Laura's hand from the chain so he can let her in.
"Miss Holt. What a welcome surprise. How did you know where to find me?"
"Since you seem to have acquired a taste for masquerading as Remington Steele, it was a logical place to look." Steele moves into the bedroom to kick the edge of the paper further underneath the bed, then closes the door behind him as Laura says, "Your brother the courier-"
"He was sixty-three years old."
"My elder brother," he covers.
Murphy speaks from the door. "Laura, get it over with and turn him in."
Steele looks back to Laura. "No need for that. I'll confess. I'll admit your intuition was correct. I AM here for the gems. But not for myself. For a modest commission I intend to return them to their rightful owner the South African government."
"By stealing them?" Laura questions.
"From the people who stole them," he tells her.
"That's just a technicality. You're a thief."
"Kessler and Neff are thieves. I'm an artist," he tells her.
Murphy drops a hand on his shoulder. "You're a MURDERER. Ben Pearson, the REAL Ben Pearson, is hanging from a coat hook in your room."
Steele is stunned as he paces across the room. "Oh, those filthy-"
"Who?" Laura asks.
"Kessler and his ape Neff." He looks at Murphy. "He was killed with a knife, wasn't he? Blade about six inches long, and incision and upper thrust just below the third vertebrae?"
"Hell of an accurate description for an innocent man," Murphy points out.
"I've been chasing those two animals halfway across Europe. Believe me, I'm familiar with their work. If you want them, you'll have to move fast. They'll go for the gems tonight."
Laura asks, "What makes you so certain?"
"I would." Murphy turns away, shaking his head as Steele faces Laura.
"Do you still intend to?"
"The thought has crossed my mind."
"Then I'd have to stop you."
"If you could."
"Easy. I'd call the police."
"Why haven't you already? Why aren't they here now? Because you don't believe I killed Ben Pearson."
Murphy speaks up. "I do."
"You don't count," Steele tells him. "This is between Miss Holt and myself. Do you, Laura?"
"I don't know."
"Don't waste time agonizing. Tell me, what would Remington Steele do in this situation?"
Murphy answers. "He'd call the police."
"Then call them," he says.
Murphy picks up the phone as Steele puts on his jacket. "Where are you going?"
"I've been avoiding those two gentlemen all evening. I think it's time they found me. I hope you're not squeamish, Murphy."
"Not around you."
"Good. Then you won't mind bringing Pearson's body up here." He turns and leaves. Murphy dials the police and glances at Laura.
In the lobby, Steele in on the telephone. "I've tried his room, there's no answer. Perhaps you can page him in the lobby. Thank you." He puts the receiver on the table and moves away to wait.
"Remington Steele, Telephone call for Remington Steele. Remington Steele-"
"This way, sir." Kessler and Neff are right behind as she shows him the telephone. "Here you are, Mr. Steele."
He picks up the phone. "Steele here-" only to be cornered by Kessler and Neff, with the knife in his back again.
"We've been looking for you, Mr. Steele," Kessler says.
"There's no avoiding good friends, is there?" He hangs up the phone.
Kessler tells him, "This time, we brought our own transportation."
"I'd wager you'd have an easier time cracking that safe if you had the specifications."
"And were would we get them?" Kessler asks.
"Remington Steele. After all, he's the one who's providing security for the gems. Shall we?"
In the penthouse, Kessler asks, "Where are they?"
Steele uses his key to point to the closet. The two men open the door, and Neff jumps back,
"Blimey! We left 'im in 'is room!" he admits when they see Pearson's body.
"So you did, gentlemen," Steele says as the bedroom doors open and several police, Murphy, and Laura appear with a gurney for the body. Steele takes Neff's knife. "I think your laboratory will find this to be the murder instrument."
Kessler looked at him as he was handcuffed. "Who ARE you?"
The policeman said, "Are you kidding? He's Remington Steele." He shakes Steele's hand. "You're as good as they say you are."
Steele smiles crookedly. "The Remington Steele Agency is far more than one man, officer. On their behalf, I thank you." He glances at Laura, who smiles at him.
After everyone else is gone, Murphy closes one of the doors of the suite, then looks at Laura. "Will you be all right?" he asks.
Steele turns to look at her as well, his eyes asking the same question. She nods, and Murphy leaves them alone. "Well," Steele says.
"Well," she says.
"I'm afraid it's time to leave your lovely city."
"Where will you go?"
"Wherever the gems travel next. San Francisco, I believe. I give you my word. I won't try and liberate the gems until they're safely out of your jurisdiction."
Laura smiles. "All things considered, you made a delightful Remington Steele."
"If the press of other commitments wasn't so severe, I might relish the role on a permanent basis." He kisses her hand. "After all, I'm a man who enjoys impossible challenges." He returns the room key and leaves.
The next day, Laura is in the limo, waiting to take the gems back to the airport, when she sees him leaving. He smiles at her and gets into a cab. Seconds later, Murphy calls her name. "Laura!" He's holding his head. "Somebody blind sided me!" he tells her, getting into the limo.
Laura's furious. "He LIED to me! That treacherous thief LIED to me!"
Steele's cab stops at the airport and he quickly pays the cabby, then hurries inside, Laura and Murphy right behind him. Steele stops near where Hunter is giving an interview. "I was very encouraged by last night's showing-" he's saying.
Laura and Murphy burst in, and Laura yells, "Stop that man! He's a thief!"
Hunter bolts, and Murphy, seeing that, lets Steele go to follow him. Laura runs up to grab Steele's arm, then stops. "You mean you didn't steal the gems?"
"Laura, I gave you my word. But they're fair game now!" he says, taking off after Hunter and Murphy.
"Oh, no they're not!" Laura calls, following as well.
Murphy chases Hunter to a storage area, where Hunter grabs a golf cart and takes off. Murphy tries to get on the back, but Hunter throws him off into a pile of boxes, where Murphy lays, stunned.
Steele grabs a cart, and Laura jumps on the back. She reaches around him for the steering wheel. "Ho-Hold it steady!" she tells him. He gets her hands from the steering wheel, but they end up around his neck.
"You're choking me!" he tells her.
Laura reaches around him to try and get the wheel again. "Give me that!" They force Hunter's cart into a dumpster, and Hunter is thrown into a pile of trash.
Steele looks at Laura. "I take it you wanted to drive?"
The next morning, Bernice and Laura are in the elevator, looking at a newspaper with the headline "STEELE PURE GOLD" as Bernice reads, "Remington Steele and unidentified woman-" She looks at Laura, "That's you, rescue rare gems."
"Poor Mr. Hunter. He wasn't a thief. Just a man who saw his dream going down in a sea of red ink." The elevator doors open and they exit as Laura continues. "He wanted to use the gems to finance production of his automobile."
Entering the office, they find a man waiting. "Good morning."
"Lester Giddons. I have a nine o'clock with Remington Steele."
Laura sighs. "I'm afraid Mr. Steele was called away on - urgent business in- San Francisco." Bernice smiles and shakes her head. "But we can use his office." Giddons goes to the door of the office. Laura turns to Bernice. "If- anyone should call-"
Laura opens the door for Mr. Giddons, ushers him ahead of her. He speaks. "Mr. Steele. I thought you were in San Francisco."
Laura glances at Bernice, then peers into the office to see Steele turning in his chair. He smiles at her as he rises. "I was, but suddenly there was nothing for me to do up there." He closes the door behind Laura and comes to stand beside her. "Now. How can I help you?" he asks as Laura smiles up at him.