Scene Steelers
From the episode written by:
Joyce Armour and Judie Neer
Added dialogue in RED
Thanks, Debra and YS!

A movie studio at night. An unseen person walks through the sound stage to a prop truck and unlocks and opens the door with a gloved hand. Inside are stacks of a frozen TV dinner, with the words "Chef Gaston's Instant Gourmet Dinners" on the box. The gloved hands carefully open one of the boxes and removes the dinner, folding back the foil, then places a clear liquid on the food with an eyedropper before covering and returning the plate to the box and resealing it. Then the box is returned to the stack of others just like it.

The next day, Laura is standing with a blonde woman, talking on the telephone. "Excellent, Mildred. It sounds as if Mr. Steele has everything under control."

At the office, Mildred explains, "I can't find the boss anywhere. I've called every gin mill in Los Angeles."

Laura smiles at the woman. "Yes, that's the kind of initiative the Remington Steele Agency is noted for," she tells Mildred.

"Well, do you want me to start trying the saloons in -the Valley?" Mildred asks.

"I couldn't have said it better myself," Laura replies as the woman checks her watch nervously. "And PLEASE tell Mr. Steele that the client anxiously awaits his arrival."

Mildred looks at the phone, confused.

Laura hangs up. "Good news, Ms. Waggenbacker. Mr. Steele is making great progress in locating your star."

The woman is LESS than pleased. She circles Laura. "You LOOK honest. You SEEM honest. That gives you three on a scale of ten. Now, if you're doing a number on me-," she warns.

"Ms. Waggenbacker, the Remington Steele Agency does NOT do numbers."

"Now listen, dearie. This is not some pointless little mini series we're shooting here. It's not some infantile sitcom to save a floundering network. This is IMPORTANT!"

"I know. It's a commercial. The linchpin of the television industry."

"Not A commercial," the woman corrects. "THE hottest commercial on the tube! I am producing the E.T of frozen foods," she says, and seems to believe what she's saying. "Now, we've already lost one day's shooting. You people promised to find Derek and have him here on the set this morning."

"Do-ris!" a female voices sings, and Laura and Ms. Waggenbacker turn to see a blonde woman coming toward them, wearing a robe."

"Heather. Baby!" Doris says, taking Heather's hand.

"I've been thinking," Heather says.

"Of course you have," Doris says, smiling a forced smile.

"We don't need that old drunk Derek. I can do the scene alone."

Doris puts her hands on Heather's shoulders. "Oh, darling, that is so flexible of you." Heather is flattered. "So gallant. It's spirit like yours that gives me the will to go on," she sighs, placing a hand to Heather's cheek.

"Then it's okay?" Heather asks breathlessly.

"Well of course it is, dear. Just give me a moment to- rewrite the script, rearrange the set, and restructure the business." Heather leans in to blow a kiss to Doris.

"Kiss, kiss," she says, and then turns and walks back toward the house as Doris watches.

"She COULD do the scene alone," Doris tells Laura. "It's a love scene." She sits on a table. "But America's gone bananas over a couple. And the couple is one of each sex. At least on the screen." Laura looks uncomfortable. "You know, Derek Vivyan is a very corrupting influence," she tells Laura. "If he's got Mr. Steele caught up in his childish hijinks-."

"Ms. Waggenbacker, there's one thing I can assure you about Mr. Steele: It's that when he's working, he's deadly serious."


Steele is brandishing a sword, saying, "You fool, Raleigh, you head strong fool. You'll die for your childish idealism," to another man, who is also holding a sword. They begin to fight in a bar that is filled with movie memorabilia.

The cross swords, and come together. "No, Lord Ivan," the man says, "Good always triumphs." He pauses. "Did I really say that?"

"Thrillingly, as I remember," Steele tells him.

"Oh, BLESS you, Steele!" he says, and the fight is on again.

"And to THINK that your death will be for so little cause," Steele quotes again.

Derek stumbles over a line, and Steele picks it up.

"What is mere life when a lady's virtue is at stake?" he quotes, and Derek props himself on his sword.

"If I said that I must have been VERY young."

"1953. Young Raleigh. You, Ellen Dru, Basil Rathbone."

"Lord, what a memory!"

"I watch it every time it's on the late show."

"Yes," Derek agrees, lifting his sword again. "I must catch it myself. I hear I'm rather good!"

Steele keeps his blade down. "Derek, you have exhausted me. And we really must be on our way to the location." He hangs up the sword.

Derek frowns. "Ah, so soon? Can't we just have one more go round?" he asks, climbing some stairs. "This time from The Passionate Troubadour?" he says, lifting the sword over his head.

"Derek, you promised the dueling scene from Young Raleigh and then we would be on our way."

"I did?" Derek asks, pointing at him with the sword.

"Three hours ago."

Derek comes forward, placing the sword over his arm and kneeling before Steele. "Well, if nothing else, I am a man of my word." Steele takes the sword and returns it to the wall with the other one as Derek goes to retrieve his coat and hat- and a parrot. "Ah. Come, old and trusted friend. It's time to face the cameras- again."

Steele watches as he fastens his cuffs and puts on his jacket. "What an intriguing companion. How long have you had him?"

"Olivier? About uh, twelve hours. He's a gift from an amorous ornithologist." He takes Olivier with him as they cross the bar. "Innkeeper! A last libation. And you my dear?" he asks the parrot.

"Derek, old chap," Steele says.

"Uh huh?"

"I doubt that they can start without the star."

"Nice try, Steele. Nice try. But do bear with me. I played Hamlet at the Old Vic, I played
Congrieve at the Chischester, Beckett at the Edinburgh Festival, and now I'm to play second lead to a platter of Chef Gaston's pre-shrunk Beef Bourguignonne."

"Make it a double," Steele tells the barkeeper.


Steele assists an obviously soused Derek to the set. "Morning!" Derek tells everyone.

Steele takes a breath spray from his pocket. "Open your mouth," he says softly. Derek does, and Steele sprays it into his mouth.

"Thank you very much," Derek says, with a silly grin. He stands on the top of the stairs, and announces, "Ah! Avast, my hearties! Heave to and prepare to be boarded!" he laughs as Steele looks upset. "The Pirate Prince," he tells Steele. "And they say the booze has gotten to me," he mutters, taking off his hat and tossing it away as he laughs. Steele is trying to look anywhere else, so he doesn't see Derek fall flat on his face, as Olivier squawks.

"BRING ON THE FOOD!" someone yells.

A box from the prop truck is opened, and the next scene, through a camera lens, shows the food, now on a china plate, being placed on a well laid table. The man who yelled for the food comes from behind the camera. "You call that FOOD Maidie?" he asks the young woman who is placing the plate. She's a short red head with a baby face. "Look at it. I want to see it simmer and shine. Put some carnuba wax on it."

Heather is standing there, looking incredibly bored as Derek comes into the scene to put an arm around her shoulders and pull her toward him. He's holding the script in his hand. "My lamb. My pet. My most treasured possession." She yawns. "You think only of me."

"How can you tell?" she asks, not really into the scene.

He consults the script again. "Why, because you've prepared a feast fit for a king. A repast to tickle the most prejudiced palate: Chef Gaston's Beef Bourguignonne."

The director and Doris are nearby. "Brilliant," the director tells them. "Now, you both sit down." They sit at the table. "And now Heather, I want you to lean forward-," he says.

She does, and Derek comments, "Revealing MOST, if not ALL her talent."

Heather stands, offended. "Listen you, just because I didn't study at the Old Victrola-."

"OLD VIC!" Derek corrects her angrily.

"Doesn't mean I don't know my craft," Heather informs him, leaning over once again as she braces herself on the table.

"What craft is that?" he comes back, rising as well. "Assault or landing?"

She snarls at him as Doris pulls them apart. "STOP IT, you two!" Doris says.

"Let's go for a take," the director says.

"Uh, Stanley, old chum," Derek says, stopping the director. "Might we just make a- slight adjustment?"

"What KIND of an adjustment?" Heather asked with a forced smile.

"Couldn't I- just this once- feed her?"

Heather is mortified. "I always feed him," she insists.

"After all, if I love the sow so much, wouldn't I want HER to be the first to experience this- glistening glop?"

"I HAVE to feed him!" Heather insists. "It defines my character. It's contemporary. It's- dynamic." She pauses as she realizes something. "It's something Joan Collins might do."

Unseen, Olivier has gotten onto the table, and eats from the plate. Stanley sees him. "Maidie! Maidie, will you get this damn bird out of here? He's destroying my composition."

Before anyone can react, Olivier falls over onto his back- dead. Derek, Heather, and Stanley all swallow heavily.


Steele carries Olivier's body, now encased in a plastic bag on a tray into the house as Doris says, "It's a disaster. An absolute disaster! The company's wrapped. My two stars have locked themselves in their dressing rooms, and all I have to show after two days work is a dead parrot!"

"Well," Steele assures her, "We'll get the food analyzed, perform an autopsy-."

"On a bird?" she questions as they leave the house again.

"My dear Ms. Waggenbacker-," he begins.

"Doris. Call me Doris."

"This could have been an attempt to poison one of your stars."

"Don't say that. Don't even THINK that," she says softly as they move away from the house. "That's too much to bear."

"I realize that it's emotionally unsettling-," he admits.

"It's earth shattering. If that little- pecker was poisoned, Derek and Heather will run for the hills! Who knows if they'll ever come back?"

"Is that all you're concerned about?" Steele questions.

"You don't seem to understand. Those two are irreplaceable. They have captured the hearts of the television audiences. Without them, there are no Chef Gaston commercials. Oh," she sighs, "it was so much simpler in the old days when we had dancing cigarette packs and Speedy Alka-Seltzer."

Steele stops at the Rabbit and opens the trunk, putting the tray and Olivier inside. "Well, Doris, look on the bright side: Perhaps Olivier here was just allergic to- Carnuba wax, eh?" He closes the trunk.

"Mr. Steele," she says, shaking his hand.


"Ms. Waggenbacker," she corrects, then turns and leaves him.

He starts toward the door of the car, muttering. "Ms. Waggenbacker," as Laura hails him from the street.

"Mr. Steele!" He leaves the car to join her on the drive. "Neither Derek nor Heather answers. Either they've left or they're too terrified to come to the door."

"Well, that's understandable. One of them could be marked for murder."

"Now, let's not jump to conclusions. Perhaps the bird expired from sunstroke."

"Umm hmm. Or that last martini that Derek gave him."

"Or- maybe the lights spoiled the food," Laura suggests as a car engine starts nearby. She looks around. "It's possible- the car," she says, as the Rabbit heads toward them. "Someone's stealing my car!" Laura and Steele part to escape, then come back into the street.

"Well," Steele comments, "At least it saves us the cost of an autopsy." Laura looks at him. "It's safe to say that food was definitely poisoned."

"Now all we have to do is figure out whom it was meant for," Laura tells him, heading toward the gates.


Laura is at Derek's, and he is waxing poetic, a drink in hand. "
Alas, poor Olivier. Dear parrot. For you the war is over. May you find the peace you so richly deserve." Laura rolls her eyes as he drinks. "Have they arrested her yet?" he asks.


"The silicone starlet."

"You suspect Heather tried to kill you?"

He comes toward her. "Have you any idea why those commercials are so successful, Miss Holt? My talent- and her cleavage." He takes a card from a basket of wines and hands it to her. "In this town, "D" cups are a dime a dozen. Even the public knows that."

Laura takes the card. "To the real star of the Chef Gaston commercials. A devoted fan."

"Umm hum. One of these arrives every morning," he tells her, pointing to the basket. "Like clockwork." He sits on the sofa with her. "You see, Heather's jealousy finally drove her over the brink. Take it from me, that woman is an animal."


"The man is an ANIMAL!" Heather is telling Steele. "An absolute ANIMAL. The first day we worked together, he invited me into his dressing room. Well, I thought it was to talk about the part. But then he peeled off his robe and he was stark naked! Well, as calm as you please, like he was ordering tuna on rye, he says, `Shall we get to it?' Well, I just thought it was some sort of method acting, so I -so I started reading my lines. Then he grabbed me, and he THREW me on the sofa," she says, flinging herself at the sitting Steele, who doesn't react at all. "And-being a serious actress, and- knowing I already had the part, I- slapped him across the puss and I left," she finishes, smiling.

"You think a man of Derek Vivyan's stature would stoop to murder just because you wouldn't - uh-," he pauses, searching for the word.

"Come across?" Heather supplies, still practically in his lap.

"In a word."

"Oh, he can't stand it, because he knows I'm the real star of those commercials, and he's just a-a washed up old has been with stinky breath. Why do you think he wanted me to eat that stuff?" she asks. She places a hand on his shoulder. "Because he KNEW it was poisoned. He poisoned it himself."


"Why did you want to change the script and feed Heather?" Laura asks Derek.

"Well, a script is merely- a starting point. A sodden piece of clay, waiting for the imprint of the actor. Besides, that silken haired sow had been shoving that slop down my throat for a year, always managing to miss my mouth and jab me in the upper lip with the fork. So I decided to give her a dose of her own medicine."

"A fatal dose, Mr. Vivyan?" Laura asks.


"Perhaps for the same motive you attributed to Heather."

"I have NOTHING to be jealous about. I will admit- there was a time when parts weren't exactly- coming my way, but all that's changed now. Why, I've even been asked to play King Lear at Stratford. So, until that strumpet is safely behind bars, I shan't be choking down anymore of Chef Gaston's cardboard cuisine."


"So until that madman is locked up in the clink," Heather is telling Steele, "I refuse to set foot on that stage. I am NOT going to give him another chance to kill me."


Laura tells Derek, "I'm afraid there's not enough evidence to arrest Heather."


"At the moment, there's no case against Derek," Steele tells Heather.


Laura smiles. "I guess she'll be doing the commercials- by herself."

"She will?"


"So I suppose he'll be forced to carry on by himself," Steele tells Heather.

Heather is shocked. "He will?"


"I shan't let the company down," Derek decides.


"HUNDREDS of people depend on me for their livelihood," Heather says.


"After all, the audience does depend on me for what little entertainment there is on the tube," Derek tells Laura.


"You can- COUNT on me, Mr. Steele," Heather assures him breathlessly.


Derek tells Laura, "The show must go on."

Laura holds out her hand to shake his. "You're a real trooper, Mr. Vivyan," she tells him.

He retains her hand, rising. "I like to think so."


Steele is trying to get away from Heather. "But I'm planning to sleep with my eyes wide open. Derek Vivyan will kill me over MY dead body," she insists.

He bumps a plant trying to get to the door. "I must say, visually I find the image quite intriguing." He opens the door. "Good day." He leaves.

Heather runs to the phone and dials a number. "It's Heather. We're gonna have to move the time table up. I don't care how risky it is. Just DO it!" She hangs up.


Later, Laura is on the telephone at the office. "Yes. Yes, Sergeant, I've already notified my insurance company. Well, you see, I don't think it was an ordinary car theft." She and Steele are eating at Mildred's desk-burgers and fries. "We had some evidence in the trunk-," she looks up at Steele, who looks back. "A dead parrot and some beef bourguignonne." She pulls the phone away.

"What's he doing?"


He takes a bite. "Where do you suppose Mildred keeps the numbers for car rentals? I've looked through A for automobiles, C for cars, R for rental, and all I can come up with so far is a recipe for ratatooi."

"Yes, Sergeant," Laura tells the officer. "Well, thank you. Thank you for your concern." She hangs up. "According to the Sergeant, my car is probably a Tiajuana taxi by now."

"More fries?" Steele asks, handing them across as he continues to look through the card index.

"Thanks." She looks at her plate. "You want the rest of my cheeseburger?"

He takes the plate, looks at it, then at Laura. "No thanks."

Mildred comes in, followed by a delivery body who's carrying two baskets. "Come in. Well," she tells them, "I found out who's been sending Derek Vivyan all those booze baskets." She notices the boy. "Oh. Put em right down there," she says, indicating a ledge. "Now," she says, digging into her purse, "it cost us a little, but- actually it's very nice wine." She hands the boy some money. "Here you go. Thank you so much." He leaves.

Laura asks, "Who's been sending Derek those baskets?"

"They have all been charged to the same account," Mildred tells her. "Doris Waggenbacker's."

"DORIS WAGGENBACKER?" Laura questions.

"Try Doris, it's faster," Steele suggests.

"Why would Doris send booze to an incipient alcoholic?" she wonders.

Steele puts down his cup and starts to pace. "You know, Laura, we may have overlooked one possible motive. Whoever's behind this may be trying to sabotage the commercials, NOT the actors."

"You're saying Doris was trying to get Derek so drunk or hung over he'd miss the filming?"

He fastens his coat. "Uh-huh. And when that failed, perhaps she even went so far as to poison the food."

"She produces those commercials. Why would she try to kill the goose that lays the golden egg?"

"No, no, no. That set is rife with hostility."

Mildred is dismayed to hear this. "Oh, I can't believe that. Are you trying to tell me that they don't LIKE one another?"

"Let's just say I wouldn't put them both in the same room with a loaded gun," Steele tells her as he puts a toothpick into his mouth. Laura is quiet.

"Oh," Mildred sighs. "Television is SO disillusioning."

"Could it be that BOTH Heather and Derek are telling the truth? That neither one of them is trying to kill the other?"

"I'm so depressed," Mildred says, wandering over to the booze. "What d'ya say we-christen the wine?" she asks.

"Thank you, but- no thank you, Mildred," Steele tells her. "We both have to be on the set early in the morning."

Laura shakes her head. "Me neither," she says, getting up. "After spending an afternoon with Derek Vivyan, I have an overwhelming urge to attend an AA meeting." She and Steele start for the door, but he stops and turns.

"Say, Mildred- Tell me- where do you keep the numbers for the car rentals?" he asks.

"Under T," she tells him.

"Ah," he says, smiling as he thinks he's figured out her system. "For transportation."

"Tax deductible," she tells him.

"Good night, Mildred," he says and leaves.


The next day, Derek and Heather are climbing a "mountain" on a sound stage. Fake snow is blowing around them.

"Oh," Heather declares, out of breath. "That was exhausting!?

"Yes, liebchen," Derek agrees. "But think of it: We've reached the very TOP of the world, where no man or woman has ever trod before."

"Oh, and the most exciting part is: We have Chef Gaston's Veal Fricassees to celebrate!"

"Oh, liebchen, you think of EVERYTHING," Derek says, turning to look at her as they come closer.

Pasting a forced smile on her face, Heather says through gritted teeth, "You are standing in my key light."

He smiles the same way, and tells her through tight lips, "That's right. You know why? You didn't brush your teeth."

"That's right. Do you know why? Because you stood in my key light YESTERDAY."

"Murderess," he accuses.


"No talent."

"Has been."

They kiss and then look at the camera. Stanley says, "CUT! Print that!"

Laura approaches Doris as Steele walks around. "Congratulations," Doris tells her. "I never thought EITHER of them would show up after what happened yesterday. What have-," she stops, looking around, then gets up and leads Laura away from the others. "What about the food? Was it poisoned?"

"Well, the analysis is taking a bit longer than anticipated, but all the evidence points in that direction." She looks at Doris. "However, if one of them IS trying to kill the other, that's not just biting the hand that feeds you, it's devouring it."

"Obviously you don't know actors. They're children. Self destructive children."

"And you can't think of anyone else who might have reason to see one of them dead?"

"A critic or two," Doris admits.

"What about someone who wanted to stop the commercials?"

Doris is suddenly wary. "Why would anyone want to do that? No pun intended, but these commercials DO put food on our table."

"Then perhaps you can explain to me WHY you've been sending Derek Vivyan gift baskets of alcohol."

"Don't be absurd. That would be like- force feeding chocolate to a diabetic."

"They were charged to your account."

"It must have been someone in my office. After all, it's- customary to give gifts to actors."

"Every day since the filming started?" Laura questions.

Doris takes a deep breath. "No doubt this person was unaware of Derek's- predilection. I'll have it stopped. Don't give it another thought."

"But I've been giving it a great deal of thought. You hired us to see that these commercials were done on schedule. And Mr. Steele never goes against a client's wishes."

"I TOLD you it was a mistake. And I'll correct it," Doris declares before leaving Laura standing there.

Steele is watching Maidie get props ready as two uniformed policemen hover in the background. Suddenly he seems to figure something out. "Mop Top," he says to her. She looks up, smiles, embarrassed. "I knew you looked familiar. I've been trying to place you all morning. You're Maidie Moore. Mop Top Allied Artists, umm-1963."

"I was ten years old," she tells him. "You can't hold me responsible."

"I LOVED your films. Little Miss Mischief and, uh- what was the other one? Uh- Flossie of the Yukon."

"Flossie of the Yukon? They pulled that one out after a week."

"I hurried," he explains. "Always wondered why you quit acting."

"I didn't. Acting quit me," she tells him in a sad, little voice. "My awkward age lasted twelve years."


"Please, Mr. Steele. No one knows me. I'd like to keep it that way."

"Oh, I see," he says quietly, coming around to talk to her from across the table. "But- don't you- don't you ever get the urge to get back in front of the camera?"

"No. I had enough of that as a child. That's why I left. Wound up in Chicago. That's where I met Stan. He was a photographer for a food layout magazine. One thing led to another and I became his assistant."

"And now you're content to spend your days waxing zucchini, eh?"

"Zucchini doesn't complain about its makeup," she tells him. He nods as she takes the food from the microwave. "We had a few good times in Chicago. Then Stan met Heather. She was on a promotional tour for something or other. She got him this job. So, here I am, back in Hollywood. Whether I like it or not. But, I go where my husband goes."

Stan calls out as he approaches. "Hey, Maidie! Com'on! Let's go! Get the lead out! Come on! I got a schedule to shoot!" he turns back to the stage.

"Sorry," she tells him, picking up the food.

"Is Stan your husband?" Steele asks her.

"That's what the marriage license says," she tells him with a wink before moving off with the food.

On the set, Maidie is just finishing with the food as Heather comes over. "Doris, I've been thinking . . ."

"What now, Heather?" Doris asks sharply.

"How do we know we can trust these guys?" she asks, glaring at the security guards.

"Miss Sainte-Germaine," Laura says, "The Remington Steele Agency does not employ the Borgias, but if it will make you feel any safer, I'll taste the food-," she says, picking up a fork as Stanley stops her.

"Oh, no, you won't," he says.

"Just a nibble," Laura insists, but he stops her again.

"Your NIBBLE might destroy the statement I'm trying to make," he insists.

"Well, I am NOT going to eat THAT food," Heather announces before flouncing off.

Derek comes over to look over Laura's shoulder. "For once, I agree with the old- trollop." He moves off as well.

"All right, everyone," Stanley announces. "Let's do some close-ups of the- Fricassee."

Heather's scream sends everyone to her dressing room. Laura gets there first to find Heather kneeling on the floor, holding up the remains of her clothes. "My COSTUMES!" she cries. "Every one ruined!" Steele, Doris, and Derek come into the room. "My evening gown!" she says, tossing it at Laura. "My negligee!" She points at Derek. "YOU! You FIEND!" Derek looks surprised. She grabs his coat as Steele tries to stop her. "You crazy old coot," she says, tossing him into a chair. "You get over there!" She starts trying to choke him as Steele grabs her from behind. "How could you do this to me you-," she's saying as Steele lifts her away and carries her from the room.

Doris goes to the door. "THAT'S A WRAP!" she calls out as Laura begins to examine the mutilated gown as Maidie watches from beside the door, still holding the negilgee that Heather tossed in her direction.


Laura and Derek pull the rental car into an underground parking garage and get out as Derek says, "I really must apologize, Miss Holt. Studios aren't usually this dull . . ." he breaks off as the hear a car's tires squeal and the rabbit turns into the garage.

"Watch out!" Laura cries, pushing Derek out of the way as the Rabbit runs into the rear of the rental, popping the trunk of the car it hits. "My car!" she says. "I think we have some good news and some bad news, Derek."

He surveys the wrecked cars. "What's the good news?"

"You're no longer a suspect."

"Well, what's the bad news?"

"You're definitely the victim." Derek looks upset.


Laura and Derek enter his apartment.
"I feel positively invigorated! " he declares. "A brush with death really gets your adreneline pumping. Ah ha! Sort of like...a perfect...Rob Roy! Rob Roy, Rob Roy--that reminds me..."
Laura, upset by his attitude, demands, "Why didn't you get out of the way?!"
"Ah, well, don't...bandy this about; it could be very embarrasing--But just for an instant down there, I thought I was on a film set and I was waiting for the director to yell, 'Cut!'"
Laura is standing there, when Derek starts circling her. "You really are- a very- striking woman." She backs away from him. "Are you aware of that?"

"Not really," she says nervously.

"You have the skin of a dahlia," he tells her, still backing her across the room.

"Have you heard any talk on the -uh, set?" she asks.

"The bone structure of Garbo."

"About why Doris might want the commercials to end?"

"The lips of a Lamarr," he says, grabbing her, bending her over the back of the couch and kissing her.

"Stop it, Mr. Vivyan, let GO of me," Laura tells him.

"Ah, you proud vixen. Your cries will go for naught. I intend to possess you this very evening, and I will not be denied." He looks up. "What the hell's that from?" he asks himself. His distraction gives Laura the chance to push him over the back of the couch, sending his head against the coffee table. "OH," he moans.

"You know," she says, sitting down on the back of the sofa, "I'm almost beginning to regret saving your life? What are you trying to prove? That you're still attractive? You are! That's you're still young? You're NOT!"

"I'm NOT a great many things, Miss Holt. All that - talk about King Lear, that was just to keep up appearances. Being a semi-serious actor, I'm SUPPOSED to loathe and despise those commercials whilst looking for something in which I can exhibit my- acting prowess and show my talent. But, alas, I'm no longer equipped to play King Lear- or anything else that lasts for longer than thirty seconds. My-," he places two fingers to his temple, "booze soaked brain simply cannot recall the lines. I find it very difficult to remember: Chef Gaston's Instant Gourmet Dinner." Laura gives him a pitying look. He sits up. "I don't know which frightens me more. Dying- or losing those commercials."

"I know, Derek. I know."


At a ladies' tea room, Steele sees Doris talking to an elderly woman. A man walks up. "Excuse me, may I help you?"

Steele examines the potted palm. "Uh, just admiring your shrubbery."

"We don't get many gentlemen for afternoon tea."

"Actually," Steele confides, "I'm supposed to meet Ms. Waggenbacker, but I see she's with someone and it's such bad manners to intrude."

"Of course."

"You wouldn't happen to know who her companion is, would you?"

The man smiles. "Mother Trust."

"I beg your pardon?"

"Mother Trust. Of Mother Trust's Frozen Sunday Dinners? Her picture's on every package."

"You've been invaluable. Thank you ever so much. Excuse me," Steele says, pushing through the plant and several groups of women. "Excuse me, ladies, do forgive me, please." He approaches Doris and Mother Trust. "Ah, there you are, Doris," he says, and Doris nearly chokes on her tea as she sees him.

"What are you doing here?" she demands, standing up.

He smiles at the other woman. "And you, of course, don't need any introduction. I see that handsome face staring back at me every time I open my freezer. Love your pot pies," he tells her. She nods appreciatively.

"How DARE you!" Doris says.

"Be late?" Steele finishes. "A thousand apologies. But- I just got out of court. Please Doris, do sit down. Please sit down," he says, shaking Mother Trust's hand before sitting in a chair. Doris subsides, but she's still seething. "Sterling Gillette, of Drummond, Brady and Sterling Gillette?"

"How do you do?" she says, then asks Doris, "Isn't it a bit early to bring in a lawyer, Doris?"

Doris makes an attempt. "He's not a-," she begins, but Steele cuts her off smoothly.

"Here in an official capacity. Doris just asked me to- drop in and listen to what you ladies had to say," he explains, sitting back with a smile as Doris glares at him.

"I warn you, he's-."

Mother Trust finishes the oversize martini in her glass. "Oh, park it. You want your lawyer in on this, it's no skin off my nose." She motions for Steele to come closer. "As soon as those Chef Gaston commercials bite the dust-."

Doris stands up. "Don't say anymore."

Steele grabs her arm. "Now, Doris," he says as she sits back down, "We don't want Mother Trust here to think there's any problems, do we?"

"Is there?"

"Nothing we can't negotiate our way out of," Steele assures her, his hand still on Doris' arm. "Eh, Doris? Hmm? As you were saying," he tells Mother Trust.

"Those commercials have flushed my profits down the dumper," she says as Doris closes her eyes. "When Doris puts an end to them, I'll set her up in her own advertising agency."

"With Mother Trust's Frozen Sunday Dinners at her very first client," Steele surmises.

"Means a lot of dough all round," Mother says.

"Well, Chef Gaston could sue, after all, Doris here has been contracted to- produce those commercials?"

Mother laughs. "Contracts were made to be broken."

"What a healthy attitude," he says with a smile. "After all, that's what keeps us lawyers in Cadillacs."

"When we're finished with him, he won't have a dime to call legal aid," Mother declares as she finishes another martini.

"Would you like another?" Steele asks.

"Five's my limit," she tells him, then stands, as do Doris and Steele. "Well, when you hammer something together, give me a jingle." She taps Doris with her gloves, then leaves.

"So," Steele says to Doris once they're alone, "Your very own advertising agency."

"I've earned it," Doris says defensively. "I worked twenty years to get an offer like this."

"Were you ready to kill for it?" he asks, his tone serious.

"I am now," she tells him. "And I don't even have to leave this table to do it."

Steele shakes his head at her threat. "Tsk, tsk, tsk."


Laura arrives at the studio in another rented car. As she enters, she hears Heather speaking. "You know you want it. You know you need it. Just like me. I can't live without it. Because it makes me feel so good. Come on." Laura turns a corner and smiles tightly. "What are you waiting for? Step right up and- grab yourself a handful of ecstasy." Heather is on a bed, Stan is operating the camera. "Ecstasy Shampoo. To make you look- the way you FEEL."

"And- CUT!" Stan calls, putting the camera down

"How was that?" she asks

"Well," he says, coming to the bed as she gets up. "You sold me."

"Oh, great!" she says, going into his arms. They kiss, and she pulls him down onto the bed with her. They start laughing.

Laura applauds slowly. "Me too," she tells them as Stan scrambles from the bed. "I'm gonna run right out and buy the giant FAMILY size."

Heather is surprised. "What are you doing here?"

"I wanted another look at your costumes."


"They disturbed me."

"Well, how do you think I felt?" Heather asks.

"No, I mean I was disturbed by the look of them. "The tears were so neat. Everyone appeared to be right on a seam. I would think that good wardrobe woman would whip those back together in a matter of hours. But I kept asking myself WHY you'd want to shut down the company. Thanks for the answer."

Stan smiles nervously. "This isn't what it looks like. We're just foolin around, havin some fun."

"You shoot commercials all day, and just for fun you shoot some more at night as well?"

"I was helping the kid out," Stan tells her. "She's got a shot at being the new Ecstasy Shampoo Girl."

"Stan," Heather warns.

"According to Heather's contract, she can't DO any other commercials. She's exclusive to Chef Gaston- Unless, of course, there weren't any Chef Gaston commercials."

"That old drunk tried to kill me, remember?"

"You couldn't know Derek would come up with that interesting bit of actor's invention. You ALWAYS feed him! Isn't that right, Stan?"

"Hey, don't pull me into this. I'm just the director. I do whatever the script says. The written word is sacred to me."

"Are you going to direct Heather's new commercials, too?"

"Stan has a feature lined up," Heather tells her, drinking from a glass of champagne.

"Heather," he warns.

"Then you're another one who wouldn't be at all unhappy if these commercials were to be scrapped."

"Tell her who they're talking about for the picture, Stan," Heather urges.

"Newman, Redford, AND Hoffman," he tells her with a smile.

"Sounds like a project worth killing for," Laura points out.

"You better believe it," Stan agrees, then realized what he's said. "I didn't mean that the way it sounded."

"Didn't you?" she asks.

She leaves the studio and heads toward her car, then stops as she sees Maidie coming toward her. "Maidie."


"What are you doing here?"

"I went to get some coffee in that machine near the dubbing room."

"Oh. I didn't see any food in there. You just- lending moral support?"

"Oh, they don't know I'm here. I just thought I'd surprise Stan."

"Uh, well, you know, I don't think that's a very good idea," Laura says. "Because they're sort of involved in there, in the commercial and stuff-? Why don't you show me where the coffee is, huh?" She starts to walk away, but Maidie doesn't move.

"You don't have to protect me, Miss Holt," she says, and Laura turns around. "I know all about Stan and Heather. And the big brass bed. But believe me, as far as Stan is concerned, it's just part of the business. It's just like having lunch at the polo lounge or- taking an ad out in Variety."

"Well," Laura says, "That's a unique way of looking at it, Maidie."


Laura and Remington are sitting in his office. Remington is hungrily devouring a plate of Mexican take-out; Laura has a similiar plate in front of her, but she isn't eating.
"Well," she says. "We certainly have a full compliment of suspects."
"Hm," Remington mumbles, his mouth of food. "Your taco is getting cold."
"I'm not hungry," she tells him. "Our esteemed client Ms. Waggenbacker wants the commercials to end so she can represent Chef Gaston's arch rival."
"Try a burrito," Remington suggests, his mouth once again full of food. "It's actually quite tasty."
Laura ignores him and continues. "Heather has an offer to be a spokeswoman for a shampoo..."
"Any more sauce?" he asks.
"Stan wants to direct a movie...and even our little Miss Mop Top has a motive."
Now that she has his attention, he asks, "Uh huh? What's that?"
"She knows about the affair Stan is having with Heather. She thinks if he leaves the commercials, he'll leave Heather, too."
"Well, I'm delighted we've crossed Derek off our list," he says. "You know,
I actually miss him.
I mean, doing all those scenes from his old movies, none of which he can remember." Laura stuffs food into her mouth. "He's actually quite an endearing character."

She grabs a napkin. "Yes," she agrees, her mouth full. "Good old endearing Derek."

"One of our more unique people we've encountered," he decides. "Don't you think? Flamboyant, charming. Wistful, yet- sensitive. Great panache, zest for life. But caring. Very concerned."

"Enough about Derek, all right," she says.

Steele looks at her. "Excuse me?"

"Let's just get off Derek for awhile, shall we?"

"Did- uh, something happen between you two?"

"Of course not," Laura denies, stuffing food into her mouth again. "Why do you ask?"

"Well, because every time I mention his name, you being wolfing down food."

Laura stops, then closes her plate. "I'm not hungry."


"Nothing important," she says.

"Then you won't mind sharing it with me, eh?" he says with a smile.

"It was a little misunderstanding," she tells him. He nods expectantly. She slaps her napkin onto the desk. "Ah, HELL. He made a pass at me!" she says.

Steele swallows his food. "Derek?"

"It wasn't anything I couldn't handle. Actually, I felt sorry for him in a way. He was so transparent in his attempt, so childlike in his guilt . . ."

Steele's interested now. "What kind of pass?"

"What sort of passes are there?"

"I mean, verbal, physical?"

"BOTH," she confirms.

"How physical?" he wants to know.

"I don't think this is water that we should wade into," she tries to say.

"Laura, you're the one who brought this up. If you didn't want me to take an interest in this, why did you mention it in the first place?"

She takes a bite of her food. "You dragged me into it."

"I didn't drag, I simply inquired. And you chose to respond to my inquiries. Now, dammit, how physical did- did the bloody twit get?"

She wipes her mouth again. "A few kisses," she tells him.

"Did you respond?"

"Of COURSE I responded!"


"I told him to get off."

"What was he on?"

"The couch."

"And where were you?"

"Under him."

"Good God," Steele says, stunned- and clearly upset. "The more you reassure me, the worse it gets." He stands up and comes around the desk, grabbing his coat.

"Where are you going?" she wants to know.

"To barbecue an old ham," he tells her. "Excuse me, will you?"

Laura grimaces, then takes another bite of food.


Derek is in the bar, watching one of his old movies. The telephone rings, and the bartender answers. "Yes he is, just a moment." He holds out the phone. "Call for you, Mr. Vivyan."

Derek takes it. "Oh? Hello, this is an unlisted number. I assume you know who you're calling?"

"Derek," Heather says in her breathless voice, "it's Heather."

"Aren't you content to torment me for twelve hours a day? Must you make obscene calls, too?"

At the phone on the other end, she says, "I just want to apologize to you for thinking you were trying to kill me. I know who it is, now. And I never thought I'd say this to you, but- Derek- Derek, I need you to help me prove it. Look, look, I'm at the studio. Please. Please. You MUST help me."

Derek is uncertain. "Of course, my dear child. Just stay where you are. I'm on my way." He hangs up.

Maidie, with tears running down her face, hangs up the phone in Derek's dressing room and then holds up a butcher knife. She sobs wildly, rising to run the knife through Derek's clothes, shrieking the entire time.


Laura is straightening Steele's desk when the phone rings. "Remington Steele Investigations."

"Laura," Derek says. "I just received a most strange call from Heather. No, no, let me amend that, ANY call from
Heather would be strange. But this positively reeks of nutsiness. She apologized for suspecting me of trying to kill her, said she knew who the real culprit was- and asked for my help to prove it."

"Where is she?" Laura asks.

down at the studio," he tells her.

"Better let me handle it."

"Why do you think I called?" he asks. "I may be a drunk, but I'm not a fool. I wouldn't trust that little twitch in a roomful of nuns."

"Tell Mr. Steele to meet me at the studio."

"Steele? He's not here."

Laura looks worried. "He will be," she informs him, then hangs up.

Steele arrives at the bar, watches Derek for a moment before coming over and slapping the man on the back, causing him to choke on his drink. "I've got a bone to pick with you, old chum," he says angrily.

"A bone, sport?"

"You made a pass at Miss Holt."

"Yes. It's expected of me," Derek says, smiling. "I'm the Errol Flynn of the eighties."

"You embarrassed her, and quite frankly, you disappointed me. I thought we were supposed to be friends."

"Why should a harmless assault affect our friendship?" Derek asks, not understanding.

"In addition to being business associates, Laura and I are- " he pauses, searching for a way to explain, looking uncomfortable as he finishes, "personally involved."

"I must say, you do a remarkable job of keeping it a secret."

"Yes, well, can't go around pawing each other in public, can we? I mean, how would it look to our clients? Besides, we've been awfully busy on this case. We haven't had a moment to ourselves. No candlelit dinners, no unexpected flowers- no unbridled passion." He looks a bit confused and put upon.

"Umm," Derek commiserates, "That kind of thing could be fatal to a relationship. Keeping your nose to the grindstone only gets you a sore nose."

"Well, we did share a taco earlier," Steele confides.

"Yes, well, you take it from a scarred veteran of the romantic wars, that it is distressingly easy to fall into a rut, take each other for granted. Misplace the magic. That's how I lost three of my wives. The three I liked the best. Ahh, you must LAVISH her with flowers, champagne,- a sensible diamond." His eyes widen. "Ah, yes. She's- gone to the studio- uh-she's gone to meet Olivier's killer-and she wants you to join her there."

"Well then, I'm afraid the sensible diamond will have to wait, Derek," Steele tells him, turning away.

"Would you mind if I join you? After all, I am the intended victim."

"Please do follow," Steele says. "Can you walk?"

"Just!" Derek declares, as they leave.


Laura enters the studio. "Heather?" she asks at the door of Heather's dressing room.

Heather's voice comes from elsewhere. "What are YOU doing here?"

Laura walks toward Derek's dressing room. "Derek called me, he said you wanted him to come. I'm- here to help you."

"Where IS Derek?"

"He isn't coming."

"That's too bad. That's REALLY too bad," she says, and Laura doesn't like something she hears in the voice.

She goes to the door. "Heather-," she says, then stops as she sees all of Derek's clothes strewn around the room, shredded. "Heather," she says again, turning away from the room. "Why don't you come out? We can talk." She takes a few steps toward the set, and Maidie comes from behind the dressing room, wearing a blonde wig and one of Heather's gowns, the butcher knife in hand. Laura turns, frightened. "Maidie."

"Maidie. That little wimp. Now I know why Stan doesn't want to have anything to do with her. When he can have me. Wouldn't you want someone like me?" she asks, backing Laura across the set. "Someone fresh, beautiful. Sexy. Stan says mental illness isn't sexy. But does she get the message? No. No, she follows us everywhere. She spies on us," she says, starting to cry. "She watches us make love. That's sick. Don't you think that's sick? But Stan won't leave her. Because he feels sorry for her. But I don't. I want to KILL HER!" She lunges toward Laura.

"I'll help you," Laura offers. "I'll get Maidie out of your life. For good."

"Will you put her back in that nut house?"

"Yes!" Laura promises. "That's where she belongs!"

"They said she was cured. But if she's cured, why does she have those bad dreams all the time? Why does she wake Stan up every night, shrieking?"

"We'll call the doctor," Laura suggests. "They'll take her away."

"No. She'll never leave him. They'll have to live together. Side by side."

"Why not kill Maidie?" Laura suggests. "Heather. Why go after poor Derek?"

"Poor Derek? He makes me crazy. Always laughing at me. He tries to make me look like a fool in front of the crew! I'm the REAL star of these commercials," she declares. "He's holding me back! Making me sell all this frozen garbage!" She lunges again as the phone rings.

"That must be Derek!" Laura decides, trying to distract her. "He said he'd call to see if you really wanted him to come! Let me tell him to come! Please! He's gonna hang up in a minute!" Laura begs. Maidie is torn, and forces Laura across the room with the knife - to the phone.

Laura picks it up as Steele hangs up the phone in the limo. "No answer," he tells Derek. He's clearly worried.

"Perhaps she hasn't arrived, yet," Derek says.

"Hit it, Fred," Steele orders, and Fred speeds up the car.

Back at the studio, Maidie grabs the phone from Laura. "I hate people who lie to me! Hollywood is so full of phonies. It's all you can do to keep your head on straight."

"It was Derek. I know it was," Laura insists, reaching for the phone. "Let me call him back-," she says.

"NO!" Maidie yells, and Laura pushes her down, then turns on the wind machine, heading for the mountain.

The limo enters the studio, and Steele and Derek race into the building to see Laura being pursued up the mountain by what appears to be Heather.

"It's the rescue scene from Young Raleigh," Derek declares, and leads Steele up a catwalk and to a rope, which Steele uses to swing over to the mountain and knock Maidie off. She rolls down the side to land in the fake snow.

Steele smiles at Laura as he swings on the rope.


Back at the office, Steele and Laura enter as he says, "Poor, sweet Maidie. I sincerely hope they can help her."

"As far as I can understand, when Stan preferred Heather to her, in Maidie's disturbed mind, she became Heather."

"But wouldn't it seem logical," Steele says, glancing ahead of them into the office as they walk, "and I know that's a strange word to use, for her simply to kill Heather?"

"It would be like committing suicide," Laura tells him. He indicates that she should precede him into the office, but she says no. "No, no, after you. Since Heather, the real Heather, hated Derek, it was much easier to go after him."

"Truly a wondrous place, Hollywood," he comments, looking at his desk.

Laura follows his gaze, finding it set with china, flowers, and candles. "What is this?" Laura asks as Steele watches her. "I thought we were going to just grab a quick bite while we finished our paperwork."

"Laura," he says, joining her, "We must never, NEVER allow our work to interfere with other, more- pleasurable pursuits." He picks up a plate with a square velvet box on it. "Viola."

Laura looks stunned. She slowly and cautiously opens the box and smiles at the necklace inside, lifting it up to look at the heart. She smiles, kisses him. "Thank you."

"And now," he says, turning his attention to the food, "the piece d'resistance." He removes the cover of a chafing dish. "Which would you prefer? Chef Gaston's Beef Bourguignonne?" He removes another as Laura laughs. "Or Veal Fricassee? Eh?"

The End