In The Steele Of The Night
Transcribed from the Episode Written by:
Joel Stiegler

We open as someone takes a small caliber revolver from a drawer and loads it. Then he takes it to another room and places it inside a suitcase, beneath some clothes before leaving the room and turning out the light.

Remington Steele opens a drawer and pulls out a crumpled envelope addressed to 'Remington Steele Investigations'. He turns the envelope over and sees an invitation. "Havenhurst Detective Agency. Cordially invited to a reunion." He reads to himself the hand written note at the bottom of the invitation, "Please invite Mr Steele. We're all dying to meet him". Remington smiles and puts the invitation back in the top drawer of his desk.
He goes out into the reception area, "Laura? Murphy? Miss Wolf?" He puts his hands on his hips, looks around, "Anyone?"

Laura and Murphy are in the Rabbit, driving. "You know, I think they're going to be pretty disappointed when we show up empty handed."

"Reunions are supposed to be about catching up with old friends, seeing how everyone is doing- finding out who put on weight- If they want to meet Remington Steele, let them drop by the office."
Murphy asks, "What has it been? Four years since we left Havenhurst Detective Agency. Boy, it doesn't seem that long does it?"
Laura shakes her head and laughs, "Imagine him, in a room full of detectives. Ha, they'd be waiting all weekend for him to slip up and when he did, they'd eat him alive." Murphy laughs.
They turn into the gated grounds of a HUGE mansion.

"Oh dear GOD," Murphy groans.

"Sure does look like old Alan is doing well for himself," Laura comments.

"Oh dear God," Murphy repeats.


Inside the mansion, a man asks, "No Remington Steele?"

"Couldn't be helped," Laura tells him. "Last minute thing in Marseille?"

"Marseille?" He starts toward her. "Marseille? Come on, Laura, this is Alan. You remember me? I'm the fella that YOU to lie like that." She laughs as he kisses her cheek. "Fess up. He couldn't come because--the little missus put her foot down, am I right?"

"Actually, there IS no Mrs. Steele."

"You mean- not YET?" he asks, teasingly.

She laughs. "Ohhh."

He puts an arm around her. "So. Tell me how good I look."

"You do. You looked wonderful."

"Thirty pounds."

"Oh, I'd kill to lose five."


"Places YOU haven't seen," she tells him.

Murphy, a blonde, and two other men appear. "Well obviously, the reunion's already begun," he comments.

One of the men is flabbergasted. "Alan. You have an elevator in your house."

The woman looks Laura over. "Well, Alan. I'm so proud-"

"Did anyone happen to notice my Seville when you pulled in?" the other man asks. "Just got it." Laura, Alan and the blonde move off. "Very happy with it, actually. I recommend them."

Murphy leads him off. "Good, Carl."

The other man is still staring at the now closed elevator doors. "Alan has an ELEVATOR in his house."


Later, Murphy knocks on Carl's open door. "Carl?"

Carl's in the bath. "Yeah?" he asks, coming out with shaving creme on his face.

"I- forgot a tie."

"Alan's gonna hate that. He said formal."

"I know."

"You see all that help in the kitchen? Reunion my aunt Fanny. You know what this is?"


"The Alan Grievey Show. Check my bag. I brought a couple."


He goes over to pick a tie from the open suitcase as Carl talks from the bath. "Some things never change. Alan Grievey was a snake at the Havenhurst Agency, and he's still shedding skin. You see him all over Laura?"


"Havenhurst was such a zoo. Seventy detectives. I'm glad we all got out." Murphy puts on a tie. "Everybody was always tripping over everybody else-" Murphy notices the gun in the suitcase. "Too big. Guys like me, you, they need some visability." Murphy frowns.

"Expecting a little trouble over dinner?"

Carl looks out. "Huh?"

"A .38's pretty serious baggage for a weekend in the country, isn't it?"

"I wouldn't know. Never use one." He goes back to his shaving, closing the door. Murphy is confused.


Later, Murphy and the blonde are coming from the pool, he in a suit and she wrapped in a towel. "So. How ya doing Murph?" she asks.

"Fair to middlin. And you?"

"Okay. I'm married, kids, you know."

"Yeah. Did I ever meet the guy you finally married?"

"Meet him? You introduced us."

"I did?"

"Yeah. You were working at the Agency, I don't know- maybe a year? You pulled a divorce case. A Mrs. Robin Maxwell? Convinced her husband was doing the dirty deed outside of marriage. He WAS guilty, you did catch him."

"Yeah, but what-"

"Anyway, the next day, he came to the office, pleaded with us not to give our information to his wife. You were working on- something else, so I took the meeting. I told this guy my hands were tied. He tried to buy me with dinner that night."

"Yeah? What happened?"

"It worked," she tells him.

"Ah, Sandy." They laugh.

"Love is strange," Sandy says.

Not far away, Laura hears them laugh as she's standing outside. She glances in that direction, sees them, as Carl asks, "What do you think they're talking about?"

"It's been a long day, Carl. I'm tired - I don't wanna play detective."

"They're talking about missed opportunities. That's what reunions are about, right? What if I had worked harder, what if I had been a little nicer - what if I, what if I, what if I. Right about now, they're saying 'What if I had noticed you when we were working together at Havenhurst?'" Laura yawns. "Fools like that never remember. He never looked at her because he was always looking at you. And her, she never gave him the time of day. The only guy she wanted to know about- was Alan." Laura's still looking toward where Murphy and Sandy had been. "Say something Holt."

Laura jumps. "Huh?" She's been daydreaming.

"You never talked to me. Never. Not back at Havenhurst, not now."

"I'm sorry."

"You know, we're a lot a like."


"Sure, Alan's got a big house, Sandy's got a rich husband, but you and me, we got something better: killer instinct."


Later still, Alan pours a brandy as he muses, "Best murder. A man gets on the elevator on the tenth floor. He's all alone. It's an express. The elevator doesn't stop again until the third floor. When the doors open, he's dead. What happened?" he asks the others.

"It didn't go down to the basement and then back up to the third floor?" Carl asks.


"There was no one else on the elevator?" Donald asks.


Sandy asks, "It hasn't stopped?"


Murhpy says, "It went from the tenth floor, to the third floor, no stops, no people,- was he poisoned?"


Laura snaps her fingers. "But he WAS murdered."

"THAT is the name of the game," Alan says, smiling. There's a knock at the door. "Would someone get that, please?"

Laura gets up and heads toward the door as Sandy says, "Alan, come on. That's not fair. Now you're supposed to tell us how the murder was committed."

"A little self control, Sandy. I promise. I won't let you go home without the answer."

At the front door, Laura opens the screening door and Steele is there. "Hope I'm not late," he says.

Laura closes the little door, takes a deep breath, then opens it. "What are you doing here?"

He shows her an invitation. "I was invited." She closes the little door, opens the big one to let him inside.

"Where did you get that?"

"You're not the only sleuth around here, you know."

"My wastebasket," she mutters, taking his arm.

"Laura, who is it?" Alan calls.

"So you know that trick as well, do you?" he asks, moving forward as she tried to keep her temper.

In the study, Alan gives him a snifter of brandy. "Mr. Steele. We were just playing best murder. It would be an honor if you'd contribute one."

"Alan," Laura said quickly, "Mr. Steele's been travelling all day-"

"Nonsense, polar flights are second nature to me," Steele insists.

"Good. Then it's your murder." He goes to sit down, leaving a worried Laura to gulp her brandy.

"Yes. Yes, well-so many to choose from."

"In the morning," Laura suggests. "When your head is clear and I've had a chance to brief you on the business of the day--"

"Nonsense, dear, nonsense, nonsense," he says, thinking. "Ah, yes. Here's one," he says, glancing her direction. "It was a hot day in July. I was called to the house of a wealthy industrialist by his wife. She met me at the front door of the residence, escorted me into the study. And there, lying on the floor, was her husband- quite dead. Shot, actually." He takes a drink of brandy.

Alan sits slowly. "THAT is your best murder?"

Laura takes another drink. "It certainly is. For, ballistic tests conducted several days later, proved that the path of the bullet began INSIDE the industrialist's chest - and travelled outwards." Murphy and Laura both hide their reaction, but Alan was curious.

"The bullet travelled from his insidese- out?"

"Precisely. And since it is essential that a suspect be placed at the scene of the crime, and since it is difficult if not impossible - to prove that someone fired the fatal shot from INSIDE the man's chest -" Laura sits heavily.

"I think I've had too much to drink," she says.

"Yes," Steele agrees, "I would call that a best murder."

"I don't think I've had ENOUGH to drink," Murphy decides, picking up his glass.

"That is incredible," Alan says while Laura smiles wanly. "That's brilliant. Why that-that- So. What's the answer?"

Steele leans on a table. "The answer." Laura and Murphy both stare at each other, Murphy looks at Steele. "The answer," Steele muses. "The answer. Well, it seems to me that a great murder, like a great wine, should be savored. Take the night, or the weekend for that matter. Allow it to sink into your thoughts, invade your dreams. Consider it. Ponder it. And then - if the answer is not obvious to you -" He sits beside Laura, who's still terrified that he's going to be unmasked.

Alan smiles. "I'm very glad you came, Mr. Steele. You're going to add a great deal to this weekend."

Laura sits up. "That's our Mr. Steele. The life of the party." Steele chuckles, patting her on the back.

"Well," Alan decides, "I, for one, am going to take Mr. Steele's suggestion. Go to sleep, and let that murder sink into my dreams. Until the morning, then." He stands, as does everyone else.

They start upstairs, Steele at Laura's side. Carl and Alan remain downstairs, talking softly. At the top of the stairs, Murphy looks back. "Good night, you two," he tells Laura and Steele.

"Goodnight," Laura replies, then turns to stop Steele, pushing him against a pillar. "The bullet travelled from INSIDE his body OUT?"

"Fascinating, isn't it?"

"What movie is it from?"

"Laura. Do you I'd risk embarrasing you in front of all your friends by stealing a murder from a movie? What if someone else had seen it?"

"You mean-"

"Uh-huh. Made it up." Laura closes her eyes as they hear Carl and Alan arguing downstairs. The others join them as Carl speaks.

"It's a question of honor, Alan. You made promises. You didn't keep them!"

"Carl, you were MEANT to be used. You ask for it. You'd be disappointed if someone like me DIDN'T take advantage of you."

"Four years is a lot of time to wait for restitution, Alan. A lot of anger builds up. So don't PUSH ME!" Carl heads for the stairs. Alan looks unaffected by the situation.


The next morning, Laura is awakened by a repetitive noise in the hallway. After trying to ignore it, she finally pulls on her robe and goes into the hall. She sees the elevator door, opening and not closing all the way, then repeating the movement. Lowering her eyes, she discovers the reason that the door isn't closing: Alan Grievey is laying in the elevator, his arm extended out, blocking the door. Laura gasps in shock.


Later, Murphy, Laura, Sandy, Carl, and Donald are all standing outside the elevator, in shock. "It's a joke, right?" Sandy asks.

"His neck was broken," Donald announces.

"How poetic," Carl says.

"Snapped," Laura agrees. "In two."

Sandy sighs. "Well, Laura, I guess that leaves out you and me. I mean, if we're talking murder."

"We are," Donald tells her. "And it doesn't. Even a ninety pound weakling can break somebody's neck if they know how."

"Oh, well, thank you. I stand corrected," Sandy says. Murphy kneels to the body.

Carl joins him. "What do you think you're doing?"

"I'm moving the body out of the elevator."

"You're tampering with physical evidence," Carl points out.

"I'm NOT tampering with it. I'm MOVING it."

"Yeah?Well, I wish you wouldn't," Carl tells him.

"Well, we can't very well leave the body where it is, can we?"

"MURPHY," he gets up. "All of you. There's been a murder commited here. APPARENTLY by one of us. That body just might be our biggest and best clue. I for one think it's bad form to have your best peice of evidence moved by a potential suspect."

Murphy grabs for Carl, and Donald separates them. "How about if I move the body?" he suggests.

Carl shakes his head. "Don't you get it, Sherlock? We're ALL suspects."

"I think that's for the police to decide, don't you?" Laura tells them.

Sandy looks worried. "Police?"

"Don't you think you're being a bit precipitous, Laura?" Donald asks.

"Precipitous?" Murphy repeats. "The man's DEAD!"

"No body is arguing that," Donald insists. "But let's just stop a minute and THINK. You call the police, and you know what happens? We're all taken in. Suspects in a murder."

"Yes," Laura agrees, "but that's only a problem if you're guilty."

"Oh, that's a lot of garbage," Donald insists. "Look, I run a detective agency. You think that people are gonna feel comfortable coming to me with their problems? Opening up their private lives if they read that I HAVE been suspected of murder?! Come on. Is there anyone here who wouldn't be hurt by that?"

Sandy speaks up. "Wait a minute. Robin and the kids don't know- where I am. I didn't tell them I was coming here. Didn't want to. It's a marital thing. I really don't want to have to call them from a police station."

"Laura?" Donald questions. "Murphy?"

"We don't need any bad publicity," Murphy agrees.


Carl says, "Cut to the chase, will ya?"

"What I'd like to propose is that WE investigate the murder. Give ourselves some sort of time limit- until nightfall-"

Laura shakes her head as Murphy objects. "US investigate US? That's NEVER gonna work!"

"Murphy's right," Laura agrees. "We can't even decide who's gonna move the body! How are we going to investigate a murder with the murderer still running around, probably planting false clues, destroying evidence?"

"That's crazy," Murphy agrees.

"Now, the only way this would ever work would be if there was somebody on the outside, somebody with no axe to grind. Didn't know Alan, somebody we could trust. Somebody-" Murphy puts a hand on her shoulder to stop her. She realizes she's gone too far. "Forget that last thought-."

"Please," Murphy begs.

Sandy looks at the others. "Mr. Steele?"

"No," Laura says.

"Do you think he would?" Donald asks.

"Oh, no," Murphy says.

"I guess I'll buy it if everybody else will," Carl says as Steele comes down the hall with a cheery greeting.

"Morning! Morning, morning, morning." He walks right up to the open elevator. "My goodness, did I sleep soundly. Country air, I'll wager. Sound sleep like that always makes me feel hungry. You know what I could go for? Large country breakfast. Hot cakes, sausages, um-hmm-" He steps forward, and sees Alan's body. Turning to the others, he kneels down. Laura joins him.

"The man has been murdered," she tells him.

He nods, standing. "I think I'll take the stairs," he decides, moving away.

Laura grabs his arm. "Mr. Steele." She has to practically pull him to a stop. "Sir, sir, SIR. May I have a word with you?"

She indicates that they should move away.


In his room later, he's getting a handkercheif for his coat. "I HATE working on the weekends," he fusses. He shakes the handkerchief out and stuffs it into his pocket. "But, if I must, I must."

Laura takes it back out. "I didn't ask you to come UP here!" she reminds him, putting the handkerchief back.

"They're YOUR friends," he points out.

"Do me a favor and keep that in mind."

"You're absolutely convinced that I'm going to go out there and make a fool of you."

"Everyone of those people out there is a TRAINED investigator!"

"Laura, I understand your squeamishness, but the fact remains that they've asked me to oversee this investigation, and oversee it I must. It's only til nightfall. And I have to believe that TWO bright people like us can fool even the finest investigators for that amount of time. Of course we can. Just one question."

She looks at him. "What?"

"Where should I begin?"


"It's a simple question. Where should I begin? A starting point. Something to get the ball moving. Something to kind of- keep them busy, impress them with my keen mind."

"Oh. Start with the last person to see the victim alive."

"What's that?"

"The basic rule of detection. The last person to see the last person to see the victim alive is either a superb witness or an excellent suspect."

"Ohh. I like that."

"You do, huh?" He turns away, and she takes a deep breath.


In the dining room, Steele is eating breakfast as the others look on, not eating anything. He glances up, seeing them all staring at him. "Forgive me. Ravenous. Now then. Let's begin at the beginning. Being dyed in the wool professionals, we all know that the last person to see the victim alive is either a superb witness-" Laura's moving her lips as he speaks- "or an excellent suspect."

Sandy leans toward Laura. "He's very good."

"So then," Steele asks, picking up his cup and saucer, "the question I put to all of you is quite simple: Who was the last person to see Alan Grievey alive?"

"The murderer," Carl says, and when everyone looks at him, he stands up. "What is this? A set up? I know you all heard me and Alan last night. But I wasn't the last one with him, and I didn't kill him!"

"You HATED Alan," Sandy declares.

"Well listen to Walter Cronkite here with the latest breaking news," Carl says. "Sure, I hated Alan. You know how the Alan Grievey Agency got so big, so fast? Alan had me copy every phone number, every file, and every client who had ever done business with Havenhurst. And you know how he thanked me? He laughed in my face. Said he didn't have any positions for people who couldn't be trusted. Then, he called good old Donald over here, made sure HE knew what I'd done. By the time I got from Alan's to Havenhurst, my name was off my parking space. Thanks to good old Alan, no one will touch me."

Donald smirks. "Don't anybody get out the violins. Man drove up in a Cadillac."

"Yeah. Yeah. I repossessed it yesterday afternoon. It goes back to the dealer on Monday. That's what I do for a living now, folks. You should always catch me on the weekends, Laura. That's when I look good. Sure I hated Alan. We ALL hated Alan."

"What about the gun?" Murphy asks.

"What gun?"

"The .38 I saw in your bags."

"I didn't BRING a gun!"

"Carl, I SAW it."

"Miss Holt, would you be kind enough to check Carl's room?" Steele asks. Laura rises.

Carl objects. "No way! She works with Murphy. How do I know she's not gonna plant something?"

"I'll go," Donald volunteers.

"YOU?! No!"

"Then I'll go," Sandy says.

"Not on your life!"

Steele rises. "What if -we all go?" he suggests. There is a general exodus out of the dining room.

They dash up the stairs, Steele bringing up the rear. In Carl's room they start tearing it apart as Steele and Laura watch from the doorway.

"You wanna tell me about that amused smirk on your face?" Laura asks softly.

"You thought I was gonna embarrass you. These people need someone to lead them, someone to guide them. Someone to show them how it's done. And they chose me."

"They don't KNOW you."

"Their loss," he says, moving out of the room. Laura turns and follows. Around a corner, he asks, "What do we do next?"

"Me? YOU'RE asking ME? I thought YOU were going to LEAD them, GUIDE them, show them how it's done."

"And I am. As soon as you tell me how to do it."


"Oh, come on. Something. Anything. Last person to see the victim alive? Was wonderful. Sounds so- official." She takes a deep breath. "Happen to have another one like that?"

"Scene of the crime," she whispers.

"How's that?"

"Scene of the crime. The best single source for conclusive physical evidence is almost always the scene of the crime."

"Thanks," he says, moving toward the room again. Laura takes another, deeper breath.

In the room, Murphy runs his hands through his hair. "No gun."

The room is a mess. Donald is digging through a flower arrangement. "Must've stashed it somewhere else in the house."

Steele steps into the center of the room. "The scene of the crime," he says.

"What?" Sandy questions.

"I have no need to tell you people that the scene of the crime is often the best single source of conclusive evidence."

Sandy tells Murphy, "Boy, he IS good."

"You mean the elevator?" Carl asks.

"Precisely." Carl, Donald, and Sandy all volunteer. Steele stops them with a whistle. "We'll ALL check it, hmm?" They all take off again.

In the elevator, Steele stands outside while five people examine the lift. Murphy is busy, and Donald asks, "What are you doing?"

"Dusting for prints."

Carl frowns. "He's dusting for prints? Why's HE dusting for prints?"

"'Cause it's MY dusting kit," Murphy explains.

"No arguing with that," Steele says. Carl comes out of the elevator.

"Mr. Steele? Got a minute?" They walk away.

In the elevator, Donald says, "This is ridiculous." He looks at Laura. "You want some coffee?" She nods, and they leave.

Sandy closes the doors behind them. "Hey," Murphy says, distracted. "Sandy, I need the light."

"Murphy, Murphy, listen. Forget about the dusting for a minute. I need your help."

"What are you talking about?"

"I didn't kill Alan. But I just know that any time now, somebody's gonna find something that makes it look like I did."


As they enter the kitchen, Donald tells Laura, "I figured we'd see some slides of the company picnic, maybe tell stories about the 78 Christmas party-" They start looking through cupboards.

"Well, good old Alan, always did have a sense of the theatrical."

"Lots of dog food," Donald says, "But no coffee. Laura, can I be honest with you? I've been watching that Mr. Steele of yours, and while it's certainly not my place to say,- I don't really think he's all he's cracked up to be." Laura's expression is guarded.

"What do you mean?"

"Well, it's nothing I can put my finger on. It's just a feeling I get."


"Look, Mr. Steele, all I'm asking for is a chance," Carl is saying. "A chance to prove myself. To show you what I can do. And when's a better chance gonna come along than this? Hey, nobody's kidding anybody here, right? I'm down on my luck. You know it, I know it. I mean, the repo business is not exactly a growth industry."

"Carl, I already have a most able bodied associate in Miss Holt. And Murphy Michaels is -more than adequate-"

"Steele, Steele, you're looking at a valuable piece of manpower, here. I know how to crack this case. And I know how to make it stick." He pulls out a plastic bag with something in it. "It's right there. The answer to this case- is right there." Steele takes the bag and starts trying to find the clue he's talking about.


Back in the dining room, Donald looks at the bag. "Can I ask where these came from?"

"I found them," Carl announces. "On Alan's body. On his NECK to be precise." Sandy takes them and goes to the window to examine them. "Mr. Steele? With your permission?" Steele, Laura at his back, lifts his hands. "I have theory I'd like to share with the others?"

"No," Sandy says. "You'd just like to throw us off the scent."

"Sandy," Murphy cautions. "Let's hear what he has to say."

"Those are threads. Peices of fabric. Fabric that must have unravelled, been strained. Now, we know Alan's neck was broken. I think whoever broke it used a rope, or a sash, or something made with those fibers to do it."

"So you're suggesting we look for whatever these threads came from?" Laura asks.

"Rip the place apart if we have to," Carl suggests. "But if you find the source of those threads, you've found your killer."

Donald confronts him. "Right, Carl, we'll rip the house apart- and give YOU time to hide the gun."

"Forget the gun! The man died of a broken NECK!"

"Of course!" Donald decides. "You got here, you realized you couldn't shoot him without everyone hearing it, so you broke his neck, then you HID the gun."

Laura puts a hand on Steele's shoulders, bends to whisper in his ear. "Now would be an excellent time to lead them, guide them, show them how it's done."

"No way. I didn't kill him!"

"You hated Alan," Sandy says.

"What is this? I didn't BRING a gun."

Steele lifts his hand. "People?" They look at him. "Any thoughts about lunch?" he asks, only to have Laura's fingers dig into his shoulder. "A little levity," he tells them. "Gun or no gun, it seems clear to me that- Carl might be onto something." He turns to Laura. "Does this mean we all have to run up the stairs again?" he asks he softly.

"Might I make a suggestion, sir? Why don't we all take a break? Murphy needs to fingerprint everyone so he can have something to compare with the prints he took off the elevator. Those of you who wish to look for the source of the fibers, can." She returns to Steele. "And those who wish to have a little chat- can."

Steele stands. "Splendid suggestion, Miss Holt." He turns to the others, "We'll all- regroup in an hour." He and Laura go to the kitchen.

"This is NOT working," she tells him.

"Certainly it is. I think Carl's come up with a solid piece of evidence. Besides, only five more hours until nightfall. So long as everyone can stay alive until then-" He starts to lift the lid on what appears to be a cookie jar as Sandy's scream echoes through the house.

They take off for the stairs, following Carl and Donald. Halfway up, Steele pauses, out of breath. "Seems like we've been doing an awful lot of this today." He continues more slowly.

They rush into Sandy's room to find her in Murphy's arms, sobbing, a blue robe over her shoulder. "I followed her up," Murphy explains. "And I startled her." He hands the robe to Laura. "Here. Looks like a perfect match to the fibers. She was trying to get rid of it."

Laura examines it. "Sandy, where's the belt?"

"For what it's worth," Murphy says, "I think she's innocent."

"Innocent?" Carl asks. "Innocent? What do you people want? A smoking gun? All right, forget I said gun."

"Let's just explore what we have here," Steele suggests, taking the bag from Laura. "A set of fibers. From where?"

"Alan's neck," Carl reminds him.

Sandy looks up. "Says who?"

"Whaddaya mean, says who?" Carl asks.

"Sandy's right," Donald points out. "How do we know where those fibers came from? How do we know Carl didn't come up here, take em from the robe, set her up?"

"Donald, I'm not a murderer, but it's never too late to start," he declares, grabbing Donald and wrestling him to the ground.

Steele stands back, telling Laura, "Nothing like getting a bunch of old chums together, is there?"

Murphy grabs them. "All right, come on, you guys! Carl!"

He pulls Carl off, helps, Donald up. "Now," Steele says, "Where were we, gentlemen?"

"I don't understand why Donald keeps protecting Sandy," Carl insists.

"I'm NOT protecting Sandy!" Donald insists. "I'm only trying to get at the truth. You can plant fibers, Carl. You can start fights. But there's nobody here with motive to kill Alan except YOU."

"Oh really? You wanna tell em, Sandy? Or shall I?"

"I don't know what he's talking about," Sandy says, sitting on the bed.

"I'm talking about a motive for murder. I'm talking about your husband. And Alan. And about living here."

"Living here?" Laura questions.

"I was the first one here Friday," Carl tells them. "Wanted to talk to Alan about a loan. A little restitution, if you know what I mean. But Alan couldn't talk. He wasn't alone. Sandy was already here. No car out front, no suitcases, an awful lot of clothes for just a weekend, alright, who're you kidding, Sandy? You didn't slip away for a reunion. How long have you been here?"

Sandy smiles dangerously at him. "Good old Carl. Always could smell other people's dirt a mile away. Been here for years. Been here- five days. I don't suppose it's any secret that Alan and I- But I decided that I wanted to get married. And Alan wanted no part of marriage. So along comes Robin Maxwell. Wealthy, powerful, aggressive, everything that Alan was-except Alan." Laura looks uncomfortable. "Well, three months after the wedding, I told myself I'd had too much to drink- then I poured myself another. Some women knit, some women do needlepoint - I did Alan Grievey. You ready for the good part? I am my husband's second wife. He's been there before. He SMELLS another man. So, what does he do, he goes to a detective agency. What agency? Not Havenhurst, not where he met me, he goes to the Alan Grievey Agency. Tells Alan he thinks the little woman is- et cetera, et cetera. Alan always did have a sense of humor. Of course he took the case. He waited a week to give Robin the good news. Now, you ready for the punch line? He even sent him a bill."

"Good old Alan," Carl says.

She stands up. "So I had nowhere to go. I came here. I figured a girl could do a lot worse. But Alan didn't want me around. Said, 'What's the point in having a mistress if you've got to come home to her every night?' Told me I had to be out of here by Monday. Sure, I hated Alan Grievey. But I DIDN'T kill him."

"Of COURSE you didn't," Carl sneers.

Laura exhales. "Well. There are still fingerprints to be dealt with," she reminds them.

Steele clears his throat. "Miss Holt is quite right. Let's not jump to any conclusions."

"I'll get my print kit," Murphy says, leaving the room.

"I'm beginning to think we're making a big mistake," Donald decides. "Perhaps we SHOULD call the police."

"DONALD," Laura says.

"What are we DOING?" he asks. "Whoever did this is toying with us. They're doing exactly what you said they would do. Planting evidence, manipulating us. Well, enough is enough. I'm going." He passes Laura and Steele to leave the room.

The others follow him to watch as he starts taking clothes from his closet. "Donald," Laura points out, "don't you think that YOU'RE being a little precipitous?"

Murphy comes in with his kit. "Hey. Is he leaving?"

"Seems to be flirting with the idea," Steele confirms.

"I, for one, am tired of playing detective for a day," Donald says. "I also have problems with playing sitting duck for a murderer." He pats Murphy on the back as Murphy opens his kit. "I'll make it a ponit to stop off at the police on my way home." He turns, grabs his suitcase from the closet shelf, dislodging the gun that was hidden on it. The gun falls to the floor, discharging.

Murphy uses a handkerchief to pick it up. "It's a .38. The one I saw in Carl's room."

Carl glares at Donald. "You slime! YOU set me up!" Carl accuses, and jumps on Donald again.

Steele tells Laura, "This is getting very boring. Have Murphy give one of them the gun, and let's be done with it."

Murphy grabs both men, dragging them out of the closet. "Of COURSE it was you!" Carl says. "You planted a gun in my suitcase, you let Murphy see it, then you took it back to KILL ALAN!"

"None of you believe that." Donald asks. "You know I wouldn't kill Alan, don't you?"

"Come on, Donald, everyone knows about you and Alan. How when you were back at Havenhurst, he used to make you do all his dirty work for him." Donald sits down. "Took credit for all your accomplishments. Used to tell jokes about you behind your back - sometimes to your face."

"Sure, sure, but that was ALAN. I mean, I admired Alan. And I'll tell you something else. I LIKED being the second guy through the door- As long as that first guy was Alan. Alan was very good. Sure, he could ride roughshod over your feelings. But we were a team. If he were here, he'd tell you that."

"Team huh," Carl snorts. "That's why when he left Havenhurst, he didn't take you with him. Stole every client your agency had and left you the king of NOTHING."

"I SAID WE WERE A TEAM!" Donald shouts through clenched teeth. "Anyway, it was YOU who stole my clients, not him. As SOON as Alan heard about it, hell, he called me."

Laura speaks calmly. "It's alright, Donald. We still have to wait for Murphy to look at the fingerprints."

"I couldn't kill Alan," Donald insists. "I counted Alan Grievey among my closest personal friends. I remember this one case that we were on together - me doing the legwork, Alan handling the client relationships- dinner and whatnot. The firm that hired us said it, 'You two are a hell of a team.'"


After dark, everyone is gathered in the dining room again when Murphy comes in, a long expression on his face.

"Ah, Murphy," Steele says. "There you are. Did you make a match? No disputing fingerprints. Finest crime fighting tool ever invented."

Murphy speaks in a monotone voice. "There were a lot of partials in the elevator - many were unusable- of the indentifiable prints, most were Alan's and there were a few I couldn't match up."

"Murphy," Steele says, "the sun has set. The suspense is building. Onward."

"There was one very good print on the STOP button. It was a perfect match."

"Then we have it. Our murderer. Caught in the vise of irrefutable evidence, no denials, no counter accusations will set this killer free. A fingerprint is a good as a signed confession." Laura looks up at him, wondering if he's EVER going to stop. "So. Please. Murphy. Tell us: Whose print is it?"

Murphy hesitates. "Laura's."

Steele freezes, looks down at Laura. "Laura?"
Murphy says, "I'm sorry"
Remington's hand is on Laura's shoulder. She stands up but stays close to Steele, "I was never in that elevator"
His arm comes around her shoulder. He says, "I have only two things to say." She looks up at him. "I have known Laura Holt .." she takes a breath as he stops realises what he is about to say, looks her, "I don't what even to *think* how long I've known Laura Holt. And I can say, without fear of repudiation that this woman, is incapable", he tugs at her shoulder, she looks up, "of any foul play against Alan Grievey", he tugs at her shoulder again as she gives another look, "or anyone else". He moves around her, looks down and asks, "Aren't you?" She glares at him. "Rhetorical question." He glances back at her before walking past Murphy and out the door. He stops, takes a step back, looks at Laura, turns to Murphy, "I also want to say, you're fired" before leaving the room. Laura looks befuddled. Murphy turns and follows Remington out the door.


Steele goes upstairs to Alan's room, starts looking around. Murphy joins him, watches for a minute. "It's staring us in the face, dammit," Steele insists.

"Do you know what you're looking for?" Murphy asks.

"I've no idea," Steele admits. "Something. Anything that seems out of place. Alan's room is the only one we haven't been through. Closet, closet, closet." Murphy points in the right direction.

Steele opens the doors. "The man had excellent taste," he decides, taking two suits and laying them on the bed. "A little conservative. Someone should have told him that herringbone is out." Murphy sits down as Laura comes in. "Houndstooth is au currant. Actually, Murphy, a trained eye can learn a great deal from a man's clothes. We dress for what we are."

Murphy looks at him. "Or what we pretend to be," he says, deadpan.

"Now what we have here is a man who spared no expense on himself," Steele says, returning to the closet for another couple of suits. "Silk suits, custom made, and by and large, always in style. A man who lost a great deal of weight, I would think. He went from a size 44 to a 38 - with no stops in between. Hmm."

Laura and Murphy exchange looks. "He's done it again, hasn't he?" Murphy asks.

"Hmm?" Steele asks, distracted by the suits. "Did what?"

"Of COURSE," Laura says. "We've gone about this thing all wrong! We've dissected everyone but the one person we should have been looking at from the start!"

Murphy sits up. "Alan!"

"Alan?" Steele asks. "Don't be absurd. The man's dead."

"The others are calling the police," Laura tells Murphy. "Getting ready to leave. We have to stop them," she says, as they both take off.

Steele watches them go, then continues examining the suits. "Ha." He looks down and holds one of the suits to his body assessing its fit, "Yes, well, maybe not."


In the study, they find Alan's records. "His business was off thirty percent," Laura tells them. "He let a lot of people go." She looks thoughtful. "Murphy, why do people put an elevator in their homes?"

"Ummm," Murphy begins, not sure of the answer.

Steele is looking at some cards. "'Charles Laughton. Witness for the Prosecution.' Had a stroke," he explains. "Couldn't walk upstairs."

Carl tells Laura, "He's good."

"You know what I think," Laura tells them. "I think Alan was a very sick man." She turns and walks away.


Laura goes to the elevator, presses the button, and when it arrives, gets inside as Donald asks, "What are you doing?" The door closes. Laura presses the UP button, then check the walls, and then looks at the ceiling grate before staring at the outline on the floor.


In the living room, Laura is sitting in Alan's chair. "Best murder. A man gets on an elevator. He's all alone. It makes no stops, but when the doors open, he's dead. What happened?" We see Alan press the elevator button. "Sometime during the day, he must have taken the belt from Sandy's robe." Alan gets into the elevator, closes the door. "It was already attached to the elevator cables, and sitting on top of the vent." Alan produces a hook of some kind. "Now, I don't know what he used, but he pulled it through the vent,- and he must've transferred MY fingerprint to the elevator button." Alan makes the transfer. "And then he hooked it up, into a noose, he put it around his neck- and then- pressed UP. As the elevator rose, the cable jerked the belt tight, breaking his neck. Only that wasn't good enough. Suicide wasn't what he had in mind. So he set it up so the noose would tear. That way, by the time the elevator reached the second floor, the cable would have pulled the belt back up through the vent." We see Alan's body in the elevator again, the door opening and closing.

"So it just disappeared," Carl said.

"In every way it looked like a murder," Donald said.

"Why, Laura?" Sandy asked. "Why would he do something like that?"

"It takes MONTHS to lose 35 pounds. If Alan didn't have clothes, it was because he was somewhere he didn't need them."

"A hospital," Murphy realizes.

"Remember the dog food?" Laura asks Donald. "Shelves of it. The only thing missing was-"

"A dog," Donald finished. "We haven't seen one all weekend."

"When a man knows he won't be able to take care of it, he'd probably find it another home."

"The threads, the fingerprints. He probably put the gun in Carl's bag - then in mine," Donald said. "Why would he DO that to us?"

"Alan was always letting us know he was better than us," Carl mused. "He invited us here for one final, joke."

"A last vanity, so to speak. Something to remember him by," Steele suggests.

"Laura," Murphy begins, "they might not have found out for years. You could have been convicted of murder. That's no joke."

"Alan was always true to his word," she reminds them. "He said if we didn't solve the murder, he'd explain it to us before we left." She shakes her head, picking up an appointment book. "The elevator servicemen are coming on Monday. I'm sure they're checking the cables. It's just like him. They've have found the belt."


Monday morning, Laura and Steele are in the hallway coming to the office. "So rewarding," Steele is saying. "So stimulating. What a brain twister that was. A puzzle to test the finest minds." He turns to her, placing his hands on her shoulders. "And you, Miss Holt, shone brilliantly." He kisses her cheek. She smiles. He walks away, then returns. "You know, I've been thinking. Perhaps - we should have a reunion every year," he says, then walks off again. Laura follows.

As they walk into the office, Murphy is talking. "Ballistics tests conducted several days after PROVED that the path of the bullet began INSIDE the industrialist's body," Steele shushes Laura. "And travelled OUT."

Bernice is stunned. "That's AMAZING. But how's it possible?"

"How? You wanna know how? Bernice, a good murder is like a good wine. It should be savored. So take the evening. Or the week, for that matter. Allow it to seep into your thoughts, invade your dreams, consider it and ponder it." He gets up, and looks over at Steele. "Is that how it's done?"

Laura smiles as Steele says, "That boy's come a long way." He joins Laura's laughter.

The End