- Steele Among
from the episode written by:
- Andrew Laskos
Two people are walking and laughing on a beach, playing in the
waves, before the pick up their towels and head off- as we hear
the sound of glass breaking and are at a party.
A dark haired woman is telling a younger, blonde man, "THAT'S
what I do to things that bore me, Teddy." She puts her arm
around his neck. "Now, get your DEVOTED wife another drink,"
she says as a young woman comes closer, her face a masque of
concern. "If you can manage something that complicated."
Teddy frowns. "You've had enough, Rena," he declares
as two older men watch with concern.
"Of what?" Rena asks. "You, maybe?"
One of the men starts forward, but the other one pulls him back.
"Let her go. The party was getting dull, anyway."
Rena moves closer to Teddy. "Oh, how could I? You have been
SO busy of late."
The younger blonde steps in. "I'll get you what you want,"
she says, trying to take the glass from Rena.
But Rena pulls it back. "Uh, uh, uh, uh, uh," she says,
then moves toward the girl as she backs away. "You mean
YOU are going to give HIM," pointing at Teddy, "back?
Oh, how generous of you Marian. Really." Marian looks embarrassed
as Rena staggers back against Teddy with a laugh. "Teddy!
WHAT can you possibly see in this THING?" she sneers. Teddy
steps away from her. "She can't even paint her own name.
She's got NO money! Aha! The SACK! Perhaps that's where her talent
Marian is nearly in tears. "Will you stop at nothing?"
she cries and runs away.
"Marian!" Teddy looks ready to follow, but Rena stops
"You can't leave now, Teddy. You haven't freshened my drink!"
He knocks the glass from her hand, angry. "Rena, right now,
"What?" she asks. "Kiss me? Ooo. In front of all
these people?" Teddy shrugs her off and leaves through the
patio doors as Rena laughs delightedly.
Later, Rena staggers into her art studio, still laughing to herself.
She removes the sheer overdress she's wearing and picks up a
paintbrush, running it over her face. She hears something and
turns as the door opens. "Who's that?" She smiles.
"Ohh. It's YOU. Oh, you really must forgive me for making
such a spectacle of us all," she tells the visitor, as she
runs the brush over the top of her chest, "this afternoon."
The visitor's gloved hand picks up a trowel as she turns toward
the painting on the easel before her. "I couldn't resist
it. Ohhh, what a sensation we'll cause!" The gloved hand
brings the trowel downand from outside the house, we hear a scream
Laura, in welder's mask, is using a burnishing tool on what looks
to be car parts as others work in the room on other projects.
A grey haired man approaches, looking admiringly at what Laura's
doing. "Oh, yes," he says with an Italian accent. "Yes.
Eccentric. Wild animals, snapping and snarling."
"Snapping and snarling?" Laura questions. "It's
supposed to be The Lovers."
"Why of course," he tells her. "The Lovers. Snapping
and snarling." He closes her visor again and gives her a
kiss on it. "Bella!" he tells her before moving away.
One of the other students approach. This one is an overweight
man with a cigar in his hand. "Lovers, huh? That the kind
of sex life you got? Now this here," he tells her, taking
her to his workspace, where an empty TV sits filled with empty
beer cans. "This here makes a statement."
Later, Marian approaches Laura and gets her attention so that
she'll shut off the burnishing tool. "Miss Holt?" she
Laura raises her visor. "Yes?"
"I heard from some of the other students that your work
is- is-" she starts crying.
"Is it really that bad?" Laura asks, looking at her
Laura says, "That's- really bad," she agrees, and we
find that she's in Rena's studio. The place is ashambles, with
paints scattered everywhere, and what looks to be blood on the
"It gets worse," Marian tells her. "Teddy told
the police he was with me that night."
"Believe me, Marian. It's best to tell the truth even if
it's embarrassing to admit you spent the night with- Rena's husband."
"He wasn't with me," Marian tells her.
Laura looks surprised. "Oh?"
"We lied to the police," Marian explains.
"You mean you backed him up?" Laura asks. Marian nods.
"Oh, boy," Laura sighs, moving farther into the room.
"But he didn't do it. He couldn't have."
"But you're not sure."
"Uh, well, once, about a month or so ago, we were parking
in one of the canyons. Teddy only had an hour and then he had
to get back to Rena. He said- he wished she were dead."
"And where is he now?" Laura asks, looking the room
"Hiding. I don't know where."
"All the earmarks of an innocent man," she points out
with some sarcasm.
"He's scared. You've heard the way the six o'clock news
is milking this thing." Laura examines some eyeglasses she's
found. "Prominent West Coast artist Rena Casellas the victim
of a brutal slaying."
"The police still haven't found her body?" Laura questions.
"Look, you don't always get to pick who you fall in love
with. But I love Teddy. And he loves me, and I want to marry
him. And I will."
Laura is fascinated with the eyeglasses. "Providing we can
prove he didn't kill his wife first."
"Then you'll help me?" Marian asks.
Steele is saying, "I don't know. What do you think, Darrell?"
he asks the painter, who has made three lines on the office wall
for Steele to consider.
"I don't think it's right for you, Mr. Steele," he
says of the three shades of blue as Bernice and Murphy move furniture
past him, Bernice giving him a dirty look.
"Yes," Steele agrees. "Too cool. What these offices
need is- feeling. Vitality. Passion, if you will."
"Passion?" Darrell repeats. "I got it."
The telephone rings, and Bernice turns to Steele, as she and
Murphy are still holding the sofa. "Would it be too much
to request some assistance from you, Mr. Steele?"
"Huh? No, no, no, no," he says, watching Darrell as
he moves to uncover the telephone and pick it up. "Steele
On the other end of the line is Laura's art teacher. "Uh,
hello, is Laura there?"
"No, she isn't. Can I take a message?"
"This is Giovanni."
"Last night, I didn't say enough. She was-magnifico."
"Last night," Steele repeats, not thinking about paint
"I cannot wait until next week for the- The Lovers to progress."
"The lovers? Then I presume this is a personal call?"
"Tell her she was splendid. Inspiring." Steele looks
"Okay, okay. That's it," Steele says, trying to stop
the man's effusive praise. "I got it."
"Ciao indeed," Steele says, and hangs up the phone.
He starts toward the other office, but Darrell stops him.
"Mr. Steele." Steele turns to watch as he paints a
bright red stripe on the wall. "How's that for passion?"
Steele isn't happy. "Passion's a dangerous thing, Darrell.
You never know when it's gonna run wild. Or with whom."
Laura and Marian enter the office as Laura tells her, "You'll
have to forgive our decorating. But if you can find a place to
sit in that office-" She and Marian come face to face with
"Ah, there you are, Miss Holt. My most trusted associate."
"Marian Travis. Remington Steele."
They shake hands as Marian says, "Mr. Steele. She's wonderful.
She really is."
"Umm. So I've been hearing." As Marian and Laura pass,
Steele grabs Laura's arm. "Miss Holt, I've just received
a phone call that requires an immediate conference between us.-"
"Whatever it is will have to wait." She turns to where
Murphy and Bernice are sitting on the end of the sofa. "Uh,
Murphy, you want to come in on this?"
"Sure," he says, and follows her into Steele's office.
Bernice moves past Steele with a grin on her face.
Darrell stands there. "Mr. Steele. What about the colors?"
"It's red," he decides, then follows the others.
Marion tells them, "I know Teddy married Rena for her money.
Teddy's beautiful. And guys like that, well, they just get used
to the easy life. Rena-Rena likes to own things. Some relationships
don't go the way they're planned."
Steele looks at Laura as he says, "More often than one can
imagine." Laura shoots him a look as Marian continues.
"And I know Teddy wanted to leave Rena."
"Then why didn't he?" Laura asks. "The easy life?"
"NO," Marian insists. "He didn't care about that
anymore. Rena was blackmailing him."
"With what?" Murphy asks.
"He wouldn't tell me. But she threatened to use it against
him if he ever tried to walk out on her."
"So," Steele begins, "we're dealing here with
a man trapped at the very apex of a lovers triangle. On one side,
true love," he says, moving around the group to sit behind
Laura. "On the other side a hollow commitment, fueled by
little more than cheap, carnal lust." Laura's trying to
figure out what's going on.
"Mr. Steele, I don't-"
"The question is, then, Miss Holt," he continues, "Could
a man, would a man faced with such an excruciating dilemma, -
resort- to- murder?"
Laura turns to look at Marian, without a clue as to what's going
As she and Steele get out of the limo, Laura repeats, "The
'apex of a lovers triangle'? Don't you think you went a little
heavy on the drama? Thank you, Fred." They start down the
"How about we change the subject to last night?"
"What about last night?"
"I called you. You weren't in."
"Well, I was- busy with some work."
"Oh. Anything interesting?"
"Just nuts and bolts kind of stuff," she tells him
"American made or foreign?" he asks as they open the
door to "Spriggs Art Gallery" and enter.
"But WHY, Nicholas?" they hear a man saying as Laura
picks up a flyer from the desk.
"Because, I'm not in the business of selling blank walls
"Now calm down, Nicky!"
"Now when do I get the paintings?!"
"Soon!" As Steele and Laura move toward the voices,
we see two men standing in a darkened room with the slide of
a painting on the wall. "Look, that's all I can tell you!"
"I don't like this, Noah. None of it. If I had known what
was involved when you approached me about Rena's work, -"
"You would have tried to double your commission," Noah
accuses. The curtain to the room opens, revealing that it's the
two men from Rena's party.
Laura speaks. "Excuse me. Mr. Spriggs?" Spriggs shuts
off the projector and turns on the light.
"I was wondering if you might help me."
Spriggs comes out, saying, "I'm sure Anita can answer any
questions you might have." Steele is there. "If I can
tear her away from the soap operas. Anita!"
"Actually, it's you we want to speak with," Steele
tells him, as Noah hovers in the background.
"Is there something particular you were interested in?"
Laura hands him a card. "Information."
He reads the card. "Remington Steele Investigations,"
he says, glancing at Noah.
"You attended a party at Rena Casalles the night she disappeared.
Is that correct?"
"Yes," Spriggs admits nervously. "But I was only
there for a very short while. I mean, I left a LONG time before
Noah steps up quickly. "I was also there. Noah Devareaux."
"The art critic," Steele tells Laura.
"Ordinarily I'd be flattered by the recognition," Noah
says. "Unfortunately, both Nicholas and I were both very
close to Rena. And her murder has left our nerves a little raw,
I'm afraid. How can we help you?"
"Teddy Bennett, Rena's husband-," Laura begins, only
"Ah, yes," Noah says. "A walking poster. With
about as much depth. I suppose Rena was attracted to the animal
in him. I often warned her that exotic pets like that could be
dangerous. But she never listened."
"Then," Steele surmises, "You think he killed
"That's a decision for the police to make," Noah insists.
"According to this mailer, you were planning a showing of
Rena's latest works?" Laura asks Spriggs.
"Yes, well, that opening will have to be delayed now."
"Nicholas thought at first it would be a fitting memorial.
But I convinced him that a presentation so soon might appear
to be in bad taste."
Spriggs spies someone behind a free form sculpture. "You
there. What are you doing? Leave that alone." The man starts
for the door. "Just a moment."
Laura frowns. "It's the beer cans," she comments, recognizing
him as the man from her class.
"The beer cans?"
"Stop him," she tells Steele. They both take off after
The man, wearing a trench coat and laden with some kind of equipment,
runs around the corner. Steele and Laura follow. They lose him
for a moment, until Laura sees the burning cigar on the ground.
Steele leads her to a cardboard box, and they both look at the
shoe that's sticking out from under it. Steele looks around and
picks up a brick, which he drops on the man's toe.
"OW!" he pops out of the box.
"Consider him stopped," Steele tells Laura.
Steele searches his pockets, and hands his wallet to Laura, who
looks at the ID. "Leo Blitzman," she says.
"Yeah, watch the rough stuff, pretty boy," Leo says.
"You're dealing with an eye."
"An eye?" Steele questions.
"Cannon, Mannix, Rockford," he says.
Steele turns to look at Laura. "He appears to be speaking
in some sort of code."
"He's trying to tell us he's a private eye," Laura
"You'd better believe it, sweets," Leo tells them.
"I handled dozens of cases last year. My middle name is
"Alright, Mr. Blitzman," Steele breaks in. "Then
what are you doing lurking around us?"
"I don't have to answer nothin," he says, smiling.
"I'm like a priest with my clients."
"Wait a minute. Wait a minute. Blitzman," Laura recalls.
"Weren't you in charge of security at Renaldi's when the
designs for their spring line were stolen?"
"I don't care WHAT you heard! It didn't happen like that!
And I'm suin'! My lawyers are handlin' it right now."
"And then there was the garden party for the county museum.
You let the raffle tickets blow all over the lawn," she
"What am I God? I can control the weather?"
"When you got back from collecting them, somebody had stolen
the Paul Revere tankard."
"I'm a persecuted man. And if I hear you repeating this
too, I'm going after you. In court."
Steele's had enough. He grabs Leo and shoves him against some
boxes. "Alright, Mr. Blitzman, I want to know who you're
Laura touches his arm. "Mr. Steele. If I could have a word
"Steele? Remington Steele?" Leo questions.
"That's right," Laura tells him. "And you stand
right there, otherwise Mr. Steele will be forced to shoot you."
Steele gives Laura a strange look.
Leo smiles nervously. "I got roots growing out of my toes,"
he tells Steele as Steele reluctantly releases him to join Laura.
"You're not gonna like this, but we have to let him go."
"What? Shouldn't we at least wrench some information out
Laura looks at Leo. "Leo, you gonna tell us anything?"
He puts his hands in his pockets. "I'm like a priest, remember?"
She tosses his wallet back to him as Steele turns away in frustration.
Leo is in his car, a beat up yellow AMC Pacer that's seen better
days, with license plates that read "BLITZMN".
Steele and Laura are in the limo, following a few cars back as
Laura tells a still upset Steele, "I merely said he wouldn't
tell us anything. Not that he wouldn't prove useful."
"Alright," he agrees breathlessly, then turns toward
her. "Putting Blitzman aside for the moment- Laura, I feel
we need to talk about what's been happening between us. About
Truth and deception. Honesty and falsehood."
"Then you've been getting the same feelings I've had,"
Laura jumps in.
He hesitates. "From the sound of it, hardly."
"I thought Devareaux was lying too. Spriggs, for that matter.
Why would they plan a showing of Rena's works, and then cancel
"Laura," he begins to try again. "I don't think
you quite have the picture-"
"You're right. You must be. They don't HAVE the pictures.
When I looked in, all Spriggs had were the slides. And he was
complaining about having to wait. But if Rena's dead, then where
are they? You know, it's almost as if they were expecting her
to die." Steele nods as Fred calls out.
"Up. He's made us!"
They look up to see Leo's Pacer turning around and coming up
beside them. "What's this? You're followin me? In that ocean
"Don't be absurd," Steele assures him. "Our paths
merely coincided for a stretch."
The car behind Leo, being swallowed up his the exhaust from his
car, honks. "I LOVE it!" He exclaims. "They're
trying to follow me!" he looks back at Steele. "Hey!
I got two ex wives trying to hunt me down, and they've yet to
sprinkle salt on this rooster's tail!" he says. "So
take a gander at this car. Cause all you're gonna see of it is
the dust!" He takes off.
Steele picks up the car phone as he says, "No matter what,
Fred, don't lose him until I tell you."
"Yes, sir!" Fred makes a U-turn.
"There's only so much insult a man can have added to his
injury," Steele says, putting the phone to his ear. Fred
follows through a gas station, as Leo laughs. Leo turns a corner,
and pulls into a garage. The limo passes, and Leo is delighted.
"No salt on this rooster's tail," he says, putting
the car into reverse and going back the way he came in, almost
hitting another car. On the curb, Laura and Steele watch him
turn the corner.
"Very impressive, Mr. Steele," she tells him.
Steele whistles for a taxi. "One learns these little tricks
when one is constantly-"
"On the run?" she suggests as he takes her arm.
The taxi driver asks, "You the fifty dollar tip dispatch
was yellin' about?"
"That fella that's just gone round the corner has it, providin
of course, you don't lose him," he tells her as he and Laura
get into the cab. "Follow the smoke."
"I'm with ya, sugar," she tells him.
Teddy is pacing a warehouse room when there's a knock on the
door. He opens it and Leo comes in. "Were you followed?"
"Are you kidding?" Leo asks, lighting his cigar as
Teddy closes the door. "Follow a rooster like Leo Blitzman?
That's like trying to shake hands w'your own shadow."
There's another knock on the door.
Steele says to Teddy, "So. You hired Leo to prove that Marian
didn't kill Rena."
"I was on her tail like that," he says, snapping his
fingers, still disgusted that Steele managed to follow him. "Even
brought my own beer cans to class as a cover."
"Beer cans?" Steele questions, confused.
Laura quickly covers. "It's not important. Teddy, why did
you suspect Marian?"
"Cause I was afraid that she couldn't stand to watch the
way that Rena treated me anymore. I mean, she loved me that much.
That's why I told the police that we were together that night
after the party."
"Doesn't work badly as an alibi for you, either," Laura
Teddy looks shamefaced. "Alright. I found Rena for her money.
And nine out of ten people say I killed her for the same reason.
But you wanna know what the truth is? Rena was completely tapped
out. You see, the demand for her paintings had been slipping
off the past couple of years. She kept on spending like the party
was never gonna end."
"Would anyone else have a reason to kill Rena?" Steele
"I don't know," he admits. "You see, I kinda lost
track of what was happening in Rena's life. I mean, she was off
painting someplace. I don't know where. It's very mysterious."
"Then you didn't see her most recent set of canvases,"
He shakes his head. "You know, Marian got me into therapy.
Primal scream. A terrific guy in Beverly Hills. You know I never
knew how much I hated my father? I mean, really hated him. But
you know what? I love him. He's a terrific guy, my dad. I can
really relate to myself now in a positive way."
"But," Laura reminds him, "you still stand to
inherit the paintings. And with Rena dead, they'd be worth a
lot more than they were a week ago."
"I know," Teddy admits. "I even smell guilty.
You see, that's why I'm holed up here. I was hoping that in clearing
Marian, well, Leo- he'd come up with a lead, maybe."
Leo looks depressed. "Any day now, Teddy, any day."
Laura looks around. "What is this?"
"Oh, well, Marian rented it around six months ago to store
all this junk art she's selling. You know, we had plans to convert
it into our own space some day. It's funny. All my life, I'm
not even worth the clothes I hustle to put on my back, then I
finally meet somebody who matters to me. Then this happens."
He turns to look at Steele, who's standing behind him now. "Love
make any sense to you, Steele?"
Steele's eyes are on Laura across the room. "Less and less,"
he admits. "All the time."
Laura and Steele are at Rena's studio. Laura's on the phone as
Steele looks around. "Thanks, Murph." She hangs up.
"You say the police have been through here?" Steele
"Clean up isn't their strong suit," she tells him.
"No wonder Rena had so many pairs of glasses. She was going
She nods. "Murphy checked with her opthamalogist. She had
a degenerative eye disease called retinitus pigmentosa. But it's
"Her painting?" Steele questions. "More like tragic."
"No, I mean this studio. Rena must have been standing here
because there's such a large stain. But there's not a drop on
Steele has picked up a self-portrait of Rena. "Laura."
He finally turns. "Laura. Dana Andrews, Gene Tierney,
Twentieth Century Fox, 1944. A detective falls in love with a
murdered woman that he knows only through her portrait, then
discovers that she's not really dead."
"Not really dead?" Laura asks. "Try this. A successful
but waning artist is broke. Her only source of income in her
painting, but she realizes that she'll soon be blind."
"She dies in a sensational murder," Steele adds.
"Plenty of delicious scandal."
"Which shoots up the value of her paintings."
"Additional data- no body, erratic, illogical evidence at
the scene of the crime-"
"So Rena staged the murder to cash in on her talents while
she still could," Steele surmises.
"And left Teddy to take the rap for it."
"Cold blooded scheme," Steele comments, still looking
at Rena's picture.
"And not nearly as appealing as Gene Tierney."
In the limo, Laura tells Steele, "Marian's going to meet
us at the loft. She can't wait to see Teddy again. The lovers,
reunited." In the back glass, we can see a yellow Pacer
is following them.
"Indeed," Steele says. "Laura, there's no point
in putting this off any longer. I took a phone call for you this
morning. From- Giovanni."
"Giovanni?" She winces. "Oh, dear. You weren't
supposed to find out."
"So you know about my -"
"Lovers," she corrects.
Steele's eyes widen in shock. "Lovers? You mean there's
more than one?"
"Well, I knew it was going to be more work," she explains
eagerly. "But I couldn't see doing it any other way."
"But, that's not possible," he protests.
"Well, keeping them both balanced is tricky. But when you're
holding a torch like that-"
"Torch? Sounds more like a forest fire, raging out of control!
Laura, I would like to consider myself a sophisticated man. I
would never PRESUME to have a monopoly on your affections. But-
if you must dally, couldn't you confine it to one tryst at a
"Wait a minute. Wait a minute. You took a message for me,
and deduced from that that I was having a smarmy affair with
"He was none to discreet about it, either."
"Very clever deduction," she says angrily.
"You taught me too well, I'm afraid," Steele tells
"Well why don't you come with me next Tuesday? The more
Steele is shocked again. "I don't think humor is the way
to deal with this right now, but if you really feel-" she
places a hand to his mouth.
"Shh," she whispers, pointing to something. She reaches
down and picks up a listening device. Looking behind them, they
see the Pacer following them. Angry, Laura digs in her purse
and comes up with a whistle. Leo's trying to figure out why he's
not hearing anything.
Laura blows the whistle into the bug, causing Steele to wince,
and Leo to lose control of his car. He goes off the road into
a picnic table. The family that is there stands watching as he
gets out of the car.
Marian, Laura, and Steele enter the dark loft. "Teddy? Teddy,
it's me, Marian. Everything's gonna be all right," she assures
him, turning on the lights. "Mr. Steele says Rena isn't
"We merely begin with all the known facts, Miss Travis,
and from those try to make the creative leap to a working hypothesis-
or theory, if you will," he says to Laura.
"Teddy?" Marian calls again, becoming concerned.
"It's alright, Teddy, really," Laura calls.
"From there, we seek out corroborating evidence to buttress
our theory," Steele continues. "Until we feel confident
in saying, with a high degree of certainty, that Rena is most
probably-" he places his hand on a shelf against the wall,
knocking over a painting that is leaning there- and revealing
the body of Rena. Marian screams. "Dead," Steele confirms.
"Well, it was only a theory," he points out as Laura
tries to comfort Marian.
Back at the office, Marian says, "But you said Rena faked
her own murder."
"In her studio she had," Laura confirmed. "Obviously
someone knew it was staged an accomplice, perhaps. And decided
to make it a reality. Probably to keep all the paintings for
"Himself? You're not thinking it was Teddy?"
"No, no. But we did leave him there this afternoon."
"And he wasn't there when we discovered Rena," Steele
"Then you ARE saying it was Teddy, aren't you?"
"We're merely saying that- in light of the facts, it might
be wise to prepare yourself for the worst-"
Murphy comes in. "Laura. Excuse me. Can I see you for a
second?" he asks. "It's important."
Laura turns and follows him from the room, leaving Steele alone
with Marian. "You see, Marian, there are unfortunate surprises
even in the most- trusting of relationships."
Bernice interrupts. "Mr. Steele- Darrell said to tell you
to take all the time you want on the color. He gets paid by the
"And Miss Travis. Someone named Giovanni called. He says
he'd like to arrange private sessions for you and Laura together.
He feels you're both that good." She sneers at Steele as
"Good God in heaven," Steele mutters, looking at Marian.
"You know him too? The man's an insatiable animal."
Marian smiles. "Giovanni? An animal? Believe me, compared
to some of the sculpture instructors I've had, he's a pussycat."
Steele smiles. "Sculpture instructor?"
"Yes. On Tuesday nights. That's how I met Laura. He's very
encouraging. And Laura has a natural talent." Steele's smile
is filled with relief. "You should see her piece. The Lovers.
For rusty carburetors and brake drums, it's terribly romantic."
Murphy is telling Laura, "It seems Teddy had some gambling
debts before the marriage. He embezzled money from Rena to pay
them off. She found out about it, collected enough evidence to
have him convicted, and kept him on a short string ever since."
"No wonder he couldn't leave her for Marian."
"With Rena out of the picture, he's out from under a tight
rap, worth a small fortune in artwork, and free to do as he pleases.
You want my vote?"
"I'm afraid to start counting," Laura says.
Steele tells Marian, "Oh, not to worry, Marian. Even the
best of detectives can be occasionally misled by the facts,"
he says, glancing at the door to Laura's office. "Particularly
when they're not fully explained. And I can identify with Teddy's
predicament. Now trust me. We'll find Teddy's innocent no matter
how remote it may seem." She starts crying on his shoulder.
"Oh, there, there now," Steele murmurs in comfort,
but he's smiling in the direction of Laura's doorway.
As the limo drives through the darkened streets, Steele acts
uncomfortable. "Laura, I owe you an apology."
"Jealousy is a petty, childish emotion. What you do with
Giovanni et al on Tuesday nights is your own affair, so to speak."
"My hopes for a fuller relationship between us were possessive
and unrealistic. I can see that now, and I appreciate the way
you helped me through a difficult adjustment." He sighs
sadly. "It won't happen again."
She turns around to him, rubbing his shoulder. "Well, you
know, I don't think we need write anything in stone-"
The telephone rings, and Steele says, "Excuse me,"
as he answers it, she stays where she is. "Steele here."
Bernice is on the phone. "Alright. It's 11:30. I waited
and I called. Now what do you want?"
"Ah, Darlene," Steele says with a fond smile.
"What do you mean, Darlene?" Bernice wants to know.
Laura withdraws, looking away as he continues his little charade.
"YesTonightOf course I remember."
"You're pulling something, aren't you?" Bernice accuses.
"You have a key, don't you?"
"All right. Tell me what you're doing, or I'm gonna hang
up right now," Bernice warns.
"Just let yourself in. I'll be by shortly." Bernice
looks sick. "Silk? Always loved the feel of silk."
Bernice slams down the receiver, and Steele laughs wickedly.
"Very well, very well. Okay. Until then," he says,
then hangs up. He looks back at Laura. "I'm sorry, Laura,
what were you saying about stone?"
Laura's slightly upset. "Look, I may not have been complete-
That is, if you really thought that I-! Oh, HELL!" she exclaims,
then gives Steele a kiss as the limo comes to a stop. "Give
my best to Darlene!' she tells him, opening the door.
"Laura," he says, sliding across the seat as she slams
the door. "Laura, wait. Wait. Darlene is just-" He
gives it up, sits back, shaking his head. "Love must truly
be an enigma, Fred."
"How's that, sir?"
"Because I can't tell if I'm winning or losing."
Laura enters her house, and turns on the light, only to be grabbed
from behind. "You scream, and it's all over," her captor
Steele gets off the elevator at his apartment, pausing as he
notices the damaged door lock on his door. Cautiously he pushes
it open, and tosses his coat down. "Don't shoot, Leo. It's
Leo comes from the kitchen with a plate of food and glass of
milk. "Steele. You know, this is some shed you got here.
Uh, you want some?"
Teddy is sitting at a table, saying, "I'm sorry I scared
you, Miss Holt, but I'm kind of a wreck myself. You know, getting
set up once was bad enough. But twice-"
Laura sets a plate of food on the table before him. "So
you let the loft to look for this?" she asks about the papers
on the table.
"See, I couldn't believe that Rena would ever leave me anything.
I mean, especially her paintings." He stuffs a napkin down
the front of his almost unbuttoned shirt. "Then I remembered-she
kept all her legal papers in the safe in the floor of the bedroom.
So I went to check. Then, when I got back, there's Rena. Dead.
Again. So I ran." Laura's reading the papers. "Someone's
trying to bury me, Miss Holt, as fast as they can. Now, I'm no
Einstein, but that piece of paper there, I think that -sticks
the blame on somebody else for a change."
"According to this, Rena sold all of her paintings, including
the ones nobody's seen yet, to a consortium."
"That's good for me, right?"
"Well, it hardly clears you, especially since you didn't
even know about it. But it does point elsewhere," she admits,
picking up her glass of what looks like beer. "Maybe to
Devereaux or Spriggs."
"Either one's okay with me," Teddy tells her. "As
long as we do it right away. I don't want to be a notch on some
"In that case, you shouldn't go back to the loft,"
Laura tells him.
He stands up, reaching into his pocket. "Are you kidding?
I'm NEVER going back there. You take the key. I don't want them
to find it on me." He drops the key on the table.
"Then I guess you'd better spend the night with me,"
"Hey, thanks for the offer, Miss Holt, but- well, you see-since
Marian, I've kinda- sworn off fooling around. You know what I
Laura is a bit frustrated by his denseness. "I meant,"
she tells him, standing up. "On the couch."
Steele pours a glass of liquor as Leo speculates. "Look.
The Casellas dame is dead for good. But somebody snatched the
paintings. We find the paintings, we got the killer. Capice?"
"An eminently sound deduction, Leo."
"So I figure we're both pros. Why butt heads over this,
huh? We go arm and arm, we find the oilskins together, split
the recovery fee- become partners."
"Only thing is, you gotta dump baby doll."
"Miss Holt?" Steele questions, loosening his tie.
"She's no good for you, Steele. I'm talking albatross. Secretary
one week, detective the next. I mean, you and I know being a
real detective takes a certain, uh-"
"Je ne sais quoi?" Steele suggests.
"Yeah, yeah. That to. But mostly it takes moxie. I got moxie,
you got moxie. Together we got moxie up the kazoo. Whaddaya say?
"I don't know, Leo. You strike me more as a lone wolf."
"The lone wolf. That's great."
"Why don't we see our way though this case," Steele
suggests, pulling Leo from the table and grabbing his coat, "And
consider our options then?"
"You make a great business partner. Gilt edged. Blitzman
"Oh-ho." Steele leads him toward the door.
"Or Steele and Blitzman. Hey, you eat a guy's liverwurst,
you don't get fussy about the name-"
"Actually, it's pate, but never mind."
"Okay. I can see you want to put us on a little shakedown
cruise. Right? I'm game. First thing in the morning, -"
Steele takes the broken lock from the door. "You're gonna
see to it that my lock is repaired."
Leo holds up the lock. "Taiwan. And they're ruining the
Steele pushes him out. "Good night." He closes the
The next morning, he arrives at Laura's. When she lets him in,
he tells her. "Audacity, Laura. It makes kings of commoners.
You'll never believe the proposition I had last night."
"I doubt that I care to hear about it."
"But when I got home, I discovered that-"
"Don't," she says, holding up her hand. "I thought
about what you said last night, and you were right. Maybe we
should keep our private lives private, each to his own, no questions
asked. Besides, we have a case to solve, and it isn't getting
any simpler." She turns away. "Wait here."
"But," he says, following her to the doorway, "But,
I'm talking about the case. He hears the shower running, and
finds men's clothing on the couch. The phone rings, and he answers.
"YOU," Bernice says. "What are you doing there?"
In the background, Darrell and several of his friends are gathered.
"Why? Who were you expecting, Miss Wolfe?"
"Hey, if you set me up last night to take advantage of Laura,"
she warns as he looks around and finds another bug.
"I can assure you, any advantages taken weren't mine. Now,
to the purpose of your call."
"The gallery owner, Spriggs, just called. "He said
he had to see you right away, it was urgent. But wouldn't give
me any details over the phone."
"Message received. Thank you." He hangs up. Laura comes
in. "We need to see Spriggs," he says, at the same
time, she speaks.
"We need to see Spriggs." She stops. "He called?"
"Apparently." He grabs her before she can turn away.
"But-Laura, listen to me. If- because of Darlene-if you
thought- that is, if it caused you to-" he motions toward
the bedroom, "rebound into-"
"No questions, remember? Just the case. Spriggs." She
turns and leaves him standing there, still worried.
"Right. Spriggs." He holds the bug up to his mouth.
"Spriggs gallery. You got that, Leo?" he says into
it. A car horn blows outside.
Laura sees him and frowns as she follows him out.
As they enter the gallery, she says, "Partners. He actually
suggested we all become partners?"
"Well-not all of us. Leo feels that- uh, the agency might
"Really? Whom does he think we should cut?" she asks,
and then they're distracted by a noise in the back of the gallery.
They rush in that direction, reaching the back room just as Spriggs
appears in the doorway.
"Mr. Steele. Anita still glued to the damn soap op-"
he falls forward into their arms, revealing a piece of metal
sculpture sticking out of his back.
Getting him to the floor, Steele and Laura run into the room,
but Steele can't get the back door open. "It's blocked,"
he tells her. "Let's go round to the back."
"Right," she agrees, and leads the way to the front
door as Leo comes in.
"Hey, Holt! Where's Steele?" he asks as she passes
him. Seeing Steele, he says, "Hi, Steele. Where's Spriggs?"
Then he sees Spriggs' body. "HEY! Somebody just killed Spriggs!"
he calls, then takes off as well.
They return to the gallery. "Did you make the car, the plate,
a face?" Leo asks.
"Nothing!" Laura declares as she continues into the
Leo and Steele pause by the body. "Well, the worms'll be
singin tonight," Leo comments.
"An appalling metaphor, Leo. But accurate. Best call the
police, I suppose. If we only knew what he was trying to tell
Leo kneels beside the body. "Ain't no telephone to the grave,
"We're on our own. Blitzman and Steele." He glances
up as Steele moves away. "Okay. Steele and Blitzman. Steele!"
he follows. "Steele!"
Laura is looking at some slides of paintings. "Unless I'm
mistaken, these are the slides of the missing Rena Casellas paintings."
"Logical assumption, Laura, but what about Spriggs' assailant?
I mean, I hate to say it, but I think Teddy's back in the fire."
"Teddy didn't kill Spriggs," she tells him. "But
if we can find the paintings, then we'll also find the killer.
"You hit the kitten on the head, baby doll," Leo tells
her. "So, how do we find the paintings, coach?" he
Laura looks at Steele as he looks thoughtful. "Uh, how do
we find the paintings?" he muses. "A simple enough
procedure for seasoned professionals, Leo. Teddy said Rena painted
these pictures in a secret hiding place known only to herself
and her accomplice." He looks at the slide. "With Rena
dead, where better to continue hiding the paintings but that
same secret hiding place?"
Laura snaps her fingers. "Those palm trees." She points
out four palms in a "W" shape. "They're in at
least half of these pictures."
"So what?" Leo asks.
"I've seen those palm trees before," she insists.
Steele's looking now. "Of course you have. It's a Mad,
Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World,
United Artists, 1963, Spencer Tracy and a plethora of comics."
He points to the palms. "The money was hidden underneath
the crossed palms."
Laura is stunned. "I think they could be."
They go to the site of the palms. "There they are!"
Steele calls out.
"Rena must have painted those pictures somewhere around
here," Laura comments.
"Laura," Steele asks as they stand beneath the palms,
waiting for Leo to catch up, "How can you be so sure that
Teddy didn't kill Spriggs?"
"Because he spent the night with me," she tells him,
examining the slide in her hand.
"Teddy? You mean, this morning in the shower?"
"He didn't know where else to turn."
"I know the feeling," he mutters as Leo comes up, out
"Hey, Steele, this is heart attack hill. Couldn't you find
another way to get up here?" His attention is caught by
something, and he moves past them
"As usual, Leo, your sense of timing is impeccable."
"Well, I knew you'd find it."
"You did?" Laura and Steele notice the cottage across
the way, and they follow him.
At the cottage, Laura tries the door, but it's locked. "I'll
bust it down," Leo tells them, handing his coat to Steele.
"I don't think that would be wise, Leo," he warns.
Leo moves back. "Cover your eyes," he tells Laura.
"Splinters can be dangerous." He leaps at the door,
and grabs his shoulder. "A trick door," he declares.
"Who could tell?" he asks, grabbing his shoulder again.
Steele gives him back the coat. "Perhaps there's an easier
route," he decides, and leads them away. He easily leaps
over a short wall, and then Laura gets over. They wait for Leo,
and Laura offers her hand.
"I can do it, I can do it," Leo insists, putting his
coat on the fence and leaping on top. Laura has to help him down.
They enter the house through an unlocked door. They hear another
door close. Leo tells Laura, "You'd better stay here, Baby
doll. Things might get rough." Laura remains where she is.
Steele and Leo enter the study, and Leo opens a door, only to
have Noah Devereaux shove something in his face and take off.
Steele gives chase. As Noah reaches the door and opens it, Laura
breaks a chair over his head. Leo arrives on the scene as Noah
slides to the floor. "Nice work, Steele," he says.
Laura turns away, angry and disgusted.
Once Noah wakes, Leo tosses him onto the sofa. "Let me mark
him, Steele. Just the tip of his nose."
"Would you tell this animal to leave me alone?"
"You were Rena's accomplice in the staging of her murder,"
"I want to talk to my lawyer."
"Then you murdered Rena since she was legally dead already,"
"But Spriggs wasn't prepared for that and panicked. That's
why he called us. Unfortunately, you got to him before we did."
Leo looks at Laura. "I could dislocate a joint."
Laura ignores him. "The contract between Rena and the consortium
you formed should provide enough of a motive."
"And the fingerprints on the sculpture in Spriggs will no
doubt prove equally revealing," Steele says.
Leo grabs Noah. "Let me loosen a tooth or two."
"ALL RIGHT! Spriggs did panic when he found out why I brought
him into the consortium. He accused me of killing Rena. He threatened
to go to the police. I couldn't persuade him otherwise- but I
DID NOT kill Rena!"
Leo looks at Steele. "Chinese water torture," he suggests.
Steele smiles sickly. "No, I swear, why would I kill her?
She'd hidden the paintings someplace. She was going to get them
when she was killed. Until I had those paintings, Rena was more
valuable to me alive than dead, right?!"
"That does seem to follow a certain, sordid logic,"
Steele admits to Laura. Laura moves off, thoughtful, as Leo shakes
"WHERE ARE THE PAINTINGS?" he yells.
"I don't KNOW! I thought they'd be here. But I've taken
the place apart and they're not."
Steele notices Laura, standing there, a finger to her mouth.
He goes to her. "You're onto something. I can tell by that
delicious gleam in your eye."
"I think we've been missing something rather obvious."
"I'm still missing it. What are you talking about?"
"She was going to get the paintings." She snaps her
fingers. "Of course."
"Of course what?" he questions as she moves off.
"My God, get this maniac away from me!" Noah pleads
as Leo lights a cigar and holds it menacingly.
"Leo, please!" Steele says. "He's already confessed.
Leo frowns and lets Noah go.
At the warehouse, Leo unlocks the doors to the loft. "You
really think the paintings could be here, Steele?"
"Rena knew about Teddy and Marian, it's possible she knew
about this too." Leo turns on the lights.
"It's the last place anyone would expect her to use,"
Laura points out. "Devereaux said she was going to get them
just before she was killed." Leo starts going through the
canvases that are scattered everywhere.
"It's nice stuff, alright," Leo comments. "But
I don't see what we're looking for."
Laura asks Steele, "If you were going to hide a set of paintings-"
"I'd put them right in front of your nose, where you'd never
see them," he tells her. He looks at a stack of paintings,
and pulls the corner of the canvas, revealing one of the missing
"Paydirt," Leo says. "Listen, Steele, why don't
we forget the recovery fee and dance these beauties into the
black market? I got a friend that knows a lot of high rollers
in Houston, and- uh, they eat this kind of stuff for breakfast."
"We haven't found Rena's killer, Leo," Laura reminds
"No, not until he knew where the paintings were."
"Then Spriggs. It's always those little guys."
"No. Spriggs didn't even know about the scam. He thought
Rena really WAS murdered in her studio."
"Well," Steele asks, "if it wasn't Marian, and
it wasn't Teddy, who the-"
"What difference does it make?" Leo asks. "We
got the brass ring. I could go out and rent us a truck-"
Laura glances at the door as a thought occurs. "And have
these in Houston before the sun hits the horizon." Laura
joins Steele. "Whaddaya say, Steele?"
"Leo, how did you get us in here just now?" Laura asks.
"With a key," Steele answers. "Why?"
"Whose key?" she wants to know.
"Uh, Teddy's key. Teddy gave it to me when we were here."
"No, no, no, no," Laura says, holding up the key. "I
have Teddy's key. And Marian had hers the night we found Rena."
"What is this, Steele? You lettin baby doll run the show?"
"Where'd you get the key, Leo?" Steele asks.
"Rena must have had one made up so she could get to the
paintings. But the police didn't find one on the body. Did you
come looking for Teddy and walk in on Rena instead?"
Leo pulls a gun. "I warned you about her Steele," he
"Ohhh, no, Leo," Steele moans.
"Rena laughed at me," Leo explains. "I made her
an offer. An even split on the paintings, and I would have kept
her secret. Twenty years in this business carryin' a license
and this is the sweetest thing I ever stepped into." He
moves to the row of paintings. "Crazy dame. She ran for
it. I went after her and got a piece of her coat by the elevator."
He puts some canvases under his arm. "Next thing you know,
I'm looking down the shaft at a stiff. I didn't mean for it to
go sour like that. Just my luck, huh? The goose dies, and I don't
even know where the golden eggs are."
"So you hitched yourself onto me," Steele says, "and
hoped it would pay off. Leo, you're a detective. Doesn't that
MEAN anything to you?"
"Yeah. It means teaching frightened old ladies how to use
mace three times a week just to keep my car running. You pegged
me, Steele. The lone wolf. What have I got that's so great, huh?
Nothin. And when I take the Big Sleep in some charity ward on
Skid Row, who's gonna care? Nobody, that's who. Once, just once,
I want to score it big."
Laura moves around Steele. "You're going to have to kill
us to do it, Leo."
"That's right," Steele agrees softly. He slowly starts
"Don't come any closer, Steele," Leo warns. "I'll
"I don't think so, Leo," Steele tells him. He takes
"I always wanted to send somebody up the river," Leo
tells him. "I never figured on it being me." Laura
puts her hand on his shoulder.
Darrell is showing signs of frustration as Steele examines the
swatches of color again. "The same color?" he asks
in disbelief. "After all we went through?"
"A man needs a little consistency in his life, Darrell,"
Steele tells him. "Something reassuring, familiar. Something
to inspire trust."
Laura joins them. "What's this about trust?"
"He wants me to paint the walls trustworthy grey,"
Darrell tells her.
Laura smiles. "I approve the choice. It was worth waiting
Marian and Teddy come in, with Teddy carrying something that's
covered by a cloth. "Laura? Where would you like this?"
"Right through there," Laura tells them.
"What is that you're taking into my office, Teddy?"
Steele asks him.
They follow them into the office. Teddy sets the item on the
desk. "Before we leave," Marian says, "we'd like
to tell you the good news. Teddy and I are getting married."
"Oh, that's wonderful!"
"I've turned over a new leaf," Teddy tells them. "No
more living off other people. My irresponsible days are over.
I've found a new profession. It's respectable, secure, and dependable."
"What's that, Teddy?"
"I've taken up- painting," he tells them.
"I'm so excited I could almost-" Marian begins.
"Oh, don't do that, Princess. We got a plane to catch. We're
off to Arkansas to see dear old Dad," he tells them. Marian
and Laura hug, and Teddy takes Steeles' hand. "Well, Steele,
"Don't mention it," Steele says, as Teddy moves to
Marian and Laura.
"Princess, come on." They leave the office.
Once they're alone, Steele and Laura stand there, looking nervously
at each other. "Laura, I realize we agreed to no personal
questions, but- in the interest our mutual sanity- what would
you say to sixty seconds of- total honesty?"
"A full minute? Are you sure you can handle it?"
"I'm desperate enough to suggest it."
"Alright. I'm not having an affair with Giovanni."
"There is no Darlene."
"Teddy spent the night on the couch."
"I spent the night with Leo."
"The Lovers-is a sculpture I've been working on."
She pulls the cloth from the sculpture. "Do you like it?"
He's doubtful. "Inspired."
"That IS what we're doing, isn't it?"
"In that case," she asks, standing close to him. "I
have one more question."
"What's your real name?"
"My -real name." He glances at his watch. "Uh.
Time's up." He pulls a wire on the sculpture.