A heavy set man wearing a trench coat, hat and dark glasses pushes a grocery cart stealthily through a grocery store. Spying a display of caviar, he goes over to it and begins putting the jars into his cart.
Pushing the cart outside, he opens the refrigerated trunk on a vintage car, releasing cold air into the warm evening. He's putting the caviar into the trunk of the car when he sees a man coming toward him with a menacing look. The heavy man pushes the half full cart toward his would be assailant, and gets into the car, leaving the trunk open, condensation rolling out of it.
The assailant tries to stop the car, but is thrown aside as the car turns out of the parking lot and speeds away.
At Steele's Rossmore condo, before a roaring fire, Laura picks up a cracker, but Steele admonishes, "Uh, uh, uh, careful, Laura." He is holding a bottle of champagne, a strange smile on his face. "Cloud the palate." He tosses the cracker back onto the plate.
Laura turns to look at him, angry and confused. "What is so special about this bottle of champagne?" she asks.
Steele chuckles at a memory as Laura rolls her eyes. "Ah, this was given to me by a dear friend in Cypress, 1973." He stops, looking up. "Or was it '74?" he questions. "Ah, well, at any rate, I had to leave rather unexpectedly because the Cypriots decided to stage this coup. However, this precious bottle of champagne here survived, and was later recovered by-"
"Mr. Steele," Laura says, looking at him, "pop the cork." He reaches for it, but there's a knock at the door. Steele turns to look in that direction as Laura suggests, "Return of the Cypriots?"
Steele glares at her lack of enthusiasm, and asks, "Who is it?" Laura reaches for her cracker and takes a bite. Steele frowns.
"Help me, please!" a whiny man calls from the hallway. "Let me in!" He's pounding on the door now. "Somebody's trying to kill me!"
"Yes, coming, coming, coming!" Steele calls, putting the champagne down and rising to go to the door. As he opens the door, asking, "Yes, what can I do for you?" he's pushed aside by the heavy man from the grocery store, who grabs Laura, who followed Steele from the sofa, and begins shaking her.
"You're my only hope. You've got to help me." Steele closes the door, and then joins them, testing his right shoulder for injury. "Please. I'd get down on my knees if it weren't so much trouble getting up."
"Who are you?" Laura asks, and he stops shaking her.
"Bingham Perret. Bing to all my friends." He lets her go and turns to Steele, grabbing his lapels to shake him. "Did you lock the door? You've got a gun, don't you?" he asks hysterically.
"Calm down!" Steele orders, grabbing the man with Laura's help. "Calm down, now. Who's trying to kill you?"
Bing breaks away, causing Laura to fall onto the arm of the sofa, and goes to the windows. He stops, motioning for them to join him. Laura and Steele exchange an uncertain look, and then follow him onto the balcony. Bing points to a man in the garden below. "Him." It's the man who chased him out of the grocery store parking lot.
"Uh huh," Steele nods. "Any idea why?"
"Caviar," Bing tells them.
"Caviar?" Laura questions.
Steele pulls Bing back into his apartment. "How did you find us, Mr. Perret?"
"Alright, how did you find us, Bing?"
"I called your office, and the nice lady gave me your address, I was in the neighborhood, so--"
Steele looks at Laura. "Remind me to talk to Mildred," he tells her. She nods in agreement.
"You've got to help me," Bing insists. "My life is at stake. Money's no object," he tells them, pulling his hands from his coat pockets to show the crumpled money in them.
Laura's amazed, Steele smiles. "Be right back."
"Lock the door," Laura tells Bing as she follows Steele from the condo.
Downstairs, Laura and Steele come from the building. "I'll take the alley," Steele tells her. She turns the other way and starts down the sidewalk. Steele is looking around near some storage buildings when the man that he's looking for comes from behind them and hits him on the head.
Steele falls to the ground, and the man kneels to go through Steele's pockets. Another man, this one older, with white hair, comes up behind *him* and hits him, knocking him out. He goes through the first man's pockets, looks at his ID.
Laura sees them, and the second man sees her. He drops the ID and takes off. Laura rushes over just as Steele is waking up. He groans. "Who is he?" Laura asks about the first man.
"Good question," Steele agrees, as the man begins muttering in a foreign language.
"Gde ya? Gde ya?"
"Russian?" Laura says.
The sound of a gunshot and glass breaking draws their attention. "Mr. Perret?" Laura says.
"Bing?" They get up and take off to try and help the man.
They rush into the condo at full throttle, only to stop as they find Bing there, having a glass of Steele's bottle of champagne. There's a hole in the window behind him. He laughs. "Sorry about the window. The cork had a mind of its own. Just put it on my bill," he tells them, pouring another glass as Steele watches. Steele goes to the window. 'Did you find the guy?" Bing asks. Steele points at him in disapproval.
Steele and Laura watch the first man stagger away from the building, then turn back to Bing. "He found me," Steele tells him, sitting down in the chair beside a round glass table.
"Bing, why are you being followed by someone from Russia?" Laura asks.
Bing drops the bottle of champagne through the glass table. Steele stops stretching his neck and stares at the remains. Laura gasps. "Just put it on my bill," he says nervously, watching Steele.
Steele slowly gets up from the chair and heads toward Bing, as Laura stands between them. "Mr. Steele," she says.
"The man is a menace," he begins, "to life," he puts a hand on Bing's shoulder, trapping Laura between them, "limb," he grabs the other shoulder, "and property.
"Nevertheless," Laura reminds him, "he is our client." She turns around in the small space and removes Steele's hands. "Now," she says to Bing. "What have the Russians got to do with this?"
Bing takes them to a warehouse and shows them a crate filled with ball bearings. "Ball bearings?" Steele questions.
"Bulgarian ball bearings," Bing corrects. "My family's in the caviar business. And this was supposed to be a million dollar shipment of Russian caviar." He shows them another crate filled with ball bearings.
"Uh huh," Steele nods.
"See any fish eggs in here?"
"Maybe you should stop payment on your check," Laura suggests.
"Too late. We paid for it months ago."
Steele examines a ball bearing. "Anything like this ever happened before?"
"Never. You don't mess around with the King of Caviar," Bing declares, trying to sound tough.
"The King of Caviar?" Steele asks.
"My family's had an exclusive contract with the Russians for over a hundred years. If you live in the United States, and you want Russian caviar, you come to me. That is, if Daddy's busy."
"Have you contacted the Russian authorities?" Laura asks.
"Of course I have. I've been trying to get through to Denisovitch all day."
"Denisovitch?" Laura repeats.
"The Commissar of Caviar," Bing explains. "In Russia."
"And?" Steele prompts.
"He's in a meeting," Bing tells them snootily.
A telephone begins to ring, but Bing makes no move toward his briefcase, where the sound is coming from. "Shouldn't you answer it?" Laura asks. "It might be Russia calling."
Bing hesitantly goes over and opens the case, then closes it, then opens it again and answers in a terrible Japanese accent. "Herro . . .No. Mr. Perret not here . . . So solly. Call back tomollow." He smiles nervously. "Hi, Daddy . . . No, I was just kidding you. You know how I like to do that sometimes," he says, looking terrified as Laura and Steele exchange a pitying glance. "Everything's fine. Of course the shipment came in. I'm standing here looking at it right now . . . Sri Lanka. Already?" He puts a hand over the receiver to tell Laura and Steele, "He's in Sri Lanka already. Be home before you know it." Into the phone, he says, "What? . . . No, just some friends . . . We're not. I know you told me not to have any parties . . . I know . . . Don't worry . . . Okay? Goodbye." He hangs up and collapses, sobbing. "Oh, God!"
Steele rushes to help him up. "Come on, come on, come on," he says, struggling to help. "Straighten up, straighten up. Pull yourself together now for God's sake. There you go. Chin up, chest out, belly in-" Steele stops. "Close enough," he decides.
Bing's still upset. Laura comes in between them. "Sit down," She tells Bing. "Mr. Perret, -"
"Bing. What is it exactly you'd like us to do?" Laura wants to know.
"I don't know. Go to Russia?" he asks hopefully.
"We can't go to Russia," Laura tells him.
"We're sponsoring a charity polo match day after tomorrow. I have to have my caviar by then."
"Well, with any luck, you will," Steele tells him. "In the event that you don't, I'm sure the charity people will understand."
Bing looks at Laura as he answers. "No, you don't understand. This polo match is the most important sales event of the year. All our buyers will be there. No caviar, no business. No business, bye-bye Bing. Daddy'll have me for breakfast."
"Well, it looks as if we have our work cut out for us, Mr. Steele."
Steele looks less than pleased. "Hmm. And all before Daddy gets home."
Laura grabs Bing's things. "Bing, it would be a very good idea if you stayed with Mr. Steele tonight."
Steele's not pleased at this idea, but Bing whines, "I can't. I promised to have some publicity pictures taken tomorrow morning at the polo field."
"Fine," Laura agrees. "Mr. Steele will go with you."
Steele moves closer. "Uh, Miss Holt- Excuse us a moment, Bing," he says, escorting Laura away. "Technical talk. We don't want to bore you with anything." Once they're out of earshot, he says, "Laura, Laura, Laura, the man practically destroyed my apartment. Couldn't we put him up in a hotel?" he suggests. "I'm not insured for this sort of thing." Laura glances at Bing. Steele smiles at him.
"That wouldn't solve the problem," Laura insists. "Besides," she points out, playing with his tie, "if it were a woman, you'd expect her to stay with me, wouldn't you? Hmm?"
Inside, Bing is trying to clean up his earlier mess while Steele grabs some pillows and blankets from the bedroom for the sofa. "That phone call tonight from Daddy," Bing explains, "I was just putting him on. We do that kind of stuff all the time. It's like he's my big brother."
"I gathered that from the conversation," Steele notes dryly, making up the sofa.
Bing turns to look at him. "Look. Just between you and me, I'm the King now, okay? Daddy's gone- well, a little senile. Everybody wants me to put him away, but I won't do it. I love that man. I would never do anything to hurt him. That's why you have to promise me that he won't find out about this little- glitch."
Steele sits on the coffee table, looking at Bing for a moment. "Hey. Come on. Get some sleep. Leave that."
"I am a little bushed," Bing admits, getting up and going toward the sofa.
"Lie down," Steele tells him. He watches as Bing tries to lie on the sofa. "Good night," he says, then stops in the doorway as Bing rolls off the sofa. Bing gets up and tries again. This time he pulls the coffee table over and tries to get comfortable.
Steele comes over, barely saving a glass ashtray. "Why don't you take the bed? I'll take the couch," he suggests.
Bing gets up "Good idea," he agrees, and goes into the bedroom.
"Good night," Steele says again.
Steele pushes the coffee table out, and sits down. "Oh, what a bed, Mr. Steele," Bing sighs.
"Thanks," Steele says, lying down. "Good night."
Suddenly he hears a crash from the other room, and then Bing tells him, "Put it on my bill!"
Next morning at the polo field, two men try to help Bing, who's dressed to play polo up onto a polo pony as Steele looks on. It takes two men to get him onto the poor animal's back. As he takes his mallet, a young man runs up. "Mr. Perret, telephone, sir."
"Well, why did you wait until I got up here?" Bing asks sharply.
The man shrugs. "Nobody told me."
"Is it Daddy?" Bing asks. The young man shrugs as if he doesn't know. "Take the picture," he tells the photographer. Once that's done, he tells the men on either side of the horse, "Get me down." It takes three of them to accomplish that task.
"Bing," a man calls, approaching them.
"Marty!" Bing says, shaking Marty's hand. Marty's wearing riding clothes.
"You look, well- positively robust. Have we met?" he asks Steele. "Martin Rome."
"Trevor Keach," Steele tells him.
"Marty owns Rome's Caviar Emporiums," Bing explains to Steele. "One of our biggest customers." He pats Steele's shoulder as he tells Marty, "New sales rep. Just put him on today."
"You a polo player, Mr. Keach?" Rome asks.
"I've played a chucker or two in my time, yes," Steele admits.
"Good. I hope we have a chance to go head to head tomorrow afternoon."
"Why do you think I hired him?" Bing asks, smiling.
"Bing," Marty says, leading him away, "I put in a call to your father."
"Well, to be perfectly frank, and this is no reflection on you, but, your father promised me I'd have my caviar by the end of last week. Here it is the middle of this week, and I've yet to see an egg. I've got to have that caviar by tomorrow afternoon. If I don't, I'm afraid I'm gonna have to make other arrangements." He looks at Steele, "Tomorrow then."
"Be there with spurs on," Steele tells him as he leaves.
Bing looks devastated. "I'm dead. Do you hear that? D-e-a-d. Dead."
"We've got twenty four hours, Bing. Don't go nutters on me, mate."
"What would Daddy do in a case like-?" Bing wonders, then his eyes widen. "Oh my God! Daddy's on the phone!" He takes off, managing to get over the fences to get to the barn to take the call.
Laura pulls up in the Rabbit, and Steele asks, "Well?"
"Paperwork's driving me crazy," she tells him, watching Bing disappear into the barn. "Thought I'd come down here, get some fresh air. Where's he going?"
"Daddy's on the phone," Steele explains.
In the barn, a man inside a stall sidetracks Bing. "Where's the phone?" Bing asks him.
It's the second man from Steele's condo. "I am Vladimir Denisovitch," he announces nervously.
"Denisovitch? From Russia?" Bing grabs the man around the neck to strangle him. They fall to the hay on the floor. "Where's my caviar, you communist?"
"First you give me American one million dollars!" Denisovitch tells him.
"A million dollars? I already paid you!"
"No! You paid the Soviet government!" Denisovitch stands up. "Look, you want caviar, call me." He hands Bing a card. "We'll have lunch."
As he turns to go, the other Russian is there, holding a gun. "Freeze," he orders Denisovitch.
Outside, Laura and Steele watch as a dark Chrysler pulls up to the barn. Two men wearing dark three-piece suits get out. They look at each other and head toward the barn.
"Nice suits," Laura comments to Steele.
"Brooks Brothers, I'd say."
The men look around before closing the door behind them.
"Shall we?" Laura suggests. Steele and Laura move toward the barn, only to hear a gunshot. Bing runs out, right into them, stepping on Steele's foot.
There's another gunshot from inside the building. Laura, Steele, and Bing all hide in a horse trailer.
The dark suited men come out, guns in hand, and get into the dark car then speed away.
Laura and Steele and Bing peer out of the trailer. "Come on. Out you get," Steele tells them, wincing as he puts his weight on his foot.
"The guy who's been following me," Bing tells them, "He was in there."
"Anyone else?" Steele asks.
"The Commissar of Caviar?"
"What did he want?" Steele asks.
"He's got my caviar and he wants a million dollars for it," Bing tells them. "He gave me this." He gives Steele the card, which reads, "Full Moon Motel. Room 11"
Steele reads the card. "Let me get this straight, the Commissar of Caviar comes to the United States, tracks you down, lures you into a barn, then offers to sell you caviar that you've already bought and paid for?"
"Filthy communist trick," Bing grumbles.
"Sounds like Denisovitch may have become a free agent," Laura tells them.
"Then, is it possible that the Russian that's been following Bing could be- KGB?" Steele suggests.
"If he is, those two other guys could be CIA," Laura agrees. Bing's terrified.
"Well, they certainly dress the part," Steele notes.
"Bing," Laura orders, "Take the limo back to the office and wait for us there."
"Well," he whines, "Where are you guys going?"
Steele taps on the trunk of the limo and Fred gets out. "To have a talk with Comrade Denisovitch."
Steele tosses the polo mallet to Bing. "There you go." Bing gets into the limo, and before it drives off, the passenger door opens and Denisovitch gets in. "Perhaps I was too hasty. Let's make a deal." He holds out his hand.
Bing looks thoughtful."
At the motel, Laura and Steele enter Room 11. The TV is on, the sound down. From another door, one of the CIA men enters, and the second appears to block the door behind Laura and Steele, a gun in his hand. He closes the door.
"Uh, wait a minute, fellas," Steele says. "Wait a minute. I think we're on the same side here."
"What side is that?" one of the men asks.
"Well, I'm sure you're familiar with my biography. I have been known to work for- the 'company' from time to time," he reminds them.
"What company is that?"
"My goodness," Laura notes. "You guys certainly play it close to the vest, don't you?"
"What vest is that?"
Laura and Steele look at each other.
"Why is the great Remington Steele looking for a pudgy, double crossing Russian?"
Steele lifts his shoulders, smiling cagily. "You know. Caviar."
One of the men pushes him to sit on the bed. "Kill them," he tells the other, and walks off to the window.
Laura slowly reaches beside her as the gunman readies his weapon, and just as he's about to shoot, she turns the sound up on the TV. It's an old James Cagney gangster movie, and the sudden loud sound of gunfire startles the two men, giving Steele and Laura a chance to escape. Steele pushes the gunman into the closet and Laura bashes the other one with a lamp. They both take off.
Bing is sitting behind a desk, and says, "I'm very, very disappointed in you."
"Me?!" Steele questions.
"The entire organization, actually," Bing clarifies.
"Oh," Laura says, crossing her arms angrily.
"I've just been going over my bill," he tells them, standing up to reveal that he's in Laura's office. "End table, $460, champagne, two twenty five. Apartment window, double bed frame. You expect me to pay for your faulty equipment?" he questions, tossing the slips onto the desk.
"It wasn't faulty until you came into contact with it," Steele points out angrily.
"I suppose you're gonna charge me for recovering my caviar, too," Bing says nastily. "After *I* did all the work!"
"*You* recovered the caviar?" Laura asks.
"Of course. I made a deal with Denisovitch. Why else would I be discharging you? And as for *this*," he tosses the bill on the desk, knocking over the lamp on the corner, sending it crashing to the floor at Laura's feet, "you'll be hearing from my attorney." Laura gasps in horror. In her office, Mildred stands up in surprise. "Not very sturdy," Bing notes, leaving the office.
Laura kneels to the floor, to pick up the pieces.
Later, in the limo, Laura tells Steele, "*That* was a Correa lamp."
"The lamp shade's replaceable, Laura. A precious bottle of champagne's irreplaceable."
"The man's a spoiled, overgrown brat. He should be spanked."
"Easier said than done," Steele notes. The mobile phone starts to ring. "Steele here."
He pulls the phone away as the sound of gunshots blares at him through the line. "They're trying to kill me!"
"Where are you, Bing?" Laura makes a face.
"The warehouse! Hurry!" Another couple of shots.
Steele hangs up. "They're trying to kill him," he tells Laura.
"That's because it's easier than spanking him," Laura comments.
Steele looks at her. "Perret's warehouse, Fred."
At the warehouse, Laura and Steele enter to find Bing sitting despondently on a crate, holding a gun in his hands, but no sign of anyone else. Steele grabs the gun and inspects it. "A starter pistol?"
"I knew you wouldn't come unless it was life and death," he tells them.
"What is it *this* time, Bing?" Laura asks, taking the gun.
Bing opens the crate beside him, revealing Denisovitch's body. "Denisovitch."
Laura and Steele look at the body. "You killed this man with a starter pistol?" Laura asks.
"No, he was already dead when I got here."
"What about the caviar?"
"Gone. It doesn't look good, does it?" Bing asks.
Steele shakes his head negatively. "Under the circumstances," Laura tells him, "I think you're going to have a very hard time proving you *didn't* kill this man."
"I know," Bing decides, smiling. "I'll go to Sri Lanka."
"I'm afraid that'll only make you look more guilty," Steele tells him. "Somebody set you up. And good," Steele says, putting the lid back on the crate. "Any number of people could have seen you fighting with him this morning at the polo field. And now he turns up dead? In *your* warehouse?"
Bing slides off his crate to stand before a skittish Laura, who's holding the starter pistol. "What are we gonna do?" he asks her.
"We? You fired us, remember?" Laura tells him.
He puts an arm around her shoulders. "Oh, come on. I was just kidding you. You didn't believe that, did you?" he asks hopefully.
Laura looks at Steele. "Did we?" she asks him. He looks away.
Bing and Steele lug Denisovitch's body out of the warehouse with Laura's help. "You got the door?" Steele asks Bing. "You got the door?" Bing closes the door with his foot.
"Fred!" Laura calls, asking him to open the trunk of the limo.
They put the body inside, and then Steele closes the lid. "Are you sure this is a good idea?" Bing asks.
"Until we find out who killed him," Laura says, "I think it's better if Denisovitch's body remains in 'Allied' hands, so to speak." They start toward the limo, but Bing speaks up.
"What about my car? It's out front."
"I'll meet you back at the office," Laura tells Bing and Steele, who head back toward the warehouse.
"See you later," Steele tells her.
Laura gets into the limo as they go back inside.
They're walking through the warehouse when the other Russian stops them with a gun. He holds up his identification. "Freeze. Moscow police. You're under arrest."
"For what?" Steele asks.
"The murder of Vladimir Denisovitch," he informs them.
Bing starts crying on Steele's shoulder. "Oh, God, he knows! He knows!"
"Shut up, Bing," Steele warns. "Shut up." To the Russian, he says, "Uh, look, the name's Remington Steele," he says, showing his ID. "I'm a private investigator. This is my client, Bingham Perret."
"Shut up," the Russian says. "Turn around. Hands against this box," he orders.
Steele and Bing rest their hands against a crate, and the man fastens the two of them together with handcuffs. "Save your breath for the boys in blue, eh?" he suggests.
Steele kicks back, hitting the Russian in the stomach, then uses Bing to push the man into some packing cylinders. Steele and Bing take off as the police burst into the room, guns drawn. The Russian falls, knocking the cylinders down, yelling, "Stop them!"
Steele and Bing knock crates and boxes over on their way out of the warehouse, slowing down the police as they make their escape.
Steele and Bing are crammed into a phone booth, and Steele asks, "What do you mean, you don't have any change?"
Bing pulls a wad of bills from his pocket. "I just have bills," Bing tells him. "You?"
"Never carry change. Too noisy," Steele informs him, then grabs for the money. "Fourteen hundred dollars between us and we don't have a quarter to make a phone call?" Steele asks, disgusted, as Bing puts the money back into a pocket. "Ah, come on. Get out of here." They're wedged in. "Will you move?" he asks. Bing gets out, allowing Steele to follow. They hide in a doorway until a police car passes, then Steele pulls Bing back to the street. "Come on." Realizing that they're tangled up, Steele manages to untangle them. "Now, will you just walk with me, Bing. Just walk with me." They start down the street.
"We going to you office?" Bing asks.
"No. That's the first place they'll check," Steele
says, fastening his jacket. Moscow Vice
knows who I am."
"We've gotta do something," Bing whines. "We gotta get these things off. We can't spend the rest of our lives like this!"
"Will you stop whining? It only makes it worse."
Bing stops. "Martin Rome," he says. "His office isn't too far from here. He'll get these cuffs off. And then we can call Miss Holt from there."
"It's the first time you've come up with a plan that makes semi-sense, Bing," Steele tells him. He hears a police radio and sees the lights as the car turns into the alley. "Uh-oh. Bing, run with me." They take off. Coming upon a chain link fence, Steele tries the gate, but it's securely locked. He turns, thinking to back track, but the police car sees them and backs up to turn into the alley. Steele climbs onto some barrels and goes over the fence.
Bing almost takes too long to follow, but he finally does with Steele's urging. "Climb, dammit!"
"I *am* dammit!"
They get away.
Mildred is on her trusty computer as Laura looks on. She laughs. "Ah ha ha ha! Travel itinerary of Marshall Perret. Bingo! I'm gonna cancel his flight reservation to Singapore, and reroute him from Sri Lanka- to Kashmir." Laura is smiling at Mildred's little game- until the door opens and the Russian enters, pointing his gun at them.
"Do as told, nobody gets hurt."
He does a cursory search for Steele and Bing. "Who's he?" Mildred asks.
"KGB," Laura tells her.
"Wrong," the Russian tells her.
"Wrong?!" Laura questions, surprised.
He shows her his ID. "Ivan Strelnikov, Moscow Police. Where is Steele?"
"Out," Mildred tells him.
"Why?" Laura wants to know.
Ivan puts up his gun. "Vladimir Denisovitch is dead, his body gone. Steele has- explaining to do?"
Laura puts down her cup of coffee. "What makes you think Mr. Steele had anything to do with it?"
"Listen, mister, I don't know how you do things in Moscow, but here in Los Angeles-"
Ivan holds up a hand to stop her. "Hey. Hey, I play by book, okay? I go to warehouse, but not before I call for police backup. Then I bust Steele and Perret. Unfortunately, Steele plays by own book. They got away. Apparently with body. And I look like fool," he finishes, sitting on the room divider.
"Mr.- uh," Laura begins.
"Strelnikov," he supplies.
"Strelnikov," Laura repeats slowly, "Maybe we can help each other."
"Why don't you start by telling us why you've been following Bingham Perret?"
"I came to America to apprehend Vladimir Denisovitch. Bingham Perret was only lead."
Mildred asks, "Denisovitch defected, huh?"
"No. That's what crawls under my skin. He had plenty opportunity. He was no good. Bingham Perret I believe was on cahoots with him."
"What is it- exactly- you think they were up to?" Laura questions.
"Denisovitch was Commissar of Caviar, okay? One day, he disappears from Russia without trace. The next day, we get cables, Telex, collect calls from Bingham Perret. No caviar. No Denisovitch. What would you think?"
"How did you happen to show up at Perret's warehouse tonight?" Laura wonders.
"Got hot tip."
"Friend of Mother Russia."
"Does Mother's friend have a name?" Mildred asks, joining them.
"Rome," Laura repeats. "Rome? The guy who owns the caviar emporiums?" Ivan doesn't answer. "How did he know that Denisovitch was at the warehouse tonight?"
Mildred takes it a step further. "How did Rome know that he was looking for him?"
"Apparently there's more to Rome than meets the eye," Laura comments.
Ivan stands up and paces away. "Forget Rome," he insists. "I want murderer of Vladimir Denisovitch!" he declares.
"We want the same thing," Laura tells him. "And I think *I* know where to start looking."
"You oughta join forces," Mildred suggests. "Maybe work on this thing together."
Ivan looks at Mildred. "East and West?" he says.
"Left and right?" She looks at Ivan. "What do you say?"
"How do I know I can trust you?" he asks.
"The same thing occurred to me."
Ivan nods his head.
At Martin Rome's offices, Laura and Ivan wait until a security guard finishes his rounds, and then open some boxes of caviar. Ivan watches Laura. "What's it like?" she asks. "In Moscow, I mean."
"Pretty much same as here," he tells her. At her look of disbelief, he says, "Look, you have crime problem, we have crime problem. You have Mary Lou Retton, we have Olga Korbut. Rich and poor, they have long history on both sides of Iron Curtain."
"Did you, um, ever think about-?"
"Defecting? No. I have a good life. A good life. Russians are a stoic broad."
Laura looks confused, then smiles. "Breed."
Ivan grins. "Yeah. We make do. We have our vodka. Television."
"And that makes you happy?"
"What? Russian television? Mostly we watch smuggled American programs on smuggled Japanese VCRs. It is the modern craze. We have all the latest American police dramas. M Squad, Racket Squad, Mod Squad- and the best of all? Highway Patrol." He puts his hand up to his mouth. "Ten-four."
"Ten-four?" Laura asks.
"Yeah. Broderick Crawford." Laura chuckles. "What a guy."
In the offices, Rome pours drinks for Steele and Bing. "Sounds like you're lucky to be alive," he tells them.
"Oh, sometimes I wonder," Steele comments dryly. He reaches for his drink. "Thank you very much." Bing reaches for his, forgetting about the cuffs. "I don't mean to appear hasty, Mr. Rome, but would you mind, uh-" Steele lifts his manacled wrist.
"Say no more, Mr. Steele. Say no more." Rome picks up the phone and says, "Wade, Smokey."
"Maybe you should call Miss Holt," Bing suggests. "Tell her we're in safe hands."
Steele nods, about to take a drink when Wade and Smokey arrive. They're the two men from the motel, who Laura and Steele thought were CIA. Steele almost chokes on his drink.
"I understand you've already had the pleasure," Rome tells Steele.
"They work for you?" Steele asks.
"Enlightened, actually," Steele tells him, wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "I thought they were the CIA."
"What are you talking about?" Bing asks Steele.
"We can stop looking for the caviar," Steele tells him.
"We can't stop now," Bing whines.
"Bing, Mr. Rome has your caviar."
Bing is delighted for a moment. "He does?"
"I gotta tell ya, Bing, you may be the worst thing that ever happened to your father. But you're the best thing that ever happened to me."
Bing looks at Steele. "We're in trouble, aren't we?"
"You catch on quick, Bing. I like that in a client."
Rome tells his men, "Put em on ice."
The men pull their guns, and then grab Steele and Bing. "Easy, easy," Steele admonishes.
In the back room, Laura and Ivan are still opening boxes. Laura picks up a jar of Rome's Caviar, marked 100% American. "Ivan," she says.
"Ivan," he corrects.
Laura opens the jar. "Ivan. What do you know about caviar?" She holds it out to him.
"What do you know about hot dogs?" he counters, then dips a finger into the jar and puts it into his mouth. "Mm. This is real McCoy. Golden Roe. One hundred percent Russian."
"Then why does the label say 100% American?" she wonders, showing it to him. They hear someone coming, and hide, watching as Wade and Smokey lead Steele and Bing to a walk in freezer and push them inside, closing and latching the door on them.
Once the two men are gone, Laura opens the freezer and enters with Ivan. "Laura?" Steele questions over the noise of the machinery.
"Disappointed?" she asks.
"On the contrary. Not a moment too soon!" he declares.
"Ivan!" Laura says, "The handcuffs!"
Steele watches, surprised, as Ivan removes the cuffs, then pulls Bing out. "Ivan's on our side?" Steele asks Laura.
"Scary, isn't it?" she says. "Come on!"
Back at the office, Laura is recounting the crime to Bing. "Think about it this way. Martin Rome approaches the Commissar of Caviar-"
"Denisovitch?" Bing supplies.
"Cons him into re-routing your caviar through Bulgaria to him. For a price, of course."
"Mr. Rome gets rid of the middle-man," Steele continues, "that's you, Bing, increases his profits."
"Denisovitch leaves Soviet Union," Ivan says. "Becomes big American millionaire."
"Only Martin Rome never intended to pay up," Laura continues. "He must have figured Denisovitch would never get out of Russia to come collecting."
"He is treacherous man, this Martin Rome," Ivan notes.
"He was my best friend," Bing tells them.
"Bing, every year you invite your buyers to a charity event so they can sample the season's caviar and place their orders, right?" Laura recalls.
Steele stands up. "This year, in Rome's tent, your buyers will be able to nibble American caviar that rivals the best Russian caviar they have ever tasted."
"Because what they are eating will be Russian," Ivan explains.
"Exactly," Laura says.
"Martin Rome convinces all of your buyers to do business with him, by convincing them all that American caviar is just as good as Russian caviar."
"And better," Laura adds. "Because it's cheaper. Six months down the road, you're out of business, Russia's in trouble, and Rome has made tremendous inroads into the caviar business."
"This man is enemy of the People," Ivan declares. "He must be stopped."
The next morning, Mildred carefully paints the Rome Enterprises logo onto a white van. A Rome truck goes down the street, only to be stopped by LA's finest. Laura and Bing, dressed as police officers, get out and approach the driver.
"Well, well, don't this beat all," he says. "Pulled over by a blimp and broad."
"Let me see your registration," Laura says.
As he gets it, he asks Bing, "What's the matter? Don't they got a weight limit on cops no more?"
"My brother's the commissioner," Bing informs him. "You wanna make something out of it?"
The guy shakes his head. Laura opens the door. "Okay, tough guy, outa the truck."
"Come on," he starts to say, but Bing pulls him out.
"Outa the car, pinhead," Bing says.
"We're taking you in on suspicion of driving a stolen vehicle," Laura informs the guy, who's now spread-eagled against the truck.
"Read him is rights," Laura tells Bing.
"You have the right to remain silent," Bing quotes, then goes blank.
"That's it?" the guy asks, looking at him.
"Whaddaya want, the Magna Carta?" Bing asks, grabbing his collar. "Let's go, pal."
"Come on. I gotta be somewhere in an hour. What about my truck?"
"We'll have it towed to the impound lot," Laura ells him, getting behind the steering wheel and Bing gets into the back with the driver. "Ow!"
"Well move over, then," Bing tells him.
As the black and white car moves away, Mildred and Ivan arrive in the freshly painted van. They set up a ladder and Mildred starts spraying white paint over the logo on the real Rome van as Ivan changes the keys on the key ring.
In the patrol car, Laura tells Bing, "You know,- Ronald- we're supposed to get off at three-thirty today."
"So, if we take this guy down and book him, we'll have to write up a report. By the time we get outa there, it'll be nine o'clock." She picks up the paperwork and hands it back to Bing. "What do you say we turn the other cheek on this one, huh?"
Bing looks at the registration information. "Well, my brother is the commissioner. I won't get in any trouble. What the heck," he says, giving it to the guy.
Laura does a u-turn.
Ivan moves the now white truck up, so that Mildred can pull the new one into its spot, then she gets out and she and Ivan drive away with the caviar, moments before the patrol car returns.
As the guy returns to his truck, Bing warns, "Stay off my beat, punk." The guy stops, glares, and goes on to his truck.
Bing gets into the patrol car with Laura. She tells him, "Let's get these costumes back to the studio."
At the polo field, Rome tells Steele, "You're more clever than I thought!"
"On or off the field?" Steele asks.
"Both!" Rome declares angrily.
Laura pulls the car into Central Hollywood Studios, and pulls it up to a wardrobe trailer. The Rabbit is nearby. "Where the hell've you guys been?" a director asks. "You had an eleven o'clock call."
"Uh," Laura hesitates, "We had a little trouble with - ah, wardrobe."
"Right," Bing agrees.
"Geez, I ask for a white cop and a black cop, and what do I get? Doesn't anybody read the scripts around here?" He talks into a headset. "Yeah, they're here." He moves away, telling Laura and Bing, "Just stay outa the way till I call you. Can you do that?"
Once he's gone, Laura tells Bing, "Come on let's get out of these uniforms." She pushes him toward the trailer, and then goes into the next room herself.
Inside, Laura tells him, "I'll call Fred. He'll pick you up; take you back to the Agency. Mr. Steele and I will take care of Martin Rome."
"Don't you think I oughta be there?" Bing asks.
"Too dangerous. Rome's men will be looking for you."
"I have a confession to make. Believe it or not, it's not easy being me. Living in Daddy's shadow, following in his footsteps. I know he means well, but, the problem is, he's overbearing. I've never had to do anything for myself in my life. I don't know *how* to do anything. I couldn't' do anything if my life depended on it."
"Bing, I understand what you're saying, but-"
"All I ever wanted to be is Daddy. And even though I know it's what he wants more than anything else, it's the one thing he'll never let me be. So I eat. And I'm a big spender. And I act silly. Well, I'm tired of it, Miss Holt. I've got a chance here to do something about it, and I'm not gonna pass that up." He gets dressed, and picks up the billy club he used as a cop as he goes outside.
He puts the club into the door of Laura's changing room, locking her in, then goes to the Rabbit and leaves.
"Bing?" Laura calls. She goes to the door and tries to open it. "Bing, open the door!" She bangs on the door. "Help! There's somebody in here!"
At the polo game, there's no one at the Perret tent, but everyone is at the Rome tent as the van is unloaded. The crates are placed along one edge of the tent.
Bing arrives, and picks up a rock to get the attention of Smokey and Wade, then goes toward the barn, until he sees that they're following him. He starts running. The two men split up, hoping to trap him.
Bing goes into the barn. One of the men starts to follow, but Bing opens the top half of the door, knocking him out. He grins, and closes the door again.
A station wagon drops Laura off. Seeing the unconscious man outside the barn, she rushes in that direction and goes inside.
The other man is backing Bing into the corner of a stall as Bing says, "Go ahead. Shoot. You know how hard it is to stop a charging rhino? You may get me, but not before I maul you."
Laura comes up behind the man as he says, "Shut up and die!"
Laura uses a polo mallet to knock the man unconscious. Bing collapses onto his knees in relief. "Oh, thank GOD! I thought he was gonna shoot me!"
Laura looks surprised.
The Perret team is winning in the match, thanks in part to Steele's playing. Rome tells him, "I'll have my day yet, Steele! I always do!"
"I wouldn't bet on it. Not just yet, anyway," he tells Rome. "Come on."
Someone screams from the Rome tent. They ride over to find a buyer. "It's a ball bearing!" he declares.
"Bulgarian, I believe," Steele comments.
Rome gets off his horse. "Don't be absurd!" He checks the caviar, and then opens one of the crates as Ivan and Mildred arrive.
Then he opens the next crate, and Denisovitch's body is there. Steele, astride his horse, watches as Rome starts to run. "Mind your dresses, ladies. Coming through. Mind your backs." He chases down Rome, jumping from the horse onto Rome. They struggle for a moment, and then Steele hits him, hurting his hand.
"Mr. Steele!" Bing says as he and Laura run up.
"I know. Put it on your bill!"
In the waiting room for Marshall Perret's office, Bing takes a drink of water, and then starts toward the doors. "Come on, Bing!" Laura whispers.
Bing suddenly stops and turns back, scared. "I'm scared," he tells Laura. "I can't do it."
She puts her hands on his shoulders. "Of course you can."
Steele joins them. "There's an old Somali proverb, Bing. A brave man is afraid of a lion only three times in his life. When he first sees the tracks, when he first hears it roar, and when he first looks it in the eye." Bing looks at Steele. "Stiff upper lip and- watch your backside, eh?"
Bing gets a determined look. Laura gives him a kiss on the cheek, and he turns to look at his father's secretary. "Here we go," Steele says, following Bing to the door as Bing opens it.
"Daddy- Dad, I think it's time we had a man to man talk. There's got to be some changes around here." He closes the door. Steele smiles, listening.
"I loved that about the lion, Chief," Mildred tells him.
"Gregory Peck to Robert Preston. 'The Macomber Affair', United Artists, 1947," he tells her. "Peck plays a safari guide, Preston a big game hunter."
Laura looks concerned. "Preston was killed in that, wasn't he?"
"Oh, minor plot point, Laura," he assures her, extending his arms for them. "Shall we? Eh? Come on."
Later that evening, at Steele's condo, Steele fills two champagne glasses. "Here we go," he tells her. They clink glasses and are about to drink when the door buzzer sounds. Both of them freeze. Steele reluctantly goes to answer it. "Yeah? Oh. Hi," he says, opening the door to Mildred and Ivan.
"Ivan is on his way home," she explains. "Oh, champagne. Ooo," and heads off to the kitchen for more glasses.
Steele looks a trifle put out by the company, but Laura says to Ivan, "Aww, I thought you were gonna stay around a few days. Go to Disneyland?"
"Change in plans," he tells her. "They want to give me medal for saving reputation of Russian government."
"You seem to have become a national hero," Steele comments, filling the two glasses that Mildred brings him.
"Would prefer to have raise," Ivan tells them.
They all laugh, and Mildred tells them, "I'll drink to that."
"To better relations between our two countries," Ivan toasts.
"Oh, uh," Steele mutters. "I was thinking of relations closer to home." Laura looks up at him.
"Bottoms up?" Ivan asks.
"Cheers," Mildred says.
"Tovaritch," Steele adds.
"Na zdorovye," Laura finishes.
They clink glasses.