In a kitchen with lots of red, a clock on the wall reads 7:00. Toast pops out of a toaster and is removed. Bacon fries in a pan. Breakfast cereal boxes are taken from the cabinet, milk is poured into glasses.
At 7:15, the bacon pan is rinsed, cereal put up, dishes put into the dishwasher with efficient moves. Thirty minutes later, we see Laura's sister, Frances Piper, pick up her car keys and go to the door, followed by her son, Daniel, and two daughters. "Homework?" she asks Daniel.
He's holding a cardboard display. "Check."
"Homework?" she asks the first girl, Mindy, who's wearing a Brownie uniform.
"No homework," the younger daughter, Laurie Beth, informs Frances.
"Check." Frances leaves the door open and goes back toward the dining area. "Donald?" she calls. "We're leaving for carpool," she tells her husband, who's coming into the room, tightening his tie, his coat over his arm.
"All right, sweetheart. Now you take it easy today, okay?"
She gives him a kiss on the cheek. "I'm fine," she assures him. "Everything is just fine."
"That's my girl," he says.
She starts to go, then stops. "Oh, honey, don't forget to dump the garbage."
"Have I ever let you down, Frannie?" he asks.
"No," she admits, giving him another kiss. "Bye-bye."
At the school, Frances pulls up in a station wagon. She goes to the back and lets more kids out as hers wait. "Bye-bye, honey," she tells Mindy and Laurie Beth before they scamper off, calling "I love you!"
"Holy Pete!" Danny, her son frets.
"What is it, Daniel?"
"I forgot my lunch."
"I handed it to you in the kitchen. What happened to it?"
"I don't know!"
"Alright, all right, go on to class and I'll just drop it by later," she tells him. She gives him a kiss.
"Thanks, Mom," he says.
"Okay. Keep that tooth up, honey!" she calls after him, referring to the project that he's carrying.
Frances returns home and finds the lunch sack sitting on the table. She grabs it and starts to leave via the front door, the way she came in. But a knock at the back door side tracks her. She removes her sunglasses and goes to open it.
A man is there. He leans against the door frame, looking at her. "Yes?" Frances asks.
The man coughs, tries to speak and stumbles into the kitchen, knocking over a canister of flour as he hits the counter, spilling it everywhere, before falling to the floor, a bullet hole in his back.
Frances is in shock. "Oh my God!" she moans. She steps gingerly over the body and leaves via the front door.
At Remington Steele Investigations, Laura, looking very natty in a white suit and matching hat, crosses the reception area with Steele, who's holding some papers. "We're off, Mildred," she says.
"Fraid not, hon," Mildred says, holding the telephone. "Your sister-again."
Laura's mouth drops open, and she looks upset. "I just left," she decides, trying to pass Steele.
He stops her. "Now, Laura," he admonishes quietly.
"I know, she's my sister. But she has called every hour on the hour since she came to California!"
"It's only been three weeks," Steele reminds her.
"The LONGEST three weeks of my LIFE," Laura declares. "The woman can't go to the grocery store without creating a crisis!"
"Laura, really think you're being a bit unfair about all of this."
"Really? Does your sister see UFOs at midnight?" Laura asks. "Does your sister mistake sparrows for-vampire bats?"
Steele looks at her. "To the best of my knowledge, I don't have a sister."
"That isn't the point!"
"I gotta go with Miss Holt on this one, Chief, honest," Mildred interjects, still holding the phone. "Frances is a kook."
"Look," Laura points out, "there are 500 criminologists waiting to hear you deliver the keynote address at the East-West Convention, and I will not have my sister's neuroses get in the way."
"Look, she's merely having trouble adjusting to Southern California," Steele points out.
Laura grabs the phone. "Uh-huh. You want to fine tune Frances, terrific. I've run out of patience. The limo is leaving in two minutes-with or without you." She presses the button on the phone.
"Hey," he says as she shoves the phone into his hand and leaves. "Laura-" he moves around the desk and puts the phone to his ear. "Hi, uh, Frances? . . . Yeah, it's me- Mr. Steele . . . Um, she's- she's detained at the moment-can I be of any assistance?" he asks as a grinning Mildred looks on.
"There's a dead man in my kitchen," Frances tells him.
"Uh, really," Steele says uncertainly. "Anyone you know? . . . Uh, look, where are you now?" he asked, glancing at his watch. "Okay, we'll be right over . . . Okay, sit tight. Don't worry . . . Yes." He hangs up and tells Mildred, "She's just a little bit upset, that's all." He starts for the door, still holding the speech in his hands.
"What bout the convention?" Mildred asks.
Steele stops. "Uh, yeah, good thought. Convention." He hands the speech to her. "Mildred, I'm afraid you'll have to- stall them, okay?" he pats her hand and goes out the door.
Mildred smiles. "You got it, Chief!"
In the limo, Laura notes, "This is a strange route."
"Just a brief detour," Steele assures her. "Fred, turn left up here, mate."
Laura looks at a car parked at the corner, with a distressed Frances standing beside the payphone. "That station wagon is AWFULLY familiar," Laura comments.
"Um hmm," Steele agrees.
"Benedict Arnold," Laura accuses.
Laura, Frances, and Steele enter the Piper house and go into the dining room. "I don't know if I can take this," Frances says nervously.
"It's alright, Frances," Laura assures her coolly.
"He's- He's right over here," Frances says, turning the corner into the kitchen, only to stop as there's no body- and no flour on the floor or counter. "Oh my God!" she exclaims.
"Now, stay calm, Frances," Laura admonishes.
"It was here," Frances insists, looking at Steele. "There was a body on my kitchen floor! And there was fl-" she looks at the full flour canister. "Flour, everywhere."
Laura goes to Steele and asks quietly, "Was that before or after the UFO landed?"
Steele shushes her. Frances looks at them. "Well, you believe me, don't you, Mr. Steele?"
"Oh, absolutely," he tells her, but doesn't look at all certain.
Laura just stands there, looking at Frances. "Laura?" Steele questions.
"Frances,-" Laura begins, moving closer to her sister.
"We are talking about a real, live, dead person who was in my kitchen half an hour ago! I saw him! He was here!" Frances insists.
"The move to California has been very difficult for you, Frances," Laura says, patting her sister on the shoulder and turning away.
"The move to California has nothing to do with it! I'm over that. I know how important the teaching position at USC is to Donald," she says, going to the sink and wiping the counter. "Even though it meant giving up my beautiful home in Connecticut, and all my friends at the- Junior League, and scarring the children emotionally. Sacrifice. That's what being a wife is all about." Steele and Laura watch her carefully. "And I am completely well adjusted to it. Now get me out of this house!" she cries, rushing past them.
"Frances," Laura says, going after her. Steele follows thoughtfully.
Mildred is leading three Japanese men down the hallway toward the office. "It is most exciting honor to visit office of Remington Steele," one of them says. They all smile.
"Don't mention it, fellas. Right this way." She opens the door for them.
Mildred and her guests enter--and come to a screeching halt. The reception area looks like the set from "Romper Room". Toys are scattered everywhere--dolls, doll clothes, boats, trains. Mindy is on the couch coloring, her crayons littered about, and her latest masterpice (an impression of Remington) is taped to the wall behind her. Danny runs around the office, toy airplane held aloft, simulationg the sound effects of a 747. His science project sits on an end table. Remington, on all fours, gives Laurie Beth a ride. His passenger squeals in delight.
Really into role-playing with Danny and his plane, Remington is doing an enthusiastic running commentary, the last part of which is "...big, Boeing 747! Crash!"
Mildred (shocked): "Oh, my God!"
Remington, who hasn't noticed her yet, is doing sound effects of a plane crashing. He suddenly realizes he has company and rises, holding Laura Beth backwards in his arms.
Embarrassed, he tries to right the child's position as he says, "Oh, yes, Mildred...Uh, What is it? Just doing a little--uh. developmental psychology work."
During the moving process, Laurie Beth's dress gets pulled way up.
"Ooops!" he declares as the little girl giggles, helping him to pull her dress down. "There you go."
"Boss, I would like you to meet Mr. Harimoto, Mr. Itasuro, and Mr. Takahamo. Three leading criminologists of Japan."
"Great," Steele says. "Ah, yes. The convention!"
"Mildred Krebs deliver most exciting speech!" Harimoto tells him.
Mildred smiles, embarrassed. Steele says, "Uh, huh," and whispers to Mildred, "I thought I told you to stall?"
"Well, how long can you stall, Chief?" she asks.
"I was not aware," Mr. Harimoto continues, "she solve Hapsburg Dagger case. Most impressive!"
"Yes," Steele says, glancing at Mildred.
"Something must have gotten lost in the translation," Mildred tells him.
"However, not impressive as the case of the Maltese Cross. Mildred Krebs, you are one clever PI."
Steele smiles grimly as he mutters to Mildred, "Seems a great deal got lost in the translation, eh?"
Mildred laughs nervously, then says to the trio, "Oh, boys, would you like to see Mr. Steele's office? Come on, follow me," she says, as Steele stands there holding Laurie Beth.
"Here we go," Mildred says, opening the door.
Laura is sitting with Donald and Frances, who's crying. The men lift their cameras, excited. "Most educational tour," Mr. Harimoto says.
"Distraught client," Mildred tells them, and starts turning back toward the door as Steele barges in, suddenly having remembered that the office wasn't empty.
"Mildred," he sighs, going to Laura with an apologetic look.
"This way, fellas," she says quickly, leading them out of the office. Steele motions an apology to Laura and the others, and follows them into the reception area. Together he and Mildred herd them into the store room. "here's the water cooler and copy machine," she tells them.
Itasuro looks at the copier and yells, "Toshiba!", and they start taking each others pictures with the machine.
"Mildred, what in blazes-?" Steele asks.
"Oh, Boss, they're big fans of yours," she insists. "And they were dyin' to see your office. I couldn't say no. After all the wonderful things I said about you and Miss Holt-"
"That's very gracious of you, Mildred," he says, then goes into the store room. "Gentlemen, gentlemen!" he pulls them to the door. "Gentlemen, operative Krebs here has graciously offered to personally host your grand tour of the City of Angels. What about that, eh?" Mildred's not sure.
Harimoto explains it to his colleagues, who all smile and nod. They take her arms and Itasuro kisses her hand as the Takahamo says in Japanese (translated, as are all of the Japanese comments, with subtitles), "There's gonna be a hot time in the old town tonight!"
As they pull her toward the door, Mildred asks Steele, "Wait a minute! What am I gonna do with 'em?"
"Ah, you're the clever P.I., you'll think of something," he reminds her, watching them out the door, nodding. "Good day, guys." Noting the leering grins on their faces, he says, "Naughty, naughty, naughty." He turns to see Frances come out of his office and take Laurie Beth's hand.
"Come along, children," she says, starting to pick up the toys and books that are scattered everywhere. "We are going home."
"Frances," Donald says, coming out behind her as Laura brings up the rear.
"Ah, splendid," Steele comments, fixing his tie. "You got her calm down."
"She means to Connecticut," Laura informs him.
Frances points to the project Danny took to school that morning. "Danny, grab your tooth. Let's go."
"Frances, honey," Donald says again. "Be reasonable. Please."
"I am reasonable," Frances tells him, gathering toys and books. "It is California that is unreasonable."
"Frances, you're tired. You're upset," Laura begins.
"Don't patronize me, Laura. I am your OLDER sister."
"I'm sorry," Donald apologizes to Steele. "I'm really sorry."
Steele is watching Laura and Frances. "Listen, don't apologize. No need."
"I'm sure it's just- temporary. You know, we need time, together. Alone. Away from the kids. I just-" he lifts his shoulders, resigned. "I don't know how we can swing it right now," he says with a shake of his head.
Steele steps around him. "Ladies, ladies," he says, getting Laura and Frances' attention. "Listen. Hold up a second here, hold up. I have a proposition to make," he tells them, smiling.
At Laura's loft, Frances carries an overnight case up the steps into the bedroom as Donald looks at a negligee that's in a suitcase that he has open. "Here we are, just you and me," he tells her. Frances doesn't respond. "It's kinda nice, having an evening alone for a change, don't you think? No kids, no worries."
"I never should have agreed to this," she frets.
Donald nuzzles her ear. "Frances, the kids are fine. They're fine."
"That house is not safe, Donald," she insists.
"Remember?" he asks, slipping his hands around her waist. "Remember what happened the last time we stayed here, Frannie?" he asks.
Frances giggles and spats his hands. "Don't-tease me, Donald," she says, going toward the bed.
"Now, now, Frances," he says, following her.
"You don't believe me, do you?" she asks.
"Of course I believe you, lamb chop. If you say a man died in our kitchen, a man died in our kitchen."
"You're just saying that to make me feel better."
He shakes his head, smiling. "No. There are much better ways of making you feel better," he tells her, moving closer.
Frances smiles at last. "Like what?" she asks.
"Like, uh-" he whispers in her ear.
Frances squeals and hits his shoulder. "Donald! You are an ANIMAL!" she accuses.
"I know, and you love every minute of it!" he replies. "You little vixen! Come here," he says, trying to kiss her.
Frances resists. "Are you sure the kids are all right?" she asks.
"They couldn't be in better hands," he assures her.
A bubbling post of spaghetti sauce is sitting on the stove in a red kitchen. Laura, wearing an cover-all apron, is digging a messy spoon out of he sauce.
"Ouch!" she declares. "Ohh!"
Remington is shirt sleeves and fake plastic vampire teeth. Standing in the open dining room doorway, he yells into the living room, "Danny, put your sister dow--DANNY, PUT YOUR SISTER DOWN, WILL YOU?! Put her down. Thank you."
After closing the door, he turns and takes out the fake teeth, placing them on a cabinet. He then joins Laura at the table, where she is holding 2 hot pots of food.
"Here. Hmmm," she says, handing him the pot with the sauce.
Using a pair of tongs, she dishes out the spaghetti onto the plates, which are already sitting at each individual place setting. Remington, following her around the table, ladles the sauce onto each pile of spaghetti.
"Would you kindly remind me--*what* we are doing here?" she asks.
"Huh?" he asks. "Well, to put it simply, Miss Holt, unless we can convince Frances beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing is amiss in Tarzana, we may have to start a day care center here on a permanant basis."
"*Why* this sudden concern about *my* family?" she asks, truly puzzled.
"Huh?" he asks again. "I just want to help. That's all. There you go," he says, indicating the plates are all served.
"DINNER'S READY!!" Laura yells at the top of her lungs.
Remington's eyes get huge and he steps back to protect his ears, saying, "Must you shriek like that the whole time?"
As soon as the three kids come running into the room, however, he's all smiles, declaring, "Here we go, chaps. That's right, sit down. Look what Auntie Laura has made for us! Doesn't it look scrumptious, eh? Eh?"
Danny picks up his fork and stabs a glob of sticky spaghetti. Holding it in front of his screwed up face, he declares, "Holy Pete!"
"Danny, don't play with your food," Laura tells him, sounding a lot like Frances.
Mindy picks at her spagetti, frowning. "Mommy's spagetti doesn't look like this," she says.
Steele, who's kneeling beside Laurie Beth, says, "Ah, that's because this is special spagetti. Here you go," he says, taking Laurie Beth's fork and pulling her plate closer. "Let me have a mouthful of this." He stuffs some in his mouth and smiles bravely. "Hmm," he says. "Yummy, yummy."
"I think I'm allergic to special spagetti," Mindy tells them.
"Me too," Danny agrees.
"Me too," Laurie Beth adds. Steele looks at them each in turn, his mouth still filled with the spagetti.
"What's for dessert?" Mindy asks.
Steele is thoughtful. "What about- Pizza?!" he asks.
"YEAH!" all three kids yell, delighted by the idea. Laura, sitting before her own plate of spagetti, rolls her eyes.
"Pizza," Steele confirms, still talking through a full mouth as he grabs the phone book from under Laurie Beth. "What kind of pizza?"
"Pepperoni," Danny tells him.
"Sausage," Mindy says.
"Pineapple," Laurie Beth says, causing Steele to pause while dialing the number.
"Pineapple. Okay. Pepperoni, sausage, and pineapple!" he confirms. The kids yell again. Steele looks at Laura. "Anything for you, Miss Holt?" he asks.
She gives him a prim look as she rolls spagetti onto her fork. "I think I'll have my spagetti, thank you." She takes a bite and has to force herself to eat it.
Outside, a car is parked, and inside it, a man sits waiting, a gun on the seat beside him.
The next morning in the red kitchen, 2 pieces of burnt toast pop up in the toaster. Laura dumps them onto the kid's plates and they quickly begin griping.
Making a face, Mindy declares, "I think I'm allergic to toast!"
"Ah!!!" Laura declares in a treachly tone "Alright. Then you can have some *cereal*! Yeah!!"
"I hate cereal," Danny informs her.
"It's *good* for you!" Laura informs him with forced cheerfulness. "It has *fiber*!"
Making a face, Danny asks, "Can I be excused?"
"Me, too?" Mindy pleads.
They both make a mad dash for the door just as Remington, looking spiffy in a different shirt and tie, enters the dining room.
"Alright," Laura, once again using her normal voice, calls after the kids. "But we leave in five minutes."
"Morning, morning, morning,"
Remington, straightening his tie, declares as he walks over to
who's wearing one of her treachly smiles. "So *good* of you to join us, Mr. Steele," she declares sarcastically, holding out two pieces of burnt toast.
"Ah, thank you. I slept like the proverbial baby. Ah, the charred remains of breakfast, I see," he comments, tossing it onto the table going to the kitchen for a rag.
"You're the gourmet cook. Why didn't YOU get up at the crack of dawn and fix breakfast?"
"Ah, it's all spelled out in the master plan," he notes, indicating the white board behind him as he pours a cup of coffee. "Morning chores. Mummy cooks breakfast, Mummy drives car pool. Daddy dumps the garbage." He grins. "Mustn't confuse the role models, Miss Holt. Children at that tender age."
Laura removes her apron. "All right. I'll take the children to school, you dump the garbage, then we're getting out of this - zoo," she declares, carrying dishes to the sink.
Steele starts to take another drink of his coffee, then frowns into the cup.
Laura is at the station wagon. "Danny!" she calls out. "Come on!" Danny runs around and gets into the passenger seat. Laura starts the car and puts it into gear.
"Bye, children!" Steele calls out from the side of the house, holding a bag of garbage.
"Bye!" the call back.
"Bye-bye," he says again, going back to the trash cans. He takes the lid off of one to put the trash in it, only to stop as the body of a dead man is revealed. "Holy Pete," Steele comments.
France and Donald are driving home, both a lot more relaxed and smiling. "I knew all we needed was a little time alone," Donald tells her. "A little time to talk things over, a little time-" he says, laughing. Frances laughs, too. "Ah, Frannie, Frannie."
The air of relaxation vanishes as they turn a corner and see police cars and a coroner's wagon in front of their house. "Oh my GOD!" Frances cries out in alarm. They park as the body is loaded into the coroner's wagon.
As they get out of the car, the gunman from the night before gets back INTO his car and drives off.
Back at the office, Laura tells Steele, "I leave you alone for five minutes, and look what happens."
Frances is sitting in a chair, crying. Laura goes to sit on the sofa close to her as Steele grabs a chair and places it beside her. "Frances, it appears that someone- most likely the killer- trailed the victim and dumped him in your trash."
"Killer?" Frances asks. "You're saying that there was a killer in my kitchen?"
"Only long enough to clean up, Frances," Steele assures her.
"If we're right," Laura continues, "It would be mere coincidence that the dead body ended up in your house."
"Precisely. The man was shot nearby, and merely chose your linoleum to expire on."
"You probably have nothing to worry about," Laura says.
"That's easy for you to say, Laura." Frances grabs another tissue. "How can Donald teach at a time like this?" she wonders.
"You INSISTED he go!" Laura reminds her forcefully.
"Well, he didn't have to listen to me," Frances responds illogically.
Mildred enters the office, and we see the Japanese men behind her. "No word yet on the dead man's id," she tells them.
Laura waves at one of the men and asks through her teeth as she smiles, "Mildred, what are they doing here?"
"Oh, I thought I'd take them to the Polo Lounge for lunch before they catch their plane," she explains.
"Admirable sentiment, Mildred," Steele interjects, "hands across the sea and all that, but we're gonna need you to find out who this dead man is."
"Try Felix Melcher," a man says from the doorway.
Everyone looks at him, and Mildred smiles, delighted. "Bumpers?"
"Krebs," he says, and they hug, laughing.
"What are you doing here?" she asks.
"I'm at headquarters now. On special assignment."
Steele and Laura join them. "Mildred, who- who is this man?" Laura asks.
Bumpers pulls out a badge. "Harrison Bumpers," he explains.
"IRS Fraud squad," Mildred adds, glowing as she looks at him.
"Krebbie and I go way back," Bumpers says, putting his arm around Mildred again.
"Well, we're very delighted for both of you," Steele says, "but, uh, what about this dead man?"
"His name was Felix Melcher. He was on a deep cover assignment trying to nail a snake by the name of Ted Warner," Bumpers explains.
"The same Ted Warner that used to operate on the East Coast?" Mildred asks.
"Good memory, Krebbie. Why, you hadn't lost a step."
"Who is this- Ted Warner?" Laura asks.
"King of the pyramid schemes," Bumpers explains. "Always folds his tent before the government moves in."
"What is he doing out here?" Mildred asks him.
"He surfaced about a year ago with an outfit called Bright-Age Cosmetics. And this time he got greedy. He didn't fold when he should have. We slipped Melcher in as an accountant, hoping to find evidence for tax evasion at the very least."
"Well, obviously he found something," Steele comments.
"Yeah. Melcher called me a couple of days ago. We were supposed to meet- He didn't make it."
"How did he end up on my sister's floor?" Laura asks.
Frances turns around to look at them. "Your guess is as good as mine. Sales force for Bright Age is composed entirely of housewives." He looks at Frances. "You don't happen to work for Bright Age, do you, ma'am?"
Frances glares at him. "Housewives in Connecticut do NOT sell cosmetics," she informs him coolly. "We give bridge parties."
"Uh-huh." Bumpers looks uncertainly at her, then turns his attention back to the matter at hand. "We believe that Warner's keeping two sets of books," he tells Laura, Steele, and Mildred.
"Maybe that's what Melcher was onto," Mildred says.
Steele offers his hand. "Well, you can certainly count on the Remington Steele Agency on this one, Mr. Bumpers."
"We can?" Laura questions.
"Absolutely," he tells her.
At Bright Age Cosmetics, Ted Warner, a thirty-something handsome man with blonde hair, blue eyes and a snake-oil smile, rises from his desk to greet visitors. "Gentlemen. Come in. Come in."
Steele leads the Japanese visitors into the office and shakes Warner's hand. "Mr. Warner. Watney Chambers, investment counselor." He looks at the others.
"Well, please to have received your call, Mr. Chambers. And these must be the Hibachi brothers."
"Yes, indeed," Steele tells him. "These gentlemen jetted in this morning to discuss the possibility of launching Bright Age in the Orient."
Warner draws Steele away. "And- how many zeros does this possibility have?"
"Um, half a dozen, but these chaps are rather finicky. They like to examine an investment from the bottom up."
Warner turns toward the 'Brothers". "Gentlemen. What do you say we take a tour of the facilities to set the ball rolling?"
Harimoto speaks for them. "A most welcome invitation."
"Coming, Mr. Chambers?" Warner asks.
Steele shakes his head. "No, I don't want to horn in. These gentlemen are used to only dealing with the head honcho."
"Understood, and appreciated. This way, gentlemen."
Once he's alone, Steele goes to the desk and searches in the drawers. Then he turns his attention to the credenza. As his hand hits against a book that's laying there, he realizes that it didn't move. Glancing at the door, he opens the book and reveals a drop safe installed beneath it. He removes the flat metal lid and sets about cracking the combination. He leans close to listen, taps the mechanism with his hand, and then turns it once more before opening it. Inside, he finds some computer disks and takes them out. He puts the flat lid back on, then realizes what he's done. "Oh, dear God," he mutters. "Slipping, slipping," he says as he returns the mechanism to its place and returns the lid to the safe and then closes the book, pocketing the disks.
Back at the office, Frances is having her picture taken with the guests as Mildred puts the disks into the computer. Steele leans over hr shoulder. "No," Bumpers says. "These books are cleaner than I remember 'em."
"It's a dead end, Boss. From these figures, there's nothing wrong with Bright Age Cosmetics."
"You mean, we went through all that for nothing?" Steele asks as Laura looks on in frustration.
Mildred nods, but Mr. Harimoto informs him, "Oh, no problem, Mr. Steele. It was a fascinating tour in a thoroughly modern facility. Everything- tip-top."
Steele nods. "Yeah, thank you. Look, we all know Felix Melcher wasn't murdered for having clean books. I mean, there has to be something wrong with Bright Age."
"But what?" Frances asks.
"I tried the back door," Steele says, "Miss Holt, you try the front."
Laura looks less than pleased at the idea. "Wait a minute. This is a government matter."
"The government could use a little help now, Miss Holt," Bumpers reminds her.
"Oh, come on, hon," Mildred adds. "You can't let Uncle Sam down."
Steele watches Laura's reaction to all of this. "Well, since I've been called to colours-," she begins.
Frances looks troubled. "Laura, you can't leave me alone."
Laura sighs and rolls her eyes. "All right. Frances and I will try the front door," she tells Steele.
Steele smiles and picks up the phone as Bumpers says, "Krebbie and I'll recheck these numbers."
"Splendid!" Steele says. "Well, I'm just going to-" he says, dialing a number.
Frances asks, "Oh, could you be an angel and pick up Donald at the university? His car broke down this morning."
Steele looks about to find an excuse, but Laura gives him another sickly sweet smile. "Be an angel," she repeats as he hangs up the phone.
As Laura and Frances enter an auditorium filled with women wearing lavender outfits, Frances is hailed and says hello to several other women. "How do you know all these people?" Laura asks.
"Oh, carpool, PTA, Little League. It's a full plate, Laura," she says.
Laura finds them two seat and pulls Frances toward them. They sit next to a frizzy haired blonde woman. "Frances Piper. We didn't see you in aerobics yesterday."
Frances looks embarrassed. "I had- unexpected company."
Laura holds out her hand. "I'm Laura Holt, Frances' sister."
"I'm Judy Bartlett. Frances' next door neighbor? So glad you could join our little family."
"I- don't suppose you can- make any money doing this," Laura comments.
"Let me tell you. We are putting my son through college on MY commissions alone."
"Really?" Frances asks.
"And the best part of it is, you don't have to invest a dime of your own money."
"Really?" asks Laura.
Judy nods. The audience bursts into applause as Ted Warner and a blonde woman come onstage. Over the stage, a banner reads "Welcome New Recruits".
"Good afternoon, ladies of Tarzana. I'm Ted Warner," he announces from a podium. The crowd of lavender clad women erupts into another round of applause, which Ted eventually quiets. "And THIS is Bright Age!" More applause, which Laura joins half-heartedly. "Do you know why Bright Age is one of the fastest growing companies in the world today?"
"WHY TED?" the audience yells in unison.
"Because we have the best sales force in the country!" he declares, starting more applause. Laura is VERY uncomfortable. "And you know why?"
"Because nobody knows the American housewife better- than the American Housewife! Give yourself a hand!" Laura reluctantly joins in, rolling her eyes at the hype. Warner quiets them again. "Now, I'd like to introduce Terri Goldbloom, your leading Lavender Lady. So let's give Terri a big, Bright Age welcome. Come on, everybody!"
The woman comes to the microphone. "She's my OTHER next door neighbor," Frances tells Laura as the crowd applauds.
"Now, I know what you're thinking. How did Terri do it? How did she wind up with that brand new car? Well, ladies, I am here to tell you that I am JUST like you. I'm a housewife. I drive carpool. I clean the oven. Do you hear what I'm saying?"
"I hear ya!" Frances yells as the other women all agree as well. Laura sinks down in her seat and covers her face.
Judy leans toward Laura. "Of course, it didn't hurt that she was- playing around with the head accountant," she explains cattily.
"The one who died?" Laura questions.
"If I can do it," Terri tells them, "You can do it, too! Let's hear it for Ted Warner!" Ted stands up, waving as the ladies clap again. "Let's hear it for Bright Age!" Four women come to stand before the stage, carrying large placards with the "Bright Age" theme song on them in large letters. An organist onstage accompanies the audience in singing the song, which is sung to the tune of "It's Gonna Be A Great Day".
Frances joins in enthusiastically.
At USC, Donald is leaving the campus when the man who sat outside the house all night grabs his arm. "We need to talk, Doc."
Donald looks at his watch. "I'm running a little late. Come back during office hours," he says.
The man pulls his gun and sticks it into Donald's chest. "I'm afraid this can't keep."
In the limo, Steele, is pinned between the Japanese men, and explains, "Just a brief stop to pick up Miss Holt's brother-in-law, then we'll be on our way to the airport, okay?"
Harimoto takes yet another picture with his ever present camera.
The gunman takes Donald to a car and opens the door for him. "Get in the car."
Steele sees Donald, frowns. "Slight detour, gentlemen," he says as the car pulls out and heads toward them. "Follow that car, mate," he tells Fred, who does a u-turn.
"American car chase--most exciting!" declares Harimoto.
"Just like"A-Team"!" exclaims Itazuru in Japanese.
Remington grins sheepishly as he recognizes "A-Team".
"I love it when a plan comes together!" says Takahamo in Japanese as he takes another picture.
Donald is sitting in a chair in an office, telling the gunman and another man, "You're looking at one hell of a lawsuit, fella. In addition to criminal charges, you're looking at civil damages gonna make your head swim."
The other man, who's wearing a dark, three piece suit, says, "Dr. Piper, relax. Now, we don't care why you took out Melcher. We just want what he was carryin'."
"How many times have I gotta tell ya?" Donald asks. "I'm a dentist. I'm not a- a hit man! I-"
"Yeah," the gunman says, "and I'm Little Bo Peep." He grabs Donald's coat. "Let me loosen him up just a little bit, huh?"
His partner pulls him back. "The doc's a professional man. I'm sure he'll listen to reason."
"The man just happened to end up in my trash. Is that my fault?" Donald asks. "Actually, earlier, he was on the kitchen floor. Then my wife went to make a phone call to her sister. When she got back-"
The man's patience has run out. He grabs Donald. "I don't care!"
Steele and the others are skulking about, trying to locate Donald.
"I didn't kill him," Donald insists. "I don't even know him. Maybe you confused me with another dentist," he suggests.
Steele opens the door. "Right this way, gentlemen, please. In you come." Takahamo has a camera with a huge flash attachment, and starts taking pictures.
"What the hell is this?" the suited man asks.
"Routine inspection," Steele begins, and then kicks the hit man's gun from his hand as Itasuro takes on the other one with Karate. With both bad guys out of it, Steele grabs a stunned Donald and pulls him from the room.
The brothers congratulate themselves. "A regular Bruce Lee!" one says of Steele.
Outside the room, Steele tells them, "Sayonara, gentlemen." He and Donald go one way, they go another.
As Steele and Donald go through a door that leads outside to a loading dock, they hear gunshots. Out of breath, Donald leans on the door and tells Steele, "He had a gun."
"I noticed," Steele replies, then points to a truck that's just leaving the dock. "Come on." He jumps on the back of the truck and lifts the door. Donald runs after the truck, not as fast as Steele. "Come on, Donald! Come on! Jump!" he says.
"I should have stuck with the jogging!" Donald tells him Steele grabs his hand.
"Come on, Donald! Come on!" he says, pulling Donald into the truck with him. He pulls the door down and they collapse into a load of Bright Age Cosmetics boxes. "Beverly Hills Cop. Eddie Murphy, Judge Reinhold, Paramount, 1984. A wealthy industrialist smuggled bearer bonds concealed in shipping crates." He points to the boxes.
Donald's lost. "What are you talking about?"
Steele stands up, drops one box in Donald's lap, takes another and sits back down. "Start ripping," he instructs, opening his box.
At Frances' house, Terri picks up a bottle and tells a group of women, "Welcome, to the wonderful world of Bright Age Cosmetics. This is Frances' very first house party." She goes to where Frances was sitting on the hearth bench with Laura. Frances, now wearing a lavender dress, stands, looking nervous. "So let's give her a big Bright Age hand." The women applaud.
"Thank you all for coming on such short notice. I'm sorry the place is such a mess," she apologizes. Laura looks surprised at the apology. Nothing seems out of place, not a speck of dust, even. "Oh, we need more cookies," she notices.
"Oh, I'll get them," Terri volunteers. "Now, go on. You'll do just fine." Terri picks up the plate and starts toward the kitchen, waiting until Frances starts her speech. Laura picks up the coffee pot and joins Terri.
"Girls, I want to talk to you woman to woman about looking good for your man." The woman laugh, and so Terri and Laura go into the kitchen. Frances picks up a jar. "It all starts with Lavender Lustre Crème . . ."
In the kitchen, Terri gets some more cookies as Laura rinses the coffee pot. "Is this company really as good as they say?"
"Oh, you better believe it, honey," Terri tells her. "You married?" Laura hesitates.
"Oh, you're divorced, aren't you?"
"Hey, listen, it's nothing to be ashamed of. I mean, who isn't these days? My husband? Gone, with the wind. No alimony, no child support. It is really tough trying to put food on the table and raise two kids."
"I don't know how we do it," Laura sighs, giving up at last.
"Bright Age has turned my life around, Laura. And you'll see. It'll do the same for you. Ted Warner is a savior for women like us."
"I- heard what happened to your boyfriend. It must have been a terrible shock."
"Well, I guess I'm just meant to be on my own a little while longer," Terri says. "At least- I have my work." She picks up the cookies to carry them back to the living room. A thoughtful Laura follows with the fresh pot of coffee.
In the back of the Bright Age truck, Steele and Donald have gone through all of the boxes. "What have you got?" Steele asks.
"Mud packs. How about you?"
"Skin cleanser." He tosses it away. "No microchips, no bearer bonds. Just- cosmetics. So much for the smuggling theory."
"It was a good idea anyway," Donald tells him. Donald starts laughing.
"What's so funny?"
"Besides being scared to death, almost being shot and having no idea what's going on, this is the most excitement I've had since college." Steele smiles at Donald's laughter. "Except this is probably routine stuff for you, right?"
"One never gets used to the idea of imminent death, Donald."
"I see your point," Donald agrees, growing serious again. "But still, it must be something. Being Remington Steele- man of action. Always in the thick of danger."
"You think so?" Steele asks, serious as well.
"Are you kidding? Come on, what a LIFE! The greatest risk I run is being bitten by a patient. No, I admire you, Steele. I really, really, do."
"You know, funny thing is, I admire you."
"Uh huh. Because you made a commitment to one person. Well, four people, in fact."
"Well, I don't know. I tell ya, there's sometimes days, I reach that freeway off ramp, I wanna just keep right on driving."
"But you don't. And that makes you more of a hero in my way of thinking." The truck stops. "I think we've reached the end of the line, here," he says, standing up and tightening his tie. Donald does the same, looking at him uncertainly. "Just act natural," he says, putting his hands in his pockets and smiling.
Donald puts his hands in his coat pockets and they step out onto the lift at the back of the truck. When the two men notice them, Steele pulls out a wallet, flashes it at them as he and Donald start walking off. "Quality control. Everything appears to be in order. Carry on, gentlemen." The men follow slowly. Donald starts to look behind them. "Don't look back, Donald," he cautions. "Never look back."
Donald manages a glance. "They're following us."
"In that case- RUN!" he orders, and they take off. The two men follow for a moment, then one of them stops the other and they let Steele and Donald go.
Mildred examines a printout again, then turns back to her computer as Bumpers puts down another printout. "That's it. We've been over this thing a million times." He puts a hand over hers. "Let's go get some dinner."
"Not until we find something," she says, taking his hand off hers.
"We were quite a team, weren't we Krebbie?"
Mildred smiles. "That was a long time ago."
"Well, maybe you better get your books audited again," he suggests teasingly. Mildred hits him, smiling as well.
Laura and Frances come in. "Anything, Mildred?" Laura asks.
"Zilch. What about you?"
"Just a room full of satisfied customers," Laura says.
"I may not be a detective," Frances tells them, "but I don't think there's anything wrong with Bright Age. It seems like a perfectly wonderful company to me."
"Tell that to Felix Melcher," Bumpers suggests. Mildred nods in agreement.
Donald comes in. "Don't be alarmed. I'm fine, I'm fine. Don't be alarmed, all right?"
"Donald, what's wrong?" Frances asks, concerned.
"Where's Mr. Steele?" Laura asks.
"Oh, he popped home to change. We took an unexpected tour of West Covina."
"Why?" Mildred asks.
"We had to. The man had a gun!"
"My Donald? At gunpoint?"
"A simple kidnapping," Donald tells her as though he wasn't rattled at all. "Nothing to be excited about." He looks at Frances, who smiles at him.
The 'Brothers" come in.
"I thought you were going to the airport?" Laura asks them.
"This case," Harimoto tells her. "Most engrossing. And we can always get another plane."
"We MUST be overlooking something," Laura tells Mildred and Bumpers. "A man has been killed, Donald has been kidnapped, and there's apparently nothing wrong with Bright Age Cosmetics."
"It's not a pyramid scheme," Mildred admits.
"It's not a smuggling operation, either," Donald tells them. "The men who abducted me, they insisted Melcher was carrying something."
"Evidence, most likely," Bumpers tells him.
"But what?" Mildred asks.
"It would help if we could identify the kidnappers."
"Uh, excuse me," Harimoto says. "But- we took pictures," he tells them, smiling as he brings out a packet of photos.
"At the warehouse?" Donald questions.
"Your One Hour Photo is very fast," he says.
Laura goes to him. "Bless you, Mis-ter-"
"Harimoto," Mildred supplies.
"Harimoto," Laura repeats.
"We are not P.I.s for nothing," he reminds her.
Itasuro asks in Japanese, "What do they think we are, chopped liver?"
Harimoto looks at the pictures. "Johnny Carson home. Very impressive."
"I love that picture," Takahamo says in Japanese.
"A little underexposed," critiques Itasuro, also in their native language.
"Would you- uh?" Laura asks.
Donald grabs a picture. "Whoa. Whoa! That's him! That's him, right there!"
"let me see that," Bumpers asks, taking the picture. "Vince Delgado. Hired gun."
"What about that other man?" Laura asks.
"Alan Hackston. Top money man for the mob. Out here."
Mildred's shocked. "You're kidding?"
"The mob?" Laura asks.
"In Tarzana?" Frances questions.
At Laura's loft, Frances and Laura are having coffee. "Frances, there's something I want to say. I want you to know-"
France stands up from the table. "You don't have to say anything, Laura." She takes her cup to the kitchen.
"Yes, I do."
"No, you don't."
"Frances, will you please let your little sister apologize? I'm sorry that I didn't believe you earlier. I suppose it wasn't very fair of me."
"No, it wasn't."
"I'm not used to being wrong," Laura admits.
"Especially when I'm right," Frances points out as she rinses her cup.
"Why is it we tend to bring out the worst in each other?" Laura wonders.
"We were always competitive, Laura."
"I know we WERE, Frances. But what are we competing about today?"
"Who was right, maybe?"
"Right about what?"
"To get married or to pursue a career?"
"Why does either one of us have to be right?" Laura asks. "Don't you think *I'd* like to have a family of my own someday? I'm just like any other woman out there, trying to make the pieces fit."
"I thought you had all the answers, Laura," Frances tells her. "You always act that way." She goes to the refrigerator.
Laura follows. "Come on, Frances, that's not true. You're just so afraid I'll look down on your lifestyle, you spend all your time with me either complaining about how hard it is to be a good mother, or trying to convince me I'm missing something."
"Well," Frances says.
"The fact is, neither one of us has got it all together. I don't know anyone who does."
"What a relief."
There's a knock at the door, and Laura goes to slide it open. Terri is standing there. "Terri. Come in."
"I was in the neighborhood, so I thought I would drop your check off." She pulls a paper out of her purse.
"Oh, how thoughtful of you," Laura says, taking it.
"Well, we like to keep our sales force smiling." She sees Frances. "Oh, I didn't know your sister was here. I have one for you, too, Frances," she says, pulling another check out and handing it to Frances.
Frances takes it, delighted. "I've never gotten a paycheck before."
"There's lots more where that came from," Terri assures them. "Just keep up the good work. I'll see you at the award ceremony tonight."
"Ah, we wouldn't miss it," Laura assures her. "Thanks so much, Terri," she says, going to open the door.
As Laura closes the door behind Terri, Frances looks at her check. "This is terrific! Laura, I made two hundred dollars!"
Laura frowns over her own check. "That isn't right," she worries.
"Oh, now, don't be a spoil-sport, Laura," Frances admonishes.
"But you didn't sell that much more in cosmetics," Laura reminds her.
Frances looks confused for a moment. "That's right. It's almost too good to be true!" she declares.
Laura's face lights up. "That's it. Congratulations, Frances. You've just solved the case!" She grabs her purse and coat.
Frances watches her go to the door. "I did? Does this mean I have to give the money back?" she asks.
On the sidewalk in front of the Piper house, Mildred pushes a baby carriage. "Steele's voice comes over a radio. "Papa Bear to Mamma Bear. Report."
She stops and picks up a doll to which a walkie-talkie is attached. "Mamma's ready," she says into the radio.
Bumpers is disguised as a meter reader and is kneeling beside the house with a clipboard. "Uncle Bear?" Steele asks.
"Set," Bumpers tells him.
Inside the house, Steele lounges in a chair, calling the shots, as a nervous Donald paces the floor. "Baby Bears?"
Harimoto and his friends are dressed as gardeners. "Ready to go, big guy," he assures Steele, then starts mowing again. Takahamo is trimming a hedge.
"Are you sure this is really necessary?" Donald asks Steele.
"Donald, unless you wanna look over your shoulder every time you leave the front door, we're gonna have to get these chaps right now, okay? So just-" he motions for Donald to sit.
"Bandit at four o'clock," Bumpers calls over the radio. Steele and Donald go to the window to watch a black van pull into the house next door. "Flower truck. Looks like we bagged 'em." Itasuro watches from beside the house. The driver gets out carrying a vase filled with red roses and goes toward the other house. "False alarm," Bumpers says, sounding disappointed. "He's making a delivery next door."
Steele looks relieved. "Well, it's up to you, old man," he tells Donald, leading him toward the side door. "Now, remember. They can't shoot you unless they've got the evidence, okay?"
"I don't HAVE the evidence," Donald reminds him.
"Y'see? You've got absolutely nothing to worry about. Go get the morning paper." Donald hesitates. "Go fetch. Breathe."
Donald goes out of the house, walks across the driveway and picks up the paper, then goes back to the house as if he hasn't a care in the world. Inside, though, he leans against the wall, out of breath. "To think, I risked my life for this rag," he says. Tossing it to Steele, he flops into a chair.
Steele grins and opens the paper to look at it.
Mildred watches as a postman passes her, then grabs her radio. "Mamma Bear to Papa Bear. I think we got a live one."
Steele and Donald rush to the window. "Here you go."
"No, wait a minute, wait a minute. That's not our mailman," Donald tells him.
"Are you sure?"
"Right. Our guy doesn't come until three o'clock."
"Okay, in the kitchen," Steele tells him, pushing in that direction. "Here take the paper. Read the funnies." He grabs the radio. "Mildred, Mildred- pull out. Okay? Pull out now." He goes toward the door. "Harimoto?"
"We got him," Harimoto tells him, and he turns as the postman passes to follow the man.
The postman is holding a letter, looking up and down the street as if looking for an address. "Closing in, Steele," Bumpers says as the postman approaches the Piper door behind which Steele is waiting.
The Harimoto and Takahamo follow him, joined by Bumpers.
The postman knocks on the door, only to find himself grabbed and pushed against the wall by Steele the others. Fist drawn, Steele tells him, "Nice try, but we saw you coming a mile away."
Bumpers is looking at the man's mailbag.
"Postage due?" the mailman says.
"A likely story," Steele tells him. "Where's the real postman?"
"He retired. Yesterday. I'm the new guy. Call in if you don't believe me."
Steele glances at Bumpers, who nods to confirm the man's story, indicating the bag filled with mail.
Steele checks for himself, then releases and smoothes the frightened man's jacket. "Well, uh, welcome to the neighborhood. We're very possessive about our postal employees, that's all, okay? Here you go. Have a nice day, now. Take care," he says, shaking the man's hand and seeing him on his way. "Cheerio, bye-bye." Steele stands there, watching him go. "Donald, you can come out now!" he calls.
When there's no response, and Donald doesn't appear, the men rush through the house to the kitchen. The back door is open, and Itasuro is laying on the ground. "They went thataway," he says in Japanese, sending Steele and the others next door, where the black van is backing out of the driveway.
All four men chase the van down the street, led by Steele.
Laura turns a corner in the Rabbit and sees the van coming toward her, being chased by Steele and company. She swerves to the right, the van to the left- and it crashes into the mail truck. The driver of the van jumps out and runs.
On the sidewalk, Mildred and Bumpers are with the mailman, who's in shock. The terrified man turns and runs from what he probably thinks are escapees from a lunatic asylum.
Laura gets out of her car, hears someone banging in the back of the van, yelling, "Let me out!"
She goes to the back doors and opens them. Donald practically falls on top of her. "Laura!" he says.
She's surprised to see him.
Steele catches up to Alan Hackston- right in front of the postman- and knocks him out, while the 'Brothers' take care of Vince Delgado using karate, finally forcing him over the hood of the mail truck. "Okay, guys, back off," Steele says, joining them. "Just a second. There you go, icy calm." He pulls them away and asks Vince- "Now listen, what's going on here, mate?" he asks Vince, who stands up.
Laura joins them. "Bright Age Cosmetics launders money for the mob," she tells Steele. "Felix Melcher found out, so you killed him," she accuses, looking at Vince.
"Baloney. I'll admit I was supposed to do it, but Piper beat me to it," Vince tells her.
"I keep telling you, I'm a dentist," Donald insists.
"Go on," Steele says to Vince.
"I waited all night for Melcher to show up at his girlfriend's house, but he never did."
"I don't believe you," Laura says.
"Hey, we're professionals, huh? We take a certain pride in our work. Nothing sloppy - No loose ends. If we made the hit," he asks Steele, "you think you'd ever find the body?"
"Laura, the man does have a point."
"If he didn't kill Felix Melcher," Laura says, "then who did?"
The Bright Age award ceremony is just beginning. Over the stage now is the banner, "Lavender Lady of the Year". The crowd is welcoming Ted Warner
"Thank you! Thank you all!"
Steele, Laura, Frances and Donald come in. Laura has the Pipers find a place to sit while she and Steele continue toward the strange.
"And now it gives me great pleasure, to present "Lavender Lady of the Year", to our very own Terri Goldbloom!" Terry accepts the award as Steele and Laura run onto the stage and push Terri aside.
Steele grabs the microphone. "I hate to break up the party, ladies, but this man here is a fraud! Bright Age Cosmetics is nothing more than a front for organized crime!"
Warner grabs the microphone. "I don't know what he's talking about, ladies!" he insists. Steele wrestles him away from the podium as Laura takes over.
"You have been used to launder millions of dollars worth of illegal activities!" she tells them. "How do you think Ted could afford to keep you so happy?" A murmuring starts in the audience. "Where do you think those hefty bonus checks come from? You didn't earn them! You didn't sell enough to earn them! Warner has been inflating your receipts to account for cash filtered through his books by the MOB!"
Judy stands up. "Wait a minute! Wait a minute. Now wait a minute! Is there anything wrong with our cosmetics?" she asks.
"Yeah!" several women agree.
Laura looks at Steele and shakes her head. Steele takes to the microphone again. "No, actually, the cosmetics are- first rate."
"Have WE done anything wrong?" Judy asks.
"Well, technically no, but-" Laura begins, only to be cut off by Judy.
"Well, then, what's the problem? Get off the stage!" she tells them. The other women agree, booing Steele and Laura.
Steele, still holding Warner, looks frightened. "Laura, these ladies are rabid! They're gonna tear us limb from limb!"
"All right!" Laura says to the women. "So it makes no difference where the money comes from. Do you CARE that a man has been murdered?"
"Murdered?" and "What?" ripples through the audience.
"Felix Melcher was murdered, in cold blood, by none other than your beloved Ted Warner!"
The women are in shocked denial. "That's ridiculous!" Ted insists, and breaks free to grab the mike. "I didn't kill Melcher!" he tells the women. "That's crazy!"
Steele grabs the mike from him again. "There where were you two days ago when he was killed?" Steele asks.
"He was with me at nine o'clock," a woman stands and admits.
"He was with me at eleven," another woman says.
"But he was with me at twelve o'clock!" yet another says.
Steele is amazed, and there is a general air of discontent in the group. He tells Warner, "You'd better come with me. You're gonna be safer."
"Wait a minute!" Laura calls out, looking at Terri. "Felix Melcher wasn't on his way to see you when he was killed!" She steps closer to Terri. "He was already there!" Terri looks nervous.
Steele comes to stand behind Laura. "Which would account for why he wound up on Frances' floor. You're next door neighbors, if I remember correctly."
"He confided in you, told you what he'd found out, but you didn't react the way he expected. You react like everyone here tonight! You didn't want your golden bubble to burst, so you KILLED him!"
"And then destroyed the evidence, because he was gonna turn it over to the IRS!" Steele accuses, pushing the microphone down out of his way.
"Can't you people make up your minds?" Terri asks. "First you're accusing Ted, and now you're accusing me!"
"Do you own a GUN, Mrs. Goldbloom?" Laura asks. "For protection?"
"Can it stand a ballistics test?"
There are gasps from the audience. Terri pushes Laura into Steele and makes a break for it, running down the aisle toward the exit. Halfway down, someone sticks out her leg and trips Terri, sending her face first to the floor. Frances gets up and tells her, "Next time, keep the body in your OWN kitchen!"
Terri glares at her.
"Say 'sushi'," Harimoto instructs as Steele poses between his colleagues.
"Sushi!" Steele repeats, laughing and shaking their hands once the picture is taken. "Thank you very much indeed," he says. "You've been an invaluable aide to this investigation."
"Next year, you must come to Tokyo," Harimoto tells him.
"Yes," Steele agrees.
Takahamo says in Japanese, "And don't forget to bring the babe!" Steele laughs as if he understands.
"Sayonara," they say, going out the door.
"Ah, yes, sayonara. Sayonara," Steele repeats, bowing slightly as he stands beside a smiling Mildred. "They're wonderful chaps, aren't they?" he comments, then goes toward his office.
Bumpers approaches Mildred. "How about it, Krebbie? What say we become a team again?"
"But you're in D.C. now."
"Oh, it's a tempting offer, but I've gotta pass. You see, I've started again, Harrison. I've got new work and new friends- this is where I belong now."
Bumpers looks sad. "Well, I'll just take that as a postponement and not a definite no."
Mildred laughs softly. "You consider it anything you like."
He gives her a kiss. "I'll see you, Krebbie."
"You bet." She watches him leave.
In Steele's office, Donald is shaking Steele's hand. "Well, you've done it again, Steele. Lucky for us that Laura works for such an understanding employer."
Steele and Laura say in unison, "Awwww."
Steele smiles. "Glad to be of service."
"This whole experience has made me realize that it's time for me to go out and do something on my own," Frances tells them as a cautious Donald looks at her. "So, I'm going back to school." Donald looks less than pleased at the idea, but Laura gives her sister a hug, delighted.
"Eh," Steele comments.
"That's wonderful!" Laura says.
Frances slips her arm through Donald's. "I'm gonna be a dental hygienist," she tells them. "That way we can work together, Donald, just like Laura and Mr. Steele."
"It's a terrific idea, honey," Donald agrees. "We'll talk about it in the car. Bye, Laura," he says, giving her a kiss and hug. Steele gives Frances a kiss and hug as well. They say their good byes and go to the door.
"Don't you think it's a wonderful idea, Donald?" she asks.
"We'll talk," he tells her again.
Alone in the office, Laura says, "I don't get it."
"Huh? I thought we wrapped that one up very nicely."
"I mean you. The Remington Steele that walked into my life three years ago wouldn't care a fig what happened to my family."
"Oh, that Remington Steele's gone. Past," he assures her.
"And who's replaced him?" she asks.
Steele pulls her close, smiling. "Miss Holt, what's life - without a little mystery, eh?" Laura returns his smile as he raises his brows.