Synopsis: The Remington Steele detective agency was hired to protect an accursed painting – The Five Nudes of Cairo. Having once stolen the painting, Mr. Steele argues on not taking the case, but Laura Holt’s wishes prevail. Things become complicated when Felicia, Mr. Steele's old flame, re-enters his life, but only to have him steal the painting for her.
Episode Summary: It is night and the museum is silent and empty when a thief swings from a rope and disarms the floor alarm. The burglar with the help of a remote controlled toy car manages to deactivate the laser beams and quickly makes her way, unnoticed by the guard, to the room where a priceless painting sits. However, only a few feet away from the painting the alarm bell rings, and guards pour in to check on the painting that is left untouched though the culprit who attempted to steal it is no longer in sight.
The painting is the famous The Five Nudes of Cairo. Given last night’s events, both the head of the museum Edward Coxworth and the curator Achmed Kalil have come to seek the help of the Remington Steele detective agency to protect the painting from the thief. However, Mr. Steele (Pierce Brosnan) who knows the painting very well decides to turn down the case. A thief himself, he is very familiar with the history of The Five Nudes of Cairo including the curse it carries.
Though the agency has yet to accept the case, it seems that the curse had already began its wrath and Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) is its first victim. On her way to work, Laura met a minor car accident that made her very late for the meeting. Already having an unpleasant morning, learning that Mr. Steele had refused to accept the case is no help at all.
Seeing that Mr. Steele has yet again forgotten his place in the agency, and had deliberately stepped on her toes, Laura could not help but be upset with the figurehead. Mr. Steele tries his best to explain and convince Laura not to take the case given the painting’s history, but fails. He erred when he asked Laura to put her trust on him. And so with a handshake the matter is settled, Remington Steele Investigations accepts the task of protecting The Five Nudes of Cairo.
Despite the good news, Laura still seems edgier than usual, which baffles both Bernice Wolfe (Janet Demay) and Mr. Steele. Before anyone of them could ask, the answer to their question soon arrives – Abigail Holt (Beverly Garland). Laura’s mother is in town for a visit, which explains why Laura had ordered Ms. Wolfe to keep her schedule full for the whole week. It is no secret that Laura’s relationship with her mother is not what you would call dear. In fact, she had not spent any time with her in nearly three years.
So it seems that Laura is not planning on spending much of her time with her mother while she is in town. She leaves her with Ms. Wolfe at the office as she and Mr. Steele retrace the burglar’s footsteps. However, Mr. Steele is more interested in finding out more about Laura’s relationship with her mother than the case, but this all changes when Mr. Kalil introduces them to his assistant Katherine Simone (Cassandra Harris). According to Mr. Kalil, it was she who referred them to the Remington Steele detective agency unaware that she and Mr. Steele had a past together, and that both are thieves. Katherine who really is Felicia, Mr. Steele’s old flame, seduces him and asks him to steal The Five Nudes of Cairo.
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Later that night, Murphy Michaels (James Read) briefs Laura on his research where he learned that a woman and a man calling himself Michael O’Leary had once stolen the painting. Michael O’Leary was one of Mr. Steele’s identities in his previous shady life. Murphy who from the onset distrusts the mysterious man suspects that he had all along been using the detective agency to get his hands on a prize such as The Five Nudes of Cairo. Laura refuses to believe this, and urges Murphy to keep an open-mind regarding Mr. Steele’s intention, but the news nonetheless gave her a feeling of uncertainty.
If there is one word to describe Abigail Holt it is interfering, and her interest lies mostly on her daughter’s love life. It appears that Mrs. Holt is disappointed at the path that Laura took, and would always make it a point to compare her with her happily married older sister Frances. Unlucky for Laura, her mother already has Mr. Steele as a candidate for her thanks to his zeal to take the two women out to dinner. Although, it is against Laura’s better judgment to spend an evening with her mother and Mr. Steele, she was left with no other choice given that her mother had already accepted the offer. She drops by at Mr. Steele’s apartment while her mother stays in the car.
Laura takes the opportunity to confront Mr. Steele about his decision on refusing to take the case. He again uses the curse as his reason. According to history, the reigning pasha at the time the picture was made wanted to destroy the painting given that it is against their religion for a woman to appear nude in front of any man other than their husband. However, before he could destroy it, The Five Nudes of Cairo had been smuggled out of the country. As a result, he placed a curse on anyone who dared to possess the painting. Mr. Steele remains adamant that this is the reason why he did not want to take the case. Before Laura could get to ask him about the transgressions of one of his former identities, Felicia donning one of Mr. Steele’s bathrobes comes out of his bedroom. The woman had sneaked into his bedroom around the same time Laura arrived, which surprised both Laura and Mr. Steele. Mr. Steele desperately tries to convince her that he did not know how the woman got into his bedroom, but Laura is already too embarrassed and offended to listen to him that she just leaves.
It seems that Laura’s luck had run out, since one of the men who are out to get Felicia mistook her for Mr. Steele’s old lover. As it turns out, Felicia owes Gutman, a shady character some money, and had promised the man The Five Nudes of Cairo. Seeing the photograph of Mr. Steele reminded her of their last job together despite the disagreeable result. Learning that the painting is in the same city where the great Remington Steele is Felicia knew it to be fate. However, the man she is facing now is no longer the same man she used to know. Felicia senses that something has changed the Michael O’Leary she once knew, and suspects that someone had stolen his heart. Though one would not catch Mr. Steele admit it, but it is Laura who had somehow changed him.
Her captors trap poor, drugged Laura inside a drum. Ironically, her mother unaware of her daughter’s unfortunate predicament ends up helping her kidnappers get away. It was not until the furious Mrs. Holt arrives at Mr. Steele’s apartment did they learn that Laura had gone missing. Laura comes to consciousness only to find that she is a victim of a mistaken identity. She fakes an asthma attack and manages to escape. It was a feat that she herself could not believe, and she arrives home only to find her mother and Mr. Steele waiting for her. Apparently, the two thought that she had deliberately run away as a result of their disagreements. Laura tries to tell her mother about her kidnapping and her brilliant escape, but she would not listen. Truth is, Mrs. Holt does not approve of her career as a private investigator. Narrow-minded and uninterested, Laura’s mother leaves her and Mr. Steele alone giving the two a chance to argue some more.
Mr. Steele reminds her of how much he insisted not to take the case, while Laura wants to know what he knows about her kidnapping. Mr. Kalil dying at Laura’s front door ends their heated argument. Laura tries her best to keep her mother from seeing the corpse, but fails miserably. Good thing Mr. Steele was already way ahead of her. He had sat the lifeless body of Mr. Kalil on one of Laura’s chair and even put a cigarette between his fingers to make it look like the two are merely discussing the case.
The following day, Laura arrives at the office with unpleasant news from her staff. Apparently, Mr. Steele had ordered them to buy or rent some rather questionable items and equipment. Laura in the hope of getting the truth from Mr. Steele ends up helping him steal The Five Nudes of Cairo from the museum that hired them to protect it. Somehow, Mr. Steele has convinced her that stealing the painting would force the thief to come after them after they themselves have stolen it. Much to Murphy’s chagrin, she deliberately overlooks the idea that Mr. Steele might be the thief.
The two sets off to steal the painting using the service entrance key they got from Mr. Kalil to enter the museum. With the help of a spear gun, they manage to swing across the room bypassing the floor alarms. To get through the laser beams, Mr. Steele had wound several crawling toys enough to cause the foolish security guard to turn off the laser beams in his attempt to see where they are coming from. He leaves to get the other guards to search for the intruder forgetting to turn on the laser beams. This allowed the two to pass through without any problems. They sit and wait until one of the guards calls his colleagues to discuss about the appearance of the crawling toys. Foolish as he is, he calls all guards including the one stationed at the room where the painting lies. As soon as the guard left his post, Mr. Steele enters the room without Laura. Apparently, a heat-sensitive device was installed to protect the painting. He argues that the two of them in the room would only trigger the alarm. Also, Laura would need to create a diversion when by some unfortunate chance Mr. Steele sets off the alarm.
Mr. Steele easily enters the room, and with a help of a canister of cold air he manages to steal the painting without tripping the heat-sensitive alarm. All is well not until Laura comes out of her hiding place and trips on the laser beams that had just been restarted. The guards catch her. Truth is, Mr. Steele too would have been caught only he has a backup plan. He had prepared a perfect disguise – a security guard uniform.
Laura ends up spending a night in jail, and to add to her regrettable ordeal her mother had to post bail for her. In addition, Murphy arrives with news that Mr. Steele had gone missing. Moreover, their client Mr. Coxworth confronts her with harsh words. Mrs. Holt may be disappointed with her daughter, but she sure stands by her at her time of need that she wastes no time to reprimand the angry client. It seems that Laura has inherited her mother’s trusting nature as she too stands behind Mr. Steele despite his questionable disappearance.
It seems that it is only Laura who believes that Mr. Steele had not truly abandoned them, and she is right to stand by the man. She learns from Felicia the truth, which he so tried to tell her, but could not accept as true. Felicia confesses to blackmailing Mr. Steele into stealing The Five Nudes of Cairo, which she was going to use to repay Gutman. Mr. Steele believing that Felicia would expose that he is nothing but a fraud agreed to her request. Eager to learn the mysterious stranger’s identity, Laura asks Mr. Steele’s old lover who he really is, but she comes out empty handed. Not even Felicia knows his real identity, and it seems that Laura has a better chance of finding out. The affection that once existed between Mr. Steele and Felicia appears to have waned. This his old flame supposes after Mr. Steele chose to steal the painting with Laura rather than with her.
Truth is, the absentee Mr. Steele has made it his mission to get to the bottom of things. Through an anonymous phone call to the police, he leads them to the real culprit, Gutman, where he plans on planting incriminating evidence on the murder of Achmed Kalil. Unfortunately, Gutman is already one step ahead of him. Hung upside down by his captors, Mr. Steele calls Laura at the office. Unfortunately, Mrs. Holt who has relieved Ms. Wolfe as the receptionist was unable to get the whole message much more deduce that Mr. Steele is actually in trouble. Laura with Felicia arrives at the warehouse where Mr. Steele is held hostage. Missing the important part of the message, the two did not bring with them the coveted painting such that Mrs. Holt ends up delivering it at the warehouse consequently becoming one of Gutman’s captives. Learning that the painting that was delivered is nothing but a roll of canvas, Gutman threatens to kill one of the captives. Finally realizing the gravity of the situation they are in, Mrs. Holt gets an asthma attack from sheer fright. Laura having used the trick to fool the two once before, Gutman and his goon mistake the attack as purely acting. To save her mother from dying from asthma, Laura risks her life to save her, which also gave them the chance to turn the tables. Not only did they escape mortal danger, Mrs. Holt gains better understanding of her daughter’s work.
With Gutman out in the open, the only thing left to settle is the Remington Steele detective agency’s reputation. Mr. Steele returns the painting, which actually never left the museum since he hid it in one of the huge vases on display. He explains that although immediately divulging the hiding place would have cleared their name in an instant, the real thief would not have been caught. Somehow Laura feels that the man had somehow changed, since he could have easily kept the painting and disappeared. Hoping to pry what really is in the mysterious man’s mind, she is left hanging when Mr. Steele still insists that the curse was the only reason that stopped him from reverting to his old criminal ways.
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