Sunday, January 4, 2009

Etched in Steele – Remington Steele Episode Summary 1.7

Remington Steele, Laura Holt listen to romance novelSynopsis: Mitchell Knight, the drunken husband of the famous romance novelist Charlotte Knight reveals to Remington Steele and Laura Holt that his wife had written on her new book how she plans to kill him. It was a claim that quickly came true as his body came falling down from the thirty-fifth floor balcony of his house. Everybody had dismissed the fatal fall as an accident, all except Laura Holt. She believes that the best-selling author Charlotte Knight had murdered her husband.

Episode Summary: Mitchell Knight’s eyes fill with worry and fear after reading his wife’s new manuscript. He calls to her, as she lays on the bed undaunted, taking pleasure at her husband’s apparent trepidation. Meanwhile, Bernice Foxe has worries of her own; the Remington Steele Detective agency has not a single case for a week. What is even more distressing is her boss’ nonchalant reaction. Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) knows very well that the holiday season has always put a damper on their business. It is something that is beyond her control. However, there is another thing or rather person who seems to have slipped from her grasp – Remington Steele (Pierce Brosnan). Laura almost chokes from her coffee at the sight of a picture of him on the newspaper. Apparently, the famous sleuth has been running around town attending social events. Moreover, he had already talked to linchpin publisher Russell Forsyth about a book on Remington Steele’s ten most famous cases. News of this infuriates Ms. Holt, and for good reason. The man whom everybody knows as Remington Steele is a fake. He is merely playing a role in Laura Holt’s scheme. This is a fact that she so tries very hard to inculcate on the charlatan’s head. Truth is the man has not even worked on ten cases, which adds complication to the task he agreed to take on. Laura orders him to call the publisher and reject the deal, but ends up going to the publisher’s party with him.   Continue reading...

The party is a celebration of the completion of Charlotte Knight’s new manuscript. Charlotte Knight is a famous romance novelist known for her erotic writing that seems to be all too familiar with Laura Holt who to avoid embarrassment quickly explains to Mr. Steele that her knowledge of her work came only from news she heard. However, her excuse was equally quickly invalidated after meeting Charlotte’s husband. Her marked enthusiasm at meeting the husband of the famous novelist had revealed that she actually had read all of her sizzling romance books. Laura’s delight is matched by the intoxicated Mr. Knight’s interest at speaking with the two private investigators. He tells them that the first two books that his wife wrote are not completely a work of fiction as they were based on their marriage. This is why the most recent manuscript troubles him, since it is about a woman who throws her husband off a thirty-fifth floor balcony. However, having heard the story from a man who had one too many drinks provided little ground for the two private investigators to believe anything that he had said. In addition, the man is not too sure about hiring them either as he comes to realize that his anxiety might just be a simple case of paranoia. They all learn the fatal truth moments later when the body of Mitchell Knight comes flying off the balcony of his thirty-fifth floor unit.

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Laura Holt smells murder. Having learned that Charlotte Knight’s new manuscript has nothing about a wife murdering a husband, Laura believes that Charlotte had intentionally written that part only for her husband to read. It was meant to drive him mad enough for him to turn to his favored poison – alcohol. The plan worked, Mitchell Knight paraded at the party drunk as a skunk. It was a condition Charlotte intended for everyone to see, such that no one would ever suspect murder. However, she did not count on Laura Holt attending the party, or her husband revealing to her and Mr. Steele the missing murder scene.

Mr. Steele, however, remains convinced that there is no murder. With foot still aching, all thanks to Laura stomping on it to prevent him from canceling the book deal she originally wanted him to reject, Mr. Steele marches on to prove that there is no death scene thus no murder. He starts his quest with a chat with the flirtatious Charlotte Knight who acts far from a grieving wife. He comes under the pretense of a man seeking advice from an author on how to write. His visit was a success, well only for him since the woman had thought that he had come to help her with her “research”. If the woman had gotten what she wanted, Mr. Steele would have been another character in her next provocative novel.

Later that night, Mr. Steele and Ms. Holt spend the evening listening to Charlotte’s dictations. It was a task that soon became very uncomfortable for the two. However, listening to chapters upon chapters of sizzling romance had taken its toll, but not in the way that most would have yearned, since Mr. Steele and Laura only ended up falling asleep. Laura wakes up to the sound of a man on the tape recorder, a sound she first thought that was a result of a device in need of batteries, but it was not. The sound is the voice of Mitchell Knight.

The next morning, Mr. Steele and Ms. Holt waste no time to confront Charlotte Knight in the presence of her agent, her publisher, and her gigolo. Russell Forsyth does not even bother denying the truth that Mitchell Knight was the writer. However, he reveals that it was Charlotte that made him a success. In fact, when Mr. Forsyth first read Mitchell’s manuscript he threw it away. It was Charlotte’s persistence that made him change his mind. The woman, though not a writer, has the natural ability to smooth talk anyone into appreciating literature that borders on pornography. With the cat out of the bag, everyone who knows the secret pleads Mr. Steele and Ms. Holt that they keep it as that – a secret. The two who have a deep, dark secret of their own, and therefore share the same predicament as they do, assures them of their full cooperation.

Unfortunately, Laura Holt still is convinced that Mitchell Knight was murdered. This troubles Mr. Steele greatly. He confronts Laura to tell her that she is a workaholic, and that the lack of any other cases to solve has caused her to call an accident a murder. Moreover, he supposes that she only buries herself with work so that she would not have any time to become close with anyone. Laura is using work as a wall to guard her from intimacy. It appears that Mr. Steele has figured her out all too well, and all too soon. This scared Laura Holt, but not as much as Mr. Steele’s proposition that she go away with him. Moreover, Mr. Steele is fast becoming the man she wants him to be. This she discovers when he starts talking about a rudiment in private investigation that he learned from her. That is, a case only becomes one if there is an occurrence that remains unexplained. This may be true for anyone who believes that Mitchell Knight drunk, as he was that night only fell off the balcony by accident. Unfortunately, Laura is not one of those people.

Laura Holt finds it hard to believe that Mr. Knight would have simply tripped over a three-foot high balcony. To clear her mind, she pays a visit to the scene of the supposed murder, and to talk to her prime suspect Charlotte Knight. Unfortunately, Charlotte is not at home, but her gigolo Tony Dinaldo was kind enough to let her look around. She learns that Tony is not really a gigolo. He claims that he considers Charlotte as a mentor. The young man is in fact a Harvard educated writer who himself is working on a book of his own. Seeing that Laura is still preoccupied with the mystery, Tony makes her see what no one else has considered, and that is Mitchell Knight committed suicide. He explains that the man has been living behind the shadow of his famous wife whose success is born out of his writing, which is a fact that the adoring public did not know. Laura Holt knows very well the feeling, and it did not take her too long to be convinced that the man had jumped to his death.

Later that night, Laura lies on her couch free of the mystery that preoccupied her mind. However, Mr. Steele also had a change of heart. Now, he is the one convinced that Mitchell Knight was murdered. This after he heard a tape where Mr. Knight encounters a writer’s block. He attributes the man’s situation to the movie The Shining, and had come to believe that the ghostwriter had a ghostwriter. This may be the case, but Laura argues that there is no motive, since all who knew the secret stand to gain nothing from his death. Mr. Steele stands firm in his belief, and attests that whoever wrote the third book is the killer.

With no motive, and only Mr. Steele’s instincts to support them, Laura Holt and Remington Steele set out to unmask the murderer. It is an undertaking that boggles Ms. Holt. She wonders how the man would get his three suspects all in one room. The answer comes to her as a surprise, Mr. Steele had asked Russell Forsyth to hold a party announcing that Remington Steele had agreed to write his very first book for the Forsyth publishing company. The three suspects are all in attendance not to mention all the ones who came for the free cocktails. With all eyes on him, vain Mr. Steele takes the opportunity to reveal the murderer in front of an audience. He tells everybody the secret that the publishing company has been keeping, and that a ghostwriter was responsible for all the popular sensual books that everybody thought Charlotte Knight wrote. Having said that, Mr. Steele accuses Charlotte to be the killer. The woman confesses that she did not write any of the books, and that she also did not murder her husband. Having risked her career to prove her innocence, Mr. Steele dismisses her as a suspect, and turns to the next one, Charlotte’s agent Dennis Baker. Mr. Steele argues that Mr. Baker, the person who negotiated the film and paperback deals for the third book was also the one who wrote it. However, Mr. Baker reveals that he did not negotiate the deal on the third book, because he knew that Mitchell Knight did not write it, and he certainly did not author it. Mr. Steele then points to his last suspect – Russell Forsyth. He claims that Mr. Knight threatened to divulge the publishing company’s secret, which forced him to murder the ghostwriter, and write the book himself. However, his allegation far-fetched as it already is is further rebuffed when Mr. Forsyth declares that the day before Mitchell Knight died he actually signed a three-book deal under his wife’s name. With no more suspects to accuse, and his reputation on the line, Remington Steele does what he does best – turn to Laura Holt for help. Unfortunately, Laura too does not know who the murderer is. To save himself, Mr. Steele evades further embarrassment by declaring that the ending to the case he worked all night to build up cannot be divulged that evening, and that they would have to read his book to discover who the killer is.

With his ego bruised, Remington Steele sulks at a corner as the guests make their way out the door. Little did he know, Laura Holt had already solved the mystery. With the guests gone, Remington Steele and Laura Holt with the three previous suspects enter the study where Tony Dinaldo is typing frantically. They arrive under the guise of Mr. Forsyth having to type final clauses into a book contract. Not only did they disrupt the man trying to meet a deadline, they too had to ask him to type the memo for them. Tony, a confessed fast typist, someone who could type sixty-five words per minute types away. This is when Laura lays on the table the simple fact that they overlooked. The missing murder scene that Mitchell Knight had described to them was according to him neatly typed on the manuscript. It was not dictated on a tape, a device that he is known to use in place of a typewriter. Sure that confessing as the ghostwriter’s ghostwriter would not provide them enough cause to prove him to be the murderer, Tony Dinaldo admits that he indeed wrote the third book. It was a solution that the Knights, Forsyth, and Baker agreed to given the deadline they had for the launching of the new book. Tony did not have a problem keeping this secret, since he claims to be a serious writer, and the public learning of him writing some sleazy novel would blemish a respectable reputation he has yet to have. It is for this very reason that Tony Dinaldo killed Mitchell Knight. Knight planned to reveal at the party that Tony had written the third book. This would have been an announcement that would have killed his career before it even took off. And so there is the motive, but Remington Steele and Laura Holt has yet to present proof. Luckily, Tony has yet to replace the murder scene he had typed on the original manuscript. It is for this reason that he had been laboring all night in front of the typewriter. Unlucky for him a copy of the original manuscript is at the hands of Russell Forsyth who has yet to read it. He runs to the door in the hopes of destroying the single piece of evidence in existence, but the foot of Remington Steele dashed his only chance of getting away with murder. And so, Mr. Steele yet again wounds up on the newspaper. It was a victory he intends to take in with satisfaction, but not as much as his triumph at converting Laura Holt into a slacker even just for a day.


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1 Pennies for your thoughts:

banini said...

I love the scene where Laura Holt and Remington Steele listen to steamy dictations of the romance novel. I enjoyed watching the two feel so uncomfortable having to sit and listen. I know something similar to this happens in Love Among the Steele.