Remington Steele:  Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist


SOTW: Episode #83-Steele At Your Service
by everglade68    (May 23, 2008)
Xenos asked that I post the next SOTW which is "Steele At Your Service". 
Hard to believe that there are only four more episodes left in Season Four. 

Have a safe Memorial Weekend everyone. 

I saw this episode last night and got to admit that I enjoyed watching it. 

One thing that I noticed this time was the ethnic makeup of the servants. There was a Hispanic maid, a German housekeeper, an Italian chauffeur, a French chef, and a Japanese gardener. Mr. Steele completes the group as an English butler. I don't think that they would do this today. 

I just love the name "Rupert Ruggles". 

Poor Mr. Steele, does he get hit on the head two or three times? Anyone else I am sure would have ended up with a concussion. 

My favorite lines: 

Laura: "Courtesy of Wellington Petroleum. A group of us had joined hands in front of a Wellington Refinery to protest an off-shore oil spill which they had caused. Charles Wellington had us gassed and arrested." 

Remington: "Oh, come now, Laura, that was an obligatory part of the curriculum when you were at college, wasn't it?" 

So what happens when Steele closes the door to the barn in the tag scene? 

Isabel 

by dtalley 
"Service" is another delightful "Mr. and Mrs. Steele" episode. 

According to the tabloids at the time the show aired, PB was required to wear the white gloves (Or were they light grey? Well, whatever color they were, they were sure ugly!) as "punishment" for chewing his nails and causing the show to have to pay for a hand double. Personally, I always loved watching Remington chew his thumb nail...it made him seem so human and loveable. Why in the world did TPTB care if Remington bit his nails? 

My favorite scene is the tag, where Remington (in his shredded butler's coat) and Laura embrace in the open doorway of the barn. He gets that delightful gleam in his eye and that delicious grin on his face and begins closing the barn door. Even Laura's surprised "What will people think?" doesn't phase him. He just keeps gleaming and grinning and replies, "What else? The butler did it." I just love that devilish look on his face and he closes us out with the door. And I love the way Laura slips her hand inside the torn fabric on R's shoulder. There was no hesitancy on Laura's part - she was able, willing, and ready. Okay, she wondered what people would think - but at the same time, she really didn't *care* what they thought. 

I also love: 

- Remington and Laura's conversation in the limo as they ride to the estate. It's always fun hearing about Laura's past. 

- Remington's optimistic speculations about why he and L are being directed to the back entrance of the estate : "Wellington might be doing some paperwork outside... A confab by the poolside perhaps, eh?...Probably repainting the foyer... " and then Laura's suggestion that maybe Mr. Wellington is "...in the game room stuffing a seagull." 

-Remington's reaction as he gradually realizes it's the servants that want to hire the Agency: "Don't be absurd! Laura, this case flies in the face of all traditions. Butlers don't get murdered. They COMMIT murder. Everyone knows that." 

-the maid telling L and R, "Somebody killed our bootler." 

-R telling L she has "... oil spills on the brain." 

-R's reaction ("No. No. Hold on just a minute, Laura. Don't do that - now stop it.") when he realizes L wants him to go undercover as the NEW bootler - uh, butler - and she begins smoothing his labels and smiling at him. 

-Remington's introduction to the Wellingtons as the very proper British butler Rupert Ruggles. I love the way he tells Mrs. Wellington, "Thank you, Madam. I try to do my best" and ditzy Cindy looks at him with a grin and says, "I bet you do." The look Remington gives her after she makes that comment is priceless! 

-The housekeeper telling Remington, "... we're on a rather limited budget. You will hurry, won't 
you?" and Remington replying, "Brilliance can't be rushed, Mrs. Swenson, but I'll try and do my best." 

-Poor Remington getting hit over the head time and time again, and the humorous way the viewer shared his point of view each time he came to. 

-R maintaining his very proper manner even when answering the door and finding Laura standing there staring at him with eyes the size of saucers. I'm sure she'd already seen him in the costume, but it was probably the first time she'd seen him in character and she just couldn't stop her eyes from growing big. Love the way he then tells Mrs. Wellington, "A pair of journalists, I'm afraid, Madam." He says it like being a journalist is beyond contempt. 

-the way Remington manages to get back at Laura without breaking his cover by accidentally poking her in the rear with the tripod he's carrying as he's loaded down with her luggage and camera equipment. Very clever. Also, I love what he tells her as he staggers breathlessly into L and M's guest room and gratefully drops his load: "Laura, . . . next time . . . choose a cover . . . with fewer accessories." 

- the way Remington is constantly taking off a glove and putting it back on. 

-Remington referring to Cindy as " A woman without a past, eh?" 

-the way Albert bumps into Ruggles and Remington quickly apologizes, but then under his breath says, "Twerp". 

- Pierre asking Ruggles, "How goes the private dicking?...We are paying you good money, m'sieu, but here I find out flat on your back. We shall get credit on our bill for your time off, no?" Poor Remington! He gets knocked out yet again, and the client wants to dock his pay! 

-Remington's dramatic and romatic rescue of Laura from the runaway wagon. He's so concerned about her safety and well being and she just pats him on the shoulder and mumbles, "Thank you, Ruggles. That'll be all." Whatever happened to gratitude? Surely Laura Giles could have rewarded Ruggles with a kiss without arousing suspicion! 

-Remington quickly jumping back into character after he's attacked both physically and verbally by Albert: 

Albert: "Ruggles! You attacked me!" 
Remington: "I beg your pardon, sir, but I believe you attacked ME first." 

-the way Remington confronts Vincenzo in the stable after Laura's runaway wagon adventure. To heck with his cover! R is bound and determined to defend and protect his woman! 

-Laura taking care of Remington's poor head when he's knocked out for the countless time. It's always nice to see her in a nurturing role. Love when she says,"Take care, Ruggles. With any luck, I'll see to it that you're fired tomorrow." Ah, how romantic! 

-Laura giving a movie citation even when R isn't around to hear it and then telling her photographer friend, "A certain friend of mine would be very proud of me right now." 

-the way Remington wings it when he's surrounded by the servants and family after he cracks the safe. Brillant! Love how he acuses just about everyone and weaves an elaborate flashback for each scenario. And his exchanges with Mildred are priceless: 

Mildred: "Boss- what are you doing?" 
Remington: "I believe it's know as winging it, Mildred." 

and 

Mildred: "Maybe we should call for a cab." 
Remington: "Umm hmm. It's worth considering." 

and 

Remington: "... Which means the murderer is-somebody else." 
Mildred: "Wanna make a run for it, Boss?" 
Remington: "Yes indeed." 

-the way R tries to save face when Laura arrives and asks what's going on. 

Remington: "I was just concluding my summation." 
Laura: "You solved the case?" 
Remington: "Uh, yes, in a way. I've eliminated all the suspects." 

-Remington's classic line as he bluffs his way to the solution - "A murder case is like an onion." Very profound, eh? 

-Remington's concern about his poor tailor when his butler's jacket is 'altered' by a chainsaw. 

This episode always makes me laugh and leaves me feeling good. Anyone else have any thoughts? 

Debra 
 

by trailgrrl 
You covered the episode perfectly. 
And I just love that 'look'(her eyes!) Laura gives Steele when he answers the door! 'just one look' as the song goes! 
 
by MickeyBoggs
I had never seen this episode until the DVDs came out, so it was a real treat for me to have "new" Steele to watch. 

Memorable Stuff 

- The whole opening sequence is played a bit over the top - I suppose on purpose. Rich snobs all bickering at each other. Glad to see Katherine has some backbone & tells off the old man instead of just sitting back & taking it. 
- Mr. Steele's sooo looking forward to hobnobbing with the idle rich. Makes for a good chuckle when Greta sends them around to the back entrance as if they were tradesmen! 
- Though I don't think it would have bothered me at all in the 80s, it now bothers me seeing the "hired help" written so stereotypically. Not sure they'd be able to write it that way today. 
- Cute how all the servants tell Ruggles to hurry up & find the killer as they don't have much money, when here Mr. Steele had visions of dollar signs dancing in his head on his first trip to the house. 
- Poor Mr. Steele! Coshed on the head 3 times! That's just not funny anymore. The man should have permanent brain damage by now! 
- Mr. Steele went to Laura's room with the clue of the printout edging and I was soooo hoping they'd get to spend a little time together. Even with Mildred next door, they could have found a way. Sigh. 
- The ending of the episode is reminiscent of Clue (Tim Curry, Michael McKean, et al, Paramount, 1985) 
- Good to see our team working together so well they fill in the story for each other as they reveal how Kuromatsu killed Hastings 
- It's oh-so-brief, but I love the tag scene. Love the gleam Mr. Steele gets in his eye when he realizes they won't be disturbed for a few minutes. It also looks like PB & SZ really throw themselves into this kiss more than we've seen them do in some others lately. Possibly because they thought it was their last time acting together? 
 

Character Development 

- LOVE the look in Laura's eye when she mentally devises the plan to have Mr. Steele go undercover! I also love how quickly he picks up on the look and realizes what it means. Heh heh heh 
- Though they don't say a word to reveal their true identities, I love the unspoken conversation going on when Ruggles opens the door to find Ms. Giles and Ms. Krebs standing there. The way Laura's eyes get big, you can tell she's laughing inside. And Mildred gets a kick out of telling him to get the luggage. Love how he gets back his own by using the suitcase to goose Laura and she turns to glare at him. 
- Mr. Steele's so concerned about Laura when she gets caught on the runaway wagon that he nearly forgets his role. It's touching to see the worried look on his face when he realizes she's ok but he can't hold her to be sure as it would break their cover. 
- Laura would probably be upset if she realized how Mr. Steele warned Vincenzo to stay away from her, but it was satisfying to see him be able to defend her. 
- We meet yet another man interested in Laura - and once again she's clueless 
 

Favorite lines 

L: A group of us had joined hands in front of a Wellington Refinery to protest an off-shore oil spill which they had caused. Charles Wellington had us gassed and arrested. 
R: Oh, come now, Laura, that was an obligatory part of the curriculum when you were at college, wasn't it? 
-------------- 
R: Laura, this case flies in the face of all traditions. Butlers don't get murdered. They COMMIT murder. Everyone knows that. 
-------------- 
R: I try to do my best 
Cindy: (looking at him apprisingly) I bet you do 
 
 

Hair & Clothing 

- I like the green suit Laura's wearing the first time we see her. And her hair looks good, back to a more classic look. 
- Though it's usually Laura we see in hats, Mr. Steele looks pretty darn good in that bowler (a foreshadowing of Thomas Crown!) - though I coulda lived without the cowboy hat (though it's a funny contrast to his uniform) 
- Mr. Steele looks just as good in a morning coat as he does in a tux 
- Mildred just looks silly in her cowgirl outfit 
- Laura would look better in a different western outfit too 
 

Goofs, Headscratchers & Misc 

- This was the last Season Four episode filmed. 
- Andrea figured out what happened after they closed the barn doors (NC-17): http://krebsfiles.com/steeleatherservice.html 
 

Guest Cast Trivia 

- A couple of years after this episode, Cindy Fisher (Cindy Wellington) gave up acting to become a full-time mom. Her husband is Doug Davidson of The Young and the Restless. 
- Arye Gross (Albert Wellington) is a former company member at South Coast Repertory Theater (where Stephanie performed A Little Night Music in 2007) 
- Dan O'Herlihy (Charles Wellington) died of natural causes in 2005 at age 85 
- Liz Sheridan (Greta Swenson) was once engaged to James Dean. She also played Jerry's mother in Seinfeld. 
- This is Sab Shimono's (Kuramatsu) second appearance in the series. He was previously seen as Kenji Ito in You're Steele The One For Me 
 

by Neneithel
Kiss a butler? Maybe in America, but here it would be considered atrocious bad manners to one's host to kiss any of the staff. :)

I'm the opposite. I hate the bowler, but the cowboy hat is rather sweet. I don't get the bowler fetish in RS at all. They were obsolete by the 60s and weren't widespread before that, but they seem to think it's some kind of uniform for British men, even a policeman. 

Green is a great colour for Laura and that suit looks wonderful.

by everglade68
Mickey, awesome post. I did not know that this was the last episode filmed. I bet that you are right about the tag scene. I think that both PB and SZ must have known that the series was cancelled by this time and that this was their last kiss. So it was either a farewell kiss or a thank-God-I-don't-have-to- kiss-you-ever-again one. I am hoping it was the former, but it was probably the latter. 

Isabel

by Neneithel
I think it was just acting. All their kisses looked passionate, but that's what they were paid to do. Any real emotion in a kiss would have been somewhat unfair to his wife.
by everglade68
Oh Helen, I don't think Cassie ever had anything to worry about during RS. 

Isabel

by Neneithel
Neither do I, but then, I don't think any of the kisses, however convincing, were anything other than acting. We like SZ and PB because they were good actors and then most episodes, someone tries to read something into a kiss or other interaction that isn't acting at all. A good actor never shows their own feelings, whatever they may be. They just show the character's feelings.
by auroracat-1
According to an interview of Pierce (Bond era) - Paraphrasing here: "Actors are supposed to hate loves scenes but he likes doing them. He gets into the fantasy and then takes it home to his wife." 
 
by sugarjilly
We're finally getting close to the end of S4! I had no idea that this was suppose to be the last episode filmed. Thanks for that info Lea! Since mentioning that, it does seem like there was a little added incentive in the tag scene kiss...but nonetheless, I still liked the tag scene. 

Isabel, I did notice the ethnic variety of the staff too. 

I'll be honest, this isn't my favorite episode, but its good. I really loved the whole conversation in the limo about the Wellington's. haha! 

Don't you all think Mr. Steele had the butler gig down to a tee? "Hear what madame." (don't know if that's the exact quote, but so like a butler to dismiss what he hears) 

First hit on the head - Not so bad...Steele wakes up to Maria who, at the time, seems to need a lot of comfort if you get my meaning. So, the hit on the head is undoubtedly rectified with Maria. 
Second hit on the head - Wakes up to Pierre this time...Steele isn't so happy....I wonder if the door wasn't suppose to shut? If not, PB played along with it quite well. 
Third attempt at hitting Steele on the head - Steele out smarts the guy!!! It turns out to be one of the sons who attempts to hit Steele on the head. I was wondering when Mr. Steele would catch on!! I just loved how the son threatens Steele..."....you'll never work as a butler again." Steele responds in a non-believing way...."Please sir, please anything but that." HAHA!!! 
Third hit on the head - Wakes up to Laura and Mildred. Laura tells Mr. Steele that maybe she will be able to get him fired tomorrow. 

Laura was a little weak on her whistle I thought! 

Loved the tag scene. 

Jilly

by merryl
Hmmm, well having seen the number of times they redo every scene so that it can be filmed from various angles, I think it would be impossible for any "real" romance to creep through... Then again, getting to kiss Pierce umpteen times could be quite a yummy prospect! I do think they "borrow" experiences from real life, though, and that each actor does project a bit of themselves into their characters, whether they realise it or not. 

I somehow think that Cassie had Pierce on quite a short lead, though (and who would blame her?) I read somewhere that friction on set was more between her and Stephanie than Pierce and Stephanie (who knows what the true story is!). 

by auroracat-1
I always find it interesting that Laura was protesting the off shore oil spill and in real life Pierce became such an activist especially about saving our oceans. A little forshadowing?:)
 


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