Remington Steele (1982) s02e06 Episode Script

A Steele at Any Price

- Mr.
Steele's opened up a new aspect of our work.
- Stealing? - The Pitkins? - The Pitkins.
- It's even possible that he's keeping her in the gallery.
- Then let's storm the joint.
- You get Molly.
I'll get the Pitkins.
- All right.
- You think of everything.
- They never did find the body.
two, three.
- Okay.
- I don't want to dim your newfound passion for thieving.
The gallery.
We'll knock over the gallery again.
Do I hear 430,000? $425,000 once.
Sold for $425,000 to number 27.
And now, a work by our local artist of the month- Joanne Pitkin.
Miss Pitkin seems to me to be an artist of unique and unusual vision.
While her work is still maturing, it is, nonetheless, eminently collectible.
This work, entitled Anxiety One is one of the artist's most complex visions.
Shall we open the bidding at, say, $ 1,000? I have 1,000.
Who will make it 1,100? $1,600.
Sold for $1,600 to, uh- Number nine.
Thank you.
- They told you she paid for the painting and left? - Right.
- And you're sure Miss Donovan wouldn't have done this? - Right.
Walker, the Conant Galleries practices its share of felonies.
Their prices are highway robbery, their arrogance is criminal and they should do hard time for some of the artists they represent.
But kidnapping doesn't seem in their line.
Maybe not.
- Go on.
- Maybe.
Maybe not.
Uh, um- Oh! Oh! Vinegar will take that right out as long as you get to it before it dries.
You realize that's the longest sentence you've spoken since you walked through that door.
Others talk, Rick Walker listens.
You're not going to leave us in suspense on that one? Molly and I are, uh, investigative reporters.
The L.
Trib? You were investigating the gallery? - About what? - It's very hush-hush.
You can tell us.
Look, can't you muscle Conant a bit? Shake him up? You may have noticed the sign on the door- Remington Steele, not Sam Spade.
If anything happens to Molly, I'll never forgive myself.
That's not the longest answer you gave us, Mr.
Walker but it's certainly the most persuasive.
- Molly Donovan paid money for this woman's work? - For an exposé.
Exposing what? A shocking lack of talent? I didn't know you had such definite opinions about art.
Laura, must I remind you that only a couple of years ago I was appropriating some of the finest works in Europe.
I do my best to forget that.
The artist herself.
Nice wheels for a struggling artist, eh? Makes you wonder who she's been struggling with.
Perhaps I should look into that one.
You think you can penetrate this bastion of culture alone? Oh, of course.
Laura, you've changed my life.
I'm actually looking forward to going through the front door.
Sorry, my fault.
Steele, I think what we're dealing with here is a lovers' misunderstanding.
I suspect Miss Donovan may have gotten carried away.
I suspect the same thing.
With her purchase.
- The Pitkin? - The Pitkin.
Molly Donovan is only the third-string art critic for the Tribune but she obviously has an eye for talent.
It must have cost her a month's salary to buy Anxiety One.
I certainly hope that's the only anxiety she bought.
Steele, this conversation is becoming pointless.
Who is this Remington Steele? He's, uh, no one, Mr.
A buyer.
- What is he buying? - Nothing you'd be interested in, sir.
You know what I'm interested in.
Now, I have paid my deposit.
You tell Conant this delay is bad for my blood pressure and his.
Give him a message from me too.
Oh, Mrs.
I, uh, didn't hear you come in.
- Remind him of the Venice Art Festival.
- The one that, um- Ended so tragically.
I'd contracted to purchase a rather unique Rubens but the young man entrusted to deliver it thought he could obtain a better price elsewhere.
All those canals.
They never did find the body.
I'll, uh, pass it on.
- Miss Pitkin.
- How did you find me here? That's part of my job.
I'm Laura Holt, Art Insight magazine.
Oh! Art Insight? Honey, you people are heavy.
Heavy! Even Cliff Conant doesn't understand your articles.
We do believe that obscureness is the avenue towards revelation with a sharp left turn, of course, at referential analysis.
Art Insight is interested in me? A profile.
Perhaps, five or six pages.
Possibility of a cover.
You do seem to be prospering.
Oh, that? Well, we all have our prisons.
In your bio, it says you live in a garret in Hermosa Beach.
Sounds better.
Besides, Hermosa Beach is in here.
Did you say cover? After all, we gave one to Picasso.
Listen, why don't you come on inside? Have a drink.
Stay for dinner.
Stay the month.
- Who are you working for, Miss Donovan? - No one.
Then why did you bid so relentlessly for Anxiety One? Well, I told you.
I like Pitkins.
A woman with your eye, your critical judgment? You wouldn't hang a Pitkin in your broom closet.
Well, that's what they used to say about the Impressionists.
Perhaps some Tchaikovsky would help.
The "1812 Overture.
" The brass is so effective.
Now then, let's try again.
Why did you bid for the Pitkin? Why shouldn't I have bid for the Pitkin, Mr.
Conant? Clifford Conant changed my life.
I'd bought things from him for years- the Rauschenberg in the living room, the Pollock in the study the Cézanne in the powder room.
A Cézanne in the powder room.
How nice for your guests.
Well, you have to look at something.
Anyway, when Pitkin and I went bad, I just- - Your husband? - My ex.
Pitkin's Pizza Palazzos? all across the country.
How could Murray seeJoanne if his head was in pepperoni? Anyway, once Pitkin and I went kaput I liberated myself at my easel.
I put myself on the line.
I plumbed my depths.
Well, you did an excellent job, Miss Pitkin.
This is a fine example of, uh, plumbing.
I'm free! Free of this prison Pitkin has trapped me in.
I paint whatever I want, however I want just as long as I paint on Cliff's canvases.
I have to paint to certain sizes.
I- I guess that sounds hackneyed, commercial? Mr.
Conant provides you with these canvases? - Off the record? - Oh, of course.
Cliff's got this thing about shapes.
He's very specific.
Every man's got his kinks, right? At least Cliff's are putting me on the art map.
What did I get after She told me she's just completed a 46-by-54 a 24-by-30 and a 60-by-20 that comes to a point at the top.
Well, well, what do you know? That is a coincidence.
Although I'll admit it is a rather odd size it does seem to hold a great deal more significance for you than for me.
As I remember, those are the dimensions of a panel - that was stolen from the Bordeaux triptych.
- You didn't? - Oh, of course not.
- Oh, thank God! I got there too late.
- How much is it worth? - Oh, to the right buyer, millions.
Now, who would want to pay millions for a stolen Old Master? I mean, what's the thrill of sitting alone in a locked room looking at a painting you can't show anyone else? Well, I've known people who have achieved an almost sexual satisfaction because they possess something the rest of the world couldn't have no matter how secret they had to keep their treasure.
I've been wondering where these Pitkins fit in.
Only it's the other way around.
The Old Masters fit in the Pitkins.
Quite possibly.
And should they leave the country, customs is provided with documents from one of our most prestigious galleries, authenticating- A Pitkin.
Be gentle with him, Inspector Krebs.
- They got something? - A few questions first, Mr.
- Shoot.
- How do I get a bourbon stain out of my living room carpet? And I've got a hole in a tweed skirt that I would love to reweave.
And my house plants arejust dying on the vine.
- How'd you find out? - They sent me to the Trib to check you out.
- Why? What-What gave me away? - I think it was the trench coat.
And when Mr.
Steele learned that Miss Donovan is an art critic- You found out who I am- Helpful Harriet, The Homemaker's Friend.
The Housewife's Kierkegaard.
- Come in, Rick.
- Richie.
Okay, so I wanted to be an investigative reporter.
Molly knew that.
So, when she said she was onto something hot I put up the money for her to bid on the Pitkin.
Why didn't she tell you what was so hot? Oh, be honest, Miss Holt.
Would you tell a wimp like me? - Walker, old man- - Call me, Richie, please? It makes me feel clean again.
- Was Miss Donovan interested in any special school of painting? - Like what? Uh, landscape painting? Genre painting? Um, stolen paintings? She was.
She was kind of interested in stolen paintings.
She was always clipping out news items about them.
Said she was gonna write an article on missing Old Masters.
ButJoanne Pitkin is not an Old Master.
We feel that her work is, uh, very close to several of them.
Look, just how deeply is Molly into this? I mean, could they have killed her? No, I doubt that, Richie.
Conant wouldn't do anything irreversible until he was absolutely sure he knew what she was up to.
It's even possible that he's keeping her in the gallery.
Well, then, let's storm the joint.
Well, uh, given the delicate nature of the mission I think it best if only the more experienced of us should go.
- You? - Who else? Would you excuse us just for a moment, please? Mr.
Steele, please, after you.
- You're awfully anxious to get into that gallery.
- A woman's life is at stake.
- Is that the only thing you're interested in rescuing? - Why, whatever do you mean? The one that got away? That panel from the Bordeaux triptych? Laura, I'm shocked, hurt and indignant that you should entertain such a thought.
Then, you won't mind if I came along, acted as your backup, your lookout? - Conscience? - Why, Mr.
Steele, whatever do you mean? Come back in 20 minutes and try to look inconspicuous, okay? Try the door.
- I'm relieved to see you haven't lost your touch.
- Thank you.
- Well, let's get to it.
- Ah, ah, ah, ah! We could be on Candid Camera.
And although we're here on a mission of mercy I doubt if the authorities would appreciate our methods.
Oh! Mr.
Steele, you think of everything.
An ounce of prevention, Miss Holt.
Didn't Walker say Molly's number was nine? Well, at least we know she was here.
Perhaps they simply moved her to another room.
Laura, will you slow down? We're not trying to do a 50-yard dash, you know.
- She's not here.
Let's go.
- But don't you see? If Conant had those two working the night shift he must obviously be sitting on something.
Laura, we have been through every room in the building.
- Pitkins.
We need a Pitkins.
- Whatever happened to my conscience? We'll simply borrow a few Pitkins and trade them for Molly.
They've got to be here somewhere.
Where would you hide a five-foot painting that comes to a point at the top? I'll admit I've been trying to lead you astray but this is not quite the direction I had in mind.
- The bathroom! - I know you're excited, but can you wait till we get home? He's got to look at something.
Oh, my God.
Do you suppose he's making a critical comment, do you? Oh, let's go.
One, two, three.
#You and the night and the music # # Fill me with flaming desire # # Setting my being completely # # On fire # Thank you.
A Rembrandt.
Stolen from a Belgium museum.
A Rembrandt.
Stolen from a Belgium museum.
Why stop at three? He must have a whole museum hidden in that gallery.
I'd call this a fair night's work.
Fair? I call it fantastic! #You and the night and the music # You seem awfully up, Miss Holt.
Why shouldn't I be? Mr.
Steele's opened up a whole new aspect of our work for me.
- Stealing? - I prefer to think of it as purloining.
Even though it's in a good cause, should you be quite so happy about it? I mean, you are a private detective.
Oh, believe me, after a while it gets just as predictable as any other job.
Find a body, find some clues, find the killer.
Oh, yes.
By the time afternoon rolls around, we're watching the clock like everyone else.
Monet, taken from the private collection of a Parisian banker.
I think we're gonna need a top-notch forger for this, Laura.
Forger? You don't think I'm gonna hand the originals back to Conant, do you? I'll wager there's a hefty finder's fee for each one of these little beauties.
Steele is very big on finder's fees.
- I thought we were gonna trade them for Molly.
- We are.
Only, we're going to substitute copies for the originals.
Couldn't that be dangerous, palming off fakes on a man like Conant? - Not that I'm a coward.
- We understand, Richie.
I think I'll take a walk.
Clear my head.
I'm beginning to understand why you did it.
- Did what? - What you did.
Oh, that.
Laura, please, this is painstaking enough without that sort of distraction.
Oh, my heart's going a mile a minute.
I can't seem to stop.
Oh, the rush is incredible.
The Bordeaux panel.
I finally feel as if I'm holding a woman that I've been after all my life.
Conant's giving a party tomorrow in honor ofJoanne Pitkin.
She invited me.
I think we stole his appetizers.
Sounds like a perfect setting for a swap meet.
How very bold you are, Mr.
Now, how would you like to hold another woman you've been waiting for? - And they say crime doesn't pay.
- It does tonight.
I'm really not a coward.
I'm just overly cautious.
Did Miss Holt say why she wanted to see me? No, Mr.
Grumman, she didn't.
She been getting any, uh, calls about me? Not that I know of.
Who exactly are you? She didn't tell you? No, she didn't.
Hello, Mildred.
Louis, it's so nice to see you again.
- You mean that, Miss Holt? - I certainly do.
Come in.
Come in.
- I, uh, don't know what's up, Miss Holt, but I'm straight.
I go to work from 9:00 to 6:00 every day at a greeting card company.
I know, Louis.
I get a little thrill of pride every time I read your probation reports.
But, cutting to the point, is there a way I could, uh, bend you just a little? Miss Holt.
You? I'm not even gonna try to explain.
Three pictures are worth a thousand words.
Ohh! One two - and three.
- Mm.
Miss Holt, do you have any idea what this means to me? Do you have any idea what I'm feeling? Just to look at these.
To see those colors, those brush strokes those unmistakable signs of genius.
Believe me, if it weren't a matter of life and death, I'd never ask you this.
Do you think you can reproduce them? - You want me to reproduce these? - Yes.
I don't know why.
These are three of the finest forgeries I've ever seen.
Forgeries? You see, I paint what I feel and I feel what I paint.
- This is wonderful.
- I like this.
I like this.
I don't see my Pitkin on display.
You don't think I'd display your Pitkin.
- Or mine? There are Pitkins for the peasants and Pitkins for the connoisseurs.
After tomorrow's auction, your Pitkins will all be safely in your hands.
That's so reassuring, Clifford.
It would distress me no end to see a repeat of what happened in Venice.
Oh, that poor young man died so badly.
I could barely finish dinner.
Your concern for my well-being touches me, Monica.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I really should mingle.
I don't recall extending an invitation to you, Mr.
Steele but then you have a bothersome habit of intruding where you're not wanted.
How else would I discover the finer things in life? May I present Richard Walker, a very great friend of Molly Donovan's.
I'm afraid there's nothing here for you.
Then it's fortunate I brought my own exhibit.
I had no idea you were such a resourceful collector, Mr.
These are worth a king's ransom.
We'll settle for Molly Donovan.
Frankly, that's a trade I'd be more than willing to make, if I knew where Miss Donovan was.
- You're lying.
You know you're lying! - Easy, Richie, easy, easy.
You're in far too refined a company.
You're in far too refined a company.
I'll find a security guard to help you on your way.
Well, he's cool, I'll give him that.
What say we build a little fire under him, eh? I wonder how Mr.
Conant would react if, having stolen his Old Masters we also stole his buyers? You know something? The more I'm with you and Miss Holt the more I hate being a coward.
Well, we have to do something to pressure him into releasing Molly.
Come along, Richie.
Let's work the room.
- Mr.
Schneiderman? - Yes? I thought you looked familiar when I bumped into you the other day.
Felix Schneiderman.
He buys for European collectors.
Also writes books on the Renaissance.
Renaissance paintings, Renaissance sculptures.
Thank you.
Renaissance poisons.
Quite a tasty volume.
And this gentleman is, uh, Koji Asuda.
He works the Far East.
No one's ever been quite sure how he gets what he's after.
- But I never come back empty-handed.
- Mm.
And last, but not least, Monica Haddon.
She represents certain English eccentric collectors.
She once told someone that murder is the only truly erotic experience.
- Have we met? - Not officially.
But we were in Venice at the same time.
The young man with the Rubens was on his way to see me when he, uh lost his footing and disappeared in a canal? We were just discussing that tragedy.
Yes, I'm sure it still haunts all of us today even.
What brings you to this exhibition, Mr.
, uh- I should imagine the same thing that brought all of you here.
An insatiable craving for Pitkins.
We have all the Pitkins we need.
These are from Mr.
Conant's private collection.
They do leave one rather speechless, don't they, hmm? Thank you.
We already paid Mr.
Conant a substantial deposit for these.
And, uh, our employers don't relish the idea of paying for the same merchandise twice.
Miss Holt.
This is Laura Holt of Art Insight magazine.
Oh! Loved your article on the Ashcan School.
Oh, well, I may be researching there any minute.
If you'll excuse me.
I've always prided myself on not being a greedy man.
So why don't you simply pay me the rest of what you were going to pay Conant, eh? Then it's settled.
Tonight? My apartment? 8:00? Let's hope this turns out better than Venice for all concerned.
Tell me you didn't offer them the paintings.
He was brilliant.
Had 'em eating out of the palm of his hand.
- You offered them the paintings.
- They practically devoured them.
That's not all they're going to devour.
My foray into burgling? It netted us three forgeries.
- Forgeries? - Forgeries? Forgeries.
- Conant has Molly.
- He has the original Old Masters.
And he has us selling fakes to three people who'd kill us to keep their reputations intact.
How could he pass off fakes to experts like Schneiderman? No doubt he was gonna show them the originals, then ship the copies.
And keep the originals in his own locked room? That's a wrinkle on a wrinkle.
I suppose when you deal long enough with the kinky rich, you decide it's stylish to ape them.
If we're gonna save Molly's skin, not to mention our own we have got to find out where these originals are.
Where do we look? The gallery! We'll knock over the gallery again.
- What's taking them so long? - Oh, they're at their best at this point in the case.
They're cool, logical, working out their next move in a professional manner.
Have you gone berserk? They're getting close.
Well, you haven't come up with anything that makes sense.
Very close.
I can tell.
I don't want to dim your newfound passion for thieving but Conant is much too clever to keep the originals in his gallery after our previous visit! I wish I were back at the Trib.
Sitting in my ugly, windowless, little cubbyhole.
Then Molly would be back at her desk.
Wasn't such a bad life.
Dull, pointless, no future.
But it was safe.
I'd give anything if we were eating stale sandwiches out of the vending machine or putting anonymous complaints in the suggestion box.
But no.
I wanted adventure! - We're all entitled to new horizons.
- You think so? Absolutely! How do you think I wound up here? I know it's tough to believe, but I wasn't always a hard-bitten dick ready to lay my life on the line for a hundred a day plus expenses.
Oh, no.
I seized the moment.
I grabbed my destiny, and I ran with it.
That's what you ought to do, Richie.
Yeah, well, I'll grab my destiny right after we find Molly.
They won't be long now.
You hear that silence? That means the boss has got it.
Usually, at this juncture, you remember an old movie that puts everything into perspective.
I can't seem to come up with one in this particular circumstance.
Conant has three pictures worth millions.
Where would he keep them safe, yet accessible, where no one would think of looking? - Uh, his bank vault? - His wine cellar? His gym locker? - Charade.
- The game or the movie? - Cary Grant, Audrey Hepburn.
- Universal, 1964.
Everybody's looking for a fortune in stolen money only the thief has converted it into priceless stamps.
And put them on a letter he'd written to Audrey Hepburn.
That's where those paintings are.
They've been under my nose the whole time.
Apparently, your nose has been in far more interesting places than mine has.
Now, where's the safest place to lock something up? - A prison.
- A prison? A prison.
- Let's try a window.
- Let's try the front door.
You're still from Art Insight, I'm your editor and we're simply here to borrow the Pitkins for the profile, okay? Hello.
I'm sorry to, uh, disturb the creative process, but Miss Holt and- Miss Holt? - Laura Holt? Love her.
Love her.
Love her! - Yes.
She does evoke strong emotion, doesn't she? Is, uh, is she with you? Oh, around and about.
I'm Adam Canfield, uh, Miss Holt's editor from Art Insight.
I'm here to, uh, discuss the upcoming profile on you.
Well, in that case, mi casa es su casa.
Thank you very much.
Uh, speaking of profiles Laura didn't tell me anything about you.
Well, uh, perhaps she was keeping me as a surprise.
Miss Holt is so full of surprises these days.
Did you feel that? - What? - Slight tremor.
Must have been an earthquake.
Come back to my studio.
I, uh, I wanna give you a private exhibition.
You know, I always get so much more out of hearing what an artist sees in her work.
I mean I mean, anyone can look at a painting.
- An aftershock.
- There is someone in my studio.
There's also someone at your door.
Why don't you catch the door, and I'll check the studio? Run along, dear.
We've come for the Pitkins, Miss Pitkin.
I've got two of them.
Check over there, quick! Oh, uh- Miss Holt.
! There's- I found it! Mr.
Canfield! Miss Holt! Where are you going with my paintings? I've made the big time.
I've been stolen! Wait a minute.
It saddens me to say this, Laura, but you have gone berserk.
I don't know what came over me.
I'm sure it's just a temporary aberration.
Like eating jelly beans or- buying Chinese cookbooks.
I'm positive it'll pass! It certainly is a lot more satisfying than jelly beans.
Is this the way you used to feel? Skin tingling, heart pounding, blood coursing, head spinning? Laura, please, you're making me ill.
But it's not an uncommon feeling when one first starts, but then you get used to it.
Oh! How sad! It's not all thrills and tingles, Laura, you know.
There's also the very real possibility of getting caught.
Well, at least there's one positive aspect to all this.
Now I can truly relate to your former profession.
- What are you doing? - Now that they know we have the real paintings we might as well let them have them.
Steele, you're one hell of a partner in crime.
- Whoops! - Whoops! - You got them! - But not for long.
In with the old- Out with the new.
Would I be a dolt if I asked what's going on? Stay cool, Richie.
We're about to enact our version of one of Mr.
Steele's favorite films- The Sting.
- Who is it? - I believe you have something which belongs to us, Miss Holt.
And we intend to collect them.
- The Pitkins? - The Pitkins.
Let him in.
Well, at least we had them for one brief moment.
Was there ever any doubt? Well, we'll just get them back into their Pitkins and bring them to the auction tomorrow.
- Auction? - It's quite all right.
I, uh, struck a deal with Conant.
As I said, I'm not a greedy man.
Besides, you want your Pitkins authenticated, don't you? Of course.
To play out the charade.
Aptly put, Mrs.
We've brought you to the gallery for a reason, my dear.
You're going to make a phone call.
The most important call of your life.
As soon as they've bought their Pitkins, we'll hit Conant with the sad news that he's sold them all fakes.
Either he coughs up Molly or we inform the treacherous trio of his deception.
I think we're finally on top of this one.
Yes, all we have to do now is collect our finder's fee.
Shall we, uh, get comfortable and wait for the fireworks? I think they've started sooner than we expected.
What are you doing here? I've settled everything.
I've freed Molly.
You freed her? How, Richie? - I gave Conant the Pitkins.
- My bedroom Pitkins? The genuine Old Masters? Harriet, that was not helpful.
Everything is under control.
Molly called last night.
Then Conant got on and offered to let her go.
So, I just took Miss Krebs's advice and seized the moment.
We've got to speak to Miss Krebs about her little pep talks.
Listen, I've learned a lot being with you two.
I made him show me Molly on the security monitors before I handed over the paintings.
- She's here? In the building? - Of course.
What do you take me for? - Where? - I don't know.
A room, uh, full of paintings and statues.
You didn't happen to notice a life-size sculpture without a head, did you? Yes.
I thought that was very unique.
- I really do think we should say our farewells first.
- Yes, you're right.
If you'll excuse us, uh, we'll take our leave.
Aren't you going to stay for the auction? You've contributed so much to it.
Well, we really have nothing left to offer.
No, Miss Holt, you don't.
It's been a deceptively delightful experience.
Uh, come along.
- You get Molly.
I'll get the Pitkins.
- All right.
It's all right.
We're with Richie.
It's all right now.
How do you know they're here? I don't.
But one has to start somewhere.
Actually, this is a very ingenious hiding place.
I mean, who'd think of looking here a second time, eh? Eh? You all right? Let's go.
Let's go.
The Pitkins! - Laura.
! - I got the- - Molly! - Rick! Richie.
From now on, it's just plain Richie.
Your persistence is becoming enervating, Mr.
Not with that! Are the Pitkins all right? Ha ha! Unscathed.
Now, if we could only tell which have the real paintings and which have the fakes.
- Uh, lets take all of them.
- No.
! I have three very determined people who are waiting for me to deliver them their Pitkins.
Laura, I lost my finder's fee in Acapulco.
I don't want to repeat the same folly here.
Don't you understand? They'll kill me if I don't give them, uh, something.
- Then pick a set! - They all look alike.
- You're the art expert.
- We each have a 50% chance of getting what we want.
Oh! Well? A masterpiece, every one of them.
- And we have- - The kind of forgeries that only a true artist could paint.
That means the treacherous trio have the real ones.
- And some customs inspector has them now.
- Thanks to our tip.
Good work, chief.
You really put one over on that Conant.
Yes, Mildred.
The joke's certainly on him.
I'll bet we get a commendation for this.
That's not exactly the reward I had in mind, Mildred.
Oh, Mr.
Now what's a six-figure finder's fee compared with the knowledge that you've helped put four dangerous criminals behind bars? If you care so little for money, Miss Holt why, may I ask, are you filching my wallet?