Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Crime Fiction Alphabet: Letter R

This week in the Crime Fiction Alphabet meme over at Kerrie's blog Mysteries in Paradise, we are currently up to the Letter R. The rules are simple. By Friday of each week we write a blog post about crime fiction related to the letter of the week. Our post must be related to either the first letter of a book's title, the first letter of an author's first name, or the first letter of the author's surname, or even maybe a crime fiction "topic". But above all, it has to be crime fiction. This week for the Letter R. I will write about the Television Series Remington Steele.

Remington Steele is an American television series co-created by Robert Butler and Michael Gleason. The cases of a female private detective partnered with a former thief who assumes the role of a fictitious detective in the business. The series, starring Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan, was produced by MTM Enterprises and first broadcast on the NBC network from 1982 to 1987. Remington Steele’s initial premise was conceived in 1969 by long-time television director Robert Butler. As Remington Steele was originally conceived, Laura Holt's invention of a mythical employer in order to attract business to her agency (she came up with his name by combining the names of an electric razor and the Pittsburgh Steelers NFL team) was the whole concept. No Pierce Brosnan. No male lead at all. But NBC objected and a potentially good show became a Very Good Show when creators Michael Gleason and Robert Butler took that monkey wrench tossed into their plans and used it to retool the show in absolutely marvelous ways. Remington Steele was a unique hybrid of romantic comedy, drama, and detective procedural that paid homage to Hollywood movies of the 1930s and 1940s, drawing particularly from screwball comedy in the romantic storyline, while often referencing film noir in the mystery storylines.

Stephanie Zimbalist as Laura Holt
Pierce Brosnan as Remington Steele
Doris Roberts as Mildred Krebs (recurring second season onwards)
Janet DeMay as Bernice Foxe (first season)
James Read as Murphy Michaels (first season)
Jack Scalia as Tony Roselli (fifth season)       

Other recurring actors included:
Cassandra Harris (first wife of Pierce Brosnan) as Felicia, one of Steele's old flames, and Anna, a mysterious woman from Steele's past.
Efrem Zimbalist Jr. (father of Stephanie Zimbalist) as Daniel Chalmers, a charming con man who was Steele's mentor and surrogate father (revealed to be his biological father in the end) and whose real name was unknown. He died in the last episode, "Steeled With A Kiss, Part Two."
Beverly Garland as Abigail Holt, Laura's mother.
Gary Frank as Detective James Jarvis, a somewhat incompetent police detective who more often than not falsely accused the principal characters and their clients of murder.
Michael Constantine as George Edward Mulch, a business man with far-fetched ideas only looking for fame and fortune.
James Tolkan as Norman Keyes, an insurance investigator bent on proving Steele to be a fraud. He died in the fifth season.


  1. Scott - Oh, my goodness, I remember this show! You've given a very apt description of it too - part screwball, part noir and a touch of romance. I can't say I watched a lot of episodes, but what I watched wasn't bad at all.

  2. I loved Remington Steele. One of the few shows we watched at that time. Great show to feature.

  3. Loved this show - thought it was the classiest mystery I'd ever seen at that point. Worth noting that Glenn Gordon Caron worked on the show initially before leaving and then creating hos own very similar show, MOONLIGHTING with more jokes and switching the sex of the detective and the amateur.

  4. One of the first shows I remember watching on TV. Very nice!

  5. I never saw this when it was on TV (I was in my late teens and early twenties, who watches TV then?), but recently my wife started getting some on Netflix and I really, really enjoy it. I especially love the old movie references.