Remington Steele

Season 1 Episode 1

License to Steele

Aired Tuesday 10:00 PM Oct 01, 1982 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
55 votes

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Episode Summary


Private eye Laura Holt sees her fictional boss Remington Steele suddenly come to life as she triesto protect a $2 million jewel shipment from assorted thieves.

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  • We find out that Remington Steele is a two-bit con man. He wasn\\\'t even a real person he was made up.

    Remington Steele Investigations is hired to protect rare gems called Royal Avulite. Laura Holt is head of the agency played brilliantly by Stephanie Zimablist. Her boss is a non-existent Remington Steele. She is joined by another detective Murphy Michaels and her secretary Bernie Michaels. They are protecting the jewels when a man named Ben Pearson shows up. He is from South Africa and works for the government as a special agent. But not known to them he is not Ben Pearson. He is trying to steal the gems and is being pursued by Kessler and Neif who stole the gems in the first place. He takes on Remington Steele's identity and helps save the gems. When he is found out by Laura she is upset with him and calls him a con man. Ben Pearson ends up being killed by the two thugs. Murphy and Laura find him in Remington's old room. He tells Murphy to take it to Remington's room they do and the killer confess. Laura calls him a brilliant Remington Steele all things considered. He says he won't steal the gems and gets ready to leave. The next morning the gems are stolen and they thing it is him. It turns out not to be. It is the guy who is showing them. He is pursued on a golf cart by Steele and Laura. Who capture him? The next morning it is in the papers. Laura is in the office when she goes into Remington Steele's office there he sits and it all starts. It was a great way to begin the show.moreless
  • A definite throwback.

    This episode was exactly the correct way to start off a series. It was exciting, witty, and smart. I think that the writers, actors, and director definitely started off on the right foot when they produced this one. I was hooked immediately. I think that the witty banter between the characters was remniscent of movies from old hollywood. The comical twists and turns of the plot was also something that Cary Grant would have been proud of. It was charming and different. It didn't seem stale although the show is over twenty years old. I have only watched the first season and I don't know how the rest of the series will turn out. But whatever way that it does, the first episode will definitely stand out to me as a great piece of television.moreless
Joseph Hacker

Joseph Hacker

Gordon Hunter

Guest Star

Philip Casnoff

Philip Casnoff

Ben Pearson

Guest Star

Robert Darnell

Robert Darnell

Raymond Kessler

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (6)

    • When Laura told Murphy to take Mr. Steele's luggage to the penthouse, she also instructed him to hang out "Do Not Disturb" sign. However, when the future Remington Steele first came into Mr. Steele's hotel room, he hung out the sign, too.

    • When erzats-Steele described how Ben Pearson had been killed, he said that the blade was 6" long. The blade Neff was playing with wasn't that long.

    • When ex-Steele was seen leaving the hotel to go to the airport, he only had an attache case. Where was the rest of his things? Even if the tuxedo had been rented, he still had some suits.

    • Why weren't Laura and Bernice surprised to walk into the office in the morning, find the door unlocked, a client waiting - and Murphy not in yet, else he would've been in the reception area with Lester Giddons?

    • When Laura meets the future 'Mr. Steele' he has five passports, each in the name of a character Humphrey Bogart played:

      Douglas Quintain, England - (The) Stand-In (1937)
      Michael O'Leary, Ireland - Dark Victory (1939)
      Paul Fabrini, Italy - They Drive By Night (1940)
      John Murrell, France - Virginia City (1940)
      Richard Blaine, Australia - Casablanca (1942)

      Ironically Humphrey Bogart also played a character named Steele in In a Lonely Place (1950), so Mr. Steele didn't break the tradition and picked his new alias after yet another Bogart film.

    • If neither insurance nor Gordon Hunter could cover the cost of Royal Lavulite in case the gems were stolen, Gordon wouldn't have gotten them on display in the first place.

  • QUOTES (13)

    • Steele: Thank you, very much. You have an enchanting family.
      Lady: For another 50 bucks you can keep the kids.
      Steele: I'm afraid my suitcase isn't big enough.

    • Bernice: Would you like some coffee? I'll make a fresh pot. Or tea, perhaps? I'll make some fresh water.

    • Kessler: Who are you?
      Steele: Just a happy-go-lucky tourist out to see a bit of the world.
      Neff: Is that why you got five different passports from five different countries in five different names?
      Steele: Keep trying for a good picture.

    • Steele: May I get up now or do you prefer me in the groveling position?

    • Steele: Tell me, Miss Holt, how did you become a dick?
      Laura: I beg your pardon.
      Steele: Isn't that what you Americans call a private detective?
      Laura: Only in the movies.

    • Hunter: You know, somehow I thought you'd be older.
      Steele: Oh, I can age on demand.

    • Pearson: But I am afraid there's a bit of a hiccup in all this.
      Steele: Oh?
      Pearson: Yes, it seems that someone is going around impersonating me.
      Steele: Cheeky blighter.

    • Steele: (as Pearson) How long do you think we can keep this charade going?
      Laura: Just until the gems are delivered safely.
      Steele: And then you'll nail this ersatz Remington Steele?
      Laura: To the wall, Mr. Pearson. To the very wall.
      Steele: Graphically put.

    • Laura: You're a thief.
      Steele: Kessler and Neff are thieves. I'm an artist.

    • Laura: Why haven't you already? Why aren't they here now? Because you don't believe I've killed Ben Pearson
      Steele: Why haven't you already? Why aren't they here now? Because you don't believe I've killed Ben Pearson.
      Murphy: I do.
      Steele: You don't count. This is between Miss Holt and myself.

    • Steele: Hope you're not squeamish, Murphy.
      Murphy: Not around you.
      Steele: Good. Then you won't mind bringing Pearson's body up here.

    • Laura: You mean you didn't steal the gems?
      Steele: Laura, I gave you my word. But they're fair game now.
      Laura: Oh no they're not!

    • Bernice: (reading newspaper headline to Laura) 'Remington Steele and Unidentified Woman'--that's you--'Rescue Rare Gems'.

  • NOTES (3)

    • Royal Lavulite is an actual jewel. Also known as Suglite and Royal Azel, this deep purple-to-grey/lavender colored gemstone is very rare and valuable. It's found in Japan, India, and South Africa, where the largest deposits are located.

    • The exteriors of Remington Steele Investigations' office building are the Century Plaza Towers, 2000 Avenue of the Stars in Century City. They are a well-known and often used LA landmark.

    • The Hunter Jet Star 6000 is actually the Vector W2, manufactured by Vector Aeromotive as a concept car in 1978. It went into limited production in the early 80's but the company ceased production on all its car models in the mid-90's, eerily paralleling its fictional counterpart's woes.


    • Film Cites

      Steele: 'When you mention this in the future, and you will, be kind.' Deborah Kerr to John Kerr. Tea and Sympathy. MGM, 1956.
      The story of an underage but tender relationship between a prep school boy and his housemaster's wife. Steele quotes the film's most famous line to soften the blow when Laura first realizes he's been masquerading as Remington Steele behind her back.

    • Episode Title

      A twist on the catchphrase 'License to Kill' from the James Bond film series. All the episode titles (except one) have a humorous or ironic twist on the fictious detective's name. The truly ironic twist is that series star Pierce Brosnan would eventually go on to star in the Bond movie series.