Some Fridge Brilliance in “Remington Steele”

So, I’ve just finished watching the first season of “Remington Steele”, and while I’m disappointed in it in one episode — “Steele Trapped” — they do the thing that I thought they should do, as Steele and Laura go to a deserted island after a prospective client commits suicide after receiving an invitation there, posing as the doctor and his nurse. Of course, people start dying. Of course, Steele notes that this is very similar to the movie “And Then There Were None”, based on the Agatha Christie novel. What’s interesting — other than the fact that this allows them to use the movie as a real reference — is just how much of the movie itself was referenced.

1) While not using a nursery rhyme, the killer tries to kill the victims in an ironic way, but seems willing to forgo that if required … which the show lampshades with the lawyer being killed by a blow to the head and Steele commenting that that wasn’t very ironic.

2) From reading on TV Tropes, Hollywood versions and the play version often have Lombard replaced by an impostor after Lombard commits suicide. Steele is doing the same thing. And at the time Steele was believed to be a mostly mercenary con artist and thief, so it even fits there.

3) The same sources often have Vera be innocent of her crime and romantically interested in Lombard or his replacement. Laura fits that role as she was innocent of the crime and there’s a lot of sexual tension between her and Steele (who actually jumped at the chance to go there in an attempt to romance her).

4) The grudge the murderer has against the doctor was that he botched their plastic surgery. In the source material, the doctor character’s crime was botching an operation while drunk.

5) The sixth person killed was faking their death and was the actual killer in both cases.

6) Steele and Laura attempt the “fake their own death to be able to investigate unnoticed” ploy that Wargrave and Armstrong, the doctor, attempted. Laura points out the flaw in that the killer will know that they didn’t kill the person, and so Steele arranges for an accident that looks like a murder, so that the innocent will think it was something the killer arranged while the killer will think that it was a fortunate — or unfortunate — accident.

7) They explain how the murderer was able to fake their death so convincingly, using digitalis to slow their heart rate. Steele not being a doctor — and so there not being one — would make it easier for them to get away with it, and the killer did know that Steele was an impostor, although the killer made up a story to explain not calling him out on it immediately (the claim was that he was a last minute replacement for the real doctor).

8) They maintain a dark and spooky atmosphere the same way the other sources did: the generator is out so they need to use candles.

And there are probably others that I can’t recall at the moment. While I’ve been disappointed with the show so far, they put a lot of effort into this one and really did utilize the premise to its fullest.

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