The debonair ex-con-man and strait-laced detective return in the last two seasons of "Remington Steele," where Steele and Laura solve new mysteries -- and uncover old ones. While the final season is weak compared to the previous ones, the last two seasons are still quite enjoyable and amusing.
As the season opens, Laura Holt (Stephanie Zimbalist) returns to England, trying to keep Steele (Pierce Brosnan) from running afoul of Scotland yard. He's masquerades as an assassin while looking for clues to his past -- and a murder happens. But even back in America, their problems don't cease -- and some of them are very funny.
Among other things, the agency investigate a wrestler, missing experimental pigs, faux obituaries, a body that fell onto a airline luggage carousel, a self-improvement spa where "accidents" keep happening, tell-tale butlers, missing caviar, and deal with an inept would-be detective whose latest scheme gets a man killed. Steele and Laura are even declared dead -- and Mildred (Doris Roberts) is the prime suspect in their "murder."
And on the personal front, Laura finds a doctored photo of her in a porno, Steele apparently gambles away the agency, and Mildred becomes a radio star. But the fourth season takes a nasty turn when Steele finds that he'll be deported unless he gets a green card -- and it seems that Laura is the only one available...
The fifth season was done for contractual reasons, and the stars didn't want to do it, since it led to them losing out on roles they wanted. So, they only did a trio of movies, which rather hastily wrap up the threads of the series -- mainly Steele's past, Steele and Laura's relationship. It's very light on detective work, but it does give us a satisfactory finale.
It seems that their faux honeymoon will be as peaceful as their job. Nasty insurance agent Norman Keyes (James Tolkan) is hounding Steele, and an Immigration officer is trying to woo Laura -- and get Steele out of the picture. And then their "marriage" is put to the test when a DIFFERENT woman claims to be Steele's wife. And in the two-hour finale, the duo discover the truth about Steele's inheritance and past... and finally deal with their tempestuous half-relationship.
The fifth half-season is a half-hearted, rushed finale to the series, but it does manage to wrap things up in a way that viewers will enjoy -- especially the final scenes. But the season preceding it is quite solid, with its mixture of romantic comedy, action and mystery.
Okay, few of these mysteries actually resemble anything in real life -- although the pirated music one is pretty entertaining, as is the one where Laura moonlights as a stewardess. But the mysteries are all tightly-written and intelligent, and even the fifth season's more drawn-out episodes are still fairly entertaining.
The writers had perfected the mix of comedy and mystery, and weren't afraid to be bizarre (gunsel Santas?). Not to mention that solid, moderately witty dialogue. ("If I were a man would you question it if I told you I was going to enter the Boston Marathon?" "I would question why anyone would want to run 26 miles without being chased!").
Laura and Steele finally deal with their tangled, complex relationship, after a stint at a "relationship issues" seminar that explodes in their faces. But fortunately the details of Steele's past seems to help. And secretary Mildred gets to be a bit more independent, dealing with a crooked televangelist and working as a hard-love radio commentator.
"Remington Steele" ended on a middling note, but the fourth and fifth seasons are "steele" entertaining viewing. Definitely worth seeing.