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The 'Remington' Feel

February 16, 1992|SUSAN KING | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Maddie Hayes and David Addison weren't the only attractive private detectives on the airwaves during the '80s who were partners in a Los Angeles agency and whose quickfire bantering and bickering masked the fact they secretly loved each other.

In September, 1982, a full two seasons before Maddie met David on ABC's "Moonlighting," NBC introduced the sophisticated, though far less flashy, "Remington Steele."

There is good reason for the resemblance between the two shows: Glenn Gordon Caron, the creator and executive producer of "Moonlighting," was supervising producer of "Remington" during its first two seasons.

"Remington Steele" starred Stephanie Zimbalist, the daughter of Efrem Zimbalist Jr., as hard-working private detective Laura Holt, who opened her own agency only to discover a woman's name failed to bring in assignments. So she decided to invent an imaginary boss--Remington Steele--and her business started to boom. But when Holt's clients wanted to meet Steele, Holt had to scramble to find someone.

Enter a suave, mysterious con man without a name (Pierce Brosnan) who loved old movies and had exceptional taste in clothes. Laura Holt and "Remington" didn't hit it off at first, but he did prove to be adept as a private eye.

Janet DeMay played Holt's secretary Bernice Foxe and James Read of "North and South" fame was Holt's associate, Murphy Michaels.

"Remington Steele" failed to burn up in the ratings during its first season and for good reason: It was placed opposite the extremely popular CBS soap opera "Falcon Crest." But NBC renewed the series and ratings improved when it moved to Tuesdays. DeMay and Read were history after the first year; Emmy-winning actress Doris Roberts came on board as Mildred Krebs, who became the agency's secretary when she lost her job with the IRS after letting Remington beat a tax-evasion rap.

The 1985-86 season was to be the end of "Remington." Laura and Remington finally tied the knot at the end of the season so that Remington wouldn't be deported. Brosnan was in the running to play the new James Bond on the big screen but lost out to Timothy Dalton when NBC decided to bring back "Remington" for six episodes during the 1986-87 season. Finally, Laura and Remington consummated their relationship.

Though "Remington Steele" only cracked Neilsen's Top 25 during the 1984-85 season, the series was attractive, entertaining fun. Since "Remington," Zimbalist has starred in such TV films as the Emmy-winning "Caroline?" and "The Story Lady." The Irish Brosnan, who previously to "Remington" had appeared in the 1981 ABC miniseries "The Manons of America," recently hosted the Golden Globes telecast and has appeared in such features and TV flicks as "The Fourth Protocol," "Mister Johnson" and "Victim of Love."

"Remington Steele" airs weekdays at 3 p.m. on KTTY and weeknights at 7 on KDOC.

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