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Trivia / Remington Steele

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  • Ability over Appearance: Michael Gleason originally wrote Mildred Krebs as an attractive 35-year-old woman who was a rival for Steele's affections. Doris Roberts asked to read for the part. Although she was not the right age for the character Gleason originally conceived, she won him over with her audition. Gleason then changed the character of Mildred Krebs to reflect the casting.
  • Creator Couple: Pierce Brosnan's late wife Cassandra Harris made four appearances on the show playing two different former lovers.
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  • Darkhorse Casting: Pierce Brosnan was initially refused by NBC executives who were concerned that he was a relative unknown in America. MTM's Stu Erwin stood firm in a face-to-face meeting with NBC executive Brandon Tartikoff and Tartikoff relented.
  • Development Hell:
    • With the release of the series on DVD in 2005, Pierce Brosnan expressed interest in developing a feature film through his production company, Irish Dream Time, but later stated on his web site that it is unlikely to be produced.
    • In October 2013 NBC announced plans to reboot the series as a half-hour comedy. NBC's deal with 20th Century Fox has screenwriters and a director attached but no cast is attached as of 2013.
  • Edited for Syndication: One episode actually used this practice as a major plot point: The killer du jour had used a co-worker as an alibi, noting that the two had watched a classic TV show together at the time of the murder (unbeknownst to the co-worker, the culprit had used a VCR and reset the clocks; but it turned out that due to syndication, the scene the two had watched together had been cut.
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  • Executive Meddling: The series started out with each episode being a genuine Fair-Play Whodunnit, but they got renewed for a second season on the condition that they dumbed down the plots, so after that, they pretty much just cut to the chase.
  • Hostility on the Set: The production was dogged for years by rumors that its two leads did not get along. Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist have admitted some level of personal conflict in press interviews during and since, attributing some of it to the stress of long working hours, while also maintaining that it did not damage their ability to work together.
    • Doris Roberts confirmed that they rarely spoke to each other and that such tension played a role in the series' end. "It was awful. They didn't talk to each other."
    • Whatever discord there may have been at the time of production, they speak fondly of one another in more recent interviews and are occasionally in touch. In an interview included on the DVD release of Season 1, Brosnan says they did get along and trusted one another professionally. Brosnan also praises Zimbalist's acting on his official web site, saying that he would work with her again on the right project. Zimbalist returned the compliment in a 2011 interview with the New Jersey Star-Ledger, saying "Pierce Brosnan is a very sweet man."
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  • Post-Script Season: The fourth season married off Laura and Steele, as the show's cancellation looked certain and Pierce Brosnan had been offered the role of James Bond. However, because Brosnan got the Bond role, NBC decided to renew the show, bringing it back for a very lame half-season which lacked all of the charm of the preceding seasons and effectively scuttling Brosnan's big movie break. Brosnan didn't end up playing Bond for some years.
  • Real-Life Relative: Stephanie Zimbalist's father Efrem Zimbalist Jr. would appear almost every season as Daniel Chalmers, Steele's surrogate father and apparently his biological father.
  • Reality Subtext:
    • In "The Steele That Wouldn't Die" — the first episode after the series was UnCanceled — a number of references are made to James Bond, the role Brosnan was forced to give up. Brosnan's performance was also considerably less involved than in previous seasons, due to his anger at NBC screwing him over as well as a general desire to move onto better things.
    • Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan reportedly disliked each other. They both have claimed it was not to that extent, ostensibly to protect loyal fans and viewers, but the subtext of dislike or distrust is prevalent in Steele and Laura's relationship.
  • Screwed by the Network: In this case, both leads were pretty badly to irreparably screwed by NBC. To explain, NBC cancelled the show in its fourth season, which left Brosnan free to do The Living Daylights. However, because of the fan publicity Brosnan was getting from being announced as the new Bond, NBC renewed the show for a fifth season literally at the very last second, for which Brosnan was contractually obligated to do, forcing him to drop out of The Living Daylights with Timothy Dalton filling the role. The fifth season is deemed by fans to be the worst (among many other things, because they added a third-wheel adventurer character as a rival for Laura's affections, thereby taking some of the spotlight away from Brosnan), and as a result, the show was cancelled for good. Even though Brosnan did eventually get to be Bond, Stephanie Zimbalist was forced to turn down RoboCop (1987) and her career never recovered from that lost chance.
  • Star-Making Role: Although it wasn't until GoldenEye that Pierce Brosnan's career really took off, Remington Steele introduced audiences to Brosnan and got him chosen to play Bond (even if later than expected).
  • Un-Canceled: See Screwed by the Network above.
  • Wag the Director: Michael Gleason originally wanted the characters to have a real marriage at the end of season four and had plans for how to change the series in season five to accommodate the change, but both Pierce Brosnan and Stephanie Zimbalist rejected the idea. Following that decision, Gleason pitched another concept for season five to NBC in May 1986, introducing a character named "Tony" as a rival for Laura's affections.
  • What Could Have Been: Anthony Andrews was the first choice for Remington Steele.
  • Written by Cast Member: Stephanie Zimbalist co-wrote "Steele in the Chips."


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