Female PI Laura Holt concocts a mastermind male detective so her failing agency can finally attract sexist clients. One assignment that results is the transport of the world's rarest gems, ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Remington Steele / Ben Pearson
Bernice Foxe (as Janet Demay)
Gordon Hunter
Ben Pearson (as Phil Casnoff)
Robert Darnell ...
Raymond Kessler
Leo Neff (as John Francis)


Female PI Laura Holt concocts a mastermind male detective so her failing agency can finally attract sexist clients. One assignment that results is the transport of the world's rarest gems, to hype the debut of a new car. Stalking Laura & the shipment is a mysterious charmer who claims he's a South African government agent. The auto's inventor demands that the fictional agency head, Remington Steele, personally supervise the jewels' arrival, putting Laura on the spot. Written by David Stevens

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Release Date:

1 October 1982 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The exteriors of the 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 L.A. landmark. See more »


Bernice Foxe: [to "Ben Pearson"] Would you like some coffee? I'll make a fresh pot. Uh... or tea perhaps. I'll make some fresh water.
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Referenced in Remington Steele: Beg, Borrow or Steele (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

First rate premise episode of Remington Steele
6 January 2014 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

License to Steele introduces the first appearance of Pierce Brosnan as Remington Steele...only he first appears in License to Steele as the fictional Ben Pearson, a South African special agent. Ben Pearson (BP) was charged with protecting $2.6 million US gems from theft. The fictional BP--or the future Remington Steele--keeps tabs on the Remington Steele detective agency's movement of some invaluable cargo under the watchful eye of Laura Holt, her chief right hand man Michael Murphy and a high profile client: Mr. Hunter who is investing in the creation of a new car.

Hunter keeps pressing Holt to see the real Remington Steele--the man behind her detective organization--in the hotel whose vault will safeguard the jewels and threatens to cancel his contract with her if the meeting fails to occur. Meanwhile Murphy, Holt and secretary Fox try to get themselves out of the problem Holt has created; they all know that Steele does not exist. Holt just created him to market the firm to male clients. In the middle of the meeting, the fictional Ben Pearson BP/(future RS) comes into the office and tells the agency there will be an attempt to steal the gems soon. We later find out that the gems were stolen by two murderous jewel thieves--but the courier who then smuggled the gems out of South Africa became greedy, betrayed them and took their money.

The fictional BP has also been trying to steal the jewels himself both in Paris and London and now in LA. He then charms Holt to give him a ride in the official Remington Steele limo after they had dinner--a dinner in which Laura stated to him that Mr. Steele's "presence will be felt rather than seen" in this case--and he persuaded Laura to let him phone the police to detain the original gangsters who had been tailing their car. Holt believes his story that he is really Ben Chandler...until the next day when the two original gangsters show up at the hotel lobby to intercept the fictional BP. The fictional BP quickly answers a page's call for a "Remington Steele" and Mr. Hunter just happens to be in the hotel lobby with a band of security guards. Mr. Hunter states it is an honor to finally meet 'Remington Steele' and escorts the fictional BP out of the deadly embrace of the two murderous gangsters into the hotel securities office where they meet the real South African agent, Ben Chandler. It is a hilarious scene and the fictional BP quickly assumes Remington Steele's role. When Holt shows up for the meeting, Mr. Hunter abruptly tells her that he has met Mr. Steele and she cannot tell who is masquerading as RS--since she sees the real Ben Pearson and the person who she thought was Ben Pearson (BP) together but had to abruptly leave the hotel to protect the real gems which have now arrived in LA--together with the person who has now assumed Remington Steele's identity. (the fictional BP) In comedic fashion, she swears unsuspectingly to the fictional BP (the now real Remington Steele) that the 'phoney Mr. Steele is obviously after the gems' without suspecting that the fictional BP next to her in the limo is this person. Anyway, RS soon meets Mr. Hunter again in the hotel hallway where he learns of Hunter's doubts that he even existed since Holt kept saying to him that Steele was always away on business. Steele then manages to access the RS hotel suite and finds brand new leather bags, men's shirts in their original packaging, plus a man's comb without a trace of hair...and rightly assumes that Holt's Mr. Steele is a fictional character. He then stares into the suite's bathroom mirror and utters the killer line: "pleasure to meet you Mr. Steele." Laura Holt is furious at him--when at an official presentation of Mr. Hunter's new car--the new Remington Steele rises to accept the crowd's cheers as he is called the 'head' of the RS agency rather than her. She denounces him as a "crook" and "con man" but he replies that Holt's Steele was 'an elaborate ruse.' Later, she and Murphy investigate the fictional Ben Pearson's original hotel room and find the real Ben Pearson's body hanging from a coat hook in this person's hotel closet. Murphy thinks the fictional BP/now Remington Steele is the killer but Laura has her doubts and they both confront Steele. The three then arrange a set up where the two killers detain Steele and enter his suite. He tells them that the jewels are in a safe. When they open a closet door to the safe, they see the body of the real Ben Pearson. One of the gangsters panics and says 'we left him (the body) in his (ie. the fictional Ben Pearson's) room'. The police then storm into the hotel suite and arrest the gangsters for murder. Steele soon promises to Holt not to steal the gems until they have left her LA jurisdiction.

The next day, Steele leaves the hotel in a taxi while Laura longingly looks at him; soon after, however, Murphy runs out of the hotel without the gems in pain and tells her: "somebody blindsided me." Laura is furious and immediately assumes that it was Steele who did this deed and lied about his promise to her. They race to the airport but it is Mr. Hunter--also there--rather than Mr. Steele, who runs away. It turns out that no one bought Hunter's car and Hunter was drowning in a sea of red ink. So, he stole the gems himself. In the end, Steele--together with Holt apprehended Hunter but the papers all laud Steele for retrieving the gems and merely call Holt 'an unidentified lady.' The next day, Holt tells a waiting client at their agency that Steele is away and ushers him in to his office...where they unexpectedly meet Remington Steele sitting at the office desk. Now we know how this TV series began.

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