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Michael Gleason: Remington Steele and Working Dirty

Michael Gleason:  Remington Steele and Working Dirty
Jesse Bluma at Pointe Viven. All rights reserved.

Michael Gleason is the co-creator and executive producer of the television series Remington Steele as well as the author of the Nick Fallon novel series, Working Dirty.  Gleason is a well respected writer and creator.  Remington Steele writers credit Michael Gleason as a mentor, with Kerry Lenhart saying that Gleason taught him that television "writing could be a worthwhile and noble endeavor".  As Gleason suggested, "Writing is like opening doors in a house, front door, closets, bedrooms, attic, backdoor, until they are all open, then waiting--close them at the very end."

I had the opportunity during an interview to ask Gleason, "Why did NBC let ABC steal writers from Remington Steele?  Did you get upset or flattered with Moonlighting being a copycat?"

Michael Gleason: “I unwittingly played a hand in Moonlighting, since Glen Caron had a pilot deal with ABC and begged me to let him out of his Remington Steele contract, which had about six months more to run.  Little did I know the pilot would be a Remington clone, but I thought Glen did an excellent job with the series and his discovery of Bruce Willis was truly a coup.”

Remington Steele starred Stephanie Zimbalist and Pierce Brosnan, was produced by MTM Enterprises, and aired on NBC.  MTM was the production company founded by Mary Tyler Moore and her husband.  "The series blended the genres of romantic comedy, drama, and detective procedural.  Remington Steele's premise is that Laura Holt, a licensed private detective played by Stephanie Zimbalist, opened a detective agency under her own name, although found that potential clients refused to hire a woman, however qualified.  To solve the problem, Laura invents a fictitious male superior whom she names Remington Steele.  Through a series of events that unfold in the first episode, 'License to Steele', Pierce Brosnan's character, a former thief and con man whose real name (or whether he even has one) is never revealed, assumes the identity of Remington Steele.  Behind the scenes, Laura remains firmly in charge."

I send a big thank you to Michael Gleason for the interview and for creating one of my favorite shows.  If you are not yet a fan of the show, you are missing out.  A mix of good acting, nostalgic references to old movies, and a sometimes over the top spirit make it better than so many others that rely on cheap tricks, excessive profanity, gratuitous sex scenes, and blood in your face.  The cast includes Stephanie Zimbalist, Pierce Brosnan, Doris Roberts, James Read, Janet Demay, Beverly Garland, Maryedith Burrell, Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. (Stephanie’s father), Cassandra Harris (Pierce’s first wife), James Tolkan, and many other great actors.  The show’s music and theme by Henry Mancini.  The city of Los Angeles acts as a great setting--Century Plaza Towers providing home base for much of the mystery solving and action.  

Update: Michael Gleason passed away on October 21, 2016.

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