A Price Above Rubies

One of my favorite episodes of Remington Steele‘s second season concerned the agency’s secretary, Mildred Krebs, stumbling into a web of intrigue because a neighbor turned out to be a retired jewel/art thief*. And it always felt like a shame to me that this was a fantasy. Sure, there must be some retired thieves out there, but probably living quite dull lives and missing their former occupations with no scripted capers to relieve them. In the movies and TV, there’s always either the Last Big Score or an apprentice to advise; for the real-life counterparts, there’s probably a trip to the pharmacy and rented DVDs at home.

Which may be why I find this story of a female jewel thief so very heartwarming. Yes, it’s wrong to steal, and since she is now in prison clearly Ms. Payne should have heeded the advice of the TV burglar and retired, but she seems so clearly into her work. When is the last time you described your job as “lots of fun”? For that matter, who among us has a job title as cool as “jewel thief”?

*The thief was being hunted by a rogue agent played by Tom Baker, aka The “Doctor Who” Everyone Remembered Best Before the Doctor(s) Started Getting Really Sexy-Looking Lately.

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