9/19 Season Three, Episode 20: Dead Men Leave No Trails–Scarecrow and Mrs King

So, while Lee and Amanda are on the hunt for Sallee.. we see a night time exterior of a fancy building. 3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001169836
Inside, we find Sallee out the back, looking like a janitor? cleaner?
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Cue the baddie music. He has a bag with him and he’s up to no good!
I guess this is his night job?
Sallee opens a cupboard, takes a box from the cupboard and puts it in his bag.
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Oh looky. A light bulb cupboard.. all full to the brim with.. light bulbs.. my oh my..
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He takes what looks to be blueprints out of that bag before he puts the box in.
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You can sort of see what it is when it’s tucked under his arm.
He then carefully rearranges the cupboard’s contents to hide that he took something. He closes the cupboard and walks away with the bag.
Looks like he is not only alive, but he’s preparing for a job! Gee.. I can’t think what he could be up to… 😉

If we hadn’t already guessed.. we immediately cut to two men on a ladder next to a chandelier. 3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001224591
Doing something with lights. lots of lights. lots of light bulbs.. ahem. 3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001225892
Ah one of them is Duffy! so that’s how he got out of that boring meeting! Hope he got danger pay, that’s pretty high up!
We hear Francine in the background.

Francine: We’ll be sweeping the room with dogs at 1100, 1400, and uh, then one hour before the reception at 1800.
[Reception. 1800 so the reception is tomorrow huh. okay!]
Mr Red Carnation is watching proceedings closely.. and he’s not happy!
Agent: Yes, ma’am.
Francine: Ah, Nesheim, I want you and Bachman to cover the-
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Van Kleef : Excuse me, Miss Desmond. My staff has spent the entire afternoon buffing the crystals of each chandelier…3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001238038
Francine: Oh.
Van Kleef: And now your men are covering them with their fingerprints!
Francine: Hah, I’m a little less concerned about the crystals of your chandeliers than I am about the security problem.
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[Ah there are those fab people skills we’ve come to know and love]
Van Kleef: I’ve been doing parties in Washington for twenty years. I understand about security. But, this… is excessive.3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001248448
Francine looks down at her clipboard.. : Excuse me, Mr. Ahh… Van Klef… 3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001251918
Van Kleef: Van Kleef.3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001253953
Francine: Whatever… 3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001256623
[Whoa! the guy is annoying but he’s not being too demanding. Francine’s not even attempting to placate or reassure him. Squash him is more her strategy I think!]
…Eighteen months ago, a terrorist group in Beirut replaced the window of a hotel skylight with a transparent explosive that crashed through the ceiling, killing fifty-four people.3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001264864
[Um is this for real? an explosive that doubles as a window?!]
Van Kleef : Yes, but-3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001268335
Francine: Tomorrow night, in this very room, there will be senators, ambassadors, congressmen, and the Vice President of the United States. Now, my job is to make sure that they’re still around to notice the fingerprints after the reception. Understood?3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001279612
Van Kleef: Of course. [Ouchie. You’ve been squashed!!!]
Francine: Good.
Van Kleef: And, if there’s anything I can do. 3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001284384
Francine: Ah, yes, as a matter of fact, there is. We’ll need a list of every staff member you have who’ll be in or near this room during the reception. And, of course, anybody who’s involved in any sort of food preparation.
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Van Kleef: Everyone?
Francine: Yes.
Van Kleef: That’s well over three hundred people!
Francine: Well, then, let’s get started…
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…The Agency will be doing a thorough background check on everyone, including yourself, of course. 3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001297397
[Ouchie!!! you’ve been squashed again!!! Pancake!]3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001301735
Van Kleef: Of course… Miss Desmond.
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[Great fake smile he gives her. It screams I loathe you!]
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We see Francine give a smile back, hers IMHO screams I love to squash people and love that you are powerless – all you can do is loathe me! ha!
She seems to enjoy emasculating men who dare to ask her a question.
I might be alone in this, and that’s okay – but her approach here bugs me!  I think she relished his fake smile and defeat here.
Francine turns back to the agents to get on with her work while Van Kleef walks off.
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Francine
: Alright, let’s see, now, where were we… okay. Ah, Bachman, you and Nesheim will be covering the front ballroom door.  Alright? Now go check it out.

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[Why does Duffy go with Bachman? is he ‘Nesheim’ this week? I’m pretty sure we’ve seen this Agent Bachman before. But I can’t think where.. and these agents aren’t listed in IMDB, the actor playing Duffy isn’t credited in all his eps. or.. I wonder if he becomes credited.. Hmm I don’t have time to get into that, if someone would like to check please feel free and share with us what you learn please?! ]
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The two agents walk past Sallee who is vacuuming the floor. 3.20 DEAD MEN LEAVE NO TRAILS.avi_001315181
LOL how observant! They all must have slept through Zowalski’s orientation slideshow about the first lone wolf assassin Steve Sallee!!!
Francine included!
Francine is too busy enjoying her power here to remember a valuable lesson we heard come from her own mouth!
Remember what she said about who is the leak in
Spiderweb?
Francine:
The textbook tells us in situations like this, it’s always someone obscure…
2.13 SPIDERWEB.avi_002196546
…One of those little people that hardly anyone notices like waiters, servants..
And.. Janitors! I notice what Francine asked Van Kleef for probably won’t include the Janitor who is currently in the room. She did say everyone – but I think the janitor from the night before wouldn’t naturally be included.. But maybe it’s just me.
And given the way she treated Van Kleef I don’t think he’ll go out of his way to be helpful for her.

What do you guys think of Francine and how she handles Van Kleef here?
I’ll give my opinion, but it’s just my view, and don’t expect others to agree. I’d be surprised if we all did Smile
I can see: yeah you go girl! You’re an expert in your field and your work is serious and he should know that!
I think I’m usually all for girl power moments. I think Francine’s authority is great.
But here? this is not authority, this is gleeful squashing for the sake of it. I’m not seeing this as a girl power proud moment!
The way she treated Van Kleef was like using a sledge hammer to ring a doorbell. She could have managed the situation without needing to win a power struggle.
To me, a better agent would not care about power struggles or ego, they’d care about what’s best to get the job done. Francine could have tried negotiating with the man or reassuring him first, but she didn’t bother with this little nobody. And IMHO I think she enjoyed it. And enjoyed it way too much.
I don’t think he was being so obnoxious that he deserved this. But.. YMMV..
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Maybe the guy reminds Francine of her father. For me, I see her as taking way too much pleasure in squashing him. When it was unnecessary, and it would have been smarter and more useful, where possible, to keep him on side and working with her.

She’s humiliated him, and turned him against their security work. And maybe because of that she will have lost any chance Van Kleef could have offered to help her fill the gap in her list of employees request.
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Heck, I don’t know what’s coming, I may be way off track! lol. but I was struck by Francine’s over reaction here, and her glee at winning this moment seemed pretty unprofessional and ego driven. The woman has daddy issues I’m telling ya!!! and lol anyone who remembers what is ahead probably can’t say yes or no booooo. I wish you all didn’t remember either! What if we finish this walk and meet back here in 10 years? shall we try again? haaaaaa! Smile Okay, make that 20 years Winking smile

Sorry I’ve rambled on about Francine. She is fascinating. I do enjoy her character. To me this moment here for her was:
a professional fail.
Anyone care to share their thoughts?

Anyway, I better pause here so we can chatter about this post’s events.. Anything you’d like to share? can’t wait to hear from ya!

41 responses to “9/19 Season Three, Episode 20: Dead Men Leave No Trails–Scarecrow and Mrs King

  1. Is it just me or does all the music they play in this episode sound like we’ve heard it before in prior eps?

    Francine does seem to be a bit powerful here in this scene. I’m sort of neutral on this behavior. I think she needs to exert her power to make sure the attendees stay safe. She is obviously taking her job very seriously. She is paying attention to every single little detail, which she should, and Van Kleef is worried about what he’s responsible for. I think they’re both being a bit obstinate. But since Francine holds the higher hand, she knows she will win. Security for a party 20 years earlier was undoubtedly less so than Francine had to ensure for this dinner. She does seem to enjoy emasculating this man a bit too much, but I’m guessing in her chosen field she’s probably earned that right. I hope when she gets home that night, she does feel a little bit badly for how she treated Van Kleef, even though she would never tell him.

    So Duffy is named either Bachman or Nesheim? I prefer to just call him Jack – he’s the Jack in the stats posts I had done a while ago.

    Haha – good tie back to Spiderweb, iwsod! Sallee in the background is hardly noticeable. Although Francine should know to notice him. It is her job! Her bias is glaring here! This janitor wouldn’t likely be included unless he will be in or near the room during the reception – at least that’s what the transcribed dialogue says. I doubt the janitors will be anywhere near the reception, so no name.

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    • Hi BJo – I’ve been really enjoying your comments!! Hope you’ve enjoyed writing them 😉

      Yeah I often think ‘oh there’s that music again’ and.. why not I guess.

      Francine has earned the right to emasculate men? I think we’ll need to agree to disagree here.

      lol yeah I’m sure Duffy has been Duffy before. Love how we were not suppose to notice this ‘little person’ bit like a waiter.. a janitor.. etc. 😉

      Like

      • Fair enough. Although not an adult until the early 90s, I think I’m somewhat biased myself from 10 years in the corporate world in a field traditionally dominated by men. Francine has the more powerful position here, and she needs to exert her authority. She’s also being observed by two fellow male agents. Could she have done it differently? Yes. But in the end, Van Kleef has the weaker position and he needs to know that and accept that. I think Francine is stressed and took the quick and easy route, which isn’t always the ideal. I did say that I hope she felt at least a little bad later that night for how she treated him 😉

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        • yeah I hear ya BJo! 🙂 I totally agree -it was important Francine take control and show she’s in charge. this is a very serious job – No question. Where we differ is in how we thought Francine could or should go about that.

          I think Francine is stressed and took the quick and easy route

          This isn’t how I see it, but I can see that is one way this could play out.

          I agree it was an ‘easy route’ – I didn’t get a sense that Francine was stressed in that first scene with Van Kleef – I thought she looked pretty in control, like she knew exactly what she was doing squashing Van Kleef and was enjoying every moment of it. LOL

          I did say that I hope she felt at least a little bad later that night for how she treated him

          rofl! let’s see how the rest of the ep plays out and if we get any kind of sense at all from Francine of how she sees this whole experience! I look forward to hearing how you see things playing out 🙂

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  2. It always seems as if Francine is trying to work towards that one break through. She’s had a tough time in the last few episodes. She was kidnapped after doing something she hadn’t sought authorization to do and then she thought that she was going to be Grace Kelly and ended up in a conga line. Now she is in charge of security for this huge shin dig…. this may be her moment. I can’t help but look at her here and think about this overall maturity that we notice in Lee and Amanda. Love can transform a person, but you have to let it touch you in deep places and do its hard work. Lee used to be abrasive like Francine is here, he has changed and I think it was because he let Amanda’s words affect him. Amanda used to call Lee on the carpet about his abrasiveness. He heard her, but probably because he was beginning to love her.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve noticed that many people aren’t comfortable with strong, decisive women. It’s okay, even admired, for a guy to be like that, but not for a woman. Francine is abrasive here but the consequences of even the smallest thing going wrong or being overlooked are huge. Lke a lot of women at the time, she probably feels the need to be uber-tough to be seen as being as capable as a man.
    Sallee could be employed by a company that is contracted to do janitorial and similar work at important DC functions. Or, as I suspect, he isn’t employed at all (as earlier in the episode I seem to remember he couldn’t be traced through employment records anywhere). He probably just puts on his janitor suit, has a fake ID, and is expert at infiltrating and making everything think he is supposed to be there. He’s good at fading into the background too.
    None of those “top” agents recognise him because he’s shaved his beard off. Just like when the superman puts on his outfit, or the Lone Ranger or Zorro put on their eye masks. Instant anonymity! 🙂

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    • Yep, I could totally see Sallee just wandering in with fake ID and janitor’s uniform to a half dozen hotels just waiting for an opportunity to present itself. I wonder why the writers found it necessary to change venues for the reception. It seems to have created more plot holes than solved. Maybe I will wander over to Petra’s site and read the original script when I have time for clues.
      I have had to deal with Van Kleef types before (imagine if Van Kleef had a brother who was in IT) and I think Francine was spot on.

      Like

  4. Maybe it’s just me but when I watch this scene, I see a woman who has probably spent a great deal of her life and career having things “mansplained” to her and there is something condescending in his tone that I’m sure is like fingernails on a chalkboard for Francine. I wonder how many people like this she’s met over the years and whether she has learned that being brutally direct (“A live Vice President trumps your OCD obsession with fingerprints”) is really the only way to deal with someone who thinks you’re an inconvenience in his day.

    We’ve seen Lee being equally rude to similar people and it’s just as unpleasant to watch but somehow he always gets the benefit of the doubt as being a super committed agent. Is she rude? Yes. Does she need to be? Probably. Does she need to enjoy it quite so much? Okay,maybe not, but I cant really blame her for it. 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • I agree that Lee’s behaved equally badly, especially in season 1 and 2, but also later on, and people give him the benefit of the doubt. Even we at JWWM complain about how he behaves/d but I think are more harsh on Francine than on Lee.

      Liked by 1 person

    • You know, I have to say that although her attitude gets to me, I do kind of understand where she is coming from, as a woman who has been in a man’s profession (assistant racehorse trainer, pony person, groom etc … even landscaping) and I am plenty familiar with “manspeak” .

      And FWIW, I didnt like it any more when Lee did it … I probably was even more irritated about it because he was erroneously rude.

      Truth? I actually didnt like Lee fir the first half of the show LOL … I watched it for Amanda, and loved to watch her “make him crazy” lmao.

      Liked by 1 person

      • JWWM salutes your honest regarding S1 and 2 Lee, Norma 😉
        And your fascinating occupation list has inspired a Learjet Neds poll. It’s in the non-SMK section, so for Junior members+

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    • Seeing the words “President” and “Trump” next to each other in the same sentence made me shudder… 😯

      Like

    • mansplained

      Love it, clagjanet! Never heard that word before, but I get it! I agree with your assessment, especially the second paragraph.

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  5. Well, I understand Francine’s reaction. She’s in charge which means if anything goes wrong, it’ll be pinned on her. Yes, right, we ARE in season 3 and it’s been something like three years since she was responsible for getting five of the Agency’s field agents killed (in the very first episode, telling Mrs. Welch where and when to find them) and even though we might have forgotten about this by now (since most of us here are more focused on Amanda and Lee than the other characters) I’m sure Francine hasn’t. She probably wants to make extra-sure nothing goes wrong this time. It’s a huge responsibility. There’s a lot to do, with the Agency’s chronic shortage of personnel and money she probably doesn’t have as many people there as she’d like to so, of course, the last thing she cares about are fingerprints on chandelier crystals high above everyone’s heads. As far as security’s concerned, it’s simply not relevant.

    And we all know Francine’s not exactly the most diplomatic person in the world (or even this ballroom). Though I have to say: She’s showing a lot more patience in that situation than I would have. I’d simply have told that Van Kleef guy to bugger off and let me do my job. (Yes, I can get pretty mean/nasty, too, when you get on my nerves, especially recently, so I get where she’s coming from. Doesn’t mean it’s nice – just means I get it. Maybe It’s just because I can’t stand Van Kleef either …)

    Also – why didn’t that Van Kleef guy just consult with Francine about what exactly they were going to security-check BEFORE he had his personnel handpolish every single crystal on those chandeliers? That way he wouldn’t have to complain about fingerprints now. Wouldn’t that be a more sensible approach? Not just do stuff – talk to the guys responsible for security about the whole room’s set-up: Where the tables are, who’s gonna be seated where, what needs to be checked, etc. It would be interesting to know how much time Francine and her team actually had to get everything ready and secured. A day? A week? I’m wondering because getting a list of 300 people NOW (one day before the event) to have them checked out seems like very, very short notice indeed. However, if they only started with their security preparations on that very day or maybe the day before, that would explain that.

    Since Sallee’s present here I’d guess it’s been known for a while that this specific event was going to take place at this specific location. It would have taken him some time to establish himself as a janitor there, one might think. Which makes me wonder even more why the Agency didn’t get started with setting up security any sooner than they obviously did. Not setting up the actual security I mean but talking to folks at the hotel (like Van Kleef) about security measuers etc. … Sorry for the essay. lol I don’t drop in often but when I do I start rambling …

    Liked by 1 person

    • why didn’t that Van Kleef guy just consult with Francine about what exactly they were going to security-check BEFORE he had his personnel handpolish every single crystal on those chandeliers?

      Excellent point, Khell! For a man who’s been doing receptions with high-level government security for 20 years, he seems to not have learned very much….

      I had not thought of TFT in a long time, but I see what you’re saying about Francine thinking she was responsible for getting 5 agents killed and how that would impact her going forward. She does not want anyone else’s blood on her hands. I don’t really blame her for the agents’ deaths in TFT, but if I were Francine, I think I’d blame myself. If something does go wrong at this reception, the buck will stop with Francine, so she has to make sure she does a thorough job.

      I’m not a Van Kleef fan either. He comes off as being very haughty at the beginning of his interaction, but he softens a bit as the conversation goes on. I think the way Francine talks to him and what she says makes him understand the seriousness of the situation, even if he doesn’t like it. In the end she wins, as she should – everyone needs to live through the reception.

      Like

      • I think some of this Van Kleef background is yet to be explored.. so I’ll hold off commenting further for now.
        But enjoyed reading your thoughts!

        Yes it is a heavy weight of responsibility on Francine’s shoulders – no question.. no arguments from me there 🙂

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        • Oh no scrap that. Post 15 reveals Van Kleef’s security history..and it’s just been published..maybe we can chat about it over there! 🙂

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          • Oops, major headslap…in all honesty, I had not read post 15 before commenting. I had thought that was covered and didn’t double check the post above. Sorry (red-face!).

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            • no worries! I had published post 15 when you commented.. so that cat was out of the bag 😉
              Besides, even if it was a mistake (which it wasn’t) it’s okay- we all make mistakes! Only humans stop by JWWM 🙂

              Like

  6. ScarecrowsAngel

    Mr. Van Klef, >grins<. I always have to grin about that, because in German the word “klef” (spelled differently, though) is a word to describe the bark of a dog. And Mr. Van Kleef does a lot of barking in this episode, doesn’t he?.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m going to swim against the tide here. Yes, Francine is being unpleasant, abrasive and superior here. But I see someone who has too much to do, a lack of competent assistance, is stuck wearing a revolting yellow top and is the type of personality who reacts to stress by trying to control situations. Francine is stressed and she’s found the easiest way to get Van Kleef to do what she wants is by squashing up, so that she can get her job done. It’s not likeable or admirable, and not what you should do at work, but I understand why she acts like she does.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I can see what you’re saying Learjet. Yes, she is under pressure with quite a bit to do and a short amount of time in which to do it. And yes, that top is terrible.

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  8. I think that Francine is unnecessarily abrasive in this scene. There was no need for her to go in that direction. Definitely not her finest moment. This is one of those times that she grates on my nerves. There’s a way be tough without being rude.

    I think the Bachman agent was Tim the messenger in “A Lovely Little Affair”. I think he was the one who brought Lee the pics while he was being interrogated by Faber.

    Interestingly enough, there was a scene in ALLA where Lee and Francine were trying to get some surveillance footage from Murray. Lee wasn’t getting anywhere so Francine decided to try to sweet talk Murray. I’m wondering if she would have been so mean to Van Kleef if Lee or Billy had been present. Maybe Francine has gone overboard because she’s finally got a case she can sink her teeth into.

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  9. Yes, Francine in Full-Power Mode is not a pretty sight. And, yes, she would undoubtedly garner more cooperation with a more diplomatic demeanor. However, when I weigh her responsibility to keep all of those people safe against Mr. Von Karnation’s whining about fingerprints on a chandelier at least 10 feet above everyone’s head, I can kind of understand her lack of sympathy and patience.

    What I wonder about is how the Agency is going to do a “thorough background check” on over 300 people in less than a day.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Okay, the comment about people being around to notice the fingerprints afterward was cute.

    That is a lot of VIPs in one room. I can appreciate Francine wanting to keep things moving along and not get sidetracked by fingerprints, but the satisfied smirk she gives at the end is a little much. Van Kleef did say he’s handled plenty of high security-type events before.

    Like

  11. I think Francine is really horrible here. I hate to see anyone belittling another. I don’t see Van Kleef as doing anything wrong. There is no need for Francine to be so arrogant. I appreciate security is very important (and probably much more ubiquitous now than in the 80’s) but real authority doesn’t need to bully and degrade. This is not Francine’s finest hour (but then again its consistent with her way of working with Amanda).
    I think we need to see Lee in this scene:-)

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    • I know! it seems like Van Kleef can’t do anything right, even when he does what she asks! I think that Francine gets quite an ego when she is put in a position of power.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Hahaha! I love this scene, and now even more that it’s slowed down for me in screenshots, and you can see every facial expression, like the deflated look poor Van Kleef gives Francine (LOL flattened like a pancake was the perfect way to describe it!) is priceless. You can almost see him thinking “Geez, lady! Are you EVER satisfied?!”

    And WHOA! I never even noticed Sallee vacuuming there and I have seen this ep more times than I can count! Good catch!

    Like

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