The Rockford Files (1974–1980)
10 user 3 critic

Backlash of the Hunter 

Jim helps a young girl (Lindsay Wagner) whose father was murdered and LAPD has closed the case on without finding the killer.



(teleplay by), (story by) (as John Thomas James)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Dennis Becker
Robert Donley ...
Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford
Angel Martin
Pat Renella ...
Morrie Talbot
Dr. Ruben Seelman
Norm Mitchell
Joshua Bryant ...
Capt. Harry Dell
Harry Butler
Arnold Demura (as Robert B. Williams)
Claude Johnson ...


Private investigator Jim Rockford is hired by a beautiful young woman to solve the murder of her father, a homeless man found beneath a pier two months earlier. The killing was never solved by the police. Written by Marty McKee <>

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Release Date:

27 March 1974 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?


Robert Donley, portrayed Joseph "Rocky" Rockford, only in this pilot. The role for the entirety of the series was played by 'Noah Beery Jr'. See more »


Mrs. Elias beautiful house - shown in the first establishing exterior shot as a stoned, Tudor-style home, with sweeping views from a hill-side perspective, is, in fact considered an iconic example of modern architecture, in the Hollywood Hills. It's Stahl Case House N°22 - 1635 Woods Drive, Los Angeles, CA. See more »


Jim Rockford: [Jim notices Jerry Grimes is again following, so, he drives to the Mayfair Theatre in Santa Monica.Jim sits at the bar, until Jerry comes in, then he goes to the men's room, where, he gets the only other customer to leave, as Jim is planning something. Jim takes the soap dispenser off it's wall bracket, and pours it on the floor - especially in the space between him, and where Jerry will be. Then, Jerry comes into the bathroom, as well. Facing Jim, Jim - smirkig - goes into action] You got to be...
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Referenced in Frasier: Door Jam (2003) See more »

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User Reviews

Solid start to a classic series
29 July 2011 | by (DeKalb Co., Georgia) – See all my reviews

(Spoliers!) Some other reviews have described this pilot episode as lasting 2-hours, but that is the syndicated version which was split into two hour-long episodes. In fact, the pilot lasts 73 minutes including closing credits.

The performances are all solid, but as someone else said, there are a few gaping plot-holes (exactly how Mrs. Elias found Nick Butler is unexplained, as is her motivation for sending him to medical school. And how did she and Jerry Grimes ever make a connection? they don't appear to have too much in common. And where exactly did Jim and Sara find that cement truck, anyway?). I would tend to chalk these unsolved-mysteries up to poor editing, as Rockford Files remains one of the best-*written* series ever. But nonetheless, they do detract from the effectiveness of the episode.

Noah Beery later made the "Rocky Rockford" role his own, but there's no need to disparage Robert Donley's performance here.

It's easy to see how Lindsay Wagner became one of the TV's biggest stars of that era -- really, she was just stunning. On the Season-One DVD, there is a bonus interview with Garner in which he expresses regret that Wagner's character wasn't included in more episodes. It seems clear that she was intended to be a recurring character, but it just never happened.

The action scenes are standard-mid-70s. When Rockford shoots a small-craft plane out of the air with a snub-nosed revolver... well, obviously that's not terribly realistic. The fight in the men's room is clever. (How strange, in 2011, to hear the good guy use the word "queer" in a disparaging way. That -- to say the very least -- would never happen today!)

The humor, the vaguely anti-establishment worldview, the LA scenery (plus some Vegas, too) -- it's all there.

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