The Rockford Files: Season 1, Episode 0

Backlash of the Hunter (27 Mar. 1974)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 488 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

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



(teleplay), (story) (as John Thomas James)
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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Jerry Grimes
Mildred Elias
Robert Donley ...
Pat Renella ...
Morrie Talbot
Dr. Ruben Seelman
Ted Gehring ...
Norm Mitchell
Joshua Bryant ...
Capt. Harry Dell
Bill Quinn ...
Harry Butler
Robert Williams ...
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, who played Joseph "Rocky" Rockford, only played him in this one (pilot) episode. The role subsequently went to Noah Beery Jr. See more »


When Jerry goes to Gazzarri's, he is seen standing at the bar. However, it is the same bar that he was at in the previous location, The Mayfair Theatre, where he was waiting for Rockford to come out of the bathroom. See more »


[Rockford is trying to convince his client to go undercover]
Sara Butler: How much of my own money am I going to earn back?
Jim Rockford: I usually pay my operatives 20 bucks an hour for this kind of thing.
Sara Butler: I wouldn't do it for less than 50.
See more »


Followed by The Rockford Files: Deadlock in Parma (1980) See more »

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User Reviews

Rockford starts out very cynical
1 April 2006 | by (South Pasadena, CA) – See all my reviews

This two hour show was the pilot for "The Rockford Files". There is a different Rocky in the show as Robert Donley would make his only appearance as the character. Noah Beery, Jr. would take over the role for the rest of the series, which turned out to be a great idea. Donley's Rocky isn't nearly as much fun as Beery's and he seemed to be more interested in shaking down his own son for money than anything else.

Rockford is not a particularly easy-going guy in this episode as he seems very concerned about whether or not his client can pay him. We see Rockford asking for a credit check, something he should have done in the future.

Two other supporting characters do show up: Joe Santos as Dennis Becker, Rockford's weary friend on the police force, and Stuart Margolin as Angel Martin, Rockford's shady, but sometimes helpful (not often enough) friend from prison.

There is an emphasis in this show that Rockford only handles cases that the police are no longer investigating. This would be de-emphasized in later shows, although Rockford never gets along well with the police during the show.

Like many stories in the series, the plot gets wrapped up in a hurry at the end and the first 90 minutes of this episode have a lot of atmosphere and opportunities for Rockford to be Rockford.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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