The Rockford Files: Season 1, Episode 0

Backlash of the Hunter (27 Mar. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Reviews: 10 user | 2 critic

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



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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?


Originally shown as a two-hour movie pilot, it was not part of the original numbering of the series. Later it was added in as episode -0-, and it was also later shown in two parts, both as a repeat, and in syndication. See more »


During the car chase near the end of the show (just before the airplane shows up), the rear window of Rockford's car is missing and then reappears. The window continues to disappear and reappear several times. See more »


Nick Butler: You're a cop, huh?
Jim Rockford: No, what I am sonny, is about fifty pounds heavier and one hell of a lot meaner so you better straighten up your act, I don't think I like you.
See more »


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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