The Rockford Files (1974–1980)
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Just by Accident 

A race car driver dies in an apparent accident that his mother, an old friend of Jim's, thinks was no accident. It turns out he was part of an insurance scam outfit and they soon have a similar plan for Rockford.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford (as Noah Beery) (credit only)
Louise Hartman
Steven Keats ...
Duane Bailey
Police Sgt. Tom Garvey
Fred Sadoff ...
Matt Springfield
Jeannie Szymczyk
Billy Jo Hartman
K. Julian Krubm
Alan Bergmann ...
The Doctor
Millie Slavin ...
Ass't. Bank Manager
Beatrice Colen ...
Woman Bettor
The Announcer
Fritzi Burr ...
County Clerk


When a demolition driver rams a fellow daredevil over a cliff, Jim Rockford digs into the murder. The pair were involved in an unknown shady activity, but Rockford's friend-who-won't-admit he's a friend Sgt. Garvey maintains the death was an accident, pooh-poohing Jim's leads. The unflappable Rockford, who's a deadly driver without such professional help, keeps pursuing the case, because the deceased's girlfriend Jeannie Szymczyk and insurance investigator K. Julian Krubm, provide him almost as many clues as the Polish alphabet has consonants. Written by David Stevens

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Plot Keywords:

car chase | See All (1) »





Release Date:

28 February 1975 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


James Garner had previously worked with Neva Patterson on Nichols (1971), in which Ms. Patterson co-starred in.. See more »


At the very end the Louise Hartman character says goodbye to police Sgt. Tom Garvey, who has that rank in the two shows he was in, but she calls him lieutenant. See more »


Jim Rockford: This is Jim Rockford. At the tone leave your name and message, I'll get back to you.
Caller: This is Thelma Sue Bigley. It's about the research I called you about - the family tree? Did you talk to your daddy? We may be kin!
See more »

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User Reviews

A new identity
23 April 2015 | by See all my reviews

Jim Rockford's client is Neva Patterson who thinks there's something not quite right with the death of her son in a car crash. Her son was a stock car driver and drove in demolition derbies and that just doesn't quite sit with her.

Mother in fact does know best. It was a visit to the girlfriend of the late victim Joey Aresco where he finds some driver's licenses under different names all belonging to the victim with his smiling face as the photograph.

Girlfriend E.J. Peaker is on the scam though and tells the boss. Another of the stock car drivers Steven Keats is the killer of Aresco and he nearly does in James Garner.

What the scam I won't reveal, but it's a neat one and could have gone on for quite some time.

The famous Rockford Firebird gets pretty banged up, but it's back for the next episode.

The scam is a beauty, worthy of Angel Martin.

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