The Rockford Files: Season 1, Episode 21

Just by Accident (28 Feb. 1975)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 70 users  
Reviews: 2 user

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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Title: Just by Accident (28 Feb 1975)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford (as Noah Beery) (credit only)
Neva Patterson ...
Louise Hartman
Steven Keats ...
Duane Bailey
Fred Sadoff ...
Matt Springfield
Jeannie Szymczyk
Billy Jo Hartman
Oliver Clark ...
K. Julian Krubm
Alan Bergmann ...
The Doctor
Millie Slavin ...
Ass't. Bank Manager
Beatrice Colen ...
Woman Bettor
Michael Fox ...
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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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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!
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User Reviews

10 April 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode is much better than the previous one, even though it once again revolves around an accident eventually turning into murder. Jim is hired by yet another older woman needing the truth about her deceased son, as she doesn't believe his death was an accident; as we get to see, he was clearly murdered by having his car pushed off a cliff, because he refused to partake in insurance scams anymore. The head of the crooked insurance company has a funny was of pronouncing "Rockford", as it comes out as "Rockfoot", and that made me laugh whenever I heard it. This episode is also notable for a new cop friend for Rockford, as Dennis is nowhere to be found; he's played by a likable David Spielberg(Tom), who also starred as the same role in another episode and actually enlists Jim's requests and eventually gets the criminals, as they were attempting to "Malachi crunch" Rockford on a race car track. Watch for a few 70's familiar faces in Gordon Jump and Fritzi Burr, who have funny cameos to lighten the mood. Perhaps the only aspect of the show which wasn't realistic is after Jim is kidnapped and the Firebird is pushed over the cliff(with Jim in it), he winds up at the hospital with only a small bandage on his head and his wrist taped up; by all accounts, Rockford should be a dead man with a crash that big, but I digress. I'm not a huge fan of very early episodes, but this was very entertaining and had some funny lines, a cool construction site with outdoor elevator, the Firebird, and was a big improvement over the previous show, and I would easily recommend this episode to any fan.

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