The Rockford Files (1974–1980)
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Kill the Messenger 

When an already overly stressed Dennis Becker is lumped with the unwelcome task of finding out who murdered Deputy Chief Towne's unfaithful wife, Jim decides to lend a hand in the investigation.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford (as Noah Beery)
W.K. Stratton ...
Police Sgt. Frank Dusenberg
Deputy Police Chief Eugene W. Towne
James Luisi ...
Lt. Doug Chapman
Alex Colon ...
Nick 'Captain Crunch' Donofrio
Rudy Kempner
Tony Crupi ...
Lt. Alvarez
Lee Farr ...
Booking Suspect
Robert Cleaves ...
Leo Benbrook
Miss Buettner


When an already overly stressed Dennis Becker is lumped with the unwelcome task of finding out who murdered Deputy Chief Towne's unfaithful wife, Jim decides to lend a hand in the investigation.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

27 October 1978 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


(Technicolor) (as Technicolor ®)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Information from the LAPD Miscellaneous Crime Report on the homicide of Eileen Towne: Name: TOWNE, Eileen **(above)** [denoted as Inter-dept. in above block]; Location: Supermarket pkg. lot.; [unknown block title]: jd.; Type of Crime: homicide; Occurred: 6/18/78, Th, time xx [actual day should have been Sunday, or date as 5/18]; Reported: 6/19/78, time: 903a; Vehicle or Suspect seen: none; (Info on victim, including age): F/app. 46; Victim's Condition: dec.; (LAPD names): Lt. .Chapman (Eugene W. Towne) Int. dept. [The name Becker written in ink and circled on top of this line.] Address/Town: 3846 Augard Ave, San F'nando [no such address]; (probably color of vehicle): yellow. See more »


Eileen Towne's crime report lists the date of her death as Thursday, June 18, 1978. June 18, 1978 was, in fact, on a Sunday. See more »


Jim Rockford: This is Jim Rockford. At the tone leave your name and message, I'll get back to you.
Chet: [beeep] Jim? Chet returning your call. Sorry I missed you, but I appreciate you calling back. If you call again and I'm not in just leave your message and I'll get back to YOU!
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User Reviews

Glengarry Glen Rockford
23 March 2012 | by See all my reviews

The most notable moment for me in this particular episode is the addition of a young and still balding Ed Harris, as he portrays a dirty cop who murders the wife of a police deputy, after they had an affair that supposedly went awry. This looks like one of the first acting gigs for Harris, although he doesn't get too much screen time here, which is unfortunate but he added presence in one of the final scenes when he takes Rockford hostage. I would also say that Dennis gets just about the same, if not more screen time than Rockford, as he's up for a promotion, but Chapman hands over the case of the dead deputy's wife to him, which puts him in a delicate situation as he must question the deputy himself, played solidly by Byron Morrow, who also starred in 4 other episodes; this is the only time I can recall Dennis having a partner, named Frank, who's usually moaning about his pregnant wife. Rockford helps his friend, but has to tread cautiously because he asks questions to the wrong people, and this could hamper Dennis' promotion. Pat Finley gets several scenes as the wife of Dennis(Peggy), as she plays it both tough and sympathetic in regards to her husband's predicament. The ending isn't exactly thrilling, as Rockford ends up taken hostage by the killer cop, but soon after, both Dennis and Frank come to the rescue, which involved getting Kempner(Harris)in a car accident, in which I thought he surrenders too easily without much of a fight. After this plays itself out, the deputy lauds Becker's performance on the job, as being both tough and sympathetic, and is soon given the promotion, as the news is given by Dennis himself at his own party. This is a decent episode with a few familiar faces around, but this is more of a Dennis vehicle, with Rockford more in the background than usual.

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