From McCann's point of view the show is essentially about his vanity. Quarry steals his funny box which is his catalog of jokes and material which every comedian has. Some of the funniest people around are not ready wits like Groucho Marx so they keep their material stored and safe presumably from all except Milton Berle. And Chuck McCann in this story who's as big a thief as Berle and not so lovable.
James Garner is hired to pay a ransom and get the funny box back. But Quarry turns up dead and it seems that McCann and now Garner have stumbled on a Mafia family secret.
Among other people that McCann rubs the wrong way is Noah Beery, Jr. who starts out a fan and then sees there's a lot less to McCann than meets the eye. But in the end Garner has a perfect way of dealing with him that you have to see to appreciate.
Based on a story by LA Times and "MASH" writer Burt Prelutsky, James Crocker turns in a nice script with some great moments, including one that involves none of the regulars. It's when Paul Silvan (Jason Evers) faces his dad, the crime boss (Gilbert Green) who confronts him about his homosexuality. The scene is very well written and performed, and for the time was probably pushing the envelope.
Tom Atkins is back for this episode as Lt. Diehl (he probably just came back when he found out he was going to be able to arrest Jim for murder!) and Gretchen Corbett makes an ever so brief (but welcome) appearance getting Jim out of jail again.
The only real problem with this episode is the casting of Chuck McCann. He's not funny in his funny scenes (even when he gets "killer" material) and when he's just acting, he's a little too irritating and unscrupulous a character to be likable. Stuart Margolin was the master of being irritating yet likable. Watching Chuck McCann try it, you can see how difficult that is to do. If anything he's too good at being a weasel, so the effect is we like him less and less whenever he appears in the show.
There's one other weird thing about this episode. Jodean Russo, who plays Kenny Bell's long suffering wife Max warns him when he hesitates about going down to the station to clear Rockford with Lt. Diehl by saying: "If you don't go with Jim right now, I might not be here when you get back."