The Rockford Files: Season 1, Episode 3

The Countess (27 Sep. 1974)

TV Episode  -   -  Crime | Drama | Mystery
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Ratings: 7.7/10 from 110 users  
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A woman meets a man on a lonely stretch of highway while Rockford is filming the exchange from a hillside. Jim is working for the woman. Her name is Deborah Ryder and she is being ... See full summary »



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Title: The Countess (27 Sep 1974)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford (as Noah Beery) (credit only)
Deborah Ryder
Art Lund ...
Mike Ryder
Carl Brego (as Dick Gautier)
Gretchen Corbett ...
Todd Martin ...
Florence Lake ...
Old Woman
Jean Le Bouvier ...
Woman (as Jean LeBouvier)
Melvin F. Allen ...
Cab Driver (as Mel Allen)


A woman meets a man on a lonely stretch of highway while Rockford is filming the exchange from a hillside. Jim is working for the woman. Her name is Deborah Ryder and she is being blackmailed by Carl Brego. He has information of her sordid past and ties to organized crime that she doesn't want revealed. Jim is confident he can get Brego off her back but things go sour for him when Brego is killed and the police think Jim did it. Written by tomtrekp

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

car chase


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Release Date:

27 September 1974 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Although Deborah Ryder used to be a countess, and although she is referred to as "The Countess" throughout the episode, there is never actually any reference to what her title used to be, meaning who her first husband, the Earl (the wife of a British Earl is a Countess, not an Earless) is or was, and what his title was, such as the Earl of Arundel, or the Earl of Pembroke, etc. See more »


When Becker is talking to Jim on the phone and puts him on hold, none of the buttons light up on his phone. Becker even uses the excuse that one of his other lines is flashing to stall him. See more »


Jim Rockford: We're all scared to death. I guess that's a penalty we pay for living in a world where all the price tags end in 99 cents and they sell mortuary plots on billboards next to the freeway. What you do is... you just keep laughing. Just... keep laughing.
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User Reviews

big improvement
2 December 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I feel this episode was a big improvement over the preceding one, that one titled Dark and Bloody Ground, as Rockford seems to be more the guy we're used to and the story is more coherent than the former. Susan Strasburg co-stars as someone Jim knew back in Chicago, then she married into wealth and is now known as a countess(a word that is used too many times in this episode). She hires Rockford for a reason I can't quite recall, and he's plunged into a world of socialite snobs, including a character played by Richard Gauthier; he looks like he has a dead skunk covered with oil on his head, as he makes the women swoon. This may've been Tom Atkin's first appearance as Alex Diel, who despises Rockford, and is a good foil to Dennis, who calls Jim a pal. Beth makes her 2nd appearance as the attorney, and has a nice scene reading Diel the riot act in regards to Jim's supposed guilt. Another reason I liked this segment better than the last one I mentioned is there's more scenes with the trailer, the beach, the Firebird, and more interaction with the other main characters mentioned above.

Just about the only scene which I didn't totally buy was when Jim and the husband are tangling in a car, and when the car is heading down a big slope, Jim is already outside the car. It turns out the husband who had Jim at gunpoint dies from his injuries. I know Jim can't die, but it would've been extremely difficult for him to escape a car moving that quickly down a hill. Other than this scene, this is a fine episode in the 1st season of what was to become a terrific show.

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