Handsome, charmed PI Lance White (Tom Selleck) may speak lines that sound like they're from a 1940s B movie, but everyone is so attracted to him they hang on his every word. That is, everyone except ...
James Garner stars as the offbeat Jim Rockford, an ex-con-turned-private-investigator who would rather fish than fight but whose instinct on closed cases is more golden than his classic Pontiac Firebird. From his mobile home in Malibu, this wisecracking private eye takes you on the cases of the lost and the dispossessed, chasing down seemingly long-dead clues in the sun-baked streets and seamy alleys of Los Angeles.
Besides detectives (Richie Brockelman, Private Eye (1978) - who was to become the main character of a short-lived spin-off series) (two episodes, one of which was a two-parter) and Lance White (two episodes), other significant recurring characters on the show were bail bondsman Solly Marshall (three episodes plus five other episodes as different characters, all portrayed by Joe E. Tata); Becker's wife Peggy (six episodes, portrayed by Pat Finley); reformed prostitute Rita Capkovic (hree episodes, portrayed by Rita Moreno); client-turned-girlfriend Dr. Megan Dougherty (two episodes, one being1 was a two-parter, portrayed by Kathryn Harrold); private investigator Vern St. Cloud (three episodes, portrayed by Simon Oakland); mechanic turned bumbling private investigator Freddy Beamer (two episodes, portrayed by James Whitmore Jr.); disbarred lawyer John "Coop" Cooper (four episodes, portrayed by Bo Hopkins); Jim's ex-cellmate Gandolph "Gandy" Fitch (three episodes, portrayed by Isaac Hayes); and parole officer turned private investigator Marcus Aurelius "Gabby" Hayes (two episodes, portrayed by Louis Gossett Jr.), There was one other notable repeating character, Sara Butler, who made more than one appearance, but technically, the first appearance was not part of the series per se, since that first appearance was in the pilot, now often referred to as episode zero (two parts in syndication) of the first season. Sara showed up again late in season one, and was portrayed by Lindsay Wagner each time. But perhaps the most frequently recurring character was Beth Davenport (portrayed by Gretchen Corbett), appearing in 33 episodes. See more »
Even though Jim Rockford always drives a current model Firebird, many episodes feature stock footage shot with older models, especially in the 1975-77 seasons. See more »
[Grabbing Angel by the lapel and throat & walking him back against a fence]
Angel, you are driving me crazy, you understand me, I'm going crazy, I can't take it anymore!
Years and years and years, I'm goin out of my mind, with your stupid and ridiculous lies and games, year after year!
You're jammin' my windpipe!
[ripping his hands from Angel's neck, showing Angel his trembling hands]
Look at me, look at me, look at me!
Just don't say anything, just don't - say - anything!
[...] See more »
The credits for guest stars, writers and other upper-level crew did not always appear right away, sometimes appearing as late as ten minutes into the episode. See more »
What the hell kind of a detective is this? The guy's not strong jawed, self-righteous and brave, and he seldom even carries a gun, much less shoots anyone. Since he consistently gets stiffed by his clients, he has to live hand to mouth in a cheesy trailer in a parking lot. (The trailer, incidently, is only crummy on the outside. Inside, it's comfortable, well furnished and clean, much like Rockford's character.)
Even the cops in this excellent series are presented as human, not as cardboard heroes. They've got the same pecking order problems at work that most of us have. In fact, ALL of the characters in this series seem to have some depth.
One of the most amazing things about the show's plots is that they hardly ever had to be resolved by gunfire because the writers were too lazy to come up with anything else.
Jim Garner's charm was a big part of the show's success, but it was the superb writing that made "The Rockford Files" so consistently entertaining. Many of the stories would have made first rate movies, particularly some of the two parters.
I'll never forget Angel begging Rockford for help after getting himself thoroughly enmeshed with the mob through his own stupidity and greed. Rockford chews him out, explains exactly why he ought to let him go right down the drain, and challenges him to come up with one good reason he should help him.
"Because you're my friend," Angel says, leaving Rockford without a comeback.
A friend like that, I could use.
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