The Rockford Files (1974–1980)
12 user 4 critic

Backlash of the Hunter 

Jim helps a young girl whose father was murdered and LAPD has closed the case on without finding the killer.


Richard T. Heffron


Stephen J. Cannell (teleplay by), Roy Huggins (story by) (as John Thomas James)




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James Garner ... Jim Rockford
Lindsay Wagner ... Sara Butler
William Smith ... Jerry Grimes
Nita Talbot ... Mildred Elias
Joe Santos ... Dennis Becker
Robert Donley ... Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford
Stuart Margolin ... Angel Martin
Bill Mumy ... Nick Butler
Pat Renella Pat Renella ... Morrie Talbot
Michael Lerner ... Dr. Ruben Seelman
Ted Gehring ... Norm Mitchell
Joshua Bryant ... Capt. Harry Dell
Bill Quinn ... Harry Butler
Robert B. Williams ... Arnold Demura
Claude Johnson ... Officer


Private investigator Jim Rockford is hired by a beautiful young woman to solve the murder of her father, a homeless man found beneath a pier two months earlier. The killing was never solved by the police. Written by Marty McKee <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


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Did You Know?


Originally shown as a 2-hour pilot, it was not part of the original numbering of the series. Later, it was added on as episode '0' and shown as a 2-part episode - both as a repeat and in syndication. See more »


When Jerry goes to Gazzarri's, he is seen standing at the bar. However, it is the same bar that he was at in the previous location, The Mayfair Theatre, where he was waiting for Rockford to come out of the bathroom. See more »


Message on answering machine: Billings. LAPD. You know Thursday is Chapman's 20th year and we're giving a little surprise party at the Captain's. I think you should come. By the way, we need 5 bucks for the present.
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Alternate Versions

Syndicated repeats are split into two parts, with an alternate opening sequence that features the series' title card over a shot of Rockford's mobile home with the answering machine message, regarding Lt. Chapman's birthday, playing in the background. This opening removes any shots of Noah Beery as he does not appear in the episode. See more »


References Columbo (1971) See more »


The Rockford Files
(Main Title Theme)
Written by Mike Post and Pete Carpenter
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User Reviews

Rockford starts out very cynical
1 April 2006 | by btimmerSee all my reviews

This two hour show was the pilot for "The Rockford Files". There is a different Rocky in the show as Robert Donley would make his only appearance as the character. Noah Beery, Jr. would take over the role for the rest of the series, which turned out to be a great idea. Donley's Rocky isn't nearly as much fun as Beery's and he seemed to be more interested in shaking down his own son for money than anything else.

Rockford is not a particularly easy-going guy in this episode as he seems very concerned about whether or not his client can pay him. We see Rockford asking for a credit check, something he should have done in the future.

Two other supporting characters do show up: Joe Santos as Dennis Becker, Rockford's weary friend on the police force, and Stuart Margolin as Angel Martin, Rockford's shady, but sometimes helpful (not often enough) friend from prison.

There is an emphasis in this show that Rockford only handles cases that the police are no longer investigating. This would be de-emphasized in later shows, although Rockford never gets along well with the police during the show.

Like many stories in the series, the plot gets wrapped up in a hurry at the end and the first 90 minutes of this episode have a lot of atmosphere and opportunities for Rockford to be Rockford.

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Release Date:

27 March 1974 (USA) See more »

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