Private eye Jim Rockford (James Garner) finds himself in trouble in this two-parter with a teleplay by Cannell based on a story by Roy Huggins. Originally aired as a two-hour presentation on October 18, 1974, the episode was subsequently broken up into two parts for subsequent broadcasts.
The phone gag this time around featured a bookie calling from the track asking if Jim is sure about betting on the nag he’s chosen.
Rockford is hired by Warner Jameson (Joseph Cotten) to investigate his soon to be son-in-law, Mark Chalmers (Geoffrey Land), before he feels his daughter Susan (Cagney and Lacey’s Sharon Gless) can make a bad mistake.
Jim finds he may have made a mistake by taking the case, because no sooner has he started, getting back from an investigative trip in New Jersey before his picked up by a couple of thugs who want to know who he’s working for, with the threat of his imminent death hanging in the balance.
Rocky (Noah Beery Jr.) seems to think his son Jim should find another, less violent line of work, and shows up at the trailer with classifieds to help out.
Jim, however, refuses to be shaken from the investigation, and the more he digs, and dodges tails, and avoids being shot at, the more he uncovers.
It seems Jameson may be right, there is more to Mark than meets the eye, but when Mark ends up dead, things seem to go from bad to worse for Rockford.
Kidnapped twice in two days, his dad left tied up in the trailer, and the feds trying to serve him with a subpoena, which he’s a master at avoiding… almost… Rockford has a full plate.
He puzzles his way through, and learns that Mark was indeed the phoney Jameson thought he was. It seems he was actually involved in organized crime, and had agreed to testify should the authorities protect him and put him in the witness relocation program.
But it seems someone, besides Rockford, found him out anyway.
Despite the gangland style of the murder, Rockford begins to suspect there is a more personal motivation behind the murder and follows down one last lead…
This was an enjoyable two-parter that took its time, and let Garner have a lot of fun with his character, as he proves himself an inconvenience for both the feds and the mob, with his mouth getting himself into trouble, and simply trying to get by from day to day.
It was a lot of fun to see the byplay between Jim and Rocky, especially when Jim finds out that Rocky has helped himself to his dinner, Beth (Gretchen Corbett) and Becker (Joe Santos) are absent, and also its been awhile since we’ve seen Angel (Stuart Margolin) as well (he hasn’t been seen since the original pilot movie).
Still, watching Rockford tumble from one problem to another, maintain his wit, and still solve the problems, even if he gets thumped once or twice en route, is still a lot of fun!
Garner is the man!!