The Rockford Files (1975) – The Aaron Ironwood School of Success & The Farnsworth Stratagem

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Season 2 of The Rockford Files gets underway with private investigator, Jim Rockford (James Garner), caught up in an episode that focuses on family, so it makes sense that Rocky (Noah Beery Jr.), Beth (Gretchen Corbett) and Becker (Joe Santos) – who just took his lieutenant’s exam, are all present. Angel (Stuart Margolin), sadly, is absent.

Airing 12 September 1975, the season premiere was penned by Cannell and featured a phone gag that has a woman calling Jim to let him know that they didn’t hear back, so they went ahead and did the job anyway, but if he doesn’t like it, she supposes that they can always tear it out…

The story reveals that Jim was raised with Aaron Ironwood (familiar face, James Hampton, who will always be Michael J. Fox’s dad in Teen Wolf for me), and the two got along like gangbusters, even if Aaron could be a bit of goof some times. They were happy together until Aaron ended up in the foster system.

Now, he’s a self-made man, a success, and selling franchises, and he’s in California to give a presentation, and wheel and deal. Rocky, seems intent on apologizing to Aaron the entire time for Jim’s life and lackluster profession, but it is that profession that brought Aaron to town. He needs Jim’s help, as it seems some unlikely business associates want in on one of Aaron’s deals, so to keep the company safe, he signs it over to Jim… Things go down hill from there, as Aaron and Jim get tangled up in a mess that makes them prove that family is the most important thing.

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The second episode, The Farnsworth Stratagem, aired 19 September, 1975 and was written by series writer Juanita Bartlett. The phone gag features someone repairing Jim’s car, and telling him that it will actually cost money this time…

Jim is hired by Becker, because he’s just found out that he’s been conned. He’s sunk a sizable fortune into a hotel deal, but found out that it’s not a hotel, it’s a condo, and all he owns is part of the lobby, with Gerald McRaney as the manager.

After consulting with Beth, he has Rocky and Angel (Stuart Margolin) join him, along with another investor, Audrey Wyatt (Linda Evans).

Jim, posing as an oil baron, J.W. Farnsworth, begins his own elaborate con to flush out the grifter behind the hotel con, a Simon Lloyd (Paul Jenkins).

This one is a lot of fun, as one con artist meets another, and twists and turns until the final scene.

So far season 2 is off to a great start! I love the familiar faces, and the guest stars, the two stories so far have been a lot of fun, and if they keep up, this season may be a favorite.

Rockford’s character has now been clearly established, as have the recurring regulars around him. Now the series can really start to have fun, and I’m looking forward to seeing, once again, where it goes.

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