The Rockford Files (1975) – The Real Easy Red Dog and Resurrection in Black & White

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Jim Rockford (James Garner) digs into a couple of murders in this week’s installment.

The first episode, The Real Easy Red Dog first aired 31 October, 1975 and was written by Cannell. The phone gag is from a cleaners, who tells Jim that his favorite brown jacket has been lost…

Stefanie Powers (Hart To Hart) guest stars as a fellow private investigator, Christine Dusseau, who blindsides Jim but then helps out in hunting down a murderer in the case of a socialite’s death, which the police have ruled as suicide. She has hired Jim to investigate the murder to get the cops Lt. Diel (Tom Atkins) has assigned to the case off her back, while she runs down a jewelry angle, and a missing safe deposit key.

When they pair up, the sparks are fun, and they work very well together. It would have been a lot of fun, if they had made her a recurring character, because watching the two of them together is a joy, and I think a further relationship would have been about one trying to constantly show up the other with their detection skills. And I would have loved to have seen Rocky’s (Noah Beery Jr.) take on her and Jim.

There’s also another recognizable guest star in the form of George Wyner, a name you may not recognize, but you’ll know the face.

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The next episode, Resurrection in Black & White, aired 7 November, 1975 and was penned by Juanita Bartlett and Cannell. The phone gag, features a phone call from a bunch of out-of-town hicks who think that Jim won’t have a problem putting them up, the whole brood!

Joan Van Ark (Knot’s Landing) guest stars as Susan Alexander, a journalist who is working to prove a convicted murderer is innocent of a six-year-old crime. Jim, as an ex-con however, believes that the convict, Dave Kruger (John Lawlor) is playing her.

After 6 years, it’s hard to find anything new, but when Becker (Joe Santos) learns that all the old files on the case are missing, he warns Jim that trouble may be coming his way, as someone doesn’t want the truth to be out. They check addresses, old homes, the coroner who was involved in the autopsy, and it gives Jim the chance to put his portable card press into action, posing as a real estate student, and insurance investigator.

Through it all, a menacing man, who tried to run Susan off the road is tailing them, and seems intent on keeping everyone Jim and Susan talk to quiet or out-of-the-way… Including Shirley Atwater (Sandra Smith) who may have more to do with the original case than Jim initially thought.

I will say this, as the series goes on, the casting for each week’s episode gets better and better, and Garner continues to have great chemistry with his co-stars, though sadly this time around, as in the previous episode, Rocky is sadly missing. Maybe next week.

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