Poor Jim Rockford (James Garner), he really gets into it in this week’s installment of The Rockford Files, which puts us about midway through season 2.
The first episode, Pastoria Prime Pick aired 28 November, 1975, and was written by Gordon T. Dawson.
The phone gag features Becker (Joe Santos) calling to thank Jim for his help on his income taxes, and wondering now, if he’ll help with the audit.
Jim has nothing but problems when his car breaks down outside Pastoria, and while he’s worried the local garage may be trying to put one over on him, he also finds himself caught up in one piece of trouble after another, all of them compiling until he’s arrested on a number of charges, and even Rocky (Noah Beery Jr.) who sells his pickup to help out, and his lawyer, Beth (Gretchen Corbett) get caught up in the trouble.
While he tries to tenderly pry himself loose of all the problems, which seen to be growing under the watchful eye of the local sheriff, played by Richard Herd (who will always be John from V for me), and one of his officers (familiar face William Lucking), he cottons to the blackmail and extortion scheme that the entire town, or at least those who run it, seem to be in on.
Poor Rockford gets messed over pretty good in this one, but he makes sure to get his own back, but by episode’s end, we don’t know if Rocky has got his truck back or not… I hope so, considering he got such a terrible price for it.
The second episode, The Reincarnation of Angie, was penned by Cannell, and aired 5 December, 1975.
The phone gag this time around features a phone call from the police impound notifying Jim that his car is there (again) and that it seems the police are driving it more often than he is lately.
Jim is forced to work on the cheap, when he’s hired by Angela Perris (Elayne Heilveil) and finds himself taking on the Other Lebowski – David Huddleston, who plays Sherm in this episode.
Angela hires Jim, for $23.76, when her brother goes missing, though Jim thinks he’s already dead, and learns very quickly that he was mixed up in a securities scam.
Working with the local Feds, under Agent Dan Shore (Wayne Tippit), Jim digs deep, and cons his way into offices, all in the hope of finding out what Angie’s brother was killed for, while hoping that it won’t cost his life as well.
Things go from bad to worse, as a box of money is discovered, a safe deposit box hides secrets, Angie gets kidnapped, and there are people posing as Federal officers.
Jim sorts it all out, but still has to reveal that Angie’s brother may not be who she thought he was.
I really do like how this show continues to balance its humor and drama, and Garner, of course, is absolutely perfect as Rockford, which, perhaps, is why I bristle anytime suggests a remake (and glad the proposed one never got off the ground).