In this week’s installment of the Rockford Files, private investigator, Jim Rockford (James Garner) has his hands full with the mob and a fellow con on the look out for the murderer in a crime that he didn’t commit.
The first episode, The Girl in the Bay City Boys Club, aired 19 December 1975, and was written by series writer, Juanita Bartlett. The phone gag this time, features Rocky (Noah Beery Jr) calling Jim about a dinner bill, as he’s trying to sort it out, and is wondering about Jimmy’s drinks.
Everybody seems to be lying to Jim, his client Mr. Phelps (Stewart Moss) is actually a District Attorney named Kimball, and a young woman involved in the case, Kate (Blair Brown), is posing as someone else as well. All so they can find out about what is going on in a quiet back room card game that is leading to big winners, and the mob moving in on Bay City.
Angel (Stuart Margolin), who is helping Jim out, is eager to be shot of the case once he finds out the mafia is involved… He’s got enough problems…
When people start turning up dead, and a couple of thugs in suits start threatening Jim, he knows there is something more going on that a simple card game, but the deeper he gets, the more trouble he gets in, and these guys are playing for keeps!
The second episode, The Hammer of C Block, written by Gordon T. Dawson, was the first episode of the new year, airing 9 January, 1976. The phone gag featured a call from someone apologizing for sending a cheque for Jim’s services so late, and maybe he shouldn’t cash it after all.
This is a bit of a darker episode, dealing with abuse, love, and a violent cycle that some people can’t escape. Gandolph Fitch (Isaac Hayes) was just released from prison, after serving 20 years for a murder that he knows he didn’t commit.
The first thing he does, is hunt down his old ‘friend’, Rockford, and reminding him that Jim owes him $1500, but he’ll take payment in services instead, if Jim finds out who really killed the woman he loved.
Jim is nervous about taking the case, as Gandi seems always ready to use violence, and he learns that Gandi’s girlfriend kept coming back to him, despite the fact that he beat her every time he turned down his marriage proposals. Gandi knows he is innocent, but in the end, the revelations of his legacy, and the identity of the true killer is enough to shatter everyone involved.
Neither Gandi, nor Jim walk away from this one unscathed, as Gandi is left to examine the way people love, and the violence that is always just beneath his surface.
Rocky, but for his voice on the phone in the first episode, is sadly missing this week. Maybe he’ll be around next time…