Jim Rockford (James Garner) welcomes back some familiar faces in this week`s dual installment of The Rockford Files.
Up first we have Just Another Polish Wedding. This episode originally aired 18 February, 1977, and was written by Cannell. The phone gag, featured a call from Malibu Space Watch, wondering if Jim had seen anything unusual in the sky lately…
Jim almost takes a back seat to the antics in this episode which sees the return of Gandy (Isaac Hayes), ex-con, who is now looking for a job and expects `Rockfish` to help him, as well as Jim`s old parole officer, Hayes (Louis Gossett Jr.). Hayes ‘agrees’ to take on Gandy, but instead simply wants to use him to find out what Jim is working on.
It seems, Rockford has taken a county case, but may in fact lead to a huge payday for Hayes if he can track down a missing person before Jim does.
Hayes and Gandy are terrific together, and Jim, when he’s around in the course of the episode, provides a perfect balance point between the two of them. They all end up converging on a wedding, where the missing person is found, but there’s a reason he’s been missing, and the less than friendly folk who have been looking for him, have also tracked him down there.
This one is fast, funny, and has a lot of great moments. It’s always a joy to see returning characters, especially when they get paired up with other returning characters in new and interesting ways.
Loved this one!
The second episode, New Life, Old Dragons aired 25 February 1977, and it looks like Cannel, Huggins and David C. Taylor had their hands in a script from a story by Bernie Rollins and Leroy Robinson. The phone gag is from someone named Pete, who is giving Jim a hard time about the cabin he used last week, and where he stowed the trout he caught.
Jim gets hired by a Vietnamese refugee Mai (Irene Yah-Ling Sun) to find her brother, a fellow refugee. Jim is hesitant to take the case, and even suggests she talk to Becker (Joe Santos), but she feigns ignorance in language in protocol, insisting Jim help her.
As he digs deeper, he learns that there are ex-military folks involved, even some CIA personnel, and they are all after Mai’s brother, and a large chunk of cash that may be in his hands.
Menacing Jim in this episode is the always awesome Charles Napier, and it was also very cool to see the familiar face of Clyde Kusatsu.
As things unfurl, those I least suspected become involved and blackmail is escalated up to murder, and Jim could end up in serious trouble!
Once again, a highly enjoyable pair of episodes, though the first one this week was definitely the stronger of the two, and I do hope we see Gandy and Hayes again…. so much fun!