The Rockford Files (1977) – To Protect and Serve Parts 1 & 2

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A cop groupie causes all manner of trouble in the two-parter I look at this week.

David Chase wrote this episode, which originally aired 11 March, 1977 with the second part following a week later on 18 March. The phone gag for the first episode featured a female friend of Rocky’s (Noah Beery Jr.) calling Jim to thank him for helping her move into her new place, but why hasn’t he called back to help out with other things around the place. The second episode features a bit of flake calling in to say she dreamed Jim (James Garner) wasn’t home, and then she called, and he wasn’t.

Things start with a bang in this episode as Becker (Joe Santos) is forced to drawn down in a dangerous situation, and has to face a shooting review board. Happily, or maybe not, depending on what you think of her, Lianne Sweeny (Joyce Van Patten), a cop groupie, was on hand and saw everything go down, and offered to help out if she could.

Afterwards at a local cop bar, she’s definitely trying to get him back to her place when Jim interrupts with a favor, working on a missing persons case. She’s initially delighted at his arrival, but upon learning he’s a private investigator, she starts to work against him, as she thinks he’s endangering Becker’s advancement opportunities.

When the force finds out who Jim is looking for, Becker is asked to help out, do the favors, and try to get to this person.

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It seems Jim is looking for a missing woman, Patsy Fossler (Leslie Charleson), on behalf of her fiancée, Michael (Jon Cypher), but he’s no the only one. Apparently, she became privy to some information she shouldn’t know about concerning one of the mob families back east, and there are a couple of thugs in town looking for her.

And once Lianne gets caught up in everything, she ends up directing them right at Jim.

Things go from bad to worse as Lianne causes even more problems, and it ends up costing a life.

When this happens, any leeway she may have had with the police indulging her fascination with the police work, while she works at a bowling alley in the shoe concession, is gone, and things change pretty drastically for her.

This one worked really well, balancing some of the humor that we’ve come to expect from this show, with a really good story. It becomes very apparent, very quickly that Lianne is only interested in cop talk, hanging out with cops, and though she wouldn’t have the nerve to do the job herself, as we learn, she also isn’t worried about putting others in harm’s way if it makes her look more appealing to the police officers that she so covets.

Liked this one a lot!

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