The Rockford Files (1977) – The Battle of Canoga Park & Second Chance


More trouble finds Jim (James Garner) this week as he gets caught up in a murder, and a domestic!

The Battle of Canoga Park was written by Juanita Bartlett and aired 30 September, 1977. The phone gag features a call from a neighbor war letting them know they are looking for their missing pet… it’s a leopard.

Jim has a new cleaning lady Viola (Nora Marlowe) and suspicion falls on her and her associates when Jim’s gun goes missing from his cookie jar. Something he catches her on a little later in the episode, rather smoothly. Not only has the gun gone missing, it is now in police evidence as the weapon used in a murder, with all eyes on Rockford, despite the fact that he doesn’t even know the victim.

Jim and Becker (Joe Santos), try to clear Jim’s name, while Beth (Gretchen Corbett) and Rocky (Noah Beery Jr.) try to keep him out of prison. Poor Rocky has to take out a second mortgage, and then when a grenade goes off in Jim’s trailer, he’s stuck with another bill to pay (happily, everything seems to be repaired and back in tip-top shape by the next episode).

There are tons of explosions in this episode, as Jim gets closer and closer to the truth.

Tom Atkins is back as Diehl, and one of the other cool guest stars to see as a baddie in this episode was Brion James!!


The second episode, Second Chance, aired 14 October, 1977 and was written by Gordon T. Dawson. The phone gag this time out is a call about a single volume of an encyclopedia that Jim didn’t return within the window of the free sample, now he can expect the rest, and be billed accordingly.

Gandy (Isaac Hayes) is back, Angel (Stuart Margolin) is trying to get money from Jim for a flower business, and Dionne Warwick guest stars as Thea, an up and coming vocalist.

Gandy, realizing that maybe Jim can’t help in helping book a demo recording session for Thea invites him out for a drink to at least listen to her perform. Angel overhears the money talked about and puts a plan of his own into motion that doesn’t come to fruition until the final moments of the episode in a hilarious way. Rockford admits Thea has talent and will no doubt make it big,

Trouble, however, rears its head as it seems there is a bit of a domestic squabble going on with Thea’s ex, Joe (Tony Burton), and this could leave Gandy out in the cold as Thea’s manager, but also heartbroken as it seems he’s developed some feelings for her as well.

It’s always fun when Hayes comes back to the fold on this show, and the dynamic between his character and Garner’s is always a lot of fun to watch, and this one was no exception. And as mentioned the final moments are just a lot of fun. Can’t believe we’re more done now with the series than not!





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