The Rockford Files (1977/1978) – A Deadly Maze and The Attractive Nuisance

 

Jim (James Garner) finds himself in more trouble this week, which sees the last episode of ’77 and the first of ’78 under review.

First up is A Deadly Maze, which aired 23 December, 1977 and was written by Juanita Bartlett. The phone gag this time out features a call from a friend of Jim’s letting him know that he got the date wrong, the rally was yesterday…

A familiar face to TV viewers pops up in this episode, as Larry Linville (Frank from M*A*S*H*), takes on the role of Dr. Eric Albich. Albich hires Rockford to find his missing wife, something that Jim doesn’t want to do at first, but through some extra monetary motivation, he finally relents, figuring he can finish the case in a day. As his search begins for Tracy (Corinne Camacho), Jim comes across some rather disturbing clues, and the possibility that Albich’s wife may be having an affair, and then discovers, she may not be his wife at all…

But every lead brings him up against the threat of violence, and he thinks about backing off the case, until Albich throws more money at him. Jim reluctantly continues, until Tracy turns up dead, and then, revelations on all sides are made, including the real motivation behind Albich’s actions.

I quite liked seeing Larry Linville in this episode, though honestly, separating the actor from his performance of Frank Burns will always be tough for me, he always comes across on screen as a bit of a weasel, which serves him perfectly in this episode. And I loved the revelations as they started rolling in.

Also a surprise appearance… Lance Legault!!

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The second episode, The Attractive Nuisance, was directed by Dana Elcar! and was written by Cannell, with an original airdate of 6 January, 1978. The phone message this time around features a call from Jim’s aunt, who calls him Jimmy Scott, and tells him that her son wants to  move to Hollywood to be a producer, so get on that…

Rocky (Noah Beery Jr,) has teamed up with a cook named Vince (Ken Lynch) and opened a new truck-stop, Rocky Summit, but things don’t seem to be going to well for the duo, and after an odd break-in Jim starts digging around, while at the same time trying to deal with a potential lawsuit from someone who had climbed up on his trailer’s roof to use Rocky’s telescope.

As Jim investigates, he comes across an elderly man, Eddie LaSalle (Victor Jory), who may be involved in ways that at the moment, Jim certainly doesn’t believe, but as the old man’s story begins to pan out, we learn that Vince may be connected to the mob, and maybe the new truck-stop is being used as a front for swapping of cargoes and other dark dealings.

This one was light and entertaining, and you have to feel a little bad for Rocky, he so badly wants the Summit to be a success, but Vince is so heavy-handed with the garlic no one wants to eat any of it, and those folks who do show up aren’t there for the food…. And meanwhile, Jim is trying to prove that the guy who fell off his roof is faking his injuries…

More next week!

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