The first episode up on this installment, may in fact be one of my favorite episodes. Written by Rogers Turrentine, A Material Difference aired on 24 February, 1979. The phone message was a good indicator of how much I would enjoy this episode, apparently Jim (James Garner) gave a 200 page deposition, but it has been misplaced, could he come in tonight and give it again before the case goes to court tomorrow?
Angel (Stuart Margolin) gets everyone into trouble, when he decides he’s stumbled on the perfect con. He’s posing as a hitman, who takes half up front on any contract. He collects the money, and then disappears… he figures who will turn him in to the police if he doesn’t fill the contract and kill the target?
Unfortunately, he and Jim, who much against his will get pulled into things, get involved in something bigger and, honestly, odder than anything they’ve dealt with before.
Jim is, naturally, outraged with Angel yet again, but this time it finally (I’ve been waiting for this scene forever!) is too much, and Rockford simply blows up at the con man, unable to control himself. Jim must wonder how they can still be friends after so long, when all Angel does is look out for himself, can be counted on the be a coward, each and every time, and is always trying to find the angle to make the best money.
This one definitely pushes them to the limit. Even Rocky (Noah Beery jr.) lets Angel have it, being tired of the self-involved character.
Loved this episode so much!
The con is on in the next episode, Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man’s Job – Part 1. This one aired 3 March, 1979 and was written by Juanita Bartlett. The phone gag may, again have been predicting the end of the series… It’s a call saying as of midnight tonight, Jim’s investigator licence isn’t being renewed.
Richie Brockleman (Dennis Dugan) is back, and he’s looking for help from fellow p.i., Rockford.
His father has been intimidated into selling his printing company to Harold Jack Coombs (Robert Webber). Realizing that a legal approach won’t work, he wants to run a con on Coombs to get revenge for his father and get the family company back.
It is going to be a huge con, a Sting-sized game and Richie and Jim actually hold auditions. Angel doesn’t make the cut.
What they do come up with is a long game involving race cars, antiquities and King Tut, all while Jim pretends to be an arrogant, high-rolling cowboy.
It works out pretty well for Richie and Jim, as Richie plays an abused, incredibly smart employee of Rockford’s and consequently Coombs sees a way in, which we all know will play out as a beautiful con, and ruin this man who seemed to take such personal delight in stealing the Brockleman’s business.
The episode ends rather abruptly, not so much on a cliff-hanger, but more simply out of time. (The story originally aired as a double episode back to back).
So I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out what happens as we finish off Season 5!