The Rockford Files (1979) – Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man’s Job: Part 2 and A Different Drummer


Season 5 comes to a close this week with the second part of last week’s two-parter.

The con continues under Jim’s (James Garner) able hand in this episode written by Juanita Bartlett that aired 3 March, 1979. The phone message features a rather lengthy call from a pest control company.

Things seem to be going smoothly, almost too well on the con, but Jim starts to worry when Angel (Stuart Margolin) gets in on it, posing as an Egyptian professor. I love that they mention that they rented all the Egyptology from Universal’s prop department.

Richie Brockelman (Dennis Dugan) is still playing the strait-laced card in his dealings with Coombs (Robert Webber), who now has his sights firmly set on taking Jim’s cowboy alter-ego, Jimmy-Joe Meeker down.

Things start to fray and worry, especially between Odette (Trisha Noble) and Jim. It’s obvious they could have a bit of a thing, even eight years later, and Jim is rather upset about how far it seems Odette is willing to go to perpetrate the con. It’s rather sad that she only appears in this double episode, because I quite like the chemistry Noble has with Garner.

The con plays itself out, not as smoothly at times as Jim would like but it all works out in the end. Things get resolved, hilarity occurs and Coombs gets his just rewards.

It’s always a delight to see Angel get on the con, and a nice relief from him being all cowardly all the time, sometimes you have to wonder how Jim can put up with him.


The final episode of the season, A Different Drummer, was written by Rudolph Borchert and aired on 13 April, 1979. The last phone message of the season features a call from a local supermarket asking if it’s ok for Angel’s purchase to go his account.

Jim ends up in the hospital when his truck his rear-ended by a drunk driver, a pair of hillbillies who think it’s safer to threaten Rockford against testifying than actually go to court. However, while he’s in hospital and injected with pain killers he thinks he sees an organ removal on someone who may, in fact, have been still alive.

Rocky (Noah Beery jr.) is upset over Jim’s injury the damage to his truck, and doesn’t believe Jim saw anything, and tells him that repeatedly. But when Jim starts to nose around, focussing on an organ clinic – Life Extension Foundation, a for profit medical company. It’s run by Dr. Yost (John Considine), the same man Jim saw doing the operation.

And through it all someone is taking shots at Jim, the drunk driver, who promised violence should Jim file charges. (Or was it someone else?)

Jim ends up liking Yost a bit, and they hang out, going to basketball games, dinners, and Jim wants to believe that things are on the up and up. But there’s more than a nagging doubt, and when there is another attempt on his life, Jim learns some terrifying things about Dr. Lee Yost.

And so ends Season 5 of The Rockford Files, next week, we begin the sixth and final season!

The Rockford Files - Season 1

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