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The Rockford Files

The Rockford Files

NBC 1974

Cranky but likable L.A. PI Jim Rockford pulls no punches (but takes plenty of them). An ex-con sent to the slammer for a crime he didn't commit, Rockford takes on cases others don't want, aided by his tough old man, his lawyer girlfriend and some shady associates from his past.

Rolling Stone's 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time NBC 1900 Titles Top TV Series (1970-2013) 4 RM-Mystery, crime, suspense 650 Best Films: w/Few Ratings 70's TV Shows WGA's 101 Best Written TV Series 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time - Rolling Stone Primetime Emmy Awards - Outstanding Comedy/Drama/Variety Series Winners Classic TV shows on streaming

The 10 Best Episodes of The Rockford Files

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  • Last updated: jul 06, 2021



    Why sooo much harmonica in a show based in LA?


    After beeing fairly dissapointed with a lot of post 2010 shows I dug into my collection and re discoverd The Rockford Files. I do like a lot of the 70s shows, the look and feel of the times. And I had fond memories of this one but never watched it completely. So it was time to change that. Of course not all 70s shows were great but The Rockford Files is a true classic and one of TVs landmarks. Here was a P.I. like no one before. For starters he is a paroled ex-con. That alone would have been worth a first look into the show. He is afraid of guns althought he uses one occasionally. Always seemed a bit reluctant to take on clients. Shies away from violence and is not afraid to admit to chicken. Always seems to be doing things for money and not because they are the right thing to do. This kind of character traits usualy went along with the guys on the other side of the law in TV land. Yet Rockfords moral compass is very strong and he has a very keen sense of wrong or right. Which made him a unique and, due to Garners great portrayal, very likeable guy. Althought at first glance you get the usual detective stories the wrinting was phantastic, there are hardly any bad episodes. And back then a lot of the story ideas were rather new and had not been used too much. The dialogues were crisp and had a smart humor and witt. The main and recuring characters were, with one exception, likeable. The exception beeing low life Angel. He never contributed anything for a story, he was mostly a nuisance. He was like stuff on your shoe you try to get of but sticks to you no matter what. The scripts would have worked fine without him or any other doing his part. With Angel you always knew what would come which was why I always let out a groan when reading the name in the opening credits and that never changed throughout the whole run. But that´s my personal opionion. I´m not blaming Margolin as I am sure he played him like he was written. I would have rather seen more out of Beth then the usual getting Rockford out of prison. Both, the actors and the characters, had good chemistry. I really liked Gretchen Corbett who totally disapeared later on. When I think about it that cop Lt. Chapman who always tried to pin every crime in the vicinity on Rockford: that wore out fast, too. Those thing never work if used often. Towards the end of its run there were some scripts that lacked quality but that wasn´t the reason for the show to end. It was Garners health, the toll the show took on him, and I remember something about a lawsuit against NBC, that ended the show midway through the sixth season. They came back in the mid 90s with some TV movies but for me they lacked somewhat in quality. It was the typical made-for-TV movie of the time that stretched the content of a one hour script into a two hour format. Now, I am not saying they should be avoided but unless you are one of the guys who wants to see everything there is really no need to do so. Finally one nother thing that never occured to me while watching this way back is how many later shows had similarities to The Rockford Files. Think about the A-Team, another Cannell show, when Rockford was doing a con. And Magnum p.i. seemed to be another take on Rockford altogether.

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