Opening up ‘The Rockford Files’

There have been a lot of great private investigators on television.  While many gravitate towards Magnum PI, which has to

There have been a lot of great private investigators on television.  While many gravitate towards Magnum PI, which has to be because of Tom Selleck’s amazing moustache.  One would be remised to discount James Garner in The Rockford Files.

For six seasons more solid turned convict turned PI, Jim Rockford fought for the little guy.  When he wasn’t trying to run away or just be left alone.  It was a classic show that many tried to emulate.  Glen A. Larson loved the show so much that James Garner ended up taking him to court for plagiarising episodes of The Rockford Files for use in his own shows.  Larson was fined by the US Writer’s Guild and, according to Garner, Larson was punched in the face by the actor.

Garner loved the show and the only reason that he stopped the show like that he became ill with stomach ulcers late into the last season.  The studio didn’t think he was going to be able to come back to they canned the show.  Something that Garner never got over.

Even after the end of the series, Garner would return to the role for eight TV movies from 1994 to 1999.  So it was a role that never left his heart.  Sadly, Garner passed away in 2014, but it would have been great to have just one more Rockford romp with him in the role.

What was your favourite Rockford episode?  Were you more of a fan of The Rockford Files or Magnum PI?


  1. mark klein  

    The Hawaiian backdrop in Magnum PI was nice, but the storys in Magnum were nearly as interesting as Rockford. There was more action and better writing for the Rockford files.

  2. maury  

    Rockford is my favorite. Better mysteries, supporting cast, recurring and guest characters, soundtrack (not just the theme, but the variety of soundtrack music from show to show). Incredible guests (Bacall, Isaac Hayes, Ansara, etc.), etc.

    There were tons of memorable guest characters (the picture above!) some of which generated spinoffs (Lance White / Selleck, Richie Brockelman / Jeff Dugan), etc. and great scripts / story lines that were very memorable. Favorite episodes – too many to choose. A few might be “Quickie NErvana,” “The Aaron Ironwood School of Success,” “Beamer’s Last Case,” “The Queen of Peru,” “The Trees, the Bees, and TT Flowers” or many others. Really – not much of a contest in my opinion.

  3. Rocky  

    Gear Jammers was my favorite. There was never a better chase scene.

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