While I was too young to catch the James Garner classic, the Rockford Files, in its original run I was able to watch it on reruns on a local television station in the afternoons after school. I’ve been a huge fan of it ever since. It was created by Roy Huggins (Maverick) and Stephen J. Cannell (A-Team), Huggins had wanted to try to capture the lightning in the bottle that he crafted with Garner back in the days of Maverick, yet set in contemporary times.
The magic of the show rests almost solely with Garner as Jim Scott Rockford, a private investigator in cold cases, who also happened to be a guest at the San Quentin Prison for five years, and as we learn he was truly wrongly accused and has the pardon from the Governor on his office wall. What works so well with how Garner plays Rockford is he a working class P.I., his clothes are not fancy and he is constantly bouncing checks because his clients normally end up not paying his $200 a day fee plus expenses. Jim hardly ever carries a gun, mostly because he doesn’t have a license to do so, but he tend to try to talk his way out of dangerous situations.
There have been quite a few guest stars in its run, including a young James Woods in the second episode. There is also another private investigator that sometimes works with Rockford, more debonair than Jim, Lance White, who just so happens to be played by a young Tom Selleck! Other noteworthy actors in the series are Tom Atkins, Joe Santos, James Whitmore Jr., Simon Oakland, and Louis Gossett Jr.
The Rockford Files is available on Netflix instant, so if you have yourself with some free time on your hand, take a moment and give it a look. I’m pretty sure you will be glad you did!