Much like his trusty Pontiac Firebird, The Rockford Files
was a particularly well-oiled machine by the third year. Everything was clicking into place, from the writing to the acting (writer/producer David Chase went on to create The Sopranos
). Despite a terrific supporting cast, James Garner was always the main draw, and he received an Emmy for the series during year three (1976-1977). Considering that the show was carefully pitched between drama and comedy, it was well deserved as Garner excelled at both. Notable episodes include "Feeding Frenzy," in which Rockford returns stolen loot for a client; "Drought at Indian Head River," in which informant Angel (Stuart Margolin) reinvents himself as a real estate developer; and "Rattler's Class of '63," in which Angel ties the knot. Among the guest stars are such hip cats as Blazing Saddles
's Cleavon Little ("Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones...") and Cool Hand Luke
's Strother Martin ("The Trees, the Bees, and T.T. Flowers"). Ned Beatty also drops by as a buddy from Korea ("Return to the 38th Parallel"), while R&B legend Isaac Hayes returns as prison pal Gandy Fitch ("Just Another Polish Wedding").
As usual, there are plenty of good lines, like Robert Loggia's "I expect him to tell me the truth. If he doesn't, he's gonna end up in the flower business--as a soil additive" ("Drought at Indian Head River") and Garner's "Stop batting your eyes like that or you're gonna get a muscle spasm" ("Return to the 38th Parallel"). The best part about season three is simply that it adds depth to Rockford's relationships with the four people most important to him: Angel, dad Rocky (Noah Beery Jr.), detective Becker (Joe Santos), and attorney Beth (Gretchen Corbett). The only extra feature is "Quickie Nirvana," an episode from the fourth season. --Kathleen C. Fennessy
Reunite with Jim Rockford, the quintessential antihero detective, in all 22 Season Three episodes of the action-packed, five-time Emmy Award-winning mystery series The Rockford Files! In the season that won him an Emmy, James Garner stars as the wisecracking ex-con-turned-private-eye whose approach to crime is cooler than his sleek Pontiac Firebird and more casual than his mobile home in Malibu. Filled with wry humor, chilling suspense and engaging mysteries, this five-disc collection includes such celebrated guest stars as Veronica Hamel, Ron Rifkin, Burt Young and more. It's an open-and-shut case: This is classic Rockford entertainment you just can't afford to miss!