Jim Rockford is back and better than ever in all 22 Season Two episodes of the celebrated detective hit The Rockford Files. Join James Garner in his breakout Emmy-winning role as the cool, calm and collected ex-con-turned-detective who loves to mouth off but avoids using his fists at all costs. He takes his time, but always solves the crime - whether it be blackmail, theft, scams or murder! Along for the ride on this five-time Emmy-winning series are such stellar guest stars as Rob Reiner, Louis Gossett Jr., Linda Evans, Isaac Hayes and Dick Butkus. Also included for the first time on DVD is the original series pilot. With his no-nonsense approach and wisecracking wit, it's no mystery that Rockford always gets his man.
"The best detective series ever," according to TV Guide
, the second Rockford Files
set begins at the beginning. That's because the double-length pilot ("Backlash of the Hunter") appears as an extra. In this episode, Jim Rockford (James Garner) explains to guest star Lindsay Wagner, "I only handle criminal cases that are closed." The first Rockford file also introduces his errant father, Rocky (Robert Donley, who'll soon be replaced by Noah Beery Jr.), detective buddy Dennis (Joe Santos, The Sopranos
), and squirrelly pal Angel (Emmy winner Stuart Margolin) with whom he did time at San Quentin (before being granted a full pardon). Season two highlights include the two-part "Gearjammers," in which Rockford discovers his dad's secret life, "Chicken Little Is a Little Chicken," in which Rockford helps Angel fake his death, and "The Hammer of C Block," with Isaac "Shaft" Hayes as a former cellmate who just can't get his name straighthe thinks it's "Rockfish." (The Oscar-winning Hayes also contributes an original number called "Gandy's Theme.") Even when the episodes are less memorable, Garner's easygoing Oklahoma charm and potent chemistry with his co-stars, including lawyer/ex-girlfriend girlfriend Beth (Gretchen Corbett), makes each one worth watching. Like most Stephen J. Cannell programs (Baretta
, 21 Jump Street
, etc.), The Rockford Files
never had any difficulty attracting famous (and soon-to-be-famous) guests. The second year claims such notables as Linda Evans ("The Farnsworth Stratagem"), Stefanie Powers ("The Real Easy Red Dog"), Blair Brown ("The Girl in the Bay City Boys Club"), Rob Reiner ("The No-Cut Contract"), and Louis Gossett Jr. ("Foul on the First Play'). The only other bonus feature is a short, if informative interview with Cannell, who reveals that the character of Joseph "Rocky" Rockford was modeled after his own father. --Kathleen C. Fennessy