The Rockford Files

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The Rockford Files (1974–1980, with many subsequent made-for-TV movies) is an American detective (private investigator) television drama created and often written by Stephen J. Cannell. It stars James Garner as a charming ex-convict who lives in (and works out of) a seaside mobile home, drives a Pontiac Firebird, and struggles to make ends meet while serving a rogue's gallery of clients and friends, who often rope him into untenable situations. Each episode begins with Rockford's answering machine receiving a different humorous call placing more burdens on the hapless P.I.


Contents

Opening introduction (each episode)[edit]

  • Hello, this is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message. I'll get back to you. [beep]

Season 1[edit]

The Rockford Files: Backlash of the Hunter [Pilot][edit]

Sara Butler: You aren't afraid of him, are you?
Jim: You're damn right I am!

Sara Butler: How much of my own money am I going to earn back?
Jim: I usually pay my operatives 20 bucks an hour for this kind of thing.
Sara Butler: I wouldn't do it for less than 50.

Jim: You know what's wrong with karate Jerry? It's based on the ridiculous assumption that the other guy will fight fair.

Nick Butler: Who are you, the boyfriend?
Jim: No, what I am is about fifty pounds heavier and a whole lot meaner.

Jim: [right before Jerry hits him] You gotta be one of the dumbest looking apes I ever saw.

Mrs. Elias: [meeting Jim, who is posing as a Dean of Admissions] You look like a truck driver in a suit.

The Kirkoff Case [1.01][edit]

Larry Kirkoff: How about it, Mr. Rockford? Twenty thousand dollars can buy a lot of groceries.

Jim: I'm investigating the Kirkoff killings and I heard you were having an affair with Mrs. Kirkoff before she was killed.
Travis Buckman: Private cop, huh?
Jim: Look, you aren't gonna shoot anybody, we both know it, so why don't you put that thing away before you have an accident.
Travis Buckman: Who're you working for?
Jim: Well, that's confidential.
[Buckman cocks his gun]
Jim: Larry Kirkoff.

Jim: Can I have my pants back, please?

Jim: I have a special this week - Opinions come with no extra charge.

The Dark and Bloody Ground [1.02][edit]

[Beth hides Jim's car keys in her blouse]
Jim: If you think that's going to stop me, you've got a short memory.

The Countess [1.03][edit]

Exit Prentiss Carr [1.04][edit]

Jim: Cataloguing my virtues won't work either... I hold them to a minimum so they're easy to keep track of.

Tall Woman in Red Wagon [1.05][edit]

This Case Is Closed [1.06][edit]

Jim: [to Agent Shore] That’s my career specialty – ducking process servers.

The Big Ripoff [1.07][edit]

Find Me If You Can [1.08][edit]

Jim: What's wrong?
Rocky: I am THROUGH talking to you! Look at you, an inch or two to the right and you'd be missing that eye!
Jim: Yeah, but look at it this way, an inch or two to the left and he'd have missed me completely.

In Pursuit of Carol Thorne [1.09][edit]

The Dexter Crisis [1.10][edit]

Caledonia - It's Worth a Fortune [1.11][edit]

Profit and Loss (1) [1.12][edit]

Alec Morris: I was told that you were very reliable.
Jim: Reliable...but chicken.

Profit and Loss (2) [1.13][edit]

Aura Lee, Farewell [1.14][edit]

Sleight of Hand [1.15][edit]

Counter Gambit [1.16][edit]

Claire [1.17][edit]

Say Goodbye to Jennifer [1.18][edit]

Charlie Harris at Large [1.19][edit]

The Four Pound Brick [1.20][edit]

Just by Accident [1.21][edit]

Roundabout [1.22][edit]

Season 2[edit]

The Aaron Ironwood School of Success [2.01][edit]

The Farnsworth Stratagem [2.02][edit]

Gearjammers (1) [2.03][edit]

Gearjammers (2) [2.04][edit]

The Deep Blue Sleep [2.05][edit]

Bob Coleman: You say one word about that to Adrienne, and they'll be scraping you up in six counties!
Jim: Six? Why not one neat little package like Margo?

Dennis: [suspiciously] What are you going to do, Jim?
Jim: Oh...I don't know ... go home ... take a shower .....
Dennis: Stay out of it.
Jim: ... stay out of it...

The Great Blue Lake Land and Development Company [2.06][edit]

The Real Easy Red Dog [2.07][edit]

Resurrection in Black & White [2.08][edit]

Susan: You're a private investigator! Why aren't you armed?
Jim: Because I don't want to shoot anybody.

Susan: [as Jim is loading his gun] I thought you didn't like to shoot people.
Jim: I don't shoot it, I just point it!

Susan: What are you going to do, Dave?
Dave: I'm gonna get a woman, and get drunk!
Jim: I'll drink to that.
Susan: Well, I guess I can too.

Chicken Little is a Little Chicken [2.09][edit]

2 Into 5.56 Won't Go [2.10][edit]

Pastoria Prime Pick [2.11][edit]

Answering Machine: Hey Jimbo. Dennis. Really appreciate the help on the income tax. You wanna help on the audit now?

The Reincarnation of Angie [2.12][edit]

Jim: Well I said he had a federal ID. I didn't say he was a fed. He wasn't.
Angela Perris: How do you know?
Jim: Ah, because the picture on his ID was taken against a blue field like your driver's license. Feds have theirs taken against a yellow field. What he did was cut the picture out of his driver's license and paste it into a federal ID, and then encase it in plastic. Nice job, but it was a phony.
Angela Perris: How can you be so sure?
Jim: Oh, because that's what I did.

The Girl in the Bay City Boys Club [2.13][edit]

[Rockford pulls up to the speaker at a Jack in the Box drive-thru]
Young Man: Your order please.
Jim: Call the police.
Young Man: Your order, please!
Jim: That's it. You got it. There's a guy following me in a white 1974 Datsun, California plates. Tell the police I'll be headed south on Perdugo and for them to intercept.
Young Man: Are you nuts, mister? Is this a joke?
Jim: Just tell them he took a shot at me... and while you're at it could you throw in a taco and a bag of fries?

[Kate watches Jim pick the lock at the club]
Kate: That's illegal!
Jim: So is what we're about to do.

Angel: You know, I'm just an innocent bystander.
Thug: They're the ones that usually get shot.

The Hammer of C Block [2.14][edit]

Jim: Would you knock off that "Rockfish" stuff? The name is RockFORD!
Gandy: OK, Rockfish

The No-Cut Contract [2.15][edit]

Sturtevant: Ah, listen honey, try not to stare. I know it's difficult, but why don't you just relax and later the two of us will go get some coffee. I'll let you look at my scrapbook, hah?
Beth: That'd be lovely, only I gave up reading the funnies in the third grade.

A Portrait of Elizabeth [2.16][edit]

Joey Blue Eyes [2.17][edit]

In Hazard [2.18][edit]

The Italian Bird Fiasco [2.19][edit]

Jim: We're going to start doing things my way now.
Caine: You realize of course that's blackmail!
Jim: It's just business.

Where's Houston? [2.20][edit]

Foul on the First Play [2.21][edit]

A Bad Deal in the Valley [2.22][edit]

Jim: Old times only buys you one ticket and you cashed that yesterday.

Season 3[edit]

The Fourth Man [3.01][edit]

Jim: Well, if you hear anything bump in the night or you can't stand the sound of silence, I'm just a few blocks away.
Lori: And a good friend.
[They kiss]
Jim: Are you sure you don't want me to stay?

Lori: I'd feel better if I knew what you were going to do.
Jim: No, you wouldn't.
Rocky: I don't like it.
Jim: Rocky, you don't even know what I'm talking about!
Rocky: I don't need to. I don't like it!

The Oracle Wore a Cashmere Suit [3.02][edit]

Answering Machine: Teddy's Tree House! You've won our free landscaping service for one full year! We'll mow your lawn, top your trees, mulch, seed, fertilize and feed! Isn't that wonderful!

The Family Hour [3.03][edit]

Answering Machine: Hey Jim, it's Frank. Me and Ellie's down here for our convention. Can't wait to see you! Ah, should be over at your place about one am. Time flies, buddy!

Feeding Frenzy [3.04][edit]

Answering Machine: Hi, this is the Happy Pet Clinic. Your father gave us this number when he left town. The calico stray had six kittens. Please come get them - today!

Lt. Dan Hall: Well, yesterday you got yourself in a heap of trouble son.
Jim: Well gee Dad, how'd I do that?

Drought at Indianhead River [3.05][edit]

Angel: I don't go by Angel anymore...
Jim: Just who are you? The Archduke of Guacamole?

Angel: Now, who would want to kill me?
Jim: You want the list alphabetically or in order of importance?

Jim: Hey he's a really breath of stale air, isn't he?
Dominic Marcone Goon: He's a winner. What are you Mr. Rockford?
Jim: I'll let you know.

Dominic Marcone Goon: If I trust a guy, I expect him to be true with me. And if he doesn't, he's gonna end up in the flower business...as a soil additive!

Jim: Ranch’o Angelo! Sort of takes your breath away, doesn’t it?
Angel: It’s a DUMP! What a DUMP!
Jim: I don’t know, once you get in the Orange Groves and riding stables it won’t look too bad.
Angel: Do you think it’s funny?
Jim: No Angel, I don’t think it’s funny. As a matter of fact it scares me to death. I think it’s about time we take this to the cops.

Coulter City Wildcat [3.06][edit]

Answering Machine: It's Shirley at the Plant and Pot. There's no easy way to tell you this Jim. We did everything we could. Your fern died.

Jim: Dad, who turned you on to this scheme?
Rocky: Harry Schreau down at the Gear Tavern. He's the one always buying drinks for the house!
Jim: Dad, isn't Harry also the one who lost five hundred bucks on an astrology chain letter?

So Help Me God [3.07][edit]

Answering Machine: Doctor Salter's office. This is the third time you've cancelled. Now you have to have that root canal. A sore foot has nothing to do with your mouth!

Rattlers' Class of '63 [3.08][edit]

Answering Machine: Gene's 24 Hour Emergency Plumbing. Your water heater's blown? We'll have somebody out there Tuesday...Thursday at the latest.

Return to the Thirty-Eighth Parallel [3.09][edit]

Jim: Al, Al, be a good soldier. Don't die, just fade away.

Alvin Thomas: Are you a connoisseur of art?
Jim: I had a painted turtle when I was a kid.

Answering Machine: Tompkins at Guaranteed Insurance. About your burglary claim? Major loss alright. Funny you remembered to file... you didn't remember to pay your premium!

Piece Work [3.10][edit]

Answering Machine: This is Dr. Salter's office again regarding that root canal. The doctor's in his office...waiting. He's beginning to dislike you!

Dennis: Make lieutenant? I'll be lucky if I make the end of the week!

Rocky: I didn't like it when you was messing around with your boy scout knife. I sure don't like it now that you're messing around with machine guns!

[Dennis is cuffing Fred Molin]
Jim: Well, Fred...looks like you're going to have something to really be depressed about.

The Trouble With Warren [3.11][edit]

Beth: Warren is a brilliant chess player.
Jim: He's a turkey!

Jim: My next attorney's going to be a foundling - someone with no known relatives.

There's One in Every Port [3.12][edit]

Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones, but Waterbury Will Bury You [3.13][edit]

Jim: Okay, Vern, what's your problem? Rabies?

Vern St. Cloud: Why you're on a real crusade, aren't you. You're a regular Sir Guinevere!

Answering Machine: This is Department of the Army. Our records show you are the Rockford, James who failed to turn in his service automatic in May 1953. Contact us at once!

The Trees, the Bees and T.T. Flowers (1) [3.14][edit]

Answering Machine: Jimmy-y-y old buddy buddy, it's Angel! You know how they allow you one phone call... well this is it.

The Trees, the Bees and T.T. Flowers (2) [3.15][edit]

The Becker Connection [3.16][edit]

Answering Machine: Hi. Um. I'm confused. Is this Dial a Prayer? Well, should I call back when the reverend's in the office or what?

Jim: Well the name I came up with is Rafael Sabatini.
Angel: Well let me finish my story, huh? Sabatini. That's the name I got from four or five guys. Sabatini.
Jim: Angel, Rafael Sabatini has been dead for a coupla hundred years.

Just Another Polish Wedding [3.17][edit]

Hayes: You have a hair-trigger, Mr.Finch.
Gandy: That's right, mouth, and you're sitting on the edge of a big disaster.
Hayes: I like him Jimmy. He's got pluck.

Answering Machine: George Debohn, Malibu Space Watch. Had three sightings last week. You see anything unusual? Your television reception interrupted? Call 555-1313.

Gandy: Shut up Gabby!
Jim: [incredulous] Gabby?!
Hayes: [sighs] Yeah, that's what he calls me. Cute, huh?
Jim: [snorts in disbelief] Gabby and Gandy...sounds like a puppet show.

New Life, Old Dragons [3.18][edit]

Answering Machine: It's Pete. Hope you enjoyed using the cabin last week...only next time leave the trout in the refrigerator, huh, not the cupboard!

To Protect and Serve (1) [3.19][edit]

Peggy Becker: Just what is a buff?
Dennis: [looks uncomfortable] Well, it's a citizen who is fascinated by the police work. Like, you know, people who are into CB radios and broadwave shows, these people are buffs as we call them: they like to spend their time around the station getting to know the fellas, sorta hang out...
Peggy Becker: [angry] Dennis, that's not a buff, that's a groupie!

Lianne Sweeny: It may interest you to know that Sergeant Becker rolled a code three to a major four-fifteen which could have turned out to be a one-eighty-seven.
Jim: I flunked math.

To Protect and Serve (2) [3.20][edit]

Answering Machine: This is incredible! Do you know I had one of my dreams last night? I dreamed that if I called you you wouldn't be home...and you're not!

Crack Back [3.21][edit]

Answering Machine: This is Dr. Salter. My nurse tells me you've blown four root canal appointments. Well, you're finished in this office.

Dirty Money, Black Light [3.22][edit]

Answering Machine: This is Toby. I forgot what I was calling for. Your recording is so boring... spike it with some humor, some personality...something!

Season 4[edit]

Beamer's Last Case [4.01][edit]

Ramirez: My banking representatives will be by at five to cancel out the debt; have the money.
Jim: Representatives? Plural?
Ramirez: That's right
Jim: I guess they travel in pairs 'cause that way they have twenty fingers and twenty toes.

Answering machine: [Loud traffic noise in background] Jimmy, this is Angel. Listen, I've got this new pad right over by the Hollywood Freeway and some friends are coming. Borrow your record player?

Jim: Detective Digest, ‘strange cases from my file’, it's a weekly feature. Hear harrowing legal experiences by America's premiere defense attorney, He reads this stuff Dennis, he is one hundred percent chucklehead!

Ralph Steel: I'm getting my gun. Both of you guys are dead.
Freddie Beamer: Yeah? Well, go ahead! I'm not the kind of guy you can blow away with a threat!
Jim: Yeah, well I am!

Trouble in Chapter 17 [4.02][edit]

Jim: Look, I don't have a lead!
Ann Louise Clement: Except...
Jim: Some avenging feminist with a black belt in auto repairing.

Jim: It's my client's book, part Dear Abby, part Norman Vincent Peale and part Kama Sutra.
Rocky: What's a Kama Sutra?
Jim: It's a...uh...how-to book.

Jim: Somebody took a shot at her.
Dennis: Are you sure it wasn't a backfire?
Jim: It was a shot, Dennis.
Dennis: The doorman thinks it was a backfire.
Jim: Oh, and some expert he is since he's heard so many gunshots!
Dennis: He's heard a lot of backfires!

The Battle of Canoga Park [4.03][edit]

Rocky: Well anyone who keeps dirty laundry in their desk I think is pretty...
Jim: I knew right where to find it didn't I?

Rocky: Don't worry, Sonny. I mean, they can't throw you in jail for something you didn't do!
Jim: Isn't that what you said before I spent those fun-filled years at Quentin?

Rocky: Jimmy didn't kill nobody!
Jim: Jimmy's gun did.

Second Chance [4.04][edit]

Jim: Gandy's carrying around a $12 grudge in a $3 hat. He's not gonna be too gentle when it comes to collecting, so you either give me some answers or I'll drop him on your doorstep.
Theda: You wouldn't do that!
Jim: Watch me!

The Dog and Pony Show [4.05][edit]

Answering Machine: Jimmy. Lou. You owe me five bucks. Madarazo's average in the '68 Series was .310 not .350. Oh and, ha, ha, Fred and I are getting divorced.

Jim: But I will need a diversion so I can get back to Bloomberg's room and try to talk to him.
Angel: Oh! Now we're getting to the nitty-gritty. Now it's beginning to make sense. "Come on over to Rocky's, Angel." Serve my favorite food. First time I been invited over here for so much as a glass of water!
Rocky: [to Mary Jo] I could use a little help in the kitchen with the coffee and dessert.
Angel: Forget about the dessert! You don't buy Angel Martin with a couple of drumsticks and some red eye gravy.

Requiem for a Funny Box [4.06][edit]

Answering Machine: Mr. Rockford? Sue Ellen. Our class is having that crazy scavenger hunt I told you about. If you're wondering what happened to your trailer door, it's gonna win me first prize!

Quickie Nirvana [4.07][edit]

Jim: You've flipped from Ashram to watertank and back! Are you any happier for it? Look around you. You see a lotta bliss out there?
Sky: I don't think I've done so bad for being 32 years old.
Jim: You're 40. I've seen your driver's license.
Sky: I was 40, but I'm making positive affirmations! I'm 32. I'm youthing myself.
Jim: You're 40!
Sky: But I don't want to get old.
Jim: Well, neither do I!
Sky: But you see we don't have to. Not if...
Jim: There's nothing you can do about it. That's the way it is. I'm sorry to be the bearer of the bad news. There's no easy answer, you know. No quickie nirvana. You don't like it, tough! Join the club!

Irving the Explainer [4.08][edit]

Answering Machine: Hey, am I too late for those African goats? Haven't got the whole three hundred cash, but I've got a lot of homemade cheese. Maybe we could work something out?

Dennis: Let me get this straight: You have a client who has the same name as Herman Goering's HOUSE?!

Karen Hall: You met up with the Surete. They actually followed me. That's why I had that horrible feeling I was being watched. And they're the ones who ransacked my room!
Jim: Oh no, not nearly so simple. Your room was ransacked by an Olympic wrestling champion and a German ex-neurosurgeon.

Becker: [reviewing a microfiche] Stay back, please. This is official department memorandum, open only to the department.
Jim: Boy, mention the Nazis around you and it rubs off!

Karen Hall: Of course, Korper wasn't the only one of his time to be pro-Nazi.
Jim: Sure. There was Mussolini...

The Mayor's Committee From Deer Lick Falls [4.09][edit]

Jim: [after crashing the sabotaged Firebird to a stop] Well, what do you say let's forget the sushimi and call it a day?

Lauren: How long does it take to read a police report anyway?
Dennis: Quite a while, if you're Lt. Chapman.
Jim: Oh yes, sometimes he'll read a report twice if it's complicated. Actually tonight his attention span is pretty good.

Rankin: [to Rockford] Your file. I've never had the occasion to examine one this size before, and I've been with the Bureau of Consumer Affairs for nineteen years! You seem to have some sort of magnetic field that attracts controversy!

Answering Machine: So you put your machine on at night, huh? Just cause I call you at 3 am? You know how bad my insomnia is! Thanks a lot Jim!

Jim: You actually believe I would cater a killing?!

Benson: [Benson tossing Jim a wad of money] That's five thousand dollars.
Jim: Yeah, yeah I thought so. My hand size is a perfect five thousand.

Hotel of Fear [4.10][edit]

Angel: Muriel is dead! D-on-the-e-d!

Angel: I wrote a book about the whole thing.
Jim: You have trouble writing your laundry list!

D.A. Pleasance: Now, Del Kane is syndicate. If we can convict him, maybe we can get him to do some talking. He knows where a lot of bodies are buried.
Lt. Chapman: He planted them!

Answering Machine: Jimmy, this is Manny down at Ralph's and Marla's. Some guy named Angel Martin just ran up a fifty buck bar tab, and now he wants to charge it to you. You gonna pay?

Forced Retirement [4.11][edit]

Jim: [as "Jimmy Joe Meeker"] That's another thing my daddy always said: smart folks always eat off the same plate, but those greedy ones always spill their dinner.
Richard Lessing: I'm beginning to tire of your daddy.

Answering Machine: Hi there! [beep] If you're interested in selling your product by a computerized telephone sale, stay on the line and one of our representatives will speak to you!

Beth: I don't want to raid Harcourt and Lowe's client list when I leave, but I am worried about clients; where are they going to come from?
Jim: Oh hey, they'll come, they'll come! And, you know, you've always got me!
Beth: Thanks Jim. I was talking about paying clients though.

The Queen of Peru [4.12][edit]

Answering Machine: Jim, it's Grace at the bank. I checked your Christmas Club account. You don't have five hundred dollars, you have fifty... Sorry! Computer foul-up!

A Deadly Maze [4.13][edit]

[Jim has just been threatened by a butcher]
Rocky: What was that guy's beef?
Jim: What? Is that supposed to be funny?
Rocky: What'd I say? What'd I say?

Answering Machine: Hey Jimmy! I tried to catch you before you left! [chuckles] Hey buddy, I was wrong. That rally in Mexico? That was yesterday!

The Attractive Nuisance [4.14][edit]

The Gang at Don's Drive-In [4.15][edit]

Answering Machine: Jim I have finally finished 12 long years of psychotherapy and now I am able to tell you just what I think of you. Would you please call me?

The Paper Palace [4.16][edit]

Answering Machine: This is Mrs. Owens of the Organization for a Better Malibu. Thanks for your contribution. We've made great strides. It would help, dear, if you'd move your trailer.

Rita Capkovic: [at the Becker dinner table] You know the one animal I can't stand? Monkeys. I had one once. I only kept him for a couple of weeks. They make the place so smelly. Now you take cats. All you need is a litter box and that's it. Now that monkey, he made all over my new couch. He made all over my floor. You'd come through my door and find yourself up to your buns in ...
Peggy Becker: Broccoli?

Dwarf in a Helium Hat [4.17][edit]

South by Southeast [4.18][edit]

Jim: I don't have superiors. I have few peers and no superiors.

Answering Machine: Billy Skelly at EyeCo. Like to interest you in some new private detection equipment, including the 448 Telephonic Bug. We'll demonstrate it in a friend's home for one full week no charge.

The Competitive Edge [4.19][edit]

Answering Machine: Okay Jimbo, Dennis. I know you're in there and I know you know it's ticket season again; Policemen's Ball and all that. So come to the door when I knock this time. I know you're in there!

The Prisoner of Rosemont Hall [4.20][edit]

Answering Machine: That number four you just picked up from Angelo's Pizzeria? Some scouring powder fell on there; don't eat it! Hey, I hope you try your phone machine before dinner...

The House on Willis Avenue (1) [4.21][edit]

Richie Brockelman: Look, this guy actually lives in a trailer.
Jim: [indignant] Well what does that mean?
Richie Brockelman: Well, it just seems to me that living in a trailer is at the bottom.
Jim: I live in a trailer!
Richie Brockelman: Well, you know, not exactly the bottom, more like the middle. And of course, depending on what kind of trailer, it could be the upper middle. For instance I saw one in a magazine a couple of months ago. It could expand out into a two thousand foot home. Now a guy living in a place like that has the world by the...
Jim: Save yourself, son, it's not important.

Richie Brockelman: You know, I've been thinking, Mr. Rockford, that if you want my opinion, we may be barking up the wrong tree.
Jim: [nursing his shot gun wound] We're sure getting some strong feedback from the wrong tree.

The House on Willis Avenue (2) [4.22][edit]

[Jim breaks into Tooley's office the second time and is caught by BJ and Smithy]
BJ: Where's Brockelman?
Jim: Oh, its not my turn to watch him.
BJ: I can see you're gonna keep us in stitches.

External links[edit]

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