Jim Rockford (television character)

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James Scott Rockford
James Garner as "Jim Rockford".jpg
First appearance "Backlash of the Hunter"
Last appearance "Deadlock in Parma"
Created by Stephen J. Cannell
Portrayed by James Garner
Aliases Many, including "Jim Taggart" and "Jimmy Joe Meeker" (two used most often).
Gender Male
Occupation Private Investigator
Family Joseph "Rocky" Rockford (father), Unnamed mother

Jim Rockford is a fictional character on the television series The Rockford Files. The character, played by James Garner, is a struggling private investigator operating in the greater Los Angeles area. Rockford is the principal character of the series, and Garner was the only actor to appear in every episode of the series.

Unlike many other fictional "private eyes", he is a former convicted person, albeit one who was falsely imprisoned (and later fully pardoned. One episode tells that because of the carelessness of his Parole officer, Rockford had to hire an attorney to be free of parole violations[1]}. During the series, it is also revealed that because of Sgt./PFC Rockford's actions in Korea, he was a Sgt who was WIA and awarded a Silver Star while serving in the Korean War[2] with the 24th Infantry Division. After being busted to Private he was promoted to Sgt after conning the North Koreans to exchange a tank for a 400 cases of K rations so his encircled unit could escape; however he was soon busted back to PFC when it was discovered he was running a string of pool halls in Seoul and stealing a Major General's car. [3] He also forgot to return his service pistol and gets a call from the army about it after 23 years.[4] A running gag is whenever Rockford gets involved with cases connected to members of his old Division, Jim is usually in trouble.[5][6] {The reference to the 24th Division is an in-joke-James Garner actually served in the 5th Infantry Regiment (United States) of the 24th Infantry Division aka "Taro Division" during the Korean conflict}.A second running gag is that even when Rockford solves a case, he usually doesn't get paid his $200.00 per day fee by his clients-or somehow ends up losing! According to an Add in the Yellow Pages, He has been a P.I. since 1968.

Jim dated many women during the course of The Rockford Files (with most relationships not lasting longer than a single episode), most notably his lawyer, Beth Davenport, whom he was said to have dated seriously before the series began. In the 1980s, he was once married to a woman named "Kit" (last name never given) according to the storyline in the first of the Rockford Files made for television movies, 1994's "The Rockford Files: I Still Love L.A." In one of the first scenes, Jim is seen with his ex-wife Kit, played by Joanna Cassidy. It is unknown when they were married, for how long, or the reason for their divorce. They had no children. He maintains a close relationship with his father Joseph "Rocky" Rockford, and his closest friend is LAPD Sgt. (later Lt.) Dennis Becker (who also serves as his LAPD contact); in addition, he has a large group of colorful friends-one who particularly is the comic relief Angel Martin (Stuart Margolin); a running gag is that Martin's hare brained con jobs usually result in Jim getting beaten up; put in jail or some kind of trouble. He enjoys fishing, and would rather spend time doing that than working. Jim is frequently seen eating Mexican food, usually Tacos and Burritos. He often describes himself as "chicken" though often his actions speak otherwise. He lives in an exterior battered (but very well appointed on the interior) mobile home on the beach in Malibu, California and drives a gold colored Pontiac Firebird Esprit. The year of the Esprit coincides with the year of the series, with the exception of 1979-80, as star James Garner did not like the look and handling of the 1979 model, so the 1978 was reused.

The detective story writer Stuart M. Kaminsky has written two books with Jim Rockford as the main character, entitled The Green Bottle and The Devil on My Doorstep.


In 1999, TV Guide ranked him # 25 on its 50 Greatest TV Characters of All Time list.[7] AOL TV named him one of TV's Smartest Detectives.[8]

References in other media[edit]

In "Ruskie Business", an episode of the television series Veronica Mars, Logan Echolls calls the titular character "Rockford", referencing Jim Rockford.[9]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ [The Rockford Files 2/21 "Foul on the First Play"]
  2. ^ "The Rockford Files - Season 2, Episode 10: 2 Into 5.56 Won't Go - TV.com". TV.com. Retrieved 2 October 2014. 
  3. ^ The Rockford Files 2/10 "2 into 5.56 won't go"
  4. ^ The Rockford Files 3/13 Phone call
  5. ^ The Rockford Files 3/9 "Return to the Thirty-Eighth Parallel"
  6. ^ The Rockford Files 4/3 "The Battle of Coonga Park
  7. ^ TV Guide Book of Lists. Running Press. 2007. p. 190. ISBN 0-7624-3007-9. 
  8. ^ "TV's Smartest Detectives". AOL TV. November 18, 2011. Retrieved February 3, 2013. 
  9. ^ "Ruskie Business Cultural References". Mars Investigations: The (In)Complete Guide to Veronica Mars. Retrieved January 12, 2015.