The Rockford Files (season 3)

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The Rockford Files (season 3)
Country of originUnited States
No. of episodes22
Original networkNBC
Original releaseSeptember 24, 1976 (1976-09-24) –
April 1, 1977 (1977-04-01)
Season chronology
← Previous
Season 2
Next →
Season 4
List of The Rockford Files episodes

The third season of The Rockford Files originally aired Fridays at 9:00-10:00 pm on NBC from September 24, 1976 to April 1, 1977.


No. in
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
461"The Fourth Man"William WiardJuanita BartlettSeptember 24, 1976 (1976-09-24)
A rare coin dealer is also a hit man. A stewardess, Lori Jenivan (Sharon Gless), noticed that a passenger,the hit man, Timson Farrell (John McMartin), has visited a lot of cities recently and casually names them to him. He tells her she's wrong and then spends the episode trying to kill her. Jim and Dennis try to find evidence on him, but another hit man kills him before they can, and they shoot and arrest the second hit man. Includes Angel Martin.
472"The Oracle Wore a Cashmere Suit"Russ MayberryDavid ChaseOctober 1, 1976 (1976-10-01)
A psychic (Robert Webber) working with the police claims that Rockford knows more about a disappearance than he is willing to admit.
483"The Family Hour"William WiardGordon DawsonOctober 8, 1976 (1976-10-08)
Rockford bonds with a child (Kim Richards) whose father is on the run from narcotics agents. Includes Angel Martin.
494"Feeding Frenzy"Russ MayberryStory by : Lester Wm. Berke & Donald L. Gold
Teleplay by : Stephen J. Cannell
October 15, 1976 (1976-10-15)
The father, Charly Baylock (Eddie Firestone), of Sandy, a former fiancé of Rockford's wants to return the half-million dollars he stole three years ago. He wants to return it anonymously using Jim as a go-between. Sandy is played by Susan Howard. Matters go terrible, and Sandy is kidnapped twice. Jim is charged with robbery after the fact by a Lieutenant Hall (Richard LePore), from another Division, who seems a little too eager, maybe because he has a stake in the $500,000.
505"Drought at Indianhead River"Lawrence DohenyStephen J. CannellNovember 5, 1976 (1976-11-05)
Rockford asks a Mob friend, David Marcon (Vincent Baggetta), whether he's seen Angel lately, and he answers "Oh, haven't you heard, he died." Jim asked when, and he answered "tomorrow, or Thursday at the latest." Jim tracks Angel down to warn him, and he is living the high life in a penthouse apartment. David's Uncle, Dominic Marcon (Robert Loggia), finds out that he blabbed and orders him to do the hit, since he should clean up his own mess. A warned Angel's twice as hard to hit.
516"Coulter City Wildcat"Russ MayberryDon Carlos DunawayNovember 12, 1976 (1976-11-12)
After winning an oil rights lottery, Rocky is assaulted and forced to sign over the rights to an oil lease.
527"So Help Me God"Jeannot SzwarcJuanita BartlettNovember 19, 1976 (1976-11-19)

Rockford receives a subpoena to appear before a Grand Jury investigating the disappearance of Frank Sorvino. This episode exposes the unfairness of the Grand Jury system. Specifically

  • Once you answer any question, you can no longer take the 5th amendment.
  • If you refuse to testify (after the first question) you can be imprisoned for the duration of the Grand Jury.
  • Even if you invoke the 5th amendment properly, the prosecutor can still apply for "immunity" from the 5th amendment and subpoena you again and require you to testify.

Jim was asked about a telephone conversation he supposedly had with Frank Sorvino the day he disappeared, but Jim testified that the conversation never took place. But the Feds have a deposition from Sorvino's secretary saying she dialed the number and Jim answered, and Frank talked to him.

The second time Jim invokes the 5th correctly and the prosecutor, Gary Bevins (William Daniels), dismisses Rockford and says he will apply for immunity from the 5th. Jim makes an angry speech attacking Bevins personally for violating his rights and having more contempt for the law than anyone Jim did time with. (Bevins told the Grand Jury that Jim had a record, but wouldn't acknowledge the fact that he received a full pardon.) Jim was cited for contempt and ends up back in the slammer. Angel visits Jim there with a photograph of the camera shy Frank Sorvino for which he charges $50, and Jim recognizes Sorvino as his client George Capmann, and all becomes clear. Jim is viciously attacked in prison by Sorvino's goons to stop him testifying and ends up in hospital. All charges are dropped and Jim testifies to what he now knows, which is probably enough to indict Sorvino, but Gary Bevins is ungrateful. Rockford is dismissed, but the foreman allows him to make a final statement in which he quotes from an article he read in prison to the effect that any injustice, no matter how small, hurts all of us. When Bevins doesn't get the point, Jim reveals that the article was quoting him.

A printed statement appears on the screen to the effect that the laws regarding Grand Juries allow the injustices portrayed here to occur.

538"Rattlers' Class of '63"Meta RosenbergDavid ChaseNovember 26, 1976 (1976-11-26)
Angel is getting married to Regine Boyajian (Elayne Heilveil), and Jim is best man in a David Chase episode that shows Angel's human side. Angel is working a variation of the Red Barn scam on Regine's brothers, pretending to buy their garbage dump, not realizing that some members of a biker gang killed two Rattlers in 1963 and buried them there and will kill to prevent development of the land fill.
549"Return to the Thirty-Eighth Parallel"Bruce KesslerWalter DallenbachDecember 10, 1976 (1976-12-10)
A Korean War Army buddy, Brennan (Ned Beatty), drops in on Jim saying he's out of a job. He lost his job as muscle for a collection agency when they went bankrupt. A woman knocks on the trailer door and wants to hire Jim to find her sister. Jim says he doesn't take missing person cases, but Brennan says he will take it. Jim and Brennan start working the case together. It is revealed that Brennan is working freelance for an insurance company to find a Ming vase that was stolen from the Metropolitan Museum in New York, and the woman with the sister was a prostitute he hired. They both figure out that the Ming vase is on a train and eventually find it in a crate in the luggage compartment. The gangster who bought the vase appears and there is a scuffle, and ever the screw up, Brennan throws it off the train, and nobody ever finds it.
5510"Piece Work"Lawrence DohenyJuanita BartlettDecember 17, 1976 (1976-12-17)
While investigating an accident claim at a health club, Rockford is taken for a cop by Murray Rosner (Michael Lerner) and other club members planning an illegal arms deal. They attack Jim in his trailer and drop a prescription drug vial with Fred Mollin's name on it. After Becker runs the name through I and I, Rockford starts following Mollin and witnesses an arms buy. Jim informs Dennis and the resulting bust gains him a commendation and ups his pay grade, and Jim gets a reward of $5,000 from the Feds. It turns out that Murray Rosner was doing piece work for them,
5611"The Trouble with Warren"Christian I. Nyby IIJuanita BartlettDecember 24, 1976 (1976-12-24)
Beth's cousin Warren Weeks (Ron Rifkin) has an IQ of 158 and is a brilliant chess player. He's having a bad day--he is fired from his job at Leftcourt Electronics and accused of murder. Beth pleads with Jim to investigate the case. Jim is told that Warren was having an affair with Perry Leftcourt's wife Catherine.
5712"There's One in Every Port"Meta RosenbergStephen J. CannellJanuary 7, 1977 (1977-01-07)
Rockford is conned by an old prison buddy and his daughter and sets up an elaborate con in retaliation. Inspired by The Sting. Includes Angel Martin.
5813"Sticks and Stones May Break Your Bones, but Waterbury Will Bury You"Jerry LondonDavid ChaseJanuary 14, 1977 (1977-01-14)
A woman is setting up private investigators for her crimes.
5914"The Trees, the Bees and T.T. Flowers: Part 1"Jerry LondonGordon DawsonJanuary 21, 1977 (1977-01-21)
Thomas Tyler Flowers (Strother Martin) , a friend of Rocky's, is declared incompetent and committed against his will to Horizons Crest, where he is given drugs to make him appear paranoid and delusional. His daughter Cathy (Karen Machon) had been convinced by her husband, Sherman Royle (Alex Rocco), to commit her father, because he wants to inherit his 10 acres and sell it to developer Jack Muellard (Scott Brady), who will build apartments on it. Out of options and desperate, Jim decides to break Flowers out of Horizons Crest. The two are almost out the door when Part 1 ends.
6015"The Trees, the Bees and T.T. Flowers: Part 2"Jerry LondonGordon DawsonJanuary 28, 1977 (1977-01-28)
Rockford and Flowers make it out of Horizons Crest as the story continues. Flowers gets away from Jim and Rocky and holds out at his land with a rifle, and a swat team is called in. Flowers says he won't leave until the bulldozers leave. His daughter finally agrees to stop the sale of the land to Muellard, and so the head of the swat team orders the bulldozers to leave, and Flowers comes out, drops his gun, and the crisis ends. Feeling events getting away from him, Muellard, who is the ring leader, resorts to murder and violence, but the story ends with the perpetrators being arrested.
6116"The Becker Connection"Reza BadiyiStory by : Chas. Floyd Johnson and Ted Harris
Teleplay by : Juanita Bartlett
February 11, 1977 (1977-02-11)
Drug dealers steal confiscated heroin from the police and frame Dennis, who is then suspended. Jim and Angel hit the streets to find who set him up. Becker's policeman friend Andy was part of the setup, Dennis shoots him in self defense and reads him his rights as he lay dying. Becker's voice is trembling. Includes Angel Martin.
6217"Just Another Polish Wedding"William WiardStephen J. CannellFebruary 18, 1977 (1977-02-18)
Jim's Ex-con friend Gandolph Fitch (Isaac Hayes) returns for a second appearance. He's unhappy with his job as a bouncer and wants to become Jim's partner. To help him out, Jim introduces him to the slick P.I. Marcus Aurelius 'Gabby' Hayes, played by Louis Gossett Jr.. Gabby pumps Gandy and finds out the case Rockford is working on. So what we have are two investigative teams working on the same case. A classic scene ensues when Gabby and Gandy follow up a lead to a bar. When they go inside it's filled with Neo Nazis in uniform who say "We don't allow no cocoanuts in here." The inevitable fist fight ensues with Gandy coming out on top, and they meekly provide information to the "brothers."
6318"New Life, Old Dragons"Jeannot SzwarcStory by : Bernard Rollins & Leroy Robinson
Teleplay by : David C. Taylor
February 25, 1977 (1977-02-25)
A Vietnamese émigré disappears upon leaving a relocation center.
6419"To Protect and Serve: Part 1"William WiardDavid ChaseMarch 11, 1977 (1977-03-11)
Rockford's latest client, Michael Kelly (Jon Cypher), wants his fiancée, Patsy Fossler (Leslie Charleson), found. When Jim threatened to quit he told him if he didn't find her within 24 hours he would have him killed. Lianne Sweeny (Joyce Van Patten) is an annoying know-it-all police groupie who folds when faced with a real crisis.
6520"To Protect and Serve: Part 2"William WiardDavid ChaseMarch 18, 1977 (1977-03-18)
Rockford protects a woman from the syndicate.
6621"Crack Back"Reza BadiyiJuanita BartlettMarch 25, 1977 (1977-03-25)
A football player, David Woodhull (Howard McGillin), stands accused of murder and is being defended by Beth Davenport (Gretchen Corbett), who asks Rockford to help her locate his alibi, a married woman, Doreen Carpenter (Sondra Blake). Beth is also being terrorized.
6722"Dirty Money, Black Light"Stuart MargolinDavid C. TaylorApril 1, 1977 (1977-04-01)
Racketeers use Rocky's address as a cash drop for marked money while he's on vacation in Hawaii. Angel tells the Feds that Rocky is in Hawaii and even what Hotel. They arrest Rocky, bringing him back from Hawaii. While Jim is in the racketeers' office, the Feds, the cops, and a loan shark and his goons all shoot it out. Includes Angel Martin.