The Rockford Files (season 4)

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The Rockford Files (season 4)
Country of origin United States
No. of episodes 22
Original network NBC
Original release September 16, 1977 (1977-09-16) – February 24, 1978 (1978-02-24)
Season chronology
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Season 3
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Season 5
List of The Rockford Files episodes

The fourth season of The Rockford Files originally aired Fridays at 9:00-10:00 pm on NBC from September 16, 1977 to February 24, 1978.


No. in
Title Directed by Written by Original air date
68 1 "Beamer's Last Case" Stephen J. Cannell Story by : Booker Bradshaw & Calvin Kelly
Teleplay by : Stephen J. Cannell
September 16, 1977 (1977-09-16)
Rockford learns that a real loser stole his identity while he was away on vacation, living in his trailer, wearing his clothes, driving his car, being a PI, calling himself James Rockford.
69 2 "Trouble in Chapter 17" William Wiard Juanita Bartlett September 23, 1977 (1977-09-23)
An author believes a feminist group is plotting her murder.
70 3 "The Battle of Canoga Park" Ivan Dixon Juanita Bartlett September 30, 1977 (1977-09-30)
Once again, Rockford is a suspect in another murder case when his gun is stolen from his cookie jar-and a crazed militia group tries to kill him!
71 4 "Second Chance" Reza Badiyi Gordon Dawson October 14, 1977 (1977-10-14)
The girlfriend singer of Rockford's penitentiary pal Gandolph Fitch (Isaac Hayes) is abducted. Malachi Throne plays Mr. Shapiro
72 5 "The Dog and Pony Show" Reza Badiyi David Chase October 21, 1977 (1977-10-21)
Jim and Angel are given suspended sentences for stealing silverware from restaurants, on condition they attend group therapy. Mary Jo Flynn (Joanne Nail) has a history of paranoia and says in the sessions that she thinks she's being followed. Jim investigates and crosses paths with the Mob and the CIA. Includes Angel Martin.
73 6 "Requiem for a Funny Box" William Wiard Story by : Burt Prelutsky
Teleplay by : James Crocker
November 4, 1977 (1977-11-04)
A comedian asks Rockford to protect him from his bad-tempered ex-partner. This 1977 episode is notable for its depiction of the efforts high profile gay men and their families would go to, to keep a gay man's sexual orientation secret during that era.
74 7 "Quickie Nirvana" Meta Rosenberg David Chase November 11, 1977 (1977-11-11)
The ultimate flower child, Jane Patten, aka Sky Aquarian aka Gopi aka Hester (Valerie Curtin), uses Jim's mailing address. She was supposed to deliver a package for her employer, but forgot. The package contained $30,000 and they think she stole the money and send thugs after her.
75 8 "Irving the Explainer" James Coburn David Chase November 18, 1977 (1977-11-18)
Karen Hall, aka Kathryn Cooper (Barbara Babcock) hires Rockford but is less than candid with him. She really wants him to help her find a valuable painting stolen from the Nazis. Rockford gives himself a headache trying to solve the connection between this and a 30 year old murder. The plot is deliberately and humorously perplexing. Jim hires a woman from the University of California to keep track of the logic for him on a big board. Two rather violent Germans from the Wehrmacht beat up Jim. Two Frenchmen from the Súreté spend several hours explaining the long story of the painting and murder to a group that includes Jim, Dennis, and Chapman. Dennis repeatedly asks "Could I have a spelling on that last name." At the end of the episode, Irving Patrick (Byron Morrow) collapses on Rockford's lawn and confesses to the 30 year old murder and tells a different story about the painting--that it never made it to the US. Jim tells him he will get Sgt. Becker, and that Irving had better explain it all to Dennis. But then Irving drops dead from a heart attack. This was James Coburn's only credit as a director.
76 9 "The Mayor's Committee from Deer Lick Falls" Ivan Dixon William R. Stratton November 25, 1977 (1977-11-25)
Jim is hired by four big shots from a small town in Michigan to help them look at second hand fire engines and buy one. One of them, Everet Alton Benson (Edward Binns) also hires Rockford to find his niece, Lauren Ingeborg (Priscilla Barnes), who happens to live in Los Angeles, and whom her aunt is worried about. After Jim locates her, the four of them offer Jim $20,000 to arrange for her to have a fatal accident. Rockford spends the rest of the episode protecting her from them, and they make repeated attempts on both their lives. Their concern is that she could bring the IRS down on them.
77 10 "Hotel of Fear" Russ Mayberry Juanita Bartlett December 2, 1977 (1977-12-02)
Angel is put in protective custody for testifying against a hit man. Unfortunately for Angel, the Hitman is acquitted and Angel becomes the hitman's next target. At the end, after Angel's attempt to exploit this experience with a book deal fails, he grumbles that everyone but him got something out of this, and Jim says to Angel "You did get something out of it--not much--nothing to brag about--your life."
78 11 "Forced Retirement" Alexander Singer William R. Stratton December 9, 1977 (1977-12-09)
Beth's old college friend, Susan Kenniston (Margie Impert), is in trouble when her company that is developing a submersible robot explorer becomes the target of the treacherous Richard Lessing (Larry Hagman). Jimmy Joe Meeker comes to her rescue. Beth may be fired from her law firm. Angel blow's Rockford's cover for $50.
79 12 "The Queen of Peru" Meta Rosenberg David Chase December 16, 1977 (1977-12-16)
The RV family from hell decides to set up camp next door to Jim's trailer, just when he's got the recovery of a stolen diamond on his mind. Thieves negotiate with an insurance agent, Stephen Kalifer (George Wyner), to get $1 million for returning a $2 million diamond. At the last minute they decide to hide it in Rockford's barbecue grill, which the RV family then takes with them when they leave, and Rockford and everybody else tries to track them down. Ken Swofford plays Carl Wronko, the head of the RV family from Peru, Indiana.
80 13 "A Deadly Maze" William Wiard Juanita Bartlett December 23, 1977 (1977-12-23)
Rockford's latest client doesn't seem desperate to find his missing wife. Larry Linville guest stars as a behavioural psychologist. Jim is an unwitting participant in an experiment, running a maze. But it's a deadly maze, because the actress, Tracy Marquette (Corinne Camacho), playing the wife actually gets killed. Jim and the Doctor work together to find her killer.
81 14 "The Attractive Nuisance" Dana Elcar Stephen J. Cannell January 6, 1978 (1978-01-06)
Rocky and his friend Vinnie Whitehead (John Morgan Evans) open a diner for truckers by the main highway. Rocky and Jim try to break it gently to Vinnie that he puts too much garlic in everything. An unexplained break-in at the diner has connections with the FBI fifty years ago. It turns out that the snooper, Eddie LaSalle (Victor Jory), was an FBI agent 50 years ago, now tracking down Vinnie Coppabianco on his own time. He explains to Jim that "Coppabianco" is Italian for "Whitehead" and asks if that makes things clear to him. Jim says "That explains the garlic." Eddie and Jim work together to get the goods on Vinnie. This Episode features Gretchen Corbett's final appearance as Beth Davenport in the series (though she does return in the reunion movies of the 1990s.) In a subplot, Beth helps Jim fight a lawsuit resulting from Rocky watching a whale migration from a telescope on Jim's roof. He leaves it up there often, along with a ladder, forming an "attractive nuisance". Someone falls off the roof, and ambulance chasing lawyers sign him up to sue Jim for millions.
82 15 "The Gang at Don's Drive-In" Harry Falk James Crocker January 13, 1978 (1978-01-13)
Anthony Zerbe plays a writer friend, Jack Skowran, who hires Jim to do background research for a book on his high school class of 1962, but Jim finds out that the book is really about the 16-year-old murder of a teenage girl by a spoiled rich kid, followed by an expensive coverup. When Jim is getting too close, Stan Collier (Mills Watson) hires a hit man to take care of him.
83 16 "The Paper Palace" Richard Crenna Juanita Bartlett January 20, 1978 (1978-01-20)
Rita Capkovic (Rita Moreno) is a prostitute who appears in three Rockford Files episodes. She is Dennis Becker's (Joe Santos) snitch and meets Rockford in this episode. She hires Jim to investigate two French Canadian Ottawa Senators hockey players who broke into her apartment while she and Jim were there. She is afraid they are going to kill her. She stays with her friend Maggie Gillson (Shirley O'Hara), and the same two Canadians break into Maggie's apartment when Rita is away and kill her. But were they trying to kill Rita or Maggie? At the end of the episode Rita learns that she has inherited $300,000 from Maggie.
84 17 "Dwarf in a Helium Hat" Reza Badiyi Stephen J. Cannell and David Chase January 27, 1978 (1978-01-27)
A killer calls Rockford by mistake. He tells him his dog is dead and that he and his lady friend, Carol Lansing (Rebecca Balding), will be next. Jim looks in the phone book and sees that "Jay Rockfelt" is the listing directly above his. He goes to the address and hears a dog whimpering pitifully and carries it to his car and drives it to a veterinary hospital. Jim rushes back to Rockfelt's house in time to see Carol being attacked by two men and manages to rescue her. Jim and Carol go to meet Jay Rockfelt (John Pleshette) at a "Paris at Dawn" party, and he is a piece of work! Selfish and self centered beyond belief!
85 18 "South by Southeast" William Wiard Juanita Bartlett February 3, 1978 (1978-02-03)
Rockford gets involved with a Federal undercover operation against con artists. Inspired by North by Northwest. A case of mistaken identity. The Feds think Rockford is their agent Terence Halsey and they fly him to some Spanish speaking country. In his limited Spanish he asks the two characters who pick him up at the airport what country it is, their opaque answer goes on for 5 minutes, and he says "OK. Thank you." Like Cary Grant in North by Northwest he slips into character and starts doing Terence Halsey's job. The operation involves rescuing an heiress, Christine Van Deerlin (Dorrie Kavanaugh). She is essentially a prisoner, and her husband is the warden. In a reference to Notorious she is being poisoned by her husband, and Jim takes her to the hospital.
86 19 "The Competitive Edge" Harry Falk Gordon Dawson February 10, 1978 (1978-02-10)
Rockford must find an alleged embezzler, Barry Brauder (Jim McMullan), who went missing after posting bail. Barry's wife Joyce (Neile Adams) hires Jim to find him. After investigating the Alphian Way, an exclusive club that Barry belonged to, Jim ends up imprisoned in a psych ward. Somewhat suggestive of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Sure enough Barry is in there too. Rockford is given a thorazine pill every day, but secretly spits it out and saves it. He persuades Barry to do the same so that he will be alert. Jim arranges a disturbance to bring the attendants out of their cage, and Barry puts all of the thorazine into their coffee pot and grabs the keys. When they're all asleep Jim finds someone's car keys and the "prison break" begins.
87 20 "The Prisoner of Rosemont Hall" Ivan Dixon Story by : Chas. Floyd Johnson and Maryann Rea
Teleplay by : Stephen J. Cannell and David Chase
February 17, 1978 (1978-02-17)
Brothers planning more than just hazing abduct a fraternity pledge.
"The House on Willis Avenue" Hy Averback Stephen J. Cannell February 24, 1978 (1978-02-24)
Joe Tooley (Paul Fix), a fellow P.I. is supposedly killed on the Ventura freeway, but because of his poor eyesight he never used the freeway and his glasses were in his office. Jim and Richie Brockelman team up to find out if he was murdered. In this double episode they take over the case that Tooley was working on for Al Steever (Howard Hesseman). After the malefactors are brought to justice, Steever is interviewed on TV and it is said that only his persistence over four years made this possible, and Steever says that the work of Rockford and Brockelman was essential in the final phase. Co-stars Jackie Cooper. As with the Grand Jury episode, "So Help Me God" (episode 52), there is a public service message at the end. This one states that private, secret computer networks used for snooping into people's private lives are a potential danger.