11 March 2001 | Snatchy
Classic 70s television
I only qualify this show's classic status in reference to the 70s because the fashion & overall style of the show is sooooooo 70s. I was a young kid in the mid-to-late 70s (when this show was on the air) and watching it is always good for a flashback or two. It's a reminder that although 70s fashion has made a big comeback, they still managed to filter out some of the really tacky stuff (as cool as Rockford was, I doubt his plaid jackets will ever come back in style).
The Rockford Files is about Jim Rockford, a single, 40-something Private Investigator who lives in a rundown trailer house in sunny Southern California (Malibu, to be precise), drives a gold Pontiac Firebird, and has a dad he simply calls "Rocky". Rockford served in Korea (same as the real-life Garner) and did time in prison for a crime he didn't commit, although he was later pardened. Despite being sharp as a tack and tough on his feet, Rockford is forever getting himself entangled with con men, mobsters, and non-paying clients that keep him from the getting any respect.
Other recurring characters on the show include police Sgt. Dennis Becker (Rockford's close friend and seemingly the only member of the LAPD who doesn't hate his guts), Angel Martin (Rockford's former cellmate in prison & constant source of aggravation), and Beth Davenport (his attorney who frequently has to show up and bail Rockford out of jail).
The typical episode finds Rockford taking on a seemingly simple case that turns into something much bigger, or stumbling onto an unrelated mess while in the course of his regular investigations. Sometimes trouble seeks Rockford in the form of ex-cons he associated with in prison or as a PI, and as you can guess, it's never boring. Rockford routinely gets in over his head and some of his escapes tended to be a bit too Houdini-like, but James Garner's laid-back, easy charm always made sure you kept rooting for him.