The Rockford Files

American television series

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.

Opening introduction (each episode)

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

Season 1


The Rockford Files: Backlash of the Hunter [Pilot]

Sara Butler: (Referring to Jim's trailer) This is your office?
Jim: Yeah, it's cheap, it's tax-deductible, earthquake-proof, and when I get a job out of town, I'll take it with me.

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.

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]

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]

[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]


Exit Prentiss Carr [1.04]

Jim: Cataloging 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]


This Case Is Closed [1.06]

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

The Big Ripoff [1.07]


Find Me If You Can [1.08]

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]


The Dexter Crisis [1.10]


Caledonia - It's Worth a Fortune [1.11]


Profit and Loss (1) [1.12]

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

Profit and Loss (2) [1.13]


Aura Lee, Farewell [1.14]


Sleight of Hand [1.15]


Counter Gambit [1.16]


Claire [1.17]


Say Goodbye to Jennifer [1.18]


Charlie Harris at Large [1.19]


The Four Pound Brick [1.20]


Just by Accident [1.21]


Roundabout [1.22]


Season 2


The Aaron Ironwood School of Success [2.01]


The Farnsworth Stratagem [2.02]


Gearjammers (1) [2.03]


Gearjammers (2) [2.04]


The Deep Blue Sleep [2.05]

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]


The Real Easy Red Dog [2.07]


Resurrection in Black & White [2.08]

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]


2 Into 5.56 Won't Go [2.10]


Pastoria Prime Pick [2.11]

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]

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]

[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]

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

The No-Cut Contract [2.15]

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]


Joey Blue Eyes [2.17]


In Hazard [2.18]


The Italian Bird Fiasco [2.19]

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]


Foul on the First Play [2.21]


A Bad Deal in the Valley [2.22]

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

Season 3


The Fourth Man [3.01]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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 Marcon: 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 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]

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 onto 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]

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!

Beth: [about the Fifth Amendment] It doesn't apply!
Jim: What do you mean, it doesn't apply? It's in the Constitution!
Beth: It doesn't apply in this case, Jim. I told you the judge wouldn't buy your privileged argument! He read the questions the grand jury asked you, and he read your answers, and he said you waived your rights.
Jim: You want to know what I think?
Beth: I know what you think and I agree with you, only there's nothing I can do about it.
Jim: I don't even know Frank Sorvino, I don't even know what they're trying to prove, whether I kidnapped him or snuck him out of the country? The federal prosecutor is playing Clarence Darrow like he's got a whip and a chair!
Beth: Gary Bevins, he's bucking for the Attorney General.
Jim: And he'll probably make it too. It's his show all the way, no attorney for the defense, you gotta go take a hike to find a judge, it's just Bevins and his merry band of men!
Beth: Now look, Jim...
Jim: Oh yeah, yeah, and the jury foreman? He has a gavel! Now since when do they give gavels to jury foremen?
Beth: They don't, only it's not unusual for the average citizen to sort of get caught up in the role and...
Jim: And then ask for one.
Beth: No, I think they buy their own.
Jim: Oh, come on. Beth, how soon can you get me out of here?
Beth: I don't think I ought to try.
Jim: Try? Hey, even murder's bailable!
Beth: So is civil contempt, if I can convince the judge you got grounds for appeal.
Jim: Then convince him!
Beth: It's not that simple, Jim! You can go out one day and come back the next, you can't take this thing all the way to the Supreme Court!
Jim: You mean I'm going to be eating cream chip beef on toast till they decide to let me out of here?
Beth: Not exactly, you stay in jail until you agree to testify.
Jim: Well, I'm not going to testify! Bevins is a one-man lynch mob!
Beth: Or until the expiration of the current grand jury term.
Jim: When is that?
Beth: About nine months.
Jim: Nine months? Oh, that's a pretty stiff sentence!
Beth: That's why they made it civil contempt. If they'd made it criminal contempt, and asked for a sentence of more than six months, you'd have had a right to a trial by jury.
Jim: Nine months...
Beth: But, when the new grand jury is impaneled, if you're called again and you refuse to testify, again...
Jim: Then it's back to the old slammer.
Beth: Until their term expires, eighteen months. Then...
Jim: And then they impanel another jury and the whole thing starts all over again. I haven't been charged with anything, I haven't been convicted of anything, you know, with a deal like that, do you realize how long I could be in here?
Beth: Theoretically? The rest of your life.
Jim: Yeah.

(Beth got Jim released on a technicality, that his name had been miswritten)
Jim: Neither one of us knew it was gonna be a kangaroo court.
Rocky: Yeah, I don't understand it! You told them the truth!
Jim: Yeah, and they didn't buy it. Hey look, I'm out, right?
Beth: Temporarily. They're gonna hit you with another subpoena, Jim.
Jim: Well, let them. This time I go in knowing the ground rules. I give them my name and I take the Fifth Amendment all the way.
Rocky: That's what I'd do. Well, they think you're guilty anyway.
Jim: Look, I can use the Fifth Amendment, can I? I mean, they haven't repealed the law or anything?
Beth: No, sure, you can take it, and they'll dismiss you, it will just be postponing the inevitable. Gary Bevins will apply to the Department of Justice for a grant of immunity, then you'll be recalled and you'll have to testify, or be held in contempt of court, again. This time they're gonna get your name right, my love.

Bevins: Now, then, Mr. Rockford, what was the nature of your relationship with Frank Sorvino?
Jim: I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might tend to incriminate me.
Bevins: Of all the constitutional amendments, that seems to be your favorite. Isn't that correct, Mr. Rockford?
Jim: I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might tend to incriminate me.
Bevins: Not the First, not the Sixteenth, but the Fifth. It seems to be a universaI favorite among felons.
Foreman: Mr. Bevins, we're all interested in the truth, but is it necessary to badger Mr. Rockford?
Bevins: I'm sorry, Mr. Foreman, but this witness has steadfastly sought to withhold evidence that is vital to this inquiry.
Jim: Mr. Foreman...
Bevins: However, rather than burden the grand jury with another appeaI to Mr. Rockford's sense of civic duty and responsibility, Mr. Foreman, I will, instead, ask that the witness be excused, and file an appeal with the Department of Justice for a grant of immunity. When such grant is forthcoming, this witness will be recalled.
Jim: Mr. Foreman, may I make a statement?
Foreman: To what purpose, Mr. Rockford?
Jim: To clarify a situation that could use some clarification.
Foreman: All right, Mr. Rockford, a brief statement.
Jim: There's an old saying, you never buy a pig in a poke. Well, I bought one when I walked into this courtroom the other day. I thought I was walking into a court of law, not an inquisition.
Bevins: Mr. Foreman, I protest.
Jim: No, Mr. Bevins, I protest. I'm a citizen of the United States. And, as a citizen, I'm guaranteed certain rights under the constitution. When I try to avail myself of those rights, I'm jailed, I'm threatened, I'm subjected to the worst kind of intimidation...
Bevins: Mr. Foreman, this witness is trying to impugn the character and reputation...
Jim: What character?
Foreman: Mr. Rockford, I must warn you that you can be held in contempt for such statements.
Bevins: The character of decent citizens who have been impaneled for the purpose...
Jim: I'm not indicting the grand jury, I'm indicting Mr. Bevins. For misusing and manipulating...
Foreman: (bangs gavel) Mr. Rockford, I warn you.
Jim: I told you the truth, and you called me a liar. You paraded my prison record before these jurors, and ignored the fact that I was pardoned. Well, Mr. Bevins, you have less respect for the law than any of the men I ever did time with.
Bevins: Mr. Foreman!
Jim: I haven't done a damned thing. I have been subjected to harassment, character assassination, and your presence. Let me tell you, Mr. Bevins, you go ahead and get your grant of immunity, and you stick it in your ear!

Jim: I've testified before this grand jury on two prior occasions. As a result, I've been imprisoned twice, I've been very nearly killed, and I've been subjected to the most flagrant abuse of power...
Bevins: Mr. Rockford, You are coming dangerously close to contempt of court again.
Foreman: Mr. Bevins, can't Mr. Rockford finish? We are interested in what he has to say.
Jim: Thank you, Mr. Foreman. See, it's been quite an education, Mr. Bevins. I've not only been cited with contempt, but I've been treated with contempt. And with a total disregard for my rights guaranteed to me under the constitution. I've been guilty of nothing except ignorance of the fact that the man that I knew as George Catman was in fact Frank Sorvino. And with the ignorance that in a proceeding of law you could slander and threaten and try to intimidate me with impunity. Well, Mr. Bevins, I want an apology. And I want it now.
Bevins: The grand jury has no apology to make. You've been treated with scrupulous regard to your rights. The abuse of power to which you refer is the power conferred upon this body.
Jim: I wasn't referring to the grand jury, Mr. Bevins.
Bevins: The witness is excused.
Jim: I read an article in a recent legal publication. I'd like to introduce it into the record, if that's all right? (Foreman nods) Thank you. It said, "There is no such thing as a small injustice. There is no such thing as a minor abridgement of rights. That if even one citizen is so deprived, make no mistake, we all suffer."
Bevins: Stirring, Mr. Rockford.
Jim: Thank you very much. That was part of a summation of a case that attracted quite a bit of attention a few years back. The client had been subjected to harassment, illegal search and seizure, a series of injustices in the name of justice.
Bevins: Mr. Rockford, would it be too much to hope that there's a point to this rather lengthy reminiscence? The term of the current grand jury expires in nine months.
Jim: Oh, I think you'll want to hear how it ended. It's a real Cinderella story. You see, the defense attorney not only won an acquittaI for his client with this impassioned outcry, but that very attorney was plucked from private practice by no less than the Attorney GeneraI of the United States, and appointed as an Assistant Federal Prosecutor.
Bevins: And, I trust, lived happily ever after.
Jim: I hope not, Mr. Bevins. I sincerely hope not. You don't remember the words, do you, Mr. Bevins? Because they're your words. As you said before, the grand jury has another nine months to serve here. I'd like to think that the grand jury will remember your words. Thank you, Mr. Foreman.

Rattlers' Class of '63 [3.08]

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

Lt. Chapman: Bobby Boyajian's brothers tell us that you two guys took the kid apart in the wedding chapel in La Jolla, and now he's dead. So don't sit there like butter wouldn't melt in your mouths!
Jim: I don't care what they say, we didn't start anything, it was Boyajian himself.
Angel: That's right, they're a bunch of liars, if you've ever dealt with the Boyajians, you'd know what creeps they are!
Chapman: Mr. Martin, Bobby's sister Regine said that you telephoned her at Azie Boyajian's house last night, you tried to arrange a meeting with her brother so you could iron out some problems, is that right?
Jim: Wait a minute, Angel, you did what?
Angel: Regine can't testify against me, she's my legal wife.
Chapman: Regine hung up on you, Mr. Martin, so maybe you telephoned Bobby at his home and he agreed to meet you.
Dennis: Bobby's wound was point-blank. It had to be somebody who knew him, somebody who could walk right up to him.
Chapman: Right. So what I'm saying is this: you (points at Angel), or you (points at Jim) or both of you met Bobby and got what you really wanted, which wasn't to iron out any problems, but to fill the kid's face with double-aught buckshot!
Dennis: It was birdshot, Lieutenant!
Beth: [Slams her purse on table] Birdshot, buckshot, how much speculation do we have to listen to?! You may have a motive, maybe opportunity, but do you have an eyewitness, a weapon, anything that's at all solid?
Jim: Well, I think that ought to take care of that. I don't think the District Attorney's office is gonna file on loose charges, will they?
Chapman: Sit down, Rockford!
Jim: What for, you can't file a charge?
Chapman: Not on the homicide, not yet. But I've got you on fraud, grand theft! Complaint signed by the Boyajian brothers. Sergeant, get somebody from the Bunko Squad up here, book these guys for the Red Barn Con. [Dennis leaves. Chapman removes the visitors' passes from Rockford and Angel's chests] Like I said, sit down, gentlemen.
[Jim angrily glares at Angel]

[Jim and Beth walk out of the police station]
Angel: Hey, Jimmy, how you're doing? [Jim and Beth glare at him angrily] What are you cheesing me about, I got you off the bunko rap!
Jim: Angel, you get too close to me, I'm gonna pull out your beard hair by hair!
Angel: Hey, it ain't like you're the one who got the chargin', no, I mean it wasn't your partner that got beaten to death. You're not the one who's got somebody going to hit you over the head with a lead pipe. For you, it's over with!
[They encounter the Boyajian brothers]
Azie Boyajian: Hey! Hey, what are you two guys doing out on the street?
Angel: Hey Azie, how are you? I'm so terribly sorry to hear about Bobby.
Beth: [Leads Jim away] Jim, just keep walking. Don't say anything, I mean it!
Azie: Rockford, you scumbag, don't you turn your back on me!
Hank Boyajian: Azie, don't get into it, not here!
Azie: Yeah, we gotta pick up Bobby's belongings, then I guess we're gonna give them to the Goodwill, cause he ain't never gonna use them no more. His whole face is gone! Then the police lets sleaze like you go free, huh? Okay, so be it! We know where to find both of you!
Beth: I'm Mr. Rockford's attorney, should I interpret that as a threat?
Hank: Come on, come on! [The Boyajians leave]
Jim: [Glares at Angel] It's over, huh?
Beth: Jim, I think the thing for you to do is just lay low until the cops nab Bobby's killer. These guys will cool off.
Angel: But they ain't gonna make that call if they're set on sticking me and Jimmy with the killing. I'm talking about survival now, you're gonna have to try and find that murderer!
Beth: Oh no, no, absolutely not. I don't want--
Jim: [Interjects] Beth. Beth, he's right. It's either that or we wait to join the melon rinds in the back of some garbage truck.

Jim: Look, why don't you bring Chechik and Kale in and sweat them?
Dennis: Have you ever heard of probable cause? We don't have one bit of cold evidence to link them with either murder. What we do have is a shotgun that was concealed in your buddy's house.
Jim: Oh, come on. That plant's so obvious you ought to water it.

Angel: This was supposed to be my honeymoon. I had a good woman and look what I did. I could have been with her tonight, holding that warm, sweet body instead of this fungo bat.
Jim: Save the Hank Williams, will you? I left my fiddle at home.
Angel: What, I ain't entitled to have regrets?
Jim: The only thing you're upset about is the spot you're in. What about the spot you handed Regine, huh? I wouldn't be surprised now if she turns off men completely.
Angel: Oh, come on.
Jim: It happens, Angel. It happens. Let me tell you something, if I had my choice between you and her right now, I'd pick her.
Angel: Jimmy, I had to stay alive.
Jim: You're alive. Be happy. You have plenty of good years left for sniveling and complaining.

Jim: I hope you're as good at selling stories to the cops as you are at selling used cars.

[Angel is in Jim's trailer]
Jim: [Enters; sees Angel, slams the door] Angel, I am in a foul mood today and the last person I wanna see is you, so out!
Angel: I can feature you being browned off at me, Jim, so I'm not gonna stick around, but I was hoping that maybe I could stash my stuff here. See, Regine's annulment petition went through and I gotta give her my entire collection as part of the settlement. Well, I mean, originals, collectors items! Avery Joe Hunter, Little Walter...
Jim: You wanna hide them here, after what you've done? Look, as far as I'm concerned, Regine deserves all four of your limbs.
Angel: Wait till you go through a divorce, we'll see what kind of tune you sing!
Jim: I might as well have gone through one, I had lunch with a banker today. You know, I have to refinance my trailer to pay back a $2,000 debt for that property option, also owe a bill for the rental of a bulldozer, Rocky won't even talk to me because his friend's camper did a patty melt.
Regine: [Outside, knocks on the door] Jim!
Angel: What is she doing here?
Jim: Well, she said she might drop by, she wants me to help track down an old boyfriend of her.
Angel: You mean that bozo Donny Angle, I know all about that that guy. But you don't do missing persons work.
Jim: For her I do, I might even do it for free. You know, if I didn't know you were such a lizard, I might think you were jealous.
[Regine knocks again, Angel tries to stall]
Jim: What am I supposed to do, she's out there?!

Return to the Thirty-Eighth Parallel [3.09]


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!
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.

Piece Work [3.10]

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]

Answering Machine: Jimmy, it's Phil in Puerto Rico. This is real important. Talked to Mr. [crackling line noise], he'll pay $20,000. Call him at 231… [crackling line noise] ...638.
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 living relatives.

There's One in Every Port [3.12]


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


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!
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!

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

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

Rocky: [Delivers an eulogy at T.T.'s funeral] T.T. Flowers used to say that cities made men poor and women old and everyone lonesome. So he bought himself 10 acres way out in the country. It was then in '35. Him and his little bride, Lou Ella, they built a reaI nice place there, and they named it Freedom, and they were raising rabbits and chickens and goats and turkeys and bees. And then Lou Ella died giving birth to their little girl. T.T., he raised her as best he could and he stayed right there on the place, all the time watching the city creeping closer to him. T.T. Flowers played music to his bees and talked to his trees. Of course, no one ever asked him if they answered him back, or if they did, what did they say? The city just decided that there was no room anymore for a man who talked to trees. But T.T. always said that the city might surround him, but they'd never pave him under, because he was there first. And he was right. But the city didn't care.

Jim: What do you know about T.T.'s son-in-law?
Rocky: Oh, he's a rich stockbroker, is all I know. But, of course, T.T. says that he's nothing but a con man with a diploma and a place to hang it.

Dennis: Let me get this straight if I can. What you're saying is that a Beverly Hills psychiatrist, an Encino stockbroker, a San Marino lawyer and the biggest subdivider in the next county, all got together to do an old man out of three acres without the daughter's knowledge, but with her consent and full cooperation?
Jim: I don't know if they all got together, Dennis, but they're all doing it to him.
Dennis: There's nothing to tie them together and from what you said, I'd say the old man's right where he belongs.
Jim: Okay, so his lifestyle doesn't help his case any. But since when is eccentricity punishable by torture? And besides, Muellard knew about the attempt on my life, which ties him to something. Or did you forget somebody tried to kill me yesterday?
Dennis: Look, Jimbo, what can I do?
Jim: Well, did you run a check on the nitrous oxide tank?
Dennis: Yup. Dr. Fellows ran an inventory against supply and accounted for every tank. So there's nothing there. And Fellows is the director of Horizons Crest.
Jim: Well, he's in on it, too.
Dennis: Oh, good, now I can add a Woodland Hills doctor to your list of co-conspirators.

Jim: [On phone with Dennis] Well, what do you want for proof, Dennis? My body? This is second time somebody's tried to kill me in two days! Yeah. I know he's a pillar of the community. No, I won't tell you where I am. [Slams phone]

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

Rocky: (continued; T.T.'s eulogy from last episode) He said, "There's more spiritual illumination in a hive of bees than you'd ever get from a man in a suit." T.T. found his inspiration in the miracle of spring. When he'd feel the first warm breezes start to push the frost north, he'd jump in that old truck of his and load it up with beehives and go chasing the blossoms, leapfrogging his bees to keep ahead of the flow of nectar. Well, he told me that they had been doing that in old Egypt in the days of the Pharaohs. Not in trucks, of course, but in big old barges floating slowly up the Nile... just one step behind the grand opening of spring. Well, now our friend has joined those who brought honey to the Pharaohs. Some say it was the city that killed T.T. But I know of one time when the city was his friend. And if he'd known it, T.T. would be alive today. /.../ Those of us who loved him lost a valuable friend when T.T. Flowers went north with the nectar, and the world lost another keeper of the bees. And a good one. Spring isn't going to be the same without him.

The Becker Connection [3.16]

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]


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

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.

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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!

Beth: I hope Angel won't say anything that's gonna get Rocky into trouble.
Jim: Hey, Angel has been in stir. He knows better than to talk without his lawyer present. And you're his lawyer. Angel knows better. He'll keep his mouth shut.
(Cut to Angel being questioned by FBI)
Angel: See, you wanna be talking to Jim Rockford and his father, Joseph. Let me spell that for you. That's Rockford. R-O-C-K-F-O-R-D. The guy's got a record, too, you know, but the State, they pardoned him. But you know the State, they just practically give them pardons away. This guy and his dad, they're dirty. You talk about marked bills and mob money. You want to find these guys right away. I wouldn't waste any time. Now, Rocky, that's the father, he's at the Palm Shores Hotel. That's in Hawaii. A lot of mob guys hang out there. I'd grab him and I wouldn't let him go. I'd grab him right away if I was you.
Agent Steiner: You better be straight with us, Martin.
Angel: Straight? Straight? I'm so straight, my back's hurting.
Agent Steiner: You better be. We've got a shopping list of charges to hang on somebody. You're pretty handy right now.
Angel: Who me? Charges?
Agent Steiner: Five to ten for fraud. Five to ten for conspiracy to avoid taxes. Five to ten, obstructing justice. Twenty to life, accessory to murder.
Angel: Murder? Wait a minute. Wait a second. I wouldn't murder no one, not for a couple of Cs. Look, you want to talk to the Rockford gang. That's R-O-C-K-F-O-R-D.

Season 4


Beamer's Last Case [4.01]


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?
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.

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]

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 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]

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.

(Lee Ronstadt, the paramilitary group leader, calls Ray, the talk radio host on the water shortage debate)
Lee: Now you wanna know what I think about the water shortage, right?
Ray: Right.
Lee: There isn't any.
Ray: What do you mean there isn't any?
Lee: Look, Ray, I heard all about your so-called drought. The fact is, we got plenty of water.
Ray: Is that so? Where?
Lee: Okay, I'll tell you where it is. We're selling it to the Arabs.
Ray: The who?
Lee: The Arabs! They got nothing but sand and money.
Ray: Look Lee, get to the point.
Lee: Listen, if you were sitting in the middle of a desert, what would you be looking to import?
Ray: Lee, you are pretty off-base today.
Lee: And who suffers? We do! I can remember a time here in California when we grew tomatoes the size of cantaloupes and cantaloupes the size of...
Ray: That's a pretty flaky theory, who'd sell our water?
Lee: Well, it's them bleeding hearts back in Washington, that's who! Trying to keep the whole world happy and to hell with the American people! Well, I got my sprinklers going, and I'm gonna keep them going, and to hell with the Arabs!

Second Chance [4.04]

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]

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]

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]

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]

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]


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: [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!

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]

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?

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!

The mob scares away Angel Martins ghost writer:

Writer: "Two men stopped me outside a pizza parlor..thed promise to break my legs if that's books published..what you call a touch up, needs mouth to mouth ressucation"
Angel: "Oh threat and he folds up..everyone makes out on the deal except me"
Rockford: "I wouldn't say do get something out of it...not worth much."
Angel: "Yeah What?"
Rockford: "Your Life"

Forced Retirement [4.11]


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!
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.

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]

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]


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!
[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?

The Attractive Nuisance [4.14]


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

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]

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]


South by Southeast [4.18]


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

The Competitive Edge [4.19]

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]

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]

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]

[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.

Season 5


Heartaches of a Fool [5.01]

Answering Machine: I'm the guy who hit your car in the parking lot. I don't have any insurance...I just wanted you to know how really sorry I am. If it makes you feel any better, I hurt my arm.

Rosendahl and Gilda Stern Are Dead [5.02]

[Jim is picking a lock]
Rita: What are you doing? That's illegal!
Jim: Rita, on my best day I'm borderline.

The Jersey Bounce [5.03]


White on White and Nearly Perfect [5.04]

Belle Labelle: Are you the Lance White who saved Mr. Hillman's life a long, long time ago when the Mob was moving in at the club and threatening his wife and four grandchildren?
Lance: [modestly] Let's just say it's closer than I like to come.
Jim: [unimpressed] Isn't it about time for an intermission? I'm out of popcorn!

Jim: No doubt about it, Lance is perfect. It's his only flaw!

Jim: [to Rocky, explaining the difference between fictional detectives and the real thing] His gun is deadly... mine is in a cookie jar.

Kill the Messenger [5.05]

Jim: [after Dennis is promoted from Sergeant] I told you Rocky, I told everybody he was going to do it. A Lieutenant, that's great!
Dennis: There's only one problem, Lieutenant Chapman, from here on out, I gotta call him Doug.
[everyone laughs]

The Empty Frame [5.06]


A Three-Day Affair With a Thirty-Day Escrow [5.07]


A Good Clean Bust With Sequel Rights [5.08]


Black Mirror (1) [5.09]


Black Mirror (2) [5.10]


A Fast Count [5.11]


Local Man Eaten by Newspaper [5.12]


With the French Heel Back, Can the Nehru Jacket Be Far Behind? [5.13]


The Battle-Ax and the Exploding Cigar [5.14]


Guilt [5.15]


The Deuce [5.16]


The Man Who Saw the Alligators [5.17]


The Return of the Black Shadow [5.18]


A Material Difference [5.19]


Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man's Job (1) [5.20]


Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man's Job (2) [5.21]


A Different Drummer [5.22]

Jim: Does he have any other relatives around here?
Lucy: No
Jim: Oh!
Lucy: Maybe you could leave your name and address.
Jim: Then you expect to hear from him?
Lucy: No.

Season 6


The Hawaiian Headache [6.08]

Jim: Say, I just wanted to tell you that I'm sorry Whipple got iced.
Colonel Smith: Hey, he was a soldier doing a soldier's job and he ended up with his dog tags in his boot like a half million other soldiers. I only hope when I get mine it's in the line of duty.
Jim: Yeah, that's what I'm hoping for too. I mean, who wants to go out looking at a vase of roses when you can get your head blown off in an alley?


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