The Rockford Files (1974–1980)
8.7/10
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The House on Willis Avenue 

When a fellow P.I. is killed on the Ventura freeway, Jim and Richie Brockelman team up to find out if it really was an accident.

Director:

Hy Averback

Writers:

Roy Huggins (created by), Stephen J. Cannell (created by) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James Garner ... Jim Rockford
Noah Beery Jr. ... Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford (as Noah Beery)
Joe Santos ... Dennis Becker
Jackie Cooper ... Garth McGregor
Simon Oakland ... Vern St. Cloud
Howard Hesseman ... Al Steever
Philip Sterling ... County Supervisor Tom Nardoni
Pernell Roberts ... B.J. Anderson
John Van Dreelen ... Gunderson
Robert Hogan ... Police Sgt. Ted Coopersmith
Dennis Dugan ... Richie Brockelman
Paul Fix ... Joe Tooley
Russell Thorson ... Arthur Kenner
Hank Brandt Hank Brandt ... Mr. Davis
Irene Tedrow ... Mrs. Tooley
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Storyline

This marked the introduction of Richie Brockleman, who viewers first met in the TV Movie, Richie Brockelman: The Missing 24 Hours (1976), which was an unsuccessful pilot launch. This installment acted as a spin off for Richie Brockelman, Private Eye (1978). Unfortunately, it only lasted 5 episodes. However, Richie would return to Rockford in the fifth season's Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man's Job: Parts 1 and 2 (1979). Written by DBF

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Certificate:

TV-PG
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 February 1978 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

After the car chase (when Jim lets Richie drive the Firebird), they hide-out in a motel. Behind Jim's head on the wall is a painting, signed 'V. Hoople.' That's Van Hoople, who was born in Chicago, Il. in 1934, and hired by Paramount Studios, where he apprenticed for Cecil B. DeMille as scenic art director, P T Blackburn. He's noted for his so-called 'Tiki' style paintings. See more »

Goofs

Jim convinces Richie to keep the police radio on in his car and at the very end of the scene the hand of a person in the back seat becomes visible even though there are only two people in the car. See more »

Quotes

Richie Brockelman: [Jim and Richie are sitting in Richie's car - Richie bemoaning how now that Tooley's either dead or missing, he has no one older to discuss cases with, bounce ideas off of, and, perhaps get advice] I just think sometimes it's good to sit down and talk things out, like you and I have been doing.
Jim Rockford: [Jim shifts uncomfortably in his seat] Yeah, well, I, uh... run some of this stuff by Rocky. He has his own ideas on most of it.
Richie Brockelman: Yeah? Like what?
Jim Rockford: Oh, you know
[...]
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Crazy Credits

Disclaimer before end credits: "Secret information centers, building dossiers on individuals exist today. You have no legal right to know about them, prevent them, or sue for damages. Our liberty may well be the price we pay for permitting this to continue unchecked. Member, U.S. Privacy Protection Commission" See more »

Alternate Versions

Syndicated repeats are split into two parts, with part 2 containing a longer pre-credit opening sequence that includes excerpts from part 1, instead of the usual 30 seconds of excerpts (previews) of the episode you're about to see, followed by added opening credits. See more »

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User Reviews

Rockford vs Big Brother
1 April 2011 | by stones78See all my reviews

This is perhaps the best Rockford Files I've seen to date, the writing is simply superb, the actors are terrific, and the overall vibe of this episode is riveting. There's a fine ensemble of guest stars, including Jackie Cooper, Pernell Roberts, Dennis Dugan(plays Richie Brockelman), Howard Hesseman, and Simon Oakland, yet they all have important roles revolving around some kind of a computer community(if you will) and the murder of a fellow private investigator who happened to be Rockford's mentor; Jim is suspicious because this man hated the freeway, although the dead body turns out to be some poor guy involved in a truck accident, and the mentor(Tooley)was killed and buried somewhere else. Tooley was hired by Al Steever(Hesseman)to do some research on a shady councilman, who has some dealings with the shady Garth McGregor, brilliantly played by Cooper, who's the mastermind behind the computer development. This episode took place in 1978, and I wonder if the term "computer" had a negative connotation as this evil technology to take over the world; at the end of this episode , there's a short statement or public service announcement regarding how the "computer" may in fact exist and is legal, which I found very odd but I digress. This was a 2hr segment and the finale of season 4 and it was a great conclusion and I'm certain Rockford fans were excited for season 5. There were some fine moments that I need to mention such as the serious discussion Jim and Richie have about being an investigator, and Jim tells Richie that you have to satisfy yourself before you please anyone else; you don't normally see Jim open up like that and it was a welcome sight. Simon Oakland was great as the feisty Vern St. Cloud and much reminded me of his Tony Vincenzo character from Kolchak: The Night Stalker, as he's very easy to lose his temper. The scenery was once again very impressive as there were many beautiful shots, even from a helicopter which kidnaps Jim. Speaking of James Garner, he limps very badly throughout the latter half of the episode(Rockford gets injured diving under his trailer); he had several knee operations because of the Rockford Files, and I bet the limping was indeed due to a bad knee and coincidentally this was the final episode of that season. If I had any qualms, one would be how easy Jim and Richie escape the computer compound and avoid getting shot by security, especially how badly Jim limps, and there's not enough of Dennis. Lastly, I found it difficult to believe that Richie could simply sneak on a helicopter even though there were others on there. That being said, this was as close to perfect as any episode I've seen, and there's many great moments and actors to make this a quality show.


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