Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Heartaches of a Fool

Rocky (semi-retired truck-driver Joseph Rockford, Jim's father) is driving a big-rig up from San Diego. Out of nowhere, two cars park in the middle of the road up ahead, forming a barrier. Rocky swerves to avoid plowing through them & jacknifes his rig. Another car pulls up, & two men drag Rocky to safety before dousing the cargo with gasoline & setting it on fire. The shipment is a load of "Charlie Strayhorn's Sausages, made in Cripple Creek, Arkansas".

When Rocky comes to, he's in the hospital, with his bandaged up but none the worse for the wear & tear. Jim shows up as he's being questioned by the Highway Patrol, who don't believe him when he says he was run off the road. They take his license & tell him he'll most likely have it revoked. It gets worse. It turns out that Rocky had been duped into driving a non-union shipment. His membership is also revoked. Rocky is inconsolable, & Jim decides to investigate.

Jim goes to see Roland Eddy, the man who hired Rocky. Over a beer, Roland tells Jim that the job was actually a smuggle. He had told Rocky to avoid the truck-scales & stay off of I-5, & assumed that Rocky would understand what that meant. The sausages come from Mexico, & are unloaded illegally at the supermarkets. Now Jim decides to look into sausage company. Charlie Strayhorn is a country singer who's lent his name to the product, so after several unsuccesful attempts to contact the company, Jim goes to see Strayhorn in person, at his house in Bel-Air.

We find Strayhorn meeting with his lawyers, accountants, & soon-to-be ex-wife. His impending divorce & tax audit are making him regret even getting into the music business; he's so busy with legal matters he doesn't have any time to write new songs. When Jim knocks on his door, both of them are in foul moods. Jim confronts Charlie over his sausages, & Stayhorn writes Jim off as a shakedown artist. An argument quickly ensues. Next thing you know, the two are brawling in Strayhorn's front yard. His wife comes running out to separate the two, and Jim chases after them as they hop into Strayhorn's dusty pick-up. With Strayhorn at the wheel, they speed off. Jim asks Strayhorn to take him to Roland Eddy's place, so he can prove that the sausages are smuggled. They get there just in time to see a couple of men kidnapping Roland. Strayhorn's truck stalls in the driveway & they can't give chase. They call the police, then head for the hospital, where Strayhorn volunteers to pay for Rocky's medical bills. Rocky is cheered up considerably. He always listens to Charlie Strayhorn tapes during long-hauls, so he's thrilled to meet him.

That night, Jim is having a drink at the bar by his trailer. As he's leaving, a Chinese man picks a fight with him. He's getting the best of a surprised Rockford until Jim grabs a telephone off the bar & brains him with it. Meanwhile, Strayhorn & his wife are conducting an inventory on their home for the divorce settlement. Strayhorn leaves after gettin gemotional over a saddle he bought before he was famous. Later that night, Jim is visited by a rip-roarin' drunk Strayhorn, who still doesn't believe that his brand of sausages are being smuggled in from Mexico. To prove it, he drags Jim to the Van Nuys Airport, where they take Strayhorn's private jet to Cripple Creek, Arkansas. On the plane, Strayhorn finally has enough peace & quiet to write a song: "Heartaches of a Fool".

When they get to Cripple Creek, they find the sausage plant: a dilapidated trailer & toolshed on an otherwise empty tract of land. It's an unmanned maildrop, & Strayhorn finally believes Jim. He vows to go straight to his business manager, Clement, to find out what's going on. When they take a look at the shed, they find a dead Chinese man. Now, this is the mid-'70s, so it's unusual to find a Chinese laborer in rural Arkansas. Jim is concerned, noting that the man who attacked him the night before was also Chinese. He's even more concerned when Strayhorn informs him that his business manager Clement is, you guessed it, Chinese. Clement Chin.

They head back to L.A., & find Chin in a Chinatown restaurant. Chin admits that the whole operation is crooked. He has a corrupt FDA official stamp the sausages in Mexico, then has them smuggled into the States & illegally bypasses the unions, via Chin's food distribution company. When Strayhorn tries to rough him up, Chin's "business associates" intervene. We learn that Chin is a member of the Triad, aka the Chinese mafia. Suddenly, the restaurant empties...word has gotten out that rival gangsters are about to shoot up the place. As Rockford & Strayhorn are leaving out the back, Jim peels the label off a carton by the kitchen entrance. It's a label for Chins distribution company downtown.

As Chin is being chauffered away, his driver turns on him. The rival gangsters have hired him to double-cross Chin. While Rockford & Strayhorn are staking out the distribution company, Chin's driver has turned him over to the head of the same Union that has revoked Rocky's membership. The Union leader also happens to be involved in organized crime. The Union & the Triad have been involved in a running battle, & the corrupt Union thugs are about to kill Chin. First, however, they stop at the distribution plant, where Roland Eddy has been held captive all this time. Seizing their opportunity, Rockford & Strayhorn pull a couple of shotguns out of Strayhorn's truck & ambush them. After a brief skirmish, the Union thugs surrender.

When Rocky is out of the hospital, he & Jim go to visit Strayhorn & say thanks. Rocky's license & Union membership have been reinstated now that the scandal has been uncovered. But Strayhorn's gone...his assistant tells Rocky & Jim that he's gone back to his ranch, & may never come back. But he has a gift for them: the saddle he bought before he was famous. The Rockfords are a bit confused, but there's another gift. It's a pressing of Strayhorn's new single, "Heartaches of a Fool", the song Strayhorn wrote on the plane trip to Cripple Creek with Jim, & in the liner notes Strayhorn dedicates the song to Rocky, "for setting me free."

As the song plays, we see Strayhorn & his wife in his truck, driving out of the city for good.

This one featured music by Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings. The music Strayhorn played, including the title track, was by Willie Nelson. The last shot was pretty impressive, an aerial, which was uncharacteristic for the show.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Dwarf in a Helium Hat

Rockford is trying to get some sleep after a long drive home after working a case in Colorado, when he receives a mysterious phone call. Someone tersely informs him that if he looks out his window, he'll see that his dog is dead, & the Lansing girl is next. Before Jim can say anything, like letting them know they have the wrong number, they hang up. Now Jim can't go back to sleep; he keeps thinking about what will happen now that the person who the message was meant for will never get it. He drives to the police station but his pal Becker is out. Lt. Chapman rakes Jim over the coals for always coming around & using the police resources. The two exchange barbs: Chapman commenting on how "Jimbo" rhymes with "Bimbo", & Rockford replying that Chapman's comedic talents are being wasted at the station, he should be on the Tonight Show. Chapman has Rockford thrown out of the station.

Back at the trailer, Jim can't get the phone call out of his mind. Even though Rockyshows up & tries to get him to help out with an errant plumber, Jim can't think about anything else. He looks up his own name in the phone book, & sees that the name right above his is a J. Rockfeld. On a hunch, he drives to Rockfeld's house in Hollywood (this was back when everybody's address was listed in the phone book). When he gets there no one's home, but sure enough, there's a dog sprawled out on the lawn, in bad shape. Jim picks the wounded pup to the vet & drives him to the vet. Turns out to be a case of poisoning.

Jim rushes back to Rockfeld's house just in time to catch two well-dressed thugs attacking a girl on the front porch. Guessing that she's "the Lansing girl", he jumps in to try & help. The two goons are getting the better of Jim until the girl drives them off with a rake (this was back when rakes were those long flat iron claw-like thingies). Sure enough, her name is Julie Lansing, & she's late to meet Rockfeld at a party. Jim tags along.

The party is an all-night high-class shindig, ending with a raffle at dawn, where the winners take a chartered bus to the airport & get on a plane to Paris. It's hosted by a British rock star named Keith, who is pushing a piano into the swimming pool when they show up. They find Rockfeld drinking on the bus out front. He turns out to be a very disagreeable character, who isn't concerned about his dog or Julie's safety. He's mad at Julie for not bringing his suitcase; he was trying to fix th raffle so he can get out of town before whoever's threatening him can make good.

It's too late; the two torpedoes show up at the party. Jim starts the bus up & drives off, with the two goons in chase. He can't outrun them but is able to lure them into a narrow alley in downtown LA, where he stops the bus & gets out, leaving them trapped behind him. Back at his trailer, Jim learns what the problem is...Rockfeld, the spoiled son of a drapery-mogul in the valley, is a party-planner for the Hollywood elite. His last jaunt was for a mobbed-up would-be actor, who ended up getting stuck with the tab & wants revenge. He's been cut off by his parent's, & rock-star Keith won't help him out either. Rockford wants nothing more to do with it, & sees an irate Rockfeld & a grateful Julie to the door.

That night, Jim gets another phone call. Same caller, same wrong number, & once again they hang up before he can explain. This time they say they have Rockfeld's sister. Jim finds Julie, who helps him track down Rockfeld's parents in Sherman Oaks. They're on a cruise in Mazatlan, but rush back to the States when they hear the news. They give Rockford & Rockfeld the money, the two head for the exchange at the bus station. Jim drops Rockfeld off & follows the gangsters when they pick him up & drive to a rent-a-car office nearby. In the car, the hood angrily explains to Rockfeld that the money is inconsequential, it's the humilation of everyone thinking that he threw himself his own party. Now Rockfeld's time is up..."This is one party you don't come home from."

They herd Rockfeld into one of the rent-a-cars for the long drive to wherever they've decided to kill & bury him. As they're driving off the lot, Jim jumps out of his Firebird & slams the parking lot fence in front of their car, which plows through it & crashes when the fence gets caught under their wheels. Jim rushes them & is able to disarm them before they regain their senses.

Back at his trailer, Jim, Julie, & the now recovered dog are breathing a collective sigh of relief. Rockfeld is throwing another party, financed by someone else this time. It's a theme-party, based on rock-star Keith's songs. Rockfeld is going as a "Dwarf in a Helium Hat", one of Keith's early singles. He needs his dog for the costume of another party-goer. Rockfeld leaves, but not before stiffing Jim for the vet bill. The dog doesn't want to leave, but Rockfeld drags him out by the collar. The dog promptly bites him & runs back into Jim's trailer.

Oddly enough, this one had Lt. Chapman but no Becker. The bus-chase was a nice spin on the car-chase theme. This was also one of those adventures of Jim's that had nothing to do with a paying client, just him being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Deadly Maze

Late at night, Jim shows up at a potential client's house, only to find it dark & deserted. Following a tapping sound to the basement, he finds his client, Mr. Albach, checking the water heater for leaks. This is one of his properties, he explains. Jim isn't crazy about the "trick or treat atmosphere" but hears him out. His wife has gone missing. He can't go to the police; she's mentally unstable & has a deadly fear of the authorities. Jim is concerned my Albach's complete lack of emotion, but is finally talked into taking the case, for an extra $50 a day. Alback gives him a wedding photo, & explains that a suspicious car was seen inthe neighborhood right around the time his wife disappeared. He even has the plate #.

Jim asks Sgt Becker, who has broken his nose for some reason, to trace the license #, under the pretext that the driver has hit & run Rockford's Firebird. The car is registered to a man named Savagi. When Rockford goes to the man's house to snoop around, he hears a scream inside, & finds a bloody apron in the garbage. The occupants of the house flee.

There's no victim or evidence of foul play, so police are reluctant to investigate. Jim is finally able to get Becker to send the apron to the lab to see if the blood is human or not. Turns out Savagi is a butcher by trade, & the blood isn't human after all. When Jim reports to Albach, he remains unconcerned. We also learn that he's secretly been recording his conversations with Rockford. Savagi & a chain-toting goon show up at Jim's trailer, warning him in no uncertain terms to forget about the case.

Jim tries & tries to get a hold of Albach, & doesn't know what to think when he can't get through. If a man's wife is missing, why isn't he waiting by the phone? Jim drives over to Albach's office, where he finds the missing wife talking on the phone. He overhears her talking to a "George" at a bar, & talking about an old man in a limousine. When he confronts her, she says that her husband is the crazy one, & admits to having an affair with Savagi. Jim watches someone pick her up in a Trans-Am & speed away.

Jim's had enough. When Albach calls him for an update, Jim tells him he's found his wife, & that he's officially off the case. Albach offers Jim $300 a day, but Jim isn't having any of it. One thing that's bothering him, though, is the shoes Mrs. Albach is wearing in the wedding photo, supposedly taken over 10 years ago. She's wearing shoes that women are wearing nowadays. Why would Albach give him a fake wedding photo? Jim finds the bar Mrs. Albach was on the phone with, "The Alvarado", & cons the bartender, a good friend of hers, into giving up her address. Turns out her #1 client is an old movie-star from the talkie-days; that's who's been picking her up in the limo. He gets to her apartment just in time to bump into her killer, who promptly knocks Jim out.

Now that the police are involved, it's discovered that the woman was not Albach's wife. She was a local prostitute. Sure enough, the shoes from the wedding picture are in her closet. Jim rushes over to Albach's office, but it's been cleaned out & he's vanished without a trace. Jim has no choice but to go through the building's garbage to look for clues. He finds a receipt in Albach's name for lab rats. When he goes to check it out, he learns that Albach is a doctor conducting a study at Pepperdine. Now things are starting to make sense.

Jim's suspicions are confirmed whenhe sees Albach, at the University, paying off Savagi & his cronie. A rabbit purchased from the lab animal outlet provides cover for Jim to get into the research facilities, where he overhears Albach discussing the entire affair. It was all government-funded behavioral-science research. Jim barges in & breaks the bad news. The woman posing as Albach's wife is dead, & Rockford is going to break the whole story to the police. Albach is more concerned with not jeopardizing his research than with helping solve the murder, & doesn't want to cooperate with the police. Jim hauls him down The Alvarado, where the burly bartender, furious over the murder, is able to convince Albach to help.

They head out to the old movie-star's house, where her boyfriend, Stan, who matches the killer's description, is working as a chauffeur. They break the bad news to the broken-hearted john, & right on cue the chauffeur barges in with a gun. He had been trying to get his girlfriend to help him rob the old man, & when she wouldn't, he killed her. Now he figures on holding them all up & getting out of Dodge. The wheelchair-bound silver fox is able to get a gun from a drawer & take a shot at Stan. Rockford siezes the opportunity & rushes Stan. He manages to disarm him, but ends up pinned underneath a toppled dresser-drawer. Stan runs out the front door, but Jim gets up & is right behind him. He runs him down, tackles him, & punches his lights out.

That night, back at Jim's trailer, Rocky is serving Jim & Becker a long-overdue dinner of fish that Rocky caught off the pier. When Dr. Albach shows up & tries to get Jim to answer a questionnaire to complete the research project, Jim calmly refuses, but sincerely offers to kick Albach's teeth in instead.

It was interesting to see that this episode had foregone car chases in leiu of a fair amount of dumpster-diving, a staple of real-life private investigation. I was in the bathroom when it started so I never found out how Becker broke his nose.

Monday, January 30, 2006

The Queen of Peru

Rockford & his client, Mr. Califer from Boston Fire & Casualty, are at a meet out in the sticks with a gang of theives who've stolen the Borland Diamond & want to sell it back. Rockford is unimpressed with the ski-masked bandits. He thinks the jewel heist was more than just a two-man job, & wonders if the two ski-masks are just a couple of opportunists who heard about the job & want to cash in on it. Flustered by Jim's deadpan bargaining, they arrange for a time & place for the exchange.

That night, the two theives are attacked. Jim was right; the real muscle of the gang catches the two in a parking garage & blasts them. One gets away & hides the diamond in Jim's bbq outside his trailer. The other can't get away & spills his guts. Now the gang, headed by a shotgun-toting, overcoat-wearing Australian, is after Rockford & Califer.

Early the next morning, Jim is awakened to a family of tourists in a mobile home, making a ruckus in the parking lot outside his trailer. They introduce themselves as the Ronco's, travelling the California coast on their vacation from Peru, Indiana. Their RV, the "Queen of Peru", what with the generator, dirtbikes & outboard motor in tow, keeps Jim from getting any sleep.

Back at Boston Fire & Casualty, we learn that Califer only hired Rockford because his predecessor signed Jim on a retainer contract. Califer, a wanna-be soldier in the National Guard, is gung-ho going into the exchange, at an abandoned amusement park. When they get there they find only one ski-mask, who says his partner is watching them through a rifle scope. Califer wants Jim to help attack the guy in a "pincer move". "Easy, Rommel," Jim snaps. "There could be another turkey in the straw with a 30-06!" The ski-masks tells them where the diamond is. Califer stays with the money while Rockford heads home for his bbq. When Jim gets home, it turns out that the Roncos have stolen his grill. Back at the exchange site, the ski-mask has no trouble punching Califer's lights out & taking the money.

At the station, Rockford has to have Rocky bail him out, while Califer walks away scot-free.Turns out he & Lt. Chapman are in the same regiment in the National Guard. The sleazy lifeguard stationed by Jim's trailer, who was trying to pick up the Ronco's dughter, tips Jim off to where they've headed for. Jim sets off to find the Queen of Peru. Unbeknownst to him they've dumped the ashes of his bbq, along with the diamond, on the side of PCH on the way to Solvang. The jewel theives kidnap Califer at gunpoint from his training excercises, despite his protests: "We're in the middle of an invasion!" With Califer in tow, they're now racing Rockford to find the Queen of Peru.

Rockford spends the night driving PCH, putting the word out on the CB that there's a reunion picnic for Indiana tourists. Sure enough, he gets a hit, & the Ronco's show up. Jim only gets madder when he learns that not only have they dumped the ashes. On top of everything else, another family of travelling Hoosiers backs their RV into Jim's Firebird, smashing the front driver's-side rim. Jim needs the Ronco's to drive him, but papa Ronco is an insurance man himself, & demands a cut of the reward in exchange.

As soon as they're on the road, the theives catch up to them & open fire. Jim grabs the wheel of the RV & uses it as a bulldozer, pushing their car off the road & flipping it down onto the beach. Back at his trailer, Jim, Califer, & the Roncos have found the diamond. The only catch is, Roncos insurance company handles Boston Fire & Causualty's auto policies in Indiana. As an employee, Ronco is ineligible for the reward. Rockford is feeling good about things again, until the Queen of Peru blows a flat before the Roncos can leave. Now they're stuck right in front of Jim's trailer again, even closer this time, & Jim braces himself for another sleepless night.

This one had Chapman, Becker, Beth, & Rocky, but no Angel, & they were only in it during the scene where Jim & Califer are being questioned at the station. Jim's blue bathrobe made another appearance, too.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Hotel of Fear

Rockford's no-goodnik prison-buddy, Evelyn "Angel" Martin, is coming home to the fleabag hotel he's staying at. He stops by the building mailbox, & steals a bunch of soap samples that are in the junk-mail bin. As he reaches the stairs, he hears a gunshot...a woman, clutching her stomach, stumbles from the hallway & falls down the stairs. A man in a suit, wearing leather gloves & holding a pistol, walks out after & sees Angel standing there, dumbfounded. Angel comes back to his senses when the man opens fire on him, throwing his mail in the air & running like hell. The man calmly waks down the stairs & picks up Angel's discarded mail. He gets his name from a letter from a collection agency; now he knows who Angel is.

Rockford is awakened by a frantic Angel pounding on his door. Grumpy & clad in his bathrobe, he reluctantly opens the door to his trailer & Angel runs in, terrified. Jim fixes him a drink & is trying to calm him down when the police show up, to pick up Angel. Back at the station, Angel is bewildered; he doesn't understand why the police knew to look for him. An annoyed Lt. Diehl explains that Rockford is #1 in Angels' "known associates" list, & reminds Angel that it's a crime to not report a murder.

Angel denies witnessing a murder, not wanting to get drawn into any part of a police investigation. An FBI man is at the station, with a keen interest in the murder. The killer is a man named Dell Kane, who the feds have been after for a while. Angel is finally coerced into ID'ing the shooter. At a lineup, after repeatedly being reassured that none of the suspects can see him, Diehl asks Angel if he recognizes anyone. Since everyone except the killer is a policeman posing as a suspect, career-criminal Angel recognizes all of of them has lost weight, but he recognizes him from the Hollenbeck Division. Another one Angel recognizes as a member of Narco, now working Robbery/Homicide, etc. An exasperated Diehl asks Angel if he sees the shooter, & Angel admits that yes, he's in the lineup, & IDs him. The FBI agent is turns out Dell Kane is contract killer out of Jersey, with 19 notches on his gun, including the girl. Angel is mortified. He's just ID'd a notorious hitman who knows who he is. The police agree to place him in protective custody.

Jim visits Angel at a posh hotel, where Angel has been hiding under police watch, lounging around drinking champagne. Angel is loving it; he's been making the most of the hotel's luxurious facilities & room service. He's also hired a ghostwriter to help him write an autobiographical account of the ordeal. Jim is nonplussed at the title page: "Hotel of Fear", by Angel "the Cobra" Martin. Angel has a few other working titles ready: "The Martin Papers" & "Witness for the Prosecution". Both Jim & Angel's ghostwriter remind Angel that this last title has already been taken. Angel doesn't care; maybe some people will get confused & buy his book what? Jim leaves, disgusted. Diehl has angrily reminded Angel to stay away from the window, & sure enough, as Angel is toasting his own promising literary career, someone shoots through the glass door & shatters his champagne glass.

Rockford does some digging around. He learns from a friend of the murdered woman that she was a prostitute who was dating Dell Kane, & was killed by him out of jealousy. He also learns that Dell Kane had been hanging around with a "gambling" friend, & that the dead woman had tried to buy a gun from a local fence, to protect herself from the unstable hitman.

Angel's attitude changes when he learns that Dell Kane is out on bail. Now he realizes how much danger he's in. When Jim visits him again, they've changed hotels & Angel is disguised as a police officer. When room sevice arrives, Diehl looks at the tray first & tells Angel he can't have it. Rockford sees it too, & agrees that Angel shouldn't have it. Angel, complaining of being shot at & now starved to death, grabs the tray & finds that instead of his expensive lunch, it's a decorative "angel" ornament, with it's neck snapped. A gloomy silence comes over the room.

It gets worse. Dell Kane has requested an arraignment by judge, not jury. Tstate makes a good case, but the judge has been paid off by Kane's employers, & he gets off scot-free. He calmly follows Jim & Angel to the parkinglot & writes down Jims license plate #, right in front of them. The only protective custody available to Angel now is the county lockup, which he adamantly refuses, saying he'd rather be dead than back in jail.

Rockford steps up his investigation, realizing that his ex-cellmate, & possibly Jim himself, are now living on borrowed time. The local fence turns out to be a former "associate" of his, who tells Jim, off the record, that Dell Kane is out of control & losing friends in the underworld. But who's the "gambling" friend?

Unbeknownst to anyone, the mob is concerned about Kane's itchy trigger-finger, & want to stop using him. But that would be bad for Kane's reputation, & no one wants to be the one to give him the bad news. They're trying to figure a way to get him, Rockford, & Angel off their hands. Now that thepolice are involved, Kane's killing spree has become a huge liability.

Meanwhile, Jim & Angel are holed up in a motel in the valley. When Rocky brings them breakfast, he mentions that he also brought Jim's toothbrush. Jim is horrified..."You didn't stop by my trailer, did you, dad?" Afraid that Rocky may have been followed, he asks him to leave quickly, & tells Angel to pack again. Angel has to be coaxed out of the motel room, & Jim angrily realizes that Angel's waiting to see if the hitman kills Jim on the way to the car. Finally, Angel runs out & dives headfirst though the passenger-side window of the Firebird. His head is down on the floorboards, but before he can right himself, Dell Kane is on their tail, trying to run them off the road. Car-chase-savvy Jim has no problem eluding him, & ends up chasing the killer instead. The pursuit is broken up by a patrol car, & the hitman gets away. But now, Jim has Kane's license #. Also, Jim has to shove a carsick Angel to the curb before he can ruin the Firebird's upholstery.

Now the pieces are falling into place. The car belongs to the ambitious, mobbed-up junior partner of a local bookmaker. Jim suspects, correctly, that Kane is in town to kill the head of the gambling operation, making way for the local mafioso to take control. He goes to warn the bookie, but it falls on deaf ears. The junior partner is there at the time, & has no trouble convincing his boss that Jim has it all wrong. On the way out, Angel can't resist making a $30 wager on a 30-1 horse.

Right away, Angel gets a call saying that his horse came in. Jim doesn't buy it. He knows it's a setup. "Where did they ask you to go to collect your winnings, a deserted warehouse in the middle of the night?" Angel is mesmerized by the $900 payout, & says he'll go stay with his brother-in-law. Of course he goes straight to the bookie. And of course, it's a trap. The junior partner & Kane are there, & plan to kill Angel, Rockford, & the bookie. Sonce they only have Angel, they tie him to a pillar underneath the Long Beach Freeway and tell him they'll kill him quickly if he'll just tell them where Jim is, otherwise they'll "take him apart piece by piece."

Right about here, I got a call about a job interview, so I missed the very end. I've seen this one before, of course, & my general recollection is that at the last second, Jim & Becker show up & save a hysterical Angel. Deux ex machina. I think the FBI guy was there, too. I'm sure there was more to it but that's the general idea.

This was one of the rare episodes where Rockford didn't execute a trademark j-turn during the mandatory car-chase. No Beth Davenport, either. The guy who played the mobbed-up junior bookie has been in a bunch of other episodes, he always plays a mobbed-up kind of guy. Oh yeah, & the FBI guy looked like Rick from Simon&Simon. Don't know if it was really him, though.