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->''"This is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message. I'll get back to you. [Beep]"''
-->-- '''Jim's [[CouchGag answering machine]]'''

Popular crime/action series, co-created by Roy Huggins (''Series/{{Maverick}}'', ''Series/TheFugitive'') and Creator/StephenJCannell, that aired on Creator/{{NBC}} from 1974 to 1980. James Garner played Jim Rockford, a pardoned ex-con working as a private detective in the UsefulNotes/LosAngeles area. Rockford lived in a trailer parked on the Malibu beach, and drove a gold [[CoolCar Pontiac Firebird]].

In the earlier episodes, Rockford would only take cases that the police were not actively investigating: cases that they had closed in some way that was unsatisfactory to the client, cold cases, or something that the police were not giving any priority to.

Rockford preferred to outwit his opponents, rather than resorting to violence (though he was very good at it when violence was required.) While Rockford had been [[ClearMyName cleared]] and pardoned for the armed robbery that he had been wrongfully accused of, he had also been a ConMan who had never been caught, and on multiple occasions he used [[BatmanGambit his con artist skills to entrap the guilty party]].

In many ways, the Rockford character was a 20th-century updating of Garner's Bret Maverick character.

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!!This show provides examples of:
* AlohaHawaii: "Dirty Money Black Light", "The Hawaiian Headache"
* AlwaysSomeoneBetter: Lance White (Creator/TomSelleck), Rockford's [[FriendlyRivalry friendly rival]] private investigator who appears in the episodes "White on White and Nearly Perfect" (season 5) and "Nice Guys Finish Dead" (season 6).
* AuditThreat: People in official positions often threaten to have Jim Rockford's private investigator's license reviewed to get him to cooperate.
* BadassDriver
* BaseOnWheels: * Rockford's dilapidated mobile home -- which served as both his office and residence -- usually remained parked on a Malibu beach, but on a few occasions, when he needed to skip town in a hurry, he hitched his trailer up (with the help of his retired trucker dad) and took home with him.
* BeingWatched
* BornLucky: Lance White, played in two episodes by TomSelleck.
* BountyHunter
* CastingGag: "The Competitive Edge" features [[Disney/TheManyAdventuresOfWinnieThePooh John Fiedler]] as a mental patient who thinks he is Film/JamesBond. The gag? [[Film/{{Goldfinger}} Harold Sakata]] as fellow patient "John Doe".
* ClearMyName: Featured in many episodes such as “Pastoria Prime Pick.”
* ClearTheirName: A frequent occurrence, often at the request of Beth Davenport.
* CombatPragmatist: Rockford prefers to avoid fighting, but when he fights, he fights dirty.
* ConMan: Rockford himself, occasionally; Angel Martin, always.
* CoolCar: Subverted with Rockford's Firebird. Yeah, a firebird should be cool, but his is an ugly brown color, is the base model, and is constantly out-cooled by other cars on the show.
* CourtroomEpisode: In the episode "So Help Me, God", Rockford is held in contempt of court after tangling with D.A. William Daniels.
* CouchGag: the [[http://www.thesandbox.net/arm/rockford/answering_machine/index.html message on Rockford's answering machine]] in the title sequence.
* CrossOver: The title character from the short-lived ''Richie Brockelman, Private Eye'' appeared in several ''Rockford'' episodes.
* DeadpanSnarker: Rockford
* DefectiveDetective: Rockford was an ex-con, with all the associated bad karma it brought.
* DetectiveDrama
* {{Dramedy}}
* DropInCharacter: Seemingly ''everybody'' broke into Rockford's trailer.
* EarlyInstallmentWeirdness: In the pilot we see a close up of Jim's telephone ad, which seems to lack a listed phone number. Wonder how all those people manage to call in for the CouchGag to come. (He does have a phone in the pilot, he uses it to [[spoiler: check the credit rating of his new client]]).
** Jim must really like Pontiacs....it blew up in the pilot, guess he ether bought a new/old one in the same beat up condition or else he has one heck of a mechanic.
*** It's blown up again in the second season episode ''Gearjammers Part 1''.
* FriendOnTheForce: Dennis Becker
* GuileHero: Rockford is one of the purest examples.
* HelloAttorney: Beth Davenport
* InSeriesNickname: Rockford is routinely addressed as "Jimbo" (by Dennis) and "Jimmy" (by Angel). And, of course, everyone calls Joseph Rockford "Rocky".
* InspirationallyDisadvantaged
* InstrumentalThemeTune: One of the best ever, composed by Mike Post. It was released as a single and hit #10 on the ''Billboard'' chart in 1975.
* ItWasHereISwear: A StalkerShrine to Beth makes a mysterious disappearance.
** Immediately subverted: she says "I saw them," Lt. Becker says "I'm sure you did," usually a lead-in to a patronizing "you're just stressed" until he points to tiny holes in the walls, saying "They were put up with pins."
* JerkWithAHeartOfGold: Rockford himself is one in the early episodes. He seems to only be in it for the money, and will require much persuading to work on a dangerous but just case, but once he's on to something, he will make sure that justice is served. In later seasons there is significantly less jerk and more heart of gold.
* MacGuffin: [[PlayingWithATrope Played with]] in "A Material Difference". The elusive "Formula D" American and Soviet agents have been fighting over throughout the episode? [[spoiler:The D stands for "denim". It's an extra sturdy new type of fabric. Angel is not amused that he risked his life for ''pants''.]]
* MaliciousMisnaming: Gandy always referred to Rockford as "Rockfish". May not be malicious but it did bug Rockford a lot.
* NoodleIncident: In "The Aaron Ironwood School of Success", Rockford limps badly all the way through the episode. The real cause was Garner's severe injuries from doing his own stunts.
-->'''Rocky.''' You're limping. What happened?
-->'''Jim.''' Oh, I was fishing and fell off the pier.

-->'''Beth.''' Why are you limping?
-->'''Jim.''' I fell off my skateboard.

-->'''Aaron.''' You're limping.
-->'''Jim.''' Aw, I was dancing the other night, I got a little carried away, I started to dip and I slipped.
-->'''Aaron.''' Dipped?
-->'''Jim.''' Dipped.
* TheOtherDarrin: Rocky was played by Robert Donley in the pilot, before Noah Beery Jr. took over the role for the series proper.
* PilotMovie: "Backlash of the Hunter"
* PoorlyDisguisedPilot: The episode "Just Another Polish Wedding" was intended to launch a spinoff show starring Louis Gossett, Jr. as private eye Marcus "Gabby" Hayes and Isaac Hayes as ex-con Gandolph "Gandy" Fitch. ''Gabby & Gandy'' was never picked up, however.
** The show's penultimate episode, "Just a Coupla Guys", was also intended as one of these.
* PrivateInvestigator: Well, duh.
* RecurringCharacter: Angel Martin, Beth Davenport, Lt. Chapman, Officer Billings
* ReunionShow: "I Still Love L.A." (1994), "A Blessing in Disguise" (1995), "If the Frame Fits...", "Friends and Foul Play", "Punishment and Crime", "Godfather Knows Best" (1996), "Shoot-Out at the Golden Pagoda" (1997), "If It Bleeds...It Leads" (1999).
* ShoutOut: In a couple of episodes, Rockford travels to the fictional Bay City, California (not to be confused with the real Bay City, Michigan), a location that originated in the novels of Creator/RaymondChandler.
* SpiritualSuccessor: To ''Maverick''.
* StalkerShrine: One is made for Beth. See the trope page for more details.
* StatuteOfLimitations: Plays an important role in one episode. A friend of Rockford's stole half a million dollars and the statute of limitations is nearly up. However, many criminals know about it and try to steal the soon-to-be clean money.
* SyndicationTitle: ''Jim Rockford, Private Investigator''
* TapOnTheHead: Rockford, the King of Concussion, got this about OnceAnEpisode.
* ThoseTwoGuys: Garner and Stuart Margolin (Angel Martin). They had such good chemistry Garner made sure Margolin had a regular role in both of his later shows ''Bret Maverick'' and ''Man of the People''.
* UnintentionalPeriodPiece: One scene in "The Big Ripoff" has Jim asking a guy for change to use ''a pay toilet''.
** $200 a day plus expenses doesn't seem so outrageous in 201X dollars.
* VehicularSabotage: This is a very common occurrence on ''The Rockford Files'', where someone seems to cut Jim's brake lines every third episode.
* YouLookFamiliar: James Garner's brother, Jack, appeared throughout the show's run as a number of different characters, one of which (Police Captain [=McEnroe=]) was a semi-regular in the final season and appeared in each of the reunion movies.
* YouWouldntHitAGuyWithGlasses: Implied in "The Kirkoff Case": Rockford puts on glasses and pretends to be an insurance agent; when the disguise fails and he starts getting roughed up, he protests, "Didn't you notice I was wearing glasses?"
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