The Rockford Files (1974–1980)
11 user 4 critic

Backlash of the Hunter 

Jim helps a young girl (Lindsay Wagner) whose father was murdered and LAPD has closed the case on without finding the killer.


Richard T. Heffron


Stephen J. Cannell (teleplay by), Roy Huggins (story by) (as John Thomas James)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
James Garner ... Jim Rockford
Lindsay Wagner ... Sara Butler
William Smith ... Jerry Grimes
Nita Talbot ... Mildred Elias
Joe Santos ... Dennis Becker
Robert Donley Robert Donley ... Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford
Stuart Margolin ... Angel Martin
Bill Mumy ... Nick Butler
Pat Renella Pat Renella ... Morrie Talbot
Michael Lerner ... Dr. Ruben Seelman
Ted Gehring ... Norm Mitchell
Joshua Bryant ... Capt. Harry Dell
Bill Quinn ... Harry Butler
Robert B. Williams ... Arnold Demura
Claude Johnson Claude Johnson ... Officer


Private investigator Jim Rockford is hired by a beautiful young woman to solve the murder of her father, a homeless man found beneath a pier two months earlier. The killing was never solved by the police. Written by Marty McKee <>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

27 March 1974 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Die schwarze Witwe See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

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Did You Know?


The entrance to Mrs. Elias's house is a beautiful colonial-style mansion located in the Hollywood Hills (since torn down). Yet all the interiors - and the back yard exteriors, are of one of Hollywood's most iconic homes: the sleek, angular, modernist-style Stahl House, also in the Hills. As Jim goes out back to talk with Mrs. Elias, it's hard to miss the incredible panoramic views (of both Nita Talbot and the house). This property has been used in countless adverts and films, as well as subsequent "Rockford" episodes, such as "The Empty Frame" and "Guilt". See more »


When Jerry goes to Gazzarri's, he is seen standing at the bar. However, it is the same bar that he was at in the previous location, The Mayfair Theatre, where he was waiting for Rockford to come out of the bathroom. See more »


Message on answering machine: Billings. LAPD. You know Thursday is Chapman's 20th year and we're giving a little surprise party at the Captain's. I think you should come. By the way, we need 5 bucks for the present.
See more »

Alternate Versions

Syndicated repeats are split into two parts, with an alternate opening sequence that features the series' title card over a shot of Rockford's mobile home with the answering machine message, regarding Lt. Chapman's birthday, playing in the background. This opening removes any shots of Noah Beery as he does not appear in the episode. See more »


References Columbo (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

Not Your "Rocky's" Rockford
19 September 2014 | by faffaflunkieSee all my reviews

The Pilot for the Emmy award winning Series "The Rockford Files". No Answering Machines and a more subdued "Rocky" (Replaced in later episodes by the Iconic Noah Beery). This episode is a standout even in in an era that had what some may consider a surfeit of "Cop Shows". The late Roy Huggins wrote his original episode under a Pseudonym for some reason although it's plot is pretty respectable. The main weakness here is that this episode gets kind of lost in a sub-plot about Billy Mumy (The kid from "Lost in Space) that would have been the key to the entire caper- But only serves to muddy up the Episode. You can bet that REAL cops would have been VERY interested in a Kid's involvement in a conspiracy to steal $10 Million Bucks and the Murder of his Dad. Not to give anything away- But Rockford shoots down a light plane going about 120 mph (on a strafing run no less!) with a snub nose Revolver- a shot not even the world's finest marksman could make- and steals a cement mixer from someplace to use as temporary "Holding Cell". Fortunately this series in it's subsequent episodes took a turn from the cartoonish and you can see the Genesis of the fine Dialogue of later episodes- Including a Hulking Psycho (The era's Ubiquitous TV "Bad Guy" William Smith) with the Banal name of "Jerry"- A running joke throughout the Episode and the Pusillanimous Rockford threatening Mayhem on the Diminutive Mumy in Billy's only scene. I must say that in the days of Columbo, Mannix and Hawaii-Five-O I hardly noticed the debut of "Rockford"- But this series is the one that stood the test of time. A "Must See"- But only for the Rockford Fan.

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