From: "RG Naylor"
Date: Mon, 28 Jun 1999 01:16:00 -0700

Well, I'm back, a week late, but better late than never. This week's review is of the second regular season episode, The Dark and Bloody Ground, where Gretchen Corbett is so finely introduced to the series as Beth Davenport. I really hated what they did to her character in the new Rockford movie she was in (can't remember the name). So here we go.

The story starts with a fire at a residence. Rockford's client, Ann Calhoun (Patricia Smith), is accused of killing her husband, who is killed, and then burned in the blaze. So in comes attorney Beth Davenport, in her debut on the show, trying to get Rockford to take the case pro bono. She follows him to the surf, where he begins to fish, while she lobbies for her client. First good line; Rockford: "I don't take charity cases, they're not part of my survival kit." And then Beth says: "Please, Jim, for me?" Jim gives her a look that says, "You've gotta be kidding." Beth says: "I guess I've never quite been able to pull that one off." I saw this episode recently, and before I checked to see it's sequence, I thought, that certainly sounds like Beth. Her first episode, and already they've established a lot of history between the two. Very good writing.

The scene changes to an argument between Jim and Sgt. Becker. Rockford says to Becker: "Becker, sometimes you sound just like a cop." Becker says angrily: "I am a cop."

Next, Rockford flies to Arizona to do some digging. He catches the attention of some surly types, and is chased and terrrorized by a man in a semi. He manages to evade this maniac around a bridge that takes a sharp left from the road. He goes to a service station, and asks for a dime to call the cops. The attendant gives him a smart aleck response, and JIm says one of my favorite lines: "Give me a dime or I'm gonna crack you open like a piggy bank!" At the cop shop, he gets zero cooperation, and incompetent police work. He leaves the sheriff with: "People move here for their health, huh?"

Back at his trailer, it seems that the trailer is in a different spot than the last two episodes. Rocky is inside, holding a gun to Jim as he enters. Rocky interrogates Jim about the semi incident.

So now, JIm's with Beth at her place, and Beth's complaining about toothpaste on the expense account. This, I believe, is a different residence than what is shown in later eps. Here's where the brake fluid is drained out of the Firebird, and they crash trying to drive without brakes. At the prison, they talk about the case with the client. Afterwards, Jim tells Beth he's going to report what he knows to the police. Beth pulls the keys out of the ignition, and stuffs them into her bra. Rockford then says, "Well if you think that's gonna stop me, you've got a short memory." Spoken like the lady's man that he is. Beth tries unsuccessfully to convince Jim that he is protected under the attorney/client priviledge. Rockford: "Are you implying that I can be bought?" Beth: "Yes"

Rockford tracks three suspects to the racetrack, and pretends he met them at the party the victim crashed on the night of his murder. He tricks them into saying something that contradicts their story with the police. Very good acting job and a pleasure to watch Jimbo work his magic. Later, when Rockford's in bed at his trailer, Beth comes by and relates a motive she uncovered regarding copyright laws. While she's talking, he receives a phone call from Clyde Russell (one of the suspects), inviting him to come up to his place and talk about the exchange at the track. Beth looks very cute in this scene, excitedly explaining the motive she's uncovered.

In the backyard at Russell's, Jim and Beth find Russell's body in the pool, and then get shot at by the murderer, who takes off in a twelve cylinder Jaguar. The Jaguar crashes, but the occupant survives. Jim goes over to the third suspect's house, and cajoles her into confessing to the original murder. As it turns out, the victim, Kevin Calhoun, had faked his death after writing a book. He assumed the Calhoun name, and when he found out that his murderers had stolen his work, he crashed the party and demanded they pay him for it. They killed him, making it look like his wife did it. Case solved. That makes 3 for 3 for JIm counting the pilot.

In the final scene, Beth tries to get Rockford to take another charity case, and in the middle of her oration, he walks away, turning around once to wave goodbye. I'd have to give this one 3.5 stars. If it weren't for Gretchen Corbett, it would've been a 3. I hope you'all've enjoyed this week's review. Tune in next week for episode number 3, The Countess, a.k.a. "The Callgirl Countess."