From: "RG Naylor"
Date: Sun, 1 Aug 1999 06:55:45 -0700

Once again we're hear to talk Rockford. This is a good one, This Case is Closed, and it's a two-parter. Joseph Cotten (Citizen Kane) stars as Warner Jameson, Sharon Gless plays Susan Jameson, and Eddie Fontaine plays Lieutenant Larry Pierson. This is a 90 minute two-parter, so it's going to be a little longer than most of the episodes.

The first scene takes place in the future of the story, when Rockford is landing at LAX, coming from a business trip to New Jersey. As soon as he finds a payphone, he calls his client, Warner Jameson. He sets up a meeting at the client's home for that evening. As he leaves the parking garage, we notice that there's a man staking out his car, waiting to follow him. Now we all know that ol' Jimbo isn't going to let someone get away with following him without shaking him. It looks like early morning, and Jim's starts to take off on some L.A. surface streets. The guy's doing a pretty good job of keeping up, so Jimmie nudges into a car on the way into a parking lot with those spikes that keep people from entering the wrong way. The guy comes in to look for Rockford, and finds him not. Jim's on the other side of the lot, and then he leaves the lot, and positions himself across the street in another lot, out of view. Then, as the guy eases out of the lot, over the spikes, Jim tears out of his hiding spot, and heads right toward him. The guy panics, and backs up, right over the spikes, puncturing all four tires.

Back in Malibu, he opens the door to his trailer to find the whole place tossed. The man who was tailing him then drives out of the parking lot again, with perfectly full tires. Or does he get them fixed? That's a puzzler. Jim managed to get the license number, and dials up the D.M.V. to scam the ownership data from the registration department. The lady who answers has a southern accent, so Jim puts on the charm, southern style, and with his accent and his "aw shucks" innocence, finesses the name and address of the owner. Now you don't find many P.I.'s that can do that anymore, and he probably did it faster than they do it on their Pentiums today. This makes me laugh every time I see it. Then, on a hunch that he's heard the name before, he looks up a competitor in the yellow pages, and sure enough, the guy was a P.I. Then someone knocks on the door. When he opens it, two surly dudes force their way in, and Jimmie knocks the first one right on his arse with a left. This guy looks like he's the first generation in his family to stand upright. The other guy has the brains, and a gun in Jimbo's face, so goon number one cracks Jim, knocking him down, and they march him out the door with a pair of dark, dark sunglasses. A Lincoln Continental awaits, with a driver, and so they're off. The conversation on the way to a posh mansion somewhere on the outskirts of L.A. consists mainly of goon number one telling Rockford, "I want you to shut up."

Then they pull Jimmie out of the car, and deliver him to an office with another crook behind a desk. The Q. and A. begins, interrupted intermittently by backhands to the face. Jim refuses to give up his client, so the head honcho tells him "your dead," before leaving the room. The other two leave as well, taking the phone with them. He checks all the doors and windows, and finds them securely locked. Then Jim flashes back to circumstances earlier in the story.

It appears that Rockford's been invited to a party that his client's daughter (Susan Jameson) is also attending. As his date is about to introduce him to the man who's marrying Susan Jameson, a man stops them, and Jim's date tells the guy that Jim's a "corporate insurance profile analyst." Then Jim adds rather innocently: "But my brother sells used cars in Montana." His date leaves with the man, and as Jim eyes the fianc=E9e, Mark Chalmers, Susan Jameson approaches him and asks him if he's a private investigator. Someone who knows who Jim is has blown his cover. So they introduce themselves.

Then Jim meets with "W. Jameson" at his house to talk about the case. The old man is crotchety, and Jim doesn't take any of the guy's lip. The man has hired Rockford to look into the background of his daughter's fianc=E9e, and Jim tells him what he's uncovered, saying: "He's so clean he squeaks." The client says : "Everything about the guy is phony. I've played handball with him. That uh, ivy league accent of his is a phony too. Get him down a couple a points and a New Jersey accent pops up. Real gutter Jersey." Because they don't get along, and Jimbo's not sure there's a case there, he declines the job. At first, the client threatens to bring the local "power structure" down on Jimbo. But Rockford threatens to tell his daughter about the investigation, so the old man pleas with him. He says: " Well, you won't take anything from me, you probably won't take anything from anybody else." Jameson wants Jim to fly to Jersey to check on Chalmers, and hands him a plane ticket, to which Rockford remarks: "Coach?" LOL.

So Jimbo checks in with Lieutenant Pierson (Eddie Fontaine, who also played in Counter Gambit & White on White and Nearly Perfect) of the Newark police department, and Lt. Pierson gives it to him "straight." Pierson: "You see my trouble is, I got this giant hatred for private detectives. Now, you probably heard of it. It's a cop disease. You guys sweep in here like big turtle neck vultures, you stomp around in my garden, and then you split, leaving me stuck with the mess." Jim: "Did you, uh, did you check with L.A?" Pierson: "The cops there said you were a flake." The Lt. then tells him to leave town, and, after Jim leaves, he orders his department to prevent Jim from completing his task.

At a local bar, Jim talks his way into a card game, where the good Lieutenant just happens to be a regular. When the Lt. shows up late, he kicks Rockford out of the game, blowing his cover, and robbing him of his stakes. Pierson: "You're gonna make a movie huh? How'd you like to make it a documentary.... of our county jail?" Rockford: "On what charge?"

Back at his motel room, Jim finds two intruders. They tell him they're "with the Chamber of Commerce", and they want to know about Jim's investigation, but Jim's not talking. One of the guys is sitting in a chair, staring at Rockford, not saying a word. Jim notices the peculiarity, and says, "Hi, how's it going?" The guy just keeps staring; just what Jim thought he'd do. A riot! Then the other one makes a remark about the price of Jim's underwear. When the talking one doesn't get the answers he wants he says: "You can't be that stupid." Jim says: "Oh, sure I can. I been doing stupid things all day." Before they leave, they warn Jim to stop investigating Mark Chalmers. He watches them leave and gets their license number, but before he can write it down, he forgets it. This shows that he's just a regular guy, smart, but no photographic memory or anything. He has this memory problem in other episodes as well.

So, it's back to L.A., and we're on the phone to Warner Jameson, which is where we were at the beginning of the episode, and then we switch to the mansion, where Jim has the flashback. The goons come in and try to bring him out to the car, but Jim says to goon number one: "Hey, come on pal, have a heart, huh?" just before he stomps on the goon's foot and punches him in the face. He quickly darts toward the open door, right into a gat pointed right at his nose. Jimmie to goon number one: "I'm sorry about that pal, just a reflex action, huh?" So they move him out to the Lincoln in his sunglasses, and then they head on out, but the feds block them off and a short chase ensues. Finally, the feds box them onto the shoulder of the road, and hold them at gunpoint. The agent in charge tells Rockford he is aware that he was kidnapped, and asks Jim to testify. The leader tries to get Jim to cover for them, but there ain't a chance Jim's gonna protect these thugs. The leader then makes a smart aleck comment about his attorney's salary in comparison to the fed's pay.(Some of you may recognize him (Joseph DellaSorte) from the movie Any Which Way You Can. He played a mafiosa in that part as well.)

At the Federal Building, Jim gives his statement, and the agent wants Jim to sign the complaint. Jim refuses to sign the complaint, because the agent won't tell him what's going on. Jim busts his chops over the kidnapping incident, criticizing them for watching the kidnapping, and not intervening. Here, Jim finally starts losing it, and goes into survival mode, threatening to slap a lawsuit on them if they don't let him go. "I'll subpoena you for the trial." "Oh, you haven't lived till you tried to serve me with a subpoena. That's one of my career specialties; ducking process servers." The agent then lets him go but threatens Jim with incarceration, and Jim threatens to blow their case against the goons and their leader, Torrance Beck, if they trump up a charge against him. He always seems able to grasp for the right leverage when he needs it.

Jimbo goes back to his trailer, and starts cleaning up a little. Then Rocky comes a knockin', and Jim isn't taking any chances. I notice that the door doesn't have a window like it did in other episodes. I think the door was changed so Jim wouldn't be able to peep through the shades to see who was knocking. So because of this, Jim has to stand to the side of the door, and hold an ashtray over the door. He says "come in," and Rocky looks up with surprise. Rocky sees that the trailer's a mess, and starts his sermon about quitting "the whole lousy racket," as he's helping himself to a beer. Is this his first sermon on the subject? Here Rocky injects a little background information about another guy named Rockford, who took a thumpin' for Jim because of mistaken identity. Rocky gives Jim the phone number to Jameson's country home, and much to his dismay, Jim calls him, and sets up a meeting at a restaurant. At Jameson's house, he has what appears to be a live falcon or something. Is that what that is? Jim tells the man what's what, and Rocky cheers him on. The first part of this episode ends when Rocky acquiesces to clean Jim's trailer.