From: "RG Naylor"
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 00:45:48 -0800

The Rockford Files episode review is back again! It's been a long time, I know, but I am back and am trying to get these reviews out quicker. This episode stars Lee Purcell as Susan Parsons, Linda Kelsey as Louise Adams, and Tim O' Connor as Charles Dexter. I know I've seen these actresses before (or should I say after?), but I can't recall where.

Susan Parsons and Louise Adams are roommates, and the show begins at their apartment, where Louise grabs some opera glasses out of a drawer, and peers out between the drapes at the license plate of a car that apparently has been following them. She gives the license number to Susan, who writes it down.

Meanwhile, Jim Rockford is in the office of one Charles Dexter (a snobbish, condescending type) and Dexter looks at Jim's cigarette with disgust, and tells him to use an ashtray, to which Jim says: "There aren't any." Jim tries to put the butt out in an antique plate, and Dexter manages to grab it before he does. Miss Adams (the receptionist) is called in to take the butt, and she takes it out of Jim's hand like it was something the dog deposited in the backyard.

So now, Jim conveys that Dexter is hiring him to find Susan Parsons, who apparently disappeared. He asks Dexter what kind of "friend" Parsons was to him. Dexter bristles at this. Rockford presses further, and the man says: "You have a very irritating manner," and Jimbo says: "So do you." Dexter starts to give Jim more details, and Jim unconsciously lights another cigarette, and then realizes he has nowhere to put the match. Meanwhile he asks Dexter why he had Susan enrolled in college, and Dexter says he's interested in her mind as well. Jim quips: "You're full of unique characteristics." Mr. Dexter asks Jim what he charges, and then attempts to negotiate ol' Jimbo down to $50/day, with no expenses. Jim sets him straight, and asks for a picture before he leaves. At the door, he gives the Miss Adams his half-burned cigarette, saying: "For your collection."

Next, we see Jimbo tooling his Firebird over to Susan Parsons' apartment, where her roommate, Louise Adams opens the door and admits him, thinking he's with the police, and offers him a soft drink instead of something stronger. Jim tells her he's a private cop, and "practically required to drink on the job." She decides she's not sure she wants to talk to him. He tries to convince her, and get some information about the case that the police detective wouldn't give him. She decides that she likes the Rockford charm, and asks him if he's heard about the license plate number. He fakes like he has, but she sees through the facade. He comes clean; that he and the police detective didn't get along. She tells him she has a hunch that he's all right, and then proposes that she go with him on his investigation. Jim of course vehemently objects. But she's got the license number, and refuses to give it to him unless he agrees to let her in on the case. He agrees, and they go to a phone booth (for some reason), and Jimbo calls a friend at the DMV (I just love that--he doesn't pay some service for it, he just calls a friend at the DMV, and gets his vital information for free, or maybe for lunch at the taco stand. LOL.) It turns out that the owner of the vehicle is another PI, Kermit Higby (what a name!). Now this Kermit Higby broke Jimbo's nose when Jim was off his game recovering from the flu. The upshot is that Higby knows Jim, so Louise is going to have to get whatever info they can from Higby herself. She is reluctant, and says: "He wouldn't hit a lady, would he?" And Jim says: "Ah, no. Of course not... At least I don't think so."

So at Higby's office, Louise finds out that he shares his office with the "Hollywood Escort Service." The secretary is handling a call from an irate "customer", and at the end of the conversation, she is heard saying, in a courteous manner (to appease Louise): "The same to you." LOL Now, before Louise explains why she's there, she asks about the "Hostess Business" that seems to be operating there. The secretary says:"Well, a dating service is a little seedy, so I decided to get into the hostess business." (Am I the only one who doesn't understand that explanation?) Louise manages to scam the secretary out of Higby's whereabouts by claiming to be in charge of a bank trust fund. She tells the secretary in a rather frank manner: "I really don't like it here," before she leaves with the info: he's in Las Vegas. Out in the car, she wrestles with whether to trust Jimbo with the info, because she's afraid he'll leave her and work the angle himself. He quips: "Would you like to hold my driver's license till this is all over?" She decides not to give him the full scoop, but does tell him she has to pack, and then to get on the San Bernardino freeway. Jim deduces: "Las Vegas, huh?" LOL.

So off to Las Vegas they go. It's funny, they show the machines, and the tables, and then they stuff money down those slits, except they do it rather sloppily. Inside the Golden Nuggett (anybody know if this casino's still standing?) Jim and Louise are conferring. Jim checked to see if she was registered there, which she wasn't. Just then, Louise sees Susan at the roulette table. Jim takes a closer look, then tells Louise to go back to the motel. Then he calls Charles Dexter, collect, and tells him about locating Susan. Dexter tells him to make contact with her, and keep him informed. So Jimmy starts to play roulette at the table Susan's at. Jim seems to be winning big, and making notes on a little notepad. It also would seem from this episode that Jimbo is in the wrong line of work. He's an expert at gambling, and successful enough to do it professionally. She notices his success. Over at the slots, Kermit Higby is seen watching Jim and Susan resentfully. He must be losing, LOL. She finally breaks down and asks Jim about his system, which serves to break the ice. He tells her that playing black and red and odd and even will doom her to lose. Jim asks her to join him for some food. He then proceeds to impress her, telling her how he hit a casino for $50,000.00. He also tells her he deliberately uses the notebook to appear to be a "systems bettor" because systems bettors always lose. What he's really doing is casing the wheel, which, if the casino knew, would close down the wheel and re-balance it. Susan is fascinated. On the way back to her room, they make a date for the roulette wheel the next day. She tells him she's had a good time, and kisses him on the cheek, and then we hear that old familiar music that always comes up in times of romance or sentimentality on the show.

Back at the "Golden Motel", Louise opens the door between their rooms as Jimbo pops in. He tells her that Susan is using an alias, and claiming to be waiting for her divorce to go through. Jims tells Louise to go back home as he can take it from there. Louise starts an oration on helping the underdog, and refusing to turn her back on Susan. Jim tells her she's meddling, and Louise leaves the room with a "goodnight". Jim then starts to thinking, and then knocks on Louise's door. He opens it, and finds she has left the room, so he puts on his coat and goes after her.

Down in the casino, he sees Susan at the roulette wheel. Higby is still watching her from his perch at the slots, unbeknownst to Jim. Jim goes up to Susan's room, knocks then enters. Just then, he sees Louise lying unconscious on the floor, so he kneels down to check on her. Then somebody comes out of the closet behind him and hits him with a gun, rendering him unconscious. The man turns out to be Jim's client, Charles Dexter.

Louise wakes up first, and awakens Jim. They catch up on what each of them have been doing, and notice that the place has been tossed. Jim tells Louise he doesn't think they found what they were looking for because everything had been tossed, and if they had found it they would've stopped. Jim states that the y better leave, and so they do.

In the elevator, JIm asks her a second time what she was doing in Susan's room. She states that she was trying to help JIm find out what Susan was running from. Jim finally tells her it's time for her to "get lost", then leaves the elevator at the casino floor. As he walks onto the casino floor, he looks back and notices Louise is following him. Jim is angry and tells a security guard that Louise has been following him around and makes her out to be some drugged out hippie chick. LOL. That takes care of Louise for a while. Jim apparently sees Susan going up to her room, so he waits in the elevator on her floor till she comes out of the other elevator, and stops her before she goes into her room. He obviously does this to try and find out who had knocked them out and tossed her room. When she sees the inside of her room, she gasps, and Jim says, "What's wrong?" She won't let Jim call security, stating her husband probably tossed the room, and she didn't want to "get into trouble." Jim offers his help, and she asks him to drive her to Reno. She then tells him the airline "misplaced" her suitcase, and that she needs to pick it up on the way out of town.

On their way up to Reno, Jim is keeping his eye on the rear view mirror, and it becomes clear to him that they're being followed. Further on up the road, Jim makes a left turn. Behind him, Kermit Higby is seen following him, and Louise is seen behind Higby. After he makes the turn, he stops the car, and gets out while Susan gets behind the wheel and pulls over up the road a bit. When Higby follows, he abruptly stops when he sees Rockford's car. Jim walks up and leans onto the door, quipping: "Hi ya Kerm. It's good to see you climbing out from underneath your rock from time to time." Higby makes reference to the last time they saw each other, and then starts to climb out to teach Jimbo "another lesson." Jimbo slams the door on Higby's arm, and says: "Clumsy, clumsy, Kerm." Jim tells Higby to explain why he's following him and why he knocked him out in Susan's room, and Higby denies knocking Jim out. Jim motions like he's going to punch Higby with a right cross, but Jim decides not to (for some reason), and takes Higby's keys. Higby says: "If it'a been me I'd a beat you to death." Jim says: "Yeah, I know." before he pushes the door in on HIgby's arm, and heads for his car.

The next scene finds them in Reno. Susan calls Jim at his room, and she tells him to come over to her room. Here, she starts talking about the "divorce", and Jim says: "Well there's not gonna be a divorce 'cause you're not married." She looks at him with a startled look on her face. He tells her who he really is, and who hired him. She starts ranting about Dexter being crazy, and then tries to leave the room. Jim blocks the door. He tries to get her to tell him what she's hiding. He tells her he saw her taking the suitcase out of an airport locker, as opposed to picking it up from the lost and found. He searches the closet for the suitcase, and as he's searching the luggage, they hear a knock on the door. It turns out to be Louise with a local police officer. She accuses Jim of attempted rape and kidnapping, and despite Jim's objections, the cop takes him to jail, and lets the girls get away.

At the station, Jim says: "I hope you appreciate the fact that I haven't once say 'I told you so.'" Another officer comes into the room, and tells them that the girls have flown the coop. The same officer then says that a guy named "Albert Frost" had hired Rockford to find Susan, who has been reported as a missing person. The Lt. tells Jim he can leave, and Jim says: "I think somebody ought to apologize." The Lt. says: "Move it Rockford, before I decide to book you as a trouble maker." Then Jimbo says: "Thank you Lieutenant, I accept your apology." and the camera angle changes for a closeup of the enraged Lieutenant as Jim walks out the door a free man.

Outside, Charles Dexter is waiting for Rockford. Jim demands to know what Susan has that Dexter wants. At first, Dexter doesn't want to play ball, so Jim starts to leave. He then agrees to tell him about what's in the suitcase, and to pay a 10 percent finders fee to get it back. It turns out that Dexter was going to make a $250,000.00 payoff in order to fix some "trouble" his corporation was having. The man he was supposed to pay never showed, and he stowed the money at the beach house where he and Susan did their thing. Susan later turned up missing, along with the money. Rockford mentions that Susan was laundering the money, and Jim calls the money a bribe, which Dexter denies.

So Rockford hires a private plane to take him halfway to L.A., and land at a dirt airstrip where a car awaits him. He pulls the car onto the highway, and points it toward Reno, waiting for Susan and Louise to drive by. What a genius. After a few hours, Susan and Louise drive by, with Higby close behind. They notice that Higby's following them, but they don't know who it is. Rockford has joined the chase, behind Higby. As they both look behind their respecive cars, Louise veers into the other lane, and veers back just before crashing head on into an oncoming vehicle. They careen back and forth and then off the right side of the road on two wheels before sliding to a stop in the desert sand. Higby pulls over, and sees Jim's car behind him, so he takes off. Louise can't get the car started, and Jim goes over to see if they're all right. After finding out they're all right, Jim takes the keys out of the ignition, and starts searching the suitcases. Jim brings up the 'consumer advocate" thing (that's what Louise claimed she wanted to be), telling her that keeping the money won't help her self esteem. Jim offers to share the reward money, but Susan refuses, and so Jim starts to leave. He stops and thinks about the situation, and then says to them: "You're gonna need a ride." Meanwhile Higby's down the road turning around. As Jim's loading their luggage in the trunk, Louise explains how easy it is to have "temporary setbacks in the ethics department." She asks if he's serious about splitting the reward, and he says he is, so she gives him the key to a locker at the bus depot in Reno. As Jim is turning onto the highway with the two girls, Higby deliberately crashes into their car. Jim gets out and heads for Higby, who's frantically trying to start his car, and says; "Higby, I couldn't hit you before but you just changed all that." He hesitates for a second, and then says:"Oh, what the hell." as Higby smiles, and knocks Higby out at the wheel of his car. Jim then walks back to his car and says: "There's a reason I didn't do that before. I think I broke my hand." LOL.

So now Jim is back at Dexter's office, and Dexter is writing a check for "$200 a day, plus LAVISH expenses." Jim asks if he plans to pay him the bonus on a separate check. Dexter says he's not paying Jim the bonus, and Jim says "If I have to give you trouble to get it, I will." Mr. Dexter then explains to Jim that he is going to lose a lawsuit for $10,000,000.00, and his wife is suing him for divorce (that's who hired Higby), so there's no way Jim can give him trouble. As he's getting the last of his words out: "...And you think YOU can give me trouble?" Jim has lighted a cigarette and he drops the match into the priceless plate on Dexter's desk. We hear that music that's played during moments of irony, and the screen freezes. End of Story.

Check back again soon for the next episode review, Caledonia--It's Worth a Fortune! (Episode 11) Until then, Rockford On!