Friday, October 1, 2021

Power Rankings: The Rockford Files!

We're going through the big shows we covered this season on the podcast and sharing our exclusive Power Rankings, and this week it's time to look back at The Rockford Files, that beloved NBC P.I. show that kicked off our ninth season.

Remember how this works: I look and think, if these characters all squared off in my rumpus room in Oswego, who would win? With that said, let's get to it.

(Note that for the purposes of this list, characters had to be featured in at least two episodes)

1) Jim Rockford: No brainer here. James Garner created one of the most popular characters in TV history.

2) Dennis Becker: Sure, Dennis doesn't always act the way we want--at first--but he usually comes through despite getting yelled at by his superiors. Overall he's a great pal for Jim, and I gotta feel for the guy when things go south for him, which is about every other episode.

3) Beth Davenport: Another one of those characters who it just seems had to have been in more episodes than she was (33), Beth is practical, assertive, and a great match for Jim. She makes each episode better.

4) Rocky: I didn't totally "get" Jim's dad (not to be confused with Jim's Dad from American Pie) until watching a bunch of episodes, but he's an essential part of the series. It clicked for me seeing The Four Pound Brick recently, which is probably my favorite Rocky episode.

5) Lance White: Tom Selleck's "charmed life" rival PI makes only a couple appearances but remains one of the show's most memorable figures.

6) Rita Kapkovic: Rita Moreno won an Emmy for prostitute with a heart of gold Kapkovic. OK, I am selling the show and the character way short with that glib description. She's a likable and charismatic guest star who has great rapport with Rockford and seems to have had potential to become a semi-regular.

7) Marcus "Gabby" Hayes: This smooth-talking PI may be one of the more underrated things Louis Gossett Jr. has done in his career. I would love to see more than just the two times he showed up to make life difficult for Rockfish--uh, Rockford. I'm looking ahead to...

8) Gandolf "Gandy" Fitch: The episode "Just Another Polish Wedding" shows what the proposed Gabby and Gandy show would have been like, and you know what? It would have been fun! Isaac Hayes is tough to look away from as the troubled Fitch, and his calling Jim "Rockfish" never gets old, but let's be honest: The character is an a-hole at best and a felon at worst.

9) Richie Brockleman: Admit, he kind of grows on you, right? He did get his own spinoff, and it didn't work, but don't blame Dennis Dugan. You can blame him for Big Daddy.

10) Angel Martin: When I researched the series for the podcast, I got the impression that Angel was a much more divisive character than I had expected. I put myself in the "little goes a long way" camp while enjoying his occasional appearances. A list like this without him would be incomplete, though.

Also receiving votes: Chapman, Diehl, "Anthony Boy" Fred Beamer

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