The Rockford Files (1974–1980)
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The Countess 

Jim is helping a Countess avoid a blackmailer but is then charged for the Blackmailer murder.


Russ Mayberry


Roy Huggins (created by), Stephen J. Cannell (created by) | 2 more credits »




Episode complete credited cast:
James Garner ... Jim Rockford
Noah Beery Jr. ... Joseph 'Rocky' Rockford (as Noah Beery) (credit only)
Susan Strasberg ... Deborah Ryder
Art Lund ... Mike Ryder
Dick Gautier ... Carl Brego
Gretchen Corbett ... Beth Davenport
Joe Santos ... Dennis Becker
Harold J. Stone ... Sorrell
Tom Atkins ... Alex Diel
Todd Martin Todd Martin ... Policeman
James Cromwell ... Terry
Florence Lake ... Old Woman
Jean Le Bouvier Jean Le Bouvier ... Woman (as Jean LeBouvier)
Melvin F. Allen Melvin F. Allen ... Cab Driver (as Mel Allen)


A woman meets a man on a lonely stretch of highway while Rockford is filming the exchange from a hillside. Jim is working for the woman. Her name is Deborah Ryder and she is being blackmailed by Carl Brego. He has information of her sordid past and ties to organized crime which she doesn't want revealed. Jim is confident he can get Brego off her back, but, things go sour for him when Brego is killed and the police think Jim did it. Written by tomtrekp

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

27 September 1974 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Color (Technicolor)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Rockford's trailer location in this episode: it appears as if location might be near 22878 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265. An exterior shot of Rockford's trailer [ @ 06:42 ] shows a sign for a Tonga Lei [hotel? motel?] just beyond or next to Rockford's trailer. Currently [as of October 2019] Google Map shows aTonga Lei located at the aforementioned address. However, Google Street View does not show a Tonga Lei at this location. It appears to show a Malibu Beach Bar/Hotel? (Carbon Beach). [The street view picture is slightly fuzzy.] See more »


The passenger seat is clearly empty when the car goes over the cliff near the end of the episode. See more »


Jim Rockford: This is Jim Rockford. At the tone, leave your name and message, I'll get back to you.
Caller: Hey, Rockford, very funny. I ain't laughin'. You're gonna get yours.
See more »

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User Reviews

big improvement
2 December 2010 | by stones78See all my reviews

I feel this episode was a big improvement over the preceding one, that one titled Dark and Bloody Ground, as Rockford seems to be more the guy we're used to and the story is more coherent than the former. Susan Strasburg co-stars as someone Jim knew back in Chicago, then she married into wealth and is now known as a countess(a word that is used too many times in this episode). She hires Rockford for a reason I can't quite recall, and he's plunged into a world of socialite snobs, including a character played by Richard Gauthier; he looks like he has a dead skunk covered with oil on his head, as he makes the women swoon for some odd reason. This is Tom Atkin's first appearance as Alex Diel, who despises Rockford, and is a good foil to Dennis, who calls Jim a pal. Beth makes her 2nd appearance as the attorney, and has a nice scene reading Diel the riot act in regards to Jim's supposed guilt. Another reason I liked this segment better than the last one I mentioned is there's more scenes with the trailer, the beach, the Firebird, and more interaction with the other main characters mentioned above.

Just about the only scene which I didn't totally buy was when Jim and the husband are tangling in a car, and when the car is heading down a big slope, Jim is already outside the car. It turns out the husband who had Jim at gunpoint dies from his injuries. I know Jim can't die, but it would've been extremely difficult for him to escape a car moving that quickly down a hill. Other than this scene, this is a fine episode in the 1st season of what was to become a terrific show.

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