<-- Previous EpisodeNext Episode -->

The Rockford Files: So Help Me God

Jim returns from a successful fishing trip to some bad news: a subpoena to United States District Court. It commands his appearance but offers no explanation; he can consult with a lawyer outside the courtroom, but cannot have a lawyer inside with him. Prosecutor Gary Bevins believes a man named Frank Sorvino contacted Jim, but Jim has no idea who Sorvino is. The prosecutor accuses Jim of perjury and holds him for contempt. Beth frees Jim on a technicality, where he runs afoul of two thugs also interested in Sorvino. Bevins commands another appearance, but Jim still cannot answer his questions and finally loses his temper, lambasting Bevins. Jim goes back to prison, where Bevins leaves him in revenge for his courtroom conduct. Two inmates try to silence Jim; he barely escapes. Jim finally obtains a picture of Sorvino, enabling him to answer Bevins’ questions. But another attack in the prison laundry room nearly kills him.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 3x7
Production Number: 45020
Airdate: Friday November 19th, 1976

Guest Stars
William DanielsWilliam Daniels
As Gary Bevins
Sandy WardSandy Ward
As Peter Henshaw
Jason WingreenJason Wingreen
As Clarence Rohrs
Stuart MargolinStuart Margolin
As Evelyn "Angel" Martin

Co-Guest Stars
Ted GehringTed Gehring
As Warden Futrell
Robert Raymond SuttonRobert Raymond Sutton
As Carl
John LuptonJohn Lupton
As Henry Franks
Cliff CarnellCliff Carnell
As Gordy
Angelo NazzoAngelo Nazzo
As Pervis
Jack GarnerJack Garner
As Bailiff
Vernon WeddleVernon Weddle
As Mike Prescott
Lieux DresslerLieux Dressler
As Margaret Raucher
John GowansJohn Gowans
As Doctor
Main Cast
James GarnerJames Garner
As Jim Rockford
Noah Beery, Jr.Noah Beery, Jr.
As Joseph "Rocky" Rockford
Joe SantosJoe Santos
As Det. Dennis Becker
Episode Notes
This episode explores prosecutorial misconduct within the context of a grand jury investigation.

A card displayed after the final scene fades to black reads “The abuse of the Federal Grand Jury system as dramatized here is currently permissible under existing laws.

Episode Quotes
Answering Machine Message: Dr. Soder’s office. This is the third time you’ve canceled. Now, you have to have that root canal. A sore foot has nothing to do with your mouth.

Rocky: You are hereby commanded...
Beth: (sometime later, in her office) appear in the United States District Court at three o’clock pm to testify before the grand jury.

Gary Bevins: I would like to remind you that you are under oath Mr. Rockford, before you perjure yourself further.
Jim: I haven’t perjured myself.

Beth Davenport: You stay in jail until you agree to testify.
Jim: Well, I’m not gonna testify! Bevins is a one man lynch mob!!
Beth Davenport: Or until the expiration of the current grand jury term.
Jim: When’s that?
Beth Davenport: About nine months.
Jim: Nine months?!? That’s a pretty stiff sentence.

Jim: I haven’t been charged with anything, I haven’t been convicted of anything. With a deal like that, do you realize how long I could be in here?
Beth Davenport: Theoretically, the rest of your life.

Margaret Raucher: He’s not with the union, Mr. Henshaw. He’s James Rockford.
Peter Henshaw: Well, that’s quite a coincidence. (ominously) Just the man I’ve been wanting to talk to.

Jim: If I knew anything, don’t you think I’d tell them. They put me in jail!
Peter Henshaw: Jail’s a walk in the park compared to what I got in mind. We ask you right, you’re gonna start to remember.

Jim: (after someone has thoroughly searched his trailer) Well, you wouldn’t believe this place. It looks like it was put on tumble dry.

Gary Bevins: What was the nature of your relationship with Frank Sorvino?
Jim: I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might tend to incriminate me.
Gary Bevins: Of all the Constitutional amendments, that seems to be your favorite. Isn’t that correct, Mr. Rockford?
Jim: I refuse to answer on the grounds that it might tend to incriminate me.
Gary Bevins: Not the First. Not the Sixteenth. But the Fifth. It seems to be a universal favorite among felons.

Jim: There’s an old saying: you never buy a pig in a poke. Well, I bought one when I walked into this courtroom the other day. I thought I was walking into a court of law, not an inquisition.
Gary Bevins: Mr. Foreman, I protest!
Jim: No, Mr. Bevins, I protest!! I’m a citizen of the United States, and as a citizen I’m guaranteed certain rights under the Constitution. When I try to avail myself of those rights, I’m jailed, I’m threatened, I’m subjected to the worst kind of intimidation...
Gary Bevins: Mr. Foreman, this witness is trying to impugn the character and reputation...
Jim: What character?!?
Jury Foreman: Mr. Rockford! I must warn you that you can be held in contempt for such statements.
Gary Bevins: The character of decent citizens who have been empanelled for the purpose...
Jim: I’m not indicting the grand jury, I’m indicting Mr. Bevins. For misusing and manipulating...
Foreman: Mr. Rockford! I warn you!!
Jim: I told you the truth and you called me a liar! You paraded my prison record before these jurors and ignored the fact that I was pardoned. Well, Mr. Bevins, you have less respect for the law than any of the men I ever did time with!
Gary Bevins: (outraged) Mr. Foreman!
Jim: I haven’t done a damn thing! I have been subjected to harassment, character assassination, and your presence. Let me tell you Mr. Bevins – you go ahead and get your grant of immunity, and you stick it in your ear!!

Beth Davenport: Jim, how could you have met with Sorvino on the twenty-fourth when he was kidnapped on the twenty-third?

Rocky: That’s Jimmy in there! Do you know how long they had him in the operating room?
Beth Davenport: Four hours.

Beth Davenport: Sorvino walked off with close to a half a million dollars from the union pension fund.
Dennis Becker: Which is why you got caught in the middle. The grand jury wanted Sorvino, so did the union.

Jim: I testified before the grand jury on two prior occasions. As a result I’ve been imprisoned twice, I’ve been very nearly killed, and I’ve been subjected to the most flagrant abuse of power.
Gary Bevins: Mr. Rockford, you are coming dangerously close to contempt of court again!

Jim: It’s been quite an education, Mr. Bevins. I have not only been cited with contempt, but I have been treated with contempt. And with a total disregard for my rights, guaranteed me under the Constitution. I’ve been guilty of nothing except ignorance of the fact that the man I knew as George Katman was, in fact, Frank Sorvino. And with ignorance of the fact that, in a proceeding of law, you could slander, and threaten, and intimidate me with impungnity. Well, Mr. Bevins – I want an apology. And I want it now.
Gary Bevins: The grand jury has no apology to make. You’ve been treated with scrupulous regard for your rights. The abuse of power to which you refer is the power conferred on this body.
Jim: I wasn’t referring to the grand jury, Mr. Bevins.

Jim: I read an article in a recent legal publication – I’d like to introduce it into the record, if that’s all right? (The foreman nods.) Thank you. It said, “There is no such thing as a small injustice. There is no such thing as a minor abridgement of rights. That if even one citizen is so deprived, make no mistake, we all suffer.”
Gary Bevins: Stirring, Mr. Rockford. Thank you very much.
Jim: That was part of a summation of a case that attracted quite a bit of attention a few years back. The client had been subjected to harassment, illegal search and seizure, a series of injustices in the name of justice.
Gary Bevins: Mr. Rockford, would it be too much to hope that there is a point to this rather lengthy reminiscence? The term of the current grand jury expires in nine months!
Jim: Oh, I think you’ll want to hear how it ended. It’s a real Cinderella story. You see, the defense attorney not only won an acquittal for his client with this impassioned outcry, but that very attorney was plucked from private practice by no less than the attorney general of the United States, and appointed as an assistant Federal Prosecutor.
Gary Bevins: And, I trust, lived happily ever after.
Jim: I hope not, Mr. Bevins. I sincerely hope not. You don’t remember the words, do you Mr. Bevins? Because they’re your words. (The panel begins to murmur.) As you said before, the grand jury has another nine months to serve here. I’d like to think that... the grand jury will remember your words. Thank you Mr. Foreman.

Missing Information
Click here to add Music
Click here to add Episode Goofs
Click here to add Cultural References
Click here to add Episode References
Click here to add Analysis