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The Rockford Files: The Trouble with Warren

A man crosses a parking garage, enters his car and begins to leave. Another car pulls behind him. A hand emerges from the second car, holding a pistol, and squeezes off several shots... Later, Beth’s nerdy cousin Warren finds Jim in a pool hall. Warren’s in “bad trouble” but before he can explain further, two men accost him. With a scream, Warren flees as Jim knocks the men down. Then Warren reveals that the men were police detectives! It seems the police want to question Warren about the death of Robert Bonner – a man with whom Warren had argued earlier that day. Jim has to deal with angry cops and with Beth, who pleads with him to look into the matter and clear her cousin’s name.

Episode Info
Episode number: 3x11
Production Number: 45008
Airdate: Friday December 24th, 1976

Guest Stars
Ron RifkinRon Rifkin
As Warren Weeks
Paul JenkinsPaul Jenkins
As Gareth Hudson
James LuisiJames Luisi
As Lt. Doug Chapman
Joe MarossJoe Maross
As Perry Lefcourt
John DullaghanJohn Dullaghan
As Todd Alpine
Tom BowerTom Bower
As Jeffrey Cooperman

Co-Guest Stars
M.P. MurphyM.P. Murphy
As Janitor
Tom Williams (1)Tom Williams (1)
As Wedding Guest
Ed CrickEd Crick
As Parking Attendant
Vince HowardVince Howard
As Kleinschmidt
Shirley AnthonyShirley Anthony
As Secretary
Anne RandallAnne Randall
As Catherine Lefcourt (as Anne Randall Stewart)
Jan StrattonJan Stratton
As Hilda
Episode Quotes
Answering Machine Message: (radio squeal) Jimmy... it’s Phil in Puerto Rico! This is real important! Talk to Mr... (static washes out the words) He’ll pay twenty thousand dollars. Call him at 231... (static washes out the rest of the message)

Warren Weeks: I tried to reach Beth but I can’t find her anywhere.
Jim: Maybe you’re looking in the wrong places.
Warren Weeks: I have to talk to someone.
Jim: (uninterested in Warren’s problem) Has it occurred to you to leave a message with her answering service?
Warren Weeks: You see, Jim, this is important...
Jim: (resigned) Okay, Warren, what is it?
Warren Weeks: Well, we can’t talk here...
Jim: Why not?
Warren Weeks: Because I’m in trouble... I... I’m in bad trouble...

Warren Weeks: (after Jim has helped him escape from two men) I wonder if I’ve done the right thing. Maybe I should have gone down to the station with them and answered the questions.
Jim: I hit a cop?!? Why’d you let me do that? What’s the matter with you???
Warren Weeks: Well, I guess I panicked.
Jim: I know the feeling! I’ve got it right now!

Lt. Doug Chapman: You got a big smart mouth with contempt for the law and the people who try to enforce it.
Jim: (pointedly) Not all of them, Lieutenant.

Beth Davenport: Whoever killed Bonner must be someone in the company. Somebody who knows about the argument between Warren and Bonner. They used it to make him the patsy!

(Beth has inveigled Jim into helping her cousin.)
Jim: My next attorney is going to be a foundling – someone with no living relatives!

Todd Alpine: We’re conducting an investigation. I’m not at liberty to deal in specifics at this time.
Jim: (looking at Alpine's partner) Who’s he? Your local boy scout? When you are, give me a call.
Alpine: Suit yourself. You can expect a grand jury subpoena.

Jim: If this has anything to do with Warren, it has nothing to do with me!
Alpine: I don’t believe that.
Jim: Well, I’m not surprised. I keep saying it and nobody pays any attention.

Gareth Hudson: Lefcourt knows Warren was having an affair with his wife, Catherine. (Jim can only stare – this surprises him completely.) Warren... didn’t mention it to you?

Jim: I got into white water trying to find out who was bad rapping you and you never once mentioned that Perry Lefcourt had a really swell reason for wanting you out of the way!

Beth: Jim – Warren just called! You’ve got to stop him!
Jim: Who’s he gonna kill this time?

(Beth has called, frantic, asking Jim to help Warren – again. Every time so far that Jim has helped Warren it has brought Jim misery.)
Jim: You know something, Rocky? There’s a lot to be said for friendship... and there’s a lot to be said against it!

Jim: You drive very well. You also just made me an accessory after the fact!

Warren: What are you doing?!?
Jim: It’s called grand theft, auto. I’m looking at a rap for aiding and abetting, Warren. You think I’m going to be worried about a little detail like stealing a car?

Jim: Okay, we’re going to go get Beth, we’re going down to the station, and you’re going to get me off the hook, and that’s it!
Warren: You think they’re going to arrest me?
Jim: I hope they throw the book at you!

Jim: Just how much trouble am I in, Dennis?
Dennis Becker: Well, what are you talking about - the flight to avoid arrest, grand theft auto, or that dusty old A&B from yesterday?

Jim: I’ve racked up a dozen felonies! The LAPD is about to drop a net on me!
Beth Davenport: I’ll get you out of it – I promise.
Jim: The only thing that’s going to get me out of it is if I hand the cops whoever killed Perry Lefcourt.

Gareth Hudson: It wasn’t my fault! I didn’t want to kill anybody! It was Perry’s fault! You didn’t know him, Rockford. I’ve seen him destroy people. I couldn’t let Bonner go to him. He thought we could deal with him – throw ourselves on his mercy. Perry never showed any mercy.

Jim: So, why kill Lefcourt?
Gareth Hudson: Bonner had already told him everything. So when he was killed, Perry put it all together. You know the deal he offered me? He wanted me to take full responsibility for those bribes so the investigation wouldn’t reach all the way up to him.
Jim: And in return, he wouldn’t turn you in for Bonner’s murder.
Gareth Hudson: Yeah. He wanted me to fix it so Warren would take the rap for that. That’s Perry Lefcourt. He would have had me on a string for the rest of my life!

Episode Goofs
When Beth calls Jim around 22:10 into the show, Jim is outside and hears a distant ringing. When he enters the trailer to answer, a louder ring as of a phone in the same room starts – but the distant ring continues for an extra second, so that for a second or so it sounds like two phones ringing.

Cultural References
Rocky asks Jim whether the potatoes he’s serving are “real” meaning they’re not those “frozen kind.” Jim scornfully calls his father “The Galloping Gourmet.” The Galloping Gourmet was the name of a cooking show that aired between 1968 and 1971, and also the sobriquet of early celebrity chef Graham Kerr, the show’s host. Kerr took the name from the title of a book that chronicled an around the world trek to fine restaurants.

Episode References
Agent Alpine tells Jim that if he refuses to cooperate, he can expect a grand jury summons. This threat makes Jim pause and reconsider his recalcitrance. It is likely that Jim remembers the abuse he received from prosecutor Gary Bevins and the grand jury system that happened in “So Help Me God.”

A scene early in the episode builds on the consequences of Jim assaulting two police officers. Generally, police officers must identify themselves clearly as police officers in order to enjoy the special protections their role confers on them. Courts have ruled that self-defense is legitimate unless the officer has clearly identified his role. Chances are, Jim could have bluffed his way out of trouble, but with his splotchy record the police never cut him a break.

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