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The Rockford Files: Crack Back

Two masked men rob Gibby’s Place. Much later, Davey Woodhull has hired Beth to defend him. The police picked him up one day after the crime wearing a watch that matched the description of one stolen during the robbery. She believes the state has a good case but that Woodhull is innocent. Jim’s job is to find a key witness, Doreen Carpenter, whose testimony can clear Beth’s client. At the same time, the mysterious Harriet Beecher Foundation sends Beth strange gifts and harasses her. Jim eventually finds Doreen Carpenter and convinces her to testify, but a sniper kills her as they leave her apartment building! With Beth’s life and Davey Woodhull’s future on the line, Jim has to unravel this mess before the trial ends.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 3x21
Production Number: 45031
Airdate: Friday March 25th, 1977

Director: Reza Badiyi
Writer: Juanita Bartlett

Guest Stars
Howard McGillinHoward McGillin
As Davey Woodhull
John CalvinJohn Calvin
As Preston Garnett
Sondra BlakeSondra Blake
As Doreen Carpenter
Conchata FerrellConchata Ferrell
As Ella Mae White

Co-Guest Stars
Nick FerrisNick Ferris
As Cab Driver
Jack GarnerJack Garner
As Court Deputy
Norman BartoldNorman Bartold
As Judge Carroll
Glenn RobardsGlenn Robards
As Doorman
Robert Ward (2)Robert Ward (2)
As Reporter #1
Bo KaprallBo Kaprall
As Willie Gunter
Robert Miller DriscollRobert Miller Driscoll
As Prosecutor Rosecranz
Bill WoodardBill Woodard
As Football Player
Gloria DixonGloria Dixon
As Reporter #2
Bill BaldwinBill Baldwin
As Jury Foreman
Episode Notes
Jim's phony police badge identifies him as Lt. John Becker of the Tulsa, Oklahoma police department.

The end credits name a character ‘Gunter’ but the prosecutor pronounces his name ‘Gunther.’

Actor Robert Miller Driscoll is credited as ‘Defence Attorney.’ In fact, Beth was the defense attorney, Driscoll’s character Rosecranz was the prosecutor. Also, ‘Defence’ is the British spelling of the word.

Episode Quotes
Answering Machine Message: This is Doctor Soder. Now, my nurse tells me you’ve blown four root canal appointments. Well, you’re finished in this office!

Jim: How could you not mention Davey Woodhull.
Beth Davenport: What?
Jim: He’s one of the most promising running backs in pro football.
Beth Davenport: He’s also been charged with murder one! I’ll get you an eight by ten glossy after the trial, how’s that?

Beth Davenport: Davey was with a girl the night of the robbery. She’s his alibi. She’s done the vanishing act; I want you to find her.
Jim: By tomorrow morning?!? You waited ‘til the last minute, didn’t you?
Beth Davenport: I can put her on the witness stand anytime during the trial. And I didn’t wait ‘til the last minute. The cops have been looking for her. And I’ve had somebody on it.
Jim: What do you mean you had somebody on it?!?
Beth Davenport: The phone book’s full of PIs. You were my first choice, naturally, but you were fishing. You’re always fishing!
Jim: Who’d you hire?
Beth Davenport: Do you want the job, or not?
Jim: For cash, or against what I owe you?
Beth Davenport: (resignedly) For cash.
Jim: Yeah, I want the job. And I’m not always fishing. Sometimes I watch football.

Gibby: I know that Davey Woodhull knocked this place over. And he killed a man that never did anything except pour a beer for him. Now he’s gonna pay for it, oh yeah, and I’m gonna see that he pays.
Jim: What if you’re wrong, Gibby?
Gibby: I’m not wrong!

Beth Davenport: I think I’m being watched. Now, I know that sounds paranoid, but I get the feeling like I’m being watched.

Beth Davenport: I want to find out who’s doing this to me, and I want it stopped. But you can’t give it top priority.
Jim: Psychos get top priority with me!

Ella Mae White: He’s only three and a half, but he can play four.

Jim: We could try and track ‘em down through the gifts.
Dennis Becker: We?
Jim: Well, put some men on it, Dennis. You know, find where the gifts were purchased, we might get a lead on who bought ‘em.
Dennis Becker: Do you know how many man hours that would take?
Jim: Yeah. That’s why I can’t do it myself.

Beth Davenport: (visibly shaken) He called again. Here. M...maybe he knows that the police have a tap on my line at home. He..he...he knows everything else... where I am, who I’m with...

Jim: Didn’t all this start just about the time you took on Davey’s case?

Jim: Doreen Carpenter’s a nice name, too.
Doreen Carpenter: (nonplussed) How did you know my name?
Jim: I’ve been looking for you, for Davey Woodhull.
Doreen Carpenter: This is setup... there isn’t any commercial.
Jim: ‘Fraid not.

Beth Davenport: Is Mrs. Carpenter present in court?
Jim: She is not.
Beth Davenport: Can you tell us why, Mr. Rockford?
Jim: She was on her way to testify. She was murdered.
(The courtroom erupts at this news.)

Beth Davenport: Aren’t you going to follow him?
Jim: No, let him lose us.
Beth Davenport: Why?
Jim: You got a gun?
Beth Davenport: Of course not.
Jim: Well, neither have I.
Beth Davenport: You think he has?
Jim: He had one when he killed Doreen. That’s the same car. I got a good clean look at him when he pulled the trigger.

Davey Woodhull: All I want right now is... I want to play football.
Jim: They’ve got a good ballclub at San Quentin. You’ll like it.
Davey Woodhull: What do you mean?
Jim: (gesturing) You’re friend, the coach.
Dennis Becker: David Woodhull, you’re under arrest.

Jim: He was sitting on the bench and he was probably going to stay there until they dropped his option. If you can’t have the glory, sometimes money makes a good substitute.

Beth’s reaction to the harassment seems somewhat inconsistent. When she receives a creepy telephone call late at night, she all but falls apart, and asks Jim to stay over. Yet soon after she pays a cab driver for the address from which he collected a gift, and then visits that location personally. It would seem more reasonable for her to contact Jim, who she already asked to look into it. Jim even mentions this after she visits the house. Her answer that “she got mad” doesn’t seem to justify the huge risk she took.

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