The Rockford Files - Season 6
Season six of The Rockford Files marks the return of James Garner as wryly humorous ex-con turned private eye Jim Rockford -- but not for long. Weary of the role, fed up by constant quarrelling with the production staff over story values and working conditions, and racked with pain from a variety of job-related injuries, Garner abruptly quit the popular series just before shooting wrapped. With no star, there was no Rockford Files, and the show was canceled -- leaving one announced episode, "Never Trust a Boxx Boy", uncompleted and abandoned. But before this could happen, the season opens with "Paradise Cove," highlighted by the much-publicized guest appearance of Mariette Hartley, who was then appearing with Garner in a series of popular camera commercials. (The warm rapport between the two actors was so persuasive that many viewers assumed they were married, prompting Hartley to half-seriously go around wearing a sweatshirt emblazoned with the message "I am not Mrs. James Garner!.") This is followed by the two-parter "Lions, Tigers, Monkeys, and Dogs," with guest-star turns by Hollywood icons Lauren Bacall and Dana Wynter. Other highlights during the series' final season are the return appearances of Tom Selleck as the insufferably lucky P.I. Lance White in "Nice Guys Finish Dead," James Whitmore Jr. as casually unscrupulous detective Fred Beamer in the same episode, and Rita Moreno in her Emmy-winning role as troublesome prostitute Rita Capkovic in "No Fault Affair." And speaking of Emmys, Rockford Files co-star (and occasional writer and director) Stuart Margolin this season walked home with his second gold statuette for his portrayal of Jim Rockford's delightfully untrustworthy former cellmate Angel Martin.