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Private eye Jim Rockford (James Garner) begins his final year--not counting eight TV movies--by trying to hang on to his beachfront property ("Paradise Cove"). That matter settled with the aid of legal eagle Mariette Hartley, with whom Garner made a series of Polaroid commercials, Rockford proceeds to tangle with socialite Lauren Bacall ("Lions, Tigers, Monkeys and Dogs"), rival P.I. Tom Selleck ("Nice Guys Finish Dead"), and hooker-turned-hairdresser Rita Moreno ("No Fault Affair"). All his closest companions are along for the semi-final ride: Angel (Stuart Margolin), Lt. Becker (Joe Santos), and his father, Joseph (Noah Beery Jr.), who continues to needle his son about settling down. "When I'm ready, Rocky--not when you are," Jim replies. Of the season, standout episodes include "No Fault Affair" due to Moreno's Emmy-caliber work (and despite a bad makeup job) and "Just a Coupla Guys," which writer David Chase (The Sopranos) presents from the point of view of two small-time hoods. Throughout, Rockford enters the 1980s in the same business-casual style he left the '70s. The times were changing--note the references to disco and new wave in the Chase-penned "Only Rock 'n' Roll Will Never Die"--but Jim remained the same, which is as it should be, except the network landscape was also changing, and the meat and potatoes of The Rockford Files was giving way to flashier fare. Consequently, the sixth year tops out at 12 episodes. Though "Deadline in Parma" appears as the series finale, it's a fairly lackluster note on which to conclude six great years. Fortunately, the set as a whole serves as a welcome reminder why Rockford will always be one of America's favorite TV detectives--humble, chivalrous, and decidedly un-quirky--they just don't make 'em like that anymore.

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MC02101 Rockford Files Season 6 DVD (1979/James Garner) $39.98 $35.99