The Rockford Files

Season 4 Episode 8

Irving the Explainer

Aired Unknown Nov 18, 1977 on NBC
out of 10
User Rating
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Episode Summary

Irving the Explainer

Jim is hired to talk to some aging German movie makers from World War Two but becomes involved with an old murder case, the French Police and German gangsters in the search for a priceless missing painting...

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  • Liars, Nazis and the French...oh, my!

    David Chase delivers another strong script in an episode that is more about the journey than the solution to the mystery. Jim finds out pretty quickly that he's in over his head in a plot involving a reclusive Hollywood director and Nazi sympathizer, a stolen painting and four foreigners with their own agendas and designs.

    This episode shows why Rockford worked so well - no other detective show from the era (except for "Columbo" when it dabbled in comedy) could blend action and comedy as well as "Rockford." Who else could deliver an episode where the lead character spends most of the episode in the dark, and is even more confused by the ending, and still have it be wholly entertaining from start to finish? Again, you watch "Rockford" for James Garner, the wit and the charm. The storylines were frequently too complicated for a 50 minute time frame, and it almost seems like David Chase is acknowledging that with this episode.

    Shades of "Marathon Man" with the German interrogators and James Garner and company show their way around comedic wordplay in the scenes with the Surete detectives. I liked Jim's use of a grad student to try to determine the logical solution to the puzzle...only to discover there isn't one!

    And, like any good detective show, it's all wrapped up with an "Irving the Explainer" scene. Even if this time it's actually a guy named Irving who explains it all!moreless
Barbara Babcock

Barbara Babcock

Karen Hall/Kathryn Korper

Guest Star

Maurice Marsac

Maurice Marsac

Chief Inspector Jeneau

Guest Star

Irene Tsu

Irene Tsu

Daphne Ishawaharda

Guest Star

James Luisi

James Luisi

Lt. Chapman

Recurring Role

Luis Delgado

Luis Delgado

Officer Billings

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Answering Machine: Hey, am I too late for those African goats? Haven't got the whole three hundred cash, but I've got a lot of homemade cheese. Maybe we could work something out?

    • Dennis: Let me get this straight: You have a client who has the same name as Herman Goering's HOUSE?!

    • Karen Hall: You met up with the Surete. They actually followed me. That's why I had that horrible feeling I was being watched. And they're the ones who ransacked my room!
      Jim: Oh no, not nearly so simple. Your room was ransacked by an Olympic wrestling champion and a German ex-neurosurgeon.

    • (Becker reviews microfiche)
      Becker: Stand over there, please. This is official department memoranda, open only to department personnel.
      Jim: Boy, you talk about the Nazis around you and it rubs off!

    • Karen Hall: Of course, Korper wasn't the only one of his time to be pro-Nazi.
      Jim: Sure. There was Mussolini...

  • NOTES (1)


    • "Irving the Explainer"

      The title for this episode comes from a literary convention in which a character delivers a huge amount of exposition to the audience. Usually, detective shows feature an "Irving the Explainer" scene in which the detective sums up the case.