The Rockford Files: A Blessing in Disguise (1995)

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7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 7/10

Fun characters, James Garner

For fans primarily with a so-so mystery

Movie Info

Movie Name:  The Rockford Files:  A Blessing in Disguise

Studio:  MGB Productions/Universal Television

Genre(s):  Drama/Mystery/Suspense

Release Date(s):  May 14, 1995

MPAA Rating:  Not Rated

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Murder of biblical proportions…

Angel (Stuart Margolin) has a new scheme as a head of a TV church…but his church has targeted a new film called Little Ezekiel.  As the riled up congregation threatens the makers of the movie, Jim Rockford (James Garner) discovers himself as the reluctant bodyguard of the starlet Laura Sue Dean (Renée O’Connor).  With the murder of an investor, Jim realizes that the silver screen might have more danger than he expected.

Directed by Jeannot Szwarc, The Rockford Files:  A Blessing in Disguise is a mystery-suspense drama.  Following The Rockford Files:  I Still Love L.A. from 1994, the made-for-TV movie which aired on CBS.

The Rockford Files was the type of series that could have potentially gone on forever in today’s market (Law & Order shows that)…or at least as long as James Garner wanted to play him.  The world of 1970s and 1980s TV was a lot more competitive.  The mystery format is something that can be stretched and twisted…but The Rockford Files has benefit of a character who is an original.

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Don’t worry…I’ve got a plan

The previous made-for-TV movie wasn’t very heavy on Angel and his plot felt tacked on to bring the character back.  The Rockford Files:  A Blessing in Disguise develops Angel’s get rich plots into a core of the movie storyline.  While the mystery is rather simple, the crafting of the story is still fun, but it does just feel like a longer TV episode (which for all intents and purposes it is supposed to be).

Just like the series, James Garner is what sells The Rockford Files.  The bonus of this entry is that you get the fun of Stuart Margolin’s Angel who is both fun and irritating.  The movie also features Xena:  Warrior Princess’s Renée O’Connor as the bubble-headed movie star.  Joe Santos takes a really weak backseat role in in this entry (he wasn’t in the first one much either) and he feels like more of a distraction than an addition (though it does help make it feel like the TV show).

rockford files a blessing in disguise james garner renee oconnor

You’re my Gabrielle

The Rockford Files often revels in L.A., but this entry doesn’t seem to do it as much as the previous entry.  I like that Rockford is kind of the gritty grim part of L.A., and the fact that the city changed so much between the end of The Rockford Files and these movies could have been ripe for exploration…it still looks decent, but I like when the story involves the city more.

The Rockford Files TV movies are a great coda to The Rockford Files which ended earlier than it had to.  Garner is still on top of his game (he never really was off his game…just some of his movies were).  The movies don’t stand great on their own, but fans of the show will enjoy them.  The Rockford Files:  A Blessing in Disguise was followed by The Rockford Files:  If the Frame Fits in 1996.

Related Links:

The Rockford Files—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

The Rockford Files:  I Still Love L.A. (1994)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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