On the classic series, “The Rockford Files,” private detective Jim Rockford usually worked alone, by preference, to solve cases. He did things his way. For this reason the series was not created with a sidekick or an assistant in mind. Jim was not Barnaby Jones or Joe Mannix. Angel Martin might seem to be a logical candidate. Although he was a frequent contact, sometimes working with Rockford, he more often than not was a detriment to him. Angel never took nor retained any advice from Rockford and he would just as soon sell Jim out to save his own neck. Not the traits of a trusted sidekick. Other members of the cast fell short of the sidekick moniker with occupations at odds with Rockford. But there was one character in the same line of work who assisted and learned from Rockford. I think the young, aspiring private investigator, Richie Brockelman, would make a good candidate. An endearing character to be sure, thanks to a superb script and Dennis Dugan’s performance playing a character much younger than himself. Unfortunately, Brockelman was not able to sustain his own series. He needed Rockford’s help.
In the following season’s episode, “Never Send a Boy King to do a Man’s Job,” Rockford and Richie, with the aid of a cast of operatives, team up for an elaborate sting operation to bring down a crooked sports promoter, Jack Coombs, whose underhanded practices have forced Richie’s father out of business. Richie is beside himself and wants to make Coombs pay. But he is not sure how to go about it. He suggests some sort of con to Rockford but he is wary of a sting on such a powerful businessman with endless connections. It could very well backfire. Yet the whole idea could be a thing of beauty and Rockford is in. Their plan is to get Coombs invested in a phony Egyptian artifacts tour that promises to bring in millions.
Coombs is amazed at the potential and takes charge as only he can. By beating his opponents into submission. In separate incidents, both he and Richie take a pretty good beating from Coomb’s muscle. It is Richie’s understanding that when the principle marks get beaten up, there is a flaw in the con somewhere. Rockford does not find the comment amusing. Coombs boldly makes a move which Rockford or Richie never saw coming. Richie admits to Jim, “He gave us the ‘ol greased pole.”