The Rockford Files: Dermot Mulroney Signs On for Remake

Dermot MulroneyIt looks like NBC has found their Jim Rockford for their remake of the 1970s TV show. Actor Dermot Mulroney has been signed to follow in the footsteps of James Garner.

The Rockford Files ran for six seasons on NBC, from 1974 until 1980. James Garner stars as Jim Rockford, a private detective who’s more interested in getting paid and staying out of trouble than being a hero. Of course, he usually ends up doing do the right thing. Costars include Noah Beery Jr. and Joe Santos. Recurring characters are played by Stuart Margolin, Gretchen Corbett, James Luisi, Tom Atkins, Bo Hopkins, Pat Finley, and Isaac Hayes.

The original series stopped in 1979 in part because Garner was physically exhausted from the grind of the show. That didn’t stop him however from reprising the role in eight TV movies in the 1990s for CBS.

NBC hasn’t had success with its previous remakes of action series — Knight Rider and Bionic Woman — but apparently hopes the third time will be the charm. Mulroney is primarily known for his film work so NBC is likely hoping that having a movie actor in the role will attract viewers.

Is Mulroney a good choice for Jim Rockford?

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The new version of Jim Rockford has apparently spent some time behind bars and has been a cop (sounds a lot like Damian Lewis’ character from Life). The original version of the character is a Korea vet who spent five years behind bars in San Quentin before being pardoned for the armed robbery he didn’t commit.

The new Rockford is also described as “slightly crumpled, wry humored, cynical, world weary, compassionate when it’s called for and easily irritated by morons.”

There’s no word if James Garner will be asked to appear in the series but, if the ratings aren’t strong out of the gate, you can be sure ratings-starved NBC will try to get him for at least a cameo. Perhaps as Rocky, Rockford’s dad?

The new Rockford Files pilot has been written by David Shore, the creator of FOX’s House. Shore is co-executive producing with actor Steve Carell, who starred in the 2008 feature film remake of Get Smart.

What do you think? Will the new Rockford Files measure up to the original? Is Mulroney a good choice for the lead role or can you think of someone more appropriate?

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21 Comments · Read them below or add one

  1. Butch uzzo says

    I loved this show when it was newand i still watch it almost every day.I think a great story line for a remake would be to let James Garner to remain Jim Rockford retired living in Rockys old house. A knock comes on the door and a go.od looking man in his 40s tellsop Jim that he is his son. Beth Davenport is his mom. The kid is soon to retire from Philly PD where he is a detective The kid just found out who his father is. He needs help solving a vert The rest of the story develops with time.

  2. says

    I am really skepticle of the remake. Rockford Files is still my favorite show, I wish they would bring back reruns…..I would watch them over and over again. I love James Garner in the series and as an actor, and frankly HE MADE THE SHOW.

  3. Jimbo853OKG says

    OK, so the track record for these reboots (Kojak, Knight Rider, Bionic Woman) has been lousy, but let’s face it….all of us will watch the first new Rockford. I will do my best to approach it with an open heart, no judgment, and low expectations. Maybe we’ll all be pleasantly surprised. And if it stinks, so what? The original will always be around.

      • says

        It seems that Diane is responding to the “request for comment” questions: “Will the new Rockford Files measure up to the original? Is Mulroney a good choice for the lead role or can you think of someone more appropriate?”.

  4. Tony says

    I think it is high time that they remake this great show. But as a Veteran, I AM HIGHLY PISSED OFF THAT THE NEW ROCKFORD IS AN EX COP AND NOT A VETERAN!!! WHY? Why can’t he be a gulf war vet – the time-line fits. Every show is about cops, why can’t they stick to the storyline – if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. The disconnect between the private eye who sees his cases differently than a cop made Rockford’s skills so believable. Veteran’s would appreciate themselves being portrayed in a good light – Just like Tom Selleck’s character did in Magnum PI. The producer’s of this new remake are doing Veteran’s and the original story an injustice

  5. Jackie says

    I just know I’m tired of all the reality shows, game shows, dance and singing shows, and I’m more than ready and willing to give a renewed Rockford a real chance. Let’s face it, we all would like to see something else, right? Hopefully it won’t go the way of Eastwick, Journeyman, Moonlight, Reapers, Night Rider…need I go on, the networks NEED to give new shows MORE than a few episodes or one single season for them to catch on, give people a chance to tune in and form an opinion! Lost its a perfect example, its first season the ratings weren’t great, but they gave it another chance, and they’re wrapping the series this season with all time most watched television series ratings!

  6. Anonymous says

    Hopefully he will not come off as a Freddy Beamer wannabe and his hidden mic in the martini olive…The Rockford Files is my all time favorite TV show, they will have to be extremely good to improve on the original.

  7. duhknees says

    How about someone to play the part of the occasionally recurring character of Lance White, played by Tom Selleck (pre-Magnum), who was the antithesis of the rumpled Rockford, immaculately dressed, infinitely successful, and ultimately irritating. Selleck played it to perfection. James Marsden would be my choice.

  8. Jackie says

    We’ll see. I’ll definitely give it a chance though. I LOVED the original, watched every episode back in the 70’s and still watch the reruns. Great then, and now. I agree with some other comments, they should bring the new guy on as a nephew, cousin someone other than the original. That’s setting him up to fail. A classic comparison is all the different actors that played “Mike Hammer” and only a couple of them really succeeded, personally I liked Robert Mitchum first, then Stacey Keach. The rest just didn’t work.

      • Jackie says

        Sorry, I was mixing him up with Ralph Meeker, who was excellent in the role. Darwin McGavin, as much as I liked him, just didn’t work as Mike Hammer (he just wasn’t “cool” enough), nor did Armonde Assante (he was too cool). Spillane himself played the role well too, but I personally really liked Stacey Keach the best.

  9. Dan says

    The Rockford Files was the best series of it’s day, and still compares to the shows of today, because of James Garner. I am looking forward to the new version.

    If the show’s creators are smart, Dermot Mulroney should be the nephew of Jim Rockford, with the same name. It is too hard to play the part of someone else, who played the part to perfection. It is better to play his relative, with similar characteristics.

    • Jimbo853OKG says

      Interesting idea, Dan. It was tried with mixed success. The movie remake of Dragnet in 1987, w/Dan Ackroyd as Det. Joe Friday, Sgt. Joe Friday’s nephew and Harry Morgan as Bill Gannon worked, mainly because of Ackroyd and Tom Hanks. Then there’s the 2000 reboot of Shaft with Samuel L. Jackson as John Shaft, nephew of Richard Roundtree’s John Shaft. That might have been more believable if Roundtree weren’t in the new version and only a few years older than Jackson. He was still great, had the cojones to kick Jackson’s butt, and is a far less annoying actor.

      Despite the failure of previous NBC reboots, I have some optimism for the new Rockford. Why? Let’s face it, Knight Rider and Bionic Woman weren’t exactly well-written or produced shows to begin with. Rockford is better starting material…..

  10. Ann-Marie Sloan says

    No Dermot wasen’t the best choice. As many others could tell you. The only true choice was Joe Flanigan.

  11. Dave says

    Remaking ‘The Rockford Files’ is like treading on sacred ground. I hope it is done right. Question, though-What is the new incarnation of Jim Rockford going to drive? The gold Firebird was part of the original ‘Rockford’s’ personna (along with the gun in the cookie jar, the ‘smudge-o-matic 3000 portable business card printer, and the thugs that would kick the crap out of Rockford every episode) Pontiac has been killed off by GM. The last Firebird was made in 2001 (ish)-I can’t see him in a gold 2010 Camaro…

  12. says

    I’ve enjoyed watching reruns of the original Rockford Files, but am skeptical of a remake.

    I’d much rather see them bring Life back. I still miss watching it.

  13. mike says

    I vaguely remember the Rockford Files. Will the new one measure up? Depends on the writing, the story, and the lead, to state the obvious. NBC has done such a poor job in recent years I kind of doubt it.

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