It 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.
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?