About the show

Two Hundred a Day is a podcast by Nathan D. Paoletta and Epidiah Ravachol. We are exploring the intensely weird and interesting world of the 70s TV detective show The Rockford Files. Half celebration and half analysis, we break down episodes of the show and then analyze how and why they work as great pieces of narrative and character-building.

In each episode of Two Hundred a Day, we watch an episode, recap and review it as fans of the show, and then tease out specific elements from that episode that hold lessons for writers, gamers and anyone else interested in making better narratives.

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Episodes

  • Episode 39: Dirty Money, Black Light

    September 30th, 2018  |  1 hr 30 mins
    1970s, 70s, boxing ring, electric larry, goons, james garner, jim rockford, p.i, rockford files, television, tv

    Nathan and Eppy discuss S3E22 Dirty Money, Black Light. Rocky finally gets a break and wins a vacation in Hawaii - but once he's gone, starts receiving thousands of dollars in cash in the mail. Jim, worried that he's been tricked into a scam, has to hustle to figure out what's going on and why in this episode full to the brim with crooks, loan sharks, feds, Angel, Dennis AND Beth! One of the Stuart Margolin-directed episodes, there's so much packed into this episode that some of the threads are hard to follow, but many of the specific bits are really well done.

  • Episode 38: The Big Ripoff

    August 26th, 2018  |  1 hr 23 mins
    1970s, 70s, flights, insurance fraud, james garner, jim rockford, p.i, paris, primitive, rockford files, television, tv

    Nathan and Eppy discuss S1E7 The Big Ripoff. Jim goes on a European jaunt to track down the truth about a widow who received a big insurance payout, but his client doesn't buy his conclusion that the husband is still alive. Trying to figure out a way to get paid for his work, Jim goes to the insurance company, leading him to yet another town in California to prove that Steve Nelson is still alive. We felt a very strong "back to basics" vibe with this episode, which features a fantastically tight script by series creator Roy Huggins, good humor, and a fun mystery that keeps the energy moving with each reveal of the NEXT thing that's going on.

  • Episode 37: The Attractive Nuisance

    July 29th, 2018  |  1 hr 32 mins
    1970s, 70s, chili, fbi, garlic, gearjammers, grey power, james garner, jim rockford, p.i, rockford files, telescope, television, tv

    Nathan and Eppy discuss S4E14 The Attractive Nuisance. Rocky has started a road-side restaurant, but a mysterious figure keeps prowling around the place. Simultaneously, Jim is being threatened by a lawsuit from a guy who climbed onto his trailer to look at the interesting telescope that was up there. In trying to keep Rocky out of trouble and also track down why his roof was REALLY so interesting, both Rockfords are caught up in a knotty situation with roots in the Prohibition era mob/FBI conflict. Thankfully, a smooth Cannell script keeps watching this mess unfold entertaining and rewarding. Maybe an episode that actually is better the second time you watch it, but it has a lot of fun, noir-inspired characters, witty dialogue, and a strong set of motifs throughout that keep this messy mystery engaging.

  • Episode 36: The Mayor's Committee from Deer Lick Falls

    June 30th, 2018  |  1 hr 31 mins
    1970s, 70s, deer lick falls, james garner, jim rockford, p.i, rockford files, television, the brown derby, tolkien lives!, tv, waldenbooks

    Nathan and Eppy discuss S4E9 The Mayor's Committee from Deer Lick Falls. A group of stand-up citizens from Deer Lick Falls, Michigan employ Jim to find them a firetruck, but of course that's just a cover for their real intent: hiring a hit man! Once Jim rejects their offer, he needs to find the niece who's the target and try to convince the various bureaucracies involved that these "black-belts in respectability" have murder on their mind. A memorable episode that approaches the Rockford Files formula from a skewed direction, we really liked this one, and not just for all of the connections to Eppy's childhood haunts!

  • Episode 35: The Empty Frame

    June 17th, 2018  |  1 hr 30 mins
    1970s, 70s, angel martin, art, bloody, helicopter, james garner, jim rockford, p.i, rockford files, status, storming the winter palace, television, tv

    Nathan and Eppy discuss S5E8: The Empty Frame. We finally meet Angel's brother-in-law Aaron as he's being feted as the new Police Commissioner - but a cadre of socialist revolutionaries breaks up the party and steals the art of the hosts, John & Jeff, right off the walls! Jim is hired to track down the paintings while the police conduct their own investigation, but each thing Jim discovers leads to new questions. He has to untangle a dense web of motivations to solve this one, an effort hindered by Angel's newly-found position of influence, but aided by Lt. Chapman's fall from grace... it's a great episode! Funny and emotionally impactful, well-structured and full of great characters. Recommended!

  • Episode 34: Nice Guys Finish Dead

    May 27th, 2018  |  1 hr 31 mins
    1970s, 70s, award show, beamer, james garner, jim rockford, lance white, p.i, rockford files, television, tom selleck, tv

    Nathan and Eppy finally venture into Season 6 to discuss E7 Nice Guys Finish Dead. Featuring a returning Tom Selleck as Lance White alongside the also-returning James Whitmore Jr as Freddie Beamer, this comedic episode is all about watching these strong, counterpointed characters collide. Jim and Lance are trying to clear Beamer from being blamed for a murder that occurred right in the middle of a PI association conference! While this episode does have a lot of good gags and character work, it feels to us more like an excuse for the series to have a little fun with its own tropes than a fully realized mystery story.

  • Episode 33: The Competitive Edge

    May 13th, 2018  |  1 hr 31 mins
    1970s, 70s, dr. feelgood, green drink, james garner, jim rockford, one flew over the cuckoos nest, p.i, rockford files, television, the alphian way, tv

    Nathan and Eppy discuss S4E19 The Competitive Edge. Hired to track down the disappearance of a bank executive by his wife, Jim stumbles upon the secret of an exclusive "health club" The Alphian Way, leading to his own abduction to a rural mental health institution! While leaning a little too hard on the comedic portrayal of the mentally ill, this episode is a tightly-plotted piece with a wonderfully broad cast of character actors, and we find a lot to like inside the fantastical story.

  • Episode 32: So Help Me God

    April 29th, 2018  |  1 hr 33 mins
    1970s, 70s, criminal justice reform, fifth amendment, grand jury, james garner, jim rockford, night rider, p.i, rockford files, social justice, television, tv

    Nathan and Eppy are joined by special guest Jess Banks to discuss one of the most memorable, and perhaps influential, episodes of The Rockford Files: S3E7 So Help Me God. Jim is called before a grand jury to testify about a case he knows nothing about, and when he invokes his Fifth Amendment rights he is jailed on contempt of court! This "issue episode" dramatizes the use of grand juries to compel witness testimony and exploit the mechanisms of justice to deprive innocent people of their rights, in a way that is compelling and educational, not preachy. Jess brings in the perspective of an activist for criminal justice reform (among other things!) and really brings a lot to our discussion. Enjoy!

  • Episode 31: In Hazard

    April 15th, 2018  |  1 hr 30 mins
    1970s, 70s, james garner, jim rockford, p.i, rockford files, television, tv

    Nathan and Eppy discuss S2E18 In Hazard. Beth has been poisoned! While she recovers, Jim has to find out who did it and why before something more terrible happens. In the process, he runs afoul of an embezzlement scheme gone south, bringing an unhappy mob boss into the picture. A suggestion from a Patreon backer, this is a good solid episode that features all of the elements of The Rockford Files that we appreciate, as well as some truly memorable camerawork from director Jackie Cooper that enhances the story tremendously!

  • Episode 30: The Big Goodbye

    April 1st, 2018  |  1 hr 17 mins
    cyrus redblock, dixon hill, holodeck, noir, picard, rockford, star trek

    Welcome to Twenty Dollars a Day, the podcast where we explore our favorite fictional characters in the Star Trek: TNG universe! Nathan and Eppy discuss the character of Dixon Hill as introduced in S1E11 The Big Goodbye. When Captain Picard decides to destress by bringing up his favorite noir detective program on the newly upgraded holodeck, it all seems like fun and games - until a remote probe sends things haywire and the fictional and real dangers facing the Enterprise start to converge. This is a well-constructed episode with some poignant moments among all the scenery chewing. (Happy April, everyone!)

  • Episode 29: The Queen of Peru

    March 18th, 2018  |  1 hr 30 mins
    70s, barbeque, come on, cookmaster, diamond, heist, indiana, james garner, jim rockford, peru, tv

    Nathan and Eppy discuss S4E12 The Queen of Peru. Rockford is trying to handle an insurance company client recover a stolen diamond, but things go pear-shaped as the crooks try to pull a fast one and the diamond ends up in... the RV of a family from Indiana? The Wronkos steal Jims grill, where the diamond happens to be, and well things just spiral from there. This comedic episode combines a sparking David Chase script with some great characters, and is rightly considered a Rockford Files classic. We really enjoyed it!

  • Episode 28: Local Man Eaten by Newspaper

    February 25th, 2018  |  1 hr 29 mins
    70s, coop, gossip, james garner, jim rockford, mob, scandal, the proofreader, tv

    Nathan and Eppy discuss S5E12 Local Man Eaten by Newspaper. Jim goes undercover at a scandal rag to figure out why his client, a doctor to the famous, has been burgled; meanwhile, a local mob boss is facing pressure from inside the family due to rumors spread by that very newspaper. This episode features two separate storylines that intertwine as the pressure mounts on each side, focusing on the increasing dissolution of Natalie, the woman driving her husband Augie to take over the mob family. This episode doesn't give us as much Rockford as usual but it paints a compelling portrait of the villains of the piece, making it a compelling episode of television and giving us a lot to talk about in our second half!