Richie Brockelman (Richie Brockelman, Private Eye)

Created by Stephen J. Cannell & Steven Bochco

“What the hey?

The detective wore tennis shoes?

The thing of it is, RICHIE BROCKELMAN can best be described as a younger, less cynical version of Jim Rockford. Played by Dennis Dugan, he comes across, in his jeans and tennis shoes, as being rather young and naive, which works to his advantage. But Richie is a natural scammer who can fling out bullshit in a way that would make his mentor, Jim Rockford proud.

Richie first appeared, sans Rockford, in a 1976 made-for-TV movie called “Richie Brockleman: Missing 24 Hours.” It was scripted by Stephen J. Cannell and had Richie helping an amnesiac Suzanne Pleshette. The movie was intended as a pilot, but it wasn’t picked up.

But Richie’s producers/creators must have had a lot of faith in the kid, and so they folded him into the Rockford universe.

In 1978, Richie popped up in a special two-hour episode of The Rockford Files entitled “The House On Willis Avenue.” In the episode Rockford and Brockelman join forces to solve the murder of a veteran P.I. who taught both of them the ropes. It was the final episode of the season, and was followed by a limited run of episodes of a brand new show,  Richie Brockelman, Private Eye, in the Rockford time slot. In addition to Dugan, the show also featured Robert Hogan as Sgt. Ted Coopersmith, his police contact and Barbara Bosson as Richie’s loyal secretary Sharon Deterson. Just in case there was any doubt that the push was on, Sharon was played by Barbara Bosson (Mrs. Boccho at the time).

A total of five episodes aired. They include:

  • “The Framing of the Perfect Sydney” Richie clears his older brother of embezzlement charges.
  • “Junk it to Me Baby”  Richie is hired to bid on an old ’54 Chevy for a client, but discovers the car wasn’t just a restoration project for his client.
  • “A Title on the Door, A Carpet on the Floor” Written by Bochco & Cannell, Richie is bought out and hired by a big time detective agency. Then he learns the only reason they hired him was to pull him off a case he had been working on. A case of murder and industrial espionage that the agency was involved in.
  • “A Pigeon Ripe for the Plucking” Richie goes to Las Vegas to find a woman’s missing boyfriend.
  • “Escape from Cain Abel” Written by Peter S. Fischer. Richie brings a car crash victim to the hospital then goes to fetch the victim’s wife. She claims he’s been dead for ten days! When he goes back to the hospital, none of the doctors or nurses act like they even recognize Richie. When ther wife disappears the following day, he joins up with her daughter to figure out what’s going on.

After the five episodes aired, NBC decided against bringing Richie back for a full season, but that isn’t quite the end of his story. In 1979, Richie returned to The Rockford Files in a final two-hour episode entitled “Never Send a Boy King to do a Man’s Job.” Scripted by Cannell, it had Richie enlisting Jim to help him pull an elaborate scam on the wealthy, corrupted businessman who forced his father to sell his business to him.


    (October 27, 1976, NBC)
    Made-for-television movie
    90 minutes
    Written by Stephen J. Cannell & Steven Bochco
    Starring Dennis Dugan as RICHIE BROCKELMAN
    Also starring Barbara Bosson as Sharon Deterson
    and Robert Hogan as Sgt. Ted Coopersmith
    (1974-80, NBC)
    60-minute episodes
    Created by: Stephen J. Cannell and Roy Huggins
    For a complete listing of episodes, check out The Rockford Files.

    • “The House on Willis Avenue” (February 24, 1978)
      Written by Stephen J. Cannell
      Directed by Hy Averback
    • “Never Send a Boy King To Do a Man’s Job” (March 3, 1979)
      Written by Juanita Bartlett
      Directed by William Wiard
    (March 1978-April 1978, NBC)
    5 60-minute episodes
    Created by Stephen J. Cannell, Steven Bochco, Peter S. Fischer
    Writers: Stephen J. Cannell, Steven Bochco, Robert E. Swanson, Peter S. Fischer, Michael Kozoll
    Directors: Ivan Dixon, Arnold Laven, David Moessinger
    Starring Dennis Dugan as RICHIE BROCKELMAN
    Also starring Barbara Bosson as Sharon Deterson
    and Robert Hogan as Sgt. Ted Coopersmith

    • “The Framing of Perfect Sydney” (March 17, 1978)
    • “Junk it to Me Baby” (March 24, 1978)
    • “A Title on the Door and a Carpet on the Floor” (March 31, 1978)*
    • “A Pigeon Ripe for Plucking” (April 7, 1978)
    • “Escape From Caine Abel” (April 14, 1978)*.
    • * These episodes were combined into a TV movie for syndication called “The Diary of Richie Brockelman.”



  • July 13, 2021
    The Bottom Line:
     The detective wore tennis shoes, but he could fling bullshit that would make his mentor, Jim Rockford, proud. One of my faves.
Respectfully submitted by Mark Geldmeyer.

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