Richie Brockelman, Private Eye

Richie Brockelman, Private Eye
Genre Crime drama
Created by Stephen J. Cannell
Steven Bochco
Starring Dennis Dugan
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of seasons 1
No. of episodes 5
Executive producer(s) Stephen J. Cannell
Steven Bochco
Original network NBC
Original release March 17 – April 14, 1978 (1978-04-14)

Richie Brockelman, Private Eye was an American detective drama that aired on NBC for five episodes in March and April 1978, with Dennis Dugan in the starring role. The Rockford Files was used to launch the series via character crossover in a 90-minute episode at the end of the 1977-78 season.[1][2]


The hour-long series focused on Richie Brockelman, a 22-year-old, college-educated private investigator with his own agency in Los Angeles, California. Dugan was actually thirty-one when cast in the role. Brockleman's main method in solving his cases was B.S., thinking he could talk his way in or out of any situation he was in. Usually there was a woman involved in the plot that was in some kind of distress, but in the end, he solves the case though he does not get the girl.

Initially filmed as a pilot for a TV series in 1976 entitled "Richie Brockelman: The Missing 24 Hours," it was not picked up by NBC. Stephen J. Cannell reworked the character into a two-hour episode of The Rockford Files entitled "The House On Willis Avenue" as the last new episode of the 1977-78 season. Rockford and Brockelman join forces to solve the murder of a veteran PI who taught both of them the ropes. It was followed by a limited run of Richie Brockelman, Private Eye. Brockelman later appeared in "Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man's Job", another two-part episode of The Rockford Files.

The theme song, "School's Out," was written by Mike Post, Pete Carpenter, Herb Pederson and Stephen Geyer. An extended version of the song from Mike Post's Television Theme Songs appeared on iTunes and for download. The song's performers were credited as Stephen Geyer & Herb Peterson and Mike Post & Pete Carpenter.[3]



After its launch from The Rockford Files, Richie Brockelman, Private Eye performed well for NBC. However, in the end, the ratings were not strong enough for NBC to order a full season of new episodes for the 1978-79 season. NBC was looking for hit shows at the time and Richie Brockelman needed to be scheduled as a follow-up after a strong lead-in, which the network did not have at the time.

The series was broadcast in England on ITV Anglia television during the summer of 1978. A second two-hour The Rockford Files episode was produced that aired in the spring of 1979 which ended the show.

When The Rockford Files went into syndication in the 1980s, the five episodes of “Richie Brockelman” were included as part of the package. Two of the episodes were later re-edited for syndication as a 90-minute Universal TV movie in the 1980s called The Diary of Richie Brockelman.


Title Directed by: Written by: Air date
0"Richie Brockelman: The Missing 24 Hours"Hy AverbackSteven Bochco,
Stephen J. Cannell
October 27, 1976 (1976-10-27)
90-minute pilot, NBC: A young private detective (Richie Brockelman) takes on his first case as he is hired by an amnesia victim. She does not know why a gunman is after her, yet thinks that she is involved in a murder.
Guest stars: Sharon Gless, Suzanne Pleshette, Lloyd Bochner, William Windom
1"The Framing of Perfect Sydney"Arnold LavenMichael KozollMarch 17, 1978 (1978-03-17)
Richie tries to clear his brother, who has been accused of embezzling one million dollars in corporate funds.
Guest star: David Spielberg (Sydney Brockelman)
2"Junk It to Me Baby"TBARobert E. SwansonMarch 24, 1978 (1978-03-24)
Two thugs come after Richie, after he outbids them on a beat-up sedan at an auction he was hired to go to. ***
3"A Title on the Door and a Carpet on the Floor"TBASteven Bochco,
Stephen J. Cannell
March 31, 1978 (1978-03-31)
Soon after the husband of a former client of Richie's dies, he gets a job offer from a big-time detective agency. Then he learns the only reason they hired him was to pull him off a case of murder and industrial espionage that the agency was involved in.
4"A Pigeon Ripe for Plucking"TBAPeter S. FischerApril 7, 1978 (1978-04-07)
Richie goes to Las Vegas to help an old fraternity brother who has a couple of con artists after him due to some gambling debts.
5"Escape from Caine Abel"TBAPeter S. FischerApril 14, 1978 (1978-04-14)
Richie brings the victim of an auto accident to the hospital, then goes to get the victim's wife. She claims he died in an airplane crash eleven days ago. When he goes back to the hospital, none of the doctors or nurses act like they even recognize Richie. When their wife disappears the following day, he joins up with her daughter to figure out what's going on. ***
Guest stars: Richard Devon, Joanna Frank, Vivi Janiss

*** Later re-edited into a single 90-minute TV-movie.

Appearances on The Rockford Files

When a fellow P.I. is killed on the Ventura freeway, Jim Rockford and Richie Brockelman team up to find out if it really was an accident. Show introduced the Richie Brockelman character and used as the spin-off episode for the series. In this episode it is established that Richie Brockleman is 22 years old.
Harold Gould plays the part of Mr. Brockelman. The elder Brockelman gets cheated out of his full retirement and his son Richie goes to Rockford to help him run a con (a "sting") on the men who cheated his father.

Home video

Neither the original made-for-TV movie nor the limited series are available on DVD. Brockelman's appearances on The Rockford Files can be found on the Season Four and Season Five sets, respectively.


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