- IF IT BLEEDS… IT LEADS
Original Air Date: April 20, 1999
Synopsis. Rita Capkovic (played by Rita Moreno) turns to Rockford one last time when her husband Ernie Lansdale (Hal Linden), a respected school teacher, is wrongfully suspected of being the West Side Rapist, the perpetrator of a series of brutal child molestations. When a police sketch of the rapist is leaked to the media, Ernie is immediately hounded by reporters because of his striking resemblance to the suspect depicted in the sketch. With Ernie’s reputation in tatters, Rockford’s only hope of restoring his friend’s good name is to find the real culprit. The Rockford Files ended its run on CBS with a surprisingly strong finish, earning the second-highest household rating (10.3) and share (16.0) among all network programs that aired on Apr. 20, 1999, the night it was originally broadcast. The movie drew 14,480,000 viewers, finishing a close second to the 14,540,000 viewers who tuned in to Dateline NBC. (Dateline that night devoted its entire hour to its coverage of the tragic shootings at Columbine High School in Denver, Colorado, which had occurred earlier that day.)
If It Bleeds… also finished tied for fifteenth place in the overall Nielsens for the week. That marked the first time a Rockford reunion movie landed in the Top 20 since November 1994, when I Still Love L.A. placed fourth with a whopping 28 share.
LEARN MORE about this episode in the revised third edition of 45 YEARS OF THE ROCKFORD FILES, featuring more than sixty new pages of never before published information about both the original Rockford Files and the CBS reunion movies, including twenty new interviews and six new appendices. 25 percent of the net proceeds from the sales of 45 YEARS OF THE ROCKFORD FILES will be donated to The James Garner Animal Rescue Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds to help rescue organizations, shelters, individuals, fosters, and veterans with emergencies, evacuations, medical care, adoptions, training, pet supplies, shelter, rehabilitation, boarding, transportation, food, and other pressing needs. JGARF is one way for Garner fans to honor Jim’s memory and extend his legacy. Plus… if you order 45 YEARS OF THE ROCKFORD FILES directly from Black Pawn Press, you will receive an exclusive bonus gift. Go to Rockford45.com for more details.