58. THE ROCKFORD FILES - TIE 

Created by Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell  

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Aired: NBC, 1974-1980

As smooth as Columbo was rumpled, private eye Jim Rockford, an ex-con, lived and worked out of a trailer at the beach in Santa Monica. To a certain extent the character was the creation, as Columbo was, of the personality of its star, James Garner. But on the page it came from Roy Huggins and Stephen J. Cannell. Cannell, the prolific writer-producer, had worked for Huggins on the detective show Toma (which in its second season would become Baretta). Cannell, according to his obituary in The New York Times, came up with the Rockford character while writing a Toma script. In their work, Cannell and Huggins are credited with leavening the TV detective with irony and humor. As Cannell told the Times in 1999: “Culture changed, and as that happened, so did our need for a hero. That square-jawed good guy began to look like an idiot to us.”

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