Richie Brockelman, Private Eye

Richie Brockelman, Private Eye is 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]

Richie Brockelman, Private Eye
GenreCrime drama
Created byStephen J. Cannell
Steven Bochco
StarringDennis Dugan
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes5 (and 1 pilot) (list of episodes)
Executive producer(s)Stephen J. Cannell
Steven Bochco
Original networkNBC
Original releaseMarch 17 
April 14, 1978 (1978-04-14)


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 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.


Pilot (1976)

TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
"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

Season 1 (1978)

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date
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"Ivan DixonRobert 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"Arnold LavenSteven 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"Ivan DixonPeter 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"David MoessingerPeter 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

Appearances on The Rockford Files

The character of "Richie Brockelman" appeared on two episodes of The Rockford Files; both episodes were two hours long:

  • "The House on Willis Avenue" (season four, episodes 21 & 22; original airdate February 24, 1978).

When a fellow private investigator is killed on the Ventura Freeway, Jim Rockford and Richie Brockelman team up to find out if it really was an accident. This episode first introduced the Richie Brockelman character and was used as a spin-off episode for the series. In this episode, it is established that Richie Brockleman is 22 years old.

  • "Never Send a Boy King to Do a Man's Job" (season five, episodes 20 & 21; original airdate March 3, 1979).

Harold Gould plays the part of Mr. Brockelman, Richie's father. The elder Brockelman gets cheated out of his business and Richie enlists Rockford to help him run a con on the men who cheated his father.

Richie Brockelman, Private Eye is referenced by the character Tom Servo on a season five episode of the television show Mystery Science Theater 3000, during the featured movie, The Girl in Lovers Lane. As the movie screen shows a brief close-up of actor Lowell Brown, Servo remarks, “Richie Brockelman, the Lost Episodes!”[4]


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