Critique: ‘Dallas’ Episode 34 – ‘The Kristin Affair’

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Kristin Affair, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby

Eyes on the prize

“The Kristin Affair” is quintessential “Dallas.” This isn’t the show’s best episode, but it might be the episode that best captures “Dallas’s” essence during its heyday. Almost everything we love about the series is here.

J.R. is “The Kristin Affair’s” center of attention. We see him clash with Bobby, snipe with Sue Ellen and plot Cliff’s ruin, all while pursuing Kristin, who becomes his secretary at the top of the hour and his mistress by the time the closing credits roll.

“The Kristin Affair”  also offers a rollicking Southfork dinner scene, some nice location shots at the ranch and in downtown Dallas, and another great score from Bruce Broughton. My favorite music during the episode: the ominous piano tune heard during the darkly lit scene where J.R. agrees to mortgage Southfork.

Notably, “The Kristin Affair” also shows the Ewings in the costumes they’re wearing in one of “Dallas’s” most famous cast shots, when the actors posed on Southfork’s front lawn. This photo – which is probably remembered as the one with Victoria Principal in the maroon dress, Linda Gray in the yellow blouse and Charlene Tilton in pigtails – is undoubtedly burnished in the minds of many “Dallas” fans, so watching “The Kristin Affair” is like seeing the picture spring to life.

Of course, no “Dallas” episode is perfect and “The Kristin Affair” is no exception. Ray is nowhere to be found here, Jock and Miss Ellie don’t have a meaningful scene together and it appears Pam has once again misplaced her backbone.

But “The Kristin Affair” has so much good stuff – and so many good J.R. scenes in particular – I’m willing to overlook its flaws.

My very favorite moment is very brief. It comes at the end of the scene where J.R. meets with his government mole and learns how much money he’ll need to win the bidding for the Asian drilling contract. “That’s a tidy little sum. Woo-wee!” J.R. says.

Larry Hagman delivers the dialogue under his breath, making me wonder if he ad-libbed it. Improvised or not, the actor seems to be having a ball playing J.R. In this episode, I have a ball watching him.

Grade: A


Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Kristin Affair, Larry Hagman

Having a ball


Season 3, Episode 5

Airdate: October 19, 1979

Audience: 18.2 million homes, ranking 10th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Worley Thorne

Director: Irving J. Moore

Synopsis: J.R. secretly mortgages Southfork to finance a risky oil deal in Asia, plots with his protégé Alan Beam to lure Cliff into a no-win congressional race and sleeps with Kristin, who becomes his secretary. Pam tells Bobby she is pregnant but doesn’t mention her genetic disease.

Cast: Robert Ackerman (Wade Luce), Barbara Bel Geddes (Miss Ellie Ewing), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Jim Davis (Jock Ewing), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Hugh Gorrian (Lowell Hansen), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Jeanna Michaels (Connie), Dennis Patrick (Vaughn Leland), Randolph Powell (Alan Beam), Victoria Principal (Pam Ewing), Martha Scott (Patricia Shepard), Paul Sorensen (Andy Bradley), Don Starr (Jordan Lee), Charlene Tilton (Lucy Ewing), Keenan Wynn (Digger Barnes)

“The Kristin Affair” is available on DVD and at and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.


  1. I liked Kristin & J. R. doing it here. It shows just how powerful the raw DNA of the Sheppard family is to J. R. He can’t help it. Kristin has a body that’s more voluptuous, more younger. Thus giving J. R. fantasies while he’s bedding her that its Miss Texas hes sleeping with ALL OVER AGAIN!

  2. Note, Sue Ellen for the record still has a great body. 72 year old Linda Gray is sexier than Bing’s daughter.


  1. […] body, it just might take me a lifetime to figure you out.” Cost him his life is more like it. (“The Kristin Affair”) Move over, Florence […]

  2. […] Big Shut Down’s” climax – when J.R. signs the paperwork for his loan – even echoes “The Kristin Affair” scene where J.R. approves the deal that puts ownership of Southfork at risk. Both sequences take […]

  3. […] 12. Here comes Kristin. My favorite Southfork dinner scene: The Ewings are entertaining Sue Ellen’s visiting mother Patricia and younger sister Kristin, who has barely concealed her attraction to J.R. When Kristin announces she’s considering putting off going to college, J.R. suggests she could fill in for his honeymooning secretary Louella. And instead of having Kristin stay at Southfork, J.R. recommends putting her up in the company-owned condo. In other words: J.R. sets up his soon-to-be-mistress with a job and a love nest, right in front of his whole family. No wonder Hagman looks like he’s having the time of his life playing this role. (“The Kristin Affair”) […]

  4. […] “The Kristin Affair,” a third-season “Dallas” episode, Patricia and Kristin (Martha Scott, Mary Crosby) return to […]

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