Brenda Strong: More ‘Twists and Turns’ Coming on ‘Dallas’

Brenda Strong - More Twists and Turns Coming to Dallas copy

Altered state?

Brenda Strong believes her “Dallas” character Ann Ewing was in “an altered state” when she shot sadistic ex-husband Harris Ryland at the end of the TNT serial’s most recent episode.

“I don’t know that she knew when she arrived that she was going to complete the intention of shooting him,” Strong told Dallas Decoder and other bloggers yesterday. “She had been pushed to such a degree of heartbreak that there was an altered state that she was in. It was the last thing that he said that allowed her to say, ‘Yes, he deserved it.’”

In the scene, Ann confronted Harris (Mitch Pileggi) after learning he wouldn’t be punished for kidnapping their daughter Emma and sending her to Europe to be raised by his mean mama Judith (Judith Light). When Harris taunted Ann by pointing out how she never got to see Emma grow up, Ann pulled a handgun from her purse, pointed it at him and pulled the trigger.

Strong’s knockout performance earned her rave reviews from critics and bloggers. The actress also heard from viewers who feel Harris had it coming. “I was very surprised by that, actually. Because I did not take it lightly, especially with what’s going on in the country. It’s a big deal,” Strong said.

No “Dallas” cast member is ever sure what’s next for their character (“We’re all page turning every time we get a new script because there are so many twists and turns”), but Strong predicted Ann ultimately will be redeemed. “I think our writers are absolutely holding the big picture in mind and know that as heinous of an act that shooting someone is, in the larger scope of a person’s life, and the opportunity that this kind of conflict presents, there are things that are redeemable.”

More “Dallas” dish from Strong:

• On “Dallas’s” ratings, which have softened in Season 2: “TNT is a formidable summer [network]. They normally air their shows in the summer, and they are starting to branch out into the winter months … and [“Dallas” is] definitely pioneering that. I think we’re right in line with what the network expected our numbers to be, so I don’t think anyone’s worried.”

On her last scene with Larry Hagman, which was shot in a courthouse: “Larry was in top form, cracking the gallery up. And he and Patrick [Duffy] and I sat around in between shots, telling stories. I actually have a beautiful picture of the three of us sitting there – and none of us knew that we were having our photo taken – but you see me listening to Larry telling a story to Patrick and then both of us laughing. Obviously none of us knew it would be the last time we worked with him, so I hold those memories dear.”

On Ann and Sue Ellen’s bond: “Their friendship may be tested. There’s a J.R. camp and there’s a Bobby camp, and John Ross belongs in the J.R. camp. And so with Sue Ellen needing to be protective of her son, Ann and Sue Ellen may end up on different sides of the fence, which I think will be very interesting considering what a strong, solid friendship they have.”

On Judith Light: “She’s been such a great addition to our show. Judith and Ann have an altercation in practically every episode she’s in, so it’s definitely something that the audience can look forward to. And as much as we’ve come to love hating Harris, I think the audience is going to feel the same way about her.”

What do you think of Ann’s shooting of Harris? Share your comments below and read more news from Dallas Decoder.


  1. I did not know what was going on. After the humiliation of being searched Harris Ryland launches a fierce insulting attack on Ann Ewing. He tells with such glee how he took her daughter away from her. Mitch Pileggi was excellent. I truly did not like him one bit.

    When Ann put the bullet into Harris, everything leading up to that moment made sense. I really had no idea what she was doing over there. I found the comment by Brenda Strong “I don’t know that she knew when she arrived that she was going to complete the intention of shooting him,” ….”Yes, he deserved it.’”

    I can completely emphasis with the character Brenda Strong played. The bond between a mother and a daughter and the love that a mother has for her daughter had been violated.

    Sue Ellen going after Elena Ramos is her being, as JR put it, “a Momma Bear”. This scene is Ann Ewing being a Momma Bear.

  2. Dan in WI says:

    So the real news is this mini-interview is her comments on the ratings. Let’s hope TNT means what they are saying here: they knew airing in the winter was risking and/or trailblazing for them. If they are using Dallas as their personal trailblazer so be it. That should in theory mean they will give a longer leash. I think we’d all hate to see Dallas used as cannon fodder and then cancelled when an admitted experiment failed.

    • Chris, Dan, that statement was the most important Dallas news I have heard since the premier. I really like this show…okay I love this show! The ratings are worrisome…they do not match how good the show actually is. Dallas has become a hot topic with a,group of us at work….we can’t wait each week to discuss it.

    • Nicely stated, Dan. Thank you.

  3. “The actress also heard from viewers who feel Harris had it coming. “I was very surprised by that, actually. Because I did not take it lightly, especially with what’s going on in the country. It’s a big deal,” Strong said.” THIS! ❤

    I don't think shooting Harris was a solution to anything, it will just make Emma hate Ann more. And how can you justify a crime like that, really? She didn't shoot to injure, she shot to kill. We can say she was in "altered state" and she hadn't gone there with the intention of shooting him, but she's had the gun all along. I love Ann, but I was disappointed by her action, it will be hard to make this right. She should have found a better way to punish Harris for what he did, that doesn't involve sinking to his level.

    • As I stated in the episode review comments: Ann is not a stable person. As evil as Ryland is, he has been warning us about this since we were introduced to him and that is proving very accurate.

      Mary you are right this is not going to help Ann’s case with Emma. It’s only going to reinforce Emma’s perception that Harris and Judith have been protecting her from Ann all these years.

      Bad decision but good story telling.

      • True, we have been warned about it since day one, still one could have hoped Ann has grown stronger throught the years. Of course you can’t really blame her for being traumatized by such news, Harris has managed to pull the rug from under her.

        I’m really worried about how Emma will react and that once Ann realizes what her action has caused she’ll go even more ‘crazy’. I still hope that Emma not finding out about who shot her father is not an option, I want all cards on the table when they solve this. I’d hate to be disappointed again.

      • Dan in WI says:

        It would have helped if someone had told her “No need to get your hands dirty, JR is on the case.”

      • I guess Ann jumped the gun, huh? (Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

      • Anonymous says:

        if they end up in court and she has to talk about what drove her to do ….in the past and in the present….it might open Emma’s eyes to what a total bastart Harris truly is. I think that Ann is not a crazy person …she is someone who lived a nightmare and then started her life again….and then found out the nightmare never ended and was created by Harris….that would push lot of people over the edge.

      • Good point about the trial subplot. My guess is a lot of truths are going to come spilling out during those scenes.

      • You’re right, Dan. Ryland has been warning us about Ann, hasn’t he? Good points, one and all.

    • The shooting bothered me too, Mary. I’m hopeful the show will be able to redeem the character after this. No matter how I feel about the character, though, Brenda Strong was fabulous in the most recent episode. Pitch perfect in every scene.

      • She was! I really love everything you wrote about her in your episode review! And something Brenda said in a recent interview gives me hope that I’ll be able to feel better about the shooting in the future.

  4. I’m wondering how they are going to get outta this one 😀 Also great to hear on the ratings. I’m starting to feel better about Season 3

  5. awesomezauce says:

    I’m wondering how the Ewings get out of this one has be wondering (which what I love bout show!). Also that statement on the ratings has me really happy

  6. I totally understand why she did it. Ann is not crazy. She was pushed to the brink by Harris. She had the gun but it was there all the time. She didn’t go get it to shoot him. She obviously carried it all the time. She almost looked likeca zombie walking out of the house blindly grabbing her purse. It started with overhearing that Harris wouldn’t go to jail. Coupled with Emma’s rejection earlier.


  1. […] happen to Ann? In a chat last week with Dallas Decoder and other bloggers, Strong said Ann was in “an altered state” when she plugged Harris. The trailer for tonight’s episode shows Bobby (Patrick Duffy) being […]

  2. […] this last week, she expressed her confidence in the show’s writers to redeem Ann, saying they “are holding the big picture in mind.” I suppose that’s enough for me to give them the benefit of the doubt. After all, they haven’t […]

  3. […] Dallas Decoder was lucky to participate in a press call last week with Brenda Strong, who dished on her character Ann’s recent shooting of ex-husband Harris, “Dallas’s” ratings, working with Larry Hagman and more. If you haven’t already read it, be sure to check it out. […]

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