In “False Confessions,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) tries to protect Ann by telling the police he shot Harris. Like John Ross’s arrest for Marta’s murder last season, this latest incident is part of an old tradition of Ewings getting in trouble for crimes they didn’t commit. Here’s a look at the five most egregious Ewing arrests from the original “Dallas” and “Knots Landing.”
5. The Ewing: J.R. (Larry Hagman)
The crime: Cally Harper’s “rape”
The arrest: When J.R. went to Arkansas on a hunting trip, he met backwoods beauty Cally and became smitten. After they spent the night together, her shotgun-toting brothers showed up, followed quickly by Sheriff Hanks, who charged J.R. with rape.
The real criminal: J.R. was guilty of many things, but his relationship with Cally was consensual. The real bad guys were Hanks, who refused to allow J.R. to make a single phone call from jail, and the justice of the peace, who sentenced him to 10 years in prison. Of course, J.R. did himself no favors when he interrupted his trial to declare, “You people got to be kidding. Hell, I can buy this whole town with the change I got in my pocket!”
Level of egregiousness (scale of 1 to 10): J.R.’s arrest gets a 5, but the egregiousness of this silly storyline deserves a big, fat 10.
4. The Ewing: Ray Krebbs (Steve Kanaly)
The crime: Mickey Trotter’s death
The arrest: After Ray’s cousin Mickey was paralyzed in a car crash, someone pulled the plug on his life support system. The police arrested Ray, who had blocked the door to Mickey’s hospital room so the doctors and nurses couldn’t revive him.
The real criminal: In dramatic testimony at Ray’s trial, his aunt Lillian Trotter, Mickey’s mother, confessed she wanted her son to die with dignity and decided to pull the plug. Lil didn’t have the strength to do it, so she asked Ray to help her. Ever the obedient nephew, Ray obliged.
Level of egregiousness: 6. Ray was technically guilty and the judge sentenced him to five years in the state penitentiary – but immediately suspended the sentence because he said Ray was such a nice guy. Seems like sound legal reasoning to me.
3. The Ewing: Gary (Ted Shackelford)
The crime: Ciji Dunne’s murder
The arrest: Gary befriended Ciji, an aspiring singer, but when her star began to rise, his self-esteem began to plummet. Gary went on a bender and woke up the next morning on the Knots Landing beach, not far from Ciji’s seaweed-strewn body. The police suspected he killed her during a booze-fueled rage and hauled him off to jail.
The real criminal: Chip Roberts, Ciji’s boyfriend. Eventually the cops figured out Chip murdered Ciji when she became pregnant with his child and refused to have an abortion. Ciji had also discovered Chip was really a con artist named Tony Fenice.
Level of egregiousness: 7. The Knots Landing police should’ve known better than to arrest Gary. All they had to do was call Sheriff Washburn back in Braddock. He could’ve told them: Never arrest a Ewing!
2. The Ewing: Sue Ellen (Linda Gray)
The crime: J.R.’s shooting
The arrest: There was no shortage of suspects when an unseen assailant gunned down J.R. in his office. When Jock discovered the weapon in J.R. and Sue Ellen’s bedroom closet, he turned it over to the cops, who decided it was all the proof they needed to arrest Sue Ellen for the crime.
The real criminal: Kristin Shepard, Sue Ellen’s sister, who wanted to get back at J.R. for trying to run her out of town. Sue Ellen figured out Kristin had framed her by planting the gun in the closet. (But no one ever answered the question: How did Kristin know Jock would go snooping there?)
Level of egregiousness: 8. Arresting Sue Ellen was a travesty of justice! The only way she’d ever shoot J.R. would be if he – oh, I don’t know – tossed one of her lovers off a high-rise balcony. But what are the odds of something like that happening?
1. The Ewing: Jock (Jim Davis)
The crime: Hutch McKinney’s murder
The arrest: When Ray began building a home on Southfork, the construction crew uncovered the remains of the long-missing McKinney, one of Ray’s predecessors as ranch foreman. Sheriff Washburn’s investigation determined McKinney had been shot with Jock’s gun, not long after Jock and McKinney had had a knock-down-drag-out brawl in a local saloon.
The real criminal: Digger Barnes, who killed McKinney when he discovered he had impregnated Digger’s wife Rebecca and was planning to run away with her. Digger confessed his crime on his deathbed, where he also told Pam that McKinney was her biological father.
Level of egregiousness: 11. Throw Jock Ewing in jail? That’s something you just don’t do. When a reporter asked the old man how he felt about being arrested, Jock huffed, “I’m mad as hell, boy.” Who could blame him?
Which Ewing arrests do you consider the most egregious? Share your choices below and read more “Dal-Lists.”