TNT’s Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘… And She Was Gone’

Ann Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, TNT, Trial and Error

Judge not

In “Trial and Error,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Ann (Brenda Strong) testifies before her attorney Lou (Glenn Morshower) and a packed courtroom.

ANN: I was a tall, awkward girl. Most of my life, I felt ugly. My mother took me to doctors when I hit puberty so they would make me stop growing. No one had really ever paid any attention to me until Harris. My family didn’t have much money. And Harris took me to fancy restaurants, stores, bought me nice clothes. We were happy. He had grown up in a suffocating home. His father had committed suicide before he was born. And his mother controlled his every breath. Harris kept telling me how good I was for him, that I brought life into the dark of his life. Then his mother began to interfere. Nothing I could do was right. She made fun of the fact that I had never gone to college. She put ideas in his head about me, that I was a gold-digger, that I was seeing other men. And he believed her. So he began trying to control me the way he had always been controlled. If I picked the wrong blouse, picked up the wrong fork, did my hair a certain way, he’d shout at me. I began to realize that the marriage had been a mistake. When I found out I was pregnant, I felt trapped. By the time Emma was born, I felt like I was drowning. I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and put on medication. I had a difficult time being a young mother. I’m sorry. But I did not leave my daughter at home alone! I left Emma with Judith so I could go see a divorce lawyer. But Judith lied to Harris for her own twisted purposes. And then Harris found out about my plans to divorce him, and he forced me to see a psychiatrist to put me on more medication.

LOU: Tell us what happened at the state fair.

ANN: Emma was 18 months old. Harris and his mother were particularly cruel to me the night before, so that morning, I took a few more pills than I should’ve. I couldn’t think straight, but I couldn’t stand to be in that house another minute, so I took Emma to the fair. It was so very hot. I remember being so thirsty, so I left her in her stroller and went to get a soda. Only a couple minutes passed. I turned back, and she was gone. I had stepped away from my baby for only a few moments and she’d been kidnapped. God had punished me by taking my baby.


  1. This scene really explains why Harris is such a jerk. He had been so mean and cruel to Ann and it all came out in court. It is clear from this scene that Harris Ryland is a momma’s boy who insists on getting what he wants, lake a baby. He was able to take advantage of Ann, manipulate, and control her. It is clear that the way he was described in Ann’s testimony is also the way he acts now on the show.

    I did not feel sorry for Ann. It is clear that she knew that shooting Harris Ryland was wrong at the time she did it. With that said, if I was on that jury, I would have a hard time convicting a person who shot someone who came in between them and their child. The fact that Harris Ryland kidnapped her daughter and got away with it, would make it very hard for me to vote guilty. It did take an unusually long time for the jury to vote and decide that Ann is guilty.

    I hope JR was in the courtroom for a reason. If so, I am waiting to find out what!

    There is Farah Fawcett in the TV movie “The Burning Bed” who plays a character that burns her abusive husband alive. There is, in real life, Lorena Bobbit. I used to see Lorena Bobbit around my neighborhood after she was found “not guilty”. My wife and mother in-law have had their nails done by her. She was found not guilty because of the severe abuse she suffered from her husband. I would rather have a bullet put in me then go through what John Wayne Bobbit did.

    • Jump, I might have to agree with you on that last point. Good points about Ann and Harris, and also the jury deliberation. My question: How is Bobby going to get Ann out of jail?!

      • I sincerely believe that when Bobby reached out to JR for help with dealing with Harris Ryland it was an important scene. JR was in the courtroom. Something, I don’t know what, will happen that will put Harris Ryland’s tail between his legs. I imagine Harris Ryland will be begging the courts to let Ann go free during her sentencing. I have a feeling that Emma will help Ann out in this regard too. Just my hunch.

      • Good theory! I hope it proves correct.

      • I hope you’re right, Jumpsteady!

    • Totally not a Dallas story….but did you guys know Bobbitt beat up his other wife as well in 2002 and put her in the hospital. Can you imagine? You get your body part cut off after abusing one wife and then you still beat up another one? That is utter stupidity!


  1. […] of “Dallas” newcomer John Whelpley’s script, is the crucial moment. During the course of this four-minute scene, Ann recalls being a tall, awkward girl who found love with Harris, only to have his controlling […]

  2. […] will forget the courtroom testimony that Ann (Brenda Strong) delivered at the end of “Trial and Error,” last week’s “Dallas” […]

  3. […] testified that Ann had been a bad wife and neglectful mother, which Ann tried to refute in her own testimony. The strategy failed: The jury found Ann guilty, and in the final scene, she was hauled off to […]

  4. […] Ann testifies. After shooting ex-husband Harris, Ann (Brenda Strong) goes on trial. In stirring testimony, she recalls how he and his mother Judith tormented her, but Ann also concedes her own failings […]

  5. […] Ann responds. This is probably Bell’s best scene yet and Strong’s finest moment since Ann’s testimony in “Trial and Error.” (Perhaps not coincidentally, that episode, like “Love and Family,” […]

  6. […] minutes of exquisite agony. (Among the season’s other great scenes: Ann’s spellbinding testimony at her trial, Harris and Emma’s parking garage encounter, Harris’s Komodo dragon speech and the […]

  7. […] guess, because the writers gave me a real gift. They gave me a tremendous responsibility with that monologue, and I always interpret that as a sign of respect and trust. And I wanted to do it justice. So I […]

  8. […] when she sees Val stand up to J.R., just like Emma has a change of heart after she hears her mother defend herself against Harris’s lies during his shooting trial. Of course, poor Lucy ends up getting hurt […]

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