… And the Rest: Dallas Decoder’s Other VIPs of 2013

Cynthia Cidre, Josh Henderson, Ken Kercheval, Patrick Duffy, TNT, Victoria Principal

Linda Gray is Dallas Decoder’s Woman of the Year, but she isn’t the only person who shaped the “Dallas” franchise in 2013. Here are five more.

Cynthia Cidre, Dallas, TNT

The boss

Cynthia Cidre. Larry Hagman’s death forced the “Dallas” showrunner to rewrite Season 2 on the fly, but she proved up to the challenge — and then some. Cidre penned the exquisite “J.R.’s Masterpiece” funeral episode, which lovingly honored the franchise’s biggest star and kicked off the fun, freewheeling “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery. Cidre also deserves applause for answering the question that has bugged “Dallas” diehards for 25 years: Whatever happened to Pam Ewing? Some fans didn’t like the answer, but if you ask me, Cidre redeemed the character and fixed one of the old show’s biggest blunders. Bravo.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, TNT

The glue

Patrick Duffy. This was the year Bobby Ewing got pissed! He also got sad, frustrated and more than a little devious. Duffy did a beautiful job conveying Bobby’s internal conflict, especially when he read J.R.’s letter in the moving season finale. And just as Bobby held the Ewings together, Duffy played an influential role behind the scenes. Before Cidre proceeded with the twist ending to “Who Killed J.R.?” — he was dying of cancer and arranged his own death — she sought the blessing of two people: Hagman’s son Preston and Duffy. That says a lot about the respect people feel for Patrick Duffy. He’s earned it.

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, TNT

The future

Josh Henderson. No one on the new “Dallas” has faced as much scrutiny as Henderson, who had the unenviable task this year of sliding into the boots of the legendary Larry Hagman. But if Henderson felt any temptation to imitate his on-screen daddy, he wisely resisted it. Where Hagman swaggered, Henderson struts. Where J.R. was confident, John Ross is cocky. In other words: Henderson has given John Ross his own brand of cool. This young actor has become the future of the “Dallas” franchise, and if his performance this year is any indication, we’re in good hands. I can’t wait to see what he does next year.

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval, TNT

The genius

Ken Kercheval. After Hagman, Kercheval has always been “Dallas’s” most fascinating actor. In 2013, he was as electric as ever. Longtime fans still wonder what made Cliff so evil, but I just sat back and enjoyed the ride Kercheval took me on, especially in the shocking scene where Cliff ordered the bombing of the Ewing Energies rig. Besides, as Cliff tightened his squeeze on the Ewings, Kercheval offered more flashes of his old character’s combustability. The scene where Bobby hands his enemy the keys to the Ewing kingdom? That was classic Cliff. You may hate his character, but Kercheval is brilliant.

Dallas, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

The enigma

Victoria Principal. Hill Place Blog suggested I include Principal on this list as a joke, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense. As Hill Place put it: What other “Dallas” star generated more discussion, debate and dissent this year without appearing in a single frame of film? Principal remains a powerful figure in the “Dallas” mythology. Like a lot of my fellow Principal fans, I wish Pam had come home to Southfork in 2013, but the actress’s public statement in March made it clear she has no interest in reprising the role. (Sigh.) So rest in peace, Pam. Like your old rival J.R., you won’t be forgotten.

Who did I miss? Share your choices for “Dallas’s” 2013 VIPs below and read more opinions from Dallas Decoder.


  1. My first reaction to these articles was it seems like a cheap cop-out to name Gray the Women of the year and have a list of alternates like this. At first I wanted to say grow a pair and make a decision. Then it dawned on me. Maybe having a person of the year is a fools errand. JR phenomon aside, Dallas always was and its continued sucess always will depend on an ensemble cast. Hagman’s immense talent aside, do you think we would have had a mini series plus 13 full seasons if Larry were acting in a vacuum? Larry needed Duffy, Gray, Bel Geddes, Kercheval, etc, etc, etc… to play off of and let’s face it there were plenty of times the other members of the ensemble upstaged him.

    So let’s just call this what it is: an ensemble which is more than the sum of its parts. Whoever your favorite may be, they can’t do it (long term) alone.

    • Dan, I appreciate your candor. You’re very correct that this is an ensemble show, but I believe there are times when specific performers stand out from the rest. This year, it was Ms. Gray. I didn’t want to overlook some of the other great contributions from folks like Ken and Cynthia, which is why I chose them as VIPs. Next year, who knows? Maybe I’ll only have one Person of the Year — or maybe none at all, although something tells me that won’t happen. Regardless, thanks for your feedback.

  2. It shows how talented the old cast C. B. was when you include 3 of 5 of them on your list & 1 of them will never actually appear in the reboot Very well done indeed!

  3. Garnet McGee says:

    Julie Gonzalo as Pamela Rebecca should have been included instead of Victoria Principal. She did outstanding work with the loss of her twins and when paired with Josh Henderson. She can be vulnerable, smart, and sexy. She is like a cross between Cliff Barnes, Sue Ellen and Leslie Stewart.


  1. […] Share your thoughts about Linda Gray and Sue Ellen Ewing in the comments section below and read our list of the year’s other VIPS. […]

  2. […] I love lists and I understand the tough calls that go into making them, but shouldn’t “Dallas” rank a little higher? After all, the series […]

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