‘Who Killed J.R.?’ ‘Dallas’ Solves the Big Mystery

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT, Who Killed J.R.?

He done it

We now know who killed J.R. Ewing.

In “Legacies,” “Dallas’s” second-season finale, the Ewings completed the execution of the master plan that J.R. (Larry Hagman) devised before his death. All of our questions were finally answered:

• Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) learned Pam was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and went to Abu Dhabi to receive experimental treatments. The treatments failed and Pam died in 1989, but Cliff (Ken Kercheval) paid her doctor, David Gordon (Sam Anderson), to create the illusion that Pam was still alive so Christopher couldn’t inherit her share of Barnes Global.

• The police nabbed Roy Vickers (Alex Fernandez), but Cliff had him murdered in jail before he could reveal Cliff was the mastermind behind the rig explosion. Meanwhile, the police arrested Harris (Mitch Pileggi) after Emma (Emma Bell) exposed his role in the Mexican drug trafficking. (The high heels were made of cocaine!)

• After John Ross (Josh Henderson) discovered Cliff had flown to Nuevo Laredo before J.R.’s death, he decided Cliff must have killed J.R. Bobby confirmed John Ross’s suspicions and revealed the gun that J.R. left for John Ross actually belonged to Cliff. To make sure the police caught Cliff, John Ross and Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) planted J.R.’s belt buckle in his safe deposit box; when the cops discovered it, J.R.’s body was exhumed and investigators determined the slugs found in his chest cavity came from Cliff’s gun. The Mexican police arrested Cliff and hauled him away.

But wait, there’s more!

Bobby went to see Cliff in the Mexican prison and offered him a deal: Confess to blowing up the rig, having Vickers assassinated and his conspiracy against the Ewings and Bobby would help him. But Cliff didn’t bite. “I have never done anything that the Ewings asked me to do – and I’m not going to start today,” he seethed. As Bobby walked away, Cliff asked him who really killed J.R. Bobby’s response: “You’ll never know, Cliff.”

Cut to J.R.’s gravesite, where John Ross and Christopher persuaded Bobby to finally read the letter that J.R. left him. Here’s what J.R. wrote:

“Bobby, Doctors say I’ve only got a few days left. Damn cancer. I should have told you earlier, but you know how I detest pity. The feud Digger Barnes started with our family caused more heartbreak than either of us has time to recount. Well, I guess you do have the time. Use it. Put an end to this feud, once and for all.

“I had Bum steal Cliff’s gun. That malignant little troll Barnes comes to Mexico every year for a marlin fishing competition. I’m going to damn well stay alive long enough to be here when he arrives. Carlos del Sol will smooth out the rough edges in Mexico for you. And talk to Bum. He’s the final and most important piece of the puzzle. And the best friend I didn’t deserve to have.

“So remember the time that you got grounded for ‘borrowing’ Daddy’s favorite shotgun? You swore up and down it wasn’t you but Daddy said there was no point in lying because he found those extra shells in your room. Well, we both know it was me who planted those shells. Now it’s time to play that card again.

“I can never make up for all the terrible, hurtful things I did to you, Bobby. And I have no excuses either one of us will believe. But I hope in the quiet place in your heart, where the truth lives, that my jealousy – as powerful as it was – was nothing compared to my love for you. Goodbye, baby brother. I guess I’ll be duck hunting with Daddy. I’ll tell him I was the one who borrowed his gun.”

After the letter was read, John Ross asked who actually pulled the trigger. Bum filled in the blanks: “I shot your father, John Ross. He only had a few days left and he asked me to do it. He said that’s the way it had to be. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. Please believe that J.R.’s last act was an act of love. For his family. And for you.”

So for those of you keeping score: Yesterday, I suggested a terminally ill J.R. could have arranged his own death and fingered Bum as the person who pulled the trigger, but I ended up naming Cliff as his most likely assailant.

I should have, uh, stuck to my guns. Because like John Ross told Bum, “The only person who could take down J.R. … was J.R.”

What do you think of the resolution to the big mystery? Share your comments below and read more posts on Dallas Decoder’s “Who Killed J.R.?” page.

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 2, Week 12

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderosn, Julie Gonzalo, Linda Gray, Pamela Barnes Ewing, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

The end?

Here are the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “Guilt by Association” and “Legacies,” the final episodes from “Dallas’s” second season:

Is Cliff headed for a fall? At the end of “Love and Family,” the second half of last week’s two-hour telecast, Cliff (Ken Kercheval) called in the loan on Ewing Energies and took control of the company. Little did he know Bobby (Patrick Duffy) has some of J.R.’s old tricks up his sleeve. Bobby told Sue Ellen that if the Ewings allow Cliff to believe he won, the family can take him down once and for all. Is he right?

• Will Christopher find Pam? After Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) discovered his missing mama may be living under the name “Patricia Barrett” in Zurich, he took off with Elena (Jordana Brewster) to find her. Will Christopher be reunited with Pam – or will Patricia Barrett turn out to be someone else?

Will John Ross seize Pamela’s shares? After Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) persuaded Cliff to give her control of Aunt Katherine’s third of Barnes Global, John Ross (Josh Henderson) married her to gain a foothold in the company. Will John Ross’s plan work?

Will Ken and Vickers help the Ewings? Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) has been searching for Ken (Lee Majors), hoping he can help the Ewings expose the link between Governor McConaughey (Steven Weber), Harris (Mitch Pileggi) and Cliff. Meanwhile, Drew (Kuno Becker) confessed his role in the rig explosion to Elena and went on the run to find Vickers (Alex Fernandez), who went missing after Drew implicated him in the bombing. Both Ken and Vickers are expected to appear on “Dallas” tonight; will they be found in time to make a difference?

Will Emma clean up her act? Emma (Emma Bell) told Harris she would move back into his house, then she got high and wrecked her car. Ann (Brenda Strong) refused to bail out her daughter until she agreed to get help for her addiction. Will Ann stick to her guns – and will Emma get help?

Who killed J.R.? Here’s my final guess. What’s yours?

What “Dallas Burning Questions” are on your mind? Share your comments below and watch TNT’s “Dallas” tonight.

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 2, Week 10

Will she let him in?

Will she let him in?

Here are the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “Let Me In,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode.

How will Pamela cope? In “Guilt and Innocence,” last week’s episode, Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) was rushed to the hospital after being injured in the explosion aboard the Ewing Energies rig. She had emergency surgery to save the lives of her unborn twins but suffered complications after the procedure. In the final scene, the babies’ hearts stopped beating. How will this loss affect Pamela and Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe), their relationship with each other and their relationships with John Ross and Elena (Josh Henderson, Jordana Brewster)?

Will Christopher be vindicated? Christopher feared his technology caused the explosion, but Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) was convinced her nephew wasn’t to blame. She turned to Ken Richards (Lee Majors), an old flame who is now one of the chairmen of the state board investigating the blast, and asked him for inside information. Ken poked around and told Sue Ellen the evidence suggests the rig was bombed, although it would be “months before anything official comes out.” When Sue Ellen relayed this information to John Ross and Christopher, they immediately suspected Cliff (Ken Kercheval) was the saboteur. Will the cousins be able to prove their suspicions?

What’s Harris’s next move? After Judith (Judith Light) fell down the stairs, she was taken to the hospital, where she tried to persuade Emma (Emma Bell) that Harris was out to get them. Emma didn’t believe Judith, much to Harris’s relief. To get his mother out of his hair (so to speak), Harris (Mitch Pileggi) had her drugged and shipped to a rehabilitation center. Meanwhile, Emma slept with Drew (Kuno Becker), who was consumed with guilt over his role in the bombing and refused to obey when Vickers (Alex Fernandez) ordered him to leave town. With the ice thawing between Harris and Emma, will he try to interfere with her relationship with Drew?

What’s the governor got to do with this? “Let Me In” will introduce Steven Weber as “Dallas’s” newest villain: Governor McConaughey. In “Ewings Unite!,” Cliff told Harris that one of the reasons he wanted to form an alliance with him is because Harris has “a certain friendship with our governor.” Will McConaughey help Harris influence the investigation into the rig explosion?

Where in the world is Pam Ewing? After the blast, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) finally forgave Ann (Brenda Strong) for keeping her past from him. All was well until the end of the episode, when Bobby received an update on J.R.’s investigation into Pam’s disappearance: It seems she entered Abu Dhabi with a man – “presumably her husband,” according to the report – in 1989. The news rattled Ann. What does it mean for Ann’s marriage to Bobby – and what does it have to do with J.R.’s death?

What “Dallas Burning Questions” are on your mind? Share your comments below and watch TNT’s “Dallas” tonight.

‘Who Killed J.R.?’ More Questions, Few Answers

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Harris Ryland, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Larry Hagman, Mitch Pileggi, TNT, Who Killed J.R.? TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode, “Ewings Unite!,” offered a few potential clues in the “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery – but not many. Here’s what I think we know.

J.R. was searching for Pam. At the end of “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” Bum (Kevin Page) told Bobby, John Ross and Christopher that J.R. had been looking for Christopher’s “mother” before his death. Since Bum didn’t specify which mother, I suggested J.R. wasn’t necessarily on the trail of Pam (Victoria Principal), the mom who adopted Christopher and later abandoned him and Bobby. My left-field theory: J.R. was hunting Christopher’s biological mom Kristin (Mary Crosby). Yes, I know she supposedly drowned in the Southfork swimming pool, but hey, this is “Dallas.”

In “Ewings Unite!,” we seem to receive confirmation that Pam was the target of J.R.’s search after all. This happens when Bobby (Patrick Duffy), while filling in the Ewing cousins on the history of Cliff’s company, holds a stack of papers and says, “This is a summary of the financial reports for Barnes Global, dating all the way back to its inception, when it was started by Cliff’s mother. Now she divided that company up between the three children: Pamela, Cliff and Katherine. Katherine’s dead. So if Pamela’s still alive, she could be a silent partner in Barnes Global. Maybe that’s why J.R. was looking for her – to help us take Cliff down.”

Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) responds: “If my mother’s alive, I’ll find her. It’s about time I did.”

Bobby’s history lesson isn’t exactly how I remember the origin of the old Barnes/Wentworth empire, but setting that aside for a moment, this scene seems to offer two things: a) confirmation that J.R. was indeed trying to find his old nemesis Pam, and b) Bobby’s theory that J.R. wanted Pam to help him stop Cliff.

In other words: There’s no reason, at this point, to believe Kristin is anything but dead.

The list of suspects is taking shape. In addition to Kristin, the list I posted last week of eight potential suspects included Katherine (Morgan Brittany), who I figured would want J.R. dead because she’s still holding a grudge against the Ewings. Now that we know Katherine is dead, she comes off the list too. (Presumably Katherine’s demise occurred sometime between the end of the original “Dallas” and the beginning of TNT’s revival.) Is it possible she’s still alive and Bobby doesn’t know it? Sure, but there’s no evidence to support that one either.

I also think we can drop the Ewings’ disgruntled lawyer, Mitch Lobell (Richard Dillard), from the list of suspects, since no one has mentioned him and he was a long shot to begin with. And even though I’m still suspicious of J.R.’s friend Carlos del Sol (Castulo Guerra) – who, we learn in “Ewings Unite!” is investigating Harris’s Mexican trucking operation on Bobby’s behalf – there’s no reason to consider him a suspect at this point either.

This leaves three chief suspects, beginning with Cliff (Ken Kercheval), who wouldn’t seem capable of killing J.R. – until now. In the chilling finale of “Ewings Unite!,” Cliff orders Harris’s henchman Roy Vickers (Alex Fernandez) to blow up the Ewing Energies methane extraction rig – even though Cliff knows the blast might harm his pregnant daughter Pamela (Julie Gonzalo). If Cliff is willing to risk his own flesh and blood, why wouldn’t he be willing to take out J.R.?

The second suspect: Harris (Mitch Pileggi), who joined forces with Cliff in “Ewings Unite!,” just like J.R. predicted in his note to John Ross (Josh Henderson). I still don’t know why Harris would have a beef with J.R., unless he believed getting rid of him would leave Bobby and Ann vulnerable to attack. I doubt the “Dallas” producers will have Harris turn out to be J.R.’s murderer, though, even if his altercation with mother Judith (Judith Light) at the end of “Ewings Unite!” suggests a violent streak.

The third and final suspect: J.R. Yes, I know: It’s unlikely Larry Hagman’s iconic character would arrange his own death, even if it turned out to be part of an elaborate scheme to set up Cliff, Harris or one of his other enemies. But I keep coming back to a point I made last week: Who else on “Dallas” is big enough to take down J.R. Ewing – except J.R. himself?

There’s still a lot we don’t know. “Ewings Unite!” opens with the reading of J.R.’s will, in which John Ross somehow inherits half of Southfork from Miss Ellie and John Ross and Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) split J.R.’s share of the ranch’s lucrative mineral rights. You might think an inheritance this huge would make John Ross or Sue Ellen suspects in J.R.s death, but c’mon, that would be nuts. The new “Dallas” producers wouldn’t go that far, would they?

“Ewings Unite!” doesn’t shed much light on the other clues in the “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery. In addition to the discovery that J.R. was searching for Pam, “J.R.’s Masterpiece” also ended with Bobby receiving a mysterious document from his deceased brother. In “Ewings Unite!,” John Ross refers to the document as “a letter,” but Bobby declares he won’t reveal its contents until J.R.’s master plan is implemented. “Because that’s the way he wanted it,” Bobby says.

We also still don’t know what to make of the gun that J.R. left for John Ross. While watching “Ewings Unite!,” it occurred to me: Could this be the gun that Kristin used to shoot J.R. all those years ago? If so, might it signal her eventual return? Uh oh, here I go again!

Who done it? Share your theories below and read more posts on Dallas Decoder’s “Who Killed J.R.?” page.