‘Dallas’ 2014: Remembering Those We Lost

Dallas, Denny Miller, Ed Nelson, Michael Filerman, Russell Johnson

Several people who contributed to “Dallas” died during the past 12 months. Here’s a list of those we lost, along with notable deaths that occurred among the show’s extended family. Click on each person’s name to learn more about his or her career at IMDb.com.


James Avery

James Avery

James Avery

December 31, 2013 (age 68)

Avery, who is best known as Uncle Phil on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” played Fowler, the judge who allowed Bobby to keep Christopher in the 11th–season episode “Malice in Dallas.”



Jerry Biggs

Jerry Biggs

Jerry Biggs

Died March 30 (age 63)

Biggs appeared in bit parts in three episodes between 1982 and 1986, including playing a customer who flirted with Lucy at the Hot Biscuit in the eighth-season episode “Family.”



Lew Brown

Lew Brown

Lew Brown

Died July 27 (age 89)

Brown played Clarence, a Ewing Oil employee, in the seventh-season episode “My Brother’s Keeper.” He returned for two 10th-season episodes as Harrigan, a newspaperman who exposed J.R.’s connection to B.D. Calhoun.



Robert Cawley

Robert Cawley

Robert Cawley

Died June 23 (age 85)

Cawley played an instructor at the ice-skating rink where Bobby and Christopher met Lisa Alden in “Tough Love,” an 11th-season episode. He also played an oil field worker in the 1998 “Dallas” reunion movie, “War of the Ewings.”



Vince Davis

Vince Davis

Vince Davis

Died May 23 (age 59)

Davis played one of Sue Ellen’s business advisors in the 10th-season episode “Once and Future King” and a waiter who served J.R. and Wilson and Kimberly Cryder in “Hustling,” an 11th-season entry.



Michael Filerman

Michael Filerman

Michael Filerman

Died January 25 (age 75)

Filerman, “Dallas’s” executive program supervisor in 1978, later served as executive producer of “Knots Landing,” “Falcon Crest,” “Flamingo Road,” “Sisters” and other prime-time serials.



Med Flory

Med Flory

Med Flory

Died March 12 (age 87)

In the third-season episode “The Lost Child,” Flory played private eye Cal McBride, who J.R. hired to follow Sue Ellen when she began secretly seeing Dr. Elby. Other credits include “Lassie” and “Daniel Boone.”



Stefan Gierasch

Stefan Gierasch

Stefan Gierasch

Died September 6 (age 88)

Gierasch played Ben Masters, the storekeeper who helped Tom Owens seek revenge against Jock in the third-season classic “The Dove Hunt.” Other credits include a 1992 episode of “Knots Landing.”



Michael A. Hoey

Michael A. Hoey

Michael A. Hoey

Died August 17 (age 79)

Hoey directed “Missing,” a ninth-season episode, along with multiple episodes of “Falcon Crest” and “Fame.” He later produced several Primetime Creative Arts Emmy broadcasts.



Russell Johnson

Russell Johnson

Russell Johnson

Died January 16 (age 89)

Johnson, the Professor on “Gilligan’s Island,” played Sheriff Wyatt Mansfield in the ninth-season episode “Twenty-Four Hours.” Other credits include “Vanished,” a 1971 TV movie with Larry Hagman, Jim Davis and Denny Miller.



Dennis Lipscomb

Dennis Lipscomb

Dennis Lipscomb

Died July 30 (age 72)

Lipscomb played Nelson Harding, an IRS agent who helped J.R. pressure the Ewings to declare Jock dead, in the sixth-season episode “Billion Dollar Question.” His later credits include episodes of “ER” and “The X-Files.”



Ann Marcus

Ann Marcus

Ann Marcus

Died December 3 (age 93)

Marcus, a writer on “Peyton Place,” helped revitalize “Knots Landing” during its next-to-last season and co-wrote “Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac” with “Dallas” scribe Lisa Seidman.



Frank Marth

Frank Marth

Frank Marth

Died January 12 (age 91)

Marth played Dr. Sidney Grovner, Lucy’s physician, in “Billion Dollar Question.” He also played doctors on “Starsky & Hutch,” “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “Aloha Means Goodbye,” a 1974 TV movie.



Denny Miller

Denny Miller

Denny Miller

Died September 9 (age 80)

Miller, a star of “Wagon Train,” played Max Flowers, Cliff’s foreman at Gold Canyon 340, in four episodes during the seventh season. Miller and Hagman also did episodes of “The Rockford Files” and “Barnaby Jones” together.



Ed Nelson

Ed Nelson

Ed Nelson

Died August 9 (age 85)

“Peyton Place” star Nelson originated the role of Jeb Amos in the second-season classic “Bypass.” Nelson and “Dallas” producer Leonard Katzman also worked together on a 1955 film, “New Orleans Uncensored.”



Byron Weiss

Byron Weiss

Byron Weiss

Died March 14 (age 51)

Weiss performed stunts for “War of the Ewings” and two TNT episodes, “Blame Game” and “Guilt By Association.” He also worked on Jesse Metcalfe’s 2010 series, “Chase,” and the Katzman-produced “Walker, Texas Ranger.”



What do you remember about these artists? Share your memories below and read last year’s tributes.

3 Days, 33 Episodes: Here’s How to Catch Up on TNT’s ‘Dallas’

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

Look back

Did you promise yourself you’d spend the summer getting acquainted — or reacquainted — with TNT’s “Dallas”? Did you fail to keep this promise? Relax: You still have time. Grab your DVDs and downloads and have a marathon of your own this weekend. Here’s how to watch all 33 hours of the show before the third season resumes on Monday, August 18.


Friday, August 15

9 to 11 p.m. Kick off your marathon on Friday night at 9 o’clock — the holiest hour of the week for “Dallas” fans — with a double feature of the TNT’s show’s first two episodes: “Changing of the Guard” and “Hedging Your Bets.”

Can you watch the former without getting chills when J.R. (Larry Hagman) doffs his cowboy hat, flashes his grin and declares, “Bobby may not be stupid, but I’m a hell of a lot smarter”? Can you watch the latter without getting choked up when our hero tells Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) she’s “still the prettiest girl at the ball”? Me either.


Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Elena Ramos, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, TNT

First time for everything

Saturday, August 16

7 a.m. Rise and shine, darlins! With so much “Dallas” to watch today, there’ll be no sleeping in. Resume your marathon with “The Price You Pay,” in which Julie Gonzalo’s character receives a smartphone pic of her husband kissing another woman. Get used to it, honey.

8 a.m. Have breakfast with “The Last Hurrah,” in which John Ross (Josh Henderson) squirts Elena (Jordana Brewster) with his hose. Insert your own joke here.

9 a.m. Have you done your workout yet? Download “Truth and Consequences” to your mobile device and head to the gym. Mitch Pileggi’s debut as Harris Ryland is bound to get your heart racing.

10 a.m. Got errands to run? Chores to complete? You’ve got one hour. Make the most of it.

11 a.m. We learn jewelry makes Ann (Brenda Strong) cry in “The Enemy of My Enemy.” Then again, doesn’t everything?

Noon. Grab lunch while watching “Collateral Damage,” in which Vicente Cano (Carlos Bernard) wonders if John Ross: 1) is a good dancer, and 2) has any oil in his pipeline. OMG, Vicente was such a flirt!

1 p.m. Tommy (Callard Harris) plants a kiss on Rebecca in “No Good Deed” — which is almost as creepy as when Nicolas starts smooching Elena in Season 3.

2 p.m. Bloody monkeys, Johnny Cash and the redemption of J.R. Ewing. It’s “Family Business” — one of my favorite episodes of this show.

3 p.m. Carmen (Marlene Forte) gets one of the crummiest chores in “Dallas” history — returning Elena’s engagement ring to John Ross — in “Revelations.” Also: More Johnny Cash!

4 p.m. Have you taken a bathroom break yet? If not, take care of that now, and then hurry back to your TV or tablet to watch the second-season opener, “Battle Lines,” in which Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) learns his wife is really his cousin. Ick.

5 p.m. In “Venomous Creatures,” J.R. saves Sue Ellen from going to jail and Judith Light discovers a taste for “Dallas” scenery.

6 p.m. Drew (Kuno Becker) arrives in “Sins of the Father” — his hair won’t show up for several more episodes — and calls John Ross “J-Ro.” Thank heavens that didn’t catch on. Also: Ann shoots Harris!

7 p.m. Has your family seen you at all today? Why not take a break from the Ewings and go have dinner with them.

8 p.m. to midnight: The next four episodes are a murder-a-thon, so brace yourself. Frank (Faran Tahir) offs himself in “False Confessions,” Brenda Strong kills it during Ann’s testimony scene in “Trial and Error,” Vicente bites the dust in “Blame Game,” and then the saddest shot of all: the death of J.R. Ewing in “The Furious and the Fast.”

Midnight. The nice thing about a late-night viewing of “J.R.’s Masterpiece” is that no one else in your house is awake to see you bawling. Once you’ve dried your tears, catch some shut-eye. Tomorrow is going to be another big day.


Dallas, Judith Light, Judith Ryland, TNT

Leg up

Sunday, August 17

8 a.m. You did a hell of a job yesterday, “Dallas” fan. Your reward: You get to start your Sunday with the wonderfully wacky hodgepodge that is “Ewings Unite!” Miss Ellie disinherits Bobby from beyond the grave, Valene (Joan Van Ark) reveals she’s as loony as ever and Cliff becomes the most hated man in the history of “Dallas” fandom.

9 a.m. Audrey Landers shows she can slink around a corner better than anyone in “Guilt and Innocence.”

10 a.m. In “Let Me In,” Harris reveals his fondness for: 1) TV nature documentaries, 2) Almonds, and 3) Hunting Ramoses.

11 a.m. John Ross and Pamela get wet in “A Call to Arms.”

Noon. You know what goes good with a nice, leisurely Sunday brunch? Watching Bobby take that badass, slow-motion walk away from Cliff at the end of “Love and Family.”

1 p.m. Christopher discovers the mystery lady under the big hat is not his mama in “Guilt by Association.” It’s not Aunt Katherine either, sadly.

2 p.m. Kevin Page joins Mary Crosby as an answer to “Dallas’s” most famous trivia question in “Legacies.”

3 p.m. You might think this would be a good time to take a break, but you’d be wrong. The die is cast and there’s no turning back, so keep plugging away with the third-season episodes, beginning with “The Return,” in which J.R.’s belt buckle begins wearing John Ross. Also: Hello, Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace)!

4 p.m. Time for “Trust Me” a.k.a. “Judith’s Snow Day.”

5 p.m. In “Playing Chicken,” Professor Bobby Ewing teaches us about endangered wildlife.

6 p.m. “Lifting the Veil” is the episode that should’ve included Sue Ellen’s comparison of Emma (Emma Bell) to Kristin, but instead it’s the episode that gives us scenes of hookers in canine costumes.

7 p.m. Dinnertime! Enjoy a glass of J.R. Ewing Bourbon (surely you have some, right?) while watching “D.T.R.” After the episode, check your bottle and make sure Sue Ellen didn’t bug it.

8 p.m. Despite the title “Like Father, Like Son,” John Ross wants you to know that he is not his father! Also: Carter McKay has grandchildren!

9 p.m. Pamela rocks Stella McCartney in “Like a Bad Penny.”

10 p.m. It’s finally time for “Where There’s Smoke.” Southfork goes up in flames and you get to go down for a well-deserved rest. Don’t forget to watch “Dallas’s” midseason premiere Monday night!

What are your favorite “Dallas” episodes? Share your choices below and read more features from Dallas Decoder.

Dallas Parallels: Hostage!

Blame Game, Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT, Winds of Vengeance

No two “Dallas” episodes invite comparison as much as “Winds of Vengeance” and “Blame Game.” Both segments — which debuted in 1978 and 2013, respectively — depict armed intruders invading Southfork and holding the Ewings hostage. The two storylines play on common themes, including stubborn pride and misguided justice, but the episodes also demonstrate the distinctions between the original “Dallas” and its TNT sequel.

In “Winds of Vengeance,” the old show’s fourth episode, blue-collar Luther Frick discovers his wife Wanda spent the night in a Waco motel with a wealthy stranger from out of town: J.R. Ewing. Frick and Wanda’s brother, Payton Allen, track J.R. to Southfork, where they hold him, Ray and the Ewing women at gunpoint in the living room as a hurricane bears down outside. Frick believes J.R. raped Wanda, so he vows to get “justice” for himself by having sex with Sue Ellen while Allen sets his sights on Lucy. At the last minute, Jock and Bobby arrive, punch out Frick and Allen and send the creeps on their way.

In “Blame Game,” one of TNT’s second-season “Dallas” episodes, slimy oilman Vicente Cano, who went to jail after tangling with J.R. and John Ross, escapes and marches into Southfork with a band of armed thugs. Cano believes the Ewings owe him the methane technology that Christopher developed, and so Cano and his gang hold the family hostage in the living room while Christopher retrieves his methane prototype from the office. When he returns and hands over the equipment, Cano grabs Elena and begins to make his escape, but her brother Drew arrives at the last minute and shoots Cano while Bobby and John Ross overpower the rest of his gang.

There are plenty of similarities here, beginning with the motivations of the villains. When Frick and Allen pull their guns on the Ewings, J.R. assumes they’re robbers and tells them they can have all the cash in the family safe. “We ain’t no thieves. We don’t want your money,” Frick says. Cano, in the meantime, believes Christopher’s methane technology will be lucrative, but profit isn’t his primary goal. When he bursts into Southfork, he slaps John Ross and says, “Did you think you could get away with turning me into the authorities and painting me as the one with dishonor?”

The two episodes also show how the bad guys humiliate the Ewings by exposing their secrets. In “Winds of Vengeance,” when Frick announces J.R. raped Wanda, he turns to Sue Ellen and asks, “You like him any better now, knowing what a hotshot lover-boy he is?” Sue Ellen’s response — “Him?” — causes Allen to laugh uproariously. Something similar happens in “Blame Game” when Cano tries to intimidate Christopher by threatening Pamela, only to realize John Ross’s ex-fiancée Elena has become the object of Christopher’s affection. “You Ewing boys share after all. I love it!” Cano exclaims.

There are also quite a few differences between the episodes. The hostage situation in “Winds of Vengeance” unfolds slowly, giving the actors plenty of time to explore the mental trauma their characters are experiencing by being held against their will. Linda Gray steals the show with her gutsy performance in the scene where Frick forces Sue Ellen to sing for him, but there are also examples of the Ewing women resisting their captors. In one scene, Sue Ellen smacks Allen and tells him not to touch her. Later, Allen tries to make Pam dance with him, but she fights back and screams, “I’ll kill you!”

Contrast this with the hostage situation in “Blame Game,” which comes at the end of that episode and is interspersed with scenes from Ann’s trial. This gives the segment a faster pace overall, but it also robs the hostage sequences of the tense, psychological vibe that “Winds of Vengeance” mined so effectively. “Blame Game” also offers no scenes of the women fighting back, and if there are sexual undertones to the story, they’re only hinted at: When Cano grabs Elena and heads for the helicopter waiting outside, he says he’s taking her as “an insurance policy,” then adds: “Who knows? Maybe we have something in common.”

On the other hand, “Blame Game” shows the Ewings interacting with each other while their captors are holding them at gunpoint, which is something we really don’t see in “Winds of Vengeance.” In one exchange, Sue Ellen sits with Bobby and laments his rivalry with J.R., calling it “a vicious cycle that our sons seem destined to continue.”

She’s probably correct that John Ross and Christopher are fated to fight each other, but if the Ewings want to break one of their other vicious cycles — their penchant for being taken hostage — there’s a simple solution: Hire some security guards, for goodness sakes. I mean, these people can afford it, right?


‘Bravery’s Going to Get Your Dead, Junior’

Dallas, Brian Dennehy, Luther Frick, Winds of Vengeance


In “Winds of Vengeance,” a first-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. and Ray (Larry Hagman, Steve Kanaly) sit in chairs while Sue Ellen (Linda Gray), Pam (Victoria Principal) and Lucy (Charlene Tilton) sit on the sofa and the gun-wielding Frick and Allen (Brian Dennehy, Cooper Huckabee) hover nearby.

LUCY: What are you going to do with us?

ALLEN: We were going to get up a softball game, but the weather. …

J.R.: Look, fellas. If you’re here for anything to do with justice.

FRICK: Shut up.

ALLEN: We’ll prove it. [Motions to Sue Ellen] This is your wife, right?

J.R.: Yes.

ALLEN: [Walks toward her] Pretty.

He reaches for her. She smacks him away.

SUE ELLEN: Don’t touch me.

J.R. tries to get up. Frick holds him place.

FRICK: [Snickering] Now bravery’s going to get you dead, Junior.

ALLEN: [To Ray] Hey, you. You! You married?

RAY: No.

ALLEN: That gives us a choice.

FRICK: [To J.R.] Hey, you know I’m married too, mister. [Kneels beside him] Yeah. My wife’s name is Wanda. You know her?

J.R.: [Sheepish] No, I don’t know any Wandas.

FRICK: Well, you got a short memory.

J.R.: I just can’t remember anybody by the name of Wanda.

ALLEN: She says she knows you pretty good.

FRICK: You know, Wanda didn’t come home last night. Now me and her brother here, we went looking for her. And guess where we found her this morning? We found her in this old motel room. Her and her friend Mary Lou.

J.R.: So?

FRICK: So she said she had been kidnapped, right off the main street by two guys last night. She said they took them up to this motel room. They got them drunk. And then they raped them.

J.R.: Well, what does that got to do with me?

ALLEN: You were kind enough to leave a business card.

J.R.: Well, now a lot of people have got my business card.

FRICK: [To Sue Ellen] Well, missus, what do you think of ol’ J.R. Ewing now? Huh? [Silence] Yeah. Yeah, maybe I’m doing you a favor, huh? [Shouting] Huh? You like him any better now knowing what a hotshot lover-boy he is?


ALLEN: [Laughing] Somebody’s got to take care of the little lady. Looks like you don’t.

He kisses her. She screams and pushes him away as Allen laughs.


‘Your Beautiful Wife and Children Will Not Escape Unscathed’

Blame Game, Carlos Bernard, Dallas, TNT, Vicente Cano


In “Blame Game,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Cano (Carlos Bernard) stands in the Southfork living room and speaks to Bobby and Christopher (Patrick Duffy, Jesse Metcalfe), who is held by one of Cano’s thugs. John Ross (Josh Henderson), Pamela (Julie Gonzalo), Elena (Jordana Brewster) and Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) are seated around the room, surrounded by other members of Cano’s gang.

CHRISTOPHER: What do you want, Cano?

CANO: Only what I was promised. You’re going to call Ewing Energies and you’re going to send all your employees home for the day. [The thug releases Christopher.] And once the place is empty, my friend here is going to accompany you to your office, where you’re going to retrieve the plans to your methane patent and prototype that I was promised. [Slaps his right-hand man on the back.] Now, if you are not back here within one hour, your beautiful wife and children will not escape unscathed. [Cano stands over Pamela and strokes her hair, then yanks her head back against him.]

JOHN ROSS: [Rises] Let her go! [A thug pulls him down.]

CANO: Well, your cousin has to defend your wife? Oh, wait a minute. [Laughs] You Ewing boys share after all. [Slaps his hands together] I love it! Well, since this clearly where your heart lies, you have one hour to bring me the prototype. [Holds a gun to Elena’s head]

How do you think “Winds of Vengeance” and “Blame Game” compare to each other? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

Dallas Parallels: Stand by Your Women

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, TNT

On the surface, Bobby Ewing’s taste in women seems to run the gamut. Blondes, brunettes, redheads — he’s loved ’em all. But dig a little deeper and a common denominator emerges: Most of the women in Bobby’s life need rescuing from one thing or another, whether it’s salvation from their own neuroses (Pam), their scandalous pasts (April) or their psychotic, homicidal mothers (Jory). Bobby’s attraction to ladies like this should come as no surprise. He has the biggest hero complex on “Dallas,” so of course he’s going to be drawn to women in jeopardy.

Indeed, no matter what kind of drama Bobby’s wives or girlfriends bring into his life, you can always count on him to stand by them — even when they run afoul of the law. This has happened twice on “Dallas.” During the original show’s eighth season, Bobby’s on-again/off-again fiancée Jenna Wade goes on trial after being accused of shooting and killing her on-again/off-again husband, Naldo Marchetta. History repeats itself during the second season of TNT’s “Dallas,” when Bobby’s wife Ann goes on trial for shooting her ex-husband, Harris Ryland.

There’s a major difference in the two storylines, of course, which is this: Jenna didn’t actually shoot Naldo, while Ann most definitely shot Harris. But no matter. What counts is how Bobby supports Jenna and Ann throughout their ordeals. In both storylines, we see him console the accused women, give them pep talks and help their lawyers devise defense strategies. He also testifies in both trials, although he’s called as a witness for the prosecution during Jenna’s proceedings. (Awkward!)

Both storylines also demonstrate how Bobby is willing to — gasp! — lie to protect his women and their children. When Jenna is convicted and sentenced to prison, Bobby falsely declares he’s the father of her daughter Charlie to prevent the judge from making the little girl a ward of the state. Meanwhile, when the police arrive on Bobby and Ann’s doorstep to question her about Harris’s shooting, Bobby falsely confesses to the crime. His reasoning? He wants to make sure Ann and Harris’s daughter Emma doesn’t get mad at Mom for shooting Dad.

In fact, if the two storylines achieve nothing else, they showcase Bobby’s paternal side. Not long after Jenna is found guilty, Bobby goes home and finds Charlie worried about her mother’s fate. Bobby sits with the girl and sweetly assures her that she’ll always have a home with the Ewings. “You’re going to stay right here on the ranch,” he says. Twenty-eight years later, after Ann is convicted, Bobby visits Emma and tells her, “You have another family at Southfork. If you ever need anything, we’re there.”

See? Good ol’ Bobby is even willing to rescue young women in jeopardy. Would we expect anything less from him?


‘You’re Going to Stay Right Here on the Ranch’

Bobby Ewing, Charlie Wade, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, Setences, Shalane McCall


In “Sentences,” an eighth-season “Dallas” episode, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) enters a Southfork guest room and finds Charlie (Shalane McCall) sitting in the window.

BOBBY: Well, I was wondering if you were going to bed or not.

CHARLIE: Bobby, I can’t sleep.

BOBBY: I understand, honey.

CHARLIE: I’m really scared. [Bobby puts his arm around her.] My father’s dead, my mama’s in jail. I know she didn’t kill him, Bobby. Mama couldn’t kill anyone.

BOBBY: Of course she didn’t kill him. And I’m going to do everything I can to help her too.

CHARLIE: Mama really loves you, Bobby. She didn’t want to marry anyone but you.

BOBBY: I know, I know.

CHARLIE: [Sighs] I bet he was really mean to her.

BOBBY: Hey, now. Don’t think about that. You just remember that your mama would never hurt anybody.

CHARLIE: But I feel so funny now.

BOBBY: Funny how?

CHARLIE: Kind of lost. Like I don’t belong anyplace. I thought I was going to live at Southfork and you’d be my daddy. Now I don’t have anybody.

BOBBY: That’s not true. You’ve got me. And you’re going to stay right here on the ranch.

CHARLIE: I can stay here?

BOBBY: Of course you can.

CHARLIE: Yeah, but will they let you keep me?

BOBBY: Well, I don’t see any way they can stop me.

CHARLIE: Yeah, but nobody thought Mama would be convicted and she was.

BOBBY: Charlie, I swear to you, nothing is going to happen.

CHARLIE: [Embracing him] Oh, Bobby, please help her.

BOBBY: Now, come on. You get in bed and get some sleep. You need your rest. [He walks her to the bed and tucks her in.] OK. Good night, honey. [Kisses her, turns off the lamp]

CHARLIE: Good night.


‘You Have Another Family at Southfork’

Blame Game, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, Patrick Duffy, TNT


In “Blame Game,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Bobby (Patrick Duffy) approaches Emma (Emma Bell) at the stable.

EMMA: What do you want?

BOBBY: I thought I’d drop by and see how you’re doing, check on you. And to remind you of something: You have another family at Southfork. If you ever need anything, we’re there.

EMMA: I won’t be needing you. I promise. [She pushes her hair back. Bobby smiles.] What? What are you smiling at?

BOBBY: That thing you did with your hair. It’s just like your mom. So like I said, if you need anything.

What do you think of Bobby’s support for Ann, Jenna and their daughters? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

‘Who Killed J.R.?’ New Questions as the Mystery Deepens

Carmen Ramos, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Harris Ryland, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Marlene Forte, Mitch Pileggi, Patricia Barrett, TNT, Who Killed J.R.? This week’s “Dallas” double feature, “A Call to Arms” and “Love and Family,” yielded some new clues in the “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery, along with six new questions:

1. Is Pam really alive? The Ewings’ contact in the Justice Department found a list of deposits being made to a Swiss bank account by Barnes Global. These payments mirrored the payments being made to Pam Ewing’s dormant trust. The Swiss account is linked to someone named “Patricia Barrett,” whose signature matches Pamela Barnes’.

Later, another contact e-mailed Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) a photo from a Zurich bank surveillance camera that showed Patricia, although the woman’s face was shielded by a big hat. Christopher showed the image to Bobby (Patrick Duffy), who wasn’t sure if it was his ex-wife. “It’s been 24 years since I’ve seen Pam. And then it was after that car accident. She was so badly burned, covered with bandages. I can’t tell. I can’t tell son,” Bobby said.

2. Is Katherine really dead? As Cliff (Ken Kercheval) moved closer to taking over Ewing Energies, he took Pamela (Julia Gonzalo) to lunch and presented her with a pair of emerald earrings. “They belonged to your Aunt Katherine. She willed them to me with the rest of Wentworth Estates,” Cliff said.

Was he telling the truth? On the original “Dallas,” the only thing Katherine (Morgan Brittany) gave Cliff was withering looks. Would she really have left him her estate? What if Cliff, who seems to grow more despicable with each episode, stole Katherine’s share of Barnes Global, along with her jewelry box? Or did Cliff and Katherine patch things up in the years between the old “Dallas” ended and the new one began? Did they set aside their differences and join forces to destroy the Ewings? Could Katherine be the woman in the big hat who calls herself Patricia Barrett?

Yes, I know the woman in the hat doesn’t seem to resemble Brittany. But what if Katherine had plastic surgery and got a new face to go along with her new identity?

Dallas, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, Pam Ewing, Patricia Barrett, TNT, Who Killed J.R.?3. What’s Pamela really up to? After Cliff gave Pamela the earrings, she persuaded a reluctant Cliff to give her Aunt Katherine’s shares of the company too. “I want to be your partner in Barnes Global,” Pamela explained. Unbeknownst to Cliff, his daughter knows he caused the loss of her unborn twins and has secretly aligned with the Ewings to fight him.

But could Pamela be up to something else too? This is more off-the-wall speculation and it gets a little confusing, but hang with me. Consider: When Christopher’s contact compared Patricia Barrett’s signature to Pam’s, the latter read “Pamela Barnes,” not “Pamela Ewing.” There could be a reasonable explanation for this, of course: After the disfigured Pam fled Southfork in 1987 and divorced Bobby, she could have reverted to her maiden name.

Or what if Pamela – the Julie Gonzalo character, not the Victoria Principal one – is actually the one funneling the money from the dormant trust to the Swiss bank account? Could she be deceiving the Ewings and her father? Is Pamela, not Pam, behind the Patricia Barrett scheme?

This would mean the woman in the big hat in the bank surveillance footage is an accomplice of Pamela, which would explain why the “Pamela Barnes” signature in “A Call to Arms” didn’t look much like the one that Gonzalo’s character signed when she received her annulment papers in “Blame Game.” (In the above image, the “Patricia Barrett” signature is on top, followed by the “Pamela Barnes” signature from “A Call to Arms” in the middle and Pamela’s annulment signature at the bottom.)

4. What’s Harris really up to? Trucks. Mexico. Knockoff designer shoes. Does any of this have anything to do with J.R.’s death?

5. What does Carmen know? Several Dallas Decoder readers say Carmen (Marlene Forte) should be a prime suspect in the “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery. The theory: Cliff, Harris (Mitch Pileggi) or another of J.R.’s enemies has dirt on one of Carmen’s children, Elena or Drew. This enemy blackmailed Carmen into visiting Mexico and shooting J.R.

I’ve always been skeptical of this idea, although there are some clues to support it: In “Blame Game,” the episode where J.R. departs Southfork, Elena mentions Carmen is in Mexico – which is where J.R. died. Meanwhile, in “Love and Family,” when the Ewings watched TV news coverage of the police manhunt for Drew, Carmen said, “I know he’s always been trouble, Mr. Bobby, but he’s not a killer. He would never do such a thing unless he was forced to by other people. Bad people.” Was Carmen speaking from experience?

6. What does Bobby know? When John Ross (Josh Henderson) entered Bobby’s Southfork study in “Love and Family,” the safe was open and Bobby was reading what looked like a handwritten letter, which he discreetly slid under a book upon noticing his nephew’s arrival. Presumably, this is the mysterious document that J.R. left for Bobby. There’s really nothing new here to report, except to wonder anew: What the hell does the letter say?

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

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ Adds More Viewers in Week 6

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Elena Ramos, Gary Ewing, Jordana Brewster, Patrick Duffy, Ted Shackelford, TNT

Ewing watch

TNT scored 2.8 million viewers with its most recent “Dallas” episode, “The Furious and the Fast.” The audience for the March 4 telecast included about 890,000 viewers between ages 18 and 49, the demographic that advertisers pay top dollar to reach.

This is the fourth week in a row that “Dallas’s” audience has grown. It’s also the closest the show has come to matching the 2.9 million viewers that its two-hour second-season premiere attracted on January 28.

“Dallas” continues to get a boost from DVR users too. The previous episode, “Blame Game,” drew almost 2.6 million viewers on February 25, but by the middle of last week, DVR users had pushed the audience to 3.4 million. The haul included 1.2 million viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, a 10 percent increase from the previous DVR-fueled audience, and 1.5 million viewers between ages 25 and 54, a 15 percent increase.

TNT’s next “Dallas” episode, the star-studded “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” will be telecast Monday, March 11. The show’s competition will be mixed: CBS’s popular sitcoms “2 Broke Girls” and “Mike & Molly” are slated to be in reruns that night, while ABC’s “The Bachelor” will offer its season finale. Fox’s “The Following” and NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” will have fresh episodes too.

Larry Hagman Day

Speaking of J.R.’s masterpiece: Mike Rawlings, the real-life mayor of Dallas, has declared March 11 as Larry Hagman Day. Sounds good to me, although every day tends to be Larry Hagman Day in my world.

A Matter of Principal

In cast you missed it: Victoria Principal has dismissed the idea of playing Pam Ewing again. In a statement last week to Deadline, a Hollywood news site, Principal said she wishes to leave Bobby and Pam’s tragic love story “undisturbed and intact.” She added: “I made this decision a long time ago with a loving and respectful heart for ‘Dallas,’ Bobby & Pam and all faithful fans.”

What, No Prune Juice?

The latest addition to my husband Andrew’s “Dallas Drinks” collection: The Judith, a cocktail he created to honor Judith Light’s indomitable character, Judith Brown Ryland. The recipe calls for bitters and a tart lemon twist. How appropriate!

“Drill Bits,” a roundup of news about TNT’s “Dallas,” is published regularly. Share your comments below.

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 2, Week 6

Mama drama

Mama drama

Here are the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “The Furious and the Fast,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode.

Will Ewing Energies survive? In “Blame Game,” last week’s episode, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) finally seized Elena’s share of Ewing Energies. Meanwhile, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) agreed to give Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) 10 percent of the company as part of their annulment. This means Bobby, Sue Ellen and John Ross each own a quarter of Ewing Energies, Christopher has 15 percent and Pamela owns the rest. Will this team of rivals be able to set aside their squabbles and do business, like helping Christopher win the contract to fuel the city’s municipal fleet?

Can Gary help Bobby? Tonight’s episode features a special guest star: Ted Shackelford, who’ll reprise his role from the original “Dallas” and “Knots Landing” as Gary Ewing, J.R. and Bobby’s middle brother. Each man controls one-third of the Southfork mineral rights, and in my recent interview with Shackelford, he revealed Bobby summons Gary to Dallas to form a voting bloc against J.R.’s wing of the family. In the past, Gary hasn’t always been the most reliable Ewing (his big weaknesses: booze and beautiful women). Will he come through for Bobby this time?

Who does Pamela love? After Pamela snagged her piece of Ewing Energies, she reneged on her deal to give a portion to John Ross (Josh Henderson). Pamela cited her unborn twins as the reason for her change of heart. “I don’t want to be at war with their father again,” she said. John Ross vowed revenge, but when Vicente (Carlos Bernard) took the Ewings hostage at Southfork, Pamela and John Ross opened up to each other and seemed to reconnect. So who does her heart really belong to: John Ross, Christopher … or daddy Cliff?

Are the Rylands out for blood? Bobby visited Emma (Emma Bell) and reminded her she has another family at Southfork. “If you ever need anything, we’re there,” he said. Later, Emma paid a surprise jailhouse visit to Ann (Brenda Strong), who finally began to bond with her daughter. But the biggest surprise was yet to come: During the penalty phase of Ann’s trial, the jury sentenced her to probation, which outraged Harris and Judith (Mitch Pileggi, Judith Light). Should Ann watch her back?

Will Drew catch a break? And now, let us consider the plight of poor Drew Ramos (Kuno Becker). A few episodes ago, he returned to Southfork after a long absence, eager to drill his dead father’s land, only to find out his family sold it to Bobby. So Drew went to work for his kid sister Elena (Jordana Brewster), discovered her foreman was up to no good and fired him, only to catch hell from her. To earn extra cash, Drew took a job driving a truck, only to get arrested for transporting stolen goods. He tried to do “the right thing” and signed a confession, only to discover John Ross was behind his arrest. As if all this wasn’t bad enough, Drew came home to Elena’s cottage after what was probably another bad day, only to find her in the process of being kidnapped by Vicente. So Drew did what comes naturally to people on “Dallas”: He reached for a gun and shot Vicente, killing him. This probably won’t please Drew’s parole officer, but will it at least prompt Elena to be nicer to him?

Where’s J.R.? Before Vicente ambushed Southfork, Bobby determined J.R. (Larry Hagman) was behind Sue Ellen and John Ross’s coup at Ewing Energies and went to question his brother, only to find his bedroom empty. Where did J.R. go, and how will it figure into the end of his legendary run on “Dallas”?

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

TNT’s Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘It’s the Ewing Way’

Blame Game, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Life’s cycles

In “Blame Game,”second-season “Dallas” episode, Bobby and Sue Ellen (Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray) sit together in the Southfork living room, where the Ewings are being held hostage.

SUE ELLEN: Even if Christopher does get here on time, I don’t see this coming to an end without somebody getting hurt. Or worse.

BOBBY: J.R. and John Ross brought this on us, Sue Ellen, by getting mixed up with these guys. Bad begets bad. It always has. It always will.

SUE ELLEN: J.R. does bad, you do good. And repeat. A vicious cycle that our sons seem destined to continue. It’s the Ewing way.

BOBBY: It doesn’t have to be. If we get out of this, you could break the cycle.

SUE ELLEN: By giving Elena her shares back?

BOBBY: It’d be a start.

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 16 – ‘Blame Game’

Blame Game, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

Once and again

I cringed when I saw J.R. and Bobby’s instant-messaging exchange in “Blame Game.” This episode was filmed after Larry Hagman’s death last fall, so I’m guessing the producers created the sequence using leftover footage of the actor. (J.R.’s presence during Ann’s sentencing appears to be recycled too.) I’m all for rescuing Hagman from the cutting room floor, but having J.R. send IMs to pester Bobby into watching an online video of a basketball-playing dog? That felt silly. It also reminded me of how the old show used one-sided telephone conversations to keep Jock around after Jim Davis died, which is one “Dallas” tradition I’d just as soon not continue.

By the end of “Blame Game,” though, I had a change of heart. I’m not sure why the show had Patrick Duffy shout Bobby’s responses to J.R.’s instant messages (even if J.R. was supposed to be down the hall, couldn’t Bobby have typed his answers?), but the revelation that the viral video was really a Trojan horse to erase Bobby’s notorious cloud drive was pretty nifty. J.R. pulled a fast one on Bobby, and “Dallas” pulled a fast one on its audience. I always fall for this show’s fake-outs, which either means I’m really gullible or the people who make the show are really clever. I’ll let you decide.

Overall, “Blame Game” is another solid hour of “Dallas.” The script comes from Gail Gilchriest, who also wrote last season’s “The Enemy of My Enemy,” the episode that brought Sue Ellen off the sidelines and got her involved in the Southfork oil saga. In “Blame Game,” Gilchriest once again demonstrates a knack for writing for “Dallas’s” first lady, giving Linda Gray some of her best material yet. I love the scene where Sue Ellen and Bobby lament the rivalry between their sons, as well the jailhouse pep talk Sue Ellen gives Ann. The friendship between these women has become one of my favorite relationships on the show. It feels believable, especially now that we know that Ann, like Sue Ellen, was once a less-than-perfect wife and mother. (As far as Ann’s release on probation: Yes, it’s a little convenient, but when has a Ewing ever gone to jail and stayed?)

I wish Sue Ellen hadn’t been so easily manipulated by John Ross into seizing Elena’s share of Ewing Energies, but I don’t really mind because it’s so much fun to see the return of the shrewd, bitchy Sue Ellen from the late ’80s. With J.R. exiting the stage, Sue Ellen is now poised to succeed him as John Ross’s mentor and the thorn in Bobby’s side. What a tantalizing prospect. Hopefully this will cement Gray’s place in the narrative for a long time to come. Likewise, I’m thrilled to see Pamela finally snag her piece of the company. Think about how entertaining the Ewing Energies’ board meetings will be once Sue Ellen and Pamela join the fray.

“Blame Game’s” other V.I.P.: Jesse Metcalfe, who has quietly become one of the new “Dallas’s” best performers. The actor has found the right balance between strength and sensitivity, much like Duffy did during the original series. I also like how Christopher has succeeded Bobby as “Dallas’s” resident action hero. In “Blame Game,” Christopher makes a valiant attempt to turn the tables on the thug holding him at gunpoint at Ewing Energies. Later, he shields Elena when Vicente points his gun at her. Jesse Bochco does a nice job directing both sequences, and he gets a big assist from “Dallas” composer Rob Cairns, whose score during the showdown with Vicente feels even more cinematic than usual.

It’s also nice to see Kuno Becker’s Drew Ramos take down Vicente, although the body count on this show is beginning to trouble me. During the past 10 hours of “Dallas,” Marta, Tommy, Frank and Vicente have died; Harris was gunned down but survived. On a lighter note, since Becker arrived a few episodes ago, I find myself looking forward each week to his scenes with Jordana Brewster. Drew brings out Elena’s feistiness in a way only a sibling could. Do I dare suggest these two are “Dallas’s” best brother/sister act since Victoria Principal and Ken Kercheval?

The rest of the “Blame Game” hostage crisis yields mixed feelings. In addition to the Sue Ellen/Bobby scene, I like the moment when Vicente realizes the Ewing cousins have traded romantic partners since his last encounter with them. (“You Ewing boys share after all! I love it!”) Likewise, it’s impossible to not cheer when John Ross and Christopher come together to overpower Vicente’s henchmen. As much fun as it is to see the Ewings squabble, it’s always more satisfying when they band together.

My gripes: The hostage sequences are too compressed. “Blame Game” invites comparisons to the classic “Winds of Vengeance,” an early “Dallas” episode where the Ewings are held hostage. (Fans of “Dallas” producer Cynthia Cidre’s previous series, “Cane,” will recall that show did a family-held-hostage episode too.) But the reason “Winds of Vengeance” succeeds is because the slower pace of 1970s television allowed the tension to build steadily. “Blame Game” squeezes its crisis into a roughly 15-minute period, and some of that time is taken up by Ann’s sentencing.

This is also one of those times I wish the new “Dallas’s” Southfork interiors more closely resembled those seen on the old show. The living room where the Ewings are held captive in “Blame Game” looks nothing like the one where the “Winds of Vengeance” hostage crisis unfolds. The only time you feel the history of this house is when you see it from the outside.

Of course, it’s not like I haven’t become attached to the new Southfork set too. The “Blame Game” scene where Bobby bursts into J.R.’s bedroom and finds it empty is surprisingly poignant. The brief glimpse of J.R.’s empty table is what moves me. This is where our hero glanced at Miss Ellie’s picture before signing over the Southfork deed to Bobby last season. It’s where he told John Ross to never take advantage of the family when they’re in the trouble, and where he learned to use his tablet. How sad to think we’ll never see him sit there again.

Grade: B


Blame Game, Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, TNT

Captive audience


Season 2, Episode 6

Telecast: February 25, 2013

Writer: Gail Gilchriest

Director: Jesse Bochco

Audience: 2.6 million viewers on February 25

Synopsis: During mediation, Christopher agrees to give 10 percent of Ewing Energies to Pamela, who refuses to share it with John Ross. J.R. erases Bobby’s cloud drive and leaves Southfork unannounced. When Vicente stages an ambush on Southfork and tries to kidnap Elena, Drew shoots and kills him. Sue Ellen uses the morals clause in Elena’s contract to seize her shares in the company.

Cast: Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Emma Bell (Emma Brown), Carlos Bernard (Vicente Cano), Pablo Bracho (consul general), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Jesse Campos (Jose), Vanessa Cedotal (District Attorney), Damon Dayoub (Vicente’s henchman), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Barnes), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Jason Kravitz (Pamela’s lawyer), Judith Light (Judith Ryland), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Glenn Morshower (Lou Bergen), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Freddie Poole (Ramon), Krishna Smitha (Shireen Patel), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Rebekah Turner (Jury Forman), Wilbur Fitzgerald (Judge Wallace Tate)

“Blame Game” is available at DallasTNT.com, Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Drill Bits: Another Ratings Bump for ‘Dallas’

Bobby Ewing, Christopher Ewing, Elena Ramos, Jesse Metcalfe, John Ross Ewing, Jordana Brewster, Josh Henderson, Linda Gray, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing

Quit squabbling, boys. Your numbers are up.

“Dallas” scored almost 2.6 million viewers on February 25, making this the third week in a row the TNT drama experienced a slight bump in the ratings. The audience included roughly 890,000 viewers in the advertiser-prized demographic of adults between ages 18 and 49.

“Dallas” is also getting a big boost from DVR users. For example, 2.5 million viewers watched the episode “Trial and Error” on February 18, but by the middle of the week, DVR users had pushed its haul to 3.2 million viewers. This audience included 1.1 million viewers between ages 18 and 49 and 1.3 million viewers between ages 25 and 54, a demographic TNT targets.

Although “Dallas’s” numbers are down from its first season, Jesse Metcalfe told the Hollywood Reporter this week that TNT executives are “still very pleased” with the show’s performance.

“We get reports from Steve Koonin (president of Turner Entertainment Networks) and from Michael Wright (TNT’s president, programming). The show is doing what they needed it to do in these winter months in the time slot that they have chosen,” Metcalfe said.

Also, keep in mind: This has been a bleak winter for the television business. Fewer people are watching stalwarts like Fox’s “American Idol” and ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy,” NBC’s once-promising “Smash” has collapsed and newcomers like CBS’s “The Job” failed to catch fire.

Oscar Snubs Hagman

Like a lot of “Dallas” fans, I was disappointed to see Larry Hagman excluded from the “In Memorium” reel shown during ABC’s recent Academy Awards’ broadcast. Hagman is best known for his television roles, but his credits also include notable performances in films such as “Harry and Tonto,” “Nixon” and “Primary Colors.”

Early in his career, the actor also had a small but memorable role in the 1964 Cold War classic “Fail Safe,” which “Dallas” creator David Jacobs recalled during my interview with him last year.

Hagman is featured in the Oscars’ online “In Memorium” gallery, but ABC should have made time for him in its Oscar telecast too.

More Oscars Stuff

In other Oscars news: Congrats to Robin Charters, son of “Dallas” cinematographer Rodney Charters, who did camerawork for “Life of Pi,” this year’s winner for cinematography. By the way: Rodney makes his “Dallas” directorial debut with “The Furious and the Fast,” next week’s racecar-themed episode.

Pour Me a Pamela, Please

Now that Julie Gonzalo has ditched Rebecca’s cheery dresses for Pamela’s fierce business suits, my husband Andrew thought she deserved a more sophisticated signature cocktail. Enter The Pamela, the latest addition to Andrew’s “Dallas Drinks” collection.

If you’re keeping count, Gonzalo’s character has now inspired Andrew to create two drinks and some holiday fortune cookies. He’s almost cooking for Pamela Rebecca as much as he cooks for me. Should I be worried?

“Drill Bits,” a roundup of news about TNT’s “Dallas,” is published regularly. Share your comments below.