‘Who Killed J.R.?’ Here’s My Final Theory in ‘Dallas’s’ Mystery

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Larry Hagman, TNT, Who Killed J.R.? Throughout the “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery, one thing has nagged at me: Is anyone “big” enough to take down the “Dallas” legend? This is why I never considered characters like Carlos del Sol or Carmen Ramos (Castulo Guerra, Marlene Forte) to be serious suspects. Even Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi), as important as he’s become to this franchise, hasn’t earned the “right” to go down in history as the man who murdered J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman).

Frankly, only one character has enough stature to take out J.R. – and that’s J.R. himself. So during the first few weeks of this storyline, I figured we’d eventually discover our hero was secretly suffering from a terminal illness and arranged his own shooting – perhaps J.R.’s loyal private eye Bum (Kevin Page) pulled the trigger – so that his “murder” could be pinned on one of the Ewings’ enemies.

Many of my fellow “Dallas” diehards found the idea of J.R. taking his own life anathema, and I’ve come around to their way of thinking. Also, if the show went the J.R.-arranges-his-own-death route, it could be perceived as a cop-out – and let’s face it, this franchise already pulled a fast one on the audience when it explained away Bobby’s death as a bad dream. Would the people who make the new “Dallas” want to risk alienating fans again?

For awhile, I also theorized J.R. could’ve been done in by an enemy from his past. My suggestion: What if Kristin Shepard (Mary Crosby) was still alive and returned to finish the job she started in 1980? This idea also turned off a lot of fans, who suggested it would be the ultimate retread: It would turn “Who Killed J.R.?” into “Who Shot J.R.?” all over again, right down to the same assailant. I see their point, but I still think it would be cool.

The other great choice from the “old enemies” camp would be Katherine Wentworth (Morgan Brittany), especially if it turned out she faked her death and stole Pam’s identity. I also love the idea that Katherine is somehow connected to Harris, and that she used a Ryland Transport truck to orchestrate the car accident that disfigured Pam and prompted her to flee Southfork in the first place. What a twist that would be! Unfortunately, based on recent comments from Brittany and “Dallas” producer Cynthia Cidre, it doesn’t sound as if Katherine will be returning to the show anytime soon.

This leaves one viable suspect as J.R.’s killer: Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval). Think about it: Cliff has become a pretty soulless figure this season. He allowed his “son” Frank Ashkani (Faran Tahir) to kill himself and ordered the bombing of the Ewing Energies rig, even though it put the lives of many people at risk, including his daughter Pamela (Julie Gonzalo), who ended up losing her unborn twins. I have a feeling the worst is yet to come too. Maybe it will turn out Cliff also killed Katherine and somehow kept Pam from returning to Southfork. Perhaps J.R. was about to expose these sins, and that’s why Cliff finally offed his old enemy.

Where does Harris’s Mexican trucking operation and club hostess Rhonda Simmons (Emily Kosloski) fit in? Suppose Carlos and Cliff are in cahoots; Carlos knew his “friend” J.R. was interested in digging into Harris’s past, so he lured J.R. to Nuevo Laredo by leading him to believe Harris was up to something shady south of the border. (Could it be Harris really is transporting nothing more than ugly high heels?) Once J.R. arrived in Nuevo Laredo, Carlos tipped off Cliff, who came to town and shot J.R. (Or maybe Frank isn’t really dead and pulled the trigger on Cliff’s behalf.) Rhonda is part of the scheme and lied to Bobby about Harris’s Nuevo Laredo connection to help Carlos cover his tracks. Before all is said and done, maybe Cliff will even turn on partner-in-crime Harris and try to frame him for J.R.’s death.

Would it be shocking if Cliff turns out to be the killer? No and yes. On the one hand, J.R. is murdered by his oldest adversary? Where’s the surprise in that? On the other hand: Besides Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, Kercheval is the only original “Dallas” cast member who has a regular presence on the new show. From this standpoint, turning him into a killer would be bold.

Also, consider this: “Who Killed J.R.?” has never been much of a traditional whodunit. From the beginning, this storyline has been about tying up loose ends (“Where in the world is Pam Ewing?”) and settling old scores. Now that J.R. is gone and Cliff has taken control of Ewing Energies, what else is left for him to do?

Besides, it’s not like there isn’t room for a big twist: There’s still the matter of the letter that J.R. left for Bobby. What does it say? Perhaps it will reveal John Ross (Josh Henderson) really is Cliff’s son after all. J.R. faked the paternity test all those years ago to spare his family – and himself – a lot of embarrassment and raised John Ross as his own. This would undoubtedly upset a lot of fans, but it would also add a new shade to J.R.’s character and give new meaning to the famous scene where he holds John Ross for the first time. As for John Ross’s recent nuptials to Pamela, look at it this way: She already married her cousin. Why shouldn’t her brother be next?

I think it’s more likely the letter to Bobby reveals that Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) is actually J.R.’s son. Perhaps J.R. concealed the truth from Bobby because he knew how much his brother and Pam needed a child of their own. This might explain Bobby’s heartfelt line after he received J.R.’s note after the funeral: “I knew you’d have at least one more left up your sleeve, J.R. It is a good one. I love you brother.”

As for the gun that J.R. left John Ross? Maybe it will turn out to be the gun that Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) used to shoot Tommy and the Ewings will use the weapon as leverage to gain control of Barnes Global. When the Ewings threaten to expose Pamela’s crime, Cliff finally does something selfless and protects his daughter by fessing up to J.R.’s murder, allowing Pamela and John Ross to take control of two-thirds of Barnes Global, with Christopher finally inheriting his mother’s third.

Once the Ewings control Cliff’s company, maybe they can turn Harris out of Ryland Transport, assuming the money Cliff gave Harris last week comes with strings attached to Barnes Global. This might explain J.R.’s cryptic description of the gun in his note to John Ross: “Use what I’ve given you to take from them what they want to take from us.” In other words: They want to take our company from us, so we’ll take theirs from them.

Then again: Knowing this show, there’s a good chance every one of my guesses is wrong. Who knows what twists and turns await us tonight?

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

‘Who Killed J.R.?’ What We Know (and What We Don’t)

Carlos Del Sol, Castulo Guerra, Christopher Ewing, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Emily Kosloski, Harris Ryland, Jesse Metcalfe, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Larry Hagman, Mitch Pileggi, TNT, Who Killed J.R.? “Dallas” drops tantalizing new clues in the “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery throughout “Let Me In,” the TNT drama’s latest episode. Here’s a look at what we know and what we don’t, along with some more wild speculation.


What we know: In “Let Me In,” Bobby (Patrick Duffy) lets Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) in on a big secret: Before J.R. died, he was devising a master plan against the family’s enemies, Cliff and Harris (Ken Kercheval, Mitch Pileggi). Bobby shows Sue Ellen the evidence that J.R. left behind and gives her a helpful overview of her ex-husband’s scheme. Take it away, Bobby:

“J.R. knew that Cliff and Harris would join forces and come after us. That’s why he wanted us to have this – all pieces to the puzzle of his master plan to take them down, once and for all. Barnes Global financial history. Ryland’s trucking in Mexico. Christopher’s mother’s whereabouts. Somehow it’s all connected. John Ross, Christopher and I are trying to figure it all out. Connect the dots. Finish what J.R. started. We need to find a way to ruin them, before they ruin us.”

What we don’t know: Assuming Bobby is reading the clues correctly, we now know all the pieces belong to the same puzzle. The question is, how do they fit together?

Wild speculation: One Dallas Decoder reader offered a nifty theory last week. We know Pam (Victoria Principal) fled Southfork in 1987 after being disfigured in a fiery car crash. Suppose that incident is part of the conspiracy J.R. stumbled upon before his death? Remember: Pam crashed into a tanker truck. And who on “Dallas” is in the trucking business? Harris Ryland, of course! I have no idea why he would want to harm Pam, but this coincidence is too fun to ignore.


What we know: After learning Pam was last seen in Abu Dhabi in 1989, Bobby told John Ross and Christopher (Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe) that his contact in the Justice Department is tracking her down but needs more time. Later, John Ross snooped around Pamela’s computer and found a copy of her grandmother Rebecca Wentworth’s will, which John Ross reviewed with Bobby, Sue Ellen and Christopher.

The will shows Rebecca left her estate – including her shares of Barnes Global – to her three children: Katherine, Cliff and Pam. Bobby determined the estate is in a living trust, which means if the Ewings can’t find Pam, Christopher will inherit her shares. “If we can get Pam’s shares, we can kick the legs out from under Cliff. Maybe his entire plan. That’s why J.R. wanted us to find Pam. That’s our move,” Bobby said.

What we don’t know: In a previous episode, we learned Katherine is dead. If this is true, who inherited her third of Barnes Global and why isn’t anyone asking about that? (Or does the living trust arrangement render that point moot? Help me out here, legal eagles.)

Wild speculation: I still like the idea that Katherine (Morgan Brittany) stole Pam’s identity before she died and that this whole thing is going to lead to nutty Ms. Wentworth. It seems unlikely, though, since Brittany recently told Dallas Divas Derby she hasn’t been contacted by the show’s execs. I’m also not sure the Ewings are going to find Pam alive. Given Cliff’s dark nature, isn’t it possible he offed Pam, perhaps in cahoots with her plastic surgeon Dr. David Gordon, who is expected to resurface before this season is over?

Another off-the-wall theory: Instead of bringing back Pam or Katherine, what if “Dallas” revives a member of the Barnes family who’ll be more familiar to today’s audience: Frank Ashkani (Faran Tahir), Cliff’s “adopted” son, who killed himself earlier this season? One Dallas Decoder reader recently suggested the pills Frank swallowed might not have been all that lethal. Could Cliff have conspired with Frank to fake his death so Frank could go to Mexico and kill J.R.?


What we know: After J.R.’s death in Nuevo Laredo, a Mexican border town, his friend Carlos del Sol (Castulo Guerra) told the Ewings that J.R. met a woman in a club near the hotel where he died. I previously dubbed this woman “Lady X.” In “Let Me In,” we learn her identity: Rhonda (Emily Kosloski), the club hostess. She tells Bobby that J.R. wanted to ask her about an American who frequented the club, which she said was owned by the local drug cartel. When Bobby showed her a picture of Harris, Rhonda identified him as the American in question.

“What would Ryland be doing with narco traffickers? Is that what his trucks are taking back and forth across the border? Maybe J.R. was on to that,” Bobby said. Carlos responded he would alert the Mexican federales and “let them know there may be a connection between the cartel and Ryland Transport.”

What we don’t know: Are Carlos and Rhonda telling the truth? All along, I’ve suspected Carlos is somehow involved in J.R.’s death. And what should we make of the odd expression on Bobby’s face after Rhonda tells him, “J.R.’s not the first man to invite me back to his hotel room. He just wanted to talk. Share a drink. He was kind to me. Gentlemen are in such short supply where I work. I’m so sorry, what happened to your brother.”

Wild speculation: What if Cliff is the killer and has secretly aligned himself with Carlos, a fellow billionaire, to frame Harris for the crime? Consider this: Why would Cliff, a global titan, need to join forces with Harris, a Texas trucking magnate, to bring down the Ewings? I know Cliff told Harris he wanted to take advantage of Harris’s “muscle” and friendship with the governor, but Cliff has demonstrated he has those kinds of resources and connections himself. Could Cliff be duping Harris?

On the other hand: The Rylands seem to have real connections to the Mexican border. Did you catch the Laredo address on the pill bottle Emma showed John Ross at J.R.’s funeral?


What we know: When J.R.’s private eye Bum (Kevin Page) gave Bobby, John Ross and Christopher the evidence that J.R. left behind, the package included a gun, which was accompanied by a letter from J.R. to John Ross. It stated: “Use what I’ve given you to take from them what they want to take from us. When you’ve done that, Bobby will know what to do.”

J.R. also left behind a letter to Bobby, which he refused to discuss with John Ross and Christopher. “This is between my brother and me – for now,” Bobby told them. Privately, Bobby told Bum to “pay off whoever you have to pay off so that everybody still thinks J.R. was killed by a mugger. When the time comes, we’ll take care of this ourselves – as a family.”

What we don’t know: Precious little. I don’t think the letter reveals the identity of J.R.’s killer; otherwise, why isn’t Bobby simply going after that person? Instead, I think the document somehow lets Bobby know that J.R. wasn’t the victim of a random crime. Or perhaps it reveals something else – like maybe some sort of family secret? Recall what Bobby said when he toasted his dead brother after receiving the note: “I knew you’d have at least one more left up your sleeve, J.R. It is a good one. I love you brother.”

Wild speculation: Once again, I return to the theory that J.R. planned his own death. I know a lot of fans don’t like this idea, but it seems like you can use the available evidence to support it. Suppose J.R. knew that he was dying and decided to take advantage of the situation by arranging to have himself shot, then leaving instructions for Bobby – via the letter – to use the gun to frame Cliff, Harris or both for his “murder”? Perhaps Bobby’s last line in his recap for Sue Ellen is telling: “We need to find a way to ruin them, before they ruin us.”

Or hell, maybe it really was Kristin.

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

‘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.

‘Who Killed J.R.?’ 5 Questions Surrounding ‘Dallas’s’ Mystery

Bobby Ewing, Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Patrick Duffy, TNT, Who Killed J.R.?Every “Dallas” fan has one thing on his or her mind: “Who Killed J.R?” Before the mystery is solved, a few other questions must be addressed. Will the answers lead us to one of the eight potential suspects I named earlier this week?

1. Why was J.R. in Mexico? In “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” this week’s “Dallas” episode, we learned our hero was shot and killed in a flophouse in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. According to the policewoman who investigated the crime, J.R. entered the country to go quail hunting. Later, his private eye Bum (Kevin Page) told Bobby, John Ross and Christopher that the quail hunt was a cover: J.R. was actually following a lead in his scheme to bring down Harris Ryland (Mitch Pileggi), the Texas trucking magnate who specializes in driving the Ewings crazy.

What business would Harris have in a place like Nuevo Laredo? The policewoman told the Ewings that the local drug cartels have started reaching out to “successful businessmen across the border for advice.” Bobby (Patrick Duffy) insisted J.R. would never do business with the cartel, and we don’t doubt him. Harris, on the other hand, might be the type to get mixed up in the illegal drug trade. After all, didn’t he try last season to blackmail Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) into laundering money for him?

2. Why was J.R. looking for Pam? Before J.R. entered Mexico, he went to Abu Dhabi to close an oil deal. But as Bum explained to Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe): “The reason he chose Abu Dhabi was because for the last several months, he’s been trying to find your mother.” Bobby’s stunned reaction: “You mean Pam?” Bum didn’t respond to Bobby; instead, he handed Christopher a document and said, “J.R. thought that once you’d seen this, you’d understand why it’s important for you to find your mama.”

Let’s pause here to remember that Christopher had two mommies: Kristin Shepard (Mary Crosby), his biological mother, who famously shot J.R. in 1980 and later drowned in the Southfork swimming pool, and Pam (Victoria Principal), Bobby’s first wife, with whom Bobby adopted Christopher after Kristin’s death. Assuming Kristin is really dead and that she isn’t the missing mama that J.R. was trailing, the question becomes: Why in heavens would J.R. want to find Pam, his longtime nemesis?

Some theories from Dallas Decoder readers: J.R. figured Pam, who abandoned Bobby and Christopher after she was badly burned in a fiery car crash, is the only person who might be able to talk her brother Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) into finally ending his war against the Ewings. Or perhaps J.R. found evidence that Cliff had somehow bilked an unwitting Pam and/or Christopher out of their rightful share of the fortune they inherited from Pam and Cliff’s rich mother Rebecca Wentworth. (Could such evidence be included in the document that Bum handed Christopher?) Or maybe the aging J.R., seeking immortality, wanted to find Pam because he knew of her ability to dream dead Ewings back to life.

Whatever the reason, if Christopher resumes Uncle J.R.’s search and ends up finding Pam, don’t expect her to look like Principal. Earlier this month, as rumors swirled that Pam might return to “Dallas,” Principal issued a statement suggesting she will never resume the role.

3. Why did J.R. give John Ross a gun? After Bum handed Christopher the document about his mother, he gave John Ross (Josh Henderson) a box that contained J.R.’s gun. It came with this note:

“John Ross, if you’re reading this, it means I’m dead. And if I’m dead, that means Barnes is coming after you. You must crush him before he can win. I promised your Uncle Bobby that taking down Harris Ryland would be my masterpiece. I’d bet my last nickel Barnes will join forces with Ryland to destroy us. Use what I’ve given you to take from them what they want to take from us. When you’ve done that, Bobby will know what to do. And remember: You’re my son, tip to tail.”

Perhaps the most revealing thing about J.R.’s note isn’t his prediction that Cliff and Harris will join forces; it’s that J.R. wrote it in the first place. He knew his life was in danger, although this doesn’t necessarily rule out the theory that J.R. arranged his own death so it could be pinned on one of his enemies. If you buy that theory, you might think this is the gun that was used to kill J.R. But keep in mind: The coroner who examined J.R.’s body said he was killed with a “Saturday night special,” and that’s not the kind of gun John Ross received. On the other hand: Medical examiners on “Dallas” aren’t the most trustworthy people, are they?

4. Who is Lady X? When J.R.’s friend Carlos del Sol (Castulo Guerra) visited Southfork to update the Ewings on the investigation, he explained J.R. met a woman in a club near the hotel where he died. “Not your professional sort of lady, mind you, but there are witnesses to their assignation,” Carlos said. According to the policewoman who accompanied Carlos to the ranch, this mystery woman – let’s call her “Lady X” – asked J.R. to meet her near her workplace, which is how he wound up in the Hotel Colon. A witness saw someone follow J.R. to the hotel, but that person could not be found, the policewoman said.

So who is Lady X? Could she be one of the women I named as suspects earlier this week? Did she intentionally lead J.R. to the hotel, knowing he would be killed there? Did she pull the trigger herself? Does she really exist? Or did Carlos invent her because he’s involved in the killing and wanted to throw the Ewings off his trail?

5. What does Bobby know? Of course, despite what Carlos and the policewoman told the Ewings, we know J.R. was not the victim of a robbery. After Bum distributed J.R.’s “gifts” to John Ross and Christopher, he gave Bobby a sealed envelope. Bobby opened it, read the document it contained and walked out of the room, dismissing John Ross and Christopher’s plea for more information. “This is between my brother and me – for now,” Bobby said.

Outside the room, Bobby told Bum to “pay off whoever you have to pay off so that everybody still thinks J.R. was killed by a mugger. When the time comes, we’ll take care of this ourselves – as a family.” Bobby then walked into J.R.’s room, noticed the framed wedding photograph of J.R. and Sue Ellen, poured himself a glass of bourbon, sat on the bed and said: “I knew you’d have at least one more left up your sleeve, J.R.” He glanced at the document in his hand, half-smiled and continued: “It is a good one. I love you brother.”

So what did Bobby learn? During the “Dallas” cast’s panel discussion last week, Duffy revealed the show’s producers told him who shot J.R. so he would know how to play certain scenes, including this one. So whatever the document reveals, it holds a big clue to the identity of J.R.’s killer. I have my own theory, but for now, I’d rather hear yours. What do you think it says?

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

‘Who Killed J.R.?’ Possible Suspects in ‘Dallas’s’ New Mystery

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

Who done it?

In “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” we learned Larry Hagman’s iconic character was shot and killed in a Mexican flophouse. The police investigation concluded J.R. was the victim of a burglary, but Bobby told Bum, his brother’s private eye, that J.R. was murdered. Who killed J.R.? Here are some potential suspects.


Cliff Barnes, Dallas, TNT, Who Killed J.R.?

Pre-emptive shot?

• Cliff Barnes. As J.R.’s oldest enemy, Cliff (Ken Kercheval) automatically earns a spot on this list, although I’m not sure why he’d want J.R. dead at this point. Cliff is now one of the world’s richest men. He has already beaten the Ewings: Cliff took away J.R.’s company at the end of the old show and recently helped his daughter Pamela seize 10 percent of the new Ewing Energies. Then again, maybe Cliff blames J.R. for the death of his adopted son Frank, who recently fell on his sword after betraying Cliff to J.R. Or could Cliff have killed J.R. to prevent him from rising again?

Dallas, Katherine Wentworth, Morgan Brittany, TNT, Who Killed J.R.?

Waiting to strike?

• Katherine Wentworth. There was no love lost between Katherine (Morgan Brittany), Cliff and Pam’s loony half-sister, and J.R. On the old show, she plotted with him to break up Pam’s marriage to Bobby, whom Katherine wanted for herself. When J.R. betrayed her, Katherine went off the deep end and shot Bobby, then tried to poison him before vanishing. (Pam also dreamed she ran over Bobby with her car, killing him.) Later, Katherine stalked Pam in the hospital after her car crash before resuming her life on the run. Could Katherine have been waiting all this time to spring a trap for her ex-partner-in-crime?


Dallas, Harris Ryland, Mitch Pileggi, TNT, Who Killed J.R.?

Protecting secrets?

• Harris Ryland. J.R. ordered his private eye Bum to investigate Ryland (Mitch Pileggi), who has caused lots of problems for the Ewings, including blackmailing Sue Ellen. Could Ryland have gotten wind of Bum’s snooping and killed J.R. to prevent him from uncovering his misdeeds? Perhaps, although “Dallas” has been grooming Pileggi as its new villain so it seems unlikely he’ll turn out to be the killer. But what about Ryland’s overprotective mama Judith? She could be a suspect, although if she were going to kill someone, it would probably be a withering glance, not a gun.

Dallas, Mitch Lobell, Richard Dillard, TNT, Who Killed J.R.?

Disgruntled dad?

• Mitch Lobell. Lobell (Richard Dillard) was the Ewing family lawyer who helped John Ross and Veronica Martinez trick Bobby into selling Southfork to J.R. When Lobell got greedy and demanded millions of dollars in hush money, J.R. and John Ross blackmailed him with incriminating photos that could’ve sent his son Ricky, a recovering drug user, to jail. After J.R. seized control of the ranch, Lobell vanished without a trace. Has he been hiding in the shadows, waiting for the right moment to take his revenge against J.R.? Perhaps, but if he turned out to be the killer, would anyone remember him?


Carlos Del Sol, Castulo Guerra, Dallas, TNT, Who Killed J.R.?


• Carlos del Sol. Carlos (Castulo Guerra) is a billionaire conservationist and one of J.R.’s old friends. When J.R. wanted to join Cliff’s high-stakes poker game in Las Vegas last season, Carlos agreed to front him the money. He’s also the father of the real Marta del Sol, whose identity was stolen by Veronica, the con artist who helped John Ross in his scheme to defraud Bobby. But isn’t it suspicious that Carlos turned up at the Mexican police station when the Ewings gathered there after J.R.’s murder? Even if he didn’t pull the trigger, something tells me Carlos knows more than he’s letting on.


Dallas, Pam Ewing, TNT, Victoria Principal


• Pam Ewing. At the end of “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” Bum told Christopher that J.R. had been searching for his mother. The backstory: Pam (Victoria Principal) was disfigured in a fiery car crash and ran away from Southfork. Later, the audience learned she had a terminal illness and wanted to spare Bobby and Christopher the pain of having to watch her die. Suppose Pam went into remission and is still alive but, for whatever reason (shame?), doesn’t want to be found? Could she have killed J.R.? It’s extremely doubtful, especially since Pam was such a beloved heroine and Principal recently announced she won’t reprise the role.

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, TNT, Who Killed J.R.?


Kristin Shepard. Yes, she’s dead – but when has that ever stopped “Dallas”? Kristin (Mary Crosby) famously shot J.R. in 1980, only to later drown in the Southfork swimming pool. What if she somehow faked her death and went into hiding, waiting for the right moment to try another assassination attempt? Suppose J.R. found out Kristin was still alive and was on her trail? Bum told Christopher that J.R. had been tracking down his mother; what if he was referring to biological mama Kristin and not adopted mom Pam? This is my dream scenario; I don’t expect it to come true. But how cool would it be if it did?

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


• J.R. Ewing. What if J.R. wasn’t murdered? What if his “masterpiece” plan was taking his own life so his death could be pinned on Harris, Cliff or one of his other enemies? I know it appeared someone off camera gunned down J.R. at the end of “The Furious and the Fast.” Could it have been Bum, acting on J.R.’s orders? I don’t love the idea of J.R. killing himself, but I do like the notion of him making a grand sacrifice to save the Ewings from some outside threat. This scenario would also solve the major dilemma with this plot: Who is “big” enough to take down J.R. Ewing – except for maybe J.R. himself?

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