#DallasChat Daily: Did J.R. Love Any of His Mistresses?

Dallas, Deborah Shelton, J.R. Ewing, Julie Grey, Kristin Shepard, Larry Hagman, Mandy Winger, Mary Crosby, Serena Wald, Stephanie Blackmore, Tina Louise, TNT

Everyone knows Sue Ellen was the love of J.R.’s life, but what about the women he cheated with during their marriage?

Among the mistresses: J.R.’s longtime secretary, Julie Grey; his favorite prostitute, Serena Wald; his favorite model, Mandy Winger; and of course his least favorite sister-in-law, Kristin Shepard.

Your #DallasChat Daily question: Did J.R. love any of his mistresses?

Share your comments below and join other #DallasChat Daily discussions.

The Dal-List: 5 Women Who Spied for Cliff Barnes

Dallas, Elena Ramos, Jordana Brewster, Return, TNT

Welcome to the club, honey

Say what you will about Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), but the man knows how to get women to spy on the Ewings for him. In “The Return,” TNT’s third-season “Dallas” opener, Elena Ramos (Jordana Brewster) becomes the latest gal to go undercover on Cliff’s behalf. Here’s a look at five others.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Julie Grey, Larry Hagman, Tina Louise

His kind of traitor

5. Julie Grey. When J.R. began taking his secretary/mistress Julie (Tina Louise) for granted, she got even by sneaking Cliff documents that proved the Ewings had bribed a state senator. Cliff exposed the Ewings and Julie left town, but she came back and pretty much did the same thing all over again — feeding J.R.’s secrets to Cliff. This time around, Julie wound up dead and Cliff wound up in jail, framed for her murder — courtesy of J.R., natch.

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Deborah Rennard, Ken Kercheval, Sly

Reflections of a rat

4. Sly Lovegren. In an attempt to beat the Ewings at their own game, Cliff blackmailed Sly (Deborah Rennard), J.R.’s loyal secretary, into leaking him Ewing Oil secrets by threatening to have her brother’s parole denied if she didn’t cooperate. Sly reluctantly went along with the scheme — until J.R. caught wind and turned Sly into a double agent, using her to feed Cliff bad information that brought his company to the brink of disaster.

Dallas, Deborah Shelton, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Mandy Winger

The shadow knows

3. Mandy Winger. Here we go again. When J.R.’s mistress Mandy (Deborah Shelton) suspected he was cheating on her — how could he! — she tried to get revenge by getting him to divulge Ewing Oil secrets, which she gave to Cliff. J.R. was wise to Mandy’s game, though, and turned the tables on her and Cliff. But poor J.R.: He seemed genuinely hurt by Mandy’s betrayal — which should’ve been our first clue this was all a dream.

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Double spy

2. Pam Ewing. By the time Pam (Victoria Principal) remarried Bobby, she had become Cliff’s business partner. This put her in competition with J.R. and Bobby and made her life hell. Cliff didn’t help matters when he asked Pam to divulge which companies the Ewings wanted to acquire — and she did! J.R. would’ve been mad, except he used Pam to find out which companies Cliff wanted. Who knew she could be so valuable?

Dallas, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, TNT

Daddy’s girl

1. Pamela Barnes. To destroy the Ewings once and for all, Cliff sent his daughter Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) to infiltrate the family by posing as “Rebecca Sutter.” She married Christopher — her own cousin! — and dutifully did Daddy’s bidding, eventually helping him gain control of Ewing Energies. And how did he repay her? By blowing up the Ewing Energies rig, causing her to lose her unborn babies. We can’t help but wonder: Elena, are you sure you want to do business with this guy?

What’s your favorite “Dallas” spy story? Share your comments below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

The Dal-List: Sue Ellen’s 10 Most Memorable Moments (So Far)

Dallas, J.R.'s Masterpiece, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Mourning star

Sue Ellen WeekAs the indomitable Sue Ellen Ewing, Linda Gray has captivated television audiences since “Dallas’s” 1978 debut. Sue Ellen Week continues with this list of the character’s greatest moments from her first 35 years.

Brian Dennehy, Dallas, Linda Gray, Luther Frick, Sue Ellen Ewing, Winds of Vengeance

Command performance

10. Lady sings the blues. Crazed cuckold Luther Frick (Brian Dennehy) holds the Ewings hostage in the Southfork living room and forces Sue Ellen to don her Miss Texas bathing suit and sing for him. Humiliating? Yes, but it also demonstrates Sue Ellen’s willingness to do what’s needed to help her family survive a crisis. Moreover, this is one of Gray’s gutsiest — and smartest — performances. I especially love the final scene: After Jock and Bobby rescue everyone, Sue Ellen grabs her coat and exits the room, head held high. It’s an early glimpse of the character’s resilience: No matter what indignities may be visited upon Sue Ellen, she almost always walks away a lady.

Dallas, Linda Gray, Mother of the Year, Sue Ellen Ewing

Mama’s here

9. Embracing motherhood. When John Ross is born, Sue Ellen comes down with a Southfork-sized case of post-partum depression — and who can blame her? She’s emotionally devastated by her ongoing struggle with alcoholism, the collapse of her marriage to J.R. and her doomed affair with Cliff, who dumped her to preserve his political viability. With help from her shrink Dr. Elby, Sue Ellen finally realizes how much “little John” needs her, so she goes home, picks up the boy and holds him for only the second time since his birth, 13 (!) episodes earlier. It’s a powerful moment — and it sends baby-obsessed sister-in-law Pam running away in tears, so bonus points for that.

Dallas, Guilt by Association, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Set ’em up, Sue

8. Defeating the governor. When Sue Ellen discovers smirktastic Governor McConaughey suppressed evidence that would exonerate the Ewings in the investigation into their rig explosion, she glides into his office, pours a drink and announces she’s going to expose his malfeasance. McConaughey is not pleased. “You can never trust a drunk,” he seethes. Sue Ellen agrees, but says that’s beside the point as she places the glass on his desk and slides it toward him. “This drink, governor, is for you. You’re going to need it. Because now that I have the goods on you, you’re going to do what I want.” Dayum! Our gal really did learn at the feet of the master, didn’t she?

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

Clean and sober

7. On the couch. After Sue Ellen hits rock bottom, J.R. once again commits her to a sanitarium, where she receives treatment from tough-love therapist Dr. Gibson (the terrific Bibi Besch). In an insightful exchange, Sue Ellen tries to blame her drinking problem on her parents and J.R. — until the good doctor sets her straight: “Sue Ellen, I don’t think it matters whose fault it is. What matters is where you go from here.” When Besch delivers this line, watch Gray’s eyes; it’s almost as if you can see the light go on inside Sue Ellen’s head. This moment marks the beginning of one of “Dallas’s” most satisfying storylines: Sue Ellen’s journey of self-discovery. Too bad it turned out to be Pam’s dream.

Dallas, J.R. Returns, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

She’s the boss

6. Joining the oil business. After a five-year absence, J.R. returns to Dallas and stages an elaborate scheme (does he do any other kind?) to persuade Bobby to buy back Ewing Oil from Cliff. The plan works like a charm … but wait! Baby brother has a trick up his sleeve too: He sells half the company to his new business partner — Sue Ellen, who can’t resist needling her ex-husband when she reveals her new career to him. “I was thinking about all the fun pillow talks we’ll have … about gushers and dry holes,” Sue Ellen says with a wink. The master is justifiably impressed. As she walks away, he turns to John Ross and says, “Your mama’s a hell of a woman.” We couldn’t agree more.

Dallas, Linda Gray, Mandy Winger, Deborah Shelton, Sue Ellen Ewing

You tell her, honey

5. Schooling Mandy. At the Ewing Rodeo, a newly sober Sue Ellen turns a corner — literally and figuratively — when she runs into Mandy Winger (Deborah Shelton), J.R.’s latest extra-marital squeeze. Sue Ellen treats Mandy with compassion, urging her to get away from J.R. before he destroys her. When Mandy refuses to listen and turns to leave, Sue Ellen grabs her by the arm and delivers a hard truth: “Isn’t it strange how the mistress always thinks she’s smarter than the wife? If she’s so smart, why is she the mistress?” In the hands of another actress, this scene might have come off like another catty soap opera confrontation, but Gray infuses the material with power and poignancy.

Dallas, Linda Gray, Rock Bottom, Sue Ellen Ewing

Oh, Sue Ellen

4. Hitting bottom. Sue Ellen tries to comfort J.R. after Bobby’s funeral, but he responds with devastating cruelty, sending her on her worst bender ever. Over the course of the next day or so, Sue Ellen’s purse, car and wedding ring are stolen, leaving her wandering the streets. She winds up in a cheap motel, where she catches a glimpse of herself in the mirror and shouts, “J.R. is right. They’re all right. You are disgusting. I hate you!” Finally, she stumbles into an alley, where she’s so desperate for a sip of booze that she accepts a swig from a bag lady’s bottle. I love how Sue Ellen’s outfit symbolically unravels along with her identity, but more than anything, I love Gray’s riveting, no-holds-barred performance.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Linda Gray, Larry Hagman, New Beginnings, Sue Ellen Ewing

Union of equals

3. A night to remember. Not long after recovering from his shooting, J.R. comes home and finds Sue Ellen asleep in the Southfork nursery, having dozed off while rocking John Ross. The couple put their son to bed and retreat to their own room, where they quietly reminisce about the early days of their courtship, reminding each other why they fell in love in the first place. Besides serving as a rare moment of peace for two characters who are usually at war, this scene shows how Gray is Hagman’s equal in every way. Think about it: It’s one thing to see J.R. and Sue Ellen lobbing insults at each other, but to make their love feel authentic and believable? That takes real talent. Lucky for us, Gray and Hagman had it in spades.

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Who Done It?, Who Shot J.R.?

Triumph!

2. Catching Kristin. When Sue Ellen is arrested for shooting J.R., the Ewings toss her off Southfork — but our heroine refuses to give up. Sue Ellen gets out of jail, figures out she’s being framed and heads to the ranch to reveal the truth to J.R. As it turns out, the real culprit is visiting the ranch too — and when Sue Ellen spots her, Gray delivers the most famous line in “Dallas” history: “It was you, Kristin, who shot J.R.” Eighty-three million viewers watched this scene on the night it debuted. It was the cliffhanger resolution the world had been waiting for, but more importantly, it was the moment Sue Ellen returned to Southfork and to J.R.’s side — the place she always belonged.

Dallas, J.R.'s Masterpiece, Linda Gray, TNT

She is us

1. Mourning J.R. No one takes J.R.’s death harder than the woman he loved more than any other. On the night before his funeral, Sue Ellen goes into his bedroom, caresses a framed photograph from their wedding and drowns her sorrows with glass after glass of his bourbon, ending two decades of sobriety. The next day, when the Ewings gather at the cemetery to bury J.R., Sue Ellen confesses her relapse and delivers a haunting eulogy for the man she calls “the love of my life.” Gray is mesmerizing in these scenes, which draw upon the remarkable 35-year history between J.R. and Sue Ellen. Her deeply moving, Emmy-caliber performance also unites “Dallas” fans in shared catharsis. Through her, we were able to express the grief we felt after the death of our hero. It’s the moment Sue Ellen became our avatar. Then again, isn’t that what she’s always been?

Now it’s your turn. Share your choices for Sue Ellen’s most memorable moments below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

The Best & Worst of TNT’s Dallas: Season 2

The second season of TNT’s “Dallas” was even better than the first. Here are my laurels, along with a few darts.

Performances

Woman of the year

Wonder woman

She spent Season 1 on the sidelines, but Linda Gray became “Dallas’s” star player this year. After losing the election, Sue Ellen maneuvered her way into Ewing Energies, then fought tooth and manicured nail to save the company. Her determination took many forms: She flirted with Gary and later Ken, proving a woman in her 70s could still be playful and alluring, and blackmailed Governor McConaughey with a smile, demonstrating just how much she learned from her ex-husband. Speaking of J.R.: Gray shined brightest at his funeral, where Sue Ellen took a heartbreaking tumble off the wagon, then delivered a mesmerizing eulogy for the man she called “the love of my life.” It was a magnificent, unforgettable performance – and if there’s any justice in the world, Gray’s next big speech will be at the Emmys.

Storylines

The “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery was terrific because it allowed viewers to slide into J.R.’s boots and try to piece together the puzzle he left behind. The gun! That letter! Those cocaine shoes! How were the clues connected? This was “Dallas” at its most fun – and as an added bonus, it finally resolved Pam’s storyline and gave the character the redemption she deserved. (Pam may be dead, but please let Katherine live.) The season’s least satisfying storyline: Vicente Cano’s ambush on Southfork and the hostage crisis that ensued. This storyline did little to advance the season’s main narrative – the fight for Ewing Energies – nor did it give us much new insight into the characters. On the other hand: at least nobody made Sue Ellen sing.

Episodes

Tears of the son

Tears of the son

The beautiful, elegiac “J.R.’s Masterpiece” is landmark television. From the mournful version of the “Dallas” theme music that played under the special opening titles through the moving gravesite eulogies, scriptwriter Cynthia Cidre and director Michael M. Robin made J.R.’s death feel achingly real. This is their masterpiece. At the other end of the spectrum: “Ewings Unite!,” an uneven hour marred by J.R.’s silly will reading and Gary and Val’s drive-by reunion.

Scenes

Almost two months after watching “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” I’m still haunted by the memory of Sue Ellen getting drunk in her ex-husband’s bedroom on the night before his funeral. As Tara Holloway’s soulful rendition of “The Bottom” played, we watched Sue Ellen move around J.R.’s bed, caress a framed photo from their wedding and finally drown her sorrows with glass after glass of his bourbon. This was two-and-a-half minutes of exquisite agony. (Among the season’s other great scenes: Ann’s spellbinding testimony at her trial, Harris and Emma’s parking garage encounter, Harris’s Komodo dragon speech and the moment lusty John Ross storms off the elevator and into Pamela’s arms.)

Twists

Raw deal

Raw deal

The police discover Tommy’s body and murder weapon. John Ross warns Pamela, who frantically begins preparing to skip town as the police arrive with guns drawn. But wait! They’re not coming to arrest Pamela; they’re after Frank, who has been framed by Cliff. It was a classic “Dallas” fake-out and the season’s most surprising twist. The silliest: At J.R.’s will reading, Miss Ellie somehow takes half of Southfork from Bobby and gives it to John Ross. Howzat, Mama?

Traditions

Season 2 gave us a Southfork swimming pool scene, the return of the old Ewing Oil building and even a reference to Westar, but where were the barbecue and Oil Baron’s Ball (er, “Cattle Baron’s Ball”) episodes? On the other hand, we did get “The Furious and the Fast,” the fantastic racetrack-set episode that marked the “Dallas” directorial debut of Rodney Charters, the show’s ace cinematographer. Perhaps racecars will become a new “Dallas” tradition? I’m ready for another spin.

Villains

Evil dad

Evil dad

Steven Weber played McConaughey to smirking perfection and Mitch Pileggi and Judith Light were delicious as the evil Rylands, but Ken Kercheval scared the bejesus out of me as Cliff. The scene where he orders the destruction of the methane rig is chilling. Yet somehow, the brilliant Kercheval made sure we never lost sight of Cliff’s humanity, especially when he was arrested for J.R.’s murder. Make no mistake: Season 2 was the performance of Kercheval’s career.

Returning Favorites

Audrey Landers’ return as Afton in “Guilt and Innocence” was a hoot. Robert Rovner’s script gave Landers plenty to do, and she made the most of it: During the course of the hour, we got to see Afton badmouth Cliff (“He’s a mean drunk, that man”), flirt with John Ross, shoot daggers at Christopher and sweetly serenade Pamela with her favorite childhood lullaby. I also liked Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark’s return as Gary and Valene (even if Van Ark didn’t get enough to do), as well as the familiar faces who showed up in “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” especially Mandy and Cally (Deborah Shelton, Cathy Podewell), whose reminiscing about their romances with J.R. proved surprisingly poignant.

Newcomers

Welcome to Southfork

Welcome to Southfork

Each episode of “Dallas” clocks in at 42 minutes sans commercials, making screen time a commodity. It’s tempting to knock the producers for expanding the cast in Season 2 – except the newcomers are all so good! I was especially charmed by magnetic Kuno Becker, who was both smoldering and sweet as ne’er-do-well Drew, while Emma Bell knocked me out as Emma, who shifted effortlessly from sheltered princess to a pill-popping sexpot. Is there anything this actress can’t do?

Supporting Players

Like the original “Dallas,” the new show is beginning to feel like its own world, thanks to its growing population of reliable recurring characters. My favorites include steadfast Sheriff Derrick (Akai Draco), dutiful lawyer Lou Bergen (Glenn Morshower) and of course loyal private eye Bum (Kevin Page), who charmed me in his scene with Sue Ellen and moved me when he confessed his role in J.R.’s master plan. Season 2 also introduced two promising additions to the Ewing Energies secretarial pool: perky, sneaky Jill (Amber Bartlett) and statuesque Stacy (Natalie Quintanilla). The other great addition: lusty city transportation chief Alison Jones (Annie Wersching). Could she become this generation’s Marilee Stone?

Costumes

Man of style

Man of style

“Dallas” doesn’t just have TV’s best-dressed cast; the actors are also smartly dressed. Everyone’s “look” fits their character perfectly. Case in point: J.R., whose western jackets, dark suits and Butch Dorer hats made him Season 2’s most dashing figure. My favorite outfit: the classic pinstripes he sported in “Venomous Creatures” when he blackmailed the smarmy prosecutor. A tip of the hat to costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin. Thanks to her, our hero went out in style.

Music

The music on “Dallas” is a mix of familiar tunes like Merle Haggard’s “My Favorite Memory,” which played during J.R.’s memorial service, and oh-my-gosh-what-is-the-name-of-that-song-I-must-own-it selections like “Liar,” an unreleased number from the Unknown that was heard in “False Confessions” and “Legacies.” My favorite: “My Time Has Come,” the driving rock anthem from the Bowery Riots that played when Bobby did that cool slow-motion walk away from Cliff at the end of “Love and Family.” It was the ideal song to showcase Bobby at his badass best.

Props

Ugly truth

Ugly truth

I’m tempted to choose Christopher’s Miller Lite bottle or all those Microsoft Surface tablets as best props, but instead I’ll go with J.R.’s handsome bourbon decanter, which the three people he loved most – Bobby, Sue Ellen and Christopher – all drank from after his death. Worst prop? That’s easy: The awful painting of J.R. unveiled at the end of “Legacies.” Where’s J.R.’s nose? What happened to his right shoulder? My plea to the producers: Fix this before Season 3 starts.

Hashtags

Since so much of my “Dallas” viewing experience now takes place in the Twitterverse, it seems appropriate to honor the hashtags of Season 2: #BubbaNotEarl #ByeByeCloudDrive #Clonazepam #ContinuedLegalSubterfuge #EminentDomain #FentonWashburnEsquire #HighImpactPressureMoldedCocaine #HighVelocityBloodSplatter #HornedFrogsVsMustangs #HotelColon #JudgeRhonda #KomodoDragons #MoralsClause #NuevoLaredo #PatriciaBarrett #RickyRudd #RIPKatherine?

Quips

This category is always the toughest and Season 2 is no different. What to choose? Sue Ellen’s putdown of Afton (“She’s drama, John Ross.”)? Val’s greeting to Sue Ellen (“Once a bitch, always a bitch.”)? Vicente’s observation after realizing the Ewing cousins have traded romantic partners (“You Ewing boys share after all! I love it!”)? John Ross’s not-fit-for-print philosophy on romance (“Love is for [kitty cats]”)? In the end, I’ll go with the master. J.R.’s encounter with Pamela: “You’re not the first Pam to fox her way into the henhouse.” Oh, J.R. We’ll never stop missing you.

What do you love and loathe about the second season of TNT’s “Dallas”? Share your comments below and read more “Best & Worst” reviews.

The Dal-List: ‘Dallas’s’ 35 Greatest Moments (So Far)

Barbara Bel Geddes, Bobby Ewing, Charlene Tilton, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Lucy Ewing, Miss Ellie Ewing, Pam Ewing, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, Victoria Principal

Icons

“Dallas” debuted 35 years ago today. To commemorate its anniversary, here’s my list of the franchise’s 35 greatest moments.

Dallas, Digger's Daughter, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Gripping grin

35. J.R. meets his match. “Dallas’s” first episode ends with Pam turning the tables on J.R. (Larry Hagman) after he tries to make it look like she was cheating on Bobby with Ray. “Looks like I underestimated the new Mrs. Ewing,” J.R. declares as he watches his baby brother and sister-in-law drive away. “I surely won’t do that again.” Hagman then smiles, ever so slightly. It lets us know J.R. has finally found a worthy adversary – and he couldn’t be happier about it.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT, Venomous Creatures

Here we go again

34. Rivalry redux. When the truth comes out that Rebecca Sutter Ewing is actually Pamela Rebecca Barnes, J.R. pops into her office for a tête-à-tête. She turns out to be as ballsy as her namesake aunt, telling J.R.: “I must have done something right to deserve a visit from you.” J.R., for his part, shows he hasn’t lost his step. “You’re not the first Pam to fox her way into the henhouse,” he tells her with a sly grin. “I’m 1 for 1 on flushing out Pamelas. And I plan on being 2 for 2.” Fabulous.

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Full Circle, Ken Kercheval, Priscilla Pointer, Rebecca Wentworth

All is forgiven

33. The “licorice scene.” Cliff (Ken Kercheval) invites estranged mom Rebecca (Priscilla Pointer) to his apartment. Nervous small talk gives way to anger, as Cliff tells Rebecca how much her abandonment hurt him. She begins to leave, but Cliff stops her. “Mama,” he says, his voice cracking. “You didn’t take any licorice, and I remembered you liked it.” The music swells, mother and son embrace and we’re reminded why Cliff is the original “Dallas’s” most human character.

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

True confessions

32. Ann testifies. After shooting ex-husband Harris, Ann (Brenda Strong) goes on trial. In stirring testimony, she recalls how he and his mother Judith tormented her, but Ann also concedes her own failings – including how her pill addiction led to daughter Emma’s abduction. “God had punished me by taking my baby,” Ann says through tears. Before this scene, I wondered how we could forgive Ann for her crime. Afterward, I wondered how we couldn’t.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Bobby Ewing, Clayton Farlow, Dallas, Howard Keel, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Miss Ellie Farlow, Patrick Duffy, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, Sting

Adios, Ray

31. Ray rides into the sunset. After Ray (Steve Kanaly) returns to Southfork and helps the Ewings win a range war, they bid him adieu as John Parker’s piano music plays in the background. Ray’s final moments with Ellie, Clayton, Bobby and even J.R. are touching, but the most moving part comes when he looks around and declares, “There’s a part of me that’s never going to leave here.” When major characters depart “Dallas,” the show usually screws it up. Not this time.

Close Encounters, Dallas, Deborah Shelton, Linda Gray, Mandy Winger, Sue Ellen Ewing

Get smart

30. Sue Ellen meets Mandy. At the Ewing Rodeo, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) runs into Mandy (Deborah Shelton), J.R.’s latest mistress, and offers her some advice: Get away while you can. It’s our first glimpse of a newly sober, newly wise Sue Ellen, but Mandy refuses to listen and turns to leave. That’s when Sue Ellen delivers a zinger: “Isn’t it strange how the mistress always thinks she’s smarter than the wife? If she’s so smart, why is she the mistress?” She’s got you there, darlin’.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Pam Ewing, Reunion Part 2, Victoria Principal

Sale of the century

29. “Sold!” After Bobby marries Pam, a drunken Digger barrels onto Southfork and recounts everything Jock “took” from him – including Pam, for whom Digger demands $10,000. “She was a Barnes and now she’s a Ewing, just like the oil wells,” he says. Bobby and Pam watch in horror as Jock (Jim Davis) tosses a $100 bill at Digger, who scoops it up. “Sold!” he declares as he leaves. Harsh? Yes, but after this scene, there was no doubt which family Pam belonged with.

Charlene Tilton, Dallas, End of the Road Part 2, Leigh McCloskey, Lucy Ewing, Mitch Cooper

Pomp and circumstance

28. The royal wedding. The marriage of Lucy and Mitch (Charlene Tilton, Leigh McCloskey) was doomed from the start, but man, aren’t their nuptials fun? The two-part episode gives us lots of “Dallas” firsts, including the first Southfork wedding, the first time someone gets dunked in the pool (Lucy pushes Mitch) and the first appearance of Afton, who sleeps with J.R. during the reception – in his own marital bed! No wonder Sue Ellen still holds a grudge.

Dallas, Quality of Mercy, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly

Have mercy

27. Who killed Mickey Trotter? When the plug is pulled on his comatose cousin Mickey, Ray blocks the door to his hospital room so the doctors can’t enter and revive him. It’s the beginning of a medical mystery that yields riveting performances from Kanaly, Tilton and Kate Reid as Lil, Mickey’s mom. Only at Ray’s murder trial do we learn the truth: He did disconnect Mickey’s life support, but only because Lil didn’t have the strength to do the mercy killing herself.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Ewing, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly, Survival

Stop! Or Mom will shoot

26. Ellie grabs her gun. The Ewings are awaiting word on J.R. and Bobby after their plane crashed in Cato Swamp. Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) answers the door to find a snoopy reporter. “Ray, get me the shotgun out of the hall closet,” she says, then tells the newshound: “Anybody on my land, without invitation, is a trespasser. So unless I see your tail heading out of here … I’m going to blow it off.” It’s classic “Dallas”: Modern Texans defending old traditions like land and family.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Farlow, Pam Ewing, Winds of Change, Victoria Principal

Queens’ speeches

25. Pam’s surprise. After Bobby’s “death,” Ellie eulogizes him at the Oil Baron’s Ball, followed by Pam (Victoria Principal), who stuns everyone by announcing she won’t sell her shares of Ewing Oil to Westar as planned. J.R. is overjoyed, assuming this means Pam will sell them to him. She sets him straight: “I’m not selling at all. From now on, it’s going to be you and me. I’ll see you at the office, partner.” It’s one of many great moments from the unjustly maligned “dream season.”

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Ewing, Requiem

Southfork soothsayer

24. Mama sees all. In 1983, when Sue Ellen tried to justify J.R.’s latest quest for power, Ellie delivered a spot-on prophesy: “Think ahead, Sue Ellen. Think 25 or 30 years ahead. I won’t be here then. And the fight won’t be between J.R. and Bobby. It’ll be between John Ross and Christopher. … Your loyalty to your husband is a wonderful thing. But you’re a mother too. And where will this all end?” Impressive, huh? Too bad no one ever thought to ask her where Pam is.

Ann Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Revelations, TNT

Bra-vo!

23. Sting! When Harris tries to blackmail Sue Ellen into aiding his dirty dealings, Ann begs him to stop. Harris confirms his crimes and suggests he’ll ease up on Sue Ellen – if Ann sleeps with him. Slowly, Ann unbuttons her blouse … and reveals a hidden mic. “Extortion, blackmail and a confession to money laundering, all recorded,” she says triumphantly. Ann then slugs Harris and hints she’ll shoot him if he doesn’t leave the Ewings alone. She wasn’t kidding, was she?

Adoption, Dallas, Donna Krebbs, Susan Howard,

Armor on

22. Pow! Donna (Susan Howard) is none too happy when Ray begins an affair with barfly Bonnie. Fed up with his philandering, she dons her fur coat, heads to the saloon and offers Bonnie $15,000 to leave Texas. Bonnie agrees, so Donna cuts the offer by a third. “Now that we know what you are, let’s haggle over your fee,” she says. Bonnie tosses a drink in Donna’s face – and then Donna belts her. Who knew “Dallas’s” classiest leading lady possessed such a mean right hook?

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Ray Krebbs, Road Back, Steve Kanaly

Open flames

21. Bobby to the rescue. “Dallas’s” sixth season ends with J.R., Sue Ellen, John Ross and Ray trapped inside Southfork as flames sweep through the house. We knew they’d survive; we just didn’t know how. The seventh-season premiere supplies our answer: In “Dallas’s” most thrilling opening, quick-thinking Bobby comes home, soaks himself in the pool and dashes into the house, where he rescues everyone. We should’ve known: Bobby always saves the day.

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, Tangled Web

Face of fear

20. Sue Ellen’s discovery. Sue Ellen doesn’t want to believe it when Holly Harwood tells her she’s sleeping with J.R., but she agrees to come by the vixen’s house, where Holly says Sue Ellen will find J.R. in her bed. The audience watches as the fur-clad Sue Ellen arrives at Holly’s, slowly crosses the driveway (click clack go the heels), turns the front door knob and finally reaches the bedroom, where her worst fears are confirmed. It’s a brilliant, devastating sequence.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Brother Can You Spare a Child?, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Farlow

Making peace

19. Cliff asks for forgiveness. After Dandy Dandridge accuses Cliff of trying to cheat him out of their big gas strike, Cliff begins to see his daddy’s feud with Jock in a new light. Summoning Ellie to a Dallas park, Cliff extends a long-overdue olive branch. “Digger was wrong, and I was wrong. If it’s not too late. I’d like to make peace. I’d like to ask you to forgive me,” he says. It’s my favorite performance from Kercheval and a consequential moment in “Dallas” history.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Patrick Duffy, Wheeler Dealer

Honor thy daddy

18. Molotov cocktails. “Dallas’s” best cocktail scene: Ellie worries Sue Ellen didn’t get enough to eat at dinner. J.R. waves around a liquor bottle and declares his wife “gets all the nourishment she needs from this.” He then declares Pam is “cracking up” and calls her daddy “a saddle tramp and a thief” and her mama “a whore.” That’s when Bobby (Patrick Duffy) punches J.R., forcing a furious Jock to separate them. Don’t you wish your family gatherings were this much fun?

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Mastectomy Part 2, Miss Ellie Ewing

Great performances

17. Ellie gets cancer. Ellie gets breast cancer in the 1979 “Mastectomy” two-parter, which won Bel Geddes an Emmy. It’s a brave performance from the actress, who had been treated for the disease in real life. Davis is equally moving as Jock struggles to comfort his wife. In one scene, he tells her it “doesn’t matter” that she’s lost a breast. “Because I’m not young anymore?” she snaps. “Don’t you think I care the way I look?” Rarely has “Dallas” felt so real.

Dallas, Family Ewing

Bye, Bobby

16. Bobby’s funeral. After Bobby “dies” saving Pam, the Ewings bury him in a lush Southfork pasture, near the treehouse that Jock built for him as a boy. All of Bobby’s loved ones are there, including Pam, whose Jackie Kennedy-esque pillbox hat reinforces the idea that “Dallas’s” version of Camelot is ending. As the gathering disperses, J.R. movingly tells Bobby he wishes he’d taken the time to let him know how much he loved him. It’s one of the few times we see J.R. cry.

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Paternity Suit, Tyler Banks

Welcome to fatherhood

15. J.R. becomes a daddy. When the Ewings learn the results of the paternity test that proves J.R., not Cliff, fathered John Ross, J.R. enters the Southfork nursery, picks up his son, holds him close and kisses him. According to “Dallas” historian Barbara A. Curran, CBS received 10,000 positive letters in response to J.R.’s embrace of his son. Later, David Jacobs, the show’s creator, called it “Dallas’s” best scene: “Just a private moment between J.R. and 100 million people.”

Dale Midkiff, Dallas, Dallas: The Early Years, Jock Ewing, Miss Ellie Ewing, Molly Hagan

When they were young

14. In the beginning. “Dallas: The Early Years,” Jacobs’ 1986 prequel movie, ends at a 1951 Southfork barbecue, where Jock and Ellie (Dale Midkiff, Molly Hagan) embrace as a teenaged J.R. spars with bratty Cliff. Moments later, Cliff drags kid sister Pammy away from her new playmate: Little Bobby. Jerrold Immel’s theme swells, the camera pulls back for a bird’s eye view of the ranch and then the familiar shots from “Dallas’s” famous titles sweep across the screen. Perfect.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Ewing, Waterloo at Southfork

Mad mama

13. Mama vs. the cartel. When J.R.’s latest plot backfires and the cartel takes advantage of him, Ellie comes to junior’s defense. She summons the group to the Ewing Oil offices, where she blasts them, one by one. “I don’t apologize for what my son did,” Ellie says. “It’s a family matter. We may be wrong and we may be right, but we’re Ewings. We stick together – and that’s what makes us unbeatable.” Foolish oil barons. Shouldn’t they know better than to mess with mama?

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Long Goodbye, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Prey, meet hawk

12. A classic clash. During Bobby and Pam’s separation, J.R. tells her if she doesn’t go through with the divorce, he’ll destroy Bobby, Cliff and everyone else she cares about. “You’ve known me long enough to know I don’t make idle threats,” J.R. says as he circles her. The chilling moment tells us much about their rivalry. Cliff might have been J.R.’s most persistent enemy and Jeremy Wendell might have been the most powerful, but no one threatened J.R. quite like Pam.

Blast from the Past, Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy,

Good morning indeed

11. Bobby’s back! (Or is he?). CBS announced Duffy would return to “Dallas” a few weeks before the 1985-86 season finale aired, but no one knew how he’d come back or who he’d play. In the episode’s last scene, Pam awakens and finds Bobby – or someone who looks an awful lot like him – lathering up in her shower. No matter how you feel about the notorious “dream” twist, you have to admit: It was nice to have Duffy back on the show – and in his birthday suit no less!

Changing of the Guard, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Leonor Varela, Marta del Sol, TNT, Veronica Martinez

Welcome back

10. J.R. returns. TNT’s first episode ends with John Ross visiting J.R. in the nursing home. The younger man is dejected because Uncle Bobby just sold Southfork to conservationist Marta del Sol. But wait, what’s this? J.R. is sipping champagne with Marta! It turns out the two are in cahoots. “Bobby may not be stupid, but I’m a hell of a lot smarter,” J.R. tells his son as he doffs his Stetson and flashes his grin. For me, this is the moment I knew “Dallas” was truly back.

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, New Beginnings, Sue Ellen Ewing

Two of a kind

9. J.R. and Sue Ellen reminisce. After putting John Ross to bed, J.R. and Sue Ellen retreat to their room, where they recall their courtship in warm, nostalgic terms. For a couple that is usually at war with each other, this scene is about the characters taking off their armor – symbolized by Sue Ellen’s dressing gown and J.R.’s removal of his coat and tie – and showing each other they still care. You can’t understand their love story until you’ve seen this moment.

Bobby Ewing, Check and Mate, Dallas, Larry Hagman, J.R. Ewing, Patrick Duffy

Lose some, win some

8. Bobby beats J.R. After a yearlong contest for control of Ewing Oil, Harv Smithfield declares J.R. the winner. But wait, what’s this? Here comes Thornton McLeish with news that Bobby’s Canadian fields have come in, making Bobby the victor. The twist concluded one of “Dallas’s” greatest storylines, an arc that touched all the characters and made “Tundra Torque” part of every “Dallas” diehard’s vocabulary. We never like to see J.R. get beat, but when Bobby does it, we let it slide.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Ellie Saves the Day, Miss Ellie Ewing

To the rescue

7. Ellie saves Southfork. J.R. secretly mortgages Southfork to finance a risky deal, only to have it blow up in his face. With the loans due, the Ewings scramble to pay the banks but come up empty. After a stroll around the ranch, Ellie gathers everyone and announces she’ll raise the cash by allowing Ewing Oil to drill on the land. It’s an early example of an enduring “Dallas” theme: Sometimes you have to set aside your principles to protect your family.

Dallas, Fall of the House of Ewing, John Ross Ewing, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Omri Katz

Don’t forget it, boy

6. J.R. schools John Ross. J.R. is giving John Ross one last look around Ewing Oil when Wendell, the new owner, orders them off the premises. “Take this eyesore with you,” he says as he reaches for Jock’s portrait. J.R. is incensed: “Touch that painting and I’ll kill where you stand!” J.R. takes the picture off the wall, holds it aloft and – with trumpets blaring in the background – declares: “John Ross, this is Ewing Oil.” I dare you to watch this scene without getting chills.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Executive Wife, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing, Patrick Duffy

Word

5. Jock schools Bobby. Bobby, furious that Jock has yanked millions of dollars out of Ewing Oil without telling him, interrupts Daddy’s lunch at the Cattlemen’s Club. “You gave me the power to run that company, and damn it, I intend to run it,” Bobby fumes. “Let me tell you something, boy,” Jock huffs. “If I did give you power, you got nothing. Nobody gives you power. Real power is something you take!” Six words that sum up the Ewing creed – and “Dallas” itself.

Dallas, Family Business, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

The man

4. The man comes around. The TNT episode “Family Business” ends on a thrilling note: With Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around” playing in the background, Rebecca shoots Tommy, while back at the ranch, seriously ill Bobby collapses. The most poignant moment of all comes before the montage, when J.R. glances at Ellie’s picture, takes a shot of bourbon and signs the Southfork deed, returning ownership to Bobby. In that instant, our hero grows. So does “Dallas.”

Dallas, J.R.'s Masterpiece, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Farewell, J.R.

3. J.R.’s funeral. “Dallas” bids farewell to J.R. with a moving, instant-classic episode featuring Emmy-worthy performances from Gray and Duffy. Who’ll ever forget Sue Ellen getting drunk in J.R.’s bedroom the night before his burial, or her heartbreaking eulogy? What about the poignant final scene, when Bobby spots J.R.’s hat and tearfully declares, “I love you brother.” This is the moment the TNT series rose to the occasion – and then surpassed it.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Pam Ewing, Swan Song, Victoria Principal

Saving the day, again

2. “Swan Song.” Leonard Katzman’s masterpiece. Donna reveals her pregnancy to Ray. J.R. threatens to send Sue Ellen back in the sanitarium. Pam nobly tells Bobby to go back to Jenna, but he chooses Pam instead. It culminates with the dramatic driveway sequence in which Katherine runs over Bobby, followed by his deathbed farewell, the most moving scene in “Dallas” history. It’s all so beautifully done, it’s almost enough to make you regret it turned out be a dream.

Dallas, House Divided, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Top gun

1. “Who Shot J.R.?” “Dallas’s” most famous storyline is also its greatest extended moment, and not just because it sparked a worldwide phenomenon. Nothing better demonstrates the show’s ability to create multi-dimensional characters who fascinate audiences and make us care. Despite his dastardliness, after J.R. was shot, we couldn’t help but feel sympathetic toward him as he struggled to regain his ability to walk and cope with his exile from Ewing Oil. Likewise, once Kristin was identified as his assailant – in a broadcast watched by 83 million people – how could you not feel sorry for her, especially after J.R. vowed to “handle” her his “own way”? Will “Dallas” ever top this moment? Who knows? I just hope the people who make the show never stop trying.

Now it’s your turn. Share your choices for “Dallas’s” greatest moments below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 2, Week 7

Goodbye, J.R.

Goodbye, J.R.

Here are the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode.

Who killed J.R.? In “The Furious and the Fast,” last week’s episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) went to Abu Dhabi to close an oil deal while his private eye Bum (Kevin Page) snooped into Harris’s past. Meanwhile, John Ross (Josh Henderson) was disappointed when his latest scheme against Bobby and Christopher (Patrick Duffy, Jesse Metcalfe) failed. In the final scene, J.R. called John Ross and tried to buck him up. “Don’t you worry, son. I’ve got a plan. It’s going to be my masterpiece,” J.R. said. The call was interrupted when John Ross heard two gunshots on the other end of the line. Who would want J.R. dead?

How will the Ewings cope? J.R.’s death is bound to put a lot of pressure on the Ewings, who are already in turmoil. Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) is cozying up to Gary (Ted Shackelford) in an attempt to undermine his alliance with Bobby. John Ross feels betrayed by Pamela (Julie Gonzalo), who sided with Christopher during their fight over Ewing Energies. Elsewhere, Ann (Brenda Strong) has allowed Emma (Emma Bell) to move into Southfork, which is sure to infuriate Harris (Mitch Pileggi), while Elena and Drew (Jordana Brewster, Kuno Becker) want to reclaim their father’s land from the Ewings so they can drill it. Will J.R.’s death bring these people closer together – or push them further apart?

What secrets will be revealed? J.R.’s funeral will bring a lot of familiar faces back to Dallas, including half-brother Ray (Steve Kanaly), niece Lucy (Charlene Tilton) and ex-wife Cally (Cathy Podewell), as well as Cliff (Ken Kercheval), his mortal enemy, and Mandy (Deborah Shelton), his longtime mistress. Once the memories start flowing, will the skeletons come tumbling out of the closet too?

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

‘Dallas’s’ Second Season Gets Off to a Promising Start

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

Lessons learned

At one point during “Dallas’s” second-season premiere, J.R. offers Sue Ellen a sly grin and declares, “I never learn my lesson.” Maybe not, but the people who make “Dallas” seem to have learned theirs. This has been a good show from the beginning, but diehards like me couldn’t help but feel bothered by some of the historical flubs in the first-season plotlines (don’t get us started on those Southfork mineral rights) or the fact that our beloved Linda Gray was missing from two whole episodes.

Thankfully, those days appear to be over. The two-hour premiere, which TNT will telecast Monday, January 28, does a nice job giving “Dallas” devotees the stuff we crave. The first shot of the first scene is none other than Sue Ellen – a signal, I hope, that Gray will have a prominent role this year. The opener also offers the first Southfork swimming pool scene in 22 years, references to two long-unseen “Dallas” characters, and a fleeting-but-much-appreciated mention of an institution that was significant to the old show’s mythology. Someone’s been doing their homework.

Best of all, J.R. gets lots of screen time in the extended premiere, which is actually two one-hour episodes (“Battle Lines” and “Venomous Creatures”) that TNT will telecast back-to-back. Larry Hagman filmed a handful of episodes before his death last November, and in these first two hours, he’s as great as ever. Hagman’s scenes with Patrick Duffy will make you chuckle, while his exchanges with Gray will leave you reaching for the tissues. The magic is still there.

Of course, as much as I love watching my old favorites, it’s also good to see “Dallas” cultivating its next generation of stars. Josh Henderson has become a worthy heir to Hagman’s badassery, although he now has competition from an unexpected source: Julie Gonzalo, who is a hellion in heels as Cliff’s vengeful daughter. I’m also pleased to report the premiere gives Jordana Brewster some meaningful scenes. Brewster remains one of the best actors in this ensemble; she makes Elena feel like the kind of person you might know in real life, which – let’s face it – doesn’t always happen on shows like this. Henderson and Gonzalo might get the juicy lines, but Brewster and Jesse Metcalfe, her equally good leading man, keep “Dallas” grounded.

The premiere also establishes the battle for Ewing Energies as the season’s main story arc and introduces us to the sleek Ewing Energies set, which looks absolutely nothing like the offices seen on the old show. (Please note: This isn’t a complaint.) A nifty subplot focuses on Christopher’s foray into racecar driving, and we also learn Ann’s dark secret, a storyline that has more than a few holes but nonetheless offers a nice showcase for Brenda Strong.

Other highlights include our first glimpse of the mysterious new character Emma Brown, played by Emma Bell, who was so memorable as the doomed Amy on “The Walking Dead.” (I wonder: Does Bell find zombies or Ewings more cannibalistic?) We also meet Harris Ryland’s mother Judith, played to the hilt by Judith Light. Yes, Light is only three years older than Mitch Pileggi, who plays Harris. It’s too early to know if audiences are going to buy this, but if anyone can pull it off, it’s Light.

The real question is how “Dallas” will fare once it runs out of episodes featuring Hagman. This week, TV Guide reported the show will write out its star with a “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery that will echo the old “Dallas’s” most famous cliffhanger. Whether or not this idea is really brilliant or really lousy will depend on the execution, but it’s a good sign the show is bringing back so many favorites for J.R.’s funeral and memorial service. The guest list will include Deborah Shelton, who played J.R.’s longest-running (three seasons!) mistress Mandy, and Cathy Podewell, who portrayed his second wife Cally, along with four characters who require no explanation: Gary (Ted Shackleford), Lucy (Charlene Tilton), Ray (Steve Kanaly) and Cliff (Ken Kercheval).

This group includes some of “Dallas’s” most iconic figures. Watching them come together to mourn – or celebrate – the death of the biggest icon of all is bound to be great television. It will never satisfy all of “Dallas’s” hardcore fans, but you have to hand it to the people who make the show. At least they’re trying.

What do you want to see during “Dallas’s” second season? Share your comments below and read more opinions from Dallas Decoder.