Dallas Parallels: Turning Tables

Carter McKay, Dallas, Fran Kranz, George Kennedy, Hunter McKay, TNT

Who says you can’t beat a Ewing?

As the original “Dallas” neared its end, two Westar board members invited J.R. to become the company’s new chairman. J.R. found the offer too good to refuse, so he sold his share of Ewing Oil to Cliff Barnes and accepted the offer to join Westar — only to have the rug pulled out from under him by Carter McKay. In “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire,” J.R. discovered the Westar job was a ruse; Carter’s minions had dangled the offer in front of J.R. long enough for him to sell Ewing Oil, and then Carter snatched Westar away, leaving J.R. with nothing.

History repeated itself, sort of, as TNT’s “Dallas” sequel series drew to a close. Carter’s grandson Hunter encouraged J.R.’s son John Ross to take Ewing Global public, making shares of the company available to outside investors. In “Victims of Love,” Hunter, with help from partner-in-crime Nicolas Trevino, purchased all of Ewing Global’s shares during the company’s initial public offering — seizing control of John Ross’s company in a single swoop. Once again, a McKay had beaten a Ewing.

The parallels between these storylines aren’t perfect. Carter merely tricked J.R. into giving up Ewing Oil, while Hunter took over Ewing Global. Nevertheless, there are similarities between the scenes where J.R. and John Ross each realize the tables have been turned against them. Both sequences feature surprise reunions — J.R. and Dusty Farlow (!) in “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire,” Christopher and Hunter in “Victims of Love” — and J.R. and John Ross use similar language. J.R. to Carter: “You son of a bitch. You set me up.” John Ross to Hunter: “You and Nicolas were setting me up.” There are also important differences: cool-as-a-cucumber J.R. keeps a stiff upper lip after Carter’s victory, while hot-headed John Ross attacks Hunter.

It took a while, but J.R. eventually clawed his way back to power. Will John Ross do the same? More importantly, how long will we have to wait to see it?


‘You Son of a Bitch. You Set Me Up.’

Dallas, Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Like son

In “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire,” a 14th-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) is sitting at his office desk when Rose (Jeri Gaile) enters the room.

ROSE: Mind if I come in?

J.R.: What do you want?

ROSE: Thought maybe there was an office you wanted me to bug. [Looking around] Oh, this is nice. This is very nice. Oh, yes. I especially like your desk. [She sits on it and strokes the lamp.] It’s so … big. Use it much?

J.R.: How the hell did you get in here?

Carter (George Kennedy) enters.

CARTER: Your assistant seems to have vacated her post. Hello, J.R. Rose is right. It’s a very nice office.

J.R.: I thought you left Dallas for good.

CARTER: Only to find Rose. [Puts his arm around her] We decided to come back here for a while. Just to see how things were doing. [Sits in a chair]

J.R.: You heard, huh?

CARTER: Heard what?

J.R.: That I’m going to be the new chairman of the board of Westar. You come here to stop me?

CARTER: I did receive a few phone calls about it. Frankly, J.R., I think you’d make a terrible chairman of the board. [J.R. smiles.] I do have some affection for Westar. I’d hate to see you destroy it.

J.R.: Well, that’s too bad. Because I now have the voting rights. [Rose smiles coyly.]

CARTER: Oh, that’s right. Clayton gave them to you, didn’t he? They carry a lot of weight.

J.R.: [Chuckles] That’s an understatement.

CARTER: Maybe, but maybe the voting rights aren’t enough. Don’t you have to have the shares to go with them?

J.R.: Oh, don’t you worry about that. [Stands, moves from behind the desk] I’ll get ’em. In time, I’ll get them.

Dusty (Jared Martin) enters.

DUSTY: I wouldn’t be too sure of that, J.R.

CARTER: You do remember Dusty Farlow, don’t you?

J.R.: Like I remember athlete’s foot. Well, I don’t know what rock you had to turn over to find him, but those voting rights are legally mine.

DUSTY: You haven’t changed, have you? You’re still plottin’ and schemin’ and one-uppin’ everyone you can.

J.R.: [Chuckles] Well, some people are easier to one-up than others — as I’m sure you remember.

DUSTY: Oh, I remember J.R. Except this time, I don’t think your little schemes are going to work.

J.R.: You going to try to stop me?

DUSTY: I already have. You see, those shares were more trouble than they were worth. I was happy to sell them to Mac.

J.R.: [To Carter] You son of a bitch. You set me up.

CARTER: True, and I didn’t think it would be that easy. I’m the majority stockholder now, J.R., and tomorrow, I’m putting my own man in. And you can kiss your dreams of becoming chairman goodbye. [Rose blows him a kiss, and then she and Carter exit.]

DUSTY: So long, J.R. Give my regards to Sue Ellen. Oh, that’s right. I forgot. She dumped you. [He smiles and leaves.]


‘You and Nicholas Were Setting Me Up’

Dallas, John Ross, Josh Henderson, Victims of Love, TNT

Like father

In “Victims of Love,” a third-season “Dallas” episode, Hunter (Fran Kranz) is in his apartment when he answers a knock at the door, revealing John Ross and Christopher (Josh Henderson, Jesse Metcalfe)

HUNTER: John Ross, Christopher. What’s up guys?

CHRISTOPHER: Hunter, we were hoping to have a little chat.

HUNTER: Yeah, no problem, of course. Come on in. Come on. [The cousins follow him into the apartment, where he pauses a video game and picks up a beer bottle.] All right. Man, Christopher. It’s been a minute, huh? [Laughs] Last time I saw you must’ve been … high school. [He takes a potato chip from a bowl and eats it.]

JOHN ROSS: And last time you saw me, you and Nicholas were setting me up so that you could steal our company.

HUNTER: Whoa, guys, I-I-I don’t want there to be any hard feelings. It was all just business.

CHRISTOPHER: Except what you did was illegal. You see, we know the money you used came from the Mendez-Ochoa cartel.

HUNTER: I don’t know what you’re talking about. [Sips his beer]

JOHN ROSS: I think you do.

CHRISTOPHER: And we’re filing a suit with the SEC, and when we do, you’re going to find yourself in jail.

HUNTER: [Sets down his beer] Guys, let’s just be honest. If you already had proof of where that money came from, you wouldn’t be standing in my apartment. [Chuckles] I think I win.

CHRISTOPHER: [To John Ross] Let’s go. [They turn and head for the door.]

HUNTER: You know, John Ross, Nicolas wasn’t so sure you’d take the bait. But then I told him how J.R. fell for a similar move when my grandfather tricked him into giving up Ewing Oil. That’s sort of poetic justice, right? You losing your company the same way your daddy did?

John Ross lunges for Hunter and grabs him by his sweatshirt.


JOHN ROSS: We’re going to find out where that money came from, McKay, and when we do, you’re finished!

CHRISTOPHER: [Pulls John Ross away] Let’s go! Come on.

What do you think of the Ewings’ losses to the McKays? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

The Dallas Decoder Interview: Lisa Seidman

Lisa Seidman

Lisa Seidman

Lisa Seidman was a writer on the original “Dallas” during its final two seasons and penned many of the show’s best episodes from that era. She later wrote for “Knots Landing” and now serves as associate head writer for “The Young and the Restless.” I was thrilled when she agreed to answer some of my questions about writing for three of my favorite TV series.

“Dallas” was one of the first shows you ever wrote for. How did you get the job?  Howard Lakin and I worked together on “Falcon Crest.” He moved on to “Dallas” and when CBS told Len Katzman, the executive producer, they wanted a female writer on the show, Howard recommended me. Len read and liked a spec script I had written, a murder mystery that Patrick Duffy eventually optioned, which he planned to direct and star in, but alas, he moved on to “Step by Step” so it fell through. I met with Len, he liked me, and the rest as they say….

Bobby and J.R. in “Cry Me a River of Oil,” Seidman’s first “Dallas” episode

Bobby and J.R. in “Cry Me a River of Oil,” Seidman’s first “Dallas” episode

History, indeed! What was it like to work on “Dallas” as it was nearing the end of its run? Was it a struggle to come up with new things for the characters to do?

At the time, we didn’t know the show was nearing the end of its run. We were hoping the show would be picked up for another year but knowing there was a possibility it would not be, the mood was wistful, bittersweet. While I remember days when we struggled to come up with story, I don’t think it was any more difficult than any other show I’d been on before or after — except for the final, two-hour show. Now that was a struggle. Len really wanted to go out with a bang and I remember long, frustrating story meetings where we were really trying to find that great hook.

Oh, wow. Do you remember the other ideas for the series finale that you considered but discarded? And what did you think of the final product?

Unfortunately, I don’t remember the other ideas, although I remember exactly where I was sitting in Len’s office as we plotted out the “It’s a Wonderful Life”-themed finale: on his sofa, which is a strange thing to remember as I usually sat in the chair next to him while Howard sat on the sofa and [producer] Ken Horton was in the armchair across from Len and me. As far as the final product: At the time, I thought it was a terrific idea, but in retrospect I see the flaws. J.R. learns that people led happier lives without him so he was going to kill himself in despair and Bobby had to save his life. It was an anti-J.R. story.

Cliff in “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire,” Seidman’s final “Dallas”

Cliff in “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire,” Seidman’s final “Dallas”

Did you have a favorite character to write for? 

Cliff Barnes. What a kick! The character would do or say anything. He had no filters. I loved it. I loved him. I also loved writing the female characters: Cally, April, Michelle, Lucy. Sadly, Linda Gray left the season before I came on so I never got to write Sue Ellen. I was always sorry about that.

Are there any scenes or episodes that you are particularly proud of? 

The scene between J.R. and Lee Ann De La Vega in “Designing Women.” First, I got to write for Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden, who had both been in “I Dream of Jeannie,” a show I loved as a kid. What a thrill! Second, Lee Ann is confronting J.R. about their shared past, and I remember how much I loved her getting back at J.R. for how he screwed up her life. I watched them shoot the scene and it was exciting to see how they both got into it.

Lee Ann and J.R. in “Designing Women”

Lee Ann and J.R. in “Designing Women”

That scene contains one of my favorite J.R. quotes. I love when he tells Lee Ann and Michelle, “You two belong together, hatching your silly little plots in your silly little heads.” I’ve been quoting that line for 22 years!

Funny you should bring that up. I have all drafts of the script in front of me. In the writer’s draft, J.R. said, “Hatching your puny little plots in that empty brain of yours.” In the first draft it became, “Hatching your puny little plots in that empty head of yours” — suggested to me by Len — where it remains in the final draft, so Larry Hagman obviously changed it on set to the line you love.

After “Dallas,” you wrote for “Knots Landing.” How were those experiences similar? How were they different? 

Writing for “Knots” and “Dallas” were similar in that both shows had strong writer-producers — Ann Marcus and Len Katzman, respectively — who respected their writers and never micro-managed us. What you saw on air was the writer’s work, not a rewrite by either Ann or Len. They were different in that Len preferred to be in charge of the production of each script while Ann let each writer attend casting, tone meetings, production meetings. If the actors had concerns about their story on “Dallas” they went to Len. If the “Knots” actors had concerns they went straight to the particular writer of the script. On both shows, stories were created and laid out with all the writers in the room. While Len and Ann had the final say, they listened to all their writers’ contributions. Both were fantastic bosses!

Gary and Val in “Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-sac”

Gary and Val in “Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac”

What are your memories of co-writing the “Knots Landing” reunion miniseries?

Where do I begin? Ann Marcus taught me so much about structure, high stakes, letting character drive story. We wrote the miniseries in her home office and I remember spending a lot of the time staring at her Emmy for “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” feeling incredibly lucky that I was getting to write with Ann, who is still a dear friend. Ann would come in with a lot of ideas and then we would discuss each one at length, discarding what didn’t work and developing in more detail what did.

Do you watch the new “Dallas”? What’s your opinion?

Fantastic. Fun. It’s great to see how the series successfully uses J.R., Bobby, Sue Ellen and Cliff with the young ’uns. It’s a kick.

You’ve written a lot for daytime television too. How is that different from writing for prime-time television? 

Daytime TV is much harder to write than anybody thinks. You’re writing a detailed outline or a script every week while in prime time you’re writing one script a month or even less, depending on how many writers are on staff. You have two days to write an 11-page outline on daytime, whereas in primetime you have a week or a week and a half to write your script. In daytime you have many more characters to deal with — at least 10 to 15 — and you have to know all their voices, their stories. You have to know their histories from before you went on the show — and those histories are much more complicated than prime time back story because these characters have been on the air anywhere from 10 to 40 years!

In daytime, is it hard to balance giving fans what they want and trying to pursue your own artistic vision? 

Yes, absolutely, because the reality is you can’t really give the fans what they want, which is happy couples. Once a couple is happy, they’re boring. So the writers have to keep creating complications for characters that keep couples apart while at the same time keeping fans wanting to watch every day, rooting for them to get together.

You’re currently writing for “The Young and the Restless.” If J.R. Ewing had ever faced off against Victor Newman in business, who do you think would win?

Ha! Good question. Neither of them would ever have a total win. J.R. might defeat Victor in some aspect of business but then Victor would pick himself up, dust himself off and go after J.R. with a vengeance. Neither would be down for long. The battle would go on forever!

Share your comments below and read more interviews from Dallas Decoder.

Dallas Decoder Asks: How Should J.R. die?

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

Exit the hero

J.R. Ewing’s funeral will be seen in the “Dallas” episode that airs Monday, March 11, TNT confirmed yesterday. But how should the legendary character die? And what’s the best way to honor Larry Hagman, the actor who portrayed J.R. for more than three decades? Dallas Decoder asked four members of the original show’s creative team to share their ideas.





There’s only one way J.R. should die: He’s got to be shot by a jealous husband. He’s J.R. Ewing – how else could he die? The husband could be a character from the original series or it could be someone new. The show could build a new “Who Shot J.R.?” mystery around the shooting. If he isn’t shot, he should die in the bed of one of his mistresses. No matter how the show kills him off, J.R. shouldn’t die a hero. He should be the villain you love to hate, right until the very end.

Loraine Despres, writer, 1979 to 1980; credits include “Who Done It?”, the episode where Kristin is revealed as J.R.’s shooter





J.R. survived being shot 40 years ago. Maybe this time the bullet hits the mark. Yeah, shameless. But why not? Even if cynics hate the idea, it’ll create buzz and it might just be the best chance of bringing in new viewers to the show. J.R. was TV’s greatest villain and deserves some villainous payback. The funeral? Could be a three-episode event with every former important cast member they can find. Cliff pouring bourbon on J.R.’s grave? Priceless. This is the biggest franchise event imaginable. I also wouldn’t hesitate using flashbacks if at all possible. It may not please the producers who surely would prefer original material but I think viewers would love it.

Howard Lakin, writer, 1980 to 1982; producer/writer, 1988 to 1991; credits include “The Fourth Son,” the episode where Jock discovers he’s Ray’s father 





You could always have J.R. called out of town and then have his plane go down, but I would have it play out that he’s been hiding the fact that he has cancer – although you don’t have to say “cancer” necessarily. Remember, when the new show opened, J.R. was in a nursing facility, so it’s possible he’s been ill and no one knew it. There could be scenes of the family reacting to the news that he died suddenly and finding out he hid his illness from them. Whatever scenario the show goes with, they shouldn’t drag it out too long. I don’t think they should do what the original series did with Jim Davis, when they sent Jock to South America for an extended period. With J.R., I think you have to allow him to pass away quickly and quietly.

Michael Preece, director, 1981 to 1991; credits include “Acceptance,” the episode where Miss Ellie comes to terms with Jock’s death





I could never kill off J.R.! I’d have forces bearing down on him that we think have caused his death (in an explosion, perhaps?). No body or a body that of course can’t be identified. And then, every once in a while, a story comes up in which a shady businessman in Hong Kong lost everything to a mysterious figure, or a big deal was made in London that ripped off illegal investors but made some mysterious figure, Mr. X, a ton of money. Is it J.R.? Is he traveling the world, destroying his enemies to the benefit of himself and his family as they receive benefits out of the blue that suddenly save themselves and their company? We’ll never know. We can only hope. These stories would occur for generations, giving him immortality. That’s how I’d write off J.R. Ewing – by never writing him off.

Lisa Seidman, writer, 1989 to 1991; credits include “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire,” the episode where J.R. loses Ewing Oil to Cliff


Now it’s your turn: How would you kill off J.R.? Share your comments below and read more news from Dallas Decoder.

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 5 – ‘Truth and Consequences’

Ann Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, TNT, Truth and Consequences

The ex files

“Truth and Consequences” offers a nice showcase for Brenda Strong and Julie Gonzalo, who haven’t had much to do on TNT’s “Dallas” until now. Both actresses make the most of the opportunities they’re given, delivering solid performances that add dimension to their characters, Ann and Rebecca, the newest Ewing wives.

Throughout this episode, Ann reminds me of “Dallas” heroines past. Seeing her stand up to J.R. (“They warned me. My whole marriage, they told me about you.”) recalls some of Pam’s best confrontations with him, while the scene where Ann, clad in her signature pearls, offers Rebecca some much-needed motherly advice evokes warm memories of Miss Ellie. This isn’t a coincidence. Ann exists to fill the void left by both Pam and Ellie, two of the old show’s most beloved characters, which means Strong might have the most thankless job of all among TNT’s “Dallas” cast.

This is why Ann’s visit to smug ex-husband Harris Ryland, played to the hilt by Mitch Pileggi, is so pivotal. With this exchange, Ann begins to come into her own as a character. She may not share Pam’s history with Bobby or Ellie’s connection to the land, but at least now we know Ann is willing to stick her neck out to help her husband fight for Southfork. This is the kind of wife our hero deserves, and the classy Strong fills the role nicely. Bravo.

Gonzalo does impressive work in “Truth and Consequences,” too. The young actress is moving during Rebecca’s tearful confession to Christopher in the barn (“You need to believe I love you!”), and her desperation is palpable when Rebecca turns to Ann for comfort and counsel. I’m not convinced the audience should trust Rebecca, but Gonzalo is helping transform her into “Dallas’s” most intriguing character.

Given this episode’s emphasis on the women of Southfork, it seems like this would have been an ideal time to let viewers continue getting reacquainted with Sue Ellen, but she doesn’t appear in “Truth and Consequences.” This is the second TNT episode in which Sue Ellen is missing in action; the character is also absent from “The Price You Pay.”

I find this astonishing. Like I wrote last month, with the exception of Larry Hagman, no actor on TNT’s “Dallas” has as much presence as Linda Gray, and it’s a shame the producers have struggled to find a meaningful storyline for her.  The good news is this begins to change with next week’s episode, and not a moment too soon.

Overall, “Truth and Consequences” is a strong hour, with good writing from Robert Rovner and stylish direction from Randy Zisk, whose past credits include “Revenge” and the David Jacobs-produced “Lois & Clark” and “Bodies of Evidence.” I especially like the “Truth and Consequences” scene where J.R. quotes Jock (“Daddy always said beautiful women were the most dangerous”), which prompts an exasperated Bobby to respond, “I know all the things Daddy used to say.” This might be the season’s best line.

Other highlights: the scenes where John Ross and Christopher each show up on Elena’s doorstep at different points during the same night. (Some girls have all the luck.) Elena’s exchange with John Ross is particularly good. I love when he tells her, “You’ve accused me of awful things that I did not do, and yet I’m still here, at your door, asking you to take a chance on me.” Josh Henderson really makes me care about John Ross here; this is probably the actor’s best scene so far.

Moments like these compensate for some of “Truth and Consequences” shortcomings, beginning with J.R. and John Ross’s silly scene at Cowboys Stadium. On “Dallas,” J.R. is supposed to be a prominent Texan, but I don’t think he’s famous enough to warrant having his face flashed on a Jumbotron. The sequence makes TNT’s “Dallas” too self-aware; J.R. is a folk hero in real life, not within the context of the narrative. Not helping matters: Jerry Jones’ cameo, an unwelcome reminder of his appearance in “War of the Ewings,” “Dallas’s” abysmal 1998 reunion movie.

J.R.’s purchase of Southfork, just days after Marta bought it from Bobby, strains credibility, too. It reminds me of “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire,” the next-to-last episode of the original series, when Ewing Oil changed hands two or three times in the course of a single episode.

Likewise, I find it hard to believe Bobby’s hands are as legally tied as Lou, his new lawyer (played by terrific “24” vet Glenn Morshower), claims. The sale to Marta was fraudulent because Marta isn’t really Marta, yet her sale to J.R. is perfectly legal? I wanted Lou to run that by me one more time, but alas, the show moved on instead.

That’s the thing about TNT’s “Dallas:” It’s always moving on.

Grade: B


Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Julie Gonzalo, Rebecca Sutter Ewing, Truth and Consequences, TNT

Double life wife


Season 1, Episode 5

Telecast: July 4, 2012

Writer: Robert Rovner

Director: Randy Zisk

Audience: 5.1 million viewers (including 3.4 million viewers on July 4, ranking 16th in the weekly cable ratings)

Synopsis: Rebecca confesses Tommy sent the e-mail to Elena, prompting Christopher to kick the Sutters off Southfork. Bobby vows to reclaim the ranch after J.R. reveals he’s the new owner and departs Dallas, leaving John Ross in charge until he returns. To slow down J.R. and John Ross, Ann persuades her ex-husband, trucking magnate Harris Ryland, to not haul the oil pumped out of Southfork. Christopher discovers proof John Ross knew Marta’s true identity before she tricked Bobby into selling the ranch.

Cast: Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Julie Gonzalo (Rebecca Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Callard Harris (Tommy Sutter), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Jerry Jones (himself), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Glenn Morshower (Lou), Kevin Page (Bum), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Leonor Varela (Marta del Sol)

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

Dallas Styles: Cliff’s ‘Winner Look’


“Dallas’s” second-season episode “For Love or Money” establishes an interesting facet of Cliff’s character: He may be the show’s biggest cheapskate, but he’s willing to splurge on nice clothes.

The first time we see Cliff in this episode, he’s being fitted for a new suit at The Store while his sister Pam, a Store employee, watches and teases him.

Special delivery

“I am impressed,” she says. “Did you get tired of your underdog look?”

“Underdog?” Cliff responds. “That’s out. Now it’s the winner look that’s in.”

The conversation alludes to the events of an earlier second-season episode, “Election,” when Cliff loses a race for state senate because he isn’t willing to play dirty like the Ewings, who backed his opponent.

After the loss, Cliff resolves to do whatever it takes to beat the Ewings. He begins an affair with J.R.’s wife Sue Ellen, then becomes the state’s land-use chief, a position he uses as a platform for revenge.

In “For Love or Money,” Cliff’s new suit – a three-piece, pinstriped number – symbolizes his attempt to emulate his wealthier enemies.

Cliff is wearing the vest and pants at the end of the episode, when his secretary buzzes him in his office to announce J.R. wants to see him. Cliff quickly and somewhat nervously dons the jacket and adjusts his shirt cuffs before opening the door to his archrival. The implication: He wants J.R. to see him as an equal.

This dynamic continues during “Dallas’s” later years. Cliff remains a tightwad – he lives in modest homes and never loses his affinity for Chinese takeout – but his sense of style never suffers.

The result: Ken Kercheval becomes “Dallas’s” sharpest-dressed actor. Flamboyant pocket squares becomes one of Cliff’s signatures, and in the next-to-last episode, “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire,” the character achieves his longtime ambition of taking Ewing Oil away from J.R.

Finally, Cliff isn’t just dressing like a winner. He is one.

Dallas Styles: Bobby’s Leather Jacket

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Digger's Daughter, Patrick Duffy

‘Digger’s Daughter’

Bobby Ewing’s leather motorcross jacket isn’t as well known as J.R.’s Stetsons or Miss Ellie’s sack dresses, but it’s every bit as durable.

Patrick Duffy is sporting the snap-collared jacket when we meet Bobby in Act I, Scene I of “Dallas’s” Episode 1, “Digger’s Daughter.” The jacket, like the red convertible Bobby is driving, lets the audience know this is a cool young dude.

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire, Patrick Duffy

‘The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire’

The jacket is metaphorical in other ways, too. We hear Pam’s famous line in this scene (“Your folks are gonna throw me right off that ranch”) and we wonder: Are the Ewings going to tan Bobby’s actual hide when they discover he has married a Barnes?

The jacket pops up periodically after “Digger’s Daughter,” including during the sixth-season episode “Caribbean Connection,” when Bobby sneaks into a motel room to gather dirt on one of J.R.’s cronies. This is a very un-Bobby thing to do, so the leather jacket becomes the perfect prop to telegraph his rebellious streak.

Interestingly, even after Duffy leaves “Dallas,” the jacket doesn’t.

Dack Rambo seems to sport the same brown leather during the Duffy-less dream season, a subtle hint to the audience that Rambo’s character, cousin Jack Ewing, was supposed to fill Bobby’s role as “Dallas’s” resident hero.

Duffy wears a leather motorcross in “Dallas’s” final two episodes, “The Decline and Fall of the Ewing Empire” and “Conundrum,” including in the latter’s last freeze frame. The color of this jacket isn’t warm, so I’m not sure it’s the same one Duffy wore during the previous seasons.

The color change is fitting: By the time “Dallas” ends, the show has faded considerably. Why shouldn’t Bobby’s jacket do the same?