Drill Bits: Mr. Duffy Goes to Washington — and D.C. Swoons

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Padraic Duffy, Patrick Duffy

The uniter (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

It turns out there is something everyone in Washington can agree on: They all love Patrick Duffy.

The “Dallas” star was the toast of the town when he came to D.C. last weekend to attend the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner — a.k.a. the “nerd prom,” an annual schmooze-fest that brings together Beltway insiders and Hollywood elite to celebrate journalism. Think of it as Washington’s version of the Oil Baron’s Ball, but without the food fights.

Throughout the weekend, social media buzzed with pics of muckety-mucks posing with Duffy, including MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts, who ran into the actor at a pre-dinner shindig and tweeted, “This weekend is gonna rock when the first person I meet is ‘Bobby Ewing.’” Later, CNN reporter Elise Labott tweeted a selfie with Duffy, along with her observation that “[h]e’s still so handsome.”

Duffy also got a shout out during the dinner from comic headliner Joel McHale, who ended his monologue thusly: “Here’s why America is the best country in the world — a guy like me can stand before the president, the press and Patrick Duffy, and tell jokes without severe repercussions. And instead of being shipped off to a gulag, I am going to the Vanity Fair after-party.”

(McHale is probably no stranger to the Duffy dynasty: Emily Cutler, the wife of Duffy’s son Conor Duffy, once wrote for McHale’s sitcom “Community.”)

Duffy was a guest of Time and Fortune magazines at the correspondents’ dinner. He sat with recent Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o and her “12 Years a Slave” director, Steve McQueen, as well as “Gravity” director Alfonso Cuarón and actor Armie Hammer.

The actor seemed to take it all in stride, telling USA Today he suspects the dinner is a lot like the Academy Awards, although he doesn’t know since he’s never been to the Oscars. Incredibly, Duffy said he’s never attended the Emmys either — although if there’s any justice, that’ll change when the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences finally gets around to recognizing the knockout work he’s been doing on TNT’s “Dallas” lately. (We still get chills whenever we watch the midseason cliffhanger scene where Bobby shouts at Ann. Yikes!)

Duffy came to Washington with son Padraic Duffy, a playwright whom “Dallas” fans will remember as the American kid Bobby befriended in Paris during the original show’s final season. Padraic’s wife, Emily Kosloski, has a recurring role on the TNT series as Rhonda Simmons, the mystery woman who helped the Ewings put Cliff Barnes in jail.

And in case you’re wondering: Yes, your Dallas Decoder lives in D.C. and tried his best to catch up with Duffy while he was in town, but to no avail. Maybe next time. Given his popularity among Washingtonians, he’s bound to return, right?

Et Cetera

• While Duffy was taking D.C. by storm, Josh Henderson was commanding the red carpet at the Kentucky Derby.

• Dallas Decoder readers know Kevin Page, a.k.a. Bum, the Ewings’ go-to private eye, is also an accomplished artist. Last week, he spoke to the Dallas Morning News about his latest adventures in digital artwork.

• The house used to film the interior Southfork shots in “Changing of the Guard,” the first episode of TNT’s “Dallas,” just sold for $3.5 million, Realty Today reported last week.

• Reminder: There’ll be no #DallasChat tonight. The next discussion will be Monday, May 12, at 9 p.m. Eastern. See you then!

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

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 3, Week 4

Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes Ewing, Playing Chicken, TNT

Mama sees all

Here are the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “Lifting the Veil,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode:

What will Sue Ellen do about John Ross? In “Playing Chicken,” Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) continued to plan a traditional Southfork wedding for the recently eloped John Ross and Pamela (Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo), even though she harbored lingering doubts about her son’s fidelity to his bride. Sue Ellen told Ann (Brenda Strong) she feared John Ross was sleeping with Emma (Emma Bell); Ann then shared Sue Ellen’s suspicions with Harris (Mitch Pileggi) and asked him to help her reign in their daughter. Meanwhile, Sue Ellen met with Bum (Kevin Page) to determine if he told her the truth about John Ross being faithful to Pamela. After Sue Ellen laid a major guilt trip on Bum, he confessed everything. “I lied to you, Sue Ellen. You were right about John Ross and Emma. I’m sorry,” Bum said. Sue Ellen’s response: “Not nearly as sorry as I am.” How will she deal with the truth about her son?

What will Judith do about John Ross? When Harris told Judith (Judith Light) that Emma and John Ross are sleeping together, Judith was nonplussed. “Good for her. John Ross is a nice-looking young man,” she said. But Judith changed her tune when Harris told her John Ross now possesses Harris’s secret files, which he said contains “unflattering” information about her. She told Harris, “I’m sure we can find something to compromise young Mr. Ewing enough to convince him to return those files. And by ‘we,’ of course I mean ‘me.’” What should worry John Ross more — the fact that Judith thinks he’s cute or the fact she wants those files back?

Will John Ross and Pamela say, “I do”? Emma seemed determined to undermine John Ross’s marriage. She buddied up to Pamela during a shopping spree and then ruined her plan to surprise John Ross with new lingerie: Emma bought the same outfit and wore it for John Ross first; when he saw Pamela wearing it, he was rattled and lost interest in having sex with his wife. Given all the turbulence in John Ross’s life, we wonder: Will his wedding to Pamela go off without a hitch?

What will Elena and Nicolas do next? Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) tracked down Rhonda Simmons (Emily Kosloski), the woman whose testimony helped convict Cliff (Ken Kercheval) of J.R.’s “murder,” and offered her $25,000 to admit she lied, but Rhonda refused to betray the Ewings. Meanwhile, Elena (Jordana Brewster) came up empty-handed when she searched for surveillance video to prove Cliff’s gun was stolen from the firing range. The setbacks frustrated Elena, but Nicolas confessed his love for her and they had sex — unaware that Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) was digging into Nicolas’s past in Mexico, where he met a beautiful woman named Lucia (Angélica Celaya), who introduced herself as Nicolas’s wife. Should Elena continue to trust Nicolas — and should Christopher trust Lucia?

What will the Ewings do about their business? John Ross blackmailed Bo (Donny Boaz) into joining his Southfork drilling venture by threatening to expose the ranch hand’s drug-dealing past. But John Ross’s scheming was for naught: Bobby (Patrick Duffy) shut down the project when he revealed the state would refuse to issue John Ross a drilling permit because the project endangered the lesser prairie chicken, a threatened species in Texas. If the Ewings can’t tap the oil under the ranch, how will they finance their Arctic drilling plans?

Will our old favorites have much to do? John Ross and Pamela’s wedding will bring three stars from the original “Dallas” back to Southfork: Lucy (Charlene Tilton), Ray (Steve Kanaly) and Afton (Audrey Landers). When Kanaly spoke to Dallas Decoder before production on this episode began, he told us Ray and Lucy don’t have big roles in this episode, but suggested Afton will be featured more prominently. If nothing else, will we hear the divine Miss Cooper sing?

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

TNT’s Dallas Recap: ‘Playing Chicken’

Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Playing Chicken, TNT

Home to roost

Here’s what happened in “Playing Chicken,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode:

Christopher searched for the truth about Nicolas. Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) went to the federal prison in Nuevo Laredo, where he questioned Cliff (Ken Kercheval) about his connection to Nicolas. Cliff didn’t supply any answers, but Christopher fared better when he tracked down Nicolas’s ex-business partner, whom Nicolas cheated on his rise to the top — and who told Christopher that “Nicolas Treviño” isn’t Nicolas’s real name.

Later, several armed men approached Christopher outside his hotel and brought him to Nicolas’s compound, where he met a beautiful woman (Angélica Celaya) with two small sons. When Christopher asked the woman what she knows about Nicolas, she responded: “I can tell you quite a bit. I’m Lucia Treviño, his wife.”

Nicolas and Elena searched for the truth about the Ewings. Back in Dallas, Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) tracked down Rhonda Simmons (Emily Kosloski), the woman whose testimony helped convict Cliff for J.R.’s murder, and offered her $25,000 to admit she lied. The next night, Nicolas met with Rhonda again, expecting her to talk, except she brought along a surprise guest: Bobby (Patrick Duffy), who insisted Rhonda was being honest when she implicated Cliff. “Sometimes the truth hurts,” Bobby told Nicolas.

Elena (Jordana Brewster) fared no better: She went to the firing range where Cliff used to practice, hoping to find the surveillance video that would prove his gun was stolen, only to discover the footage had mysteriously vanished. Elena felt defeated, but Nicolas assured her the two of them will ultimately beat the Ewings — and to demonstrate his dedication, he revealed long-hidden feelings for her. “I never wanted a woman more than I want you, and if you’ll allow me, I want a chance to make you happy,” Nicolas said. He and Elena kissed — and then they did much more.

Sue Ellen found out the truth about John Ross. After Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) saw Emma flirting with John Ross, she confided in Ann her suspicion that John Ross and Emma are having an affair. Ann (Brenda Strong) didn’t reject the suggestion. “You were right about her drug use. Maybe you’re right this time too,” she said. Ann later urged Emma (Emma Bell) to stop wearing skimpy bikinis around Southfork, while Sue Ellen went to work on Bum (Kevin Page) to determine if he told the truth about John Ross being faithful to Pamela.

Sue Ellen’s plan worked: After she laid a major guilt trip on Bum, he showed up on her doorstep and confessed everything. “I lied to you, Sue Ellen. You were right about John Ross and Emma. I’m sorry,” Bum said. Sue Ellen’s response: “Not nearly as sorry as I am.”

Bobby and Ann dealt with the truth about Harris. Bobby and Ann struggled to wrap their heads around the fact that Harris is secretly helping the CIA try to bring down the Mendez-Ochoa cartel. Bobby beefed up security at Southfork and told Ann that she shouldn’t worry about their family’s well-being. “You and Emma will always be safe on Southfork. Always. You can count on it,” Bobby said.

Later, while Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) and Emma went shopping for lingerie for Pamela’s honeymoon, Ann went to see Harris (Mitch Pileggi) and told him she fears their daughter is “acting out” against her father by sleeping with John Ross. Ann urged Harris to come clean to Emma about his CIA connection, but he refused. “I wish I could trust her with that, but I can’t,” Harris said. He added: “I never meant to put the people that I love in danger, Annie. As awful as you think I am, I do love our daughter.”

John Ross learned the truth about chickens. John Ross (Josh Henderson) blackmailed Bo (Donny Boaz) into joining his Southfork drilling venture by threatening to expose the ranch hand’s drug-dealing past. But John Ross’s scheming was for naught: Bobby shut down the project when he revealed the state would refuse to issue John Ross a drilling permit because the project endangered the lesser prairie chicken, a threatened species in Texas. Later, when John Ross came home after cavorting at the office with Emma and found Pamela wearing the same teddy that his mistress had been wearing, he felt an attack of conscience and headed for the shower, leaving his wife looking more than a little hurt.

This might be the least of John Ross’s problems: When Harris told Judith (Judith Light) that Emma gave John Ross the Ryland files — which Harris said contain “unflattering” information about Judith — Mama Ryland narrowed her eyes and began plotting. “I’m sure we can find something to compromise young Mr. Ewing enough to convince him to return those files,” Judith said. “And by ‘we,’ of course I mean ‘me.’”

What did you think of “Playing Chicken”? Share your comments below and look for Dallas Decoder’s critique later this week.

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 3, Week 3

Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT, Trust Me

Confronting the truth

Here are the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “Playing Chicken,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode:

Is Harris telling the truth? In “Trust Me,” last week’s episode, Bobby and Ann (Patrick Duffy, Brenda Strong) were stunned to discover Harris (Mitch Pileggi) was released from jail. When Bobby and Ann began investigating the circumstances of his release, they were summoned to a darkened warehouse, where a mystery man who identified himself as a CIA agent ordered the Ewings to stop snooping into Harris’s business. Harris emerged from the shadows and explained why: He’s secretly working with the CIA to bring down the Mendez-Ochoa drug cartel, and if Bobby and Ann keep asking questions, it could blow his cover and jeopardize lives. “They have pictures of our daughter — and you, Annie,” Harris said of the cartel. “Now if they find out who I’m working for, they’ll kill both you and Emma.” Should Bobby and Ann believe him?

What will happen to Judith? Earlier in the episode, when Harris learned Emma (Emma Bell) had agreed to give the Ewings access to Ryland Transport’s new drilling and cargo ships, he wondered if his daughter was still taking drugs and threatened to send her to a “secure therapeutic setting.” Emma retaliated by springing Judith (Judith Light) from the rehab hospital, and before Harris knew it, Mama Ryland had seized control of the family business. Judith made Harris take her to Mexico, where she met with the drug lord Luis (Antonio Jaramillo), negotiated a new deal to smuggle his cocaine into Texas — and then sampled the product herself. “Hot damn! Mama like,” Judith said after snorting Luis’s coke. Little did she know Harris was secretly recording the meeting. What will he do with the evidence?

Will John Ross “frack” Southfork? To finance the Ewings’ new Arctic drilling venture, John Ross continued to insist on tapping the oil under Southfork by using an environmentally questionable process known as “fracking.” He claimed the ranch’s oil-rich “shale formation” falls within his surface rights, so Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) asked seismologist Howard Rieder (Christian Clemenson) to investigate, hoping to prove his ambitious cousin wrong. John Ross tried to bribe Howard to make sure the test came out his way, but Howard confessed all to Bobby, who told him to keep the money and give him the test results straight. When the results came in, they showed the shale is indeed with the surface rights. “That settles it. … We’re fracking Southfork,” John Ross said. Will he?

What will happen to the ranch hands? When Heather (AnnaLynne McCord) heard the Ewings might frack the ranch, she angrily confronted Christopher and explained it would put many ranch hands out of work. Christopher explained that he and Bobby want to protect Southfork and invited Heather to the Ewing Barbecue, where she kissed him and told him she’d like to see more of him in the future. If the fracking occurs, will she still feel that way? And what will happen to Southfork’s other ranch hands, including Emma’s onetime beau, Bo (Donny Boaz)?

• Will Sue Ellen and Pamela discover the truth? Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) asked Bum (Kevin Page) to follow John Ross to confirm her suspicion that he’s cheating with Emma. Bum photographed John Ross and Emma cavorting in John Ross’s penthouse, but Bum lied and told Sue Ellen that her son “never went near” Miss Ryland. Instead, Bum showed the pictures to John Ross and told him to wise up and stop cheating on Pamela (Julie Gonzalo), who also began to notice her husband’s wandering eye. Will Sue Ellen and Pamela’s suspicions be proven correct?

Are Elena and Nicolas closing in on the Ewings? At the Ewing Barbecue, Elena (Jordana Brewster) snooped around Bobby’s laptop and came across an email to Carlos del Sol in which Bobby wrote, “Talked to Rhonda Simmons. She agreed to play ball with us about JR.” Elena showed the email to Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace) and explained that Rhonda (Emily Kosloski) was the witness whose testimony placed Cliff in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, on the night J.R. was killed. “That’s got to mean something,” Elena said as she studied Bobby’s email. Meanwhile, when Elena realized Nicolas would run into Carmen (Marlene Forte) at the barbecue, she reluctantly told her mother she was plotting against the Ewings but didn’t offer details. Carmen was aghast. Will she keep Elena and Nicolas’s secret?

• Are the Ewings closing in on Elena and Nicolas? Elsewhere, Christopher quizzed Nicolas about his business dealings with Cliff (Ken Kercheval) and realized the details didn’t add up. Christopher shared his suspicions with Bobby, who told him to go to Mexico to see what he could find out about Nicolas’s past. What will Christopher learn when he goes south of the border?

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

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 2, Week 11

Ewings, united

Ewings, united

Here are the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “A Call to Arms” and “Love and Family,” the latest episodes from “Dallas’s” second season:

• Will Ewing Energies collapse? In “Let Me In,” last week’s episode, the Ewings were shocked to learn the state was: a) blaming Christopher’s technology for the Ewing Energies rig explosion, and b) fining the company $1 billion. The family vowed to fight back, but the conspiracy against them was bigger than they realized: Governor Sam McConaughey (Steven Weber), one of Harris’s allies, covered up the truth about the blast, which was caused by Cliff and Harris’s bomb. Later, Ken (Lee Majors) sent Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) documents that suggest the governor is in Harris’s pocket, but it was too little, too late: McConaughey used his power to seize the Henderson drilling site, effectively cutting off the Ewings’ oil fortune as the deadline to pay the fine loomed. How will the family get out of this jam?

• Will Pamela turn on Cliff? The rig explosion caused Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) to lose her unborn twins, sending her into a depression. John Ross (Josh Henderson) comforted Pamela and told her the rig was sabotaged, which seemed to revive her fighting spirit. “Promise me that when you find out who did this, you’ll make them pay,” she told Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe). Once Pamela discovers Cliff (Ken Kercheval) ordered the explosion, will she align herself with the Ewings in their battle against him?

What will happen to Drew and Emma? Southfork’s newest lovebirds, Drew and Emma (Kuno Becker, Emma Bell), grew closer even as they wrestled with their inner demons. Guilt-ridden Drew hasn’t told Elena (Jordana Brewster) or anyone else that he planted the bomb on the rig. Meanwhile, after Sue Ellen spotted Emma in a bar getting high and flirting with an older man, Sue Ellen told Ann (Brenda Strong), who realized she doesn’t know her daughter as well as she thinks. Of course, this might be the least of Emma’s troubles. When she defied Harris’s orders to stop seeing Drew, Harris had the young man savagely beaten, then showed Emma the results of his handiwork. “No more looking for trouble, OK?” Harris sad. “Yes, Daddy,” she responded through tears. Will Emma really obey him?

Will Bobby solve J.R.’s puzzle? Carlos (Castulo Guerra), J.R.’s Mexican friend, introduced Bobby (Patrick Duffy) to Rhonda (Emily Kosloski), the mystery woman who was supposedly seen entering J.R.’s Nuevo Laredo hotel room on the night he died. Rhonda told Bobby she is the hostess in a club owned by members of the local drug cartel, and that J.R. wanted to speak to her because Harris frequents the club. She explained: “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.” Did she tell Bobby the truth?

Where’s Pam? Speaking of J.R.: After Bobby told Sue Ellen about her ex-husband’s master scheme, John Ross found a copy of Rebecca Wentworth’s will, which showed she left her estate – including her shares of Barnes Global – to her three children: Katherine, Cliff and Pam. “If we can get Pam’s shares, we can kick the legs out from under Cliff,” Bobby said. “That’s why J.R. wanted us to find Pam. That’s our move.” Has the time come for Bobby to finally confront his ex-wife?

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

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 21 – ‘Let Me In’

Dallas, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, Harris Ryland, Let Me In, Mitch Pileggi, TNT

You’re a mean one, Mr. Ryland

“Let Me In” solves the dilemma of who will fill J.R. Ewing’s boots on “Dallas.” The answer: the audience, at least for now. By shifting the focus to the “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery and its corollaries, “Where’s Pam?” and the Barnes-Ryland conspiracy, this masterfully crafted episode gives us a chance to piece together a puzzle and try to outsmart everyone else, just like our hero used to do. Despite my own attempts to analyze the latest evidence, I still have no idea where “Dallas” is going with all of this, but I’m having a hell of a lot of fun trying to figure it out.

Beyond the mysteries, “Let Me In” allows the audience to get inside the heads of several characters, beginning with Harris. His most revealing moment occurs during the scene with Emma in the darkened parking garage. They sit together in his SUV as Harris recalls the first horse Emma fell in love with as a little girl, and how it injured her when she ignored his orders to stay away from it. It doesn’t take long to realize the story parallels Emma’s relationship with Drew, who she is dating against her father’s wishes. This is why it’s so chilling when Harris reminds Emma how he had the horse put down (“that dirty animal”), and then flicks on his truck’s headlights to reveal Drew, lying on the floor of the garage, bloodied and beaten as two of Harris’s thugs hover nearby.

Everything about this scene is superb: scriptwriter Aaron Allen’s taut dialogue, Mitch Pileggi’s pitch-perfect delivery, Emma Bell’s convincing tears, the way director Millicent Shelton pans her camera across the garage and brings the SUV into the center of the shot. I also love how Pileggi and Bell are cast in a green glow, which lends the scene a kind of cinematic quality. The color might also symbolize the envy that motivates Harris. He doesn’t want Emma to stay away from Drew just because he believes the young man isn’t good enough for her; Harris is jealous of Drew, just like he’d be jealous of anyone who receives attention from his daughter.

This scene also resonates because it reflects one of “Dallas’s” central themes, which is how generational patterns are seemingly impossible to break. Cliff inherits Digger’s enmity toward the Ewings. John Ross strives to escape J.R.’s shadow while simultaneously trying to emulate him. Now we see history repeating itself within the family Ryland: Harris’s preoccupation with Emma is awfully reminiscent of his mother’s obsession with him. Yet it also seems as though Harris genuinely loves his daughter, even if he expresses it through control and manipulation. It allows us to feel a twinge of sympathy for him. (I’m not sure this show’s other villainous daddy, Cliff, loves his daughter Pamela, but that’s a debate for another day.)

Regarding Pamela: “Let Me In” does a nice job showing us her struggle to cope with the loss of her unborn children. In the nifty opening scene, we see alternating shots of Christopher tearing down the nursery at Southfork while Pamela assembles the babies’ room in her penthouse. She then sits alone amid the crib and stuffed animals, which tells us everything we need to know about her state of mind. It also offers a subtle nod to Pamela’s namesake aunt, who demonstrated similarly distressing behavior during her obsessive baby phase on the old show.

Rather smartly, “Let Me In” uses Pamela’s tragedy to generate sympathy for her character, who has engaged in some pretty unsavory practices since the new “Dallas” began. (In much the same way, Drew’s savage beating in this episode makes it easier to forgive him for his role the bombing of the Ewing Energies rig.) In this spirit, “Let Me In” also gives us the lovely scene where John Ross finds Pamela alone on her balcony, wraps his coat around her and brings her in from the cold. Allen, the scriptwriter, referred to this on Twitter the other night as an homage to “St. Elmo’s Fire,” but it also works as a metaphor for John Ross and Pamela’s relationship. These two bring out the warmth in each other. The passion they ignited at the beginning of the season has turned into something deeper, which is why the couple seems to have so many supporters among “Dallas” fans. I’m one of them. I started off rooting for John Ross and Pamela because I loved the idea of J.R. and Cliff’s children falling for each other, but now I see their relationship would make sense no matter what their last names are. They’re both driven characters with daddy issues. Of course they’d be drawn to each other.

“Let Me In” also gives us many moments of Ewing togetherness, beginning with the sequence where Bobby, Sue Ellen and the cousins huff out of the meeting with the state official who investigated the rig explosion. I don’t know about you, but I’m also enjoying the reprieve from Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe’s on-screen bickering; the scene where John Ross expresses concern for Christopher after the loss of the twins makes the characters feel like real, mature men. There’s also the terrific sequence where Sue Ellen warns Lee Majors’ character, Ken Richards, about crossing the family, which recalls one of Miss Ellie’s most memorable moments from the old show. I also like when Sue Ellen spots Emma in the bar, and when she tells Ann about it later. A lot of fans have noted the similarities between Lucy and Emma, but I wonder if Sue Ellen recognizes a little of herself in Emma’s self-destructive tendencies?

“Let Me In’s” other highlights include the arrival of Governor McConaughey, played to smirking perfection by Steven Weber, as well as the second appearance from Majors, whose conflicted character gets to become a hero when he alerts Sue Ellen to Harris’s connection to McConaughey. The captivating Emily Kosloski (Patrick Duffy’s daughter-in-law), in the meantime, does a brief-but-memorable turn as Rhonda, the club hostess who may or may not be the last woman to see J.R. alive.

I also love “Let Me In’s” two episode-ending montages. In the first, Bobby lets Sue Ellen in on the secret that J.R. was devising a master plan against the family’s enemies when he died. Duffy delivers his character’s recap over slow-motion scenes of Bobby and Sue Ellen examining the evidence. In the second montage, Harris sits in the governor’s office and gives McConaughey a lesson on the hunting habits of the Komodo dragon, explaining how it injects its prey with venom and waits for its slow death. As Harris speaks, we watch the Ewings make the unsettling discovery that the governor has used his office to stop the flow of oil from Southfork, effectively cutting off the family’s fortune.

This dramatic ending leaves me wondering how the Ewings are going to get out of this latest jam. I wonder something else too. What does Pileggi savor more: the nuts he’s munching in this scene or the delicious dialogue Allen has written for him?

Grade: A


Dallas, Ken Richards, Lee Majors, Let Me In, TNT

Enter the hero


Season 2, Episode 11

Telecast: April 1, 2013

Writer: Aaron Allen

Director: Millicent Shelton

Audience: 2.6 million viewers on April 1

Synopsis: The state concludes a technical glitch is to blame for the rig explosion and fines Ewing Energies $1 billion. After Governor Sam McConaughey forces him to resign from his post, Ken lets Sue Ellen know the governor is in Harris’s pocket. Later, McConaughey’s administration seizes the Henderson property, cutting off the flow of oil from Southfork. Bobby determines Christopher will inherit Pam’s share of Barnes Global if she’s dead. Harris has Drew beaten when Emma refuses to stop seeing him.

Cast: Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Emma Bell (Emma Brown), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Alex Fernandez (Roy Vickers), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Barnes), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Castulo Guerra (Carlos del Sol), Christian Heep (Travis), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Emily Kosloski (Rhonda), Lee Majors (Ken Richards), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Jack O’Donnell (Emma’s friend), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Natalie Quintanilla (Stacy), Jeffrey Schmidt (Scott Taylor), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Steven Weber (Governor Sam McConaughey)

“Let Me In” is available at DallasTNT.com, Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

‘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.