Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 37 — ‘Victims of Love’

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval, TNT, Victims of Love

A farewell to Barnes

“Victims of Love” puts the emphasis on corporate wheeling and dealing, but look past all the chatter about IPOs and SECs and you’ll see this is really an episode about the characters and their daddy issues. Pamela punishes Cliff by leaving him in prison, John Ross loses control of the family business by repeating one of J.R.’s biggest blunders, and Hunter McKay revels in the glory of simultaneously sticking it to the Barneses and the Ewings — something his villainous grandfather never managed to do. These scenes do a nice job mining “Dallas’s” rich history, even if you have to wade through a lot of high finance mumbo-jumbo to get to them.

The hands-down highlight: Pamela’s visit to the Mexican prison, where she finally confronts her father about his sins. Julie Gonzalo is moving as the betrayed Pamela, but this scene is mostly a master class in acting from Ken Kercheval. For three-and-a-half-minutes, he uses his wonderfully expressive face to telegraph all of Cliff’s emotions: his gleeful obliviousness when he receives the envelope from Pamela, mistakenly believing it contains his pardon; his befuddlement when he examines the document inside and sees it’s an old Ewing Oil land deed; his shame when Pamela mentions her dead babies. More than anything, Kercheval shows us Cliff’s pain when he sniffles, glances away from his daughter and says, “I’m so sorry for what I did. … I know I failed you.” Heaven help me, I feel sorry for the bastard.

Some “Dallas” fans don’t love the dark path Cliff has gone down during TNT’s series, but if you ask me, a jail cell feels like a fitting metaphor for a character who spent so long being a prisoner of his own hatred. Wasn’t Cliff always destined to end up like Digger, embittered and alone? Similarly, some fans are quibbling with the deed Pamela gives Cliff in this scene, saying it doesn’t square with established “Dallas” lore. I have no problem with it; the origins of the Barnes/Ewing feud have always been murky to me, and appropriately so. Besides, I appreciate seeing Pamela reduce the feud to its core — an 80-year-old real estate squabble. It makes the whole thing feel so petty and empty, don’t you think? The scene ends on a somewhat triumphant note, when Pamela tells Cliff, “You avenged the wrongs done to your father, and I’ve avenged the wrongs done to me by mine.” It might seem like Pamela is breaking Digger and Cliff’s destructive pattern, but don’t bet on it. If “Dallas” has taught us anything, it’s that the Barneses and the Ewings are doomed to repeat the cycles their forbearers.

Indeed, we see this throughout “Victims of Love,” which comes from scriptwriter Taylor Hamra, who penned last year’s similarly themed “False Confessions.” Here, John Ross erupts when Hunter points out the “poetic justice” of tricking the Ewings into giving up control of their own company, just like Hunter’s grandfather Carter did to J.R. in the original “Dallas’s” next-to-last episode. As much as John Ross worships his father, he sure doesn’t like it when people point out their mutual shortcomings, does he? We catch a glimpse of Hunter’s own familial neuroses when he answers a TV news reporter’s question by preening, “You’re asking me if it feels good to do what my grandfather never could, own the Ewings and the Barneses at the same time? Is that what you’re asking? Um, yeah, it sure does.” Later, Luis, the drug cartel general, sulks away from the tomato bushes when El Pozolero, the Mexican godfather, suggests he favors his other “adopted” son, Nicolas, over Luis. (Even gangsters have daddy issues, as my astute niece, a recent “Dallas” convert, points out.)

There’s much more to like about “Victims of Love.” I’m thrilled to see the return of the McKays, a family that played an important role in “Dallas’s” later years, which deserve more love than they receive from many fans. Melinda Clarke does a nice job stepping into Beth Toussaint’s shoes as Tracey — although truth be told, Toussaint was seen so briefly on the original “Dallas,” Clarke pretty much gets to reinvent the character from scratch. I also like Fran Kranz’s turn as the smarmy, Zuckerberg-esque Hunter; what a shame the character meets such a surprising (and grisly) end here. I also applaud Hamra’s script for getting the details right: In a cute exchange, Tracey corrects Bobby when he says she hustled a thousand bucks from him during their first encounter at the pool hall in the late ’80s (it was only $900), and the explanation that Hunter and his unseen brother Trip are Tommy’s illegitimate sons seems perfectly plausible.

Not everything here works, beginning with the drug cartel and CIA subplots, which remain out of place on “Dallas;” Judith Ryland’s antics, which have gone too far over the top for my taste (“Let’s go make us a drug deal”); and that business with the severed hands. However, the Ewing Global IPO storyline — as needlessly complicated as it seems — proves so absorbing, I kind of forget the cartel wants the company so it can be used as a tool to overthrow the Mexican government. The sillier stuff is also concealed by all the cool visual flourishes from Ken Topolsky, perhaps the new “Dallas’s” most inventive director. I love how we hear Christopher rapping on Carmen’s hotel room door, and with each knock, the camera zooms in a little tighter on the Omni logo. There’s also some nifty transitional shots using the Dallas skyline, as well as a neat special effect where the news report on Cliff’s fuzzy TV screen dissolves into Hunter’s sharp, full-color press conference. Even the Wolf Blitzer cameo is kind of fun.

Topolsky also delivers some lovely character-driven moments that shouldn’t be overlooked, including the scene where Sue Ellen counsels Pamela, the conversation where Emma warms up to Ann (even if she still can’t bring herself to call her “Mom”), and the quick glimpse of Emma’s eager expression when John Ross pulls up in the Rylands’ driveway. (You can practically read her mind: “Is he here to see me?”) I also like the way Harris touches Judith’s shoulder when they see the video feed of the bound-and-gagged Ann and Emma; it’s a credit to the great Mitch Pileggi that this feels genuinely warm instead of genuinely creepy.

In an hour about public offerings, it’s these private moments that stand out most.

Grade: B


Dallas, Melinda Clarke, TNT, Tracey McKay, Victims of Love

The return


Season 3, Episode 12

Telecast: September 8, 2014

Audience: 1.93 million viewers on September 8

Writer: Taylor Hamra

Director: Ken Topolsky

Synopsis: Nicolas and Victor undermine Bobby’s friend Cal, which allows Hunter to obtain controlling interest in Ewing Global on the day of the company’s initial public offering. The Ewings blame John Ross for losing control of the company, as does Nasir, who express his disappointment via text message. Bobby turns to his ex-flame Tracey McKay, Hunter’s aunt, and asks her to talk her nephew into revealing the truth about the cartel’s role in the takeover, but when Bobby and Tracey arrive at Hunter’s home, they find his dead body hanging from a noose. Christopher confirms Nicolas is Joaquin and his connection to the cartel and leaves Elena a voice mail warning her to stay away from him, but Nicolas intercepts the message. Bum tells John Ross that Harris is working for the CIA. Luis kills Candace and presents her severed hands to Judith. Luis also reveals he’s holding Ann and Emma hostage and threatens to kill them if Judith doesn’t double the cartel’s drug shipments. Pamela visits Cliff in prison, where she declines to give him his pardon and bids him farewell.

Cast: Jonathan Adams (Calvin Hanna), Emma Bell (Emma Ryland), Wolf Blitzer (himself), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Melinda Clarke (Tracey McKay), Juan Pablo Di Pace (Nicolas Treviño), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Marlene Forte (Carmen Ramos), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Ewing), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Antonio Jaramillo (Luis), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Fran Kranz (Hunter McKay), Judith Light (Judith Ryland), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Kevin Page (Bum), Gino Anthony Pesi (George Tatangelo), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Max Ryan (Victor Des Lauriers), Miguel Sandoval (El Pozolero), Summer Selby (police detective), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing)

“Victims of Love” is available at, Amazon and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Dallas Parallels: The Saboteurs

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

J.R. Ewing is a man of many talents, but he takes special delight in the fine art of sabotage. During the original “Dallas’s” seventh season, after Cliff Barnes blackmails J.R.’s secretary Sly into spying on her boss, J.R. retaliates by turning one of Cliff’s employees against him. J.R.’s ultimate goal: to ruin Cliff, once and for all.

The scheme begins when J.R. tricks Cliff into investing in some expensive offshore oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Once Cliff is leveraged to the hilt, J.R. bribes Max Flowers, Cliff’s foreman, to slow down the drilling so Cliff won’t strike oil before his bank loan comes due, thus bankrupting him.

This must be one of the dirty tricks J.R. teaches John Ross, because three decades later, the son pulls a similar stunt. It begins during the second season of TNT’s “Dallas,” when John Ross is secretly plotting to seize control of Ewing Energies from his partners, who include onetime love Elena Ramos. To nab her share, John Ross bribes Brian “Bubba” Davis, Elena’s foreman, to drill in the wrong direction on land where she’s trying to strike oil. By delaying Elena’s strike, John Ross hopes to prevent her from repaying a loan to his mother Sue Ellen, thus putting Elena’s piece of Ewing Oil in play.

Both storylines include scenes where the victims (Cliff, Elena) visit their drilling sites with their siblings (Pam, Drew) and talk about how proud their deceased fathers would be if they strike oil. The strongest similarities, however, are found in scenes where the saboteurs (J.R., John Ross) meet with the duplicitous foreman (Flowers, Bubba) to discuss their schemes.

In the 1984 episode “Turning Point,” J.R. ducks into a dive bar and sits in a booth across from Flowers, who worries a member of his crew will figure out what he’s up to and tip off Cliff. J.R. expresses confidence the plan will work and dismisses his enemy’s capabilities. “You’re just going to have to make sure he keeps getting the short straw. Hell, he’s used to that anyway, isn’t he?” J.R. says.

The parallel sequence is found in the 2013 episode “False Confessions.” This scene also takes place in a dive bar, where the principals sit across from each other in a darkened booth. Like Flowers, Bubba worries someone close to the victim — in this case, Elena’s fiancée Christopher — will figure out the scheme against her. Like J.R., John Ross expresses confidence the plan will succeed and takes a swipe at his rival. Referring to Christopher, John Ross says, “It’s good that he thinks he has a chance. That’ll make it hurt more when he loses.”

Originally, I ended this post by pointing out how J.R.’s plot fails, while John Ross’s plan succeeds, but as Dallas Decoder reader Stephan points out in the comments section below, neither scheme is particularly successful. In J.R.’s case, Cliff fires Flowers and replaces him with a new foreman who hits a gusher at the 11th hour, saving Cliff from bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Elena fails to strike oil on her land and loses her share of Ewing Energies, but only after Sue Ellen invokes a morals clause in her contract with Elena.

So more than anything, J.R. and John Ross’s forays into sabotage confirm what we already know: Like father, like son.


‘Someone Might Tip Him Off’

Dallas, Denny Miller, Max Flowers, Turning Points


In “Turning Point,” a seventh-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) enters a bar and sits at a booth across from Flowers (Denny Miller).

J.R.: Hello, Flowers. I hardly recognized you.

FLOWERS: That’s okay. Want a beer?

J.R.: Yeah, sure. If that’s all they got.

FLOWERS: [To a waitress] Hon, bring us a couple beers.

J.R.: So how’s everything in the gulf? Cliff Barnes ready to strike oil?

FLOWERS: Not yet. But the whole operation’s got me worried.

J.R.: Yeah? Why’s that?

FLOWERS: Well, you’ve been paying me a lot of money to slow things down. I don’t think I’ve been able to slow them down enough.

J.R.: Well, now, you’ve been doing a good job so far.

FLOWERS: Oh, I know. I’ve been able to miss the most promising geological formations. Barnes is so dumb, he doesn’t know that. But the crew is getting suspicious, and someone might tip him off.

J.R.: Well, you’ve just got to get rid of any potential troublemakers.

FLOWERS: Oh, I’ve been trying to do that. And I’ve hired the worst crew I could find. But you know, that’s hard to do. [J.R. chuckles.] Most of those guys are pretty sharp.

J.R.: Well, you’ve just got to hold it up for another couple of weeks at the most. Barnes is just about to run out of money.

The waitress sets two beers on the table.

FLOWERS: Thanks. If he was drilling any other tract, it’d sure be easier. He’s got possibly the richest tract in the gulf.

J.R.: Yeah, I know that. If it wasn’t, he wouldn’t be pouring every dollar he can get his hands on into it.

FLOWERS: Okay. I just wanted you to know that I’m doing my best. But sooner or later, even an idiot with a long straw could suck up oil out of that tract.

J.R.: You’re just going to have to make sure he keeps getting the short straw. [Sips his beer] Hell, he’s used to that anyway, isn’t he? [Chuckles]


‘He’s On Your Tail’

Dallas, Brian Bubba Davis, Matthew Posey, TNT


In “False Confessions,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, John Ross (Josh Henderson) enters a bar and sits at a booth across from Bubba (Matthew Posey).

JOHN ROSS: [Slaps an envelope on the table] Let’s call that your severance.

BUBBA: [Peeks inside] Much obliged, John Ross. But you should know that Christopher’s after me. He thinks you put me up to it.

JOHN ROSS: Just because he’s a pussy doesn’t mean he ain’t smart.

BUBBA: [Chuckles] You’re not concerned that he’s on your tail?

JOHN ROSS: It’s good that he thinks he has a chance. That’ll make it hurt more when he loses.

What do you think of J.R. and John Ross’s schemes against Cliff and Elena? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

Dallas Parallels: Teach Your Children Well

Battle Lines, Dallas, False Confessions, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

J.R. imparts a lot of wisdom to John Ross over the years — and like all fathers, sometimes he has to repeat himself before the lessons sink in.

In “Battle Lines,” one of the original “Dallas’s” eighth-season episodes, J.R. is leaving for work when he runs into John Ross on the Southfork patio. The little boy has heard Uncle Bobby is in the hospital after being shot and wants to know if Daddy is going to take control of Ewing Oil now that Bobby is sick.

J.R. sits in a patio chair, looks John Ross in the eye and gently explains that’s not how he operates. “There’s something I want to explain to you, son,” J.R. says. “One of these days I expect to control all of Ewing Oil, and Bobby won’t work there. He’ll be doing something else. But I want you to remember that he’s my brother — and I love him very much. And it just wouldn’t be fair to take advantage of him while he’s sick. That’s just something you don’t do to the people you love.”

This is a sweet father-son moment and a nice reminder that J.R. has limits. But how much of an impression does his lesson make on John Ross?

In “False Confessions,” one of TNT’s second-season “Dallas” episodes, Bobby is once again involved in a shooting — except this time, Bobby has been accused of gunning down archenemy Harris Ryland. The shooting occurs while J.R. and John Ross are plotting to seize control of Ewing Energies, and so John Ross suggests using Bobby’s arrest to gain leverage against him in their takeover scheme.

Once again, J.R. sets his son straight — but this time, he’s not as nice about it as he was when John Ross was a child. “You still got a lot to learn, boy. When the family’s in trouble, we don’t take advantage,” J.R. says.

To be fair, J.R. doesn’t always play by this rule, as Bobby and the other Ewings would surely attest. One example: In the TNT episode “Family Business,” when J.R. resists John Ross’s plea to give Southfork back to the cancer-stricken Bobby, J.R. snaps, “You’re confusing emotion with business.”

So much for not taking advantage of family, huh? Then again, this is J.R. Ewing we’re talking about. Of course he’s going to break the rules — even his own.

‘It Just Wouldn’t Be Fair to Take Advantage’

Battle Lines, Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Play fair

In “Battle Lines,” an eighth-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) stands over John Ross (Omri Katz), who is cleaning his bike on the Southfork patio.

JOHN ROSS: Are you going to see Uncle Bobby at the hospital?

J.R.: Well, I might drop in on him this afternoon. [Looks at his watch] I’ve got an awful lot of work to do at the office.

Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) exits the house and stands on the patio, listening.

JOHN ROSS: Maybe I can go to the office and help you.

J.R.: [Chuckles] Well, that’s a good idea. Maybe we ought to wait until you’re a little older, though, huh?

JOHN ROSS: Daddy are you going to be running Ewing Oil all by yourself?

J.R.: Well, I’m just going to run it until Bobby gets back. Why do you ask that?

JOHN ROSS: Well, you said you were going to run the company all by yourself some day and then give it to me.

J.R.: Well, I couldn’t take it away from Bobby while he’s in the hospital.

JOHN ROSS: But Mama said Bobby can’t see right now.

J.R.: [Sits in a patio chair] John Ross, there’s something I want to explain to you, son. One of these days I expect to control all of Ewing Oil, and Bobby won’t work there. He’ll be doing something else. But I want you to remember that he’s my brother — and I love him very much. And it just wouldn’t be fair to take advantage of him while he’s sick. That’s just something you don’t do to people you love. But when he’s well — and able to defend his shares in Ewing Oil — well, I’m going to fight for it. And of course I’ll win. Then I’m going to give you the whole company — and you’ll never have to share it with anybody. Now you understand that?

JOHN ROSS: I think so.

J.R.: Good. And you’ve got to remember: With family, you play fair. Because there are rules to follow. And if you do, you’ll be able to live with yourself.

‘When the Family’s in Trouble, We Don’t Take Advantage’

Dallas, False Confessions, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Fair play

In “False Confessions,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) is standing at his bedroom window, ending a phone call, when John Ross (Josh Henderson) enters.

JOHN ROSS: What’s going on?

J.R.: Bobby got arrested for shooting Harris Ryland.

JOHN ROSS: You serious? [Steps forward] You think that will help us get him out of Ewing Energies?

J.R.: You still got a lot to learn, boy. [Slides his cell phone in his pocket] When the family’s in trouble, we don’t take advantage.

JOHN ROSS: You got a problem with me?

J.R.: You damn right I do. [Steps forward] I hear you’ve been cavorting with Pamela Barnes. What do fathers say? I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed? Well, I am both.

JOHN ROSS: Who I cavort with ain’t none of your business.

J.R.: It is when her last name is Barnes. [Sits] What do you want with Christopher’s scraps anyway?

JOHN ROSS: I’m working her.

J.R.: And apparently not learning from your mistakes. You already got in bed with one crazy woman in that Marta. Not a good idea to get in bed with another one.

JOHN ROSS: I’ve got a plan to get her shares of Ewing Energies after the divorce.

J.R.: You let that Barnes girl get a piece of our company and you’re inviting a vampire into our home. She’ll suck the life out of us. That’s why I’ve seen to it that there won’t be a divorce.

JOHN ROSS: How’s that?

J.R.: I made a deal with Cliff’s man Frank. We’ve got a plan to take Pamela out of the picture.

JOHN ROSS: You must be getting senile in your old age, Daddy, because I’m the one calling the shots here. Remember?

J.R.: You asked me to teach you every dirty trick I know so we can take Ewing Energies. I teach by example.

JOHN ROSS: What do you and Frank plan on doing to Pamela?

J.R.: You got feelings for this girl?


J.R.: Then why do you care?

What do you think of the lesson J.R. teaches John Ross? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

Dallas Parallels: Rebels Without a Clue

Dallas, False Confessions, James Richard Beaumont, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Sasha Mitchell, TNT, Tunnel of Love

J.R. Ewing wouldn’t dream of betraying his beloved daddy, the mighty Jock Ewing. Unfortunately for J.R., his own sons have a bad habit of rebelling against their father.

In “False Confessions,” one of TNT’s second-season “Dallas” episodes, John Ross meets with Cliff Barnes to tell him J.R. is plotting against Cliff’s daughter Pamela. Cliff is suspicious of his longtime enemy’s son. “Are you telling me that you’re willing to betray your own father?” he asks. John Ross responds by explaining J.R.’s parental performance has been less than stellar, but Cliff is too blinded by his own hatred to trust John Ross. “You’ve wasted enough of my time today,” Cliff says.

The exchange evokes memories of “Tunnel of Love,” a segment from the original “Dallas’s” final season. In that episode, Cliff receives a visit from James Richard Beaumont, J.R.’s eldest son, who offers to give Cliff the evidence he needs (“incredible information, fully documented!”) to finally bring down J.R. But Cliff passes, citing two reasons: He’s skeptical of James (“Why should I trust you more than I trust your daddy?”) and he’s reeling from the death of April Ewing, Bobby’s wife and Cliff’s friend. Cliff kicks James out of his office, telling him, “Why don’t you take your fully documented information and go blow it out your exhaust?”

The two scenes reveal a lot about Cliff, who had mostly put his feud with the Ewings behind him when he spoke with James but was angrier than ever by the time he encountered John Ross. (What made Cliff so hateful? Could it be his hatred of the Ewings is another Barnes family genetic disorder; perhaps it went it to remission by the end of the original “Dallas,” only to flare up again in the years before the new series began.)

More than anything, these scenes tell us a lot about J.R.’s sons, who seem as oblivious as they are rebellious. James is aware of Cliff’s friendship with April; shouldn’t James have known Cliff would be grief-stricken in the aftermath of her death? Likewise, John Ross knows better than anyone how much Cliff hates J.R.; why would John Ross expect Cliff to trust the information he brings him?

Of course, these are sons of J.R. Ewing we’re talking about. The apple falls only so far from the tree. When John Ross tells Cliff that he’s looking out for Pamela, he can’t resist getting in a J.R.-style dig at Cliff, telling him, “If you had paid her more attention, it wouldn’t have come to this.” Likewise, when Cliff brushes off James, James delivers a parting shot worthy of his daddy: “You know, you’re as big a loser as everybody says you are.”

Something tells me that line in particular would have made J.R. awfully proud.


‘Why Should I Trust You More Than I Trust Your Daddy?’

Dallas, Cliff Barnes, Ken Kercheval, Tunnel of Love


In “Tunnel of Love,” a 14th-season “Dallas” episode, a depressed Cliff (Ken Kercheval) sits at his office desk, mindlessly tossing miniature darts at a tabletop board, when James (Sasha Mitchell) enters.

JAMES: [Smiling] Mr. Barnes, I’d like to talk to you.

CLIFF: Not really a very good time. [Briefly looks up, then tosses a dart]

JAMES: [Approaches the desk] Oh, I know. I just found out about April myself. You were good friends, weren’t you?

CLIFF: Yeah. Real good friends. [Tosses a dart]

JAMES: Well, look, I won’t take up much of your time.

CLIFF: [Sighs] Well, that’s good because I’m not really in the best shape right now. [Tosses a dart]

JAMES: I have a deal for you.

CLIFF: It’s a lousy time to try to make a deal with me. [Tosses a dart]

JAMES: It’s about J.R. I know you’ve been trying to bring him down for years. Well, I can make it happen for you.

CLIFF: Some other time.

JAMES: Did you hear what I said?

CLIFF: Yeah, I heard you. [Tosses a dart]

JAMES: Look, I’m giving you a chance to finally nail him to the cross. I’ve got incredible information, fully documented. We could take him down together.

CLIFF: Why should I? [Looks up]

JAMES: Isn’t it obvious?

CLIFF: No, it’s not obvious. You’re his son. Why should I trust you more than I trust your daddy?

JAMES: Hey, I hate him worse than you do.

CLIFF: Well, maybe that’s so. But like I say, timing is everything. And right now, your timing stinks. [Tosses a dart]

JAMES: What are you talking about? Hey, I’m giving this to you. I don’t want anything in return.

CLIFF: You know something? You’re not a bit more compassionate than your old man. Did you ever think of what Bobby’s state of mind is right now? And you want me to go gunning for his brother — at this time?

JAMES: This has nothing to do with Bobby.

CLIFF: That’s where you’re wrong. You just don’t understand. It’s a family. So why don’t you take your fully documented information and go blow it out your exhaust?

JAMES: You know, you’re as big a loser as everybody says you are. [Turns and walks toward the door]

CLIFF: One of these days maybe you’ll grow up. [James turns to face him.] And hopefully you will find out that revenge is not the most important thing.

James walks out the door as Cliff tosses another dart.


‘You’re Willing to Betray Your Own Father?’

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, False Confessions, Ken Kercheval, TNT


In “False Confessions,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, John Ross (Josh Henderson) arrives at a fairgrounds stadium, where Cliff (Ken Kercheval) sits waiting for him.

JOHN ROSS: Thank you for meeting with me, Mr. Barnes.

CLIFF: [Looks up] What can I do for you?

JOHN ROSS: [Sits next to him] I wanted to let you know that your guy Frank? He’s got a deal with J.R. Conspiring against your daughter.

CLIFF: Well, J.R. plotting against my family — that’s no secret.

JOHN ROSS: What about Frank?

CLIFF: Frank is like family. He’s been with me for over 25 years.

JOHN ROSS: Then he’s about to forfeit one hell of a pension. J.R. told me himself. I figured if there’s anybody that can stop him, it’d be you.

CLIFF: Are you telling me that you’re willing to betray your own father?

JOHN ROSS: Shouldn’t come as a surprise that his performance as a father hasn’t exactly gained my undying loyalty.

CLIFF: Aren’t you taking a dangerous risk being here talking to me behind his back?

JOHN ROSS: Let’s just say my interest depends on Pamela’s wellbeing.

CLIFF: Why are you so interested in my daughter’s wellbeing?

JOHN ROSS: One of us should be. If you had paid her more attention, it wouldn’t have come to this.

CLIFF: I took this meeting out of respect for your mother. You’ve wasted enough of my time today. [Rises, calls out to his henchmen]

JOHN ROSS: [Rising] You may not believe me, but you’re foolish not to check up on what Frank is up to with J.R.

CLIFF: [Glares at him] Goodbye, John Ross. [Turns and leaves]

What do you think of James and John Ross’s betrayals of J.R.? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)


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?


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.


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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?


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.

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 17 – ‘The Furious and the Fast’

Dallas, Furious and the Fast, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT

One last shot

We know it’s coming, but still it shocks us. “The Furious and the Fast” ends with the murder of J.R. Ewing, or at least what looks like his murder. It’s jarring, chilling, sad. It’s also a technological feat. The producers apparently created the sequence using recycled footage and audio clips, although the Hollywood trickery is probably obvious only to the most eagle-eyed “Dallas” obsessives. Yet as impressive as the scene is, it isn’t the only reason to admire this episode, which is one of the new “Dallas’s” most entertaining hours yet.

The historic final scene: John Ross is alone in the darkened Ewing Energies conference room, a drink in his hand, his shoes propped on the table. He receives a phone call from J.R., who wants an update on their latest plot against Bobby and Christopher. John Ross tells him the scheme failed, but J.R. is nonplussed: “Don’t you worry, son. I’ve got a plan. It’s going to be my masterpiece – because you shouldn’t have to pay for my sins.” John Ross looks puzzled and asks J.R. what he means. Another cryptic response: “Just remember: I’m proud of you. You’re my son, from tip to tail.” John Ross smiles, but when the camera cuts to J.R., the old man looks startled. Cut back to John Ross, who hears two gunshots and leaps to his feet. “Dad! Dad!” he exclaims. Then, finally: “Dad?”

“The Furious and the Fast” was filmed after Larry Hagman’s death last fall, and it appears as though the producers cobbled together J.R.’s final moments using bits and pieces from other recent scenes. The shots of him on the phone come from the “False Confessions” exchange where Frank calls J.R. to inform him that John Ross and Pamela have become lovers. (The original scene took place in J.R.’s bedroom; in the recycled version, the walls have been turned red.) Hagman’s dialogue, in the meantime, seems to have been pulled from a variety of episodes. J.R. delivered the “you shouldn’t have to pay for my sins” line in “The Price You Pay,” while the “masterpiece” bit comes from “Sins of the Father.” “Tip to tail” was memorably heard at the end of “Revelations,” the first-season finale.

I’m sure the “Dallas” producers would’ve preferred to film Hagman’s final performance as J.R. while the actor was still alive, or better yet, to never have occasion to create such a scene at all. This sequence represents their effort to make the best of a sad situation, so I salute them for coming up with something that not only looks and feels convincing, but also offers a fittingly mysterious beginning to the “Who Killed J.R.?” storyline that’s destined to dominate the rest of the season.

It also feels appropriate that J.R.’s final words are for his son since Josh Henderson sells this scene more than anyone. The smile that breaks across John Ross’s face when J.R. announces he’s proud of him is touching. You can also hear the heartbreak in Henderson’s voice when John Ross realizes what’s happening to his father on the other end of the phone. Credit also goes to director Rodney Charters, who pulls back the camera each time John Ross exclaims “Dad!” until we’re finally left with that wide shot of Henderson alone in the dark. The echo created by John Ross’s final “Dad?” is another nice touch.

Of course, even though I admire the audaciousness of trying to recapture the old “Who Shot J.R.?” magic, it’s a little unnerving to see the new “Dallas” shoot yet another character. J.R. is the fourth person on this show to take a bullet during the past eight episodes. It’s also worth noting how different this whodunit is from the one triggered by the 1980 episode “A House Divided.” Back then, J.R.’s shooting capped an hour in which several characters were each given a clear motivation for wanting him dead. This time around, there are no obvious suspects, although I’m sure they’ll emerge soon enough. Still, I wonder: What character in the “Dallas” mythology is big enough for this job? Who has the stature to take down J.R. Ewing?

I’ll save those worries for another day, though, because to focus only on the implications of “The Furious and the Fast’s” final scene would mean overlooking the rest of this excellent episode. Ted Shackelford’s return as Gary Ewing inspires many of the hour’s best moments, including his fun exchanges with Linda Gray. To get Gary to lower his defenses, Sue Ellen flirts shamelessly with him, allowing us to see a side of her that’s been dormant for much too long. How wonderful of “Dallas” to show that a woman in her 70s can still be sexy and playful. I also appreciate how Julia Cohen’s script has Sue Ellen and Gary acknowledge their past battles with the bottle, which seems to be a sly nod to the memorable scene in 1980 when Gary’s attempt to bond with fellow alcoholic Sue Ellen ended in disaster.

More highlights: John Ross’s bratty greeting to Uncle Gary (“Who the hell let you off the cul-de-sac?”) and Gary’s heart-to-heart with Bobby, when he reveals his fall from the wagon and split from Valene. Patrick Duffy and Shackelford slip comfortably into their familiar dynamic of the responsible baby brother and the all-too-human middle sibling. Isn’t it remarkable how two actors who look nothing alike can seem so believable as brothers? In my recent interview with Shackelford, he expressed his willingness to reprise his role beyond the three-episode stint that begins with this episode. Given how easily he interacts with Henderson, Gray and Duffy here, this seems like an idea worth serious consideration.

Indeed, if “The Furious and the Fast” does anything, it demonstrates how important it is to inject fresh blood (or in Shackelford’s case, familiar blood) into a show like this. I was apprehensive when I read last year about the producers’ plans to add newcomers like Kuno Becker and Emma Bell to the cast, fearing they would rob the core cast of screen time, which already feels too scarce. But I was wrong. Bell knocks me out as timid, confused Emma, and I’m completely charmed by Becker, whose effortless chemistry with Jordana Brewster might be the season’s nicest surprise.

Also fascinating: Mitch Pileggi and Judith Light as Harris and Judith Ryland, whose mother/son relationship grows weirder with each episode. (This episode’s best line: Judith’s frigid “Now pick that up” after Harris kicks over the chair in Emma’s bedroom.) Altogether, the “Dallas” cast now includes 11 regular cast members and several recurring guest stars, yet in this episode at least, no one gets shortchanged.

“The Furious and the Fast” also gets a big lift from Charters’ expertly executed racecar sequences, which generate genuine suspense and make the episode feel a little like this generation’s version of a Southfork rodeo. And even though it seems unlikely the city’s transportation chief would award Christopher the fuel contract on the basis of how many laps his methane-powered car can complete, you have to admit: The race offered a clever metaphor for the familial squabbling that is so central to this show. Like the Ewing Energies-sponsored car, John Ross and Christopher sometimes seem to go around in circles with their feuding, yet it rarely gets boring.

When I watched “The Furious and the Fast” for the first time the other night, I kept looking at the clock, expecting to see the show was almost ever. Some of this stemmed from the dread I was feeling, knowing this would be Hagman’s last episode. But my clock-watching was also done with a sense of wonder. This episode was so dense, every scene felt like it was bound to be the last one of the night. By the time those gunshots finally rang out, I was plenty sad, but I was also damn satisfied. J.R.’s final hour turned out to be one of “Dallas’s” finest.

Grade: A


Dallas, Furious and the Fast, Gary Ewing, Ted Shackelford, TNT

Return engagement


Season 2, Episode 7

Telecast: March 4, 2013

Writer: Julia Cohen

Director: Rodney Charters

Audience: 2.8 million viewers on March 4

Synopsis: Gary Ewing returns to Dallas and votes with Bobby to stop drilling on Southfork, which Bobby and Christopher hope will force Sue Ellen to return her share of Ewing Energies to Elena. Sue Ellen flirts with Gary, hoping to break his alliance with Bobby. Harris and Judith try to send Emma back to London, but she runs away to Southfork. At J.R.’s behest, Bum digs for dirt on Harris. Drew and Elena discover there may be oil under the land their father sold to Bobby. Christopher is poised to clinch the city fuel contract after the Ewing Energies car wins a big race. John Ross speaks to J.R. on the phone, but the call is interrupted when it appears J.R. is shot.

Cast: Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Emma Bell (Emma Brown), Kenneth Wayne Bradley (Jim West), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Barnes), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Cory Hart (Brett Cochran), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Judith Light (Judith Ryland), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Kevin Page (Bum), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Ricky Rudd (himself), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Curtis Wayne (Denny Boyd), Annie Wersching (Alison Jones)

“The Furious and the Fast” is available at, and iTunesWatch the episode and share your comments below.

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’s’ Ratings Rise Again

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes, TNT, Trial and Error

Feel that ratings momentum!

“Dallas’s” audience has grown for the second week in a row. The TNT drama’s latest episode, “Trial and Error,” was seen by 2.5 million viewers on February 18, up from the 2.4 million who watched the previous week’s telecast.

The “Trial and Error” audience included about 890,000 viewers between ages 18 and 49, a group advertisers pay a premium to reach.

TNT shows “Dallas” on Monday nights at 9, where it faces stiff competition from the broadcast networks and other cable channels. This week, “Dallas’s” rivals included CBS’s “2 Broke Girls” (10.3 million viewers), Fox’s “The Following” (8.4 million) and History’s “American Pickers” (4.4 million).

But DVR users are giving “Dallas” a big boost each week. The two-hour season premiere was seen by 4 million viewers within a week of its January 28 debut, up 36 percent from the number who watched on opening night.

DVR users who recorded Season 2’s third hour, “Sins of the Father,” and watched it within three days of its premiere boosted the audience to 2.9 million viewers, while DVR users pushed the audience for the fourth episode, “False Confessions,” to 3.1 million viewers over a three-day period.

Is She Back?

Everyone is buzzing about Jesse Metcalfe’s new interview with TV Guide, in which he drops a big hint about you-know-who’s possible return to Southfork. Is this the news “Dallas” diehards have been longing to hear?

Now It Can Be Told

If you’ve read Edward McPherson’s fascinating essay on “Dallas” in the Paris Review, then you know – wait, stop. What do you mean you haven’t read it?

The two-part piece, published in December, traces the evolutions of Dallas the city and “Dallas” the TV show. It pays special attention to the echoes between the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963 and the shooting of J.R. Ewing in 1980, examining how each incident shaped the way people see Dallas and the way Dallasites see themselves. McPherson, who grew up in Big D, will give you a new appreciation for all things Dallas, but don’t take my word for it. Go read Part 1 and Part 2. I’ll wait.

OK, now that you’ve enjoyed McPherson’s piece (I told you it was good, didn’t I?), you know that he spent time last fall on the set of TNT’s “Dallas,” where he got to observe production and meet the cast and crew. He even exchanged a fist bump (!) with Larry Hagman.

McPherson also describes how he helped the folks behind the scenes come up with a few words of dialogue. Now it can be told: The episode McPherson observed being filmed was “False Confessions,” which TNT telecast last week, and the scene that he contributed to is the one where Christopher interrupts John Ross’s conversation with Elena’s drilling foreman, Bubba, played by Matthew Posey. McPherson’s line, which Posey delivered: “But we’ve got a problem.”

“It was a total throwaway line, but fun nonetheless,” McPherson told me last week. He said he’s happy the episode has finally been shown, adding that he was “quite good about keeping the spoilers to myself.”

McPherson also said he’d love to hear what “Dallas” fans think of his essay, so be sure to share your feedback in the comments sections that accompany parts 1 and 2.

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

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 2, Week 4

Too little too late?

Too little too late?

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

Will the police believe Ann or Harris? In last week’s episode, “False Confessions,” Bobby (Patrick Duffy) tried to protect Ann by confessing to shooting Harris. Meanwhile, as Harris lay in a coma, his mother Judith (Judith Light) vowed revenge. “I will make sure Bobby goes to jail, take him from Ann the way she took you from me,” she whispered into her son’s ear. After Bobby was arrested and freed on $1 million bail, Ann (Brenda Strong) persuaded him to recant his confession, then told family lawyer Lou (Glenn Morshower) the truth: that she shot Harris. There was just one problem: When Harris (Mitch Pileggi) woke up and the police asked him to name his assailant, he lied. “It was Bobby Ewing,” Harris said as Judith smiled. So which Ewing will go on trial – Bobby or Ann?

Has Pamela ruined all of her relationships? After J.R. and Frank conspired to expose Pamela’s role in Tommy’s death, Cliff (Ken Kercheval) turned the tables on them. Cliff framed Frank (Faran Tahir) for the shooting, then persuaded his “son” to fall on his sword for the good of the Barnes family. When Frank went before the judge, he lied and said he shot Tommy – then admitted to killing Becky, swallowed a poison pill and died. Elsewhere, Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) – sensing that John Ross (Josh Henderson) was falling for her – rejected his offer to help, while Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) was outraged to see her beat the rap for Tommy’s death. So, to recap: Pamela has angered her father, alienated her lover and made her estranged husband madder than ever. Can any of her relationships be saved?

• Will John Ross regret betraying J.R.? J.R. (Larry Hagman) learned John Ross was “cavorting” with Pamela and ordered him to stop, but John Ross refused and turned to Cliff, tipping him off that Frank was in cahoots with J.R. What will happen when J.R. learns his son sold him out?

Will Elena strike oil? John Ross bribed Elena’s foreman to sabotage the Henderson drilling site, hoping it will cause her to miss the deadline to strike oil and repay her loan to Sue Ellen (Linda Gray). Unfortunately for John Ross, Elena’s brother Drew (Kuno Becker) realized the foreman was up to no good and fired him. Will this give Elena (Jordana Brewster) time to get her project back on track – or will Sue Ellen end up calling in the loan and seizing Elena’s share of Ewing Energies?

What’s Drew up to? Speaking of Elena’s brother: Clyde (Brett Brock), John Ross’s private eye, watched Drew go to the outskirts of Dallas, where he met a truck driver and had a cryptic conversation about “the boss” they share. The driver tossed Drew the keys, and then Drew climbed into the truck and drove away. Where was he headed – and who is his mysterious employer?

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

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’s’ Ratings Rise During Week 3

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, False Confessions, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Relax. The numbers will go up.

More viewers made time for “Dallas” this week.

TNT’s telecast of the latest episode, “False Confessions,” was seen by 2.4 million viewers on Feb. 11. The audience grew almost 10 percent from the previous week’s telecast.

“Dallas” is also getting a healthy boost from DVR users. The two-hour season opener – comprised of back-to-back telecasts of “Battle Lines” and “Venomous Creatures” – was seen by 2.9 million viewers on January 28, although the audience soared to 3.7 million when people who recorded the show and watched it a few days later were counted.

The second season’s third episode, “Sins of the Father,” was seen by 2.2 million viewers on Feb. 4, but by the end of the week, DVR users had increased the audience to 2.9 million.

“Dallas’s” first season averaged 4.2 million viewers on Wednesday nights last summer, although DVR users boosted its weekly haul to 6.1 million.

In last week’s edition of “Drill Bits,” TV ratings expert Marc Berman said a decline was expected since “Dallas” is now being telecast on Mondays in the winter, when it faces tougher competition on the broadcast networks.

Strong Speaks

Dallas Decoder was lucky to participate in a press call last week with Brenda Strong, who dished on her character Ann’s recent shooting of ex-husband Harris, “Dallas’s” ratings, working with Larry Hagman and more. If you haven’t already read it, be sure to check it out.

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

TNT’s Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘You Got a Lot to Learn, Boy’

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

Family man

In “False Confessions,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, J.R. (Larry Hagman) is standing at his bedroom window, ending a phone call, when John Ross (Josh Henderson) enters.

JOHN ROSS: What’s going on?

J.R.: Bobby got arrested for shooting Harris Ryland.

JOHN ROSS: You serious? [Steps forward] You think that will help us get him out of Ewing Energies?

J.R.: You still got a lot to learn, boy. [Slides his cell phone in his pocket] When the family’s in trouble, we don’t take advantage.

JOHN ROSS: You got a problem with me?

J.R.: You damn right I do. [Steps forward] I hear you’ve been cavorting with Pamela Barnes. What do fathers say? I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed? Well, I am both.

JOHN ROSS: Who I cavort with ain’t none of your business.

J.R.: It is when her last name is Barnes. [Sits] What do you want with Christopher’s scraps anyway?

JOHN ROSS: I’m working her.

J.R.: And apparently not learning from your mistakes. You already got in bed with one crazy woman in that Marta. Not a good idea to get in bed with another one.

JOHN ROSS: I’ve got a plan to get her shares of Ewing Energies after the divorce.

J.R.: You let that Barnes girl get a piece of our company and you’re inviting a vampire into our home. She’ll suck the life out of us. That’s why I’ve seen to it that there won’t be a divorce.

JOHN ROSS: How’s that?

J.R.: I made a deal with Cliff’s man Frank. We’ve got a plan to take Pamela out of the picture.

JOHN ROSS: You must be getting senile in your old age, Daddy, because I’m the one calling the shots here. Remember?

J.R.: You asked me to teach you every dirty trick I know so we can take Ewing Energies. I teach by example.

JOHN ROSS: What do you and Frank plan on doing to Pamela?

J.R.: You got feelings for this girl?


J.R.: Then why do you care?