3 Days, 33 Episodes: Here’s How to Catch Up on TNT’s ‘Dallas’

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

Look back

Did you promise yourself you’d spend the summer getting acquainted — or reacquainted — with TNT’s “Dallas”? Did you fail to keep this promise? Relax: You still have time. Grab your DVDs and downloads and have a marathon of your own this weekend. Here’s how to watch all 33 hours of the show before the third season resumes on Monday, August 18.


Friday, August 15

9 to 11 p.m. Kick off your marathon on Friday night at 9 o’clock — the holiest hour of the week for “Dallas” fans — with a double feature of the TNT’s show’s first two episodes: “Changing of the Guard” and “Hedging Your Bets.”

Can you watch the former without getting chills when J.R. (Larry Hagman) doffs his cowboy hat, flashes his grin and declares, “Bobby may not be stupid, but I’m a hell of a lot smarter”? Can you watch the latter without getting choked up when our hero tells Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) she’s “still the prettiest girl at the ball”? Me either.


Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Elena Ramos, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, TNT

First time for everything

Saturday, August 16

7 a.m. Rise and shine, darlins! With so much “Dallas” to watch today, there’ll be no sleeping in. Resume your marathon with “The Price You Pay,” in which Julie Gonzalo’s character receives a smartphone pic of her husband kissing another woman. Get used to it, honey.

8 a.m. Have breakfast with “The Last Hurrah,” in which John Ross (Josh Henderson) squirts Elena (Jordana Brewster) with his hose. Insert your own joke here.

9 a.m. Have you done your workout yet? Download “Truth and Consequences” to your mobile device and head to the gym. Mitch Pileggi’s debut as Harris Ryland is bound to get your heart racing.

10 a.m. Got errands to run? Chores to complete? You’ve got one hour. Make the most of it.

11 a.m. We learn jewelry makes Ann (Brenda Strong) cry in “The Enemy of My Enemy.” Then again, doesn’t everything?

Noon. Grab lunch while watching “Collateral Damage,” in which Vicente Cano (Carlos Bernard) wonders if John Ross: 1) is a good dancer, and 2) has any oil in his pipeline. OMG, Vicente was such a flirt!

1 p.m. Tommy (Callard Harris) plants a kiss on Rebecca in “No Good Deed” — which is almost as creepy as when Nicolas starts smooching Elena in Season 3.

2 p.m. Bloody monkeys, Johnny Cash and the redemption of J.R. Ewing. It’s “Family Business” — one of my favorite episodes of this show.

3 p.m. Carmen (Marlene Forte) gets one of the crummiest chores in “Dallas” history — returning Elena’s engagement ring to John Ross — in “Revelations.” Also: More Johnny Cash!

4 p.m. Have you taken a bathroom break yet? If not, take care of that now, and then hurry back to your TV or tablet to watch the second-season opener, “Battle Lines,” in which Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) learns his wife is really his cousin. Ick.

5 p.m. In “Venomous Creatures,” J.R. saves Sue Ellen from going to jail and Judith Light discovers a taste for “Dallas” scenery.

6 p.m. Drew (Kuno Becker) arrives in “Sins of the Father” — his hair won’t show up for several more episodes — and calls John Ross “J-Ro.” Thank heavens that didn’t catch on. Also: Ann shoots Harris!

7 p.m. Has your family seen you at all today? Why not take a break from the Ewings and go have dinner with them.

8 p.m. to midnight: The next four episodes are a murder-a-thon, so brace yourself. Frank (Faran Tahir) offs himself in “False Confessions,” Brenda Strong kills it during Ann’s testimony scene in “Trial and Error,” Vicente bites the dust in “Blame Game,” and then the saddest shot of all: the death of J.R. Ewing in “The Furious and the Fast.”

Midnight. The nice thing about a late-night viewing of “J.R.’s Masterpiece” is that no one else in your house is awake to see you bawling. Once you’ve dried your tears, catch some shut-eye. Tomorrow is going to be another big day.


Dallas, Judith Light, Judith Ryland, TNT

Leg up

Sunday, August 17

8 a.m. You did a hell of a job yesterday, “Dallas” fan. Your reward: You get to start your Sunday with the wonderfully wacky hodgepodge that is “Ewings Unite!” Miss Ellie disinherits Bobby from beyond the grave, Valene (Joan Van Ark) reveals she’s as loony as ever and Cliff becomes the most hated man in the history of “Dallas” fandom.

9 a.m. Audrey Landers shows she can slink around a corner better than anyone in “Guilt and Innocence.”

10 a.m. In “Let Me In,” Harris reveals his fondness for: 1) TV nature documentaries, 2) Almonds, and 3) Hunting Ramoses.

11 a.m. John Ross and Pamela get wet in “A Call to Arms.”

Noon. You know what goes good with a nice, leisurely Sunday brunch? Watching Bobby take that badass, slow-motion walk away from Cliff at the end of “Love and Family.”

1 p.m. Christopher discovers the mystery lady under the big hat is not his mama in “Guilt by Association.” It’s not Aunt Katherine either, sadly.

2 p.m. Kevin Page joins Mary Crosby as an answer to “Dallas’s” most famous trivia question in “Legacies.”

3 p.m. You might think this would be a good time to take a break, but you’d be wrong. The die is cast and there’s no turning back, so keep plugging away with the third-season episodes, beginning with “The Return,” in which J.R.’s belt buckle begins wearing John Ross. Also: Hello, Nicolas (Juan Pablo Di Pace)!

4 p.m. Time for “Trust Me” a.k.a. “Judith’s Snow Day.”

5 p.m. In “Playing Chicken,” Professor Bobby Ewing teaches us about endangered wildlife.

6 p.m. “Lifting the Veil” is the episode that should’ve included Sue Ellen’s comparison of Emma (Emma Bell) to Kristin, but instead it’s the episode that gives us scenes of hookers in canine costumes.

7 p.m. Dinnertime! Enjoy a glass of J.R. Ewing Bourbon (surely you have some, right?) while watching “D.T.R.” After the episode, check your bottle and make sure Sue Ellen didn’t bug it.

8 p.m. Despite the title “Like Father, Like Son,” John Ross wants you to know that he is not his father! Also: Carter McKay has grandchildren!

9 p.m. Pamela rocks Stella McCartney in “Like a Bad Penny.”

10 p.m. It’s finally time for “Where There’s Smoke.” Southfork goes up in flames and you get to go down for a well-deserved rest. Don’t forget to watch “Dallas’s” midseason premiere Monday night!

What are your favorite “Dallas” episodes? Share your choices below and read more features from Dallas Decoder.

The Dal-List: 10 Reasons TNT Should Renew ‘Dallas’

Fired up! Ready to go!

Tanned. Rested. Ready.

“Dallas” fans know who killed J.R. and what happened to Pam, but one question remains unanswered: Will TNT renew the show for a third season? To help the good people at TNT make up their minds, here are 10 good reasons to give “Dallas” another year.

Ewing watch

Ewing watch

10. “Dallas” is TNT’s most-watched show (right now). TNT showed four original series this winter and spring: “Dallas,” the medical melodrama “Monday Mornings” and the cop shows “Southland” and “Boston’s Finest.” The “Dallas” telecasts averaged 2.7 million viewers, more than twice as many as any of the other shows. When you count DVR users who record “Dallas” and watch each episode within three days, the Ewings’ weekly audience rose to 3.5 million viewers. Now chew on this: the CW’s “Hart of Dixie” and “Beauty and the Beast” each average 1.5 million viewers per episode – and both shows just got renewed. What are you waiting for, TNT?

Roll on

Roll on, dude

9. Creatively, “Dallas” is on a roll. This show hit its stride in Season 2. The stories honored the classic “Dallas” themes, but with fun, fresh twists. “The Furious and the Fast” was like one of the old show’s Ewing Rodeo episodes, but with racecars instead of bucking broncos. “Who Killed J.R.?” echoed the most famous “Dallas” storyline of all time, but it was an even richer, more complex mystery. The new series has also expanded the “Dallas” universe by adding two more feuding families: the poor, proud Ramoses and the weird, wacky Rylands. The names may be new, but the conflicts – ambition, greed, lust – are “Dallas” all the way.

Love them Ewings

Love them Ewings

8. Critics love it. “Dallas” isn’t just adored by its fans; critics go gaga for the Ewings too. Season 2 scored an impressive “82” on Metacritic, which makes “Dallas” one of TV’s 10 best shows, according to the website. Variety’s hard-to-please critic Brian Lowry wrote the second-season opener “[clicks] on all cylinders, with plenty of bed-hopping, two-timing and Texas-sized dealmaking to go around.” In Entertainment Weekly, Henry Goldblatt praised the storytelling (“the plots are twistier than a fishtail braid”), while Jessica Shaw predicted viewers who watched “J.R.’s Masterpiece” would “shed enough tears to fill the TV legend’s ten-gallon hat.” She wasn’t kidding.


Consensus: “Dallas” is awesome

7. “Dallas” has something for everyone. Every Monday, I watch “Dallas” with the Twitterverse, where the kids swoon over hunks like Josh Henderson and Kuno Becker. And every Tuesday, I get a call from my mom, who wants to dish about the previous night’s episode, which she watches with her retirement community neighbors (“That Patrick Duffy is still so handsome!”). But “Dallas” doesn’t just bridge the generation gap. I talk to a lot of “Dallas” fans, and I know: This show appeals as much to blue-staters as it does to red-staters. Heck, if we want to break the gridlock in Washington, maybe we ought to make the politicians sit down and watch “Dallas” together.

Stay dry

Let the money pour in

6. The merchandising potential is enormous. The people who make the new “Dallas” have figured out something the producers of the old show never fully grasped: Fans don’t just want to watch “Dallas;” they want to experience it. HSN sells “Dallas” clothing and J.R.-branded bourbon is on the way, but that’s just scratching the surface. How about a “Dallas” soundtrack with all the cool music featured on the show? What about a line of John Ross Ewing prophylactics? Or maybe some Ann Ewing tissues, for those times when you need a good cry? Take it from me, TNT: There’s a lot more money to be made off this show. It is the Ewing way, after all.

All hail the queen

All hail the queen

5. Two words: “Linda Gray.” No one shined brighter during “Dallas’s” second season than Linda Gray, who delivered one amazing performance after another. Sue Ellen lost the election, maneuvered her way into Ewing Energies, fell off the wagon, flirted with Gary and Ken and blackmailed the governor into doing her bidding. Whew! Make no mistake: Gray has become “Dallas’s” star attraction. In the Washington Post, Hank Stuever praised Gray for discovering “new depth as an older and much wiser Sue Ellen. She is this show’s version of a dowager countess, and any scene she’s in is immediately improved.” We agree. Her performance alone merits a third season.

Mr. Cool

Mr. Cool

4. Two more words: “Patrick Duffy.” Patrick Duffy arrived on our television screens in “The Man From Atlantis” in 1977 and he’s pretty much been entertaining us nonstop ever since. “Dallas.” “Step by Step.” “The Bold and the Beautiful.” “Dallas” again. Does TNT want to be the channel to break this 36-year streak? I’m betting it doesn’t. Like Gray, Duffy just gets better with age. On the new “Dallas,” Bobby is still the good guy we know and love, but he’s also kind of a badass. Did you see that slow-mo walk he took after he set up Cliff Barnes in “Love and Family”? Bobby deserves another season to show us how friggin’ cool he is.

"Oh, my!"

“Now pick up my show.”

3. The rest of the cast rocks too. Besides Gray and Duffy, the new “Dallas” has the best cast on television. Jordana Brewster consistently delivers smart, convincing performances as Elena, Julie Gonzalo and Henderson are slyly charming as Pamela and John Ross, and as Christopher and Ann, Jesse Metcalfe and Brenda Strong are the best criers in prime time. “Dallas” is also the destination for television’s best guest stars. In Season 2, we got Judith Light as loony Judith Ryland, Lee Majors as dashing Ken Richards and Steven Weber as smirktastic Governor Sam McConaughey. Aren’t you eager to see who’ll show up next year?

TNT tradition

Traditions matter

2. “Dallas” is part of TNT’s history. In 1991, when TNT was three years old, the cable channel added “Dallas” reruns to its lineup and held a contest inviting fans to submit lyrics to the famous theme music. The winner: Brian McCullough, who I interviewed last year. His lyrics“Oh we own this / And we own that / As far as the eye can see! / From Texas soil / We pump Ewing Oil / Daddy Jock, brother Bobby / And me! / Yes, I’m J.R. / I’m known near and far / A rat in a town / That’s cat-free! / I make big deals / And I’ve got one that’s real / Merging “Dallas” with TNT!” See, TNT? “Dallas” is your heritage. And if the Ewings have taught us anything, it’s the importance of being true to your roots.

Dal-List - 10 Reasons TNT Should Renew Dallas 1

Make him proud

1. He’s watching. You know he is. Don’t disappoint him. Renew this show, TNT.             Why do you think “Dallas” should be renewed? Share your comments below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 2, Week 8

Oh, mama!

Oh, mama!

Here are the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “Ewings Unite!,” TNT’s latest “Dallas” episode.

Who killed J.R.? In “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” last week’s episode, the Ewings learned J.R. was shot and killed in a cheap hotel in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico. The police investigation concluded he was a robbery victim, but Bobby (Patrick Duffy) knew better. For more, check out my list of eight potential suspects, as well as the five burning questions surrounding “Dallas’s” latest mystery. Who do you think is responsible for J.R.’s death?

What’s in J.R.’s will? It isn’t clear what J.R.’s estate includes, but this much we know: the Southfork mineral rights were split equally among him, Bobby and Gary (Ted Shackelford). The surviving brothers recently joined forces to suspend pumping oil out of the ranch, which is part of Bobby’s effort to oust Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) from Ewing Energies. Now that J.R. is gone, who will inherit his share of the mineral rights and how will it affect the battle over the company?

Will Sue Ellen recover? In the aftermath of J.R.’s death, Sue Ellen continued to cozy up to Gary, hoping he’d side with her in the fight for Ewing Energies. Her ambition offended John Ross (Josh Henderson), who told her, “My father’s barely cold and you’re talking about already going to seduce his brother? Could you at least pretend to mourn him for five minutes?” Little did John Ross know how much his mother was hurting: On the night before J.R.’s funeral, she broke down and got drunk, then confessed her relapse during her eulogy for her ex-husband. Will Sue Ellen get the familial support she’ll need to climb back onto the wagon?

Will Gary and Val reconcile? It’s unlikely anything lasting will come of Sue Ellen and Gary’s flirtation since “Ewings Unite!” marks the end of Shackelford’s three-week guest stint on “Dallas.” Also, keep in mind: Tonight’s episode brings back Joan Van Ark, who’ll reprise her iconic role as Valene, Gary’s now-estranged wife, and Charlene Tilton, who’ll make another appearance as Lucy, their daughter. The question is: Will Gary and Val leave Southfork together or separately?

Will Bobby and Ann make up? J.R.’s death put additional stress on Bobby, who lashed out at Ann (Brenda Strong) for keeping so many secrets from him during their marriage. When she apologized and asked what she could do to “make things right,” he turned away. Meanwhile, Harris (Mitch Pileggi) arrived at Southfork in his sleek Lamborghini and pleaded with Emma (Emma Bell) to come home with him. When she refused, Harris told Ann, “Tell your husband that he has no idea what he started.” What will Harris do?

How will Emma shock us next? Speaking of Emma: That girl has gone wild! During J.R.’s memorial service, she ducked into a cloakroom and popped pills with John Ross. Later, they shared a bottle of booze and retreated to the backseat of a car, where he, um, welcomed her to the family. But John Ross isn’t the only man in Emma’s life: When Harris tried to persuade her to leave Southfork, Drew (Kuno Becker) helped Ann run him off the ranch. Could Drew be next on Emma’s hit list?

Is Pamela fed up with Cliff? When John Ross spotted Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) at J.R.’s memorial, he criticized her for reneging on her promise to share her piece of Ewing Energies. “John Ross, please. I care about you,” Pamela said. His response: “The only thing you care about is yourself.” Later, when Cliff (Ken Kercheval) showed up at the memorial, ranting and raving about the Barnes/Ewing feud, Pamela made him leave. “Daddy, that’s enough. Let’s go,” she said. Between Pamela’s feelings for John Ross and her anger at Cliff, could she be rethinking her role in the Barnes/Ewing feud?

• Who’s minding the store? We haven’t heard much about Ewing Energies since “The Furious and the Fast,” when the company-sponsored racecar scored a big victory at the track. This prompted flirty transportation official Alison Jones (Annie Wersching) to hint Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) will be awarded the contract to fuel the city’s municipal fleet. Meanwhile, with Elena (Jordana Brewster) out of a job, Drew persuaded her to help him drill their father’s land, although first they need to buy it back from Bobby. Will he sell?

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

Drill Bits: Who Watched J.R.? Funeral Episode Boosts ‘Dallas’

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Carmen Ramos, Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Elena Ramos, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, Jesse Metcalfe, Jordana Brewster, J.R.'s Masterpiece, Linda Gray, Marlene Forte, Patrick Duffy, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Fit for a king

J.R. Ewing’s funeral attracted 3.6 million viewers on March 11, giving “Dallas” its biggest audience of the season. Viewership soared 38 percent above the season average and included 1.1 million adults between ages 18 and 49, a demographic that advertisers pay top dollar to reach.

“Are these numbers spectacular? No. But are they promising? Yes, because this could be close to 5 million viewers [once DVR users are counted],” said Marc Berman, editor in chief of TV Media Insights, a top industry news site.

Last week, 2.8 million viewers watched the “Dallas” episode “The Furious and the Fast” during its Monday telecast on TNT, but over the next three days, DVR users pushed the audience to 3.6 million.

Increasingly, television executives take DVR numbers into consideration when deciding a show’s fate. Berman, a “Dallas” fan, said he’s “hopeful” TNT will give the show a third season.

The new “Dallas” debuted to an impressive 6.9 million viewers last June and went on to average 4.2 million viewers on Wednesday nights during its summertime run. In January, TNT brought the show back for its second season in a tougher Monday slot, where “Dallas” averaged 2.6 million viewers through March 4.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: Viewers in 20.5 million homes watched Bobby’s funeral on the original “Dallas” in 1985. It was the week’s seventh most-watched show, while the resolution of “Dynasty’s” Moldavian massacre (spoiler: they all survived) ranked third.

Who Killed J.R.?

Besides giving “Dallas” a ratings boost, “J.R.’s Masterpiece” also kicked off the new “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery, which is expected to dominate the remainder of the second season. If you haven’t already done so, check out my list of eight possible suspects. Who do you think killed J.R.?

Latest ‘Dallas’ Dirt

If Larry Hagman hadn’t died, “Dallas’s” second season would’ve ended with a triumphant J.R. taking over Ewing Energies, executive producers Cynthia Cidre and Michael M. Robin tell Entertainment Weekly’s Mandi Bierly in an interview that’s chock-full of good tidbits.

The “Dallas” duo also explain how they created the scene where J.R. is shot, as well as the special title sequence that opened “J.R.’s Masterpiece.”

Meanwhile, TV Guide’s William Keck has a preview of Audrey Landers’ appearance in “Dallas’s” March 25 episode. Be warned: The piece ends with a cryptic hint about Pamela’s storyline.

Honoring J.R.

The tributes to J.R. came furious and fast this week. One of my favorites was written by New York magazine’s Matt Zoller Seitz, whose piece ends with a lovely description of Patrick Duffy’s final scene in “J.R.’s Masterpiece.” I also appreciated Hank Steuver’s smart review in the Washington Post, as well as the fun list of J.R.’s 15 best moments from Bierly and her Entertainment Weekly colleague Karen Valby.

‘Dallas’ Among TV’s Best Shows

Speaking of TV critics: Did you know “Dallas” has one of the highest scores on Metacritic, the site that aggregates entertainment reviews? “Dallas’s” score is 82, which places it 10th on the list of the best TV shows that started within the past six months. Some context: “Homeland” and “Enlightened” are tied for first with a score of 96, while “Downton Abbey” – which, let’s face it, is just “Dallas” with British accents – scores an 83.

Now, How About Some Fun?

If you’re like me, you feel emotionally exhausted after witnessing the funeral of “Dallas’s” hero. So cheer yourself up by watching the fun-filled panel discussion that the show’s cast recorded March 10 in Los Angeles. Trust me: You haven’t laughed until you’ve seen Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe read John Ross and Christopher’s dialogue from 1980s “Dallas” scripts.

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

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

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

Who done it?

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


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

Pre-emptive shot?

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

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

Waiting to strike?

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


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

Protecting secrets?

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

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

Disgruntled dad?

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


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


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


Dallas, Pam Ewing, TNT, Victoria Principal


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

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


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

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


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

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

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 2, Week 7

Goodbye, J.R.

Goodbye, J.R.

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

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

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

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

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

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ Adds More Viewers in Week 6

Ann Ewing, Bobby Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, Elena Ramos, Gary Ewing, Jordana Brewster, Patrick Duffy, Ted Shackelford, TNT

Ewing watch

TNT scored 2.8 million viewers with its most recent “Dallas” episode, “The Furious and the Fast.” The audience for the March 4 telecast included about 890,000 viewers between ages 18 and 49, the demographic that advertisers pay top dollar to reach.

This is the fourth week in a row that “Dallas’s” audience has grown. It’s also the closest the show has come to matching the 2.9 million viewers that its two-hour second-season premiere attracted on January 28.

“Dallas” continues to get a boost from DVR users too. The previous episode, “Blame Game,” drew almost 2.6 million viewers on February 25, but by the middle of last week, DVR users had pushed the audience to 3.4 million. The haul included 1.2 million viewers between the ages of 18 and 49, a 10 percent increase from the previous DVR-fueled audience, and 1.5 million viewers between ages 25 and 54, a 15 percent increase.

TNT’s next “Dallas” episode, the star-studded “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” will be telecast Monday, March 11. The show’s competition will be mixed: CBS’s popular sitcoms “2 Broke Girls” and “Mike & Molly” are slated to be in reruns that night, while ABC’s “The Bachelor” will offer its season finale. Fox’s “The Following” and NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” will have fresh episodes too.

Larry Hagman Day

Speaking of J.R.’s masterpiece: Mike Rawlings, the real-life mayor of Dallas, has declared March 11 as Larry Hagman Day. Sounds good to me, although every day tends to be Larry Hagman Day in my world.

A Matter of Principal

In cast you missed it: Victoria Principal has dismissed the idea of playing Pam Ewing again. In a statement last week to Deadline, a Hollywood news site, Principal said she wishes to leave Bobby and Pam’s tragic love story “undisturbed and intact.” She added: “I made this decision a long time ago with a loving and respectful heart for ‘Dallas,’ Bobby & Pam and all faithful fans.”

What, No Prune Juice?

The latest addition to my husband Andrew’s “Dallas Drinks” collection: The Judith, a cocktail he created to honor Judith Light’s indomitable character, Judith Brown Ryland. The recipe calls for bitters and a tart lemon twist. How appropriate!

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

TNT’s Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘Dad! Dad!’

Dallas, Furious and the Fast, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson

Lost son

In “The Furious and the Fast,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, John Ross (Josh Henderson) is sitting alone in the Ewing Energies conference room at night when he receives a phone call from J.R. (Larry Hagman).

J.R.: Tell me what you know, John Ross.

JOHN ROSS: Christopher won the damn race. And don’t bother with the lecture because there’s nothing you could tell me that I haven’t already told myself. But there’s a play to be made with the woman at the DCT. We can fix this.

J.R.: Well, I’m glad to hear that. 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: What do you mean?

J.R.: Just remember: I’m proud of you. You’re my son, from tip to tail.

JOHN ROSS: Thank you, Daddy. It means a whole lot for me to hear you say that. [He hears two gunshots.] J.R.? Hello? Dad! Dad! [Softly] Dad?

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 DallasTNT.com, Amazon.com and iTunesWatch the episode and share your comments below.

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 2, Week 6

Mama drama

Mama drama

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

Will Ewing Energies survive? In “Blame Game,” last week’s episode, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) finally seized Elena’s share of Ewing Energies. Meanwhile, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) agreed to give Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) 10 percent of the company as part of their annulment. This means Bobby, Sue Ellen and John Ross each own a quarter of Ewing Energies, Christopher has 15 percent and Pamela owns the rest. Will this team of rivals be able to set aside their squabbles and do business, like helping Christopher win the contract to fuel the city’s municipal fleet?

Can Gary help Bobby? Tonight’s episode features a special guest star: Ted Shackelford, who’ll reprise his role from the original “Dallas” and “Knots Landing” as Gary Ewing, J.R. and Bobby’s middle brother. Each man controls one-third of the Southfork mineral rights, and in my recent interview with Shackelford, he revealed Bobby summons Gary to Dallas to form a voting bloc against J.R.’s wing of the family. In the past, Gary hasn’t always been the most reliable Ewing (his big weaknesses: booze and beautiful women). Will he come through for Bobby this time?

Who does Pamela love? After Pamela snagged her piece of Ewing Energies, she reneged on her deal to give a portion to John Ross (Josh Henderson). Pamela cited her unborn twins as the reason for her change of heart. “I don’t want to be at war with their father again,” she said. John Ross vowed revenge, but when Vicente (Carlos Bernard) took the Ewings hostage at Southfork, Pamela and John Ross opened up to each other and seemed to reconnect. So who does her heart really belong to: John Ross, Christopher … or daddy Cliff?

Are the Rylands out for blood? Bobby visited Emma (Emma Bell) and reminded her she has another family at Southfork. “If you ever need anything, we’re there,” he said. Later, Emma paid a surprise jailhouse visit to Ann (Brenda Strong), who finally began to bond with her daughter. But the biggest surprise was yet to come: During the penalty phase of Ann’s trial, the jury sentenced her to probation, which outraged Harris and Judith (Mitch Pileggi, Judith Light). Should Ann watch her back?

Will Drew catch a break? And now, let us consider the plight of poor Drew Ramos (Kuno Becker). A few episodes ago, he returned to Southfork after a long absence, eager to drill his dead father’s land, only to find out his family sold it to Bobby. So Drew went to work for his kid sister Elena (Jordana Brewster), discovered her foreman was up to no good and fired him, only to catch hell from her. To earn extra cash, Drew took a job driving a truck, only to get arrested for transporting stolen goods. He tried to do “the right thing” and signed a confession, only to discover John Ross was behind his arrest. As if all this wasn’t bad enough, Drew came home to Elena’s cottage after what was probably another bad day, only to find her in the process of being kidnapped by Vicente. So Drew did what comes naturally to people on “Dallas”: He reached for a gun and shot Vicente, killing him. This probably won’t please Drew’s parole officer, but will it at least prompt Elena to be nicer to him?

Where’s J.R.? Before Vicente ambushed Southfork, Bobby determined J.R. (Larry Hagman) was behind Sue Ellen and John Ross’s coup at Ewing Energies and went to question his brother, only to find his bedroom empty. Where did J.R. go, and how will it figure into the end of his legendary run on “Dallas”?

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