‘Dallas’ 2014: Remembering Those We Lost

Dallas, Denny Miller, Ed Nelson, Michael Filerman, Russell Johnson

Several people who contributed to “Dallas” died during the past 12 months. Here’s a list of those we lost, along with notable deaths that occurred among the show’s extended family. Click on each person’s name to learn more about his or her career at IMDb.com.

 

James Avery

James Avery

James Avery

December 31, 2013 (age 68)

Avery, who is best known as Uncle Phil on “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” played Fowler, the judge who allowed Bobby to keep Christopher in the 11th–season episode “Malice in Dallas.”

 

 

Jerry Biggs

Jerry Biggs

Jerry Biggs

Died March 30 (age 63)

Biggs appeared in bit parts in three episodes between 1982 and 1986, including playing a customer who flirted with Lucy at the Hot Biscuit in the eighth-season episode “Family.”

 

 

Lew Brown

Lew Brown

Lew Brown

Died July 27 (age 89)

Brown played Clarence, a Ewing Oil employee, in the seventh-season episode “My Brother’s Keeper.” He returned for two 10th-season episodes as Harrigan, a newspaperman who exposed J.R.’s connection to B.D. Calhoun.

 

 

Robert Cawley

Robert Cawley

Robert Cawley

Died June 23 (age 85)

Cawley played an instructor at the ice-skating rink where Bobby and Christopher met Lisa Alden in “Tough Love,” an 11th-season episode. He also played an oil field worker in the 1998 “Dallas” reunion movie, “War of the Ewings.”

 

 

Vince Davis

Vince Davis

Vince Davis

Died May 23 (age 59)

Davis played one of Sue Ellen’s business advisors in the 10th-season episode “Once and Future King” and a waiter who served J.R. and Wilson and Kimberly Cryder in “Hustling,” an 11th-season entry.

 

 

Michael Filerman

Michael Filerman

Michael Filerman

Died January 25 (age 75)

Filerman, “Dallas’s” executive program supervisor in 1978, later served as executive producer of “Knots Landing,” “Falcon Crest,” “Flamingo Road,” “Sisters” and other prime-time serials.

 

 

Med Flory

Med Flory

Med Flory

Died March 12 (age 87)

In the third-season episode “The Lost Child,” Flory played private eye Cal McBride, who J.R. hired to follow Sue Ellen when she began secretly seeing Dr. Elby. Other credits include “Lassie” and “Daniel Boone.”

 

 

Stefan Gierasch

Stefan Gierasch

Stefan Gierasch

Died September 6 (age 88)

Gierasch played Ben Masters, the storekeeper who helped Tom Owens seek revenge against Jock in the third-season classic “The Dove Hunt.” Other credits include a 1992 episode of “Knots Landing.”

 

 

Michael A. Hoey

Michael A. Hoey

Michael A. Hoey

Died August 17 (age 79)

Hoey directed “Missing,” a ninth-season episode, along with multiple episodes of “Falcon Crest” and “Fame.” He later produced several Primetime Creative Arts Emmy broadcasts.

 

 

Russell Johnson

Russell Johnson

Russell Johnson

Died January 16 (age 89)

Johnson, the Professor on “Gilligan’s Island,” played Sheriff Wyatt Mansfield in the ninth-season episode “Twenty-Four Hours.” Other credits include “Vanished,” a 1971 TV movie with Larry Hagman, Jim Davis and Denny Miller.

 

 

Dennis Lipscomb

Dennis Lipscomb

Dennis Lipscomb

Died July 30 (age 72)

Lipscomb played Nelson Harding, an IRS agent who helped J.R. pressure the Ewings to declare Jock dead, in the sixth-season episode “Billion Dollar Question.” His later credits include episodes of “ER” and “The X-Files.”

 

 

Ann Marcus

Ann Marcus

Ann Marcus

Died December 3 (age 93)

Marcus, a writer on “Peyton Place,” helped revitalize “Knots Landing” during its next-to-last season and co-wrote “Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac” with “Dallas” scribe Lisa Seidman.

 

 

Frank Marth

Frank Marth

Frank Marth

Died January 12 (age 91)

Marth played Dr. Sidney Grovner, Lucy’s physician, in “Billion Dollar Question.” He also played doctors on “Starsky & Hutch,” “The Six Million Dollar Man” and “Aloha Means Goodbye,” a 1974 TV movie.

 

 

Denny Miller

Denny Miller

Denny Miller

Died September 9 (age 80)

Miller, a star of “Wagon Train,” played Max Flowers, Cliff’s foreman at Gold Canyon 340, in four episodes during the seventh season. Miller and Hagman also did episodes of “The Rockford Files” and “Barnaby Jones” together.

 

 

Ed Nelson

Ed Nelson

Ed Nelson

Died August 9 (age 85)

“Peyton Place” star Nelson originated the role of Jeb Amos in the second-season classic “Bypass.” Nelson and “Dallas” producer Leonard Katzman also worked together on a 1955 film, “New Orleans Uncensored.”

 

 

Byron Weiss

Byron Weiss

Byron Weiss

Died March 14 (age 51)

Weiss performed stunts for “War of the Ewings” and two TNT episodes, “Blame Game” and “Guilt By Association.” He also worked on Jesse Metcalfe’s 2010 series, “Chase,” and the Katzman-produced “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

 

 

What do you remember about these artists? Share your memories below and read last year’s tributes.

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.

Dallas Parallels: O Mother, Where Art Thou?

Dallas Parallels - O Mother, Where Art Thou? 1

If Christopher’s search for Pam on TNT’s “Dallas” reminded you of Pam’s search for Rebecca on the original series, you’re not alone. There are several similarities between the two storylines — and also one big difference, reminding us how history never repeats itself exactly, even on “Dallas.”

This one is kind of complicated, so let’s take it from the top. Pam grew up believing her mother, Rebecca Barnes, died when she and her brother Cliff were children. Many years later, when Pam and Cliff’s daddy Digger died, Pam realized there was no record of Rebecca’s demise, so she hired private eye John Mackey to find out what happened to her mother. Pam was shocked when Mackey told her Rebecca was still alive; according to his investigation, when Pam and Cliff were kids, Rebecca ran away, changed her name to Rebecca Burke and married Houston industrialist Herbert Wentworth. Pam went to the Wentworth mansion to confront Rebecca, who initially denied that she was Pam’s mom. Eventually, Rebecca fessed up — it seems she abandoned her family because she was miserable being married to Digger — and Pam forgave her.

History began to repeat itself when Victoria Principal left “Dallas” in 1987. Despite the pain Rebecca’s abandonment caused Pam, the writers explained Pam’s departure by having her leave Bobby and Christopher after she was badly burned in a car accident. One year later, the producers brought Pam back for a single scene — this time played by Margaret Michaels — when Cliff tracked her down in Houston and begged her to come home. Pam rejected Cliff’s invitation, explaining that she had moved on with her life. Only after Cliff left the room did the audience learn the truth: Pam only had months to live and wanted to spare Bobby, Christopher and Cliff the pain of having to watch her die. Who knew Pam was such a martyr?

Of course, the audience never saw Pam die, so fans like me spent years clinging to the hope that Principal would one day reprise the role. Finally, the second season of TNT’s “Dallas” seemed to lay the groundwork for the second coming of Pam Ewing — and in a nice touch, the storyline echoed the past. Consider: Digger’s death prompted Pam to embark on her search for Rebecca. Thirty-three years later, Christopher began his hunt for Pam after another death in the family: the murder of his Uncle J.R., who was shot and killed while trying to track down Pam, hoping to persuade her to help stop Cliff’s war against the Ewings.

This is where the similarities begin to mount: Christopher, picking up where J.R.’s search left off, discovered Pam had changed her name to Patricia Barrett — just like Pam learned the presumed-dead Rebecca Barnes had adopted the identity of Rebecca Burke. Meanwhile, Christopher’s obsession with finding Pam started to strain his relationship with his fiancée Elena, who was distracted by her brother Drew’s role in the Ewing Energies rig explosion. It wasn’t unlike the situation Pam once found herself in, when her preoccupation with finding Rebecca took its toll on her marriage to Bobby, who was distracted by his brother J.R.’s role in the Ewing 23 explosion.

More parallels: In the TNT episode “Guilt by Association,” Christopher sat in a car and watched the Zurich home where Pam supposedly lived; the shot was reminiscent of the scene in the classic episode “The Prodigal Mother” where Pam and Mackey (Richard Herd) staked out Rebecca’s Houston residence. Also: Christopher learned Pam had married her plastic surgeon, David Gordon, just like Rebecca had wed Herbert Wentworth. And when Christopher rushed into the Gordon home to confront Pam, he was crushed to hear the good doctor say his wife didn’t want to see her son — just like Pam was devastated when she entered the Wentworth mansion and Rebecca rejected her.

This brings us to the point where the two storylines diverge. On the original show, after Rebecca denied Pam, she felt guilty and went to see her daughter in Dallas, where the two women sat on a park bench and Rebecca tearfully told Pam that she was, in fact, her mother. Poor Christopher never got a park-bench scene on the TNT series. Instead, he learned an uglier truth: Cliff had paid Gordon to lie and say Pam had changed her name and married Gordon because as long as everyone believed Pam was alive, Christopher couldn’t inherit her shares of Barnes Global. Who knew Cliff was such a monster?

Christopher’s search concluded on a heartbreaking note, but it’s probably the only ending that makes sense. Principal has made it clear she isn’t interested in playing Pam again — and recasting the part was out of the question since “Dallas” fans don’t have a history of welcoming new performers in iconic roles. (See “Reed, Donna”) Besides, even if Principal was willing to return, how could the show have justified Pam’s decision to stay away from her family for more than 25 years? Please don’t tell me Katherine has kept her locked up in a dungeon all this time.

As far as I’m concerned, TNT showrunner Cynthia Cidre fixed one of the old “Dallas’s” biggest blunders — the ham-handed writing surrounding Principal’s 1987 exit — and redeemed Pam by revealing that she was, in fact, trying to come home to Bobby and Christopher when she died. It’s sad, I know. But at least we have closure. How often does that happen on “Dallas”?

 

‘I Want to See Her’

Dallas, Pam Ewing, Prodigal Mother, Victoria Principal

Calm?

In “The Prodigal Mother,” a fourth-season “Dallas” episode, Pam (Victoria Principal) walks briskly into her bedroom, followed by Bobby (Patrick Duffy).

BOBBY: Honey, you’re all wound up. You hardly touched your dinner. Don’t leave tonight. Wait till morning.

PAM: Bobby, I’ve waited all my life to see this woman. [Retrieves a suitcase from the closet, sets it on the bed, unzips it]

BOBBY: Well, it would be better for her if you saw her when you were calmer. And what if Mackey made a mistake? And even if he didn’t, she might not be the kind of woman that you think she is.

PAM: I don’t care what kind of woman she is. My mother’s alive. I want to see her.

BOBBY: I just wish I could go with you.

PAM: Well, I’m sure the airline would sell you a ticket. [Begins packing]

BOBBY: Honey, I can’t leave now. You know that. Not with the wells still on fire. I’ve got Scotty Hawthorne flying in here with a crack fire-shooting crew. There’s too much going on for me to leave.

PAM: There always is lately.

BOBBY: Now wait a minute. You know what Ewing 23 means to us.

PAM: Means to you, not to us.

BOBBY: Honey, I have to be here to make sure that nothing else goes wrong.

PAM: Look, Bobby, I understand. I don’t want to burden you with my problems, okay?

BOBBY: Will you be home by Wednesday?

PAM: Probably. Why?

BOBBY: It’s this fundraising thing for Dave Culver. Daddy would like us to be there.

PAM: Oh, well. I’ll be home then. I wouldn’t want to disappoint your family.

 

‘All I Want From Her Now Are Her Shares’

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Guilt by Association, Jesse Metcalfe, TNT

Ready?

In “Guilt By Association,” Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) enters his hotel room as Elena (Jordana Brewster) is ending a phone call to Drew.

CHRISTOPHER: Hey.

ELENA: [Begins unpacking] Hey.

CHRISTOPHER: Who were you talking to?

ELENA: Oh, it was my mom. She wanted to make sure we landed safely. How’d it go?

CHRISTOPHER: My mother’s bank account is registered to her home address, a man by the name of David Gordon. Apparently, he’s an American. Used to be a plastic surgeon.

ELENA: Do you think Pamela lives there?

CHRISTOPHER: There’s only one way to find out. I’m headed over now. [Puts on his coat]

ELENA: Christopher, are you sure you’re prepared for this? Because if there’s anything —

CHRISTOPHER: I’m fine. [Turns away, looks out the window]

ELENA: You haven’t seen your mother in over 25 years. You must be feeling something.

CHRISTOPHER: [Turns toward her] Actually, I’m not. Because the woman I’m about to see ceased to be my mother the day she abandoned me.

ELENA: You keep saying that.

CHRISTOPHER: Because it’s the truth.

ELENA: But after all this time, don’t you want an explanation?

CHRISTOPHER: All I want from her now are her shares so I can take down Cliff. [Grabs his bag] Wish me luck.

ELENA: Good luck. [Kisses him goodbye]

How do you feel about Pam’s search for Rebecca and Christopher’s search for Pam? Share your comments below and read more “Dallas Parallels.”

Drill Bits: DVR Users Give the ‘Dallas’ Finale a Big Boost

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

Flying high

DVR users have been boosting “Dallas’s” ratings all year – and they didn’t disappoint last week.

“Guilt by Association” and “Legacies,” the last two episodes of “Dallas’s” second season, averaged 2.9 million viewers when TNT telecast them back-to-back on April 15. During the next three days, DVR users boosted the combined average for the two episodes to 3.8 million viewers, a 26 percent increase from the previous week.

“Legacies,” which resolved the “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery, performed especially well. When DVR users are included, the episode hit season highs in two important categories: It drew 1.9 million viewers between the ages of 25 and 54, an audience that TNT targets, and 1.5 million adults between 18 and 49, another crucial demographic.

TNT hasn’t announced if it will renew “Dallas” for a third season. Perhaps the cable channel will announce the show’s renewal at its May 15 “upfront,” when executives from TNT and sister station TBS will pitch their programming to advertisers?

Say Uncle

Who is Joaquin, the Mexican mystery man that Elena (Jordana Brewster) visited at the end of “Legacies”? Elena’s Twitter feed offers a clue. Here’s what she tweeted yesterday: “Can’t wait to introduce you all to my uncle Joaquin. He’s quite a character. And a potentially powerful ally.”

Meanwhile, is Ann (Brenda Strong) ready to get out of the Southfork kitchen? Here’s one of her character’s tweets: “I’ve been thinking about venturing away from the ranch, maybe get involved in some Dallas charities or politics. Sue Ellen inspired me.”

Let’s Play ‘Dallas’

When I was a kid, I used to play “Dallas” with my “Star Wars” action figures. Han Solo made a pretty good J.R., while the Bespin-gowned version of Princess Leia was glamorous enough to be Sue Ellen. Now it seems “Dallas” fans like me will be able to collect the real thing: Figures Toy Company has announced plans for a line of classic “Dallas” action figures, beginning with two versions of J.R. – “oil tycoon” and “Who Shot J.R.?”

No word on when the figures will become available. The company encourages fans to “like” its Facebook page for updates. Hopefully we’ll eventually get a Sue Ellen figure – complete with a flask and pearl-handed pistol.

And while we’re on the subject of “Dallas” merchandise: J.R.-branded bourbon will go on sale this fall. Plan accordingly.

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

TNT’s Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘This Drink … is For You’

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

Set ’em up, Sue

In “Guilt by Association,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Governor McConaughey (Steven Weber) is seated at his office desk when Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) enters.

MCCONAUGHEY: Sue Ellen, what brings you in from Dallas, huh?

SUE ELLEN: Actually from the Cayman Islands, where I had a lovely breakfast with Ken Richards.

MCCONAUGHEY: Good old Ken. [Throws his pen on the table] So how is he enjoying his retirement? Boy, I hope he’s wearing sunblock down there. As I recall, he gets burned easily.

SUE ELLEN: [Smiles] I gave him the news of the rig explosion that was sabotaged after all. And you know, he wasn’t surprised. I’m sure you weren’t, either.

MCCONAUGHEY: Sue Ellen, you know, I’ve got a charity function I need to attend so if you just kind of move it along –

SUE ELLEN: [Ignoring him, pulls out file] He also gave me a copy of a rather interesting document. It’s the initial findings report that was submitted to your office from TESHA’s investigation of the rig explosion. [Tosses the file on his desk, walks to bar, pours a drink] What I find very interesting is that there’s proof that there were two explosions. Proof that your office redacted and then refused to publish.

MCCONAUGHEY: Yeah, that is interesting, Sue Ellen. It’s very interesting. But you know what I think is even more interesting than that is why Ken would bring this to you when he knows that if he were to do that, he’d find himself in some serious trouble of his own?

SUE ELLEN: I gave him my word that I’d protect him.

MCCONAUGHEY: Well that’s very nice of you. I mean, it’s completely delusional, but it’s very nice. [Leans forward] Now you damn well that if you do anything with this report – anything at all – there’ll be nothing stopping me from taking Ken down.

SUE ELLEN: [Holding drink] I do.

MCCONAUGHEY: And yet you’re still here. [Leans back, notices Sue Ellen smiling] Oh, I see. Boy, Ken should’ve known better than to ever trust you. Because you can never trust a drunk.

SUE ELLEN: That’s right. And I have been a drunk most of my life. I used alcohol to allow myself to do things I could never do sober. Like lie and get taken advantage of by men like you. But today, I don’t need a drink. [Sets the drink on his desk] This drink, governor, is for you. You’re going to need it. Because now that I have the goods on you, you’re going to do what I want. [Sits across from his desk, smiles] So, let’s discuss eminent domain.

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 24 – ‘Guilt by Association’

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Guilt By Association, Jesse Metcalfe, TNT

Not the mama

Oh, how I wanted Victoria Principal to be under that hat.

“Guilt by Association,” the “Dallas” episode that promised to reveal Pam Ewing’s fate, ends with Christopher spotting the woman he believes is his mother in the lobby of a Zurich bank. She’s wearing a wide-rimmed hat and walking alongside the doctor that Christopher believes she married. Christopher runs after the woman, grabs her shoulder, spins her around and comes face to face with … a stranger. “Who are you? Where’s my mother?” he demands. Cut to John Ross and Pamela in the vault of another bank, where they’ve just stumbled across a death certificate for Pamela’s namesake aunt. “Christopher’s mother is dead,” Pamela announces.

Talk about feeling deflated! Don’t get me wrong: I’m not a blind loyalist to Pam Ewing. I adored the character when the original “Dallas” began but always regretted how the show turned her into the saint of Southfork in her later years. I suppose that’s the main reason I hoped Principal would reprise the role: so that she could take Pam back to her scrappy, sexy roots. And even though I read the actress’s recent statement in which she eschewed the idea of playing Pam again – and even though I remembered that the last time we saw the character, she was, you know, dying – I still held out hope that somehow, in some way, Principal might actually resurface at the end of this episode.

Of course, “Guilt by Association” leaves me feeling as disappointed for Christopher as I do for myself. He goes through this episode insisting the only reason he wants to find his mother is so he can get his hands on her shares of Barnes Global and stop Cliff’s war against the Ewings. But clearly this is about more than business for Christopher. We see his true feelings when he begins to weep after Dr. Gordon tells him that Pam never wants to see him again. We also hear the hope in Christopher’s voice when he catches up with the mystery woman and says, hopefully, “Mom!” Is there anything more heartbreaking than a Ewing who misses his mama?

This makes “Guilt by Association” another showcase for Jesse Metcalfe, who has quietly established himself as a forceful presence in “Dallas’s” post-Hagman era. But this episode is also historic. Pam Ewing, “Dallas’s” original heroine, is dead. We don’t find out the details of her demise until the next episode, “Legacies,” but there’s no doubt we’re witnessing a moment of consequence. Symbolism abounds. Notice how Taylor Hamra’s smart script allows Cliff’s daughter to announce the death of Digger’s. I also appreciate how “Guilt by Association” mimics “The Prodigal Mother,” the classic “Dallas” episode in which Pam goes to Houston to confront her long-lost mother, Rebecca Wentworth. Director Jesse Bochco even gives us a shot of Christopher sitting in a car, scoping out Dr. Gordon’s house, that recalls a similar scene from the earlier episode of Pam spying on the Wentworth mansion.

The other highlight of “Guilt by Association:” the sly, sexy confrontation where Sue Ellen marches into the governor’s office and blackmails him into abandoning his scheme to prevent the Ewings from pumping oil out of their land. The exchange reminds us how much Sue Ellen learned from J.R., but it also demonstrates how essential Linda Gray has become to the new “Dallas.” You could have given this scene to another Ewing, but would it have been nearly as much fun? I also love Steven Weber, who plays Governor McConaughey to smirking perfection. I hope he returns in the show’s third season. What a great foil.

“Guilt by Association” also gives us the cool car chase that ends with a signature “Dallas” fake-out – that’s not Drew on the motorcycle, it’s his very blond friend! – as well as a memorable guest turn from reliable Sam Anderson, who takes over the role of Pam’s plastic surgeon Dr. Gordon, played on the original series by Josef Rainer. Anderson also made a couple of appearances on the old “Dallas” as a cop who investigated the death of the star witness in Jenna Wade’s murder trial, beginning with a 1985 segment called “Dead Ends.” Come to think of it, that would have made a fitting title for this episode too.

Grade: A

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Dallas, David Gordon, Guilt By Association, Sam Anderson, TNT

Another dead end

‘GUILT BY ASSOCIATION’

Season 2, Episode 14

Telecast: April 15, 2013

Writer: Taylor Hamra

Director: Jesse Bochco

Audience: 2.8 million viewers on April 15

Synopsis: In Zurich, Christopher discovers Elena has been protecting Drew and sends her home, then comes face to face with the woman he thought was Pam. When John Ross and Pamela conclude Cliff killed J.R., they work with Bobby to plant evidence that will lead the police to Cliff. Sue Ellen uses information from Ken to persuade McConaughey to ease up on the Ewings. After the Ewings bail out Emma, she moves back in with Harris, who later finds her snooping in his office. The police nab Vickers after Drew plants cocaine in his car.

Cast: Sam Anderson (Dr. David Gordon), Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Emma Bell (Emma Brown), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Marlene Forte (Carmen Ramos), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Barnes), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Micky Hoogendijk (Mikki), Annalee Jeffries (Carina), Emily Kosloski (Rhonda Simmons), Lee Majors (Ken Richards), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Kevin Page (Bum), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Steven Weber (Governor Sam McConaughey)

“Guilt by Association” is available at DallasTNT.com, Amazon.com and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ Ends the Season with Bigger Ratings

Dallas, Guilt by Association, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes, TNT

Compounding interest

“Dallas” got a nice ratings boost on April 15 with a season-ending double feature that revealed what happened to Pam and who killed J.R.

“Guilt by Association” the first of the evening’s two episodes, was seen by 2.82 million viewers, including 1 million adults between ages 18 and 49, an important demographic in TV ad sales.

“Legacies,” the second hour, drew 2.99 million viewers, including 1.1 million in the 18-to-49 demo. This makes “Legacies” the season’s second most-watched “Dallas” telecast after the landmark “J.R.’s Masterpiece” funeral episode, which drew 3.6 million viewers on March 11.

“Dallas” averaged 2.7 million viewers on Monday nights this year, although DVR users who record the show and watch it later in the week have boosted its weekly average to 3.4 million viewers. “Dallas” averaged 4.2 million viewers on Wednesdays last summer, when there is much less competition on other channels.

TNT has not announced whether it will order a third season, but this week the Hollywood news site Deadline suggested “Dallas” is “a slam dunk for renewal.” Although ratings fell this season, the well-known “Dallas” brand generated strong international sales for the studio that produces the show, Deadline reported.

Name that Tune!

Dallas, Faran Tahir, Julie Gonzalo, Pamela Rebecca Barnes, TNT, Venomous Creatures

Liars

Forget “Who Killed J.R.?” Here’s the question “Dallas” fans really want answered: What’s the name of the song that kept popping up on the show this season?

You know the song I’m talking about. It was first heard in “False Confessions” when the police arrested Frank Ashkani (Faran Tahir) for Tommy’s murder. The song played again in “Legacies” when Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) planted the gun in Cliff’s trunk.

Here’s the answer: The song is called “Liar” and it comes from a band called The Unknown, a TNT spokeswoman told us yesterday.

The bad news: This appears to be an unreleased track. I can’t find it on iTunes or anyplace else. So if you want to keep hearing it, just do what I do and watch those scenes over and over.

Speaking of “Dallas” music: The song that played at the end of “Legacies,” when John Ross (Josh Henderson) proved again he’s his daddy’s son from tip to tail, is “Come Unto Me” by the The Mavericks. Meanwhile, the terrific tune that appeared at the end of “Love and Family,” when Bobby (Patrick Duffy) took that slow-mo stroll out of Ewing Energies, is “My Time Has Come” by The Bowery Riots.

Cidre Speaks

In case you missed it: “Dallas” producer Cynthia Cidre gives TV Guide the post-mortem on the second season, including her reaction to Victoria Principal’s statement-hear-round-the-world, whether Katherine Wentworth is really dead and those cocaine shoes. Earlier this week, Cidre spoke to Yahoo! about what we might see during a third “Dallas” season, including the possibility that – gasp! – John Ross might build his own house on Southfork.

Divas II

Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) had a good week: Not only did she track down Ken (Lee Majors), turn the tables on McConaughey (Steven Weber) and announce Cliff’s arrest, she also defeated sister Kristin (Mary Crosby) in Dallas Divas Derby’s second brackets competition. Get it, girl.

Killing J.R.

Last December, not long after Larry Hagman’s death, I asked three writers and a director from the original “Dallas” how they think J.R. should die. Now that the character has been laid to rest once and for all, it’s interesting to go back and read their ideas, which aren’t far off base from what ended up happening.

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

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 2, Week 12

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Jesse Metcalfe, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderosn, Julie Gonzalo, Linda Gray, Pamela Barnes Ewing, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

The end?

Here are the questions we’re pondering as we await tonight’s telecast of “Guilt by Association” and “Legacies,” the final episodes from “Dallas’s” second season:

Is Cliff headed for a fall? At the end of “Love and Family,” the second half of last week’s two-hour telecast, Cliff (Ken Kercheval) called in the loan on Ewing Energies and took control of the company. Little did he know Bobby (Patrick Duffy) has some of J.R.’s old tricks up his sleeve. Bobby told Sue Ellen that if the Ewings allow Cliff to believe he won, the family can take him down once and for all. Is he right?

• Will Christopher find Pam? After Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) discovered his missing mama may be living under the name “Patricia Barrett” in Zurich, he took off with Elena (Jordana Brewster) to find her. Will Christopher be reunited with Pam – or will Patricia Barrett turn out to be someone else?

Will John Ross seize Pamela’s shares? After Pamela (Julie Gonzalo) persuaded Cliff to give her control of Aunt Katherine’s third of Barnes Global, John Ross (Josh Henderson) married her to gain a foothold in the company. Will John Ross’s plan work?

Will Ken and Vickers help the Ewings? Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) has been searching for Ken (Lee Majors), hoping he can help the Ewings expose the link between Governor McConaughey (Steven Weber), Harris (Mitch Pileggi) and Cliff. Meanwhile, Drew (Kuno Becker) confessed his role in the rig explosion to Elena and went on the run to find Vickers (Alex Fernandez), who went missing after Drew implicated him in the bombing. Both Ken and Vickers are expected to appear on “Dallas” tonight; will they be found in time to make a difference?

Will Emma clean up her act? Emma (Emma Bell) told Harris she would move back into his house, then she got high and wrecked her car. Ann (Brenda Strong) refused to bail out her daughter until she agreed to get help for her addiction. Will Ann stick to her guns – and will Emma get help?

Who killed J.R.? Here’s my final guess. What’s yours?

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

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’ Draws More Younger Viewers

Dallas, Drew Ramos, Emma Bell, Emma Ryland, Let Me In, TNT

Young love

This week’s “Dallas” episode, “Let Me In,” was seen by 2.6 million viewers on April 1, the same number that watched the TNT drama the previous week. By one measure, though, “Dallas’s” numbers grew: The latest telecast drew more than 1 million viewers between ages 18 and 49, a crucial demographic for TV advertising sales. This was the fifth time this year the show cracked the 1 million mark in that category.

“Dallas” is holding steady in one of the toughest times slots in television. TNT shows the series Monday nights at 9, where it faces the second hour of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” which averaged 13.9 million viewers on April 1, as well as the second hour of NBC’s “The Voice,” which averaged 13.1 million. “Dallas’s” competition also includes Fox’s “The Following,” which drew 6.6 million viewers this week.

“Dallas” is getting a boost from people who record shows digitally and watch them a few days later. Last week’s episode, “Guilt and Innocence,” drew 2.6 million viewers on March 25, but by the end of the week, DVR users had pushed its audience to 3.3 million viewers, including 1.2 million between ages 18 and 49 and 1.4 million between 25 and 54, a demographic cable channels like TNT target.

Meanwhile, “J.R.’s Masterpiece,” the episode where the Ewings bid farewell to Larry Hagman’s famous character, was seen by 3.6 million viewers on March 11, but within a week of its telecast, DVR users had increased its audience to 4.9 million viewers. The audience included 1.6 million viewers between 18 and 49 and 1.9 million between 25 and 54.

‘Dallas’ Double Features

Call to Arms, Dallas, Governor Sam McConaughey, Harris Ryland, Mitch Pileggi, Steven Weber, TNT

Double trouble

Four episodes remain in “Dallas’s” second season, and TNT will show them during the next two weeks:

• On Monday, April 8, the cable channel will telecast “A Call to Arms” at 8 p.m., followed by “Love and Family” at 9 p.m.

• The following Monday, April 15, TNT will show “Guilt by Association” at 9 p.m., followed by the season finale, “Legacies,” at 10 p.m.

TNT is doubling up on “Dallas” to clear its schedule for the NBA basketball playoffs, which will dominate the cable channel’s lineup in late April and May.

Brewster Hits the ‘Runway’

Jordana Brewster will appear as a guest judge on the next episode of Lifetime’s “Project Runway,” which will debut Thursday, April 4, at 10 p.m.

Speaking of “Dallas” and fashion: If you haven’t already done so, check out my interview with the new show’s costume designer, Rachel Sage Kunin, who discusses the secrets behind the show’s wardrobe. Who knew the Ewings wore clothing from secondhand shops?

Bottoms Up

My partner Andrew, who blogs about all things food at Cook In/Dine Out, is serving up his latest “Dallas Drinks” cocktail recipe: The Emma, a fiery concoction inspired by Emma Bell’s what-will-she-do-next wild child. Make yourself one today; just don’t consume it with Clonazepam!

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