The Dal-List: Kristin Shepard’s 13 Greatest Moments

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby

Thanks for the memories, darlin’

Dallas Decoder kicks off its newest periodic feature, “The Dal-List,” with a look back at the 13 most memorable moments featuring “Dallas” vixen Kristin Shepard, played by the magnificent Mary Crosby.

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Rudy Millington, Terry Lester

Clothes call

13. Leaving Rudy. Feeling neglected by J.R. (Larry Hagman), Kristin turned to old flame Rudy Millington (Terry Lester) – and for a moment, it looked like she was going to allow him to make an honest woman of her. Then J.R. showed up, interrupting their post coital bliss. Before this embarrassing scene was over, Kristin had chosen J.R., leaving poor Rudy with a broken heart, no job – and possibly no pants. (“Return Engagements”)

Conundrum, Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby

Of vice and men

12. Scamming Judge Smith. A decade after Kristin’s death, an “angel” showed J.R. what life would have been like if he had never been born, including the revelation that Kristin became a cop. J.R. watched her bust grandfatherly Judge Smith (James T. Callahan) for solicitation – but it turned out the badge was fake: Kristin was really a con artist who preyed on powerful men. Guess she was destined to be bad. (“Conundrum”)

Dallas, Don Starr, Jordan Lee, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby

Daddy day scare

11. Bilking Jordan. After giving birth in California, Kristin sashays back to Dallas and makes a phone call. “The baby … looks just like you,” she coos. The audience is led to believe the person on the other end of the line is J.R. – so imagine our surprise when it turns out to be rival oilman Jordan Lee (Don Starr). It seems Kristin lied to Jordan, telling him he was her child’s father – just so she could bilk him for hush money. (“Full Circle”)

Bobby Ewing, Colleen Camp, Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Sue Ellen's Sister

Buckle up, Bob

10. Charming Bobby. Kristin (Colleen Camp) paid her first visit to Southfork just as Bobby and Pam (Patrick Duffy, Victoria Principal) were hitting a rough patch – so J.R. naturally encouraged his wife’s little sister to seduce his baby brother. Kristin obliged, charming Bobby with her clever wit and tight sweaters. Then Bobby and Pam made up, leaving Kristin free to pursue the brother she wanted all along. (“Sue Ellen’s Sister”)

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Power Play

See what develops

9. Exposing Lucy. The only person Kristin despised more than Lucy (Charlene Tilton) was J.R.’s protégé Alan Beam (Randolph Powell), so when Kristin saw Lucy and Alan canoodling at a roller disco, she did what came naturally: She reached for the nearest Polaroid and started snapping pictures. Kristin hoped exposing Lucy and Alan’s secret affair would get them in trouble. It didn’t work out that way, but it still caused lots of drama. (“Power Play”)

Dallas, Knots Landing, Krisitn Shepard, Joan Van Ark, Mary Crosby, Valene Ewing

Lap it up, Val

8. Befriending Val. After wearing out her welcome in Dallas, Kristin headed to Knots Landing, where she got busy wrecking the marriage of those nice young suburbanites, Kenny and Ginger Ward (James Houghton, Kim Lankford). Soon, Valene (Joan Van Ark) was confronting Kristin, who confessed she was pregnant and afraid for her future. It was a rare and moving glimpse into Kristin’s soul. Who knew she even had one? (“Kristin”)

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Linda Gray, Mary Crosby, Silent Killer

Sister, sister

7. Taunting Sue Ellen. Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) was suffering major post-partum depression when Kristin started flirting with J.R. So you couldn’t blame big sis for being suspicious when Kristin popped into her bedroom one evening to see if she’d be joining the rest of the family for dinner. “Were you thinking of occupying my chair?” Sue Ellen seethed. “Somebody will if you don’t pull yourself together,” Kristin sneered. (“The Silent Killer”)

Dallas, Divorce Ewing Style, Kristin Shepard, Linda Gray, Mary Crosby, Sue Ellen Ewing

Spill life

6. Drenching Sue Ellen. Oh, look: Sue Ellen and Kristin are in a posh restaurant, toasting their renewed friendship. Nice to see them getting along, isn’t it? Whoops, klutzy Kristin just spilled her cocktail in Sue Ellen’s lap. If she’s not careful, the Ewings are going to smell the booze and begin to suspect Sue Ellen has fallen off the wagon. Wait, what’s that you say? That was Kristin’s plan all along? What a hussy! (“Divorce, Ewing Style”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Kristin Shepard, Larry Hagman, Mary Crosby

If smirks could kill

5. Seducing J.R. Once J.R. hired Kristin as his new secretary, it didn’t take her long to figure out his scheme to secretly mortgage Southfork. She threatened to spill the beans to Jock and Bobby – unless J.R. slept with her. Turns out she didn’t need to ask twice. “Kristin,” J.R. said as he took her in his arms, “with your mind and your body, it just might take me a lifetime to figure you out.” Cost him his life is more like it. (“The Kristin Affair”)

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Nightmare

Move over, Florence Nightingale

4. Mocking J.R. While recovering in the hospital from his shooting, J.R. was surprised to receive a visit from Kristin, who was still in town after his goons failed to run her off. “Don’t you worry, Kristin. When I get out of here, you’ll get yours,” J.R. warned. “I know I will,” she smirked as she looked his paralyzed body up and down. “But not from you. That’s for sure.” J.R.’s under-his-breath response after she left the room: “Bitch.” (“Nightmare”)

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Gone But Not Forgotten, J.R. Ewing, Ken Kercheval, Kristin Shepard, Larry Hagman, Mary Crosby

Is it really that black and white?

3. Scandalizing J.R. After giving birth to the son she claimed was J.R.’s, Kristin showed up at Southfork demanding more “child support.” Next thing you know, Cliff was fishing her dead body out of the swimming pool and claiming J.R. had murdered her. Before all was said and done, J.R. was being hauled into court to prove his innocence. Even in death, Kristin was still causing him trouble. That’s our girl! (“Gone But Not Forgotten”)

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Who Done It?, Who Shot J.R.?

She bangs

2. Shooting J.R. No one knew whodunit when J.R. was gunned down in his office. Then the weapon was discovered in his bedroom closet. The cops arrested Sue Ellen, who figured out Kristin was framing her and made little sister confess. Of course, Kristin had a get-out-of-jail card: She was pregnant with J.R.’s love child. Fed up with her drama, J.R. finally exiled Kristin to California. Too bad she didn’t stay there. (“Who Done It?”)

Dallas, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby

Wait ’til you see him grown up!

1. Birthing Christopher. OK, we never actually saw this on screen, but so what? After miscarrying J.R.’s baby, Kristin got pregnant by sleazy Jeff Farraday (Art Hindle), who sold their child, Christopher, to Bobby after Miss Shepard took her deadly dive into the Southfork swimming pool. So when you think about it, Kristin is responsible for giving us Jesse Metcalfe on TNT’s “Dallas.” If that’s not a crowning achievement, I don’t know what is.

What do you consider Kristin Shepard’s greatest moments? Share your choices below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

The Art of Knots Landing: ‘Kristin’

Kristin and Kenny (Mary Crosby, James Houghton) are interrupted by his wife Ginger (Kim Lankford) in this 1980 publicity shot from “Kristin,” a second-season “Knots Landing” episode.

Knots Landing Scene of the Day: ‘I’m Pregnant’

Dallas, Joan Van Ark, Knots Landing, Kristin, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Valene Ewing

She knows

In “Kristin,” a second-season “Knots Landing” episode, Kristin and Valene (Mary Crosby, Joan Van Ark) argue in the Ewings’ guest bedroom.

VAL: If you’ve got something to say, Kristin, I think you better say it.

KRISTIN: [Looks away, begins tearing up] I’m pregnant. [Sits in a chair]

VAL: Pregnant? [Sits on the edge of the bed]

KRISTIN: I didn’t wanna tell anybody. I thought it would be easier for the baby if I kept it a secret. I hoped to find somebody who would be a father to my baby.

VAL: Do you know who the father is?

Kristin is silent. Val moves off the bed and kneels in front of the chair.

VAL: Do you love him?

KRISTIN: I don’t know.

VAL: Darling, why didn’t you tell me this before?

KRISTIN: I was afraid that if I told you, you wouldn’t help me.

VAL: Oh, no, that is not true.

KRISTIN: You wouldn’t have let me in.

VAL: Oh, no, Kristin. You’re wrong. I would have. I know exactly how you feel right now.

KRISTIN: No you don’t. Nobody does.

Val lays her head in Kristin’s lap.

Critique: ‘Knots Landing’ Episode 18 – ‘Kristin’

Dallas, James Houghton, Kenny Ward, Knots Landing, Kristin, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby

Killer smile

I’ve always had a soft spot for television crossovers. When I was a kid, I loved seeing Mary Richards visit Rhoda Morgenstern in New York and watching Steve Austin and Jamie Somers fight Bigfoot together. Somehow, crossovers made television seem more real: If Mork could show up on the Cunninghams’ doorstep, why couldn’t he show up on mine?

All these years later, I still think it’s cool when Kristin Shepard pops in on Gary and Valene Ewing, even if “Kristin,” the “Knots Landing” episode that brings her to town, is a little lackluster. (Trivia: “Kristin” also features Tom Fuccello, “Dallas’s” Senator Dave Culver, although he’s somewhat confusingly cast as a different politico here.)

This episode aired about a month after Kristin was fingered as J.R.’s shooter on “Dallas,” and I’m sure that’s no coincidence. If CBS’s goal was to send Kristin to Southern California so “Knots Landing” could soak up some “Who Shot J.R.?” Nielsen afterglow, the ploy worked: On the night it debuted, “Kristin” was seen in 15.6 million homes, or about 2 million more than watched “Knots Landing” the previous week.

Too bad the show didn’t come up with something more interesting for Kristin to do. Her fling with Kenny Ward feels like more of the same. On “Dallas,” Kristin slept with J.R. and tried to seduce Bobby. Is she only capable of chasing married men?

The change of scenery does reveal another side to the character, albeit fleetingly. When Kristin confesses her pregnancy to Val, she seems genuinely frightened about her future. This might be the character’s first sincere moment since Colleen Camp played the role during “Dallas’s” second season.

Interestingly, something similar happened when Lucy visited Gary and Val in “Home is For Healing.” In that first-season “Knots Landing” episode, Lucy suddenly became a more interesting, believable character. What is it about Knots Landing that brings out the best in the women of “Dallas”?

Of course, as soon as we catch this glimpse into Kristin’s humanity, she decides she’s overstayed her welcome and departs Gary and Val’s. I understand why the show sends her packing: Kristin arrived in town on the heels of Abby Cunningham, and the cul-de-sac only had so much room for man-stealing hussies.

Still, I wish Mary Crosby had hung around a few episodes longer. With more time, “Knots Landing” might have turned Kristin into a three-dimensional character, something “Dallas” never really achieved.

Grade: B


Dallas, Gary Ewing, Knots Landing, Kristin, Kristin Shepard, Mary Crosby, Ted Shackelford

Bad to the last drop


“Knots Landing” Season 2, Episode 5

Airdate: December 18, 1980

Audience: 15.6 million homes, ranking 29th in the weekly ratings

Writer: Diana Gould

Director: Nicholas Sgarro

Synopsis: When Kristin is arrested at a Hollywood party, she turns to Val, who invites Kristin to stay with her and Gary. Kristin has a fling with neighbor Kenny Ward, whose wife Ginger walks in on them, prompting Ginger to sue for divorce. Kristin confesses her pregnancy to Val and decides to leave, much to Gary’s relief.

Cast: Eric Coplin (Mark Russelman), Mary Crosby (Kristin Shepard), Peter Elbling (Al Tuna), Tom Fuccello (Ed Kroft), Danny Gellis (Jason Avery), David Haskell (Dr. Karl Russelman), James Houghton (Kenny Ward), Kim Lankford (Ginger Ward), Michele Lee (Karen Fairgate), Constance McCashin (Laura Avery), Donna Mills (Abby Cunningham), Don Murray (Sid Fairgate), John Pleshette (Richard Avery), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), Louise Vallance (Sylvie), Joan Van Ark (Valene Ewing)

“Kristin” is available on DVD. Watch the episode and share your comments below.