The Best & Worst of Dallas: Season 8

“Dallas’s” eighth season had its share of ups and downs. Here are the highs and lows.


Dallas, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

Principal player

Victoria Principal does her best work during “Dallas’s” eighth season, a.k.a. The Year Pam Gets Her Groove Back. The actress displays her old fire during Pam’s clashes with J.R., but nothing beats her performance during Bobby’s season-ending death. Principal took heat for campaigning for an Emmy after that episode, which seems unfair in retrospect. I bet most folks can’t remember a thing about the actresses who were nominated, but no one will ever forget Pam crawling to Bobby in the driveway.


You don’t need me to explain again why “Swan Song” is the best “Dallas” episode ever made, do you? There are several choices for worst episode, unfortunately, but I’ll go with “Trial and Error,” the nadir of the dreary Jenna-on-trial saga.


Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy, Swan Song

Bye bye, Bobby

Bobby’s deathbed farewell in “Swan Song” is the best, of course, followed closely by the moment he pushes Pam out of the path of Katherine’s speeding car and his sweet, touching proposal to Pam earlier in the episode. Other runners-up: Sue Ellen visiting John Ross in the hospital, Pam confronting J.R. over his scheme to send her around the world searching for Mark, and Afton’s big goodbye. One scene I could do without: J.R. making fun of Jamie’s appearance. Now that’s just mean.


I appreciate what “Dallas” tries to achieve with the legal battle over Ewing Oil, which offers an inverse of J.R. and Bobby’s sixth-season contest for control of the company. Instead of the family fighting each other, the Ewings band together to defeat Cliff Barnes. Too bad this requires rewriting “Dallas” history by inventing a dead brother for Jock and a long-lost cousin for J.R. and Bobby. I ended up preferring Clayton’s difficulty adjusting to life at Southfork, a relatively minor subplot that’s poignant nonetheless, thanks to the reliable Howard Keel. I also like Lucy’s waitressing storyline, which allows Charlene Tilton’s character to finally grow up.

My choice for worst storyline? That’s easy: Jenna’s season-long odyssey from bride-to-be to kidnapping victim to murder trial defendant to jailbird to biggest loser in the Bobby Ewing love sweepstakes. Talk about a bad dream.

Supporting Players

Dallas, Donna Reed, Miss Ellie Ewing Farlow

Other mother

This category is usually reserved for actors who don’t appear in the opening credits, but I’m going to make an exception and honor Donna Reed. She’s sometimes stiff as Miss Ellie, but she also possesses grace and warmth, and she has a nice rapport with Keel. Above all, I give Reed credit for having the courage to replace Barbara Bel Geddes — an impossible task — and for being smart enough to not imitate her predecessor. Runner-up: Stephen Elliott as southern fried lawyer Scotty Demarest.

Behind the Scenes

Patrick Duffy isn’t just one of “Dallas’s” best actors — he’s also one of the show’s best directors. Duffy helmed three episodes this season, bringing an inventive touch to each production. My favorite: “The Brothers Ewing,” a dark, ominous hour that finds J.R., Bobby and Ray scheming to hide Ewing Oil assets from Cliff. When I interviewed Duffy earlier this year, he downplayed his storytelling skills, citing as an example “War of the Ewings,” the 1998 reunion movie he produced with Larry Hagman. Duffy is too modest. He’s a creative force in his own right, as his behind-the-scenes work this season demonstrates.


Dallas, Jenna Wade, Linda Gray, Priscilla Beaulieu Presley, Sue Ellen Ewing

Pillow talk

Season 8 brings us “Dallas’s” most famous costume designer: Travilla, who immediately cranks up the glam factor. His looks are often classy, such as the timeless white gown Priscilla Beaulieu Presley sports in “Deliverance” and “Swan Song.” Other Travilla creations are woefully wrong. Example: Linda Gray’s feathery “Deliverance” / “Swan Song” number. Yeah, it’s fun, but it’s also damn distracting. Instead of focusing on Sue Ellen’s meltdown, I keep wondering: How many pillows died to create this dress?


As much as I love Lucy’s memorable description of rival waitress Betty (“All she can do is sling hash and make love!”) and Sue Ellen’s famous defense of her drinking habits (“Joan or Arc would have been a drunk if she had been married to you”), this category will always belong to J.R. This season, he expressed his concern for an ex-sister-in-law (“I don’t give a damn about Pam”) and offered a helping hand to soaked strumpet Marilee (“You all right honey? Did it go up your nose?”), although my favorite line comes when Pam confronts J.R. over his wild-goose-chase scheme and he plays dumb: “I never liked you a hell of a lot, you know that, Pam? But I never thought you were stupid until now.”

The audience knows it’s an outright lie, but Hagman delivers it with such conviction, we almost believe him. That’s his genius, isn’t it?

What do you love and loathe about “Dallas’s” eighth season? Share your comments below and read more “Best & Worst” reviews.

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.

Drill Bits: TV Hall of Fame Won’t Induct Larry Hagman in 2014

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Let him in

Sorry to deliver bad tidings during the holidays, but it looks like Larry Hagman won’t be inducted into the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame next year.

The academy announced its 2014 honorees before Christmas and Hagman wasn’t on the list. The inductees will be Jay Leno, Julia Louis-Drefus, producer David E. Kelley, media mogul Rupert Murdoch, programming executive Brandon Stoddard and sound engineer Ray Dolby, who’ll be honored posthumously.

Like a lot of Hagman’s fans, I’ve been hoping the late actor would finally get his spot in the Hall of Fame, which the academy’s chairman and chief executive, Bruce Rosenblum, refers to as the organization’s “highest honor” in its announcement. Hagman should have been inducted a long time ago, but including him in 2014 might have helped make amends with fans who were justifiably outraged when the academy excluded him from the special tributes during this year’s Primetime Emmys broadcast.

I’m not the only one who thought this could have been Hagman’s year. Chris Beachum, senior editor of the awards website Gold Derby, listed Hagman among 24 possible inductees for 2014, along with journalist Ed Bradley and filmmaker Ken Burns. (Louis-Dreyfus and Kelley were on Beachum’s list too.)

According to the Hall of Fame announcement, candidates are submitted by academy members to a selection committee chaired by Peter Roth, president of Warner Bros. Television Group, which includes the studio that produces TNT’s “Dallas.” Presumably, the committee reviews the nominations, weighs each individual’s contributions to television and chooses the final selections.

I suppose it’s possible no one submitted Hagman’s name this year, but that seems mighty unlikely, especially after the brouhaha that erupted over his snub during the Emmy tributes. No matter where the blame lies, isn’t it a shame Hagman is once again being overlooked by the medium he helped shape?

Vote for ‘Dallas’

TNT’s “Dallas” is one of the choices in’s race for this year’s best nighttime soap opera. The show was in the lead until a few days ago, when it slipped to second place behind FX’s “Sons of Anarchy.” (If you’re puzzled by “Sons of Anarchy’s” inclusion in the soap opera category, get in line.)

Cast your votes here. The polls close Wednesday, January 2.

OWN It, Darlin’

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing, TNT

Encore, encore!

Did you miss Linda Gray’s recent appearance on “Oprah: Where Are They Now?” You have another opportunity to catch it: OWN is scheduled to repeat the episode Friday, January 3, at 6 p.m. (Sue Ellen Ewing is back on Friday night, at least for one week.) Also, if you missed it, be sure to check out my recent tribute to Gray, who is Dallas Decoder’s Woman of the Year for 2013.

Life on the D-List

’Tis the season for list-making, and so TV Guide has published its ranking of the 60 best series of all time. The good news: “Dallas” makes the cut. The bad news: It’s in 47th place.

Look, I love lists and understand the tough calls that go into making them, but shouldn’t “Dallas” rank a little higher? After all, the series ran 14 seasons, pioneered serialized storytelling, produced the biggest prime-time cliffhanger of all time, held the top spot in the Nielsens for three seasons and inspired a sequel that’s about to begin its third year.

If nothing else, couldn’t TV Guide have ranked “Dallas” 38th instead of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”? Or 46th, instead of “Barney Miller”?

Elsewhere, Entertainment Weekly is out with its list of the best and worst episodes for 50 shows, including TNT’s “Dallas.” As EW sees it, the second-season finale, “Legacies,” was the show’s finest hour in 2013 while “Trial and Error” was the worst, although the magazine doesn’t seem to have many complaints about it. Neither do I.

Return Engagement?

Will “Knots Landing’s” Gary and Valene pay another visit to TNT’s “Dallas” anytime soon? Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark have different opinions, she tells Showbiz 411. Says Van Ark: “Ted’s not sure if we’re ever going back. But I’m convinced we are. I’d like to mix it up with Sue Ellen some more.”

You said it, honey. “Dallas” fans are spoiling for a Sue Ellen/Val rematch after this year’s showdown.

#DallasChat Returns January 6

Reminder: #DallasChat, my Monday evening Twitter discussion of all things “Dallas,” is taking a break for the holidays. The next #DallasChat will be held January 6 at 9 p.m. Eastern time. Don’t miss it.

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

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 23 – ‘Love and Family’

Bobby Ewing, Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval, Love and Family, Patrick Duffy, TNT

Walking tall

The final moments in “Love and Family” give me chills. Bobby tells Sue Ellen they need to act like J.R. and let Cliff believe he’s won, and then as a rousing rock tune rises in the background, Bobby raises a glass of bourbon to a framed photograph of his beaming big brother. Cut to John Ross and Pamela standing before a justice of the peace (John Ross: “You doing this because you love me, or because you hate your father?” Pamela: “I do.”), then to Cliff as he sweeps into Ewing Energies and takes the keys from Bobby. “I can only imagine the look on J.R.’s face right about now,” Cliff smirks. “Me too,” Bobby responds. As our hero walks away in slow motion, a sly smile breaks across his face, the drumbeat builds, the screen fades to black, and all I can think is: Damn, this show is cool.

Patrick Duffy’s smile recalls all the classic “Dallas” episodes that end with J.R.’s grin, but we feel the character’s presence throughout this episode. Christopher’s obsession with beating Cliff recalls J.R.’s own efforts to outmaneuver him during the original series. Likewise, John Ross’s ploy to snag a piece of Barnes Global by marrying Pamela bears the hallmarks of an old-school, whatever-it-takes J.R. scheme. Even the way Bobby subtly pressures John Ross into the marriage is a little J.R.-esque. Perhaps the lesson here is that J.R.’s values weren’t his alone; they belong to the whole Ewing family. This is why we shouldn’t question “Dallas’s” ability to keep going after Larry Hagman’s death. His loss leaves a hole that will never be filled, but the “Dallas” themes have always been bigger than any one character. So far the new show has done a hell of a good job reminding us of this.

In addition to keeping J.R.’s spirit alive, “Love and Honor” director Randy Zisk also showcases Brenda Strong and Emma Bell, who deliver standout performances during Ann’s confrontation with her daughter at the scene of Emma’s car wreck. My heart breaks for Emma when she lashes out at Ann for allowing the controlling Rylands to take her away when she was a child (“You escaped! You did four years! I did 20, Ann!”). I also cheer when Ann tells her daughter she won’t bail her out until she agrees to get help for her addictions. “Why are you doing this?” Emma screams as Sheriff Derrick leads her away in handcuffs. “Because I’m your mother!” Ann responds. This is probably Bell’s best scene yet and Strong’s finest moment since Ann’s testimony in “Trial and Error.” (Perhaps not coincidentally, that episode, like “Love and Family,” was written by John Whelpley, who joined the “Dallas” writing team this season.)

“Love and Family’s” other great performances come from Jordana Brewster and Kuno Becker, who knock me out in the scene where Drew finally confesses his role in the rig explosion to Elena. Brewster has to convey a lot of emotions – shock, anger, disappointment – all in the same breath. She sells every one. Likewise, Becker makes me feel Drew’s anguish and guilt. These two actors have another terrific scene at the end of the episode when Elena and Carmen (Marlene Forte, who holds her own against her on-screen children) bring Drew money and bid him farewell as he sets off to find Harris’s missing henchman, Roy Vickers. It’s a measure of how much I’ve come to like Becker that as I watch Drew ride away on his motorcycle, I find myself worried for the character.

The same thing can’t be said about Cliff. The scene where we learn Katherine willed her share of the Barnes-Wentworth empire to him raised the ire of “Dallas” diehards who remember there was never any love lost between those two characters. I suspect we’re going to find out there’s more to this story. Perhaps Cliff cheated Katherine out of her share, or maybe she faked her death and is in cahoots with him in his plot against the Ewings. (On “Dallas,” stranger alliances have occurred.) Either way, this seems to be another nail in Cliff’s coffin. The character has turned so villainous; it’s hard for me to imagine how the show can redeem him.

More and more, I wonder if we might be witnessing the last hurrah of Cliff Barnes. Ken Kercheval was positively chilling at the beginning of the season, when Cliff was so focused on bringing down the Ewings, he allowed Frank to kill himself rather than disrupt his schemes. Since J.R.’s death, Kercheval has given us glimpses of the man Cliff used to be – a sweeping hand gesture here, a self-satisfied smirk there – which is a clever way of signaling how Cliff is letting his guard down. (Costume designer Rachel Sage Kunin’s choices for Cliff’s wardrobe might be telling too. Notice how his all-black outfits are slowly giving way to more colorful garments. Even the old pocket squares are back.) With the Rylands now established as potent Ewing foes, I wonder if John Ross and Pamela’s wedding in this episode will mark the beginning of a new chapter in the Barnes/Ewing feud – or will it serve as a kind of denouement?

With these questions on my mind, I can’t help but find Bobby’s slow-motion walk away from Cliff at the end of this episode kind of poignant. After all these years, Cliff has gotten his revenge. (Tellingly, the title of the terrific song that plays during this sequence is “My Time Has Come” by the Bowery Riots.) Even if you don’t like Cliff, you have to admire his persistence. You also have to admit: It’s going to be mighty satisfying to see the Ewings take this bastard down.

Grade: A


Dallas, John Ross Ewing, Josh Henderson, Julie Gonzalo, Love and Family, Pamela Barnes, TNT

Here we go again?


Season 2, Episode 13

Telecast: April 8, 2013

Writer: John Whelpley

Director: Randy Zisk

Audience: 2.4 million viewers on April 8

Synopsis: John Ross marries Pamela after she persuades Cliff to give her one-third of Barnes Global. Cliff takes control of Ewing Energies. After Emma gets high and wrecks her car, Ann refuses to bail her out. Drew confesses his role in the bombing to Elena, who gives him money after he goes on the run to find the missing Vickers. Christopher and Elena leave for Zurich to find Pam.

Cast: Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Will Beinbrink (Curran), Emma Bell (Emma Brown), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Ralph Brown (justice of the peace), Ron Corning (news anchor), Jerry Cotton (judge), Akai Draco (Sheriff Derrick), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Todd Everett (prosecutor), Alex Fernandez (Roy Vickers), Marlene Forte (Carmen Ramos), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Barnes), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Cynthia Izaguirre (news anchor), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Kevin Page (Bum), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Steven Weber (Governor Sam McConaughey)

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

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 20 – ‘Guilt and Innocence’

Christopher Ewing, Dallas, Guilt and Innocence, Jesse Metcalfe, TNT

Man of the hour

“Dallas’s” second-season plotlines don’t advance much in “Guilt and Innocence,” which is disappointing to those of who are desperate for more clues in the “Who Killed J.R.?” mystery. On the other hand, this episode offers a nice showcase for the “Dallas” cast, which has become one of television’s most reliable ensembles. The most impressive performances come from Jesse Metcalfe, who is especially moving in the scene where the guilt-ridden Christopher weeps inside the hospital chapel, and Julie Gonzalo, who breaks my heart as Pamela suffers through the final hours of her doomed pregnancy.

The last scene in “Guilt and Innocence” is the most memorable. John Ross and Christopher rush into Pamela’s hospital room as her doctor and nurses scramble to save the lives of her unborn twins. Afton is there too, clutching her daughter’s hand. How many people are present altogether? I couldn’t tell you. Director Jesse Bochco unfurls the action in a series of quick cuts, making it feel chaotic and real. We catch glimpses of Pamela writhing in agony, John Ross and Christopher watching with worried expressions, the doctor barking orders. Someone yells, “Heart rate’s dropping on Baby A!” And then: “Heart rate’s dropping on Baby B!” The motion slows. The machinery buzzes. Soon there are no other sounds, except for a faint piano score. The final shot is the monitor as the two heart rates flatline, one by one.

Another dramatic highlight comes at the beginning, when a frantic Bobby races through the emergency room, calling the missing Ann’s name. Their reunion a few moments later, when Bobby forgives his wife for keeping so many secrets from him during their marriage, makes me realize how invested I’ve become in them as a couple. Robert Rovner’s script also gives us a handful of typically intense scenes with the schizoid Rylands, all three of whom grow a little weirder with each episode, as well as several lighter moments. The best of these: Linda Gray’s breezy exchange with Lee Majors, who proves as charismatic as ever; the moment John Ross calls Pamela “darlin’;” and Sue Ellen’s pot-calling-the-kettle-black description of Afton: “She’s drama.”

With Pamela and wild-haired Judith Ryland both laid up, almost all of the action in “Guilt and Innocence” takes place in the hospital. This makes the episode reminiscent of “Trial and Error,” an earlier second-season episode that unfolded almost entirely in the courthouse during Ann’s trial. In that installment, the legal proceedings ended up being less about Ann shooting Harris than her failings as a wife and mother. Similarly, Pamela’s pregnancy crisis becomes a vehicle for introspection. Christopher wonders if he took too many risks in his quest to build Ewing Energies, while Pamela questions her past schemes. In a poignant moment, she stares at the fetal heart monitor and asks John Ross, “Do you think this is karma … for all the bad that I’ve done?”

I wish “Guilt and Innocence” had taken this idea a little further. When Afton arrives at Pamela’s bedside, she refers to “all the bad choices” her daughter made in an attempt to “forge a relationship” with Cliff, but nothing more is said about Pamela’s deceptions, which aren’t trivial. This is a young woman who spent two years lying about her identity – then married Christopher – in order to infiltrate the Ewings. It makes Afton’s anger toward Christopher feel a little unfair. I understand that she blames him for Pamela’s accident, but shouldn’t she have a little sympathy for the man her daughter conned? (For that matter: Christopher and Pamela are still married? I thought their annulment occurred several episodes ago.)

Along these lines, while Sue Ellen’s lingering bitterness toward Afton is understandable, I’m a bit baffled by Bobby’s hostility toward her (“Pull in your claws, Afton”). Afton once saved his life; you’d think he’d be a little nicer. On the other hand: I like how “Guilt and Innocence” restores a little bit of the edge Afton displayed when she arrived on “Dallas” in the early ’80s. Bochco’s shot of Audrey Landers lurking around the hospital corner is inspired, recalling the way Afton used to slink around Southfork. I also applaud the scene where Afton serenades Pamela with her favorite childhood lullaby, a charming tribute to Afton’s roots as “Dallas’s” resident songstress. (I wonder if Josh Henderson, no slouch in the singing department himself, wanted to join in?)

The only thing that would’ve made Afton’s homecoming complete is having Cliff around. More than anything, I want to know how he feels about himself after endangering Pamela’s life. (I hope we get more than Harris’s one-sided conversation with Cliff in “Guilt and Innocence,” when he apparently expresses no regret for his actions.) I also believe the show could use Afton to shed a little light on what turned Cliff so dark, so hopefully “Dallas” will bring Landers and Ken Kercheval together in a later episode. Just please don’t make it a Gary-and-Valene-style drive-by reunion.

The other item on my “Dallas” wish list: More “Who Killed J.R.?” As much as I appreciate the tantalizing clue dropped at the end of “Guilt and Innocence” (Pam was alive in 1989!), I hope the show’s next episode will put the mystery surrounding J.R.’s death front and center. I realize the people who make “Dallas” are crafting this storyline on the fly, weaving it into scripts that were originally written to include Larry Hagman. But I can also feel the storyline losing momentum. The audience needs to see the Ewings get serious about finding the person responsible for the death of our hero. If it doesn’t happen soon, the question won’t be who killed J.R., but why doesn’t “Dallas” seem to care?

Grade: B


Afton Cooper, Audrey Landers, Dallas, Guilt and Innocence, TNT

Drama mama


Season 2, Episode 10

Telecast: March 25, 2013

Writer: Robert Rovner

Director: Jesse Bochco

Audience: 2.6 million viewers on March 25

Synopsis: After the rig explosion, Pamela is rushed to the hospital. Afton arrives to comfort her daughter, who loses her unborn twins after emergency surgery. Bobby forgives Ann. Sue Ellen turns to old flame Ken Richards, chairman of the regulatory board investigating the explosion, who divulges the rig might have been sabotaged. John Ross and Christopher figure out Cliff is trying to devalue Ewing Energies, while guilt-ridden Drew threatens Vickers if he tries to expose Drew’s role in the bombing. While recovering from her fall, Judith tries to turn Emma against Harris, who responds by having Judith drugged and shipped to a rehabilitation center.

Cast: Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Emma Bell (Emma Brown), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Laura Kai Chen (Dr. Chang), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Alex Fernandez (Roy Vickers), Marlene Forte (Carmen Ramos), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Barnes), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Shane Jacobsen (Zach McGuire), Audrey Landers (Afton), Judith Light (Judith Ryland), Lee Majors (Ken Richards), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Annie Wersching (Alison Jones)

“Guilt & Innocence” is available at, and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.

Dallas Burning Questions: Season 2, Week 5

Another fine mess

Another fine mess

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

• Will Ann go to prison? In “Trial and Error,” last week’s episode, Ann (Brenda Strong) proved she shot Harris and went on trial, where her dirty laundry was aired in front of everyone. Judith and Harris (Judith Light, Mitch Pileggi) testified that Ann had been a bad wife and neglectful mother, which Ann tried to refute in her own testimony. The strategy failed: The jury found Ann guilty, and in the final scene, she was hauled off to jail. Will Bobby (Patrick Duffy) find a way to spring his wife from the slammer?

Will Emma forgive her mother? Throughout Ann’s trial, Emma (Emma Bell) seemed to struggle with her feelings toward her estranged mother. During a recess, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) appealed to his newly discovered stepsister on Ann’s behalf, but Emma ended up delivering damaging testimony against Ann. Yet when the guilty verdict was announced, Emma went running from the room in tears. Might there be hope for a mother/daughter reconciliation?

Pamela and Christopher: Now what? The enmity displayed at Ann’s trial prompted Christopher to soften toward Pamela (Julie Gonzalo). “I don’t want our kids to be raised with their parents poisoning their minds against each other,” he said. Christopher agreed to Pamela’s request for mediation and seemed concerned when Pamela experienced a pregnancy pain. Later, Cliff (Ken Kercheval) congratulated his daughter on getting Christopher to the negotiating table, but Pamela didn’t seem so enthused. Is she having second thoughts about her scheme against Christopher?

Pamela and John Ross: Is it over? Two episodes ago, when it looked like the police were closing in on Pamela during the investigation into Tommy’s death, John Ross (Josh Henderson) tipped off Cliff about J.R.’s plot against Pamela. In “Trial and Error,” J.R. (Larry Hagman) found out about John Ross’s betrayal and was angry for awhile, until Sue Ellen persuaded him to forgive their son. Meanwhile, Pamela thanked John Ross for helping her, but when he hinted he wanted a deeper relationship with her, she demurred. “Nothing personal. Just protecting our business arrangement,” she told him. Will John Ross give up on Pamela?

When will Sue Ellen make her move against Elena? Three episodes ago, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray) told Elena (Jordana Brewster) that if she didn’t strike oil on the Henderson property in one month, Sue Ellen would call in her loan. A month elapsed during “Trial and Error,” which means Elena’s time is up. It seems unlikely she’ll be able to pay Sue Ellen back, especially since she had to bail out brother Drew (Kuno Becker), who was arrested for smuggling stolen goods. Does this mean Sue Ellen and John Ross will finally seize Elena’s share of Ewing Energies?

Will Vicente get revenge? Bobby and Christopher were outraged to discover Vicente (Carlos Bernard) might be extradited to Venezuela. “Don’t forget, we still have some unfinished to conclude,” Vicente told Bobby with a wink. In the promos for tonight’s episode, Vicente and his henchmen are seen leading an ambush on Southfork, where most of the Ewings – even Pamela – are gathered. What brings them together – and will they all survive their latest hostage crisis?

What will be J.R.’s final scene? The final scenes that Hagman filmed before his death last November appeared in “Trial and Error.” The producers were expected to insert one of Hagman’s unused scenes in “Blame Game,” which means tonight could be the last time we’ll see him portray J.R. What will be his swan song?

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

The Dal-List: Classic ‘Dallas’s’ 10 Most Memorable Monologues

Ann Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, TNT, Trial and Error


Few will forget the courtroom testimony that Ann (Brenda Strong) delivered at the end of “Trial and Error,” last week’s “Dallas” episode. Here’s a look at the Barneses’ and Ewings’ 10 most memorable monologues from the original series and its “Knots Landing” spinoff.

Barbara Bel Geddes, Dallas, Miss Ellie Ewing


10. Miss Ellie’s lament. With the Ewing empire on the brink of collapse, Miss Ellie (Barbara Bel Geddes) goes to the site of Jock’s first strike and curses his memory. “Damn it all, Jock. You couldn’t have been an insurance salesman. Or a shoe salesman. No, you had to have oil in your blood. In your heart. And now … our sons are fighting for their lives.” It’s one of the better moments from one of the show’s better later episodes. (“Judgment Day”)

Dallas, Pam Ewing, Victoria Principal

She remembers mama

9. Pam’s discovery. Pam (Victoria Principal), believing Rebecca Wentworth is her long-lost mother, confronts the Houston matron in her opulent home. “I found you. You’re alive. And I’m so happy. I don’t know how to tell you how happy I am,” she says through tears. With every line, Principal seems to reveal a little more of herself, so much so that by the end of the speech, her lip quivers uncontrollably. Bravo. (“The Prodigal Mother”)

Dallas, Priscilla Pointer, Rebecca Barnes Wentworth

Runaway mom

8. Rebecca’s confession. After denying her identity, Rebecca (Priscilla Pointer) sits with Pam on a park bench and tells her the truth: She is, in fact, Pam’s mother. “I never divorced Digger,” Rebecca says as her voice begins to crack. “I was afraid that if I tried, he’d find me, and drag me back to that awful life. Pamela, I saw a chance for happiness, and I took it. Don’t blame me for that.” Pointer’s delivery is hauntingly beautiful. (“The Prodigal Mother”)

Dallas, Gary Ewing, Knots Landing, Ted Shackelford

No beach bum

7. Gary’s mea culpa. Gary (Ted Shackelford) begs Lucy to stay in Knots Landing and apologizes for his past sins, telling her he’s trying hard to be a better man. “I’m not a loser anymore,” Gary says. At one point, he becomes tongue-tied, as if he can’t find the words to convey his guilt and regret. In the DVD commentary, Shackelford laughs and suggests he paused because he couldn’t remember his next line. No matter. It still works. (“Home is For Healing”)

Dallas, Linda Gray, Sue Ellen Ewing

Bye bye, love

6. Sue Ellen’s kiss-off. In Linda Gray’s “Dallas” departure, Sue Ellen shows J.R. the scandalous movie she’s made about their marriage – and vows to screen it for the public only if he misbehaves. “If I feel that you’re not doing right by John Ross … or if I get up on the wrong side of the bed one morning. Or if I’m simply bored – then I’ll release the movie. And then, J.R., you will be the laughingstock of Texas.” Corny? Sure, but also mighty triumphant – and darn memorable. (“Reel Life”)

Cliff Barnes, Dallas, Ken Kercheval

Never too late

5. Cliff’s regret. My favorite Ken Kercheval scene: Cliff summons Miss Ellie to a park and apologizes for perpetuating his father’s grudge against the Ewings. “Digger was wrong, and I was wrong. If it’s not too late. I’d like to make peace. I’d like to ask you to forgive me,” Cliff says. In an interview with Dallas Decoder, Kercheval fondly recalled his friendship with Bel Geddes. What a shame these two pros didn’t get more screen time together. (“Brother Can You Spare a Child?”)

Dallas, Jim Davis, Jock Ewing

American dad

4. Jock’s plea. After Pam suffered her first heartbreaking miscarriage, Jock (Jim Davis) sat at her bedside and begged her and Bobby not to leave Southfork. “Us Ewings, we’re just not an easy family to live with, as you found out. We’ve had things our way for so long that maybe – well, maybe it got in the way of our being just people. I guess that you don’t have no reason to really care, but I want to keep my family together.” Who knew the old man could be so soft? (“Barbecue”)

Dallas, Ray Krebbs, Steve Kanaly

He knows father best

3. Ray’s tribute. Ray (Steve Kanaly) tries to make Miss Ellie accept Jock’s death by reminding her of his humanity. “He was a man, just like anybody else. He had friends. He had lots of friends. But he had enemies, too. He was human, ambitious. He knew that the oil game was rough, hardball all the way. But he wanted what was best for his wife, and for his sons. And he did what he thought was right.” The most honest eulogy Jock ever received. (“Acceptance”)

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman

Honor thy daddy

2. J.R.’s promise. J.R. (Larry Hagman), after slipping into a depression over Jock’s death, addresses a portrait of his father. “I’m back, Daddy. And nobody’s going to take Ewing Oil away from me. Or my son, or his son. I swear to you. By God, I’m going to make you proud of me.” The combination of Hagman’s conviction, scriptwriter David Paulsen’s dialogue and Bruce Broughton’s rousing score never fails to give me chills. (“The Phoenix”)

Bobby Ewing, Dallas, Patrick Duffy

Exit the hero

1. Bobby’s goodbye. As Bobby (Patrick Duffy) lay dying in his hospital bed, he bids his family farewell. To Miss Ellie: “Oh, Mama. I’m sorry.” To Pam: “All that wasted time. We should’ve been married.” He seems to be looking at J.R. when he delivers his last words: “Be a family. I love you so much.” Duffy has never been better, and when the monitor flatlines and Principal leaps? Fuhgeddaboudit! Yes, the scene’s emotional impact is diminished somewhat by the fact it turned out to be a dream. Still, does “Dallas” get better than this? (“Swan Song”)

Which “Dallas” monologues moved you most? Share your choices below and read more “Dal-Lists.”

Drill Bits: ‘Dallas’s’ Ratings Rise Again

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

Feel that ratings momentum!

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

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

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

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

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

Is She Back?

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

Now It Can Be Told

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TNT’s Dallas Scene of the Day: ‘… And She Was Gone’

Ann Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, TNT, Trial and Error

Judge not

In “Trial and Error,” a second-season “Dallas” episode, Ann (Brenda Strong) testifies before her attorney Lou (Glenn Morshower) and a packed courtroom.

ANN: I was a tall, awkward girl. Most of my life, I felt ugly. My mother took me to doctors when I hit puberty so they would make me stop growing. No one had really ever paid any attention to me until Harris. My family didn’t have much money. And Harris took me to fancy restaurants, stores, bought me nice clothes. We were happy. He had grown up in a suffocating home. His father had committed suicide before he was born. And his mother controlled his every breath. Harris kept telling me how good I was for him, that I brought life into the dark of his life. Then his mother began to interfere. Nothing I could do was right. She made fun of the fact that I had never gone to college. She put ideas in his head about me, that I was a gold-digger, that I was seeing other men. And he believed her. So he began trying to control me the way he had always been controlled. If I picked the wrong blouse, picked up the wrong fork, did my hair a certain way, he’d shout at me. I began to realize that the marriage had been a mistake. When I found out I was pregnant, I felt trapped. By the time Emma was born, I felt like I was drowning. I was diagnosed with post-partum depression and put on medication. I had a difficult time being a young mother. I’m sorry. But I did not leave my daughter at home alone! I left Emma with Judith so I could go see a divorce lawyer. But Judith lied to Harris for her own twisted purposes. And then Harris found out about my plans to divorce him, and he forced me to see a psychiatrist to put me on more medication.

LOU: Tell us what happened at the state fair.

ANN: Emma was 18 months old. Harris and his mother were particularly cruel to me the night before, so that morning, I took a few more pills than I should’ve. I couldn’t think straight, but I couldn’t stand to be in that house another minute, so I took Emma to the fair. It was so very hot. I remember being so thirsty, so I left her in her stroller and went to get a soda. Only a couple minutes passed. I turned back, and she was gone. I had stepped away from my baby for only a few moments and she’d been kidnapped. God had punished me by taking my baby.

Critique: TNT’s ‘Dallas’ Episode 15 – ‘Trial and Error’

Dallas, J.R. Ewing, Larry Hagman, TNT, Trial and Error

Last stand

“Trial and Error” gives us the last scenes that Larry Hagman filmed as J.R. Ewing, including his poignant reconciliation with turncoat son John Ross, as well as a spirited clash with Sue Ellen that recalls the couple’s stormier days. But as much as I cherish these final, dwindling moments with my hero, I can’t deny that “Trial and Error” belongs to Brenda Strong. The actress is superb throughout this episode, especially when Ann testifies during her trial. Strong delivers more than 400 words of dialogue, and each one feels achingly real. It’s one of the most moving speeches in “Dallas” history.

Since the new “Dallas” began I’ve rooted for Ann, a modern Texas woman who is every bit as comfortable in pearls and heels as she is in boots and jeans. One of my favorite scenes during the show’s first season was Ann’s showdown with Harris, when she tricked him into confessing to money laundering and other crimes, then slugged him and warned him to stay away from her family. This is why I was so troubled when Ann shot Harris two episodes ago. A punch is one thing, but Harris doesn’t deserve a bullet to the chest. No one does.

“Trial and Error” marks the beginning of Ann’s redemption, although it feels like something even bigger is happening. Ann isn’t really being tried for shooting Harris; she’s on trial for being an imperfect wife and mother. The show isn’t asking us to forgive Ann as much as it’s asking us to accept her humanity. The character’s testimony, the highlight of “Dallas” newcomer John Whelpley’s script, is the crucial moment. During the course of this four-minute scene, Ann recalls being a tall, awkward girl who found love with Harris, only to have his controlling mother Judith undermine her. She also remembers giving birth to Emma and struggling with motherhood, then having the child snatched from her during a fateful visit to the state fair. It’s wrenching.

I suspect many members of the “Dallas” audience nod silently when they watch Ann’s testimony. The situations she describes might be melodramatic, but the feelings they evoke are easily recognizable. When Ann recalls how Judith made fun of her for not going to college, or how Harris chastised her for using the wrong fork at dinner, how can you not think about a time in your own life when you were made to feel inadequate? Likewise, if you’re a mom or dad, do Ann’s memories of Emma’s abduction remind you of a time when you made a parenting mistake? You’d have to reach far back into Ewing family lore – perhaps to Sue Ellen’s sanitarium meltdown during the original show’s third season – to find a “Dallas” monologue that yields so many genuine emotions.

Strong’s beautifully measured, heartfelt delivery provides “Trial and Error” with its moment of catharsis, but there are many other scenes I like. Several involve Jesse Metcalfe and newcomer Emma Bell. No one does impassioned earnestness better than Metcalfe, as we witness in the nice sequence where Christopher urges Emma to give Ann another chance. Metcalfe is also touching when the camera cuts to Christopher during Ann’s testimony and we see that his eyes are wet, as well as in the scene where Christopher puts his hand on Pamela’s pregnant belly and feels their unborn twins. Bell, in the meantime, reveals herself to be the rare actress who requires no dialogue to shine. Emma is a mostly a silent observer in the courtroom, but never once do we question what she’s thinking. Bell lets us see the doubt and confusion tormenting her character.

Millicent Shelton, a first-time “Dallas” director, also gives us some priceless courtroom reaction shots from Judith Light, who made her own mark in television with a classic witness stand breakdown on “One Life to Live” in 1979. While Light nibbles the scenery, Mitch Pileggi goes in another direction, offering expressions and gestures that seem to reveal Harris’s humanity. Notice how Pileggi bows his head when Ann mentions how Harris’s father committed suicide before he was born. Am I the only one who feels sorry for Harris at that moment?

I’m not sure why we never see Bobby testify on his wife’s behalf (or why he isn’t facing his own obstruction of justice trial for falsely confessing to Harris’s shooting). In the same spirit, it’s tempting to knock “Dallas” for offering up Sue Ellen (a disgraced politician) and Pamela (a recent murder suspect) as Ann’s character witnesses, but I’ll resist the urge because I like how it reminds us of the parallels between these flawed heroines. An especially nice touch: When Ann mentions suffering from post-partum depression after Emma’s birth, the camera cuts to Sue Ellen, who must be one of television’s most notorious sufferer of that disorder.

“Trial and Error” also gets a lift from Hagman, who filmed some of his scenes for this episode just days before his death last November – not that you’d know it by watching him here. Consider the shot of J.R. observing John Ross from the mezzanine inside the courthouse. Isn’t it amazing how Hagman can exert so much authority, just by standing silently? I also love J.R.’s quip-filled scene with John Ross in the men’s room (“We dinosaurs are known to bite”), even if it’s an odd place to stage their reconciliation, as well as the exchange where Sue Ellen gives her ex-husband a piece of her mind (“Fathers are supposed to take the high road when it comes to their sons. Forgive John Ross!”). J.R.’s surprise encounter with Cliff is old-school “Dallas” fun too, although I wish Hagman and Ken Kercheval could’ve done the scene face to face instead of over the phone.

This isn’t Hagman’s final “Dallas” appearance. A J.R. scene that was left over from a previous episode has reportedly been inserted into the next hour, “Blame Game,” although we probably won’t know what the moment entails until TNT telecasts it next week. This made watching “Trial and Error” a bit surreal. I wondered: Is J.R.’s exchange with Sue Ellen the last time we’ll see him share the screen with Linda Gray, or will we get one more chance to revel in their magic? What about Bobby and John Ross? Have we already seen J.R.’s final scenes with them too?

This feeling has plagued fans like me all season long, actually. Watching “Dallas” and knowing that our hero will soon go away is the worst of all possible spoilers. Part of me still refuses to believe it’s going to come true.

Grade: B


Ann Ewing, Brenda Strong, Dallas, TNT, Trial and Error

Her day in court


Season 2, Episode 5

Telecast: February 18, 2013

Writer: John Whelpley

Director: Millicent Shelton

Synopsis: Ann proves she shot Ryland and goes on trial. During her testimony, she reveals her struggles as a young mother but refutes Harris’s accusation of neglecting Emma. The jury finds Ann guilty. Cliff tells J.R. that John Ross betrayed him, but Sue Ellen persuades J.R. to forgive their son. Christopher softens toward Pamela, who rejects John Ross’s romantic overtures. Drew is arrested for transporting stolen goods.

Cast: John Athas (Ellis), Kuno Becker (Drew Ramos), Emma Bell (Emma Brown), Carlos Bernard (Vicente Cano), Holt Boggs (state trooper), Jordana Brewster (Elena Ramos), Brett Brock (Clyde Marshall), Candice Coke (Tamera Carson), Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing), Rick Espaillat (Dr. LaFont), Wilbur Fitzgerald (Judge Wallace Tate), Julie Gonzalo (Pamela Barnes), Linda Gray (Sue Ellen Ewing), Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing), Josh Henderson (John Ross Ewing), Ken Kercheval (Cliff Barnes), Judith Light (Judith Ryland), Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing), Glenn Morshower (Lou Bergen), Kevin Page (Bum), Mitch Pileggi (Harris Ryland), Brenda Strong (Ann Ewing), Brian Thornton (Detective Miles Danko), Rebekah Turner (jury foreman)

“Trial and Error” is available at, and iTunes. Watch the episode and share your comments below.