'Dallas' bosses talk emotional farewell to Larry Hagman and "Who shot J.R.?"

Larry Hagman as J.R. Ewing

Tonight’s episode of Dallas will feature the show’s final farewell to the iconic J.R. Ewing, and the first episode of the rebooted series without Larry Hagman. Hagman passed away in November due to complications from acute myeloid leukemia. Hagman was working on the show all the way up until his death, which occurred when the cast was halfway through filming the fifth episode of the season. The cast and crew struggled with the proper way to remove Hagman from the series after his death while still moving forward the storyline, and on top of this was the grief over the death of Hagman that they still feel. "The property department set his chair out every day and wardrobe would put his hat on it and he was still No. 1 on our call sheet," executive producer Michael M. Robin said. "So he was still kind of there with us every day."

"Everybody was still in this place of grief and sadness and [wanting to] celebrate his life. Everybody was still very connected — and still is — to Larry," Robin says. "It was hard for everybody but what it gave root to was a real, honest performance in every one of those scenes because everybody was in that kind of place. That's how they felt about the person, Larry, while they were talking about how they interacted with that character, J.R."

In last week’s episode of Dallas, fans got the answer they were looking for – or at least part of it. For any who were wondering how the show planned on writing J.R. out of the show following his sudden death, they were given an answer that gave rise to the age old question of “Who shot J.R.?”

J.R. Ewing's funeral

Dallas executive producer Cynthia Cidre promises fans that they will not have to wait long to find the answer to the question of “Who shot J.R?”. Cidre says that the identity of the unknown assailant will be revealed at the end of the 15th and final episode of Season 2 in May. Cidre and the rest of the cast and crew felt that to hold back that information for any longer would “be like putting this great meal in front of (fans) and then taking it away.”

The decision to eliminate the character of J.R. from the show with a very familiar cliff-hanger is something that Dallas bosses felt they owed to the character. "It seemed to me that having J.R. pass away of natural causes really cheapens the audience of some delicious reveal, so once that was eliminated, then it became: How did he die? Who did it? Is it a car explosion? Is it a plane crash? Is it a drowning? Was he eaten by a shark?" Cidre says. "And then you come full circle to the original 'Who shot J.R.?' and you try to do it one better. Hopefully the audience will feel that way when it's all revealed in the last episode of the season.”

Long-time co-star Patrick Duffy says that he knows who killed J.R., and called it “Probably the most brilliant piece of scriptwriting I’ve ever read”.

Tonight’s episode of Dallas will feature the final farewell to J.R. Ewing as his family and friends attend his funeral. Will you be watching? Who do you think shot J.R.?

- Dallas (2012)
- Larry Hagman

Written by: harrisr
Mar 11th, 2013, 2:39 am

Images courtesy of TNT

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