J.R. Ewing murder mystery set for 'Dallas' season 2, cast talks Larry Hagman
The second season of "Dallas" will kick off on Monday, January 28, and although the show will have to carry on without one of its most iconic characters, due to the death of Larry Hagman, the show has plenty of plot twists and turns featuring Ewing to keep viewers interested.
Hagman died of complications from throat cancer at age 81 in November. He shot at least six episodes for the new season before his death. J.R. Ewing's death on the series will become a murder mystery that will leave viewers wondering "Who killed J.R.?"
The storyline is a throwback to the second season finale of the original "Dallas" series in 1980, which ended in a cliffhanger with an unknown person firing a gun at J.R. and leaving him for dead. The character eventually recovered but the mystery became one of the series' most popular storylines and the episode that answered the question that following November had over 80 million viewers.
"We didn't have a Plan B, on purpose," Cynthia Cidre, an executive producer on "Dallas," told The Associated Press recently. "We just knew that we had Larry, so let's use him, let's enjoy him, and if something happens, we'll scramble and fix it. I had great faith in the writers' room. We knew the day might come and what we would do then: Figure it out."
Cidre, who found out from cast member Patrick Duffy that Hagman was on his death bed, added, "In 24 hours we had fixed one of the scripts. We had two more scripts that had to be adjusted, and then this episode we're shooting now, the Goodbye Episode."
The episode Cidre is referring to is J.R. Ewing's wake, which was first reported in November.
According to The Associated Press report, about 85 percent of the season's story line remains intact despite Hagman's death. The rest will be supplemented by the death of J.R. Ewing.
Cast members Duffy and Linda Gray, who appeared with Hagman on the original series, spoke fondly of the actor and talked about his character's continuing influence on the series. Duffy plays J.R. Ewing's good-natured little brother Bobby Ewing and Gray was Ewing's ex-wife Sue Ellen.
"I'm lonely because my best friend isn't there to play with," Duffy said. "I was with him from 1978 until his final hours in the hospital. But I have no regrets. Every day I think of him and smile."
"I think viewers want closure," Gray said. "They want to mourn Larry Hagman and J.R. Ewing. They want to know they can grieve the fact he won't be around."
"Dallas" season 2 premieres on January 28 at 9 p.m. on TNT.