Keck's Exclusives: Dallas Finale Burning Questions
Dallas | Photo Credits: Skip Bolen/TNT
Spoiler alert! TNT's Dallas closed out its second season with one major revelation and reversal after another. Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe) tracked down the plastic surgeon who treated his mother, Pam (Victoria Principal), after her horrific 1987 car accident and was told that she never wanted to see him again. Cue the waterworks! But when Christopher later discovered that the doctor and a woman named Karina were closing out his mother's Swiss bank account, he got a full confession. Pam, we learned, died of pancreatic cancer back in 1989. Prior to her diagnosis, she had fled from her family because 60 percent of her body had been burned in the accident and she deemed herself too hideous to be seen. After undergoing plastic surgery, she intended to get back to Dallas, but got sick before she could make it home. Her brother, Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval), kept her death a secret.
Meanwhile, Cliff appeared to be J.R.'s killer and the family plotted to plant evidence to send him to jail. Only after Cliff was imprisoned did Bobby (Patrick Duffy) confess to John Ross (Josh Henderson) and Christopher what really happened: After learning that he only had days to live, a cancer-stricken J.R. (Larry Hagman) plotted his own demise. He had his henchman, Bum, steal Cliff's gun; Bum then shot J.R. with the intention of framing Cliff for murder and ending the decades-old Barnes/Ewing feud once and for all. As Bum told John Ross, "J.R.'s last act was an act of love for his family and for you."
Here, executive producer Cynthia Cidre talks about the controversial decisions she made this season, and what she's hoping to explore if TNT gives her a third year.
TV Guide Magazine: When did you make the decision to kill Pam?
Cynthia Cidre: We were probably going to let [the mystery] continue for years on end. Then there were too many questions around it and a little too much drama for us after Victoria Principal's statement. (On March 1, Principal released a statement saying, "I cannot be held responsible for any choices made by producers once I left Dallas, but I do take responsibility for my decision not to risk tarnishing Bobby and Pam's love story with a desperate reappearance.) And so we decided it was best to put it to rest so that there would be no more questions.
TV Guide Magazine: What did you think of Principal's statement?
Cidre: People have to do what they have to do for themselves, but for those people who read it, I regret it kind of ruined our story for them. But it's all good. We're happy to have put that to rest and Christopher gets his shares of Barnes Global.
TV Guide Magazine: Just so we are clear, Pam is now unequivocally dead?
Cidre: Unequivocally dead.
TV Guide Magazine: And if Victoria Principal changed her mind and wanted to come back, it's now too late?
Cidre: Dead. Okay?
TV Guide Magazine: Did you ever reach out to Principal about appearing on your show as her statement suggests?
Cidre: Never. From the beginning, I needed the two boys [John Ross and Christopher] to come back because they existed in the previous show and were now the perfect age. They obviously had to have girlfriends or wives, so that's already four people. I knew Larry Hagman had to come back as J.R., and then I went online and looked at Patrick Duffy, who looked awesome. I went online and looked at Linda Gray (Sue Ellen); she looked awesome. Now that's seven people. Victoria Principal had left the show way earlier and there was a really good chance Pam was dead, so I said, 'Why can't Bobby just have a new wife?' So no one from casting ever reached out to her.