Producers Cynthia Cidre and Mike Robin appeared on Sunday with the cast of TNT's DALLAS reboot at a PaleyFest session in Beverly Hills, where Cidre and Robin said that J.R.'s killer would be revealed by the end of the next eight episodes.
"J.R.'s Masterpiece," the March 11 episode, confirms that J.R. Ewing, the rascally oil man played by late TV icon Larry Hagman, was fatally shot at the end of last week's episode. "Masterpiece" finds friends, family, foes, and ex-loves all descending upon the memorial service and funeral to share stories about the wily J.R.
Patrick Duffy, who, the producers confirmed, is the only cast member currently who knows the identity of the shooter, calls the homage to the 1980 "Who shot J.R.?" storyline "probably the most brilliant piece of scriptwriting … in the way that it resolves a problem with such dignity and respect … it's a "pinnacle of DALLAS writing," he concluded.
Other tidbits from the PaleyFest session with the cast, who all shared their love of and favorite moments with Hagman:
* Original series stars Audrey Landers -- who plays Afton, the mom of Cliff Barnes's daughter, Rebecca (Julie Gonzalo) -- and Joan Van Ark (Gary Ewing's on-again, off-again wife, Valene) will be making appearances in the next couple of episodes: Van Ark on March 18, Landers on March 25.
* Cidre confirmed that, had Hagman lived, there was talk of reuniting J.R. and ex-wife Sue Ellen, which nearly made star Linda Gray, Sue Ellen's portrayer, teary.
* Cidre and Robin shared that they were able to have J.R.'s death play out the way it does because of a lot of extra footage the editing crew was able to cull from Seasons 1 and 2 of the reboot.
* Duffy talked about how he and Hagman, one of his best friends since the two portrayed the Ewing brothers on the original series, loved to play pranks on each other, and the best he played on Hagman were once putting a lizard in his briefcase and once paying a naked man to surprise Hagman when he opened a bedroom closet as J.R.
* In "J.R.'s Masterpiece," a beautiful custom-designed bottle of bourbon in J.R.'s room plays a role in one of the episode's most emotional scenes. Cidre says the show has teamed up with a premium bourbon maker to produce a libation that will come packaged in a replica of the bottle.
Fan-favorite moments from the session included Duffy, Gray, and their onscreen sons, Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe, re-enacting scenes from the original DALLAS involving Bobby, Sue Ellen, and elementary school-age John Ross and Christopher; Henderson sharing that he called Hagman "Pops"; one audience member's detailed question to Duffy about a nearly 30-year-old episode of "Dallas"; and one fan's thank-you: She watched the original series as a kid but is grateful that it was brought back because now her mom allows her to watch the kissing scenes, she joked.
The original series was famous for its season-ending cliffhangers, which often involved a freeze-frame close-up of a cast member (which was usually Hagman, Duffy and Gray joked). Cidre confirmed that there will be two freeze frames at the end of this season, though she's not sure whose will come first. She did say that Jordana Brewster, who plays Christopher's fiancée, Elena, has "a big moment" in the finale.