‘Dallas’: Texas Justice Takes Its Toll

'Dallas": "Trial and Error" (Skip Bolen/TNT)

If you are guilty of a crime, and you confess to committing said crime, you will be convicted. Not even the wit and wisdom of J.R. will be able to save you. That’s the lesson of this week’s “Dallas“, “Trial and Error.” With the focus on Ann’s (Brenda Strong) trial for shooting Harris (Mitch Pileggi), there are not enough of J.R.’s trademark bon mots. But there are still plenty of sharp barbs.

“If Your Heart Weren’t So Small, You’d Be Dead.” Ann to Harris

At the beginning of the episode, Ann yanks on Harris’s hospital bed trying to wake him up. She wants him to admit that she, not Bobby shot him. She points out that she’s a great shot He only survived, in her opinion, because of his small organs.  Harris says he was just going along with Bobb’s wishes when he claimed that Bobby shot him. I mean, when you wake up to find out that your ex-wife’s husband has falsely confessed, why rock the boatt?  On her way out, Ann notices there is a blood spatter on her cowboy boots. Boy, did the Dallas cops do a lousy job of investigating this crime. She drops them off at the police station saying, “My name is Ann Ewiing and I shot Harris Ryland.”

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“Once she got pregnant, all Ann wanted was an abortion… Some people shouldn’t have goldfish, let alone children.” – Judith on the witness stand

Instead of going for a plea bargain, Lew the Lawyer, has Ann stand trial, despite her confessing in a police station. His plan is to argue “sudden passion”, which seems like it might get her a lighter sentence rather than an acquittal. He’s also going for jury nullification, which could work if the jury thinks Harris had it coming for kidnapping Ann’s kid.  Unfortunately, this means Ann and Harris’s entire relationship is fair game.  So Judith (Judith Light) gets to  be Jocasta on the witness stand, saying that Ann was a gold-digging addict who was the world’s worst mother. It’s hilarious. Unfortunately, Lew fails to ask, “So, how often do you fantasize about having sex with your son?”

“We dinosaurs are known to bite.” – J.R. to John Ross

Cliff  (Ken Kercheval) phoned J.R. (Larry Hagman) to let him know that John Ross (Josh Henderson)  tipped him off about Frank’s attempts to frame Pamela. Of couse, Frank was working with J.R. Due to the weird month long timelapse in the middle of the episode, J.R. seethes at John Ross’s betrayal for weeks without doing anything about it. Then, during a recess at the trial, after a sweet conversation with Sue Ellen about forgiveness, he decides to bury the hatchet with his son, appropriately enough, in the men’s room.John Ross scoffs: “I don’t need your forgiveness.” J.R retorts, “You don’t need my wrath either, before self-identifying as a brontosaurus. It’s a rare tender moment between them made all the more poignant by the knowledge that is one of the last scenes the two of them will ever have.

“We have footage of Ann Ewing driving her Chevy Tahoe to the property.”Cop on witness stand

This may be the greatest produce placement ever. Many have mocked the way every character on this show drives a Chevy. This takes a corporate deal to its ridiculous extreme. Chevy Tahoe: when you need to get there fast enough to shoot someone. Chevy Tahoe: when you need to make a getaway, yet be easily identified when you later decide to confess. His testimony later gives a shout out to Smith & Wesson raising the question of whether all of the guns on the show are also product placed.

“The law be damned. I knew that somewhere down the road Emma was going to be hurt by her mother and I just couldn’t take that chance.” – Harris

Harris paints a damning picture of Ann, saying she was a drunk who  repeatedly abandoned Emma. He kidnapped her from the fair to protect her. What’s interesting is that Ann admits to Bobby that some of what Harris said was true. Boy, good thing you didn’t go to prison for a crime she committed, Bobby!

“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.” – Ann

What the Hell? Ann’s mother was a freak. Her sob story has little bearing on whether she attempted to murder Harris, unless Lew is arguing that whatever weird hormones she took impacted her impulse control, but it’s the weirdest detail in the episode. Ann’s take on her past is that Judith poisoned Harris against her. She was ready to leave him when she learned she was pregnant. After she gave birth, she was diagnosed with post-partum depression, and prescribed pills that impacted her emotional state. She took a couple too many on the day she went to the fair and did leave Emma for a minute while she bought a soda. That is not exactly a story that will change the jury’s mind.

“He has the biggest heart in the world. He risked going to jail to protect me.” – Emma

Christopher  (Jesse Metcalfe) should never give anyone advice about anything ever. He encourages Emma  (Emma Bell) to tell the truth, “not someone else’s version of it.” On the witness stand, Emma stares at Ann, Harris and Judith, the proceeds to nail Ann to the wall, saying that she is grateful that Harris rescued her from Ann’s clutches because he is the best Dad ever. Also, he buys her lots of ponies. Christopher, never open your mouth again. Not surprisingly, Ann is found guilty. On her way to the prison bus, she crosses paths with Vicente, who was in court for an extradition hearing. If there isn’t some “Fugitive” style bus crash next week, with both of them breaking free, I will be deeply disappointed.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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