When Larry Hagman passed away late last year, longtime "Dallas" fans were deeply saddened and wondered how the TNT reboot, which hadn't even begun its second season, could go on without J.R. Ewing?
Having only shot five episodes, the news later surfaced that executive producer Cynthia Cidre and the "Dallas" writing staff decided to launch a "Who Killed J.R.?" mystery in the wake of Hagman's passing, giving the beloved TV icon a proper sendoff.
"Cynthia [Cidre] never hit a wrong note as far as I'm concerned," Hagman's best friend Patrick Duffy, who plays Bobby Ewing, told HuffPost TV.
In anticipation of Season 2 of "Dallas" (premiering Mon., Jan. 28 at 9 p.m. EST on TNT), HuffPost TV spoke to cast members Duffy, Jesse Metcalfe (Christopher Ewing) and Julie Gonzalo (Rebecca Barnes) to discuss the new season and losing Hagman, though they know the best way to honor isn't with tears. "It's not shoulders down or sad or solemn -- it's just some inappropriate humor that keeps his spirit going really high on set," Duffy said.
KEEPING HIS SPIRIT ALIVE
Patrick Duffy : "I knock on his trailer door every morning. It reminds me of our 35-year relationship. Every time I would go to work, I would knock on his door and go in before I did anything else. I don't expect him to answer the door -- I'm not that crazy -- but it's more just my connection with him. I respect the ongoing friendship I have with him that will last in my life until I die. It's just my little moment. If I could have a glass of champagne with him I would.
Everybody loved and respected him so much, and we have this sense that we're still doing Larry's show. That's the best way to do it. It's not shoulders down or sad or solemn -- it's just some inappropriate humor that keeps his spirit going really high on set."
Jesse Metcalfe: "His trailer's still on set and will remain on set. His name tag is still up on his door. We've all been -- and when I say all, I mean the actors, writers and producers -- honoring Larry the best way we know how and that's by making a great television show and seeing that the new "Dallas" is as successful as it can possibly be."
Julie Gonzalo: "He wouldn't have wanted us to be sad and crying. Obviously we did take the time to do that, and to honor him, but Larry was the type of person who would have wanted everybody smiling and happy."
Metcalfe: "I cherish the time I was lucky enough to have. He never took a moment on set for granted. He was a professional, but he never took himself too seriously. That's really the balance I like to strike when I'm on set. When you're playing a dramatic character in a dramatic scene, sometimes your personality can feed into that drama. You always have to take a step back and remember that we're just making a television show."
Gonzalo: "He's brilliant. He was the most positive person I've ever met in my life. He taught me to be completely positive about everything and to not let the little things bother me. He was truly amazing. I had a scene with him in the second episode, and I remember him complimenting me on my pants and being like, 'You better get to keep your whole wardrobe!' and I was like, 'I'm trying, Larry!' He was one of a kind, a truly magnificent actor a huge role model for all of us on the show."
THE ORIGINALS: PATRICK DUFFY & LINDA GRAY
Metcalfe: "They were very strong. And much like in the beginning of the first season, they set the tone for how this situation was going to be handled. It was very unexpected for me, and it hit me pretty hard. The first person I spoke to was Patrick, and he was strong and stalwart as Patrick usually is. And Linda who's a very sensitive, loving person was also very strong. They're really the backbone of this show."
Season 2 of "Dallas" premieres on Mon., Jan. 28 at 9 p.m. EST on TNT.