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Knots Landing

By Gattis

This spin-off from the ever popular Dallas follows the plight of Gary (Ted Shakleford) and Valene Ewing (Joan Van Arc), who were pretty much ousted from SouthFork by the powerful and older brother of Gary, J. R. Ewing.

While Gary was loved dearly by his mother, Ms. Ellie, J. R. had much discontent for him and even more for his sister-in-law, Val. Gary had been cheated out of his birthright to the Ewing Empire by J. R. Val encouraged Gary to stand up to J. R. and fight for what was rightfully his. For this reason J. R. made sure that neither of them stayed around too long. Even though Gary was loved by Ms. Ellie and brother Bobby, neither could undo J. R. 's successful agenda.

Gary and Val eventually sought a new life in an upper middle class neighborhood in California. Their house sets on a cul-de-sac known as Knots Landing.

Gary and Val's marriage soon falls on the rocks. Val finds a confidant in neighbor Karen MacKenzie (Michelle Lee) while Gary looked to scheming woman that seemed to always lead him down the path of trouble.

Gary's marriage to Abby Fairgate (Donna Mills) produces the most notable evil villainous on the show that would even rival the likes of J. R. Ewing. Abby and J. R. 's paths crossed on at least on one occasion. Abby's company Lotus Pointe (co-owned by Karen MacKenzie & Laura Avery) incorporates shady dealings with a drug cartel headed off by Mr. Sinclair. Abby ends up getting in over her head and has to be bailed out.

After divorcing Abby, Gary married second wife Jill Bennett (Teri Austin). Jill proves to be very mentally unstable. She eventually kills herself and stages her death as a homicide in which Gary is arrested. Jill, afraid that Gary was going to be reunited with Val, decides to take the ultimate plunge and stages her own death so Gary would take the fall.

Jill checked out a book from the library that showed her how to bind and tie herself up. This eventually was her downfall. Jill is very upset that Gary has been seeing Val for their kids sake. Before she ties herself up and crawls into Gary's car trunk, she makes an anonymous call to the police so her body would be found in the trunk of Gary's car.

The plan works until Val does some snooping around and discovers Jill's motives. Val discovers the book that Jill checked out of the Library and figures out what happened. Val soon discovers that Jill committed suicide and staged it to look like homicide. Gary is soon declared innocent of Jill's death.

Throughout, Gary and Val maintain a father-mother relationship for their twins.

Val eventually finds love and contentment with a reporter named Ben Gibson (Doug Sheehan) who is eventually killed while reporting a story.

Val finds herself in a state of pity and depression and she becomes known as "Poor Val".

Other notable characters include the beautiful Paige Matheson (Nicolette Sheriden), daughter of Mac Mackenzie, who gets mixed up with powerful senator Greg Sumner (William Devane), and Val's mother Lilimae Clements (Julie Harris). Val's mother is short a few of her marbles, but is a great support for Val as well as a live in baby sitter for the twins.

Knots Landing's plots and subplots became a favorite of viewers and eventually survived it's predecessor Dallas. Knots Landing lasted 14 seasons with one movie and a reunion show. It is not on DVD as of this writing but with the Dallas DVDs doing so well, Knot's Landing cannot be too far behind.


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Your Memories Shared!

Knots Landing is and has been one of the best dramas in the history of television. I have taped every single episode and enjoy re-watching the story-lines and characters evolve. It would be extremely hard for me to choose a favorite actor/character because everyone made their character their own and kept the fans interested by constantly growing without changing completely. Having said that; I must admit that William Devane is one who totally immersed himself in what his character was about and made it so real that it would have been impossible for anyone to replace him. He took that character and owned it. I haven"t seen that kind of growth, creativity and talent in anyone since and I wish he was still performing. Knots will always be my favorite show and I will always be a huge fan.


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Aired: December 20, 1979 - May 13, 1993

Cast: Joan Van Ark, Ted Shackelford, Don Murray, John Pleschette, Michele Lee, Constance McCashin, Donna Mills

Network: CBS

Genre: Drama

Theme song

Spinoff of: Dallas

Image courtesy of CBS

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