Following the death of Larry Hagman last year, 'Dallas' producers have been kept busy working out how to farewell one of its biggest stars while keeping the storyline of the revamped series ticking along.

What they came up with was a murder plot, worthy of some of 'Dallas's golden era in the 1980s, when the oil baron was gunned down in his office, leaving millions of fans on tenterhooks, waiting to discover 'Who Shot JR?'

They've gone and done it again, with one of the small screen's greatest villains murdered by an unknown assassin - off-stage - in this week's episode, the identity of whom will remain secret until AT LEAST the end of this second series.

Sombre scenes for Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, filming the farewell to one of their greatest friends and co-stars

Next week's episode on Channel 5 will see the funeral of JR Ewing, with the family, for once, united to say goodbye.

For actors Patrick Duffy and Linda Gray, it will have been particularly galling to film these scenes, as their friendship with Larry Hagman was a close one, lasting the four decades since the first show was broadcast.

And Jesse Metcalfe and Josh Henderson joined in, with their characters Christopher and John Ross Ewing, for once united in grief, as Christopher (Metcalfe) does his best to comfort John Ross (Henderson) over the loss of his father.

Jesse Metcalfe and Josh Henderson as Christopher and John Ross Ewing, for once united in grief

Of course, some things never die. A Dallas funeral wouldn't be complete without a gatecrasher to step in and upset smooth proceedings, and who more suitable than JR's age-old adversary Cliff Barnes?

Ken Kercheval as Cliff Barnes, sent to ruin the party

Guest stars also set to appear in the funeral episode include Ted Shackelford (JR's estranged brother Gary), Charlene Tilton (Lucy), Cathy Podewell (Cally Harper Ewing), Deborah Shelton (Mandy Winger) and Steve Kanaly (Ray Krebbs).

According to Digital Spy, 'Dallas' production boss Cynthia Cidre has confirmed that JR's killer will be revealed in the show's second season finale.

"It seemed to me that having JR pass away of natural causes really cheapens the audience of some delicious reveal," she said.

"So once that was eliminated, then it became - how did he die?

"Our mission is to give Larry Hagman and JR a proper send-off. This is a character who will have the last laugh, no matter what."

'Dallas: JR's Masterpiece' - next Tuesday 19 March at 11pm on Channel 5.

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  • J.R. Ewing

    J.R. Ewing is the infamous scheming patriarch of the Southfork ranch, best known for his ruthless drive for power and money. J.R. made his fortune in the oil business, often at the expense of those closest to him, including his ex-wife Sue Ellen and son John Ross. Throughout the years J.R. won himself many enemies, thanks to his unforgiving business manner and constant womanising. One of these enemies is his brother Bobby, with the explosive rivalry between the pair pushing both of them to their limits.

  • Sue Ellen Ewing

    Sue Ellen Ewing is the former long-suffering wife of J.R. and is one of life's true survivors. Over the years she has battled alcoholism and mental illness, mostly as a result of her tumultuous relationship with J.R, but is now a powerful woman in Dallas. Despite all of her success, she still harbours regret for her mistakes with her son with J.R., John Ross, and will do anything to try and right the wrongs of her past.

  • Ann Ewing

    Ann Ewing is the third wife of Bobby Ewing, a no-nonsense woman who possesses quiet strength and dignity. An excellent horse cutter, Ann instantly fell in love with the Southfork ranch and wasted no time in making it her home.

  • Bobby Ewing

    The younger brother of J.R., Bobby Ewing was also a successful (if reluctant) oil baron but he lacked his brother's ruthlessness, and his insistence on playing fair caused ructions between the pair. Throughout the years Bobby has also had his fair share of love interests, with his marriage to Ann Ewing in the new series being his third. He adopted his son Christopher Ewing with his first wife Pam Ewing, and also has a biological son with former partner Jenna Wade.

  • Christopher Ewing

    The adopted son of Bobby, Christopher Ewing has always been aware that he is not a biological Ewing, with his cousin John Ross always happy to remind him. Now an adult, Christopher has returned to Southfork with his fiancé Rebecca Sutter, and is determined to make a name for himself in the alternative fuel industry and to prove himself a true Ewing.

  • Elena Ramos

    Elena Ramos is the daughter of the much-loved Ewing family cook, and grew up on the Southfork ranch alongside John Ross and Christopher Ewing after moving from Mexico when she was eight years old. Growing up it was always Christopher that had her heart, and the pair went on to become engaged until a misunderstanding led to them calling off their wedding and Elena fled heartbroken back to Mexico. John Ross followed her and after he confessed his love for her, Elena returned to Southfork on his arm with her own dreams of making it big in the oil industry.

  • John Ross Ewing

    John Ross Ewing is the son of J.R., and it seems that the apple didn't fall too far from the tree. An ambitious and ruthless schemer just like his father, John Ross is determined to strike it big in the oil industry and prove himself capable of stepping into J.R.'s shoes. With his eyes set firmly on Southfork ranch and Elena Ramos, the girl he has loved since childhood, John Ross will let nothing stand in his way.

  • Rebecca Sutter

    Rebecca Sutter is the beautiful and intelligent fiancée of Christopher Ewing, having met him in Asia shortly after his split from Elena Ramos. Rebecca is a self-made woman - having lost her parents at a young age, she worked hard to put herself through law school with her brother's support. Now living at Southfork she is determined to ensure they her wedding goes off without a hitch.