Knots Landing

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Knots Landing
Knots Landing opening.jpg
Knots Landing Logo (Seasons 9–10)
Format Soap opera
Created by David Jacobs
Starring Teri Austin
Alec Baldwin
Tonya Crowe
William Devane
Kevin Dobson
Stacy Galina
Julie Harris
Lisa Hartman
James Houghton
Kim Lankford
Michele Lee
Claudia Lonow
Constance McCashin
Donna Mills
Don Murray
Kathleen Noone
Patrick Petersen
Michelle Phillips
John Pleshette
Larry Riley
Ted Shackelford
Douglas Sheehan
Nicollette Sheridan
Joan Van Ark
Country of origin USA
No. of seasons 14
No. of episodes 344 (List of episodes)
Production
Running time 47 to 50 minutes
Production company(s) Roundelay(-MF) Productions
Lorimar Productions (seasons 1-7)
Lorimar-Telepictures (seasons 8 and 9)
Lorimar Television (seasons 10-14)
Distributor Warner Bros. Television (DVD and Syndication)
Broadcast
Original channel CBS
Original run December 27, 1979 – May 13, 1993
Chronology
Followed by Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac (1997)
Related shows Dallas

Knots Landing is an American primetime television soap opera that aired from December 27, 1979 to May 13, 1993 on CBS. A spin-off of Dallas, it was set in a fictitious coastal suburb of Los Angeles, and centered on the lives of four married couples living in a cul-de-sac, Seaview Circle. By the time of its conclusion, Knots Landing had become one of the longest-running primetime dramas on U.S. television after Gunsmoke and Bonanza.[1]

Knots Landing was created by David Jacobs (one-time writer of Family and later producer of Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman) in conjunction with producer Michael Filerman (who would also later co-produce Falcon Crest). Although it became a spin-off of Dallas, the concept predates that series, and was initially rebuffed by CBS in 1977, as the network wanted something more "saga-like." Jacobs then created Dallas, which the network accepted and premiered in 1978. After Dallas became a hit, Jacobs was then able to adapt Knots Landing as a spin-off series by way of incorporating characters originally introduced in the parent series. The series was largely inspired by a 1957 movie No Down Payment but also by the 1973 Ingmar Bergman television miniseries Scenes from a Marriage. Storylines also included rape, murder, kidnapping, assassinations, drug smuggling, corporate intrigue and criminal investigations. Though initially not as popular as Dallas, Knots Landing eventually outlasted it and garnered much critical acclaim. The series peaked during the 1983–84 season with a 20.8 rating (finishing in 11th place) and a 20.0 rating for the 1984–85 season (when it finished 9th). This can be attributed, in part, to more dramatic storylines as the series became more soap-opera like, and the gradual inclusion of newer characters to interact with the original cast. By the 1988–89 season, Knots Landing was ahead of Dallas in the ratings, though audiences for both shows by this time were less than their earlier years.

In 1997, much of the cast reunited for a two-part mini-series entitled Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac. In 2005, they reunited again for the non-fiction special Knots Landing Reunion: Together Again in which the cast reminisced about their time on the show. Dallas itself was revived in 2012, with characters from Knots Landing appearing in its second season.

Background[edit]

Gary Ewing was the middle son and the black sheep of the Ewing family from Dallas. Gary was an alcoholic, whose father Jock and older brother J.R. had never treated as an equal. The insecure Gary met Valene when they were aged 17 and 15 years old respectively. They were married briefly and had a daughter, Lucy, but Gary left Southfork Ranch and later divorced Valene. With Gary gone from Southfork Ranch, J.R. had Valene followed and 'run out of town' as he took her daughter and manipulated Gary away from her. Years later, Valene and Lucy reconnected, causing Valene and Gary to reunite. They remarried and Gary's mother, Miss Ellie, bought the couple a house in California. Knots Landing is officially spun-off from Dallas in the third season episode entitled "Return Engagement".

Credited cast[edit]

Actor Character Seasons
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
James Houghton Kenny Ward Main
Kim Lankford Ginger Ward Main
Michele Lee Karen Fairgate MacKenzie Main
Constance McCashin Laura Avery Sumner Main
Don Murray Sid Fairgate Main
John Pleshette Richard Avery Main Guest
Ted Shackelford Gary Ewing Main
Joan Van Ark Valene "Val" Ewing Main Guest
Julie Harris Lilimae Clements Guest Recurring Main
Claudia Lonow Diana Fairgate Recurring Main Guest Guest
Patrick Petersen Michael Fairgate Recurring Main
Donna Mills Abby Cunningham Ewing Sumner Main Guest
Tonya Crowe Olivia Cunningham Recurring Main
Kevin Dobson Mack MacKenzie Main
Lisa Hartman Cathy Geary/Ciji Dunne Recurring Main
Douglas Sheehan Ben Gibson Main
William Devane Greg Sumner Main
Alec Baldwin Joshua Rush Main
Teri Austin Jill Bennett Guest Recurring Main
Nicollette Sheridan Paige Matheson Recurring Main
Michelle Phillips Anne Matheson Recurring Guest Recurring Main
Larry Riley Frank Williams Recurring Main
Stacy Galina Kate Whittaker/Mary-Frances Sumner #2 Recurring Main
Kathleen Noone Claudia Whittaker Recurring Main
Michele Lee (Original cast) as Karen Cooper Fairgate MacKenzie (344 episodes)
First married to Sid Fairgate, and later to Mack McKenzie, and the mother of Diana, Eric and Michael Fairgate. She and Mack later adopted Meg, (Laura's daughter with Greg Sumner). Karen worked as a community activist and later proved herself to be a good businesswoman by running Knots Landing Motors and Lotus Point, of which she was a joint-owner with Gary and Abby. (Michele Lee would also become the only cast member to appear in all 344 episodes.)
Don Murray (Original cast) as William Sidney Fairgate (1979–1981; 33 episodes)
Karen's first husband, and the owner of Knots Landing Motors. Hard working, fair and at times stubborn, Sid was killed when his car was sabotaged.
Ted Shackelford (Original cast) as Garrison Arthur "Gary" Ewing (342 episodes)
The son of Jock and Ellie Ewing, first introduced in the TV series Dallas. Gary, the middle Ewing son between J.R. and Bobby, was the family blacksheep and a recovering alcoholic. The true love of Valene's life and father of their daughter Lucy (from Dallas) and twins Bobby & Betsy Ewing. After his arrival in California, he began working for Sid Fairgate at Knots Landing Motors, where he was eventually promoted to vice president. He was later fired by Karen after Sid's death, and his marriage to Val was wrecked by his affair with Abby. After his father (Jock Ewing) died, he inherited $10 million and later married Abby, though the marriage ended after a couple of years. After a relationship with the scheming Jill Bennett, he later remarried Valene. (Ted Shackleford is the only castmember along with Michele Lee to remain in the series throughout its entire run, but he did not appear in every episode)
Joan Van Ark (Original cast) as Valene "Val" Clements Ewing Ewing Gibson Waleska Ewing (1979–1992, 1993; 327 episodes).
The true love of Gary's life, she is the mother of his three children, including Lucy Ewing (Charlene Tilton) of Dallas, and twins Bobby & Betsy Ewing, born in 1984. Valene originally came from Tennessee, and married Gary in the 1960s while they were still in their teens, but she was outcast from the Ewing family by J.R.. After she and Gary remarried in 1979, they moved to Knots Landing where she became Karen's neighbor and best friend. After their marriage failed again, she later married journalist Ben Gibson, and then psychotic Danny Waleska, before finally marrying Gary for the third time. (Joan Van Ark appears in all but six of the episodes for her thirteen seasons, and returned for the series two-part finale in 1993)
Constance McCashin (Original cast) as Laura Avery Sumner (1979–1987; 198 episodes).
The wife of Richard Avery, and later, Greg Sumner. Initially an oppressed housewife, she later became a successful real estate agent. Laura died in 1987 of a brain tumor.
John Pleshette (Original cast) as Richard Avery (1979–1983, 1987; 77 episodes).
A lawyer, and later a restaurant owner. Unhappily married to Laura, he struggled to assert himself after she launched a successful career in real-estate. In 1982, he suffered a nervous breakdown (where he held Laura hostage at gunpoint) and left town in 1983 without his family and he and Laura divorced. He returned briefly in 1987 to attend her funeral.
James Houghton (Original cast) as Kenny Ward (1979–1983; 75 episodes).
A young record producer who, at first, cheated on his wife Ginger, but reformed upon the birth of their daughter Erin Molly. Both he and Ginger moved away from Knots Landing in 1983.
Kim Lankford (Original cast) as Ginger Ward (1979–1983; 75 episodes).
Married to Kenny, Ginger was a kindergarten teacher with aspirations of being a singer. She gave birth to a daughter, Erin Molly, in 1981. She later moved out of Knots Landing to Nashville, Tennessee two years later with her husband and daughter to pursue a career as a country music singer.
Patrick Petersen (Original cast) as Michael Fairgate (1979–1991; 182 episodes).
Sid and Karen's younger son who would become romantically involved with Mack's daughter Paige Matheson and later have an affair with his older brother Eric's wife, Linda Fairgate.
Claudia Lonow (Original cast) as Diana Fairgate (1979–1984, 1993; 81 episodes).
Karen's daughter who fell in love with the evil Chip Roberts (Michael Sabatino). She eventually left Knots Landing to study fashion designing in New York City.
Julie Harris as Lilimae Clements (1980, 1981–1987; 165 episodes).
Valene's mother. Though they'd been estranged for many years, after Lilimae virtually abandoned Valene as a teenager in her quest to become a country music singer, Lilimae reappeared in Valene's life during Season 1. In Season 3, she moved in with Valene and Gary, remaining in Knots Landing until Season 9.
Donna Mills as Abby Fairgate Cunningham Ewing Sumner (1980–1989, 1993; 236 episodes).
Sid's sister, and the neighborhood troublemaker. After divorcing her first husband, Jeff Cunnningham, Abby decided to move to Knots Landing where she began working as a bookkeeper at Knots Landing Motors. She engaged in affairs with Richard, and later Gary, destroying his marriage to Val. Abby then married Gary herself (mainly to get his inheritance) but they divorced a couple of years later, though by this time she was working with both Gary and her former sister-in-law, Karen, as joint-owners of Lotus Point. She later married Greg Sumner (for political reasons) but the marriage lasted only a few months before Abby moved to Japan. Although Abby adored her brother Sid, Abby and Karen rarely got along. Donna Mills appeared in almost all the episodes of the series for her nine seasons, with the exception of one episode during the 1988–89 season.
Tonya Crowe as Olivia Cunningham Dyer (1980–1990; 137 episodes).
Abby's rebellious daughter who became addicted to drugs. She later married mobster's nephew Harold Dyer against her mother's wishes, making Abby cut her off financially.
Kevin Dobson as Marion Patrick "Mack" MacKenzie (1982–1993; 291 episodes).
Karen's second husband; an attorney who worked for the Governor's office before opening his own private practice. He first met Karen when he worked as the Federal Prosecutor, helping to catch the men responsible for Sid's death. He later worked for his old classmate, Senator Greg Sumner, at his crime commission though later quit because he could not tolerate Sumner's schemes which led to the pair of them becoming rivals. (From joining the series in Season 4, Kevin Dobson appears in all the episodes of the series with the exception of two, during the final season).
Lisa Hartman as Ciji Dunne (1982–1983; 17 episodes) /Cathy Geary Rush (1983–1986; 78 episodes).
Ciji and Cathy were both singers. Ciji was murdered, leaving almost everyone in Knots Landing as a suspect. Some months later, Ciji's doppelgänger Cathy Geary showed up after being released from prison. Gary was interested in helping Cathy get a fresh start on life, even falling into a brief affair with her, but it was revealed she was hired by Abby to distract him. Despite this, they remained friends. She later married Lilimae's son, Joshua Rush, who became abusive towards her.
William Devane as Greg Sumner (1983–1993; 269 episodes).
Mack's ex-best friend and classmate who attended law school with him and offered him a job working for the crime commission. Initially a politician, Greg became a businessman after inheriting his father's corporation. He married Laura, with whom he had a daughter, Meg. After her death in 1987, he later married Abby, but had an on-off relationship with Paige, Mack's daughter.
Douglas Sheehan as Ben Gibson (1983–1987; 112 episodes).
Valene's second husband. He was a journalist, who later worked at Abby's television station but disappeared in South America.
Alec Baldwin as Joshua Rush (1984–1985; 40 episodes).
Lilimae's son whom she abandoned as a baby. He was raised by his preacher father and came to Knots Landing as a rather innocent young preacher. He later became a televangelist and married Cathy Geary, but became mentally ill and extremely violent. After he tried to kill Cathy, he accidentally fell off a roof and died.
Teri Austin as Jill Bennett (1985–1989; 96 episodes).
An ex-colleague of Mack's and later had a relationship with Gary. She became threatened by Gary's close friendship with his ex-wife Valene and tried to murder her. She accidentally killed herself after locking herself in the trunk of Gary's car in an attempt to frame him for kidnapping.
Nicollette Sheridan as Paige Matheson (1986–1993; 181 episodes).
Mack's daughter with Anne Matheson. She became romantically involved with Karen's younger son Michael Fairgate, Peter Hollister (whom she was engaged to before she accidentally killed him), Greg Sumner (whom she also worked for), police detective Tom Ryan, and also Pierce Lawton who tried to kill her.
Michelle Phillips as Anne Matheson (1987, 1989, 1990–1993; 88 episodes).
Paige's mother and Mack's first love. She initially tried to split up Mack and Karen, but after failing she turned her attentions to Greg and also attempted to cheat Paige out of her inheritance from her grandfather.
Larry Riley as Frank Williams (1988–1992; 99 episodes)
Frank moved to Knots Landing with his wife Pat and daughter Julie as part of the witness protection program. He eventually took a job in Mack's law firm.
Stacy Galina as Kate Whittaker (1990–1993; 71 episodes)
Claudia's daughter who resembled Greg's late daughter Mary-Frances. She was a semi-professional tennis player, but broke her arm which ended her budding career. She later became romantically involved with Gary Ewing.
Kathleen Noone as Claudia Sumner Whittaker (1990–1993; 67 episodes)
Greg Sumner's sister, who moved to town under the guise of accompanying her daughter for college; in reality, she wanted to meddle in Greg's affairs.

Other recurring characters[edit]

  • Steve Shaw (Original cast) as Eric Fairgate (1979–1990)
Karen and Sid's eldest son who had a brief romantic relationship with Greg Sumner's daughter Mary-Frances before later marrying Linda, who would have an affair with his brother Michael.
Abby's son.
Karen's brother.
Diana's husband and the murderer of Ciji. He died when he accidentally fell onto a pitchfork.
Investigated Ciji's death and had feelings for her co-worker, Mack MacKenzie.
Greg Sumner's teenaged daughter.
The doctor that delivered Valene's twins and then helped with the ruse that they had died. He later killed himself when confronted by Karen and Mack.
Jill Bennett's brother who was killed accidentally by his former fiancé Paige.
Abby's son.
Eric Fairgate's wife who had an affair with his brother Michael, and later on have a romantic relationship with her boss Greg Sumner. She was brutally murdered.
Wife of Frank Williams and mother of Julie. A former doctor, she and her family were in the Witness Protection Program but she died when she was hit by Danny Waleska's car.
The nephew of a mobster who later became Olivia's husband.
Singer and ex-lover of Paige Matheson.
Teenage daughter of Frank and Pat Williams.
An environmentalist who became close to Mack and had an affair with Greg Sumner.
A consultant who worked with Abby and Greg Sumner but later plotted to kill Paige.
  • Betsy Palmer as Aunt Virginia "Ginny" Bullock (1989–1990)
Valene's aunt who comes to live with her for a while.
Valene's violent third husband.
A dirty cop who almost married Paige.
A shady Itialian playboy who became involved with both Anne Matheson and Claudia Whittaker.
A teenager with an abusive father who goes to live with Mack and Karen.
A businessman who became involved with Paige but later tried to kill her.

Guest stars[edit]

Plot summaries[edit]

Season One (1979–80)[edit]

13 episodes (1–13)

Produced by: Joseph B. Wallenstein

Knots Landing title card (seasons 1 and 2)

Upon arriving in Knots Landing, California, newly remarried Gary and Valene Ewing (Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark) meet their neighbors at their new cul-de-sac home of Seaview Circle. Next door are Sid and Karen Fairgate (played by Don Murray and Michele Lee) and their three children, Diana (Claudia Lonow), Eric (Steve Shaw), and Michael (Patrick Petersen). Also living in the cul-de-sac were corporate lawyer Richard Avery and his wife Laura (John Pleshette and Constance McCashin), parents of a young son, Jason, and young newlyweds Kenny Ward (a record producer) and his wife Ginger (James Houghton and Kim Lankford).

Gary and Val's daughter Lucy (Charlene Tilton) came to visit them from Dallas, but opted not to stay in California. Gary took a job at Knots Landing Motors, a Ford-Lincoln-Mercury car dealership (hence, the show's early sponsors) owned by Sid. He was soon promoted but, although a recovering alcoholic, he got drunk at his promotion party and then went binge drinking in the two-part season finale, “Bottom of the Bottle”. Ginger caught her record producer husband, Kenny, cheating on her with a singer, Sylvie (Louise Vallance), and broke up with him. Meanwhile, unhappily married Richard and Laura Avery were having problems of their own. When Richard wanted to borrow money from Laura's father, Laura only agreed on the condition that Richard let her go to work instead of being a full-time housewife. Richard was forced to relent, and Laura saw that she did not have to live by her husband's rules all the time. During the season, Laura was also raped by a man she'd met in a bar.

Season Two (1980–81)[edit]

18 episodes (14–31)

Produced by: Joseph B. Wallenstein

Following her divorce, Sid Fairgate’s sister Abby Cunningham (Donna Mills) moves to Knots Landing with her two young children, Olivia and Brian. Abby was 14 years Sid's junior, and he’d always been oblivious to her scheming ways, but Karen was suspicious of almost everything Abby did. When Abby took a job at Knots Landing Motors as a bookkeeper, she helped Gary out of a bind with mobsters by going to his brother J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman), with whom she slept. Abby went out of her way to make sure Val found out Gary was cheating on her with Judy Trent (Jane Elliott), the attractive wife of Earl Trent, a man he was sponsoring in Alcoholics Anonymous. Even though Abby set her sights on Gary, she settled for Richard, taking no great effort to conceal the affair from Laura, who took on a career in real estate and began a flirtation with her boss, Scooter Warren (Allan Miller). Abby dumped Richard when her ex-husband Jeff Cunningham (Barry Jenner) threatened to take her children away. During an episode where the women of Knots Landing held a baby shower for Ginger which was interrupted by intruders who held them all hostage, Abby seduced one of the thugs in order to get out of the situation.

Ginger began dating the father of one of her students while separated from Kenny, but took Kenny back upon discovering that she was pregnant. Meanwhile, Richard's career as a lawyer took a turn for the worse. Sid and Abby's nephew Paul Fairgate (Kale Browne) made his only appearance on the show in the episode "Players". At the end of the season, Abby's ex-husband Jeff succeeded in taking their two children away without Abby's permission, leaving her frantic. When Sid discovered some car parts that Gary and Abby had been buying were actually stolen, his brakes were tampered with in order to keep him from testifying to this in court. Sid’s car went off a cliff, with Sid and his FBI agent bodyguard Salmaggio inside.

Season Three (1981–82)[edit]

22 episodes (32–53)

Produced by: Joseph B. Wallenstein

Salmaggio was pronounced dead, but Sid was still alive and rushed to hospital. However, when a blood clot rendered him paralyzed from the neck down, Sid asked Karen to sign papers allowing him to undergo life-risking surgery in order to regain the use of his legs. After some argument, Karen reluctantly agreed to sign. Sid died during the operation, leaving Karen a widow with three children. Karen's unwillingness to discuss her husband's death distanced her from her children, especially from her elder son Eric (Steve Shaw), who was angry after she decided to sell Sid's classic hot rod shortly after his death.

Karen took over the running of Knots Landing Motors, firing Abby. Karen would be forced to hire Abby back because Abby’s style of bookkeeping could not be easily deciphered. Meanwhile, Abby tricked her ex-husband Jeff Cunningham (Barry Jenner) into returning her children to her.

Ginger became annoyed as Kenny refused to take interest in her aspirations as a singer. However, both become closer as their first child, Erin Molly, is born, and Karen's dry-eyed composure surrounding Sid's death finally crumbles when Kenny and Ginger put the baby into her arms and ask her to be their new daughter's godmother. Karen's brother, Joe Cooper (Stephen Macht) took on a job as a bookkeeper at USC and briefly stayed with the Fairgate family.

Valene attempted to forge a bond with her estranged mother Lilimae (Julie Harris), who moved in with her and Gary. Lilimae had abandoned Valene as a child when trying to pursue her fruitless dream of becoming a country music singer. Meanwhile, Valene began writing a book based on the Ewings of Dallas which drove a wedge between her and Gary.

Laura began an affair with her boss Scooter after years of being unhappily married to Richard. She planned to leave Richard, but then discovered she was pregnant. She planned on aborting the pregnancy, but decided not to after Richard got violent. Richard was becoming the company pimp after being asked to supply entertainment by his boss for some clients at his law firm, a pattern that kept repeating itself. This was eventually revealed on the news, and Richard's employer denied any involvement with him. After losing his job, Richard became depressed and had a nervous breakdown. After holding Laura at the children hostage at gunpoint, Richard was sent to a mental institution.

After Karen passed up the opportunity to fund a methanol-powered vehicle project, Gary and Abby devoted hours to making it work without her help. Abby made repeated passes at Gary, and finally they slept together. In the season finale, Valene walks in on them both and flees the cul-de-sac in tears.

Season Four (1982–83)[edit]

22 episodes (54–75)

Produced by: Peter Dunne

Valene returns to her house in Seaview Circle and throws Gary out. She later becomes a best-selling author with "Capricorn Crude", her thinly veiled expose of the Ewings of Dallas. Gary moves into a beach house with Abby and her two children, and inherits millions from his father's will. Investing money in several ways, he decides to go into the record business and teams up with Kenny who produces the record of a beautiful young singer Ciji Dunne (Lisa Hartman).

With the charges dropped against Sid Fairgate’s killers, an angry Karen marches into the office of federal prosecutor M. Patrick “Mack” McKenzie (played by Kevin Dobson). Mack was as upset as Karen, and so they worked together to bring the men to justice. They fell in love, and married half-way through the season.

Upon finding a suicide note at the house, a guilty Laura decided to reconcile with Richard. Richard then proceeded to open a restaurant called Daniel (named after their newborn son). Abby financed the restaurant using Gary's money, and in a cross-promotion, demanded that Ciji sing there every night. Ginger resented Ciji, as Kenny spent a lot of time worrying about Ciji’s career and almost no time at all on Ginger's. Laura and Ciji became best friends, which prompted the insecure Richard to fear the women were having a lesbian relationship.

Valene’s publicist Chip Roberts (Michael Sabatino) convinced Lilimae to let him live with them. Chip dated Karen’s daughter Diana and Ciji at the same time, and panicked when he found out Ciji was carrying his child and that Ciji had discovered he was actually a criminal called Tony Fenice. Shortly afterwards, Ciji's dead body washed up on the beach. Gary, who had again started drinking, was arrested for her murder.

Realizing Laura no longer loved him, Richard left Knots Landing, which made Laura believe he was Ciji's murderer. Kenny and Ginger also left Knots Landing, with Kenny being offered a job in Nashville. In the season finale, Gary languished in a prison cell awaiting trial for Ciji's murder, while Lilimae discovered Chip’s real identity. By this time, Chip had left town with Diana, leaving Karen horrified that her daughter was in the hands of a killer.

Season Five (1983–84)[edit]

25 episodes (76–100)

Produced by: Peter Dunne

Gary was acquitted of Ciji’s murder due to a lack of evidence. Chip (now revealed to be murder suspect Tony Fenice) and Diana fled town as Chip became the primary suspect. Although Chip confessed to Diana that he'd killed Ciji, they married while on the run so that she would not have to testify against him in court. When it looked as though Chip would get away with the murder, Lilimae took matters into her own hands by running him down with her car. However, Chip was merely bruised by the impact.

Meanwhile, Abby and Sid's uncle died, leaving Abby and (by default) Karen land inheritance at Lotus Point, California. Abby then formed Apolune Corp., a secret subsidiary of Gary’s company, with which to build her power base. Abby convinced Gary to marry her in order to get half of his inheritance. Valene began a relationship with journalist Ben Gibson (Douglas Sheehan). Before marrying Abby, Gary slept with Valene one more time. Valene discovered she was pregnant with Gary's children (twins), Valene opted not to tell him as he was now married to Abby and she herself was in love with Ben. However, Ben could not come to terms with the fact she was pregnant with another man’s babies and they broke up.

Abby hired a Ciji look-alike, Cathy Geary (Lisa Hartman), to keep Gary distracted so he would not learn about her crooked business practices. Gary hired Cathy to work at his ranch, but when Chip (who had been hiding out at the ranch with Diana) saw Cathy, he accidentally fell backward onto a pitchfork and was killed. The ordeal with Diana caused Karen to become more depressed, and she became addicted to prescription painkillers. Abby inherited some land from her dead uncle, but discovered Karen had inherited half of it as she was Sid's widow. Without Karen's knowledge, Abby schemed to build a resort on the land called Lotus Point while cutting Karen out of her plans. Politician Greg Sumner (William Devane), an old college friend of Mack's who was running for US Senator, received the endorsements of Mack and Karen, as well as Abby, who wanted to buy herself a senator. Greg hired Mack to lead his Senate Crime Commission investigating the sinister Wolfbridge Group, but when Abby convinced Greg to get her an illegal land variance to build on Lotus Point, Greg pinned it on Mack, thus ending their friendship.

After Karen's recovery from drug addiction, she and Diana reconciled. Wolfbridge forced Abby to let them become her partners in the development of Lotus Point. When Mack discovered that Apolune owned all the land in Lotus Point, except Karen and Abby’s inheritances, he thought Apolune was a division of Wolfbridge. Laura confessed that Apolune was Abby’s company and Gary decided to divorce Abby. When Mack faked Gary's death to get Wolfbridge, Karen left him, believing his obsession with Wolfbridge had cost her everything. In the season finale, Mack tried to trick Mark St. Claire (Joseph Chapman), the head of the Wolfbridge Group, into trying to shoot Gary, but St. Claire’s assassin hit Karen instead. Abby was kidnapped by the Wolfbridge Group when they realized they had failed.

Season Six (1984–85)[edit]

30 episodes (101–130)

Produced by: Peter Dunne (ep. 101-119) /Lawrence Kasha (ep. 120-130)

Greg Sumner kills Mark St. Claire, who was holding Abby hostage on a boat. After being shot, Karen was given only months to live after declining to have risky surgery due to her fear that she would die on the operating table like Sid had. Meanwhile, Gary and Abby reconciled and the couple, along with Karen, agreed to become partners in Lotus Point. Lilimae's secret son Joshua (Alec Baldwin), whom she'd abandoned as a baby, came to live with her and Valene. He began dating Cathy, who'd moved in with Laura.

Abby also began running the television station, World Pacific Cable, that Ben worked at after Gary bought it. She was shocked to learn that Gary was the father of Valene’s babies. Abby told Scott Easton (Jack Bannon), an influential lobbyist with shady connections, about her problem. As a "gift" to Abby, he had Valene’s babies kidnapped after their birth, though without Abby's consent. Valene was told that the babies were stillborn, and when she insisted that she'd heard them crying, nobody believed her. Heartbroken over the loss, Valene left Knots Landing for Tennessee, where she developed psychosomatic amnesia, calling herself Verna Ellers (a character from one of her novels) and becoming a waitress.

Karen took Mack back on Gary’s insistence after she confided to him that she was dying. Mack convinced Karen to have the risky life-saving operation she needed, which was a success. Paul Galveston befriended Gary, and offered him a chance to develop Empire Valley, a large piece of real estate. Gary began construction to develop a business and residential park at the site. Galveston died, leaving his company to his son, Greg Sumner. Assuming he would inherit Empire Valley, Greg resigned from the Senate, but Galveston left Empire Valley to Gary. Greg’s meddling mother Ruth Galveston (Ava Gardner) paid him an extended visit. She took a liking to Abby but disliked Laura whom Greg had become closely involved with.

Joshua became a televangelist at World Pacific Cable. He and Cathy married, though on their wedding day she had second thoughts because fame had warped him. Valene (still believing herself to be “Verna”) became engaged to a man in Tennessee, but Gary finally found her and brought her back to Knots Landing where she re-united with Ben but still refused to believe that her babies were dead. Karen and Ben discovered that Valene’s doctor had paid off a nurse to assist in the deceit. Mack tracked down Valene’s babies that had been adopted on the black market. Abby confided to Greg that she had inadvertently caused Valene's babies to be stolen from her and asked for his help in recovering them as not even she would knowingly steal another woman's children, however Greg attempted to blackmail her with the information instead. With Ruth Galveston's help, Abby manages to get the address of the couple who have Val's babies. She goes to Val and tells her she knows where her babies are, in the hopes of reuniting them and therefore covering her involvement in their kidnapping. They drive to the home of Harry and Sheila Fisher, the couple who adopted the babies on the black market, but find Mack, Ben, Gary and Karen are already there. Sheila Fisher talks to Karen and Mack at the front door, holding one of Valene's twins in her arms. Sheila disbelieves their claims that the children were stolen and illegally adopted. At that moment, Harry Fisher passes in front of the house in his car with Valene's other baby. His wife shouts and warns him, "They want to take the babies..." at which point Harry drives off with Valene's other baby before anyone can stop him.

  • This season finale, entitled "The Long and Winding Road", ranked as the #1 program for the week in the Nielsen ratings. It is the only episode to rank #1 for the week during the series' 14 seasons.

Season Seven (1985–86)[edit]

30 episodes (131–160)

Supervising producer: David Paulsen
Produced by: Lawrence Kasha

After a frantic battle to expose the black market adoption, Valene's babies were returned to her in the second episode of the season. Abby successfully covered her tracks in the matter by simply telling Gary that she had received a phone call for "Mrs Ewing" telling her that the babies were still alive and where they could be found, and assumed the phone call was meant for Valene. Valene and Ben agreed to raise the babies together, and they married. Also married this year were Laura and Greg, whose estrangement ended when he convinced her that his interfering mother was out of their lives for good. Gary received news about his brother Bobby's death, and headed back to Dallas for the funeral (in the 1986-87 season premiere of Dallas, Bobby Ewing's death was revealed to be part of a dream, however this was never acknowledged on Knots Landing.)

Empire Valley went awry when Gary discovered that Galveston Industries and its partners were secretly building an underground espionage operation there. Gary blew up Empire Valley to stop this. Gary blamed Abby, who had helped Greg and gone behind his back. Gary informed Abby at the end of the season that he would divorce her.

Gary bequeathed part of Empire Valley to Val's kids Betsy and Bobby (named after his recently deceased brother), who were being raised as Ben's children. Peter Hollister (Hunt Block) went to work for Greg, and Jill Bennett (Teri Austin) became Mack’s new colleague. It was later revealed that Peter and Jill were brother and sister, whose family had been swindled by Paul Galveston and wanted revenge. Jill abandoned her side of the plan when she fell in love with the now-single Gary, while Peter, in going through Greg’s files, discovered a woman named Sylvia Lean (Ruth Roman) who’d been receiving monthly payments from Galveston Industries for over 20 years. She had given birth to Galveston’s now-deceased son, whom Peter pretended to be, demanding compensation from Greg. Abby discovered the truth and demanded 51% of Peter’s compensation in return for keeping it secret, but when Peter discovered that Abby had known that Valene’s babies had been kidnapped from the start, he used this against her.

With his sanity slipping away, Joshua became abusive toward Cathy, who then left him. Not wanting to lose her, he decided that they should die together. He tried to throw Cathy off of a rooftop, but Lilimae arrived in time to stop him. She disowned Joshua, but he fell from the roof and died. Lilimae spent the rest of the season mourning him, while Cathy moved on to Ben, whose marriage to Valene was failing due to the continued presence of Gary, who by now knew that he was the father of her twins. Ben cheated with Cathy and in the season finale, prepared to leave Valene and go on a singing tour with Cathy as her manager. Meanwhile, angry and disillusioned with her mother Abby after learning the truth herself about the kidnapping of Valene's babies, Abby's teenaged daughter Olivia (Tonya Crowe) developed a drug problem. A young woman named Paige Matheson (Nicollette Sheridan) arrived at Mack’s door claiming to be his daughter. But on the same day, Karen disappears and finds herself being held hostage in a basement by a stranger who knows her name.

Season Eight (1986–87)[edit]

30 episodes (161–190)

Produced by: Lawrence Kasha

Karen's kidnapper was Phil Harbert (Louis Giambalvo), an old friend of Greg's and Mack's who was bitter toward Mack, whom he blamed for having caused the death of his wife. Ben returned to Valene and promised to make their marriage work, however this promise was compromised when he was contacted by Jean Hackney (Wendy Fulton), who had tried to trick Ben into doing a mission for an underground organization to kill Greg Sumner. When Valene's children were threatened, Ben finally agreed to do this. Luckily, with the help of Mack, Ben foiled the plan, although Jean Hackney's insistence on following him meant that he had to leave the country and Valene at the end of the season. Although Valene also helped in stopping the situation, an angry Laura, whom Val failed to tell what was going on, blamed her for the whole incident and ended their friendship.

Laura announced to Greg that she was pregnant, though he was not enthusiastic about it. Mack had a difficult time handling Paige, who moved in with the Mackenzies and seduced Karen’s son Michael. When Karen discovered Paige Matheson was dead, Paige told the Mackenzies she'd faked her own death in order to escape her wealthy, controlling grandparents. Paige's mother (and Mack's first love) Anne (Michelle Phillips) arrived in Knots Landing to be with her daughter, whom she’d believed dead. Anne moved in to Laura’s house on the cul-de-sac and attempted to seduce Mack but failed, even staging a suicide bid for attention. She later attempted to seduce Greg, but left Knots Landing.

Abby's daughter Olivia's drug problem escalated into a full-scale addiction which led Abby to resort to drastic measures to get her clean. When her drug dealer beat up her younger brother Brian, she finally gave up her stash of drugs to Abby. Olivia then became friends with Peter Hollister, but developed a crush on him. Peter, however, was only interested in Paige. At the end of the season, Abby found Olivia standing over Peter's dead body. They both assumed the other had killed him. Abby frantically buried Peter’s corpse under the soil at Lotus Point where cement was to be poured the next day. Some weeks later, believing she had successfully hidden all the evidence, Abby was informed by Karen that there was a crack in the cement and it would have to be dug up and redone.

Season Nine (1987–88)[edit]

29 episodes (191–219)

Produced by: Lawrence Kasha/Mary-Catherine Harold

When Peter's body is discovered, Olivia is threatened with prosecution for his murder. However, Abby steps in and pretends that she did it in order to save her daughter, but it is then revealed that Paige had accidentally caused Peter's death. No charges were brought against her, but Abby swore that she would make Paige pay for nearly letting Olivia take the blame for the crime. A melancholy Laura made up with Valene after a talk with Karen. Laura told Greg that she was dying of a brain tumor. Greg refused to accept it, and Laura left him to go to a clinic where she died. Laura's funeral brought the return of Richard, who moved his and Laura’s sons back to the east coast with him and his new wife. Greg was left to raise Meg, his and Laura's infant daughter. Overcome with grief and feeling unable to raise the child by himself, Greg asked Karen and Mack to adopt her, which they did. Meanwhile, Lilimae left Knots Landing with a new man in her life. Abby rekindled an old romance with her first love, wealthy business executive Charles Scott (Michael York). The two married briefly, but Abby ended the relationship after discovering his ulterior motives about plans for the Lotus Point Marina.

Frank and Pat Williams (Larry Riley and Lynne Moody) and their daughter Julie (Kent Masters-King) moved into Laura's old house on the cul-de-sac. Mack and Karen were suspicious of them at first, but became their friends upon discovering they were in the Witness Protection Program. Business at Lotus Point began to slow down, and Karen, Gary, and Abby agreed to expand the marina to accommodate the business of Manny Vasquez (John Aprea).

Paige began to work for Greg, and found herself attracted to him. Paige and Michael went on an archaeological dig in Mexico. When it became apparent that Manny Vasquez (John Aprea) was selling drugs through Lotus Point, its owners tried to stop him. He told them that Paige and Michael would not re-enter the United States until he was allowed to conduct business at Lotus Point.

Gary took an increased interest in Valene's twins, initially at Valene’s resistance. His attention to Val and the children was an annoyance to Jill, who was now living with Gary and became jealous. Jill made an elaborate plan where she edited audio recordings of Ben’s voice to make Valene think Ben was trying to contact her, and forged letters from him. In an attempt to make Valene look unstable, Jill then stole the tapes of Ben’s messages and the letters, leaving Valene with no proof when she tried telling people. In the season finale, Jill broke into Valene's house at night and forced Valene at gunpoint to take a whole bottle of sleeping pills in order to make it look like Valene had killed herself. The following morning, Valene was seen laying motionless on the floor.

Season Ten (1988–89)[edit]

28 episodes (220–247)

Co-executive producer: Lawrence Kasha
Produced by: Mary-Catherine Harold/Lynn Marie Latham/Bernard Lechowick

Frank found Valene unconscious and phoned for an ambulance. Valene survived and said that Jill had tried to kill her, but Jill had provided herself with an alibi; she had flown up to San Francisco and slipped drugs into a man’s drink and brought him to her hotel room. He passed out, at which point Jill flew back down to Los Angeles where she attempted to kill Valene, but as she was back in San Francisco by the time the man woke up in the hotel room the following morning, he assumed she'd been there all night. When the man got an STD and Jill and Gary’s tests turned up negative, Gary investigated and found that the man remembered nothing of the night he had supposedly slept with Jill. With doubt on her innocence, Jill was left friendless and so she tied herself up and put herself in the trunk of Gary’s car so he’d be framed for trying to abduct her. However, Jill actually died and Gary was suspected of killing her. Mack was able to get the charges dropped when evidence showed that Jill closed the trunk of Gary's car herself and the whole thing was exposed as a plot to frame Gary. Meanwhile, Valene's Aunt Ginny (Lilimae's sister) came to stay with Valene on Seaview Circle.

A con artist tried to extort money from Frank and Pat by threatening to reveal their location to the men who had threatened Pat's life when she testified against them. Mack halted the con artist, and used dental records from a deceased family to make the men believe that the Sollars family (the original identity of the Williamses) were dead. Paige and Michael were able to get out of Mexico, and Manny Vasquez’s nephew Harold Dyer (Paul Carafotes) (who was also dating Abby’s daughter Olivia) killed his uncle when Manny tried to kill Mack. Paige seduced Greg and the two began dating. Unfortunately, Greg wanted to become mayor of Los Angeles and he realized the much-younger Paige would not make a good political wife. He asked Abby to marry him instead, and Abby got her revenge against the broken-hearted Paige, who still kept her job at Greg’s company nonetheless. To assist in his election campaign, Greg then tried to tried to regain custody of Meg from Karen and Mack, her adoptive parents, which led to a highly charged legal battle.

Mack had a mid-life crisis and quit his job, opening a private law practice. Following a health and safety report, the Lotus Point resort has to be sold. However, it was revealed that Abby had falsified the report after she discovered that there was oil underneath Lotus Point, and created a company to conceal who was buying the resort from her partners. Paige discovered that the whole thing was a scam initiated by Abby and her cohort Ted Melcher which infuriated Karen who was now intent on sending Abby to jail for fraud. Abby narrowly avoided prosecution and agreed to donate Lotus Point to the city as a public park. She then left Greg (and Knots Landing) for a Trade Envoy job in Japan (a job Greg himself had planned to get after his failed attempt to become mayor of Los Angeles). Paige, meanwhile, finds herself caught between Greg and Ted Melcher, one of whom is a murderer.

Season Eleven (1989–90)[edit]

29 episodes (248–276)

Co-executive producer: Lawrence Kasha
Produced by: Mary-Catherine Harold/Lynn Marie Latham/Bernard Lechowick

Valene and Gary became separately involved with another divorced couple, Danny and Amanda Waleska. Gary learns that Danny (Sam Behrens) had beaten and raped Amanda (Penny Peyser), but when he tells Valene she refuses to believe him and ends up marrying Danny. However, when she finally realizes the truth, Valene tries to kick him out of her house. However, Danny becomes increasingly violent and refuses to leave so Val takes the twins and goes to stay with Gary at his ranch. While drunk, Danny hits Pat with his car, and she is left on life support at the hospital. When told she is brain dead, Frank makes the difficult decision to have her life support switched off.

Olivia marries Harold, but they have monetary woes due to his gambling and Abby's decision to cut Olivia off financially. They eventually decide to leave Knots Landing and move to Miami. Eric's wife Linda stays at the Mackenzie household and has an affair with Eric’s brother Michael. Linda then divorces Eric and goes to work at the Sumner Group where she competes with Paige. Greg’s daughter Mary Frances (Stacy Galina) visits him after a six-year estrangement and is shot dead in Greg's office, making Greg believe he was the intended target. Greg himself is then shot by Mary Frances' activist boyfriend Robert, though he survives. Robert blames Greg for manufacturing poisonous agricultural chemicals that are banned in the US because they cause liver cancer and confesses that he's the one who shot Mary Frances because she was already dying of the disease and he wanted to publicize their cause. Robert then injects Greg with the chemicals so that he'll suffer like his victims have.

Now broke, Paige's mother Anne returns to Knots Landing in an attempt to cheat Paige out of an inheritance that her grandfather left her. By pretending to be Paige using her ID, she sets up a bank account to fraudulently claim the money, but her plan goes awry.

Paige falls in love with dirty cop Tom Ryan (Joseph Gian) and the two plan to marry, but on the day of their wedding, Tom jilts her after Greg blackmails him. Gary proposes to Valene, who accepts. Karen starts presenting a television talk show, but becomes the target of an obsessive fan who starts terrorizing her from afar. When she believes that the stalker has finally been caught, it is then revealed that the real stalker is actually Jeff Cameron (Chris Lemmon), one of her show's producers. Jeff then starts a page for Karen in a scrapbook he keeps of television personalities that have been murdered.

Season Twelve (1990–91)[edit]

27 episodes (277–303)

Co-executive producer: Lawrence Kasha
Produced by: Mary-Catherine Harold/Lynn Marie Latham/Bernard Lechowick

Jeff plots to murder Karen, but is eventually caught. With Greg's health deteriorating, his half-sister Claudia (Kathleen Noone) arrives in Knots Landing along with her daughter Kate, who shares an uncanny resemblance to Greg's dead daughter Mary Frances (both characters were played by Stacy Galina). When she realizes she is not yet in Greg's will, Claudia schemes to get him a new liver for a transplant so that he'll live. Kate meets Steve Brewer (Lance Guest), a man claiming to be her brother. Steve, who had been put up for adoption by Claudia, was the product of a tryst between Claudia and Paul Galveston (her mother's ex-husband and Greg's father). Kate and Steve become close friends, but Claudia does not want him around and so she plants a gun in his car. As he is a former felon, the gun violates his parole and he is shot dead while fleeing from the police.

Mack befriends a high school student named Jason Lochner (Thomas Wilson Brown), who was being beaten by his abusive father. Mack recalls the memories of his own physical abuse at the hands of his own father, and invites Jason to live with him and Karen. Jason dates Julie Williams for a while. Frank passes his lawyer bar exam and after briefly working at a corporate law firm, goes to work as a lawyer with Mack at his small practice.

Danny continues harassing Val. He then assaults Gary with a bat and, after forcing him to drink alcohol, puts him in his car which he sends over a cliff, hoping to make it look like an accident. Miraculously, Gary survives (saved by the airbag), but Danny is later found dead, floating in the Williams' swimming pool. After a police investigation in which almost everybody is a suspect, it is discovered that Danny tried to attack Julie while he was drunk, fell into the Williams' pool, and drowned. Valene falls from a horse and develops psychiatric problems for a while. She is eventually cured and she and Gary remarry. Anne meets Italian Nick Schillace (Lorenzo Caccialanza), with whom she falls in love with and embarks on a series of illegal schemes to make money. Their plans all backfire and when Nick leaves town, Anne is left broke and homeless and is forced to live on the streets. Paige and Linda become rivals at the Sumner Group, made worse when Linda and Greg have an affair.

While Karen and Val are out one day, Karen is shot in the back with a paintball by some teenagers in a car. Furious, Karen gets into her own car and a high-speed chase ensues which ends when the teenagers' car crashes into a truck. Karen rushes over to the crashed car and she sees the blood-splattered bodies of the teenagers. One of them is Jason.

Season Thirteen (1991–92)[edit]

22 episodes (304–325)

Co-executive producer: John Romano (ep. 304–318)
Supervising producer: Joseph Hardy
Senior producer: Ann Marcus (ep. 319–325)
Produced by: Mary-Catherine Harold

Staff writers ("story editors"): Rachel Cline, James Magnuson, Donald Marcus, Lisa Seidman.

Jason survives the crash but one of the other teenagers dies. Kate blames Claudia for Steve's death and cuts her mother out of her life, but they reconcile after Claudia takes an overdose of pills. After living on the streets, Anne meets shady Benny Appleman and they scheme to make money together. She agrees to pose nude for a magazine and then starts hosting an advice show on night-time radio which becomes a smash hit.

After getting herself involved in dangerous schemes, Linda is murdered by the crazy Brian Johnston, who then holds the Mackenzies hostage at gunpoint in their home for an entire episode. Jason leaves the Mackenzie household to visit Sweden for a year, while Julie also leaves Knots Landing to move back east to live with relatives. Frank dates schoolteacher Debbie Porter (played by Halle Berry), though he too later leaves town.

Gary invested in a project that turned energy from the ocean's tides into usable electric energy. The man behind it, Joseph Barringer (Mark Soper), became Kate’s boyfriend. Paige joined Gary, along with her new boyfriend Pierce (Bruce Greenwood). A former flame of Pierce's, Victoria Broyelard (played by Marcia Cross), revealed that Pierce had killed his previous girlfriend, but Paige did not believe it. Paige was shot by Pierce (aiming for Greg, whom he hated) and temporarily paralyzed, giving a delusional Pierce (who thought she was the previous, pregnant girlfriend he'd already killed) a chance to kidnap her. He takes off with her on a yacht, but is followed by Mack and Greg. They rescue Paige after Greg and Pierce fight and fall into the water, but Pierce's body is never found and he is presumed to have drowned.

Alex Barth (Boyd Kestner), the nephew of the Galveston's housekeeper, blackmailed Claudia for refusing to help her ailing mother Ruth Galveston with her medication and thus allowed her to die. Claudia said that she wanted to end her mother's pain. Meanwhile, Claudia took a dislike to Joseph Barringer and asked Greg to get him a job in order to get him away from Kate. Gary, who had tied up all his money in Tidal Energy, was left bankrupt. Valene attempted to console him, and the two of them spent the rest of the season enjoying a happy marriage back at their house in Seaview Circle. Valene was asked by her publisher to write a biography on Greg Sumner. Mary Robeson (Maree Cheatham) told Valene that she was Meg’s grandmother, as she was Laura’s biological mother. Valene refused to believe it, and when she investigated Mary Robeson further, she was kidnapped in Florida. Meanwhile, as Paige got into her car, she looked into the rear-view mirror mirror and was horrified to see the psychotic Pierce waiting for her in the back seat.

Season Fourteen (1992–93)[edit]

19 episodes (326–344)

Co-executive producer: Barbara Corday
Supervising producer: Ann Marcus
Produced by: Mary-Catherine Harold

While trying to find Valene, Gary sees a car she is in explode. Greg decides to retire from the Sumner Group, and leaves one-third of the company to Claudia, one-third to Paige, and one-third to Mack and Karen (in a trust for Meg). Anne's pregnancy prompts him to return to Knots Landing to marry her, but Anne then finds out that she has suffered from hysterical pregnancy. Anne old flame Nick returns to Knots Landing.

Mack sought $1,000,000 to bribe Mary Robeson to stop her seeking custody of Meg. Claudia gives him $500,000 from the Sumner Group Foundation funds, and gives the other $500,000 to Nick to start a restaurant. Paige demanded an audit, and Claudia had to ask Nick for the $500,000 back, but Nick had already spent it. Karen did not believe Mack would stoop to such methods to get Mary Robeson off their backs and leaves him, going to stay with Diana in New York City. Meanwhile, a shady financial organization run by a man named Daniel Treadwell attempts to take over the Sumner group, even plotting to kill Greg and Paige in the process. Meanwhile, Gary and Kate start a relationship.

In the two-hour series finale on May 13, 1993, Karen returns to Mack. The presumed dead Valene returns to Knots Landing, astounding Gary. She explains that she was not in the car that exploded and has been in hiding for the past year as Treadwell's people had kidnapped her after she stumbled onto some sensitive information while she was researching her book about Greg. Although she escaped, she could not let Gary know she was alive for fearing that the organization would come after him and the children. At the same time, another familiar face returns to Knots Landing as Treadwell's partner is revealed to be Abby, who has been orchestrating the takeover of the Sumner Group all along. However Greg thwarts her scheme by threatening to reveal her dirty dealings in Japan with some well documented evidence that he had just acquired. As Treadwell prepares to kill Nick, who has been working for him, Treadwell himself is killed by Vanessa Hunt (Felicity Waterman), defeating the organizations plans once and for all. Anne offers Greg a divorce allowing him to get back together with Paige whom he loves. Claudia decides to move to Monaco, and at the airport she meets up with Anne and Nick who are also leaving town. Back at Seaview Circle, Gary, Val, Mack and Karen prepare to have a barbecue as a new couple begin moving into Frank’s old house on the cul-de-sac. At that moment, another car pulls up and Abby emerges. She informs everyone that she is buying Claudia’s house (the house which had originally been hers when she lived on the cul-de-sac). Valene simply smiles and welcomes Abby back to the cul-de-sac before rushing Gary away. Abby is left face to face with Karen, to whom she proclaims "Just like old times, isn't it?"

  • The series finale, "Just Like Old Times", garnered a 19.6 rating and at the time was one of the Top 20 most watched TV finales in American television history.

Knots Landing/Dallas crossover episodes[edit]

Between Seasons one and four, there were nine episodes where Dallas characters appeared, played by their respective actors.

Season 1
Season 2
Season 4

Dallas (2012 TV series)[edit]

With the 2012 continuation of Dallas, rumors began surfacing that both Joan Van Ark and Ted Shackelford would reprise their roles as Valene and Gary Ewing on the new series. Shackleford passed on the small role the producers offered him during the first season, but accepted a multi-episode role during the second season. Shackleford returned to Dallas for three episodes and Van Ark returned for one. This was the first time the characters had been seen onscreen since the 1997 mini-series Knots Landing: Back to the Cul-de-Sac. Although both Shackleford and Van Ark appeared in the 1991 series finale of Dallas playing "alternative" versions of Gary and Valene (the episode depicted an alternate reality in which J.R. Ewing had never been born), there have been no real crossovers of story or characters from Knots Landing to Dallas or vice-versa since the 1985-86 season of each show (which, on Dallas, turned out to be a dream had by Pam Ewing).

Who lived where[edit]

The series' signature cul-de-sac, Seaview Circle, was actually Crystalaire Place in Granada Hills, California, a suburban street in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley about 20 miles north of the Pacific Ocean. The opening credits during the first two seasons were edited in such a way to make it appear that the cul-de-sac was closer to the beach.

16961 Seaview Circle[edit]

  • Kenny Ward (Seasons 1–4)
  • Ginger Ward (Seasons 1–4)
  • Erin Molly Ward (Seasons 3–4)

16969 Seaview Circle[edit]

  • Abby Cunningham (Seasons 2–4, 14–reunion)
  • Brian Cunningham (Seasons 2–4)
  • Olivia Cunningham (Seasons 2–4)
  • Gary Ewing (Season 4)
  • Claudia Whittaker (Seasons 12–14)
  • Kate Whittaker (Season 12)
  • Alex Barth (Season 13)

16975 Seaview Circle[edit]

  • Richard Avery (Seasons 1–4)
  • Laura Avery (Seasons 1–8)
  • Jason Avery (Seasons 1–8)
  • Daniel Avery (Seasons 4–8)
  • Cathy Geary (Seasons 6, 7)
  • Anne Matheson (Season 8)
  • Patricia Williams (Seasons 9–11)
  • Frank Williams (Seasons 9–13)
  • Julie Williams (Seasons 9–13)

16972 Seaview Circle[edit]

  • Karen Cooper Fairgate Mackenzie (Seasons 1–14, reunion)
  • Sid Fairgate (Seasons 1–3)
  • Diana Fairgate (Seasons 1–4)
  • Eric Fairgate (Seasons 1–9)
  • Michael Fairgate (Seasons 1–12)
  • Joe Cooper (Seasons 3-4)
  • Mack Mackenzie (Seasons 4–14, reunion)
  • Mary Frances Sumner (Season 5)
  • Paige Matheson (Seasons 8–10, 13)
  • Linda Fairgate (Season 11)
  • Meg Mackenzie (Seasons 9–14, reunion)
  • Jason Lochner (Seasons 12–13)
  • Abby Cunningham (reunion)

16966 Seaview Circle[edit]

  • Gary Ewing (Seasons 1–3, 13–14, reunion)
  • Valene Ewing (Seasons 1–13, 14–reunion)
  • Lilimae Clements (Seasons 3–9)
  • Chip Roberts (Season 4)
  • Joshua Rush (Seasons 6–7)
  • Cathy Geary (Seasons 6–7)
  • Bobby Ewing (Seasons 7–14, reunion)
  • Betsy Ewing (Seasons 7–14, reunion)
  • Ben Gibson (Seasons 7–8)
  • Aunt Ginny (Seasons 10–12)
  • Danny Waleska (Seasons 11–12)

Behind the scenes[edit]

The actors had more input than actors on other 1980s primetime soaps. In 1987, the writers wanted Mack (Kevin Dobson) to have an extramarital affair with Anne (Michelle Phillips). Michele Lee, who played Mack's wife Karen, protested this to David Jacobs, saying, "There has to be one stable couple on the show." [2] The extramarital affair storyline was nixed, and Michelle Phillips, who had been signed to a contract, was written out for a few seasons before returning in 1990. When she did return, Anne did not pursue Mack. William Devane, who played Greg Sumner, re-wrote most of his character's dialogue, to the point where, in co-star Michele Lee's words, "most people (on set) were (probably) frightened of him." [3] The Gary/Val/Abby triangle that provided story throughout the mid-1980s was suggested by Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark in 1980, and the producers hesitated for a year and a half before going through with it in 1982.[2] The famous 1984 storyline where Valene's babies got kidnapped was originally envisioned as one of scheming Abby's plots. Donna Mills, who played Abby, acknowledged that her character was evil but did not think she was that evil. Fearing the audience would never forgive her character for kidnapping another woman's babies, she asked the writers to make the kidnappings a result of Abby's actions, but only by accident, and the writers complied.

The writing team of Bernard Lechowick and Lynn Marie Latham (the head writers from 1986 to 1991) was controversial among both fans and actors. Their humor-imbued style of writing made them the favorites of Michele Lee, while John Pleshette felt they were "awful people". Pleshette, however, was not a cast member during their tenure and harbored resentment because the writing team, who had been represented by his wife, moved to a different agency.[4] Joan van Ark, whose character was struck by a brain illness in season 12 and proceeded to thereafter go crazy, felt that Latham and Lechowick had turned her character into the "village idiot." Joan Van Ark and Donna Mills' favorite Knots Landing writer was Peter Dunne,[2] who was responsible for making Knots Landing a top ten show in 1984.

In 1987, CBS demanded that production costs be cut. This meant the firing of two regulars, Constance McCashin and Julie Harris. Season 13 saw a large ratings drop for the show after writer/producers Bernard Lechowick and Lynn Marie Latham left to create Homefront and creator David Jacobs had a health crisis and pulled back his involvement in production. Jacobs has publicly stated that the way he knew the show was in trouble was when waitresses at his favorite diner, whom he had heard gossiping about Knots Landing every Friday during past seasons, suddenly stopped discussing the show in late 1991. He attempted to save face by shutting down production on November 20, 1991,[5] firing head writer John Romano, and replacing him with Ann Marcus. Cost cutting again plagued the series in its final season, when only 19 episodes were produced, and regular characters did not appear in each episode. In one episode in the final season ("My Kingdom for a Horse"), only three of the fourteen regulars cast for season 8 appeared (Devane, Phillips, and Lee.) Not wanting to compromise what he felt had been a good run, series creator David Jacobs described its end as a "mutual decision" between Knots Landing's producers and the CBS Network, saying, "We don't know if they would have picked us up anyway...but even if they had, we would have had to pare away more to survive."

Music[edit]

The theme song, which lasted all 14 seasons was composed by Jerrold Immel. Immel, along with Craig Huxley composed the background music for the pilot. The original background music cues by Immel and Huxley were never fully abandoned by the show, and were heard as late as the final season. The early Knots Landing background music cues heavily emphasized the brass section, and were often played with a very sparse bass line accompaniment. It was, in fact, the only aspect of the series ever to win an Emmy award, for the music orchestration during its 1979–80 season.

By season 4 of Knots Landing, the lushness of the 1980s was in full swing and Knots Landing's background cues reflected that style. The new dramatic cues emphasized full orchestral arrangements as formerly middle class Knots Landing became upwardly mobile. The background music of seasons 4–7 was frequently composed by either Lance Rubin or Ron Grant.

Season 8 introduced a completely new score for Knots Landing. By 1986 New Wave artists and bands had taken America by storm and the new style of music cues made good use of the synthesizer instead of a full orchestra. Bruce Miller was one of the main composers during this era. Updated orchestrations of the by-then-familiar Lance Rubin cues were also re-arranged to be played by the synthesizer, and the Immel/Huxley cues were similarly utilized, albeit less commonly.

In the early 1990s, soft contemporary acoustic music became popular and Knots Landing began incorporating this into its background music during season 12. Lance Rubin's music cues were completely phased out at this point. Patrick Gleeson and Kennard Ramsey composed during this period.

Opening credits[edit]

Knots Landing had five completely different styles of opening credits over its 14 years, in contrast to Dallas, which changed only to a variation on its original style for its final two seasons.

  • (December 27, 1979 – March 26, 1981) The original opening of Knots Landing designed by Wayne Fitzgerald features a rotating aerial shot of a California beach which dissolves to a rotating aerial shot of roads and houses, gradually zooming in to a freeze-frame of the Seaview Circle cul-de-sac. The camera then zooms in to the top of each house in turn, showing a brief shot of the residents of each home. Photo credits for each of the main actors then appear superimposed over the shape of the cul-de-sac. In the pilot, however, it had the photo credits of the main actors shown superimposed over the house the roles live in.
  • (November 12, 1981 – May 14, 1987) Knots Landing unveiled a new opening at the start of season 3. In what is probably the best-remembered introduction, the sequence designed by Gene Kraft begins with a fast moving aerial shot of the ocean which then tilts up as it approaches the coastline and the series title appears. The picture, except for the title, fades to black and the title scrolls from right to left followed by a montage of clips of the show playing in small boxes. Each cast member is credited below a larger box showcasing a close-up of their character, accompanied by three or four smaller boxes showing that character in scenes with other characters.
  • (September 24, 1987 – May 18, 1989) At the beginning of the ninth season, Knots Landing's producers decided to break tradition with the opening. The intro designed by Sandy Dvore now features a slow panning shot over a painting similar to the splattered style of Jackson Pollock. As the zig-zag panning continues, the cast montage appears, featuring black and white shots of the actors inside of small ovular cameos. The posed cameos were dropped in the 1988–89 season in favour of color close-ups taken from the show.
  • (September 28, 1989 – May 16, 1990) The eleventh season of Knots Landing saw the show unveil its fourth title sequence. The new opening designed by Castle/Bryant/Johnsen now showcases sandcastle structures of the cul-de-sac houses as well as some skyscrapers representing Los Angeles on a beautiful beach. It is the only version of the opening without pictures of the cast. The camera twists through this sandcastle community with only the actors' names appearing. Another and never-seen particularity appears right from the second episode of this season: the opening splits in two. The cutting takes place during the staff credits. The main theme is adapted as well. Between the two parts of the opening is presented a summary of what happened in the past episodes.
  • (September 13, 1990 – May 13, 1993) To redefine the show for the 1990s, Knots Landing made one final change to the opening credits by returning to its famous across-the-screen style of scrolling clips though with faster moving, color-framed boxes. This version was designed by Castle/Bryant/Johnsen to be "safe" for the 1990s. Eventually it would bring Knots Landing through its final three seasons on the air.

Nielsen Ratings[edit]

Season Premiere Finale Episodes Timeslot Rank Households
(in millions)
Season 1 December 27, 1979 March 27, 1980 13 Thursday 10:00 pm #30 20.0
Season 2 November 20, 1980 March 26, 1981 18 #28 19.0
Season 3 November 12, 1981 May 6, 1982 22 #43 15.3
Season 4 September 30, 1982 March 10, 1983 22 #20 18.6
Season 5 September 29, 1983 March 29, 1984 25 #11 20.8
Season 6 October 4, 1984 May 16, 1985 30 #9 20.0
Season 7 September 19, 1985 May 18, 1986 30 #17 16.7
Season 8 September 18, 1986 May 7, 1987 30 #26 16.8
Season 9 September 24, 1987 May 12, 1988 29 #31 15.9
Season 10 October 27, 1988 May 18, 1989 28 #25 16.2
Season 11 September 28, 1989 May 11, 1990 29 #34 14.3
Season 12 September 13, 1990 May 16, 1991 27 #35 13.74
Season 13 September 12, 1991 April 9, 1992 22 #41 12.32
Season 14 October 29, 1992 May 13, 1993 19 #39 11.68

Reruns[edit]

Reruns of Knots Landing were first packaged into syndication for off-network broadcast in local markets by Lorimar in 1984. Before the show opening, each episode was preceded by a "Lorimar Presents" logo, followed by a narrated recap of the previous episode with the theme music played under. The first 190 episodes were packaged in this manner, but only the first 160 episodes were syndicated to local stations.

Knots Landing later appeared on the cable channel TNT in September 1992 and ran through May 1993; as with the syndicated run, only the first 160 episodes were broadcast. TNT would later become the first network to broadcast all 344 episodes of Knots Landing during its second syndication run of the series beginning in 1995.

Soapnet later acquired the rights to the series when it first went on the air in January 2000. Knots Landing has not been seen in United States syndication since Soapnet quit broadcasting it.[when?]

Foreign markets[edit]

The UK satellite channel CBS Drama began airing the series in its entirety starting from April 1, 2013. This was the first time the show had been rerun in the UK since the 1990s. RTÉ television in Ireland[which?] had broadcast the first seven seasons in an early morning weekend slot during 2011.

DVD releases[edit]

The first season of Knots Landing was released on DVD on March 28, 2006 in Region 1. Fans of the series lobbied Warner Home Video via an online petition at www.knotslanding.net for further releases, and Warner Home Video released Season Two on April 14, 2009. There are currently no plans for any further seasons being released due to unsatisfactory sales of the first two seasons.

DVD Season Ep # Region 1 Region 2 Region 4 Comments
Season 1 13 March 28, 2006 February 19, 2007 June 6, 2007 The first-season DVD box set has five single-sided discs. The Region 1 and 2 releases include commentaries by actors Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark. The set also includes a featurette/clip from the 2005 Together Again non-fiction reunion show in which stars Ted Shackelford and Joan Van Ark reminisce about the series.
Season 2 18 April 14, 2009 October 16, 2009 (Germany) TBA The second-season DVD box set has four single-sided discs. The season introduces Donna Mills as Abby Cunningham, and Larry Hagman returns to guest star as J.R. Ewing during this season. There is no bonus material.

International broadcasts[edit]

  • In the United Kingdom, the series premiered on BBC1 on 26 April 1980, in a primetime Saturday night slot. Season 2 began a year later on 8 May 1981, now in a Friday night slot. Season 3 did not begin until 16 September 1983, but only the first 13 episodes of the season were shown, at which point the BBC pulled the series from its Friday night slot with no immediate plans of showing any more episodes. The BBC then brought the series back in October 1986, picking up from the middle of season 3 where they last left off, but now it was screened in the afternoon as part of their new daytime line-up. They continued to screen the series until the end, though UK audiences tended to be some 3 – 4 years behind the US. The series concluded in 1996.
  • In France, the show was known as "Côte Ouest" (translated as "West Coast") and was first shown on TF1 in 1988 with a new lyrical theme song (sung in French by a French male vocalist, though variations were made over the years). From 2000, the show was rerun from beginning to end on FoxLife, a now defunct satellite channel broadcasting on CanalSat provider.
  • In Germany, the show was known as "Unter der Sonne Kaliforniens" (translated as "Under The Californian Sun"). The premium digital channel Passion currently airs reruns of all episodes.
  • In the Philippines, the show was formerly aired on GMA 7.
  • In Sweden, the show was called "JRs bror – Gary Ewing" (JR's brother – Gary Ewing). The series premiered in 1988 on TV3.
  • In Ireland, the show was not broadcast on terrestrial TV until 1989 (although viewers with access to BBC were able to watch earlier transmissions). RTE first broadcast the series daily in late 1989 as part of its early afternoon schedule. It proved to be popular and was eventually given an early evening timeslot in February 1991 when RTE moved the show (after showing the first nine seasons) from a daily afternoon timeslot, to a weekly primetime Thursday night slot on its sister channel Network Two (now RTÉ Two). All remaining episodes were shown without a break (the end of each season was followed by the first episode of the next season the following week) until Christmas 1993 when the final episode was broadcast followed by the retrospective Knots Landing Block Party.
  • In Israel, The show aired on The Family Channel (later on renamed as Channel 3) on Cable TV on Fridays evenings at 19:00 from 1990 for the entire first four seasons. Later on, it aired on Sundays at 21:45 for the season & a half that followed, from February 1992. In November 1992, the show was rerun from the beginning, every weekday evening at 20:45. All 14 seasons had aired by April 1994, making it the most popular foreign drama series at this run. From late 1995, the show was rerun in its entirety again in the afternoons (15:50) and the last five seasons at night (01:30). Back To The Cul-De-Sac aired as a holiday special in Autumn 1997.
  • In Italy, the first season was named Da Dallas a Knots Landing (translated: "From Dallas to Knots Landing") though was eventually rebroadcast with the definitive name of "California". Only nine seasons were aired.
  • In Spain, the series was aired by the regional channels under the FORTA umbrella. The series did not arrive in Spain until at least 1992, and initially was only aired in various regions, normally in a weekday afternoon slot accompanying Dallas which also arrived late in Spain. Neither series completed their run in Spain and neither have been rescreened there in full or in part.

Legacy[edit]

  • The game World of Warcraft, which features a coastal resort town called "Schnottz's Landing" which spoofs the series.[6]

References[edit]

  • Van Wormer, Laura (1986). Knots Landing: the saga of Seaview Circle. Doubleday. ISBN 978-0385236362. 

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]