Knots Landing/Pilot

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Season 1, Episode 1
Airdate December 27, 1979
Written by David Jacobs
Directed by Peter Levin

1x02 →
Community Spirit
Knots LandingSeason One
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Pilot is the first episode of the first season of Knots Landing.

Starring in Alphabetical order: James Houghton (Kenny Ward), Kim Lankford (Ginger Ward), Michele Lee (Karen MacKenzie), Constance McCashin (Laura Avery), Don Murphy (Sid Fairgate), John Pleshette (Richard Avery), Ted Shackelford (Gary Ewing), Joan Van Ark (Valene Ewing)

Special Guest Star: Karen Allen (Annie Fairgate)

And a Special Appearance by Patrick Duffy (Bobby Ewing)

Co-Starring: Claudia Lonow (Diana), Pat Petersen (Michael Fairgate), Justin Dana (Jason Avery), Steve Shaw (Eric Fairgate)

with Del Russell (), Bill McLaughlin ()


Plot Overview

Gary and Val move to Knots Landing, in a new home that Gary's mother, Miss Ellie, bought for them. Once there, they get acquainted with their new neighbors, the Fairgates, the Averys and the Wards. Sid Fairgate's 18-year-old rebellious daughter, Annie, from a previous marriage, is visiting the Fairgates and is causing havoc among the family. Val attempts to fix Annie's relationship with her father.


Arc Advancement


Gary Ewing starts working for Sid Fairgate as the owner of Knots Landing Motors in this very first episode.

In this episode, Karen tells new neighbors Gary and Val that her family, the Fairgates, are The Brady Bunch of the block and that they even have a dog. But this mystery dog is never seen in this episode or mentioned again throughout the entire series.


Annie Fairgate, Michael Fairgate, Eric Fairgate, Diana Fairgate


Although on Dallas, the character of "Miss Ellie" (Ellie Ewing) had purchased the house for Gary and Val in the cul-de-sac, the character never appeared on the series throughout its entire series run, although a few references to her had been made.

Val mentions her and Gary's daughter Lucy Ewing.


The Show

Creator David Jacobs actually created Knots Landing before Dallas. He brought his original pitch for a series about four married couples to CBS but they wanted more of a larger than life soap opera, so he created Dallas. After Dallas became a hit, CBS went to Jacobs again and asked him to create a spin-off series, so he revamped his idea for Knots Landing, and incorporated the characters of "Gary Ewing" and "Val Ewing" from the parent series, Dallas.

Creator David Jacobs stated in an interview that his original concept for the series was a TV version of the 1973 Ingmar Bergman film, "Scenes from a Marriage" (but focusing on 4 marriages instead of one). According to Jacobs, the title of the series, "Knots Landing", directly refers to marriage (as in tying the "knot", a euphemism for getting married).

Behind the Scenes

David Ackroyd had originated the role of "Gary Ewing" on the parent series, Dallas, in 1978, but was unavailable to reprise the role for the series, so the role was recast with Ted Shackelford.

The opening title sequence for this episode is slightly different than from the opening sequence used throughout the first two seasons. It features shots of the actors superimposed over the houses where their characters. For the remainder of the first two seasons, the actors would be seen superimposed over the street.

Allusions and References

Karen Fairgate (Michele Lee) makes an allusion to the popular '70s sitcom, The Brady Bunch.

Richard Avery (John Pleshette) in talking about Karen alludes to Lucy in the Peanuts comics when he says "She's like that little girl in the comics, 'Psychiatric Help, 5 cents', only she won't take the nickel."

Memorable Moments

Valene experiencing the Pacific Ocean for the very first time.


  • Karen: We're the neighborhood Brady Bunch: three kids, station wagon, dog. If the dog visits you, call and we'll send over the scoop squad.
Sid: Are you going to tell me what you were arrested for?
Annie: Soliciting, turning tricks, whatever you want to call it. (To Karen) What'd you call it when you were on the streets, honey?