March 15, 2013 at 04:00 AM EDT

Putting together J.R.’s final act took ”a lot of reverse engineering,” says exec producer Cynthia Cidre. She gathered previously shot footage of J.R. and every line of dialogue he’d spoken so far, eventually using the latter to cobble together J.R.’s last phone call, where he talked about his mysterious ”masterpiece.” Then Josh Henderson, who plays J.R.’s son John Ross III, filmed his side of the conversation.

The key was modifying a previously used scene (which aired in the fourth episode) of J.R. lowering his cell phone with a horrified look on his face. The result — seen on March 4 — showed J.R. with the phone as he heard footsteps behind him. ”All of a sudden,” explains exec producer Michael M. Robin, ”we had a scene where it looks like Larry was participating in this character’s demise.” Speaking of, who’s responsible for that demise? Cidre promises we’ll find out who shot J.R. by season’s end. ”Hopefully we’ll surprise you.” It’s a safe bet that J.R. — and Hagman — would expect nothing less.

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