5. DALLAS (CBS, 1978-1991)
Mystery: Who shot J.R.?
In a mystery that lasted all summer in 1980 and bridged seasons two and three of the show, Dallas’ “Who Shot J.R.?” story line is the best example of a television cliffhanger in history. Nearly every member of the show’s cast was a suspect because they all had an axe to grind against the amoral oil tycoon, J.R. Ewing, played by Larry Hagman
When Dallas finally came back for its blockbuster third season, most fans were at the edge of their seats for the big reveal. Instead, it took three episodes to get to the truth as a series of suspects are apprehended and later dismissed. The shooter's identity and their motive are impressive, opening up a whole nasty can of worms and showing that everything is bigger in Texas, even its scandals.