Season 4 of Billions kicked off on Sunday, March 17, and the premiere episode ended with a touching tribute to Bethenny Frankel's late boyfriend, Dennis Shields. Right before the episode's end credits, the words "in memory of Dennis Shields" written in white letters appeared on a black screen. After one of Bethenny's fans pointed out the tribute to Dennis in the episode, she tweeted, "Yes. We are all connected and have a long history. He really is missed and touched so many people’s lives."
Brian Kobriappelman, the series' co-creator and showrunner, also tweeted Sunday night, "Dedicated to Dennis Shields, our brother."
Dennis apparently had a long history with Koppelman, who opened up about their three-decade-long friendship following his passing on August 10, 2018. "Dennis Shields, who died this morning, was my close friend for 30 years. One of the smartest, most generous, people I ever came across," he tweeted. "He was also one of the great storytellers in the world. And understood life’s endless absurdity in his bones. I loved him. And love his family."
Dennis even appeared in the 2009 film The Girlfriend Experience, which was written by Koppelman and fellow Billions co-creator and showrunner David Levien and directed by Steven Soderbergh. "Dennis had a huge impact on my life. But also on my work [with] Dave through the years. Each of our movies contains a piece of him," Koppelman tweeted on the day of Dennis' passing. "There would be no Grama without him. No 500 fights. And definitely no guy in a diaper in The Girlfriend Experience (that was actually Dennis in a cameo)."
When we caught up with Bethenny at the beginning of Season 11 of The Real Housewives of New York City, which premiered earlier this month, she was in the process of grieving Dennis' passing. "Time is healing the wounds a little more than I thought. It's going faster," she shared during the episode, which was filmed three weeks after Dennis' death. "And then I feel guilty, like how could you be having fun when Dennis is dead? But I'm trying to do what he would want me to do."
Bethenny will open up more about her relationship with Dennis in the upcoming episode of RHONY premiering Wednesday at 9/8c. Watch a preview, below.