Season 1 Episode 1

M*A*S*H - The Pilot

Aired Unknown Sep 17, 1972 on CBS

Episode Recap

Members of the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital (M*A*S*H) unit go about their daily business, playing golf, tossing a football around, drinking, and anything else they can do to get their mind. Unfortunately, as is the norm, the war breaks in and causalities alive. Hawkeye writes a letter to his father explaining how the doctors at the 4077th keep patients alive in whatever shape they can; as long as they leave the hospital alive then their job has been fulfilled. Whilst in the midst of surgery Hawkeye cracks a few jokes to relieve the tension. Frank, of course, is outraged by his conduct unbecoming an officer, so after surgery is over he attempts to rebuke the fatigued surgeon. Hawkeye manages to get away from Frank by tossing a few more quips and then heading to the Swamp with Trapper. Once in their tent Hawkeye and Trapper relax in their bunks while Ho-Jon prepares martinis for the two doctors. Radar enters with mail and upon reading his, Hawkeye enthusiastically calls Ho-Jon over. The dean of his alma mater has sent him a letter stating that the college will be pleased to accept Ho-Jon, if Hawkeye can get him to the States and get $1,000 tuition. Everyone is excited, at least until the realize that they've got to find about $2,000, and fast. Their solution? Raffle off a nurse and a weekend pass for Tokyo. Hawkeye and Trapper go to Colonel Blake with the letter so they can get Blake to give them two weekend passes. He is a bit resistant, not entirely trusting the two. In addition, he is interested in knowing which nurse Hawkeye has conned into accepting the raffle. Lt. Dish, replies Hawkeye. He hasn't, however, done the conning. He follows the lovely nurse around the camp and sneaking up on her in order to try and get her to agree to the raffle. Money is pouring in from all over, but Trapper has problem with Hawkeye attempting to rig the raffle. Hawkeye brushes him off and asks how much they've raised. Only about $600 replies Trapper. Hawkeye then decides to collect some money from the unsuspecting Frank. The major, however, comes into the Swamp before Hawkeye can find any money, and the three get into a minor squabble, with Frank grabbing the distillery. He drops and breaks it, so Hawkeye and Trapper shove a duffel bag over his head and kick him out the door. Blake, upset about the way Hawkeye and Trapper have treated Frank, withdraws the weekend passes and tells the two to forget about the party/raffle. He is leaving for Seoul to see General Hammond, leaving Frank in charge. Radar, however, has managed to con the commanding officer into signing the weekend passes. Frank, now in charge, has ordered that both day and night shifts will be confined to the admitting ward the following night so that the party can not take place. Hawkeye, Trapper, and Radar drug Frank, cover his face with gauze, and leave him to rest, with orders to be sedated every hour on the hour. With Frank out of the picture, the party is on, complete with outrageous costumes and lots of drinking. Hawkeye is accompanied by Dish, who has agreed to the raffle and who is quite certain the winner will be Hawkeye. Margaret storms in, searching for Frank, and is told by Hawkeye that Frank has gone over to the enemy. The surgeon has been informed that three companies of Canadians will be attacking a certain hill so that by midnight the 4077th will be full of wounded soldiers. If Frank or Margaret arrest him, they'll be short a much-needed surgeon. Margaret gets on the phone and calls up General Hammond and then goes off searching for Frank. All the while the party is going on, with Radar inspecting the raffle tickets and Father Mulcahy inspecting the liquor. While Hawkeye is announcing that they've raised enough money to send Ho-Jon to college, Margaret stumbles upon the unconscious Frank and brings him about with another injection. Radar hears the chopper carrying General Hammond and Colonel Blake before it arrives and goes out to meet the two, complete with a bedpan on his head. Lt. Dish draws the winning raffle ticket, with a little help from Hawkeye, and the winner turns out to be Father John P. Mulcahy. Since the priest would never accept Dish would not have to go through with the weekend in Tokyo. General Hammond is not amused, however, and is further enraged with the way Hawkeye talks to him. Hammond then proceeds with to arrest Hawkeye and Trapper and Margaret shows up with a semi-comatose Frank. Just as they're about to be taken off by the military police Radar hears incoming choppers. Hawkeye and Trapper explain that if they're in jail a whole bunch of Canadians aren't going to make it. So, Hammond joins the two surgeons in the operating room. After a long night of surgery, Hammond announces that Hawkeye and Trapper are the best surgeons that he's ever seen. Radar hands Blake a box of cigars which the colonel then gives to the general, who then leaves. Hawkeye and Trapped, joyfully handcuffed, walk out and are told by Blake that the general was too impressed to arrest them. Connected at the wrist, the two walk off through the camp, trying to come up with ways to get out of the military. They encounter two nurses, but can't go in two directions, so they instead just keep wandering until the find two more nurses.