Season 3 Episode 9

Home For Christmas

Aired Tuesday 9:00 PM Dec 17, 1985 on NBC

Episode Recap

Nick, who has never particularly enjoyed the holiday season, decides to accept an assignment from Colonel Ryan, his Army Reserve commander. Thereby, Captain Nick Ryder is assigned to transport the remains of Private Ricky Wilkenson, a soldier who died in a training accident. However, when he arrives in Wyoming, Nick learns from the funeral home that the body he transported is not Ricky. (Unlike Ricky who had permanently injured his foot when he was a kid, the corpse has a complete set of toes.) After Colonel Ryan denies there was a mistake and a Congressman tries to dismiss the concerns of Ben Wilkenson, Ricky's father, Cody and Murray decide to help their partner investigate the situation. Murray accesses the army's computer system and is surprised when he finds Ricky's records kept with Vietnam files. Once back in California, Nick joins Cody in an attempt to sneak onto the army base for more information. Unfortunately, Lieutenant Walker, one of Ryan's aids, catches the guys. Ryan then lets the guys go but only after revealing that their continued investigation is threatening national security. Based on Ben's continued concerns, the guys ignore the Colonel 's warning and continue to seek the truth. Murray soon discovers that the body mistakenly transported to Wyoming is Captain Vic Harper, another victim of a training accident. The guys then catch Walker eavesdropping on their conversation. Forced to cooperate, Walker takes the guys to the base. Faced with the detective's perseverance, the army reveals the true story: Both Ricky and Harper died on an unsuccessful mission to rescue MIA's from Vietnam. The guys also learn that a mistake had resulted in the two bodies being mixed up. However, since the exposure of the failed mission would endanger future rescue attempts, the army had tried to cover up the entire affair. Later, the army apologizes for the grief they caused Ben by performing a secret memorial service in Ricky's honor.