A Smattering of Intelligence was the 24th and season finale episode of Season 2 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 48th overall series episode. Written by Laurence Marks and Larry Gelbart, also directed by Gelbart, it first aired on March 2, 1974.
Col. Flagg and a rival intelligence agent both show up at the 4077th, each trying to raise funding for their respective spy organizations. Hawkeye and Trapper John decide to have some fun and teach both agents a lesson-by tricking them into going after Frank Burns.
Full episode summaryEdit
It's Spy vs. Spy come to life.
Colonel Sam Flagg makes an unceremonious first (or second) appearance at the 4077th with a broken arm suffered in a chopper crash. After it's patched up, Flagg visits Henry's office where he is revealed to be a CIA agent with a long list of aliases. Flagg needs to place a call, but first dismisses Henry so he can vomit up the capsule containing the phone number.
Hawkeye and Trapper find Major Vinny Pratt waiting in the Swamp, who turns out to be an old friend of Trapper's and mixed up with Intelligence (G2). He mentions Colonel Flagg and his nefarious tricks and tells the doctors he wants to find out why Flagg wants to infiltrate a M*A*S*H unit, what he's up to and stop him. Pratt tells them his alias will be Captain Stone with Engineers.
Pratt visits Henry, who is less than thrilled to entertain another officer from Intelligence with multiple names. Pratt earns Henry's cooperation by presenting him with a file documenting two affairs he had before the war and threatens to give the information to Henry's immediate family.
Flagg catches wind of “Captain Stone’s” appearance in camp and is determined to find out why he's there. Flagg has Radar send a heavily coded telegram (“Mary had a little lamb…”, it begins) to an office in Tijuana, Mexico. Radar shows the message to Pratt, Hawkeye, and Trapper which alerts Pratt that Flagg knows he is there (“I’m Mary.”) Pratt enlists Radar to keep constant surveillance on Flagg, then wonder's who Flagg would be targeting.
Pratt meets Frank, and with some prompting from the Captains, becomes suspicious of his gung-ho patriotism and decides to sneak a peek at Frank's official file. Meanwhile, Flagg meets with Frank and Margaret at the Officers’ Club under the secret watch of Radar. Flagg is concerned about security breaches and Captain Stone. Frank tells Flagg he has a secret dossier on everyone in camp stashed in his official file, then discovers Radar is eavesdropping on them, resulting in a humorous encounter between Flagg and the corporal (Flagg's discovery of Radar's eavesdropping is usually cut out of syndicated airings, but his threat to shove nickels up Radar's nose is referenced later).
Radar tells Hawkeye and Trapper that Flagg is also going to access Frank's file, so they decide to make it more “colorful.” That evening, Flagg takes a peek at Frank's “file”, photographs it, and makes a quick exit. Radar, pretending to be sleeping, replaces the one fake file with *another* fake file, and lights a cigarette in his best Marlene Dietrich impersonation as a signal to Pratt, Trapper, and Hawkeye.
Next morning, Flagg bursts into the Swamp to arrest Frank for being a left-wing Communist subversive. Pratt then arrives on the scene to arrest Frank for being a right-wing fascist. After they both accuse Frank of the bogus activities planted in his file, the Captains come clean and admit they were behind the scam.
The episode ends with a tag (usually cut out of syndicated prints) that's a “joint surveillance report” by Flagg which serves as yet another role call of the 4077th staff and the unit should be kept under observation.
Guest stars/Recurring castEdit
Research notes/Fun facts Edit
We've already met Edward Winter in a previous episode ("Deal Me Out"), but then he went by Captain Halloran of the CID. He acted pretty much the same, so it's entirely possible this was our first encounter with the character of Col. Flagg under yet another alias. However, countering this argument is the fact that Halloran interacted with members of the 4077th fairly extensively, yet no-one recognizes him at all this time around.
This episode shows Frank Burns' gullibility (as well as his constant desire to suck up) when he remarks to Pratt's cover story about the US Army Corps of Engineers making MASH amphibious - Frank remarks he's had the same idea for a long time.
In nearly every scene with Hawkeye in this episode, he is chewing on a swab.
When accusing Frank of extreme right-wing activities, Pratt mispronounces "Ku Klux Klan".