Monster M*A*S*H


Lt. Radar O'Reilly was the 102nd episode of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, and, also the fifth episode of the fifth season of the series. Written by Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell, and directed by Alan Rafkin, it first aired on October 12, 1976.


To settle a poker debt, an officer forges promotion papers for Radar to become a Lieutenant.

Full episode summary[]

The gang ends a late night poker game when midnight strikes, with Radar winning the last pot. Hawkeye and B.J. are upset when they find out that a visiting Master Sergeant, named Woodruff (Sandy Kenyon), owes them both money and doesn't have the money to pay up.

Woodruff, who works in the office that issues promotions, offers up a promotion to either of the doctors instead of the money he owes them. Neither one of them wants to be a Major, but B.J. suggests "Lt. Radar O'Reilly."

A few days later, during mail call, Radar is stunned when he reads a letter from I-Corps to Col. Potter announcing his own promotion. Col. Potter beams with pride, and Klinger offers up Radar his first salute.

Now that he's an officer, it takes a lot of time for the 4077th to adjust. Frank is horrified, Hot Lips is frustrated, and Radar's friends, Zale and Igor, treat him like he's the enemy. Things go worse when Radar tries to teach Klinger his Company Clerk duties, but finds Klinger disinterested.

It gets even worse - the nurse that has shown ardent romantic interest in him when he was a Corporal, now has no interest since he's not "forbidden fruit." Radar leaves horribly confused.

All the change ends up making Radar so miserable - he's a man without two worlds - that he comes to visit Hawkeye and B.J., feeling depressed. Hawkeye and B.J., realizing their joke has backfired on Radar, offer to try and get him busted back down to Corporal. Radar gleefully accepts the demotion.

Now that he's a Corporal again, the nurse is back to flirting with him, and he's pals again with Klinger, Zale, and Igor, who wait for him outside the nurse's tent to bust his chops, like they used to do.

Fun facts[]

  • In this episode, we find out how Margaret got her infamous leather whip (it was a gift from her then-fiancé Lt. Col. Donald Penobscott: "He knows how much I love fine leathers!").
  • This episode contains one of the more obvious examples of the very odd way the camp P.A. announcer is never seen, nor even referenced outside of the announcements he makes. Radar is called by the P.A. announcer to report to Colonel Potter ... so that in the very next scene, Radar can teach Klinger to use the P.A. system (where it's implied that Radar is the only one who knows how to use it).
  • One of the few times a nurse has inexplicably had her own tent (another time was in "Springtime," which also included a nurse with romantic eyes for Radar). In the very next episode, "The Nurses," as well as others, we see four of them to a tent.

Guest stars/Recurring cast[]