Mulcahy's War is the 106th episode of M*A*S*H, the ninth in the fifth season of the show, which originally aired on CBS-TV on November 16, 1976. It was directed by George Tyne, and written by Richard Cogan.
Father Mulcahy, troubled by his lack of experience at the front, insists on accompanying Radar for an errand there.
Full episode summary
Some wounded arrive, and one of them has a wound that was clearly self-inflicted. Hawkeye and B.J. try to hide that fact from Frank, who would surely drum the young man up on charges.
Hawkeye asks Father Mulcahy to talk to him in Post Op. He talks to Private Fitzsimons (Brian Byers), who comes from the same stomping grounds, and even knew the same World War II Chaplain, Marty "Boom Boom" Gallagher. The chat is amiable, until the private says he's not sorry for what he did to get out of fighting, and he'd do it again.
Mulcahy tries to show him the error of his ways, but Fitzsimons is adamant. He even gets angry when Mulcahy reveals he's never been to the Front, and Fitzsimons refuses to talk anymore.
This leaves Mulcahy feeling insecure, and he asks Col. Potter if he can take a trip to the Front once in a while. Potter refuses, saying it's too unsafe. Meanwhile, an aid station calls the 4077th and says they have a soldier with a bad chest wound who needs immediate surgery. Hawkeye gets Radar and Igor to go get him, but Mulcahy takes Igor's place, without anyone's permission.
Mulcahy and Radar get the soldier, but on the way back, they see the soldier start to choke. They call the 4077th to find out what to do, and Hawkeye talks Mulcahy through a makeshift tracheotomy, which he performs perfectly, if a bit nervously. They make it back to the 4077th, and the soldier is rushed off to surgery. Potter is a little mad at Mulcahy, but lets it go - especially since if Father Mulcahy had NOT gone, it's entirely possible the soldier would have died.
Mulcahy, now having seen the war up close, goes back to visit Private Fitzsimons, who is impressed at the Father's bravery, and agrees to talk again.
In an end scene usually cut from syndicated airings, Hawkeye and Radar are there to see Sgt. Hodkey and Cpl. Cupcake off after they've recovered from their respective surgeries. Hodkey mentions that Cupcake is up for a promotion for saving Hodkey's life. After they pull away, Radar good-naturedly quips how odd he'd feel to be outranked by a dog. Hawkeye tells him he knows the feeling, having to be outranked by the professionally-inferior Major Burns.
Research notes/Fun facts
- Arguably the first episode where William Christopher's character of Father Mulcahy carries the main "A" plot, though Mulcahy was a also major player in the episode Dear Peggy.
- Some Internet resources have observed that Richard Foronjy, who plays the mustachioed sergeant (senior aidman at the aid station), is for some reason entirely dubbed by Johnny Haymer, who normally played Sgt. Zale.
- At the end, when Hawkeye tells Mulcahy how scared he was on his first operation, and he didn't even have bombs going off around him, he says "I can only imagine what it was like for you." Mulcahy remarks that no, he couldn't; that "you had to be there." In fact, in an earlier episode, Hawkeye was under fire in a battalion aid station (Season 3 "Aid Station").
- The part at the end where the dog and handler leave is usually cut out of syndication.
- The title is a spoof of a 1971 movie Murphy's War
Guest stars/Recurring cast
- Brian Byers as Private Fitzsimons
- Ric Mancini as Sergeant Hodkey
- Richard Foronjy as Sergeant (at the aid station) (Audio dubbed by Johnny Haymer (uncredited))
- Jeff Maxwell as Igor (he even has a line!)
- Unnamed German Shepherd as Corporal Cupcake
- Kellye Nakahara (in the O.R.)