|“A Smattering of Intelligence”|
| Season 2, Episode # 24 |
Number (#48) in series (251 episodes)
|Guest star(s)||Edward Winter|
|Writer(s)||Laurence Marks & Larry Gelbart|
|Original airdate||March 2, 1974|
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|"Mail Call"|| "The General Flipped at Dawn" |
(Season 3 premiere)
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!
It’s Spy vs. Spy come to life.
Colonel Sam Flagg makes an unceremonious first appearance at the 4077th (or is it the 2nd??) 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. OK, then…
Hawkeye and Trapper find Major Vinny Pratt waiting in the Swamp, who turns out to be an old friend of Trapper’s and also 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 then thrilled to entertain another officer from Intelligence with multiple names. Pratt earns Henry’s cooperation by presenting him 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 know 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.
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, throws away the 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.