M*A*S*H episode
“Blood Brothers”
Season 9, Episode # 18
Number (#216) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) G.W. Bailey
Jeff Maxwell
Patrick Swayze
Ray Middleton
Robert Balderson
Dennis Troy
Roy Goldman
Tom Kindle
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: Z-421
Writer(s) David Pollock & Elias Davis
Director Harry Morgan
Original airdate April 6, 1981
IMDb logo IMDB Blood Brothers
Episode chronology
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"Bless You, Hawkeye" (Z‑417) "The Foresight Saga" (Z‑422)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

That's Show Biz, Part 2 (Z‑420) "The Foresight Saga" (Z‑422)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 9 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Blood Brothers was the 18th episode of Season 9 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 216th overall series episode, . Written by David Pollock and Elias Davis and directed by Harry Morgan, it originally aired on April 6, 1981.


Father Mulcahy tries to prepare himself and the camp for a visit from Cardinal Reardon, a VIP to both the Army and the church. Hawkeye, meanwhile, prepares to tell a young soldier why he can't donate blood to his wounded buddy; Hawkeye and B.J. have discovered the soldier has leukemia.

Full episode summaryEdit

In Post Op, there are only a few patients. One of them, B.J.'s patient, is named Lowry and neither B.J. or Hawkeye are sure whether he'll pull through. The one person certain he'll be okay is his best friend, Sturgis (Patrick Swayze), who is confident that his friend will live, despite Hawkeye and B.J.'s uncertainty.

Meanwhile, Col. Potter delivers what he thinks is good news to Father Mulcahy: Cardinal James Reardon is coming to visit the 4077th. Mulcahy is happy but sent into a panic when he learns that Reardon will be arriving in just two days! Mulcahy is terrified, and figures there's no way he can get everything ready in time.

Back in Post Op, B.J. prepares to give Lowry a pint of blood. Sturgis offers to donate it, since they have the same blood type. Hawkeye and B.J. agree and take some of his blood for tests.

Saturday night, things are swinging in the O Club, and Father Mulcahy is furious with everyone for their inability to stop drinking, fighting, and gambling for the two days leading up to Reardon's visit.

B.J. finds Hawkeye in the lab, telling him Lowry is stable enough for the transfusion. But Hawkeye has some terrible news: Sturgis has Leukemia. They debate what to do: B.J. thinks Sturgis should know, so he can "make the most out of the time he has left", but Hawkeye is concerned that it might "take the life right out of him."

After several blood tests, Sturgis starts to get suspicious--what's going on, he demands of Hawkeye. When Hawkeye calls him Gary, he begins to worry, and asks, "Is there something wrong with me?"

Hawkeye does his best to gently deliver the news. At the same time, he tells him directly that, if he does have the disease, "Your chances aren't too good." He then recommends that Sturgis be sent to Tokyo, where he can be examined more fully, and, since his disease is in the early stages, treatments can start immediately.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Reardon arrives, ahead of schedule. Father Mulcahy is of course nervous, but Reardon (Ray Middleton) is warm and friendly. He even asks if they can all get a drink in the Officers Club. Which they can't, after Igor stumbles out onto the compound and drunkenly passes out. Mulcahy is incensed, and he wanders into the Mess Tent, where he finds Hawkeye sitting alone. He complains about how everyone is making his life miserable. After ranting for a few moments, he asks whether Hawkeye is just going to sit there and say nothing?

Hawkeye tells him what he just had to do in Post Op, which brings Mulcahy back from his own problems. He heads off to Post Op to talk to Sturgis. The next morning, Hawkeye finds Father Mulcahy and Sturgis, who obviously stayed up all night talking. Sturgis seems much happier, even laughing out loud.

Sturgis asks to stick around for when his friend wakes up, but Hawkeye wants Sturgis to go to Tokyo so he can start treatment. Sturgis argues that its his life, he should be able to do with it what he wants. Hawkeye begins to argue, but Father Mulcahy interrupts him. He shows Hawkeye that Sturgis going off to Tokyo will make Hawkeye feel better, more than it will do for Sturgis. Hawkeye, seeing the light, agrees, and tells Sturgis he can stay as long as he likes.

Klinger finds Father Mulcahy, who is supposed to be in the Mess Tent to start the Sunday services, which Mulcahy completely forgot about. In his bathrobe, Mulcahy delivers a sermon about two men: one selfish, concerned only with himself; the other a man who makes a courageous gesture of friendship. Mulcahy breaks down, admitting the first man is himself. Cardinal Reardon gets up, hugs Mulcahy, and says, "You're a hard act to follow."

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit


  • In a tragic irony, Patrick Swayze who plays Sturgis did indeed in real life die of cancer...of the pancreas, on September 14, 2009 at age 57.