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For The Good of the Outfit (TV series episode)

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M*A*S*H episode
“For The Good of the Outfit”
For the good of the outfit
General Clayton tries to force Hawkeye and Trapper to drop their complaint about the friendly fire incident on Tai Dong village. Note the Huey helicopter model in the background which is an anachronism.
Season 2, Episode # 4
Number (#28) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Odessa Cleveland
Frank Aletter
Herb Voland
Lesley Evans
Gwen Farrell
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: K-404
Writer(s) Jerry Mayer
Director Jackie Cooper
Original airdate October 6, 1973
IMDB For The Good of the Outfit
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Radar's Report" (K‑402) "Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde" (K‑405)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"5 O'Clock Charlie" (K‑403) "Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde" (K‑405)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 2 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

For The Good of the Outfit was the fourth episode of the Season 2 of the TV series M*A*S*H, also the 28th overall episode of the series. Written by Jerry Mayer and directed by Jackie Cooper, it originally aired on CBS-TV on October 6, 1973.

SynopsisEdit

Trapper and Hawkeye discover that the US Army accidentally shelled the South Korean village of Tai Dong causing multiple civilian casualties. They report it but find that the U.S. Army wants to cover up.

Full episode summaryEdit

The O.R. is flooded with civilian wounded from the village of Tai Dong which has been hit by artillery fire. Hawkeye and Trapper discover that the shrapnel which they are pulling from the casualties is American in origin. They want to make a report to headquarters and ask Frank to join in but he flatly refuses. Henry allows the report to go through, although he advises them that the army does not like people who rock the boat.

Headquarters sends Major Stoner, from the Inspector-general's Corps, to investigate. Hawkeye passes Stoner a container of shrapnel and a full dossier of x-rays and medical reports. To everyone's surprise, Stoner is not defensive. He tells them the evidence "cliches" the case and there may be a commendation for Hawkeye and Trapper. Margaret overhears this and is angry with Frank for not joining in the report.

To make up for it, Frank proceeds to draft his own report. He checks with Hawkeye and Trapper but they tell him that they have not heard from Stoner for more than a week. They read in Stars and Stripes that Tai Dong village had been shelled by the enemy. Angered, they call Stoner and finally get through. Stoner promises firm action but Hawkeye thinks he is merely stalling. Hawkeye decides to take matters in his own hands and writes a letter to his father, asking him to ask a senator friend of his to intervene.

A few days later, Radar advises Hawkeye that "he shouldn't be too certain that that letter didn't end up in a certain whole other place". Hawkeye storms into Henry's office and learns that his letter has been stopped at headquarters. Henry tries to calm him down, telling him that the army is rebuilding the village with a town hall, shopping mall, temples, and the "first soft ice cream stand in all of East Asia." Hawkeye says that is all very well, but he also wants the truth to be rebuilt--the army must accept responsibility. Hawkeye threatens to talk to General Clayton.

Just then, General Clayton turns up in the 4077th. Frank and Margaret watch from a distance and are upset because they think the Clayton is here to commend Hawkeye and Trapper. Nothing is further from the truth. It turns out that Clayton is here to try to get them to back down from their report on the incident "Hey, even I'm getting pressure from above...you don't want to give the Army a black eye, do you? Let's play ball...Shall we?" he tells the doctors. He tells them that Stoner has been transfered to Hawaii. As for the evidence, what evidence? The doctors are unconvinced so Clayton next threatens to send them away from the MASH to far more uncomfortable and dangerous positions in a battalion aid station. Faced with this, and the disappearance of the evidence, Hawkeye and Trapper have no choice but to withdraw sulkily.

Just then, Frank and Margaret burst into the meeting. Frank tells Clayton he wants a share of the commendation and he presents his own collection of shrapnel and medical reports. Faced with this fresh evidence, General Clayton backtracks. He admits that the army sometimes needs to take its lumps and this might be one of the times. He tells Hawkeye and Trapper that if they will write the article with the truth, he will see that it is published in Stars and Stripes--and on the front page this time.

The General leaves. Hawkeye and Trapper are delighted with Frank and Margaret for saving the day and express their gratitude in their own special way.

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • Anachronisms.
    • The Stars and Stripes newspaper which Trapper reads has the headlines "Reds Shell Rail Junction, Tighten Shanghai Noose." This is from the Pacific edition May 3, 1949. The story is about the Chinese civil war which ended in 1949. Of course, they might just have wanted a headline that sounds relevant to an artillery attack.
    • There's a Huey helicopter hanging from the ceiling in Henry's office. The Huey UH-1 only entered service after the Korean War. A more correct model would be a Bell H-13 Sioux.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

GalleryEdit

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