M*A*S*H episode
“Friends and Enemies”
MASH episode - Friends and Enemies
Potter must blow the whistle on an old friend, Col. Woody Cooke, for assuming command of a unit in which his orders endangered lives in the episode "Friends and Enemies" in Season 11.
Season 11, Episode # 13
Number (#253) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) John McLiam
Jim Lefebvre
Kellye Nakahara
Matthew Price
Jeff Maxwell
Jack Yates
Roy Goldman
Bill Snider
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: 9B05
Writer(s) Karen Hall
Director Jamie Farr
Original airdate February 7, 1983
IMDb logo IMDB Friends and Enemies
Episode chronology
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"Say No More" "Give and Take"

List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Friends and Enemies was the 253rd overall episode in the M*A*S*H television series, and also the 13th of Season 11. Written by Karen Hall and directed by Jamie Farr, the episode aired on February 7, 1983.

Plot synopsisEdit

Colonel Potter must decide whether to blow the whistle on an old army chum, Woody Cooke, whose military mistakes caused needless casualties. B.J. suffers from both an ingrown toenail and from Charles' insistence on playing his Mahler records.

Full episode summaryEdit

Wounded arrive, and one of them, with a bad leg injury, is an old friend of Col. Potter's, Colonel Woody Cooke. In the O.R. Potter tells the others that he and Woody have been friends since World War I, but then he wonders why Woody was so close to the front, as last time Potter heard from him, Woody was in an office position at I-Corps.

In Post Op, Woody explains to Potter that he was there to investigate a troubled petroleum spot, and rather then delegate, he felt it best to check it out himself. Woody's driver, who was also wounded, told Hawkeye that Woody insisted on staying when the fighting broke out. Another wounded G.I. claims Col. Cooke showed up on the front lines unannounced and, after assuming command of the unit, started giving bizarre and downright dangerous orders.

Meanwhile, B.J., stuck in the Swamp due to an ingrown toenail, is being driven crazy by his inability get away from Winchester's dreadfully grim classical records. He even goes so far as to file down Winchester's phonograph needle, forcing him to turn to Margaret, who just received a new record player--but no records. B.J. even tries to trick Margaret and Winchester into not sharing with one another, suggesting to Winchester that he entice her with "shiny beads and shallow flattery", but then B.J. mistakenly warns Margaret that Charles was planning to use her for her record player, using the exact same words he said to him, but the two soon wise up and get back at B.J.

Hawkeye goes to Col. Potter to tell him about what the wounded men said, but Potter angrily insists that Woody had a good reason for what he did, calling the G.I.s (and Hawkeye) "wet behind the ears". Hawkeye tries to talk some sense into him, but Potter orders him out of his tent.

The next day, Potter quietly tries to draw some information from Woody about what happened at the front, and questions why he opted to stay when the fighting broke out, instead of returning to safety. Woody insists that the ridge was unguarded, there were no officers around, and "those young bucks" needed leadership and that he was the only one there who knew what he was doing.

Potter decides to investigate further by talking to Sergeant Zurilli, the NCO in charge of the unit, but Zurilli refuses to talk until Potter says its best for everyone involved to bring anything to light that caused preventable casualties. Zurilli then tells Potter that his CO ordered the unit to stay away from a particular ridge, but then Cooke shows up, assumes command, and orders the men to advance on the same ridge; Zurilli tried to explain what was going on, but Cooke refused to listen and made it a direct order, which is why they got hit. Potter asks why Zurilli didn't report it to I-Corps, he replies that he saw no point as he was sure it would only get supressed along the way by one of Cooke's friends. When asked why he didn't report it at the 4077th, Zurilli answers, "For the same reason, sir."

Now convinced of the truth, Potter tracks down Hawkeye in the Officers Club and apologizes for snapping at him earlier. Citing his age and his time in the Army, Potter cherishes what few friends he has left that are his own age, but then admits that he may cherish them so much that sometimes he doesn't allow himself to see the truth. When Hawkeye asks if Woody's friendship is important enough to save his life, Potter agrees, but then says doing so isn't easy.

Later, in his tent, Potter tells Woody that the two of them, being so close to retirement, have to be more careful about things from now on. Woody tries to explain that "those green kids" didn't know what they were doing, but Potter says that Woody had no business being at the front, and then regretfully tells him that he will have report it to I-Corps. Woody begs him to let it slide, but Potter, citing Zurilli's belief that nothing will be done because of their friendship, says he's not willing to let more men get hurt by allowing Woody back on the line. Woody declares their friendship is over, and Potter pleads that their friendship has been through too much to just end like this, but Woody accuses Potter of ending their friendship and angrily wheels himself out of Potter's tent.

Later, Potter finds Hawkeye in the compound, and they walk to the Officers Club for a drink--just in time to see B.J. bursting out the door of the Swamp, hopping like mad to get away from Winchester's music, now playing at full blast from Margaret's record player.

Fun factsEdit

  • Over 251 episodes, any show of that long a run is going to repeat plots occasionally. This episode is probably the single most obvious example--Col. Potter had a similar problem with an old friend in Season Five's "Ping Pong."
  • This is this season's "Angry Potter" episode, although that element of the show is the shortest of them all this time around--basically lasting only two brief scenes. (Its the last "Angry Potter" episode ever, unless they did them on AfterMASH).
  • This episode is directed by Jamie Farr. Of all of the show's final cast, only Loretta Swit and William Christopher never ended up going behind the camera.
  • One of a very few M*A*S*H episodes to end on a freeze-frame with something other than a variation of the show's theme music -- this one ends with Mahler's Kindertotenleider.


  • Hawkeye: I'm gonna take a little tour of the rumor mill.
  • B.J.: I'll go with you.
  • Hawkeye: Shouldn't you keep that toe off its feet for the next couple of days?
  • B.J.: It's not my feet I'm worried about; It's my ears. I'm gonna be stuck here for two days with Winchester and his "Dead Children's Glee Club"! (A reference to Winchester's record Kindertotenlieder, which means "Songs on the Death of Children")

Read more:

Recurring cast/Guest starsEdit

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