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 are costing human lives. BJ suffers from both an ingrown toenail and from Charles' insistence on playing his Mahler records.

Full episode summaryEdit

Wounded arrive, and one of them is an old friend of Col. Potter's, Col. Woody Cooke (John McLiam), with a leg wound. In the O.R. Potter tells the others that he and Woody have been friends since World War I. However, he wonders why Woody was so close to the fighting, as last time he heard from him, Woody was shuffling papers at I-Corp.

In Post Op, Woody explains to Potter that he was on the front to investigate a troubled petroleum spot, and rather then delegate it, he felt it best to do so himself. Woody's driver, who was also hit 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 unwelcome, and started issuing bizarre and downright dangerous orders.

Meanwhile, B.J., stuck in the Swamp due to an ingrown toenail, is being driven mad 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 use some black market to trick Margaret and Winchester into not sharing with the each other, but they wise up, and get back at him.

Hawkeye goes to Col. Potter to tell him about what the wounded men said, but Potter gets enraged, insisting what Woody had a good reason for what he did, calling the G.I.s "wet behind the ears" and even accusing Hawkeye of being that, too. Hawkeye tries to talk some sense into him, but Potter is having none of it, ordering Hawkeye out of his tent.

The next day, Potter gently 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 G.I.s he saw, needed leadership and that he was the only one there who knew what he was doing.

Potter does some looking into it, via the wounded soldiers' POV. One of them, a Sergeant named Zurilli (Jim Lefebvre), initially won't tell Potter anything, until Potter says its best for everyone involved to bring to the light anything that caused casualties that could have otherwise been avoided. Zurilli then tells Potter that even though his CO told the Sergeant to stay away from a particular hill, Woody showed up and countermanded those orders, ordering them to defend it, which is why they got hit.

Potter asks why Zurilli didn't mention this to his CO, but he answers that he was sure it would just get covered up by one of Cooke's friends. When asked why he didn't mention it when he got to the 4077th, Zurilli answers, "Same reason, sir."

Potter, now convinced, finds Hawkeye in the O Club and apologizes to him for snapping at him earlier. Potter now downs a stiff drink in anticipation over what he has to do his old friend, but Hawkeye assures him that it's the right thing to do, as he's probably saving Woody's life, in doing so.

Back in his tent, over a game of checkers, Potter tells Woody that the two of them are "Two old war horses nearing the end of the trail" but that they have to be careful from here on out. He then tells Woody that his actions at the front caused unnecessary casualties, when Woody himself was the one who didn't know what he was doing. And now, Potter has no choice but to write it in the report he has to file with I-Corps. Woody protests, then begs him to let it go, but Potter says he's not willing to let one more young man get hurt by allowing Woody back on the line. Woody, furious, claims their friendship is over, and Potter pleads that their friendship has been through too much to just end like this, but Woody ignores him, and wheels himself out of Potter's tent.

Later, Potter finds Hawkeye on the compound, and they walk to the O Club to get a drink--just in time to see B.J. burst 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 the exact same 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.

Recurring cast/Guest starsEdit

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