M*A*S*H episode
“Hanky Panky”
MASH Episode 5x18 - Hanky Panky - BJ and Nurse Donovan
When confronted with an intimate moment with Nurse Donovan (Ann Sweeny), whom he was trying to console after she had just gone through a divorce, BJ faces a test to his faithfulness to his own marriage in the Season 5 episode "Hanky Panky".
Season 5, Episode # 19
Number (#116) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Ann Sweeny
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: U822
Writer(s) Gene Reynolds
Director Gene Reynolds
Original airdate February 2, 1977
IMDb logo IMDB Hanky Panky
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Season 5 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

 Hanky Panky is the 116th episode of M*A*S*H, the 19th in the fifth season of the show, which originally aired on CBS-TV on February 2, 1977. It was both written and directed by Gene Reynolds.


B.J. falls off the fidelity wagon while trying to provide consolation to a nurse whose marriage has just ended. But will he confess his infidelity to his wife?

Full episode summaryEdit

B.J. makes friends with Nurse Carrie Donovan (Ann Sweeny), who seems distracted and sad, but will not say why.

She volunteers to work in Post Op with B.J. to follow up on some cases, and he notices her reading a letter. Turns out its a "Dear Jane" letter, where her husband back home says he wants a divorce.

She initially does not want to talk about it any further, but B.J. keeps pestering her to open up. Finally, she agrees, and they decide to talk in her tent later on.

Late at night, B.J. arrives, and Donovan tells him how devastated she is. She feels alone and despondent, and B.J. tries to give her a pep talk. But it goes from a talk to hand-holding, then a hug, then a kiss...

The next morning, Hawkeye sees B.J. at breakfast in the Mess Tent. Hawkeye digs at B.J. a little bit about his not coming home, but B.J. is terse and humorless. He is almost downright rude when Donovan sits down, and after a few seconds of small talk, he leaves.

Later that night, Hawkeye catches up with B.J. in the Swamp, writing a letter to Peg. After some nudging, B.J. admits what happened — he slept with Nurse Donovan, and he is completely miserable over it.

He is writing Peg about it, but Hawkeye is adamant that that is bad idea — he ends up grabbing B.J.'s letter, crumpling it up, and throwing it in the stove. He tells B.J. that he simply made a mistake, and B.J. can punish himself if he wants, but he should not punish Peg. B.J. agrees, but is still miserable.

In Col. Potter's office, Nurse Donovan asks for a transfer, saying it is due to personal problems. Potter gently turns her down, saying whatever problems she is having are not much compared to what the wounded are going through. Donovan meekly agrees.

Later, while both of them are working in Post Op, B.J. and Donovan have it out, and she lets him know how surly he has been to her since their night together. They talk outside, and B.J. admits how guilty he feels.

Donovan accepts and understands this, but insists that what he did — comforting a friend in need — was not wrong. B.J. admits he is still attracted to her, but she firmly states that just because it happened once, does not mean will happen again: "I can work out my own problem. I don't expect you to be the answer to it." They agree to remain friends — "closer than most" — and return to work.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

Trivia Edit

  • This is one of the few episodes that inexplicably shows a featured character with their own private tent (as a nurse, Lt. Donovan should have been bunking with the rest of the nurses).
  • Although we see B.J. and Donovan kiss, we never see it go further than that. We are left to assume just how far off "the fidelity wagon" B.J. actually fell (knowing B.J., he may have felt guilty just for kissing her).
  • War Co-Respondent (TV series episode) is a remake of this episode in which BJ is tempted again to have a affair with a female correspondent. However in Movie Tonight (TV series episode) Both BJ and Hawkeye Pierce sing a duet "Oh, the surgeons in the Army, they say we're mighty bright. We work on soldiers through the day and nurses through the night. " indicating that the writers deceided to turn BJ into a seriel adultrist like John Francis Xavier "Trapper" McIntyre; Lt. Colonel Henry Blake; Major Frank Burns

External linksEdit