M*A*S*H episode
“Hawk's Nightmare”
Hawk's Nightmare - Hawkeye and Sidney
Dr. Sidney Freedman is enlisted to help Hawkeye deal with recent recurring nightmares in the episode "Hawk's Nightmare".
Season 5, Episode # 14
Number (#111) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Allan Arbus
Sean Roche
Patricia Stevens
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: U-804
Writer(s) Burt Prelutsky
Director Burt Metcalfe
Original airdate December 21, 1976
IMDb logo IMDB Hawk's Nightmare
Episode chronology
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"Exorcism" (U‑815) "The Most Unforgettable Characters" (U‑818) 

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"Margaret's Engagement" (U‑803) "Lt. Radar O'Reilly" (U‑805)

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Season 5 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Hawk's Nightmare is the 111th episode of M*A*S*H, the 14th in the fifth season of the show, which originally aired on CBS-TV on December 21, 1976. It was directed by Burt Metcalfe, and written by Burt Prelutsky.


Hawkeye starts sleepwalking and having horrific nightmares. He begins to think that he may be starting to lose his "war against the war".

Full episode summaryEdit

Hawkeye seems particularly agitated during surgery, complaining about the shocking youth of his patients. He calls them "babies" and said they should all be home getting burped by their mothers, not fighting in a war.

At the end of a day-long session in O.R., Hawkeye and B.J. go to sleep, but a few minutes later, Hawkeye wanders out of bed, across the camp, sleepwalking—and acting like a small child, to boot.

The next morning, everyone asks him what he was doing the night before, and Hawkeye doesn't have the foggiest idea what they're talking about. At first he dismisses the idea, until Klinger mentions the name of a grade school principal Hawkeye talked about while miming playing basketball, which freezes Hawkeye in his place.

Another day goes by, and in the middle of the night Hawkeye wakes up again and goes sleepwalking. He reverts back to the same childlike identity he had the night before—miming playing hopscotch and shooting marbles. Radar and Klinger find him and lead him back to his cot.

This all seems harmless enough, but then things take a darker turn—Hawkeye has a blood-curdling nightmare about a childhood friend getting killed while sledding. B.J. wakes him up, and Hawkeye finds himself sweaty with his heart pounding.

The next day, Hawkeye tries to convince himself that it's just tension. He tries to make himself feel better by calling the childhood friend back home, just to see if he's all right. He is, but the phone call degenerates into a shouting match when the friend insists Hawkeye owes him $37. That night, Hawkeye is afraid to go to sleep, and he tries to get other people to stay up with him. At first he tries Klinger, then Father Mulcahy, and then gets so desperate he even tries to talk to Frank.

When that peters out, he lays down and falls asleep. But, sure enough, a little while later, he has another nightmare about a childhood friend being hurt, leading to him make another phone call.

As Radar puts the call through, Col. Potter asks him to also call Sidney Freedman. Sidney agrees to come visit the next day.

Late at night the next day, Hawkeye, B.J., Col. Potter, Radar, Father Mulcahy, and Sidney are playing cards. One hand ends, and Hawkeye and Sidney take a walk outside, ending with them sitting outside the Swamp. Hawkeye is clearly worried—terrified, even—and he comes out and asks Sidney if he think he's going crazy. Sidney, who has been gentle with Hawkeye to this point, pointedly answers, "No."

He deduces that Hawkeye is trying to get back to a time in his life when there were no life-or-death decisions. And that, on the whole, the dreams are peaceful—it's when the pain of being in war intrudes on them is when they turn dark. He reassures Hawkeye that this will pass, but reminds him that there's "a lot of pain" Hawkeye is dealing with, and it will take some time to pass. Hawkeye, feeling better, thanks Sidney for his help. Sidney responds by challenging Hawkeye to a game of Mime Basketball, the same kind Hawkeye has been playing all week.

As they laugh and relax, Klinger and Radar watch from inside, amazed. Klinger now understands why his brand of crazy gets so little notice.

Fun factsEdit

  • The character played by Patricia Stevens has a significant number of lines but is credited simply as "nurse". Some Internet resources group the character under Nurse Able (her last credited appearance) or Nurse Baker (her next credited appearance). However, when Frank sees the sleepwalking Hawkeye move through Post Op, he says to Margaret that Hawkeye is probably "on the prowl for Nurse Able--Able and willing as I hear it." In the episode, Hawkeye does have a relationship with Patricia Steven's character, so this supports the view that she is Nurse Able. When Hawkeye encounters Patricia Stevens with Gwen Farrell during his sleepwalk, he asks if Stevens wants to play ball. Stevens replies it is too late to play ball. The next day, in the mess tent, she scolds Hawkeye for suggesting that they go play ball "right in front of Nurse Ripley." She says, "The next time you're in the mood to play ball, wait till she goes on duty." So the uncredited nurse character played by Gwen Farrell is identified as "Nurse Ripley".
  • In the final scene, when Klinger asks Hawkeye if he's faking or really crazy, and he takes Klinger's arm and says: "Mais oui, Josephine, I am as sane as you," he's pretending to be Napoleon; a popular old trope involves crazy people thinking they're the famed French emperor.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

External linksEdit