M*A*S*H episode
Season 10, Episode # 18
Number (#237) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Earl Boen
G.W. Bailey
Gerald Castillo
Jay Gerber
Al Rossi
Matthew Faison
Britt Leach
Tierre Turner
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: 1G15
Writer(s) Thad Mumford and Dan Wilcox
Director Nell Cox
Original airdate March 15, 1982
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Heroes was the 18th episode of Season 10 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 237th overall series episode. Written by Thad Mumford and Dan Wilcox and directed by Nell Cox, it originally aired on March 15, 1982.


A famous prizefighter, "Gentleman Joe" Cavanaugh, comes to visit the 4077th and while there, has a stroke. Everyone is irritated by Pierce, who as his doctor, becomes the spokesman to the press. Father Mulcahy is upset, since Gentleman Joe was his childhood hero.

Full episode summaryEdit

The 4077th prepares for a visit from "Gentlemen Joe" Cavanaugh, a famous championship boxer who is on a goodwill tour. The one most excited is Father Mulcahy, to whom Gentleman Joe was a childhood hero. In honor of his arrival, Klinger receives a memo from High Command that will allow access to anything necessary for Cavanaugh's visit--especially high-quality food. Klinger is skeptical at first but when he mentions the memo in question to I-Corp they immediately provide a large quantity of steaks.

A day later, Gentleman Joe arrives, and he doesn't quite live up to his name--he's friendly to the members of the 4077th, but within their earshot he's surly and dismissive to the people helping him on the tour, complaining about the lousy conditions. Gentleman Joe makes a beeline for Post Op, and he turns on the charm for the wounded soldiers, who seem genuinely appreciative to see him. It's clear that, in just a few minutes, he lifts everyone's spirits.

That night, they have a steak dinner in Gentleman Joe's honor. He stand up to make a toast, when he suddenly collapses, falling face-first onto the table. Hawkeye is first to reach him, and they wheel him into the hospital.

Turns out Gentleman Joe has suffered a massive stroke, so massive that it essentially means Gentleman Joe is dying, and he only has a few days left.

The Army PR man accompanying Gentleman Joe realizes this is huge news, and contacts the press train. Within a few hours, the 4077th is deluged with reporters, who throw the camp into chaos.

The reporters turn to Hawkeye for answers regarding the champ, and even though there's not much Hawkeye can do, the reporters treat him like a hero, and Hawkeye seems to take a shine to the attention, much to the dismay of the others.

The reporters keep Klinger up all night, since they're all camped out in Klinger's office filing their news stories. Margaret makes an errant comment about how much attention Gentleman Joe is getting (compared to the wounded soldiers in Post Op), and the reporters pounce.

The only one not annoyed at all the press attention is Father Mulcahy, who is more concerned with Gentleman Joe. As the champ lay dying, Mulcahy sits with him and tells him the story about how, as a child, Mulcahy saw Joe fight and, even though the crowd wanted blood, Joe showed mercy towards his opponent. It was a profound moment for him, and helped shape the man he would become. Moments later, Gentleman Joe finally does pass away.

When a badly-wounded soldier arrives at the camp suffering from an irregular heartbeat, B.J. must dig out a medical journal for a crash course in defibrillation. With Klinger's help, he is able to build a defibrillator and shock the patient's heart back to life, a revolutionary new ability. Hawkeye is convinced that this act will make B.J. famous as well, but the reporters in camp are less than impressed. B.J. isn't worried by the lack of fame; he is only thankful the procedure worked.

The press, no longer having a story, eventually clears out. The only real lasting evidence Gentleman Joe was ever at the 4077th is the giant mountain of rare & exotic food--Klinger had over-ordered everything knowing that once Cavanaugh passed away, the all-access orders would be useless. Potter laments that Klinger will never be able to eat all the food ordered before it expires, until one more order arrives: a personal refrigerator.

Guest/Recurring castEdit

  • Earl Boen as Major Robert Hatch
  • Pat McNamara as "Gentleman Joe" Cavanaugh
  • Gerald Castillo as Reporter
  • Jay Gerber as 2nd Reporter
  • Al Rossi as 3rd Reporter
  • Matthew Faison as Reporter Bill Stitzel
  • Britt Leach as Reporter Dan Blevik
  • Tierre Turner as Patient