M*A*S*H episode
MASH episode - Inga - Inga embraces Hawkeye
Hawkeye and Inga Halvorsen, a visiting Swedish surgeon, share a tender embrace in "Inga" in Season 7 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H.
Season 7, Episode # 17
Number (#164) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Mariette Hartley
Phyllis Katz
Mark Favara
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: T-420
Writer(s) Larry Balmagia
Director James Sheldon
Original airdate January 8, 1979
IMDb logo IMDB Inga
Episode chronology
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"B.J. Papa San" (T‑402) "The Price" (T‑418)

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Hot Lips is Back in Town (T‑419) The Young and the Restless (T‑421)

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Season 7 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Inga was the 17th episode of Season 7  of the M*A*S*H TV series, also the 164th overall series episode. The episode, which was written and directed by Alan Alda. The episode originally aired on CBS-TV on January 8, 1979.


Hawkeye falls for a visiting Swedish doctor, but is disconcerted by her take-charge ways. As a result, he is forced to confront his chauvinistic views toward powerful women..

Detailed episode summaryEdit

Hawkeye is excited over the news that a visiting Swedish doctor named Inga Halvorsen will be arriving that night. In the showers, he tells B.J. and Winchester that he is sure he will be irresistible to "In-ga", which he says lustily.

Dr. Halvorsen (Mariette Hartley) arrives, and Hawkeye is at his most flirty, escorting her to the V.I.P. Tent, carrying her suitcase. Winchester tries to horn in, but he goofs when he makes a crack about how "lumpy" older Swedish women can get. Realizing he's made a horrible faux pas, he excuses himself, leaving Hawkeye and Inga to laugh collectively.

Hawkeye and Inga meet at the Swamp, and Hawkeye thinks its a date. Inga is there to talk medicine, which disappoints him. He blows out the candle he lit, turns off the romantic music, and his tone is one of frustration.

The next day, in OR, Inga shows herself to be an excellent surgeon, showing Hawkeye and the others a procedure that none of them have seen before.

Later, in the Mess Tent, Winchester pokes and prods Hawkeye, insisting that he was put off by Inga taking over for him. At first he says that's ridiculous, but after a little more prodding by Winchester, Hawkeye vents about how he didn't like how Inga took over, not that she did it.

That enrages Margaret, and their argument spills out of the tent. Hawkeye thinks Margaret is jealous--which seems like a reach, to say the least--but Margaret is mad that Hawkeye seems to only judge women by one standard, and meeting a woman his surgical equal is something he can't handle. They re-enter the Mess Tent and everyone applauds Margaret--they had all been listening in on the argument.

Later, in the Swamp, Inga shows up to apologize, but Hawkeye tells her that's not necessary. She even starts to respond to Hawkeye's advances the night before, kissing him, and leaning him back on his bunk.

Hawkeye, thrown off by her aggressiveness, stupidly asks, "When you dance, who leads?"

This kills the mood, and Inga, hurt, leaves. Hawkeye marvels at his own idiocy: "I did it again, I did it again!"

This kicks off a sort of philosophical argument about men and women in the camp. Klinger expresses support for Hawkeye, but B.J. and Potter try and show Hawkeye that being in an equal partnership with women is the way to go.

In Post Op, a patient of Winchester's has a severe allergic reaction to some medication, and he thinks the solution is a tracheotomy. Inga happens to be there, and suggests another, less intrusive way. Winchester argues with her, but when Inga's method turns out to be effective, Winchester is miffed. He sarcastically thanks her for correcting him, and walks out.

Hawkeye, B.J., and Winchester talk about it in the Swamp, and Winchester is furious at her, calling her "pushy." Hawkeye, listening to all this, realizes what an ass he himself has been, and goes to Inga's tent to apologize.

He finds Inga upset over what happened, hurt over the idea she was supposed to let a patient suffer just over protocol. Hawkeye reassures her she did the right thing.

Hawkeye notices the music Inga has on, and Inga suggests they dance to it. Inga has to teach Hawkeye the dance, meaning she has to lead. It takes Hawkeye a few tries to get it right, but he finally relaxes and lets Inga lead. The dance ends in a passionate embrace and a kiss.

The P.A. announces incoming wounded, and Hawkeye suggests picking up where they left off. But Inga says she has to report to another unit in a few hours, meaning this is their last private moment together. Hawkeye is frustrated at his own stupidity, but Inga reassures him, and suggests she'd like to see him some day, after the war is over.

Hawkeye agrees, and they both walk out together, prepared to go to work as equal partners.

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • The professionalism of the MASH crew is clearly evident in the way they responded to Inga's suggestion to demonstrate a new procedure. Margaret is immediately enthusiastic and says "right away!" when asked for some instruments. She next tells Hawkeye that it is his decision, but since it would only take an hour, they should try. Winchester walks over in curiosity. Margaret suggests that Potter should also watch the demonstration and he comes over immediately. BJ cannot leave his patient but asks Inga for a running commentary.
  • Another one of the MASH tributes to the other countries participating in the Korean War. This time it is Sweden, which sent a field hospital to Korea. This hospital was established in Pusan and remained there until 1957, long after the war ended.
  • Inga also mentions that her next assignment was the Norwegian hospital ship. In reality there was no Norwegian hospital ship. The hospital ship MS Jutlandia was contributed by Denmark. The Norwegian contribution was NORMASH, a MASH-style field hospital on the US pattern which was staffed with Norwegian military personnel. NORMASH also supported I Corps, which, if it had been shown on the show, would have made it the sister unit of the 4077th.
  • This episode is quite different from the early MASH when Hawkeye tries to proposition every nurse that ever comes through MASH 4077--allegedly there was an unfilled script in which Hawkeye impregnates two nurses at the same time and doesn't take any responsibility.
  • David Scott Diffrient mentions in his book that Alan Alda, as writer and director, dedicated this episode to the memory of Sister Elizabeth Kenny, the nurse whose experimental procedure for treating polio victims he credits with saving his life during his childhood.[1]

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

Memorable quotesEdit

(Hawkeye has just given Inga a glass of what he calls wine. She has just sipped it)

  • INGA: I love wine...what is this?

(Potter gives some advice to Hawkeye after he has offended Inga)

  • POTTER: Just remember, there's a right way and a wrong way to do everything. And the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way.

(As the episode ends, Margaret tries to persuade Hawkeye to join the others at movie night in the mess tent, which is showing "Casablanca". He reprises lines from the movie in his replies.)

  • HAWKEYE: I don't think I'm strong enough to hear a Swedish accent for a while.... Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she had to walk into mine.

(As Margaret drags him off to the movie, Hawkeye ends the episode with the last line from "Casablanca".)

  • HAWKEYE: You know, Louis, this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.


  1. David Scott Diffrient, M*A*S*H, (Detroit, MI: Wayne State university Press, 2008), 97. However Diffrient doesn't cite his primary source for this information.

External linksEdit