Night Shift was the 6th episode of Season 1 of the AfterMASH TV series, also the 6th episode overall. The episode was written by Everett Greenbaum and Elliot Reid and was directed by Edward H. Feldman. The episode originally aired on CBS-TV on October 24, 1983.
Emergency surgery, romantic interludes and being trapped in an elevator are all in a day's work for the staff on the night shift at the General Pershing hospital.
Full episode summaryEdit
(spoiler alert - click on expand to read)
It's Friday night and the staff at General Pershing settle down for the night shift. Dr. Gene Pfeiffer gets a call from his colleague Dr. Harvey. He's got a back problem and needs Pfeiffer to fill his shift for him. Pfeiffer does so reluctantly. "What's another 9 or 10 hours." But Father Mulcahy is in good spirits, rosary was full, "kneeling room only". He goes to cheer up a gloomy and depressed patient, Loomis. "God save me from happy priests," he says. But Mulcahy has planned a surprise to cheer him up.
Meanwhile, Potter is at home and about to enjoy a rare evening with Mildred. They even dress up for dinner at home, Potter puts on a bow tie and Mildred some perfume he bought her in Paris. But the dinner gets interrupted even before the wine is poured. Pfeiffer calls to report about a patient who is shocky with a distended abdomen, tender to the touch. Mildred talks about the roast they're going to have but Potter can't take his mind off the patient. He decides to get back to the hospital.
The X-rays for the patient come in and here Potter's experience at the 4077th MASH pays off. He spots shell fragments in the x-rays which could be the problem. During the Korean War, the MASHes left small fragments in if it didn't cause trouble in order to save time. During the emergency surgery, Potter seems way ahead of Pfeiffer who looks exhausted.
Potter suspects he's been moonlighting and Pfeiffer admits he's been doing it at an emergency room at another hospital in Hannibal, Missouri. Potter tells him to sleep while he looks after the shift.
Potter bumps into Klinger, still at work. He is helping his friend, the ward clerk find 3 missing mattresses. "What a come down," he tells Potter while once scrounged generators, penicillin and plasma in Korea, he is now reduced to searching for bedding.
A patient named Jaster sneaks a prostitute "Sarah" into the hospital. He says he has seven guys lined up but the recovery room he has prepared is in use. Jaster decides to have Sarah dressed up as a nurse to keep a low profile.
Mulcahy now delivers his surprise to Loomis: it's his young son, Roger, whom Mulcahy has smuggled in hiding inside a library book wagon. Loomis is delighted but hospital rules don't allow visitors under 16. Mulcahy spots Potter on a ward round so he hurriedly slides a screen around the bed. But this doesn't last for long. Across the room, two patients, Johnson and Spencer, get into a scuffle when Spencer makes a racist remark. Potter and Mulcahy try to break them up but the screen is knocked down. But Potter doesn't mind Roger's visit--as far as he's concerned, he's sixteen, just the smallest 16 year old he's ever seen.
Potter brings Spencer and Johnson for some minor surgery to treat their wounds. Potter tells the two patients he doesn't understand them. Both of them had been at Pusan, both wounded and both decorated. "Guys go to war to save each other's butts and then they go home and kick each other's butts." Spencer makes it up to Johnson by offering him a cigarette.
Meanwhile Sarah has been moving around the hospital corridors in her nurse's uniform and keeps getting called for all kinds of nursing chores. She escapes into an elevator but the doors jam and she is trapped in there with Father Mulcahy! While waiting for Klinger to free the doors, Mulchahy tells Sarah times like these offer an opportunity to take stock and evaluate who one has been. He tells her he sees a directness and honesty in her.
The elevator doors are freed and Jaster tells Sarah there's work to be done in the recovery room. But she tells him the store is closed and she's going for a new life. "But call me next week in case it doesn't work out," she says, walking off. Along the way, she overhears Klinger looking for his mattresses and she tells him to try the recovery room.
Research notes/Fun factsEdit
- Potter refers to the supply of free cigarettes as free coffin nails and says the patients are barbecuing their lungs. But in various M*A*S*H episodes he is often seen enjoying cigars. Perhaps he gave up after the high blood pressure incident in "The Red/White Blues".
- Harry Morgan as Sherman T. Potter
- Jamie Farr as Maxwell Q. Klinger
- William Christopher as Father John Patrick Francis Mulcahy
- Rosalind Chao as Soon-Lee Klinger
- John Chappell as Michael D'Angelo
- Jay O. Sanders as Dr. Pfeiffer
- Barbara Townsend as Mildred Potter
- Brandis Kemp as Alma Cox
Guest stars/Recurring castEdit
- Blake Clark as Gilbert
- Carolsue Walker as Sarah
- David Graf as Jaster
- Lois Foraker as Nurse Coleman
- Terry Alexander as Johnson
- Martin Ferrero as Loomis
- Ken Magee as Spencer
- Tom Kindle as Patient
- Seth Wagerman as Roger Loomis