M*A*S*H episode
“Period of Adjustment”
Period of adjustment
Klinger and B.J., facing difficulties adjusting to changes in their lives, go missing. When Potter and Margaret finally find them, they are busily "adjusting".
Season 8, Episode # 6
Number (#179) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Eileen Saki
Jeff Maxwell
Jan Jorden
Gwen Farrell
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: S-604
Writer(s) Jim Mulligan & John Rappaport
Director Charles S. Dubin
Original airdate October 22, 1979
IMDb logo IMDB Period of Adjustment
Episode chronology
← Previous Next →
"Good-Bye Radar: Part 2" (S‑611) "Nurse Doctor" (S‑608)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"Guerilla My Dreams" (S‑603) "Private Finance" (S‑605)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 8 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Period of Adjustment is the sixth episode of the eighth season of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 179th overall series episode. Directed by Charles S. Dubin, the episode was written by Jim Mulligan and John Rappaport, and it originally aired on network TV on October 22, 1979.


Corporal Klinger must learn how to become the company clerk as B.J. gets a particularly vehement yearning to return home after realizing that his daughter Erin’s childhood is passing him by rapidly. 

Full episode summaryEdit

In the immediate aftermath of Radar leaing the 4077th, things are not going smoothly--Klinger hasn't quite gotten the hang of his new job as company clerk, so things are pretty chaotic. Potter's office is buried in paper, and he has to fend off calls from I-Corps about late or completely missing morning reports.

Potter tries to cover, but he's so mad at Klinger that he considers that perhaps the job is "too much" for him--"We can't all be Radars", he offers, which hurts Klinger's feelings.

Klinger then delivers mail to the Swamp, where B.J. gets a letter from Peg, where she describes what it was like meeting Radar on his way home from Korea. Wearing his uniform, little Erin Hunnicutt saw Radar and exclaimed, "Hi, Daddy!"

During a session in O.R., Hawkeye tries to get B.J. to tell everyone about the meeting between Peg, Erin, and Radar, but he doesn't seem to want to talk about it. Later, in the Mess Tent, he sides with Klinger in being sick of everyone talking about Radar.

Later that night, Winchester takes over for Hawkeye in Post Op, and he warns Hawkeye that, back in the Swamp, B.J. is drunk--very drunk. Hawkeye goes back to the Swamp, and after a few moments he starts to get the idea that something's bothering B.J. He finally hits upon it being the letter from Peg, and it quickly devolves into an argument. B.J. gets furious, and suggests that his missing his daughter by being stuck in Korea is worse than what Hawkeye is going through.

Hawkeye doesn't buy that, reminding B.J. he's been stuck at the 4077th even longer than B.J. Hawkeye then tries to get B.J. to stop drinking, which sets B.J. off. He smashes the still with a chair, punches Hawkeye in the eye, and storms out of the tent.

Potter and Margaret are searching for a now-missing Klinger, and come to the Swamp, only to find Winchester tending to the black eye Hawkeye has. They decide to team up and try and find both of them, with Margaret and Winchester going one way, Potter the other (with Hawkeye having to tend to a patient).

During his search, Potter runs into Father Mulcahy, where Mulcahy explains to Potter that once, before he arrived, there was someone even worse than Klinger: "This lad was quite a bozo--couldn't do anything right. Drove everyone crazy with questions. You should've seen him put through a call was like hand-to-hand combat. Folks here were convinced the enemy had sent him here to sabotage the unit.

Over time, he got a little better...your late predecessor, Col. Blake--rest his soul--took him under his wing and sort of helped him grow into the job."

Potter realizes Mulcahy was pulling one over on him--he's talking about Radar. Mulcahy asks, doesn't Klinger deserve the same time to get adjusted to the job? After all, he reminds Potter, when he arrived at the 4077th, he got "The broken-in model."

Potter and Margaret meet back up, and decide to call the MPs. But when they arrive, they find the totally smashed B.J. and Klinger in Potter's office, smashing into his liquor cabinet. Potter asks Margaret to go fetch Hawkeye, while Potter talks to Klinger alone. He sits Klinger down, and "clears the air." He admits that, when he showed up at the 4077th, people weren't "jumping for joy" over him, since they all thought so much of Henry Blake. But everyone gave him time to make the job Sherman Potter's, since he "Was no Henry Blake...never tried to be."

He decides that, as of this moment, "Radar's office is closed...Klinger's is open." Klinger, relieved, passes out. Potter adds, "Okay, we'll open tomorrow."

Hawkeye arrives, and heads inside Potter's office to talk to B.J. B.J. apologizes for hitting him, and breaks down in tears when he thinks about the first time Erin ever called anyone Daddy..."and it wasn't me." BJ then admits that he's "so jealous of Radar that he almost hates him". He also admits he's even jealous of Trapper--who he's never even met--because "He's home, too." He collapses into sobs, while Hawkeye promises: "You'll go home...some day we'll all go home."

A few days later, Hawkeye and B.J. rebuild the still, with the help of Klinger, who got the necessary parts. They allow Klinger the honor of "The first belt".

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • The IMDB entries for this episode and for Gwen Farrell list her character as Nurse Able, however, as can be seen from the onscreen credits, she is simply billed as "nurse". She could be the nurse who comes into O.R. to say there's one more patient and he looks bad. She is not addressed by name so until some confirmation can be found by looking at the script, there is no basis for concluding that her character here is named Able.
  • Hawkeye instructs Baker to administer levophed. However, the drug is only introduced to the MASH and approved for use much later, in Season 10 "The Birthday Girls". In that episode, Margaret is responsible for instructing her nurses on how to use the drug properly.
  • This is the second time Hawkeye has been assaulted by his drunken best friend because said friend was missing his family back home. In the Season 2 episode "Mail Call," Trapper John MacIntyre also receives a letter from home that makes him so homesick he attempts to desert. When Hawkeye tries to stop him, Trapper knocks him down with his fully-packed duffel bag and tries to storm out of the tent. The situation is defused by the arrival of a recently-humiliated Frank Burns, and Hawkeye stuffs Trapper's bag into his foot locker as the two friends laugh over Frank's latest failed scheme.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.