M*A*S*H episode
“Private Finance”
Oksun Li Deneice Kumagai MASH
Oksun Li, played by actress Deneice Kumagai.
Season 8, Episode # 8
Number (#181) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Shizuko Hoshi
Denice Kumagai
Mark Kologi
Art Evans
*Joey DePinto
Phillip Simms
Mark Harrison
James Emery
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: S-605
Writer(s) Dennis Koenig
Director Charles S. Dubin
Original airdate November 5, 1979
IMDb logo IMDB Private Finance
Episode chronology
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Season 8 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Private Finance is the eighth episode of the eighth season of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H; Directed by Charles S. Dubin, the episode was written by Dennis Koenig. W.C. Heinz, Richard Hooker, Ring Lardner, Jr., who all were co-writers for the 1970 M*A*S*H* film, who were uncredited, also contributed as writers on the episode, which originally aired on November 5, 1979.


Klinger (Jamie Farr) offers financial help to a poor Korean girl, Oksun Li (Denice Kumagai), who he knows, only to have the offer mistaken as a proposal of prostitution by her angry mother (Shizuko Hoshi); Colonel Potter (Harry Morgan) and Margaret (Loretta Swit) try to help smooth things out between Klinger and the irate Mrs. Li, while Hawkeye struggles to keep his promise to a dead soldier named Corporal Eddie Hastings (Mark Kologi), who arrived as one of the wounded, leaves a windfall of ill-gotten gains behind which he wished to be sent to his parents in the States.

Full episode summaryEdit

Klinger has a drink at Rosie's Bar when he spots a local laundry girl named Oksun Li naively attempting to proposition a soldier for money in exchange for sex. In an attempt to stop her from walking down that path, Klinger takes the girl away from the bar and asks why she is approaching the soldiers. Oksun Li reveals that she is desperate for money to try & move her mother away from the fighting, and the pittance they receive from washing clothes is not nearly enough to help. Klinger offers Oksun Li nearly all the money he is carrying to help her, but Mrs. Li arrives and (upon seeing this exchange) assumes Klinger is trying to "purchase" her daughter- and immediately tries to attack Klinger! The corporal escapes thanks to some incoming choppers.

Wounded have arrived, and one of the patients--Corporal Eddie Hastings (Mark Kologi)--has an unusual request: before he goes in for surgery, he makes Hawkeye promise that the contents of his money belt are to go to his parents if he doesn't make it. Hawkeye, more concerned about the young man's injuries, doesn't really take him seriously, but when Hastings insists, Hawkeye agrees. During O.R., Hastings' injuries are found to be so severe it requires both Hawkeye and B.J. work on him, but all to no avail as Hastings dies on the table.

Hawkeye and B.J. are despondent over losing him, but they're snapped out of that when Klinger reveals Hastings had $8,873 stashed in his money belt, all actual US currency and not military scrip; B.J., Potter, and Winchester all believe the money was illegally obtained, but Hawkeye refuses to accept it, since Hastings came off to him like a clean-cut all-American boy. They decide to look into it further with two of Hastings' comrades in Post Op, Corporals Dolan and Vitello. When Hawkeye informs them that Hastings didn't make it, Dolan reservedly asks, "Who got him? Their side or ours?" The two then tell of Hastings being involved in a variety of shady operations including crooked gambling, black market dealing and loan sharking at 100% interest; rumor had it that Hastings even had some local Korean heavies to enforce loan repayment. Vitello explains that Hastings was all right when they first met in basic training, but when he fell in with a bad crowd he became corrupt and began stealing everyone else blind.

Despite CID's report that Hastings had no criminal record or warrants against him, protocol dictates that the money is to be sent to the authorities at I-Corps, but Hawkeye intends to carry out the promise he made and send the money to Hastings' parents. But as it's such a large amount, it's agreed he should write a "carefully worded" letter of condolence to them; after many false starts, Hawkeye finishes the letter (carefully avoiding any description of Hastings' money-making ventures), and he runs it by Father Mulcahy, who's impressed with the results.

Meanwhile, Klinger is still trying to dodge the implacable Mrs. Li (even returning to women's clothing briefly to avoid her). When the angry mother confronts him with a pitchfork inside the office, Colonel Potter intervenes. Oksun Li insists that Klinger actually stopped her from working at the bar and was only trying to help. Colonel Potter (and later Margaret) sympathize with the Li's plight and agree to try & find a way to help.

A week later, everyone is having a drink at the Officers Club when an aggravated Hawkeye comes in with a letter from Hastings' parents. Another soldier who got sent home months earlier had already told them about their son's activities in Korea, and they didn't feel right keeping his money, so they returned it to Hawkeye in the hope that he can use the money to help someone in Korea. While Hawkeye has no idea what he'll do with it, Potter and Margaret quickly see an opening to help the Li family, so they give them $500 to travel south to Pusan and get away from the war. Both women are immensely grateful, with Klinger giving Mrs. Li a quick kiss goodbye, earning a coy slap from Mrs. Li in appreciation.

Now, with $8,373 of Hastings' copious stash still remaining, Hawkeye, B.J., Winchester, and Klinger all wrangle over how to spend it. After tossing around the names of various charities, Hawkeye decides to split it up, giving some to everyone, which meets with approval all around. Hawkeye then raises a toast to Eddie's memory:

"Eddie, wherever you are, whether you know it or not, you did good."

Fun FactsEdit

  • This episode also features credits that say "Also Starring Gary Burghoff as Radar," even though Radar went home several episodes ago and does not appear in the episode.
  • Considering the episode's title, "Private Finance", it seems odd (and a little misleading) that the character that this episode revolves around is a Corporal and not a Private.
  • In the syndicated edited version, the detailing of Hastings' crooked ways are edited out, so all you heard was "...then he started hanging around some of the crumbs of the outfit, and next thing you know, he was stealing from everyone blind..", which hardly seemed to justify his comrades' enmity. But the regular, unedited version of the episode gives you the whole story.
  • Accounting for inflation, the $8,873 would be $80,838.72 in 2017. This seems like a ridiculous amount, especially to be carrying around in a money belt in combat.
  • Near the end, when they're sending Oksun Li and her mother off to Pusan, Hawkeye thanks them for using the "Sherman T. Potter Travel Agency", and B.J. chimes in about "the Save the Klinger Foundation." Not entirely clear if this was a blooper or not--It should have been "the Save Klinger Foundation", since Klinger isn't exactly an object.
  • In the final scene, when Hawkeye, Klinger, B.J., and Winchester are discussing who to donate the rest of Hastings's money to, Hawkeye mentions the "USS Hope." This was a "Comfort-class" hospital ship, along with two others, commissioned during World War II for evacuation and transport of patients after primary care had been given. However, these ships were decommissioned shortly after the war and would not have been in service during the Korean conflict.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit

External linksEdit