| Season 10, Episode # 8 |
Number (#226) in series (256 episodes)
|Guest star(s)||Peter Jurasik|
|Original airdate||December 7, 1981|
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|"Communication Breakdown"||"Snappier Judgement"|
'Snap Judgement was the eighth episode of Season 10 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 226th overall series episode. Written by Paul Perlove, and directed by Hy Averback, it originally aired on December 7, 1981.
When Hawkeye's snappy new Polaroid camera is stolen, Klinger searches the black market and finds it. Unfortunately en route back to camp, Klinger is stopped by MPs who assume he is the camera thief.
Full episode summaryEdit
Hawkeye and B.J. receive a gift from the grateful father of a patient of theirs--a brand new, super expensive Polaroid camera. As much as they appreciate the gift, they're worried its going to get stolen, since at the moment the 4077th is suffering from a crime wave of pilfering.
After a series of failed attempts to get the camera to work, it is, in fact, stolen during a session in OR. This enrages everyone, no one more than Colonel Potter, who nevertheless is confused as to what to do about it. Potter instructs Klinger to fill out a stolen goods report, but after a week or so when there's no news, Hawkeye and B.J. look into it. They are told by HQ that they never got the report Klinger filed--turns out he screwed up and sent them an empty envelope.
Hawkeye and B.J. are furious at Klinger for messing up, and now are convinced they'll never get the camera back, since the crook or crooks had has a week's head start.
Klinger, feeling guilty over his screw up, decides to do some investigating of his own: he goes to Rosie's Bar, and bribes Rosie to find out about any black marketeers in the area. Rosie tells him about "Little Chicago", a roving band of thieves selling stolen merchandise. Klinger secretly drives to "Little Chicago", and finds the camera. He buys it back with his own money, driving back delighted he fixed his mistake. But he's stopped by some MPs, who think Klinger stole it.
Back at the 4077th, the MPs return the camera to Hawkeye and B.J., and tell them the culprit is Klinger. They laugh at this, insisting Klinger is innocent, but the MPs won't listen, and go ahead with their case.
The Army's CID sends an investigator named Capt. Triplett (Peter Jurasik) to the 4077th to see if there's strong enough evidence to put Klinger on trial. Everyone lays on the white wash to protect Klinger, so much so that Jurasik tells Hawkeye, B.J., and Potter over drinks that "No one's tried to insult my intelligence this badly since Basic Training."
But they are relieved when Triplett says that while Klinger is clearly a first class scrounger, there's no evidence he stole the camera. Until Rosie arrives, and tells them to send a message to Klinger about Little Chicago if he's looking to fence stolen merchandise. Triplett, hearing this, re-opens his investigation.
Triplett recommends a court martial and a trial is scheduled. Potter admits that a guilty verdict would probably mean a six-month sentence. Klinger tries to see the upside of being found guilty, thinking it would mean he'd at least be sprung from Korea. But Potter has to break the bad news to him: the six months would be spent as "hard labor" work, and at the end Klinger would receive a dishonorable discharge-meaning no military benefits- and the charge would be included on his civilian record, which would likely prevent any chances of honest work for the rest of his life.
To be continued!