M*A*S*H episode
“The Billfold Syndrome”
MASH episode 7x6 - The Billfold Syndrome
When Sgt. Jerry Nielsen, a ambulance driver, loses his memory, it's up to Sidney Freedman, who enlists the help of Hawkeye and BJ, to help recreate the scene where Nielsen lost it -- at the front, in the episode "The Billfold Syndrome" in Season 7.
Season 7, Episode # 6
Number (#153) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Allan Arbus
Kevin Geer
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: T-405
Writer(s) Ken Levine & David Isaacs
Director Alan Alda
Original airdate October 16, 1978
IMDb logo IMDB The Billfold Syndrome
Episode chronology
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"Our Finest Hour" (T‑408, T‑409) "None Like it Hot" (T‑410)

(broadcast order)

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"Commander Pierce" (T‑404) "Lil" (T‑406)

(production order)

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


The Billfold Syndrome, was the sixth episode of Season 7  of the M*A*S*H TV series, also the 153rd overall series episode. The episode, which were written by Ken Levine & David Isaacs, Larry Balmagia along with Ronny Graham and David Lawrence, was directed by Burt Metcalfe. The episode originally aired on CBS-TV on October 16, 1978.


Charles becomes so irate, when he is turned down for a future medical position at home, that he refuses to talk to anyone in the unit, until Hawkeye and B.J. send him a false telegram from home. Meanwhile, a young soldier, Jerry Neilsen, can't remember his own identity, so Sidney Freedman is called for help. 

Detailed summaryEdit

Along with the wounded arriving late at night is a medic, Sergeant Jerry Nielsen (Kevin Geer). Nielsen asks if he can come in to OR and watch the doctors work. Winchester rudely turns him down, but Hawkeye as Chief Surgeon overrules him and lets Nielsen watch.

In the OR, Winchester is even more short-tempered, and everyone else finally demands to know why. He reveals that because he's stuck in Korea for the foreseeable future, he has lost his chance at being Chief of Thoracic Surgery at Boston Hospital. Everyone is sympathetic, but Winchester isn't having any of it. Back at the Swamp, he finally gets so mad he states he will not talk to anyone in the 4077th ever again. Hawkeye and B.J. of course take this as a challenge.

While they try and find ways to get to him to talk, they are faced with a more serious challenge: more wounded arrive, again accompanied by Sgt. Nielsen. Except this time, he seems dazed, and doesn't seem to know who or where he is. He points to his dog tag, asking "Is this me?"

They immediately put in a call to Sidney Freedman, who diagnoses the problem as The Billfold Syndrome--a man looks at his billfold, but can't place himself.

He meets with Nielsen, and decides to put him under hypnosis. B.J and Hawkeye smack books together to recreate the sounds of shelling while Sidney guides Nielsen through the battle recreation, and bit by bit, they learn that Nielsen's younger brother Stevie was killed in battle, before he could make it out of the bunker. They also learn that Nielsen promised his mother to keep Stevie alive. Now knowing the truth, Sidney brings Nielsen out of the hypnotic trance and Nielsen, with his memories intact, collapses onto Sidney's shoulder tearfully.

Later, a fake telegram sent to Winchester (supposedly from Boston Hospital) gets him to talk. When Winchester learns its a practical joke, he gets revenge by collapsing the roof of the Swamp on top of Hawkeye, B.J., and Sidney after dropping off a telegram that simply says, "Gentlemen: Heads up."

Guest starringEdit

External linksEdit

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