M*A*S*H episode
“The General's Practitioner”
SSN05 116general
General Korshak (Edward Binns, left), looking for a private doctor, attempts to enlist the services of a very disinterested Hawkeye in "The General's Practitioner" in Season 5 of M*A*S*H.
Season 5, Episode # 21
Number (#118) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Edward Binns
Leonard Stone
Susie Elene
Larry Wilcox
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: U-807
Writer(s) Burt Prelutsky
Director Alan Rafkin
Original airdate February 15, 1977
IMDb logo IMDB The General's Practitioner
Episode chronology
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"Movie Tonight" (U824)

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"The Abduction of Margaret Houlihan" (U808)
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Season 5 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

The General's Practitioner was the 118th episode of M*A*S*H, the 21st in Season 5 of the show, which originally aired on CBS-TV on February 15, 1977. It was both written by Burt Prelutsky and directed by Alan Rafkin.


General Korshak wants Hawkeye to be his personal practitioner, despite his constant snottiness. And Radar helps take care of a soldier's half-Korean baby after he is shipped back home.

Full episode summaryEdit

In the middle of a session in O.R., a Colonel Bidwell (Leonard Stone) arrives, and demands an audience with Col. Potter.

Potter meets with Bidwell, who tells Potter that he is looking for a private doctor for his commander, Gen. Theodore Korshak, and he wants the best doctor the 4077th has got--which means Hawkeye. Potter tries to talk Bidwell out of the idea, trying to get across just how un-military Hawkeye is. But Bidwell won't listen, and he asks to get a look at Hawkeye at work.

In O.R., Hawkeye almost loses a patient, but he manages to bring the soldier back, almost by sheer force of will. Bidwell gets in the way, and Hawkeye barks at him to get the hell out of the way. Potter and Bidwell walk out to Bidwell's jeep, where Potter reiterates what a bad mix Hawkeye and Gen. Korshak would be. Bidwell says he'll mention that in his report, and drives off.

Later that night, Potter joins Hawkeye and B.J. for drinks in the Swamp, and tells Hawkeye what Col. Bidwell was there for. Meanwhile, we see Col. Bidwell in a jeep with Gen. Korshak, on their way to the 4077th.

Korshak arrives, makes his way to Col. Potter's office, and they have a drink. He then demands to see his new personal physician--now. Hawkeye and Korshak are introduced, and Hawkeye absolutely refuses to answer any of Korshak's questions seriously, which seems to charm the General.

Things get more serious when Korshak formally says he wants Hawkeye as his doctor, and Hawkeye firmly--but gently--refuses. He argues that if he has to be in Korea, why not do the work he's supposed to do--be a real doctor.

Korshak then asks to see Hawkeye in action, so Hawkeye gives the General a physical--and the results are not good. Hawkeye says to Korshak, "between your drinking, smoking, and extra weight, there's a stroke headed your way", and he's not interested in being Korshak's "court jester" while there are wounded kids he can save if he's at the 4077th.

Korshak at first refuses, and says Hawkeye will get the official orders in a few days. He begins to drive off, but Hawkeye demands he stop, and offers this ultimatum: "Now you guys always say the men come first--well do they, or don't they?" This finally makes Korshak change his mind, and he agrees to cancel the whole thing. He drives off, leaving Hawkeye to stay and do his job.

Later, Frank asks Col. Potter to recommend him for the job of Korshak's doctor. Potter agrees, and starts writing down the various bursts of salacious material Hawkeye and B.J. offer up, leading Frank to protest getting what he asked for.

In a sideplot, a corpsman, Corporal Mulligan, is leaving for stateside and asks Radar to take care of his Korean girlfriend Mai Ping. Radar is nervous about it at first, especially when he discovers that Mai Ping has a baby whose father is Mulligan. But Radar gets to like the baby and is disappointed when Mulligan retruns, having changed his mind and wanting to take Mai Ping and baby back to the U.S. with him. Radar almost leaves behind his teddy bear for the baby, until Mai Ping gratefully returns it.

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

  • Radar wears his paratrooper scarf when he goes to see Mai Ping for the first time. He introduces himself as "Walter" and says only his mother calls him that.
  • There is a a nice view of the camp kitchen when Radar comes in to get some food for Mai Ping and her baby.
  • Hawkeye has some doubts about what good he is doing. He says: "Sometimes I get the feeling we're only a bunch of mechanics ... We fix them up, so they can go back and get killed. We're running a body-and-fender shop at a demolition derby." But he doesn't seem to deal with this contradiction. In Season 9 "Letters", he has real difficulties when a schoolboy accuses him of this same thing and he is forced to resolve it.

Guest stars/Recurring castEdit


External linksEdit