|“The Trial of Henry Blake”|
| Season 2, Episode # 8 |
Number (#32) in series (256 episodes)
|Guest star(s)||Jamie Farr|
Robert F. Simon
|Original airdate||November 3, 1973|
|IMDB||The Trial of Henry Blake|
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The Trial of Henry Blake was the eighth episode of Season 2 of the TV series M*A*S*H, also the 32nd overall episode of the series. Written by McLean Stevenson and direceted by Don Weis, It originally aired on CBS-TV on November 3, 1973.
Col. Blake is court-martialed for allegedly sending medical supplies to North Koreans. Frank Burns (in temporary command) confines Hawkeye and Trapper to quarters, but both manage to escape and present evidence to exonerate Henry. They convince Frank to drop the charges using the only method they know how - blackmail.
Henry and Radar, dressed up, leave on a trip to HQ, but don't say why. Meanwhile, Frank is walking around with a nasty grin on his face, and when Hawkeye and Trapper mouth off to him, he warns them that he might soon be in charge, so they better knock it off.
At HQ, we see why Henry and Radar are there--Henry is on trial, after charges were filed by Frank and Hot Lips. The trial is led by General Mitchell (Robert F. Simon).
Examples of Henry's supposed lack of leadership are shown, like when he was the announcer for a race involving doctors pushing nurses on gurneys. Or when he allowed Radar to hock Style-Rite wingtip shoes to everyone in camp. Or the time when, under Henry's command, Klinger almost went AWOL, via a hang-glider that he hoped would sail him out of Korea.
Henry doesn't deny these events, but says it doesn't mean the 4077th isn't doing its duty.
Gen. Mitchell is unimpressed, and places Henry under arrest. He tells Henry that he should have Cpl. O'Reilly head back to camp to collect material to defend Henry against the most serious of the charges--providing aid and comfort to the enemy.
Radar makes it back, and tells Hawkeye and Trapper what's happened. They plan to prepare a defense, but Frank has them arrested, and placed in a tent with just their boxer shorts on.
They get Klinger to drug the M.P. guarding them, allowing them to escape and head off to HQ.
In the meantime, Henry is accused of providing supplies to Meg Craddy, a nurse who lives and operates deep inside North Korea, but who doesn't ask people's politics when they need help. Henry, again, doesn't deny the charges.
Gen. Mitchell asks Henry why he shouldn't be found guilty, and Henry simply offers "I was only trying to help."
Hawkeye, Trapper, and Radar arrive, along with Meg Craddy (Hope Summers). Nurse Craddy gives a forceful speech to Gen. Mitchell and the rest, and as an example has brought along a young pregnant woman, who is alive because of Henry Blake's generosity. She says Henry Blake is a good, decent man, who just wants to help, "Which is more than I can say for any of you high-priced bellhops."
Henry then makes a speech of his own, admitting he is guilty, but not of giving aid to the enemy: he tried to do the human thing, and help people in need. He says he didn't deprive the wounded kids of one thing.
Frank and Hot Lips also arrive, and refuse to drop the charges, even after Gen. Mitchell suggests there isn't much of a case. This leads Hawkeye to show Frank "some new evidence", which causes Frank to drop the charges.
They storm out, and Henry asks what this new evidence is. It's a note, which Radar reads aloud, to Mrs. Burns telling her the sad news of her husband, who is she so proud of, that he is frequently out of uniform...and with whom.
The trial is over, Henry is free, and they all return home. Later, Gen. Mitchell comes by to see the 4077th in person, and everyone is there, in formation...wearing Style-Rite wingtip shoes.