M*A*S*H episode
“Your Retention, Please”
Your retention please
Master Sergeant Joe Vickers tries to persuade Klinger to re-enlist, and almost succeeds.
Season 9, Episode # 7
Number (#205) in series (256 episodes)
Guest star(s) Barry Corbin
Sam Weisman
Jeff Maxwell
Network: CBS-TV
Production code: Z-406
Writer(s) Erik Tarloff
Director Charles S. Dubin
Original airdate January 5, 1981
IMDb logo IMDB Your Retention, Please
Episode chronology
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"A War for All Seasons" (Z‑409) "Tell It to the Marines" (Z‑410)

(broadcast order)

(broadcast order)

"Father's Day" (Z‑405) "Taking the Fifth" (Z‑407)

(production order)

(production order)

Season 9 episodes
List of all M*A*S*H episodes

Your Retention, Please was the 7th episode of Season 9 of the CBS-TV series M*A*S*H, also the 205th overall series episode, Written by Erik Tarloff and directed by Charles S. Dubin, it originally aired on January 5, 1981.


When an pushy retention officer comes to the camp to persuade staff to extend their terms of service, Klinger, distraught at his domestic situation, is persuaded to do so.

Full episode summaryEdit

Klinger gets a letter from his ex-wife Laverne, whom he assumes is writing because she wants him back (after dumping him in Season Six's "Mail Call Three").

But while Laverne admits it was a mistake running off with the guy she dumped Klinger for, she doesn't want Klinger back: she's now in love with Klinger's best friend, Gus Nagy, whom Klinger instructed to keep an eye on Laverne. Klinger is devastated--losing his girl and his best friend in one sentence.

That same day, the local retention officer, Sgt. Vickers (Barry Corbin) arrives to see who he can interest in re-upping for another tour with the Army.

Meanwhile, Winchester is having a tough time dealing with his nurse, who is in this case a man, and has the audacity to offer Winchester advice during a complicated surgical procedure. Winchester is affronted, but when the nurse, named Hutchinson (Sam Weisman), says he was part of the surgical team back home that developed the procedure, everyone else chides Winchester to listen. He does, and the procedure goes off without a hitch.

Col. Potter is also required to talk to the camp's ranking officers about re-enlistment. The discussion does not go well at all--Charles, B.J., and Hawkeye all burst out laughing when they hear Potter suggest the Army as a permanent career.

Sgt. Vickers tries to get his targets to re-up, but it doesn't go well: First he approaches Hutchinson, which provokes a fight--Hutchinson is disgusted with the Army, because, as a male nurse, the Army treats him like a second-class citizen, literally: while making all female nurses automatic Lieutenants, they made Hutchinson a Private.

Vickers tries his spiel on Igor in the O-Club, whoh flatly refuses (saying he has a wife--and a girlfriend--to go home to). Igor points out Klinger at the jukebox, where he's drinking away his sorrows, and Vickers brings him a drink. After schmoozing Klinger about how the Army would never leave him, Klinger falls for it, and asks, "Where do I sign?"

Hawkeye, filling in for Klinger as clerk (as punishment for goofing on Col. Potter, who had to sit everyone down and talk to them about re-upping with the Army), runs into Vickers and sees that he "bagged" Klinger. Hawkeye is aghast at Vickers, who admits that he took advantage of Klinger's drunken vulnerability the night before.

Hawkeye finds Klinger in the O-Club, asleep right there on the bar. He's sure Klinger doesn't remember signing anything, except he does: he remembers re-upping, and he's happy with his decision.

Hawkeye tries to talk Klinger out of it, but it seems it's too late--except for the fact that, until Col. Potter administers the official Army oath to Klinger, he's not re-upped. They go to Col. Potter, who is mad at Hawkeye's blunt criticisms of the Army, but he also wants Klinger to take some time and think about his decision. Hawkeye walks away, but, just seconds later, Klinger heads into Potter's tent to take the oath.

Later, Hawkeye helps Klinger write a letter to Laverne. He starts slow, but then lets his thoughts spill and tells Laverne off, getting it all off his chest. Now feeling better, he realizes he's free--except for the fact he's got six more years in the Army.

Hawkeye, enraged, heads to Potter's tent, yelling at him for re-upping Klinger. Except that...Potter didn't administer the oath. As Potter explains, instead of giving Klinger the proper oath, he instead administered a reworded variant of the U.S Presidential oath, knowing Klinger would change his mind eventually and wanting to buy some time. Hawkeye apologizes, and tells Potter Klinger has changed his mind again. Potter, worried that Klinger's been left alone thinking he's got another Army tour ahead of him, rushes into his office, but Klinger is gone.

Later, they hold a ceremony for Sgt. Hutchinson, who they make an honorary Lieutenant for his last three weeks at the 4077th, in an attempt to correct the Army's mistake (using Margaret's old Lieutenant's bar). During the ceremony, Klinger arrives, naked, riding Sophie like Lady Godiva, in a desperate attempt to show he's unfit for duty. Klinger is confused when Potter promises to have him impeached.

Later during the celebration for newly anointed Lieutenant Hutchinson, Hawkeye, B.J., and Klinger all have a drink together with the latter mulling over the day's events. A song soon plays on the jukebox which happens to be Klinger and Laverne's love song. The corporal very calmly stands up, takes the record from the jukebox and breaks it, and states "Any requests? It's my nickel."

Research notes/Fun factsEdit

Potterisms: "What in the name of George Armstrong Custer do you think you're doing?"

Rizzo is mentioned to be willing to re-enlisted. 8/25 "April Fools", Rizzo explains that he enjoys being in the army because it's the only place that is willing to pay you while being a bum. However, Rizzo mentions wanting to go back home to Louisiana in the series finale.

Anachronism: Klinger and Laverne's love song is "Harbor Lights"--the version they use is from the Sammy Kaye Orchestra, which became popular in the United States in September 1950. The Korean War started in June 1950.

Guest stars/recurring castEdit