Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Episode 10 - I Hate A Mystery

Season 1, Episode 10: I Hate A Mystery
Original Air Date: 11/26/72
Written by: Hal Dresner
Directed by: Hy Averback

The episode opens with Hawkeye cleaning up in a poker game against Trapper and some others. He's built up a tidy nest egg, which Ho-John keeps track of for him.

During the game, Frank, who is watching disapprovingly, notices that sterling silver frame around a picture of his mother has been stolen. He's sure Hawkeye or Trapper did it, and storms off.

He visits Hot Lips, who sees that her fancy hairbrush has been stolen. A few tents down, Henry sees that the fancy-schmancy fishing reel he got for his girlfriend Leslie (Nurse Scorch, played by Linda Meiklejohn) has also been stolen. Its a crime wave!

The thievery gets so bad Henry is forced to perform a tent-by-tent search. He ends up at The Swamp, where neither Hawkeye or Trapper are taking him very seriously. But things get very serious when Henry finds all the stolen items in Hawkeye's foot locker!

Hawkeye protests his innocence, Henry asks Hawkeye what the joke is, meanwhile Frank and Hot Lips are preparing the forms for a court martial.

Hawkeye insists he's being framed, and tries to figure out who's doing it, all the while being watched by a suspicious Hot Lips in the OR, and Radar out of it. It starts to drive Hawkeye crazy.

Later, he sets a trap for the real thief, by announcing over the PA system that fingerprints have been found on the stolen items, now in Henry's desk. In the middle of the night, he calls a meeting of all the interested parties in the Mess Tent.

Dressed like Sherlock Holmes, Hawkeye goes through all the possible suspects. He pulls a bluff, revealing that the real thief is...Ho-John!

Ho-John fesses up, but admits it was to raise money to bribe border guards to get his mother and sister across the border, to where its safer.

Everyone agrees to let Ho-John keep the stuff, so he can help his relatives. Hawkeye is impressed with how much extra money Ho-John has been able to save...until he realizes the total includes Hawkeye's poker winnings.

Comments: The final third of the show, where Hawkeye enters the Mess Tent dressed in a trenchcoat and hat, is one of the examples (exclusively in the first season) of M*A*S*H being pretty sit-com-y--what is Hawkeye, a prop comic?

Scenes like this feel like either the writers still weren't sure how real the show should be, or they were bones thrown to the networks, to assure them that M*A*S*H was, in fact, just a silly ol' sit-com! Nothing to pay too close attention to, Mr. Paley.

Favorite Line: When Ho-John asks Frank why he got into medicine, Hawkeye mutters "To meet girls", in a way that sounds almost like an ad-lib.


Albert Giesbrecht said...

This might have been the actual pilot episode, if the first episode "Pilot" didn't pan out in testing.

Robert Gross said...

This is the only episode where Hawkeye smokes.

The smokers are (and it's always cigars):

Radar (occasionally)
Col. Potter

The non-smokers are:
Father Mulcahy
B. J. (except one episode)

Females rarely smoked, except one time with Trapper's girlfriend.

Unknown said...

I can't think of this episode without remembering Hawkeye's line. Got to be careful I don't say ill-booten gotty have people look at me funny(er).

A most perplexing riddle, calling for the most ingenious of solutions. Thus I made it publicly known that there were fingerprints to be found on the stolen articles, thereby tempting the criminal to repeat his crime, and retrieve his ill-gotten booty - or his ill-booten gotty. Which he has done! However, in so doing, he has exposed himself.

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