- In the Season 7 Christmas Episode "Dear Sis", when Fr. Mulcahy feels that he's useless to the unit. At the end, Hawkeye and the rest of the 4077 let him know just how important he is to them, and sing "Dona Nobis Pacem." Also in the same episode, the look on Major Winchester's face when he opens his Christmas present to see the tobogganing cap he wore as a child—a little piece of home thoughtfully sent for by Radar, at Mulcahy's suggestion. Then Charles gives Mulcahy money for the orphans, telling him to "Buy them whatever they need." Starting to leave, he turns and hands him another wad of bills, telling him in an emotion-choked voice to "Buy them whatever they don't need."
Mulcahy: Major, are you all right?
Winchester: [putting his hands on Mulcahy's shoulders] You saved me, Father. You lowered a bucket into the well of my despair, and you raised me up to the light of day. I thank you for that.
- Several reactions from Season 9 episode "Letters", most especially the one Charles gets from a girl named Virginia. She writes him a letter about how beautiful Maine looks in fall, sending along a fallen leaf from a birch tree. Charles, who has so far written two letters: one angry and one sarcastic, gets a look on his face of absolute joy and writes a truly thankful letter.
Charles: [dreamily] Autumn in New England...
- "Potter's Retirement" has the colonel planning to hang it up after receiving the news that negative reports about his leadership are coming from inside the 4077th. The party in question turns out to be a corpsman acting as mole for a general who holds a grudge against the camp. After things have been sorted out, we get a scene in Potter's office where Hawkeye, BJ, and Radar let him know how much his leadership is valued and beg him to stay, Hawkeye even addressing him as "Sherman".
- The absolute disgust Potter has in his voice when he confronts the mole shows just how protective he is of his men. He's in full Papa Wolf mode there.
- As part of a conscious effort by the writers to distance the character of Charles Winchester from that of Frank Burns, Winchester was a part of numerous heartwarming moments over the course of the series, if usually in the episodes' B plots.
- The B plot in "Run for the Money". A wounded private is teased by the other men in his unit and his commanding officer for his stutter, and has been called a dummy for so long that he believes it. Major Winchester rips into the men who make fun of him and tells the private that he's seen his IQ score and that he's very intelligent, but needs to believe in himself. He then recites a list of famous people who stuttered and sends the Private off with a copy of Moby-Dick, saying that it's fit for a man of his intelligence. He then retires to his tent and listens to a recorded letter from his sister back home...who stutters.
- The B plot in "Death Takes a Holiday". Winchester earns the contempt of the rest of the camp by not donating to the Christmas charity drive... because, unbeknownst to them, he is instead following a family tradition of donating a large consignment of confectionery from an upmarket Boston supplier to a local orphanage. He is surprised in the act by the orphanage director, who invites him in to meet the orphans; Winchester declines, saying that for it to be a true act of charity, the gift must be given anonymously. He later discovers at the camp Christmas party, to which the orphans are also invited, that the director immediately sold the chocolates on the black market. Charles confronts the director, believing that he pocketed the money, only to learn that the money was used to purchase enough rice and cabbage to feed the orphans for a month. He is immediately humbled by the revelation, and returns to the Swamp. Klinger overhears the conversation and follows Winchester to give him a plate of leftover food from the Christmas party... on condition that the gift must be given anonymously. They exchange a "Merry Christmas", addressing each other not as "Klinger" and "Major" but as "Max" and "Charles". Charles' initial confrontation with the orphanage director also counts. Charles, who's usually pretty aloof, looks about two seconds from ripping the man's arm off and beating him with it — and sounds about three seconds into the act.
- The B plot of "Sons and Bowlers". Hawkeye's father goes in for surgery stateside, but his survival is not guaranteed. Winchester overhears Hawkeye trying to get through to the hospital where his father is being treated on the camp phone, and proceeds to spend the night keeping vigil with him until they can get word that the elder Dr. Pierce has made it through. As they discuss their relationships with their fathers (a discussion in which we learn that although Charles Winchester II wanted only the best for his son, he was nevertheless a typical emotionally-distant patriarch), Winchester calls Pierce fortunate in that while Charles has a father, Hawkeye has a dad.
Charles, you've never told me anything like this before. Charles:
... I've never told you anything
- The B plot of "Morale Victory". Charles operates on a soldier who had been a pianist until he was wounded in the right hand. Charles, badly shaken by the soldier's despair at his aborted career, remembers that the composer Maurice Ravel created music which could be played with only one hand, and urges the former pianist not to give up on music. The scene ends with the music being played, one handed.
Charles: Don't you see? Your hand may be stilled, but your gift cannot be silenced if you refuse to let it be.
David: Gift? You keep talking about this damn gift. I had a gift, and I exchanged it for some mortar fragments, remember?
Charles: Wrong. Because the gift does not lie in your hands. I have hands, David, hands that can make a scalpel sing. More than anything in my life, I wanted to play, but I do not have the gift. I can play the notes, but I cannot make the music. You've performed Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Chopin. Even if you never do so again, you've already known a joy that I will never know as long as I live. Because the true gift...is in your head...and in your heart and in your soul. Now, you can shut it off forever, or you can find new ways to share your gift with the world, through the baton, the classroom, the pen. As to these works...they're for you. Because you and the piano will always be as one.
- The B plot of "Say No More". Margaret is eagerly anticipating a lecture by Dr. Steven Chesler, a hero of hers whom Charles dismisses as a charlatan. However, she develops laryngitis with only days before the lecture, and Charles tells her that she will only regain her voice in time for the lecture if she doesn't speak at all before then - an impossibility for a nurse. She has Charles act as her voice for correspondence with Dr. Chesler as their respective plans change, but she finally decides that since meeting Chesler would delay her recovery by several days, she will have to scrap her plans to meet him before he returns to the United States. The morning after she asks Charles to send Chesler a telegram to this effect, she gets a massive surprise:
[Margaret is rubbing ointment on her throat; there is a knock at her door]
Margaret: [almost inaudible] Coming... coming... [she heads over to the door and opens it, then gasps in shock - it's Dr. Chesler]
Charles: Margaret, I don't believe you've met Dr. Chesler.
Chesler: [extending his hand] This is indeed a pleasure! [Margaret is about to shake his hand, but first wipes off the ointment, then sniffs her hand and grimaces]
Charles: I believe that Major Houlihan is inviting you to come in. [Margaret nods enthusiastically] Well, get acquainted, you two! [Chesler enters Margaret's tent; Charles closes the door behind him]
Chesler: Now, please don't strain your voice!
Margaret: [still reeling from the shock of Chesler's unexpected visit] Why are you here?
Chesler: Under the circumstances, I could hardly refuse your invitation!
Margaret: I... invited you?
Chesler: Well, I realise that Dr. Winchester's voice was on the telephone this morning, but... you were standing there next to him, telling him all those nice things to say.
[Margaret is stunned - she wasn't there at all, and she realises this means Charles arranged this meeting especially for her despite his dislike for Chesler]
Margaret: ... yes! [nods] Yes! That was me! Yes!
Chesler: You know, I don't know whether it's your dedication to your job or all those lovely things you said about me, but... I wanted to meet you before I left.
Margaret: I'm... speechless!
[at the end of the episode, in the mess tent, as Charles gets his lunch, Margaret walks up to him]
Charles: Hello, Margaret, how did it go with you and the quack?
Margaret: [smiling ear to ear] Oh... he... I... we... [shocks Charles by grabbing his face and kissing him on the lips]
- When an infant is left on the Swamp's doorstep, her crying wakes the Swamprats, who are understandably confused and irritated. Charles is the most irritated of the three by far and storms out to find the source of the crying and have a stop put to it. His demeanor softens immediately when he steps out and finds the baby and he shushes and coos at her as he picks her up. Later, he becomes violently enraged at a bureaucrat's blase attitude toward the child's fate.
- There's plenty from the finale:
- Speaking of Trapper, there's his exchange with Hawkeye when they think he's going home, in "Check-Up":
Hawkeye: Thanks, Trap.
Hawkeye: You made it bearable. I was lucky. You were honest, and open, and let me lean on you.
Trapper: [holding back tears] No charge.
- Henry's goodbyes to everyone in "Abyssinia, Henry"... before that last O.R. scene shifts everything into full-on Tear Jerker territory.
- Speaking of Henry, in Season 1's "Showtime" he's depressed due to not being able to see his newborn son. Near the end of the episode, Radar brings in a Korean woman and her infant son, so Henry could hold the baby for a while. Edges into being a Tear Jerker, as well.
- Also from "Abyssinia Henry": As Henry is heading to the chopper, having said his goodbyes, he notices Radar standing there, giving him a salute. He hesitates, then runs over to Radar, tells him he'd better be good, returns the salute, and then hugs him. Considering the fact that he had been trying to avoid getting mushy with Radar (Radar had essentially told Henry that he considered Henry his father, given the fact that his real father had died when Radar was an infant), it shows just how much Radar really meant to Henry.
- The fast, easy friendship that develops between Hawkeye and BJ in "Welcome to Korea."
- In the "Bug Out" episode, the 4077th is forced to relocate in response to rumors of the encroaching Chinese advance. As part of that, they find an abandoned schoolhouse that they believe is perfect for setting up their army hospital... except that it's already occupied by several Chinese women who are using it as a brothel. After some heated back and forth between the madam and Colonel Potter, the ladies take an intense interest in Klinger... 's rack of fall gowns. Klinger, for the good of the unit, forfeits the entire rack of gowns, and 'buys' the schoolhouse for them. As Potter commented, "Corporal Klinger, that's the finest act of bravery I've ever witnessed."
- It's played off for laughter, but the real heartwarming part is that while Klinger expresses skepticism at "doing it for his country," he warms up considerably and finally agrees when Col. Potter asks him to do it for Toledo. Klinger really loves his hometown.
- Anytime the 4077th get a home movie from their families is both this and a Tear Jerker.
Hawkeye: Henry, if you don't give the order to cry, I will.
- The one BJ gets from Peg in "Oh, How We Danced" is particularly heartwarming. First, that Hawkeye would go to the trouble of setting BJ up so he could record how the day might go. Then getting it to Peg in time for her to make the movie and send it back. Then the surprise party. The look of absolute joy and pride on his face when he sees Erin in the movie will have you ready to cry as well. Everyone else in the room cooing over Erin is great too.
- The end of the "Rainbow Bridge" episode, where Radar comes to help Hawkeye and Trapper pack for their well-deserved (and much-delayed) R&R in Tokyo. As he works, he turns his back on them and expresses how impressed he is with the work they do, offhandedly adding, "If you ask me, you guys are like supermen." Turning around, he finds them collapsed in exhaustion into their cots... so he quietly covers them up with blankets, whispers, "Goodnight, supermen," and leaves them to sleep.
- In "Fallen Idol", Hawkeye hands Radar his Purple Heart medal, and then gives him one of the very few genuine salutes the good captain ever did.
- When Radar is sent home, he leaves behind his beloved teddy bear, indicating both that he is now a man and that he will always be with the unit in spirit.
- Which leads to another heartwarming moment in the penultimate episode, when Hawkeye donates the bear to the 4077th time capsule to stand for all those who came to war as boys as went home as men. And moments later, BJ donates a lure that belonged to Henry Blake, standing for all the men who never made it home. It may have been several seasons later, but they never forgot Henry.
- Any scene during Margaret's transition from antagonist to sympathetic character where she tries to make friends. There are moments where she seems less like a formidable, confident major and head nurse and more like the unpopular kid from middle school. One example is when she awkwardly asks the doctors if she can have coffee with them, then gets really excited when they say yes. The end of "The Nurses" also qualifies.
- "Movie Tonight" is an episode full of heartwarming. To start with the entire camp are at each others throats, getting angry over everything. When a movie Potter ordered arrives, he gets the entire camp (minus the nurses, who are going to dinner at I-Corps) to meet in the mess tent for the screening. The projector keeps breaking during the movie, and the camp start getting angry again. To stay calm they all sing "Gee, Mom, I Want to Go Home", during which the nurses decided to stay at the camp instead of going to dinner, watch Radar do impressions of famous people, and play the game no one has been waiting for: the Father Mulcahy sound alike contest! When the movie starts playing again, there's a shoot out scene, during which the camp play along and pretend they've been shot and are lying on the ground. An ambulance driver pulls into the camp with wounded and finds them pretending to be dead, and during surgery everyone is singing a song from the movie.
- With a bit of Mood Whiplash as Frank tries his own verse of the song, which falls completely flat as he does it several minutes late and it's basically an angry threat to Hawkeye and BJ.
- And Real Life Writes the Plot as well. The Mulcahy sound alike contest was based on one the cast did frequently behind the scenes.
- The shoot-out starts with just Hawkeye clowning around, and in a testament to character growth Margaret, Major born-with-a-stick-up-the-ass Margaret Houlihan, is the first to grab an invisible shotgun and join in.
- "Preventive Medicine" is one of the darker episodes of the show, with BJ and Hawkeye having a screaming fight over whether or not to perform a medically unnecessary operation to get a reckless colonel off the line. Hawkeye does it, compromising his morals as a surgeon, and then it turns out to be all for nothing. Then, at the end, as Hawkeye is sitting alone on his cot in despair, his face in his hands, BJ walks over and places a hand on his friend's shoulder. For a few silent seconds, they grip each other hard before getting up and walking away together. The Heterosexual Life-Partners may scream, may crack, may vehemently disagree with each other, but they still love and stand by one another when needed. And it goes deeper still, as the views Hawkeye and BJ held were the ones that Alan Alda and Mike Farrell held. That moment they take before they head out to surgery was a bit of a reconciliation between the actors, not just their characters.
- Anytime Margaret and Hawkeye have a Friendship Moment. For example, when she tells him she thinks she might be pregnant he is genuinely overjoyed for her and later a bit sorry for her when it turns out she's not, Hawkeye is the one who comforts her when she breaks down in "Images," and Margaret's divorce is the final straw that inspires Hawkeye to take on the peace talks in "Give Em Hell, Hawkeye." It's really heartwarming to watch them move from deep dislike mingled with grudging respect in the early episodes to a genuinely warm friendship by the end of the show.
- There is the classic episode, "Point of View" where we see all the action through the eyes of a soldier and Col. Potter confesses that he feels terrible that he forgot to telephone his wife, Mildred, on their anniversary because he was so busy with a rush of wounded. The soldier tells Hawkeye, and the doctor and Radar contact Mildred to explain the situation and she agrees to wait on the line for Sherman, with the instruction that he is to be told that she understands the weight of his duties.
- In the same episode, Private Rich wakes up from surgery and Hawkeye blocks off his tracheotomy tube to see if he has regained the ability to speak. After he's said a few words, the doctors are about to leave and let him rest, but he gestures for Hawkeye to block off the tube again so he can say, "Thank you."
- The B Plot of the episode "Dear Mildred" focuses on Radar's attempts to help an injured horse - and hide the horse from Potter. In the end he decides to give the horse to Potter as an anniversary gift. Not only does this ensure that the horse will stay in camp and Radar will get to take care of it, but it also helps Radar to become more at ease around his new commanding officer. Potter is moved to tears.
(Potter slips on freshly made horse manure in his office)
Burns: That's disgusting!
Potter: [grinning] Son, to me that's a tiptoe through the tulips!
- The 4077th coming together to put on a wedding for a South Korean ping-pong champion, including Col. Potter giving the bride away and Margaret helping to sew (or at least alter) the bride's wedding outfit.
- Father Mulcahy also explains the ceremony to the other members of the 4077th, showing just how much he respects the Korean people and their traditions.
- In "Where There's a Will, There's a War", Hawkeye writes out his last will and testament in the event that he is killed while serving in an aid station under heavy fire. While writing it, he reminisces about his friends and writes out something about each one of them that he loves. The one person he can't seem to find the right words for is BJ, until he has an epiphany and leaves to Erin Hunnicutt a list of all the people her father has operated on during the war.
- In a flashback scene from this episode, Hawkeye notices a copy of Life magazine on Klinger's desk, which happens to contain a photo spread of coastal Maine. Hawkeye is excited to see pictures of his home state, and Klinger dismissively lets Hawkeye keep the mag. After leaving Klinger's office, Hawkeye notices a soldier eating a large salami. The soldier tells Hawkeye that Klinger traded the salami for his Life magazine.
- It's a bit twisted, but in "Rally Round the Flagg, Boys," a GI is disgruntled that Hawkeye took a wounded North Korean officer ahead of his friend. Throughout the episode, the GI is giving Hawkeye trouble, and a few jokes are made at Hawkeye's expense about how he's short-tempered. The GI finally confronts Hawkeye in his tent, who is reluctant to hurt him for a number of reasons. He's got Hawkeye backed into a corner, attacking him with a cane, when an absolutely furious BJ bursts in and grabs the GI by the shirt. BJ is shaking the man and saying he should break his neck when Hawkeye grabs him to get him to cool off. Shows just how protective BJ can get of his friends.
- And the soldier in question's anger was all because he wanted to make sure his buddy would be okay. His rage is very misplaced and he takes it way too far, but it's clear those two have been through a lot.
- In "Dear Comrade", the episode is told from the perspective of a North Korean spy posing as Winchester's houseboy, trying to find out how the unit had such a high success rate. The group is so unorthodox and loose he finds it impossible for his faction to replicate it. He does, however, fabricate that he has to stay a little longer, because he'd grown so friendly with the gang, even Winchester - after the spy tells him off for his snobbery and mild racism, Charles just laughs and shows he's Not So Above It All.
- In a small gesture towards his nemesis, Hawkeye's reaction to Hot Lips bragging about her engagement around a clearly depressed Frank Burns. Hawkeye has no reason to do it, but even he believes that Frank should be cut some slack. Further punctuated at the end of the episode, where he and BJ join Frank in genuine, honest laughter after he finally gets a jab at Houlihan.
- "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler".
Chandler: Bless you, Walter.
- This is not only after Radar had asked him to bless his teddy bear, but also the first time we learn Radar's given name courtesy of him telling it to Captain Chandler.
- When Sidney comes to speak to the man who believes himself to be Christ, he talks with pride about how his son got his first tooth. He and BJ immediately swap pictures. It's a small moment typically cut from TV screenings, but it's touching.
- In one episode, Potter's horse Sophie goes missing. Potter is understandably angry, until he learns that the guy who stole her was an old Korean cavalry officer who just wanted one last ride before dying. Potter gives Sophie to him as a gift, at which the man tears up and bows to Potter in respect. He dies the next morning, but his granddaughter says that it was the happiest he had been for a long time.
- In "O.R.", Hawkeye operates on a wounded Ethiopian soldier. Awhile after the patient wakes up, Klinger brings him to Hawkeye on a stretcher and says the Ethiopian wants to say something to the doctor. He says a few words in his native language while smiling widely and Klinger says he thinks the patient is thanking Hawkeye. As he's about to be taken to Post-Op, he grabs Hawkeye's hand and kisses it. A visibly moved Hawkeye says to Henry, "That's got to be the nicest fee I ever got."
- It's cut from syndication, but a scene between Charles and Colonel Potter is actually rather sweet. Both of them have come down with the mumps, which can result in a loss of fertility in adults. Charles is freaking out over not being able to father a child, and is practically in tears. Potter talks him down.
Charles: The dread thought that Charles Winchester the Third would all be Charles Winchester the last ...
Potter: Look, you've got a mild infection, you're getting plenty of sack time, you've gotten a butt-full of gamma globulin. The odds are you'll wind up in a house filled with little Roman numerals.
- Blake's last words to Radar before he leaves. "You behave yourself or I'm gonna come back here and kick your butt". Doubles as a Tear Jerker when you find out Henry won't be coming back.
- In "U.N., the Night, and the Music," a rather good-looking Swedish doctor arrives, and Margaret almost immediately falls for him. Unfortunately, he's had an injury in the past (nerve damage after his jeep hit a mine) that prevents him from having any sort of sexual relationship with Margaret. Hawkeye agrees to run interference for the man, increasingly frustrating Margaret. Eventually, the doctor comes clean with her and tries to leave gracefully. She immediately stops him and asks if he wouldn't just like to stay and talk for a while. He practically falls over himself agreeing, implying this is the first time anyone's accepted his condition. Then, the next day, Margaret confronts Hawkeye.
Margaret: [angrily] And you! [smiles] Thanks for trying to be a jerk.
- One of the storylines in "Showtime" involves Father Mulcahy worrying about how useful he's currently being. Hawkeye assures him by saying, "Some people say that God heals the wounded while the doctors collect the fee. I've done many surgeries beyond my skill to do."
- The same episode has Trapper trying to save a wounded soldier who only gets worse even after the surgery is successful. The two storylines combine when Father Mulcahy is called in to deliver last rites. He takes the man's hand, makes the sign of the cross, and begins to pray when the soldier opens his eyes. Hawkeye asks, "What was that you were saying about not being useful?" while Mulcahy is in disbelief and Trapper wordlessly realizes they've just witnessed a miracle, especially with how close they'd come to losing his patient.
- In "Nurse Doctor," an outcast nurse who was going to resign her commission and go to medical school has decided to give it up after an unfortunate Hot for Preacher incident with Mulcahy. Her being Margaret's responsibility, it's Margaret who tells her that she's not going to get to get transferred, nor will she be allowed to quit on herself. The next two weeks (before she gets discharged) will not be fun for her.
Nurse Harris: You'll be more than satisfied with my nursing.
Margaret: Your nursing duties will only be part of it. For the next two weeks, your free time will be spent with Captain Pierce and myself in intensive study for your medical aptitude tests.
Margaret: I know how hard it is for a woman to become a doctor, and the Army is no help. But with your skills, you've got a real chance! [smiles faintly] And as long as you're under my command, I'm not going to let you back out.
- Margaret is furious when she realizes her engagement ring is a Replacement Goldfish, after she'd lost her ring and the guys "found" it for her. (It says, "Over hill, over dale, our love will ever (not "never") fail".) She's ready to explode when Max gently tells her that she's being unfair, and they only had the replacement ring made to make her feel better. She later lets Hawkeye know she knows it's a replacement, then tells him she likes the replacement better. (It becomes Harsher in Hindsight when Margaret and Donald's love failed.)
- Season 9's first episode, "The Best of Enemies", sees Hawkeye—on his way to some well-deserved R&R—captured by a North Korean soldier who forces the doctor to work on a fellow soldier who has been wounded. Hawkeye does his best to save the wounded soldier, but the attempt ultimately fails and the soldier dies (to the frustration and anger of both the other soldier and Hawkeye). The living soldier lets Hawkeye go free, but Pierce stays behind for a moment to watch the soldier start digging a grave for his fallen comrade. At which point Hawkeye comes back, shares a glance with the soldier that says more than any words ever could, and helps dig the grave.
- It's worth noting that Hawkeye thought he was about to be shot after the soldier died. However, his genuine effort to save the man had come through, despite the language barrier. His friend had decided not to shoot Hawk, and while we may never know what his reasons were, or if he were even really planning to shoot Hawk, but one has to believe that Hawk's genuine feeling of loss when the patient died didn't have something to do with his fellow soldier showing mercy.
- There's a pointed moment while he's trying to save the man that the North Korean shows him a picture of himself and the wounded man, and Hawkeye shows him a picture he just received of his father and cousin.
- One for, oddly enough, Frank Burns. Hawkeye spent the early part of an episode haranguing Frank about his skills, or lack thereof, as a surgeon. Then one of Hawkeye's patients takes a turn for the worse. Margaret is unusually sympathetic, as she assisted Hawkeye with the surgery. At the end of the episode, when the problem has been found and fixed, Frank, who could very easily lay into Hawkeye about his mistake (and had been earlier), graciously concedes to Hawkeye, "Anybody could have missed that."
- Pretty much any time that the camp interacts with the orphans, or any children at all, really.
- A side-plot in "The Grim Reaper" has a wounded man from Toledo arrive at the camp. After being told that Klinger's also from Toledo, he gives Klinger a matchbook from a pool hall that the two grew up at, which reduces Klinger to tears. At the end of the episode, he's apparently sent Klinger a care-package of food from Paco's Hungarian Hot Dogs.
- Another from Margaret is when she and Hawkeye are sent to help out at a front-line aid station during an attack. How she reassures one patient is one of the first times she showcases her respect for Hawkeye's skill:
Margaret: You'll be okay. He's the best.
- A throwaway joke from "Cowboy" has Father Mulcahy pray in Hebrew for a wounded Jewish soldier. It's played for laughs as Mulcahy obviously isn't Jewish, but there's the implication that he learned enough Hebrew that he could accommodate Jewish soldiers.
- Meta example: William Christopher contracted an almost-fatal case of hepatitis during season 5, preventing him from making several appearances. The producers wanted to nix him from the show but Alan Alda convinced them to keep him, especially as he needed the work to help take care of his autistic son. The episode "Hepatitis" was written to incorporate the illness into a plot thread.