Attention. Attention. The following personnel are assigned to the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital:
Capt. Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce
Chief surgeon of the 4077th MASH, he was one of the few people assigned to the unit for the entire run of the show; he lived in what was officially the Bachelor Officer Quarters, but almost always called "The Swamp". Hails from the fictional Crabapple Cove, Maine (Vermont in some early episodes) where his widowed father still lives.
- The Ace: Generally considered the best all-around surgeon of the show. Occasionally Charles in later seasons would get the nod for his specialties, and even B.J. would show him up with a technique he didn't know. In one episode, he even conceded that B.J. be the one to perform a tricky surgery as he had the most experience with it (i.e.: reading about it in a medical journal).
- Achilles in His Tent: "The Late Captain Pierce"
- Actual Pacifist: Hates guns and violence in general. The amount of fights he participates in over eleven seasons can be counted on one hand. He even refused to fire back at North Korean soldiers when he and Col. Potter were pinned down in a ditch. Potter, naturally, calls him out on his bullheadedness in this specific situation, and convinces him to at least just fire into the air to scare them off.Hawkeye: Look, Colonel, I will treat their wounds, heal their wounds, bind their wounds, but I will not inflict their wounds!
- Aggressive Submissive: Part of the comedy in-universe and out, but he flirts with everybody (except Colonel Potter) with a distinct "step on me" vibe.
- The Alcoholic: Hawkeye worries about being this when he notes he has the highest bar tab at Rosie's by several orders — and that doesn't include his moonshine. He settles things by vowing he'll drink when he wants to, and not because he needs to.
- Always a Bigger Fish: B.J. becomes this to Hawkeye, as it becomes apparent that as much of The Trickster Hawkeye thinks he is, B.J. is an even bigger one, albeit in a Beware the Nice Ones way.
- Ambiguously Bi: Flirted with every woman who crossed his path, but did the same with quite a few men, as well. It was passed off as a joke in canon, but he's virtually the only male character to do so and he does it so frequently that it cannot possibly be a throwaway joke. According to Alan Alda, executives told them Hawkeye could only go near women's underwear, giving the impression that this trope was as much as they could get away with.
- Anything That Moves: The man flirted regularly with a priest long before Fleabag did, and even when he's in trouble like facing hanging he makes jokes about people wanting to fuck him.
- Author Avatar: Compared to the movie and books, where their Hawkeye was a reflection of Hornberger: macho, plays football and increasingly conservative, Alan Alda's Hawkeye is skinny, sensitive (when he's not being called out for bad behaviour), theatrical and has no idea of sports.
- Author Filibuster: He's frequently used as a vehicle for these, especially in the later seasons.
- Berserk Button: The war - especially the draft - as a whole, as well as harming children and commanding officers who sacrifice soldiers' lives to win.
- Beware the Nice and Silly Ones: Hawkeye is a nice guy under all the pranks, but harm children and it doesn't matter if you're in the same army; he'll get you.
- Big Brother Mentor: To Radar.
- Big Brother Instinct: ...and he does not take it well if anything happens to Radar ("Fallen Idol") or if someone (Frank) mistreats him.
- Boomerang Bigot: Spent most of George (the one with the gay soldier) taking it personally, and never stops blatantly hitting on everyone, but still happy in season one to use homophobia as a weapon against Frank and say slurs like fairy.
- Break the Cutie: He was already damaged before the series started, but the early seasons had a kick the Hawkeye ep each, with season four onwards really kicking that trope into gear. Mentioned in the show, as the stated reason he turns down the USO girl in season ten is that hes way too broken to ever be wide-eyed again.
- Broken Ace: Had multiple mental breakdowns over the course of the series, and it's generally implied he takes the sufferings of war to heart much more than the other characters.Hawkeye: I'm here to pull bodies out of a sausage grinder, if possible without going crazy. Period.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: As mentioned on the Main Page, it was pretty much impossible to fire surgeons when the army was in such desperate need of them. Hawkeye knew this. And took advantage of it.
- The Casanova: And at one point called out on it by a nurse he hadn't hit on. Because he hadn't hit on her.
- Casual Kink: The main theme of his constant sex jokes is a subby/bratty streak (when hes initiating it, when Inga decides to take charge he runs), like wanting Margaret to kick him in high heels.
- Character Development: He grows increasingly more depressed and neurotic as the show progresses and the war begins to take its toll. On the other hand, he also shows his kinder, more compassionate side more often and treats the women he pursues with more respect. A good example is that his Family of Choice speech in Chief Surgeon Who is fake humble, and by Who Knew he can admit that he hides behind jokes because hes scared of overwhelming real feelings, but genuinely loves his friends like a family.
- Charactization Click Moment: He started off in the pilot as a slightly nicer, more flamboyant version of the movie Hawkeye, but got more traits of his own as the series progressed (No Sense of Personal Space in Requiem For A Lightweight, self righteousness in The Moose, subbiness in Edwina etc), and clicked as Our Boy With The Guilt Complex in Sometimes You Hear The Bullet.
- Character Filibuster: He's occasionally prone to these, particularly when his righteous indignation is roused or when he's in the mood to indulge in a bit of Word Salad Philosophy.
- Character Tics: He has a frequent, and vaguely disgusting, habit of sniffing his food prior to eating it. B.J. even calls him out on it in one episode.
- Chivalrous Pervert: He may be a womanizer but respects the nursing staff professionally, grows to respect and care deeply for Margaret, actually turn down a romance with a girl barely out of her teens in the USO episode (a Pet the Dog moment), and seems to have been humbled by his encounters with Kelly and Inga. He also won't seduce a nurse he thinks is married (although nurses dating or engaged to someone are still fair game), though it turns out she just wears a ring to fend off attention she doesn't want.Hawkeye: You're not married? Move over, lieutenant.
- Chronic Hero Syndrome: He has a minor Heroic BSoD in Blood Brothers where he has to tell a patient they have leukaemia, and because he cant blame it on the war he automatically blames himself for not being able to do anything.
- Claustrophobia: He suffers from it, as revealed in the "C*A*V*E" episode.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: B.J. definitely wasnt the only one weirdly clingy, as Hawkeye is lowkey resentful of B.J.s friend in "Last Laugh", does one of his usual spirals when he thinks B.J. isnt sharing his real name and even when hes extolling the virtues of sluttiness in "Who Knew", admits to being jealous of B.J.s family.
- Crying Wolf:
- Hawkeye's unrepentant reputation for causing trouble and trolling others means he's not always trusted. In "I Hate a Mystery", a series of robberies occur in the 4077, and the stolen items are found in his foot locker. Precisely nobody in the camp believes him when he claims to be innocent. To display what his reputation's like, nobody thinks he's stealing out of greed, but believe he's playing some sort of elaborate practical joke.
- A cut episode had a scene where Potter assumed he only wanted to help a nurse because he wants to sleep with her. A slightly hurt Hawkeye tells him that's below the belt, and Potter replies it's all he pays attention to.
- Deadpan Snarker: A great deal of the time.
- Depraved Bisexual: There were jokes in early seasons about how Trapper should speak for himself when he says they havent groped male staff, and later seasons how he could talk anyone into anything. Mild example, as hes mostly treated as Anything That Moves and an Ethical Slut, but without a Laugh Track he can come off coercive and sexually harassing sometimes.
- Despair Event Horizon: After eleven seasons of trauma compressed into three never-ending years, he finally broke completely when he inadvertently caused a mother to smother her own baby. Thinking B.J. was yet another person to abandon him (when in reality he only had five minutes to get on a chopper) didnt help either.
- Determinator: He will always put caring for his patients over himself and not let anything slow him down be it illness, sleep deprivation, risk of capture, death, his own fears, or an Obstructive Bureaucrat.
- Doesn't Like Guns: Or grenades, mines, bombs, anti-aircraft artillery, ammo dumps, tanks, the Korean War, or war in general. Basically he has nothing but hate for anything made specifically to kill another man. He is not hesitant to take this up with top brass or anyone supporting said war.Hawkeye: (to Frank) I'll carry your books, I'll carry a torch, I'll carry a tune, I'll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash-and-carry, carry me back to Old Virginia, I'll even 'hari-kari' if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun.
- Disease by Any Other Name: He made the MD: manic depressive jokes before Futurama did, makes constant jokes generally about anything hes hurting about, the stick tower is a little casual mania to help me relax, is hypersexual, has a Motor Mouth and psychotic tendencies, note and even Alda seems to believe he was broken pre-series, just could cope better in the early seasons and didnt change much. Seemingly the only reason why they didnt say bipolar in show was because the term didnt exist yet in that time period.
- Drinking on Duty: Frequently.
- In "The Consultant", he calls someone else out on it, who then points out that Hawkeye keeps a still in his tent.
- In "Fallen Idol" he gets called out on it himself by Radar and by Potter. Potter expresses disbelief that a surgeon of Hawkeye's skill and professionalism would do such a thing.
- Ethical Slut: Played straight in earlier seasons, where he flirts with guys, sleeps with the nurses and he doesnt touch married women. Played with in later seasons, as hes still slutty (exchanging prospects of sex for charity in the second to last episode and the innuendo to guys always stays), but its used to mock him more, nurses are far more likely to turn him down and he uses a nurse who he dateds death as an excuse to hate himself for being too casual.
- Even the Guys Want Him: One of the male party goers in "Chief Surgeon Who" grabs his ass (Hawkeye spins around and looks very amused), and it's implied more than once that it's not just the female staff who think he's attractive/charming.
- Fatal Flaw: Pride, like most of the other surgeons. He needs to be good at his job, especially later in the series, if only to justify his being in Korea. A patient developing complications noticeably gets to him.
- Freudian Excuse: Apparently getting drowned by your best friend (who was laughing as he pushed you into the water and acted like it was your fault) and a few years later, not being told that your mom is dying, makes you a Sad Clown with a Guilt Complex and abandonment issues.
- Functional Addict: The only reason why Hawkeyes many breakdowns doesnt get him Klingers sought after section eight is because he can still function and do his job, even as he gets worse throughout the series.
- Guilt Complex: Has a tendency to beat himself up and make the situation worse, like blaming himself for missing Trapper by ten minutes lasting the whole series, or a nurse that he dated getting killed obviously means hes too casual, or sending Radar off to Seoul sets off that whole Humiliation Conga episode in motion. He makes it clear in several later episodes that he hates himself as much as he hates the war, and telling a mother to keep her baby quiet and her killing them makes him cross the Despair Event Horizon. He was even like this as a child, Billy telling him that the attempted drowning was his fault, and Mail Call Three has him blame himself for his dad being alone because he didnt like a woman his dad dated after his mom died.Hawkeye: Im so neurotic, anything you say, youve got a good chance of striking guilt.
- Has a Type: Really Gets Around, but he mostly seems to like (including the not love interests Trapper and B.J.) repressed blondes who want to feel needed and love kids.
- Hates Being Alone: Shown more after Trapper leaves, but admits to being clingy with Carlye, sulks in Stars and Stripes that everyone else is too busy to spend time with him, laps up any attention and when he moves out in Picture This, is desperate for people to come over.
- Hawaiian-Shirted Tourist: Frequently, both when he goes on leave or is just vacationing between OR sessions.
- Heroic BSoD: At least five major breakdowns in eleven seasons, each one worse than the last, culminating in the final episode where he's hospitalized after losing it over a smothered infant. He's prone to smaller ones whenever he loses a patient.
- Heroic Comedic Sociopath: To some extent, in the early seasons. He was never outright evil by any stretch, but he could certainly play very mean tricks on anyone who got in his way, through the truly cruel ones were reserved for people who had earned it in some way.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners:
- Best friends and very close with his fellow army doctor Trapper.
- After Trapper gets to go home, he bonds with his replacement B.J.
- Hospital Hottie: He knows it full well. Quite a few nurses in later seasons find him hot and charming before his personality turns them off, and hes had at least four men give him a smack on the rear.
- Hypocrite: Frequently drinks on duty and performs surgery while hungover, yet complains about another character doing the same thing. He's called out on it.
- Inferiority Superiority Complex: As proud as he is of his skills, Trapper leaving without a note did a number on him. When it seems to have happened again in the finale with B.J., he asks Margaret if it's the war that stinks or him.
- The Insomniac: Cannot sleep in "Dr. Pierce and Mr. Hyde".
- In Touch with His Feminine Side: He can always be relied upon for a good mince or jokes casting himself in the female or submissive role. While a lot of it is to piss off overly military men, he's incapable of fixing things, loves musical theatre and George (the gay soldier) feels it's safe to come out to him after he does a good job of painting a nurse's toenails.
- Ironic Nickname: Hawkeye Does Not Like Guns, but he's nicknamed after a famous fictional sharpshooter from The Last of the Mohicans.
- It's All About Me: If Hawkeye has a major flaw, it's this. He's extremely self-centered and he even hijacks giving a eulogy to tell everyone how he feels about them and how they make him feel. "Commander Pierce" has literally everyone call him out on suddenly being by the book (and everyone else taking on the role of heroic wise-ass), but he's too wrapped up in self-pity and ego to back down until the end.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Has set up embarrassing assault situations to get his way, frequently got called out for his self-righteousness, sanctimony and egotism, even in the later seasons could be a coercive lech at worst and had a rep for sleeping around at best, was sexist in multiple episodes and racist for the times. But he also had serious esteem and abandonment issues, was put through the emotional wringer, was often a confidant for any character (including a gay soldier), a brilliant surgeon who took being able to care for people very seriously, his main beef for the war was just not wanting anyone to die, learned his sexism lessons and he and Margaret went from insulting each other to a genuine friendship with some teasing.
- Kick the Morality Pet: When he gets drunk enough in "Fallen Idol" that Winchester has to finish for him and then goes ballistic on Radar, for which he gets called on it by pretty much everybody.
- Large Ham: Note this is referring to character moments. A good example appears in "Adam's Ribs", where Hawkeye leads, hammily, a revolt in the mess tent over the lack of variety in the chow line, culminating with him doing what can only be described as pole-dancing.
- Legally Dead: The Army mistakenly declares him this in "The Late Captain Pierce".
- Living Emotional Crutch: Thanks Trapper for being able to look after him, had to be with Carlye every hour or else he got ill, will never be able to shake B.J (and doesnt want to), and loves his dad more than he could anyone else.
- Lovable Coward: He sometimes affects this persona, usually for comic effect. It's really a front, though; when the chips are down he's capable of great bravery and heroism, and his aversion to combat is more about fear of hurting or killing others (see Actual Pacifist above).
- Married to the Job: His first serious relationship ended because his girlfriend could tell that, really, he would always think of the patients first and her second, and she couldn't accept that. She reappears in one episode and, after they attempt to pick things up again, spells it out to him that this is why she left in the first place.
- Military Maverick: An extreme version. The only way to make Hawkeye do something military is to point a gun at him or tell him there's a storm on the way. Alda even rebuffed the "overly liberal" accusation by saying Hawkeye was essentially a libertarian who wanted any kind of government to leave him alone.
- Military Moonshiner: A rare officer example, and very much NOT a secret. Upon finding out, Colonel Potter made a suggestion or two on how to improve the product. Both Potter and Blake would occasionally come by to have some.
- Missing Mom: Although Hawkeye's mother is referenced in a couple very early episodes, his father is eventually established as a widower. Similarly, Hawkeye goes from having a sister in season 1 to being an only child.
- Motor Mouth: Occasionally, as when delivering a Character Filibuster. It also tends to crop up whenever he's stressed (or just plain bored), and is pretty clearly a coping mechanism. It's especially severe in "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen", when Hawkeye is confined to a mental ward.
- Mr. Vice Guy: He learned to be a better person by the finale, but hes still an alcoholic, incurably easy, had to figure out how to respect women other than being an Amazon Chaser, mentally unstable (even before Korea), self righteous, self absorbed, and liked to lash out when he was hurting. Alan Alda specifically said Hawkeye wasnt much of a heroic main lead, but at least was well-rounded.
- No Sense of Personal Space: With everyone to flirt, comforting or make them uncomfy (depending on whether he knows theyre homophobic or not), but especially Hawkeye/Trapper and after, Hawkeye/B.J. cant seem to go a scene together without grabbing each other or touching hands or clinging shirts.
- Not So Above It All: As much as he hates the military, he's willing to use his rank and issue orders when he's desperate or in a particular shitty mood. The stress goes to his head in "Commander Pierce", and he's so annoyingly military that Margaret wishes Frank could see him.
- My God, What Have I Done?: His reaction after Radar, who he'd urged to drive to Seoul and find a woman to bed, returns as one of a load of wounded.
- New Old Flame: Carlye, his old girlfriend from surgical residency in Boston, who gets assigned to the 4077th as a nurse in "The More I See You".
- Obfuscating Insanity:
- He tries to get Frank to approve him for R&R by employing this in "Bananas, Crackers and Nuts". It's brought up in the episode that he's genuinely not well, which he admits, but is exaggerating to get what he wants.
- There's also a trend in the first half of the series where he's showy and accessibly eccentric to hide the fact that he's not doing great, ending at "Hawk's Nightmare" when he worries at Sidney that people finally know he's as crazy as he thinks he is.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: His full name is Benjamin Franklin Pierce, but he is always referred to as Hawkeye, a nickname given to him by his father (whose favorite book was The Last of the Mohicans).
- OOC Is Serious Business:
- If he ever salutes you, you have earned it.
- Sometimes hes too stressed or tired (or in the case of Where Theres A Will, tired and assuming hes nothing compared to Peg and Erin) to flirt back with someone else, and joking about being The Tease aside, seems to genuinely think thats the only thing people want from him.
- Precision F-Strike: In "The Interview". While the offending word is naturally bleeped out, it can clearly be seen on Alda's lips as he speaks."I may care about things more than I ever have before, because there's so much more to care about here. On the other hand, I really don't give a shit what happens, 'cause it just doesn't matter anymore."
- Not to mention his calling Lt. Park a "son of a bitch" as he's taking his prisoner away for presumed Jack Bauer-style interrogation in "Guerrilla My Dreams". This was actually the first (un-bleeped) use of the b-word on U.S. network television.
- Not exactly clear which curse word he was going to use, but in "Welcome to Korea" upon being confronted with a Korean man who was using his daughters to check for mines in a field, him asking Radar what the Korean translation of a particular word was blotted out by the explosion of a mine.
- Prematurely Grey-Haired: While Alan Alda aged 11 years during the show, from the character's perspective, he grew grey hair in just two years. Considering the setting, it's not surprising.
- Pungeon Master: Cracking puns and witticisms is basically what he does, to the point that one late-series episode is his getting into a bet with B.J. to refrain from doing so for 24 hours, something he finds almost physically painful.
- Really Gets Around: He flirts with everyone like breathing. Not really talked about in earlier seasons, but in the later ones there's a few remarks on how easy he is and Margaret gets a standing ovation for telling him off assuming everyone wants him.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: Red to B.J.'s Blue. Conversely, Trapper was usually pictured as more impulsive and emotion-driven than Hawkeye.
- Refuge in Audacity: Most of his pranks. He even mentions in the episode "The Interview" that he loves doing something crazy just to see the looks in people's eyes when their jaws drop in disbelief.
- Rightly Self-Righteous: He's right about War Is Hell, but even B.J. gets sick of him when his sanctimony is worse ten times over because he's not drinking.
- Sad Clown: He explicitly states in canon that he uses humor to deal with the horrors of war.Hawkeye: Joking about it is the only way of opening my mouth without screaming.
- Sanity Slippage: The finale has him under observation due to losing it after seeing one death too many, with his recovery process taking time and him having made up some memories to cope with the events.
- Sarcasm Failure: Is generally ironic and caustic about most things, but when he taps into his compassionate side (for a friend or a patient) he instantly becomes incredibly serious.
- Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: One of the prime examples of this trope.
- Secular Hero: In one episode Father Mulcahy fondly refers to him as "that crazy agnostic".
- Sensei for Scoundrels: Is this for Radar in at least one episode, and for more than one guest star in others.
- Shell-Shocked Veteran: Shows a little of this from time to time. A lot of it in the episode where heavy fighting and many casualties results in double and triple shifts and severe sleep deprivation for the entire company.
- Signature Laugh: His hyena-like cackle is always easy to pick out.
- Sleeps with Everyone but You: He flirts with just about every nurse in the camp, but he completely ignores resident Nurse Kellye due to her size. In the last season premiere "Hey, Look Me Over", she calls him out on this and accuses him of avoiding her on purpose. Later, after secretly watching her, he sees her in a new light, but by then it's too late because she's moved on.
- Sleepwalking: He suffers from this (as well as nightmares) in "Hawk's Nightmare".
- Stepford Snarker: A classic example, but often crossing into Snark Knight territory as well.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: Tall, handsome, dark-haired and incredibly snarky.
- The Tease: He loves to rub his exploits (whether its exploiting B.J.s Trapper jealousy, his own ~degeneracy~ to Frank or Flagg or nearly any visiting officer, or just having fun with the nurses) in everyones faces. It sets him up for a few Break the Haughty episodes, and its also a coping method, but its also just how he has fun.
- Temporary Blindness: In "Out of Sight, Out of Mind".
- Trauma Conga Line: According to Alan Alda, Hawkeye didn't change much over the series, just the constant trauma wore his defences down until he couldn't use any of them anymore.
- Trauma-Induced Amnesia: "Bless You Hawkeye" and "Goodbye Farewell and Amen" both have him make up memories because the truth was too painful.
- The Trickster: Especially in the early seasons, Hawkeye would often pull complicated tricks (which would often grow more and more complex as the episode went on) to get something out of the Army, his friends, his enemies, or anyone else he happened to come across. Usually he used these for the greater good, trying to make life bearable for those affected by the war, but of course sometimes he'd just do it for entertainment. Later in the series this aspect of Hawkeye somewhat faded: he'd still sometimes play pranks on other characters (and they would play ones on him, as well), but these were usually for fun; the role Hawkeye's schemes played in solving major plot elements was greatly reduced.
- Unperson: Invoked by the officer in "The Late Captain Pearce". Hawkeye is not amused.Officer: Well, you are, Doctor, I am afraid what George Orwell described in 1984 as an "unperson".
Hawkeye: An "unperson"? Now I'm an "unperson"? Do you know that right now my poor father, not realizing I'm "undead," is at this minute mourning his "un-son"?
- Yank the Dog's Chain: Gets this in the endings of "Bananas, Crackers and Nuts" and "Adam's Ribs" when incoming wounded ruining his (and Trapper)'s R&R plans and his finally getting his hands on the titular ribs, respectively.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: He's been known to employ a Yiddish phrase now and again, though is at a loss for the term for "bedbug" note when doing a crossword puzzle.
- You Are in Command Now: Comedic examples in "Carry On, Hawkeye" and "Old Soldiers"; less so in "Commander Pierce".
- You Called Me "X"; It Must Be Serious: Charles called him "Hawkeye" once in the series, to break him out of a Heroic BSoD.
Capt. John Francis Xavier "Trapper John" McIntyre
Another surgeon, and the first of Hawkeye's sidekicks in the Swamp. Originally supposed to be equal to Hawkeye, he ended up as more of a sidekick, much to the dismay of the actor. This, combined with issues with Rogers' contract, resulted in Trapper being Put on a Bus (back stateside) after the third season. He was not made an unperson, though—jealousy of him worked into two later B.J. stories. The nickname, as related in the original novel and film, is from an incident in his past, when a woman he was having sex with claimed he had "trapped" her.
- The Casanova: Didn't let his status as a married man stop him from chasing nurses as avidly as Hawkeye.
- Character Development: He actually did get some, despite his relatively short time on the series. He starts out simple as The Lancer to Hawkeye before showing some shades of his War Is Hell philosophy when he almost kills a North Korean POW as well as getting drunk and punching out Hawkeye when he attempted to get back home to see his family. Some of these developments would later be mirrored by B.J.
- Cool Shades: He briefly wears these while hungover in a couple of episodes.
- Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Telling Frank hes the only one who can handle Hawkeye in Bananas Crackers and Nuts is originally part of the act, but as Hawkeye slips some more it turns out to be the truth, even when Trappers frustrated with him too.
- Deadpan Snarker: He's arguably even more of one than Hawkeye, with much of his day-to-day dialogue being delivered in this manner.
- Even the Guys Want Him: It was jokingly implied in an early episode that Hawkeye had seen guys taking peeks at him during calisthenics. Trapper didn't take it too well.Trapper: Which guys are sneaking peeks at me?Hawkeye: I'd rather not say, some of them were married.
- Fatal Flaw: He never says how he feels about Hawkeye (being genuinely protective when he cant hear, never letting him see him worried post-reassurances, wanting to stay in the camp) to his face, and only giving him a kiss with no note after not being able to reach him for seventy two hours, ruins their friendship and makes Hawkeye think he wasnt worth anything to Trapper.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Hawkeye, albeit sometimes verging on overt Ho Yay.
- Hot-Blooded: Sounds genuinely threatening about making Frank a hood ornament when he needs a jeep and Frank won't let him, and was about to kill a North Korean POW for accidentally killing one of his patients.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Gets annoyed at other men apparently checking him out in callisthenics, but when everybodys noticed naked Hawkeye in Dear Dad Again, sneaks a leering peek himself in the direction of Hawkeyes crotch.
- The Lancer: Was both this and a Foil to Hawkeye.
- Mr. Fanservice: Regularly commented on to be handsome and built, and shirtless a lot of the time. When he left, that role went to B.J./Mike Farrell.Margaret [drunk and talking about watching him]: Especially when you play football in your bathing trunks. And now, you're leaving. And I'm stuck with needle-nose.Hawkeye: [when he and Trapper are in surgery] Sit down. It lets you use your best part.
- The Not-Love Interest: Best summed up in the second season episode The Incubator, when theyre disrupting General Mitchells press conference.
- General: Are you two together?Hawkeye: [smirking] In all kinds of weather.
- Parental Substitute: Hes not good at the feelings thing, and they cant seem to actually talk about whats going on, so his way of looking after Hawkeye when he gets manic or anxious is act like Hawkeye is an overgrown child and be protective while also keeping an eye on him. Hes also uncle Trapper to Radar while Hawk is aunt Hawkeye.
- Puppy-Dog Eyes: A bit of fake coughing and sneezing gets a previously gloating Hawkeye to give up his longjohns in about five minutes.
- Put on a Bus: He receives his discharge and returns to the States immediately prior to the start of Season 4.
- Put on a Bus to Hell: His leaving Hawkeye with no note breaks Hawkeye just a little more, has effects that last until the finale, and B.J. definitely has more than one Green-Eyed Monster moment over him.
- Stepford Snarker: Hes snarky and also very good at repression, his advice to an insomniac Hawkeye is to sleep and check out when it gets unbearable. And when the mother shows up for Kim in the next episode, hes right back to trying to cover up being heartbroken by making cracks about Kim not fitting in at home anyway.
- Tough Love: Doesnt quite have the patience or comforting language for Hawkeyes breakdowns (insomnia-induced or otherwise), but gives him someone to lean on anyway. Until he doesnt.
- Tranquil Fury: Gets a moment of this in "Radar's Report", when he appears to consider murdering a wounded North Korean POW (who'd inadvertently caused the death of one of Trapper's patients while trying to escape from the O.R.) by pulling his IV. Only Hawkeye walking in on him and reminding him that "that's not what we're about" prevents him from following through on it.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Hes better with the physical love language than words, so he leaves Radar to give Hawkeye a kiss goodbye. He probably didnt think he would be contributing to Hawkeyes Sanity Slippage/feeling like he meant nothing to Trapper, and making B.J. fear he was a Replacement Goldfish in comparison.
- Yank the Dog's Chain: "Check-Up" has him believing he's going to be sent home due to a stomach ulcer, and even getting a big going-away party from the camp...only to learn that this isn't the case.
- In "Kim" he comes to love (and makes plans to adopt) the titular Korean boy, who's presumed to be an orphan. Then the kid's mother turns up.
Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake
The Mildly Military commanding officer of the 4077th for the show's first three seasons. Almost always seen with a fishing hat (with lures that made any salute attempt risk a Purple Heart), he was from Bloomington, Illinois. He tried his best to keep the camp running, although between Hawkeye, Trapper, Burns, Houlihan, and Radar... well, OK, Radar's goal was to keep the camp running, too.
- The Alleged Boss: Generally a Type 1, with some Type 4 mixed in. Sometimes has to be reminded that he's actually Pierce and McIntyre's commanding officer.
- Averted in the O.R. scenes, where he is very much in charge. A notable instance comes in "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet", when he orders Hawkeye to quit operating on his friend (who's already slipped away) and go help Trapper.
- Also averted regarding Klinger's attempts to be classified as mentally unstable; no matter what Klinger tried, Henry would always refuse to discharge him.
- Averted in the O.R. scenes, where he is very much in charge. A notable instance comes in "Sometimes You Hear the Bullet", when he orders Hawkeye to quit operating on his friend (who's already slipped away) and go help Trapper.
- Ambiguously Bi: Flirts right back with Hawkeye when he's in a decent mood, and has some interesting banter with Klinger.
- Amusing Injuries: In several episodes. Among them is him saluting and accidentally skewering himself on his hat's collection of assorted fishhooks, which actually looks rather painful. The most notable situation is when he kept getting injured while somebody tried to kill him and all sorts of calamities followed him in his wake in near-misses with death (you won't find that funny after the finale of Season 3), culminating in the outhouse exploding. Out walks Henry with the toilet seat adorned around his neck.Henry: ........BOOM.
- Ash Face: His decision to thump the Swamp's fireplace chimney in search of contraband got him pelted and blanketed with soot, causing Hawkeye and Trapper to collapse into a fit of uncontrollable, hysterical laughter.
- Cliché Storm: In-universe; Henry was prone to these.Henry: All right, people, I'm gonna give it to you straight. Starting right here and now, we're all going to have to put our shoulders to the wheel, our noses to the grindstone. We've got to hunker down and pull together, all for one and one for all.
- Colonel Badass: Without a doubt, he is NOT one of these, and acknowledges as much himself. Hawkeye once mused privately that he could be arrested for impersonating an officer.Hawkeye: It's a bit like being on a sinking liner, running to the bridge, and finding out the captain is Daffy Duck.
- Deadpan Snarker: He has a very dry and somewhat sarcastic sense of humor that reveals itself during the times when he's not being an incompetent boob.
- Drinking on Duty: He's been known to imbibe when alone in his office.
- Father to His Men: Or more specifically to Radar, who actually regresses slightly after Henry is gone. He also had this with Hawkeye when Hawkeye's best friend from Crabapple Cove died in the O.R. and Hawkeye couldn't save him.Hawkeye: *weeping* I haven't cried once since I came to this crummy place. Why am I crying for him? Why not any of these other kids?Henry: If I had the answer to that, I'd be at the Mayo Clinic. Does this look like the Mayo Clinic to you? All I know is what they taught me in command school. There are certain rules about a war. Rule number one is young men die. And rule number two is doctors can't change rule number one.
- First-Name Basis: He's routinely addressed in this manner by Hawkeye and Trapper, though for the most part he doesn't seem to mind.
- Genius Ditz: Is a competent doctor, but a chronically indecisive commanding officer.
- Happily Married: In spite of his infidelities, he seems to love and miss his wife.
- Home Guard: Army Reservist
- Mildly Military: Is usually out of uniform, tends to be lax about discipline, and tolerates an awful lot of guff from his two captains.
- Modern Major General: He's an excellent doctor, but what he knows about being a military officer would probably fit in the palm of his hand. With room to spare.
- Nice Hat: Until he saluted.
- Pointy-Haired Boss: A rare benevolent example. He means well, but he is completely out of his depth in trying to run a MASH unit, and everybody knows it.
- Put on a Bus: At the end of Season 3, he gets his discharge orders and heads off to fly home to the States.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: For a certain value of reasonable. Occasionally he would simply ignore Hawkeye and Trapper's requests because Majors Burns and Houlihan were giving him so much trouble. Other times he'd go to bat for them, even when unexpected. It caught Hawkeye off guard once.Hawkeye: [upon hearing Blake stood up to Burns and Houlihan] How dare you do the right thing?
- Retirony: Accumulates enough points to be discharged, but dies on the trip home when his plane is shot down.
- Ruptured Appendix: He suffers one of these in "The Long John Flap".
- The Talk: His periodic sex lectures kind of resemble this, although he does such a bad job that his STD lecture ends with Radar asking him to "give us a talk on VD".
- Team Dad: He's a pretty inept administrative figure, but the whole camp loves him for his paternalistic "one of the guys" nature, especially since they know they could have ended up with someone who'd be more militaristic and far worse to bear.
- Like Frank Burns, for example. (Who actually does become their commanding officer for an unspecified period of time between Henry's death and Potter's arrival.)
- That Came Out Wrong: Is apparently incapable of opening his mouth to an authority figure without either revealing too much information or dropping an Accidental Innuendo.
- Would Hit a Girl: Threatens to punch Houlihan right in the mouth in "Local Indigenous Personnel" when she, serving as a mouthpiece for Frank, insults his style of command. This shocks Houlihan and Burns enough to get them to back off.
Maj. Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan (at one point also Penobscott)
A no-nonsense, by-the-book soldier, and head nurse. Another of the few people who saw the whole show through at the 4077th.note . The first seasons had her in an illicit relationship with Frank Burns; after meeting Donald Penobscott, she breaks off with him. Later she breaks off with Donald, too, and spends the rest of the show single.
- All Women Are Prudes: Invoked, but Averted. Margaret is publicly a prim, professional figure, but she's very passionate in private and, in the early series, it wouldn't be inaccurate to call her a slut with standards.
- Alliterative Name: Her early nickname ("Hot Lips" Houlihan) sort of achieves this effect.
- Ambiguously Gay: Has mentioned more than once "deciding" to fall in love with men, and having intense friendships with Lorraine and Helen (which also involved a lot of hair touching).
- The Baroness: Rare heroic example. Winchester early on calls her part seductress, part Attila The Hun, and shes definitely dominant in bed, even having a favourite whip. In Carry On Hawkeye she finds Hawkeye acting like her 50s housewife while she runs the camp Actually Pretty Funny.
- Battleaxe Nurse: Averted considering that even in her most hardassed period to coworkers in the early years; she is unquestionably professional and caring to the patients.
- Birthday Episode: "The Birthday Girls" has her planning a weekend birthday trip away from camp, only to get stranded in the countryside with Klinger after the jeep he's driving her to Seoul in breaks down.
- Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: At least in the beginning.
- Brainless Beauty: Subverted. In earlier seasons she tended to get rather silly while alone with Frank, but she was always responsible, took her job very seriously, and was presented as intelligent and competent, even when she was treated on the show as a bit of a babe. Both the audience and her former antagonists grew to respect her over the course of the show.
- Broken Bird: Talks about it in Temporary Duty (though she gets better as she defrosts), she used to be a lot more carefree in college and nursing school, getting up to hijinks with Lorraine and Helen and having a wide circle of friends. But then came a war and she had to toughen up, not knowing how else to be.
- Casual Kink: Hinted at in some of her interactions with Frank, and she is generally the dominant figure. A whip is mentioned in one or two episodes, and is even a present from her fiancee Penobscott early in their relationship. She also happily tugs at Hawkeyes trousers to get him to striptease faster when hes on the table in The Joker Is Wild, and when B.J. fake-angrily pushes her down in Eye For A Tooth, says she loved it and has a gloating face in Hawkeyes (whos told her multiple times she can kick him or tie him down in her tent) direction.
- Catchphrase: In the early seasons, she was frequently heard emitting a plaintive wail of "Oh, Frank!"
- Character Development: Moved from being a one-joke, unlikable character to a nuanced, much more sympathetic one.
- Characterization Marches On: In the second episode shes Never My Fault over messing up a supply order. This wouldnt last long, as even before she softens up she takes great pride in doing her nursing job well and would be horrified if she screwed up.
- Covert Pervert: During the early seasons, part of the comedy of Margaret's character is her attempts to hide her extremely sexual nature and antics, only to fool absolutely nobody.
- Cruel to Be Kind: She was particularly exacting and harsh to a nurse who was studying to be a doctor, because there were so few female doctors in the Army and damn it, Margaret wasn't going to let her fail.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Goes from a real hardass to a much warmer and more human figure over the series.
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Hot Lips", although she seemed to accept it in later seasons.
- Fear of Thunder: In the "C*A*V*E" episode she helps Hawkeye deal with his claustrophobia by sharing (and confronting) her own lifelong fear of loud noises.
- Foil: To Hawkeye, which forms the basis for their friendship in later seasons. Both determinators in their jobs, both ethical sluts, both have a tendency to repress and they even have a conversation in "Stars And Stripes" about how hard it is to find people who'll love them.
- Freudian Excuse: Her father showing up in Fathers Day explains a lot about her need to be Army regulation, her perfectionism and even her fear of loud noises.
- Friend to All Children: Even during her more meaner years, Margaret always had a soft spot for children regardless of nationalities.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar:
Margaret: Frank, my lips are hot! Kiss my hot lips!
- Remember, the hot lips aren't the ones on her face.
- Jokes about her ass (a part of her that seemed most noticeable by the males in the cast) seemed incredibly common in the series.
- Gung Holier Than Thou: Margaret is very proud of the US Army and her diligence in trying to follow all the rules and regulations, and looks down on the draftees for their less than stellar devotion to what they consider a bunch of silly nonsense. This trait is eased back as part of her "softening up" progress during the series.
- Happily Married: Sadly averted with her marriage to Donald Penobscott. It fell apart due to his mistreatment of her and the distance between their postings, but she kept trying to make it work until she found out he was cheating on her.
- Hospital Hottie: A lot of the male characters think she's sexy.
- Hot-Blooded: Especially in later seasons, far more likely to lose her temper than any of the men.
- Hypocrite: Not as bad as Frank, but still can be quite hypocritical. Even after her character development.
- At one point, she got angry at Donald Penobscott for cheating on her, seemingly forgetting that she unrepentantly helped Frank cheat on his wife before he came to the picture. In addition, she would remark on how degenerate and perverted Hawkeye and Trapper are for womanizing with the nurses when she gleefully sleeps with any male high ranking officer who visits.
- She often claims that her nurses have no respect for her when she's unfairly harsh to them on multiple occasions (especially when one of their supposed infractions is correcting Frank at the operating table).
- Irony: She's quite casual about the fact she's sleeping with a married man for the first four seasons of the show, and often gets angry or upset when she's forced to acknowledge that Frank's never going to divorce his wife for her. She finally dumps Frank to marry Donald, only to learn that he's cheating on her, a fact which contributes to her eventually divorcing him.
- Jaded Washout: The source of her frustrations in season two, as she thinks shes Surrounded by Idiots (sexist idiots at that), is finally sick of Frank and feels like shes going nowhere. Luckily it gets better for her.
- Lady Macbeth: She sort of acts like this in the early seasons, pushing Frank and/or teaming with him to go over Henry's head, and on a couple of occasions scheming with him to try and get Henry removed from his command, presumably replaced by Frank.
- Married to the Job: Ironically she becomes more relaxed once shes more devoted to her job (not that she ever wasnt) and realizes that men in general were a distraction from her real goals: being a great nurse and making her way in the army.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: She has her own femininity and knows how to use it, but trying to be pink and girly in Stars and Stripes fails and shes a Military Brat who wanted to shave her head as a child. Meanwhile Hawkeye complains that he cant charm machinery, is useless when jeeps break down and loves his musicals.
- Military Brat: Her father is a legendary career Army soldier named "Howitzer" Al Houlihan. She spent her childhood moving around."When I was a little girl ... I thought a civilian was just someone who was waiting to get his uniform back from the cleaners!"
- Moral Myopia: The situation detailed in Irony above; when she finds out about her husband's cheating, the term "Hell hath no fury" might be the best way to describe her reaction. This after she had constantly gotten angry at Frank for mentioning his wife during their own affair.
- The Neidermeyer: Albeit to a lesser degree than Frank, but still. Before growing into a more fair authority figure in the later seasons, she was a bossy, brown-nosing shrew of a woman who often abused her power (especially around her nurses) while complaining about how those under her don't respect her. She also wasn't above sleeping around with high ranking officials to get what she wanted.
- No Accounting for Taste: Her relationships with Frank and Donald. The former is a sniveling weasel of a man who she knows for a fact is cheating on his wife to be with her. The latter is a lying, miserly, manipulative jerk who is secretly cheating on her all the time. Scully is somewhat better, but she still dumps him because he doesn't respect her enough. Even Hawkeye, when she tries to love him (because he was nice to her and they bonded over being abandoned) in Comrade In Arms they quickly want to strangle each other, and decide theyre better as friends.
- Not So Above It All: She occasionally got in on the jokes the rest of the cast played, and at one point started a pun-off with Hawkeye with "the sulfa's in the living room, between the end tables."Hawkeye: [stunned] Margaret. You made a joke!Margaret: I told you I was tired!
- OOC Is Serious Business: She breaks army regulations and lies to Colonel Potter to protect Helens alcoholism, even if she is still pissed off that she has to do this.
- Patriotic Fervour: Even when she's calmed down and became nicer, she was still biased towards America being great.
- Pet the Dog: Had several of these has she started becoming nicer, especially in instances where she learned to be kinder to her nurses. As early as the second season, we saw her maternal instincts coaxed out by the Korean orphan Kim and her budding friendships with Hawkeye and Klinger in "Aid Station."
- Had a literal one in one episode where she secretly adopted one of the local strays, feeding it scraps of food from the mess hall when no one was looking. Reveals a much more human side to her when she breaks down in tears at the news that the dog was run over by a truck and killed. This leads to another when she befriends a nurse she had berated earlier for being too emotional with the patients. (Ironically, the nurse in question didn't even bat an eye about the dog, while Margaret barely made it to her tent before she collapsed in tears).
- Pom-Pom Girl: Takes on the role of cheerleader for her Battalion during the film's Big Game, even though she knows next to nothing about football.
- Really Gets Around: In the early seasons, part of the comedy is the fact that Margaret is blatantly implied to have slept with, or be sleeping with, virtually every Major or higher ranked military official who catches her eye. To say nothing of the ongoing adulterous affair with Frank Burns. This aspect gets toned down as she becomes more human.
- Sanity Strengthening: She still has her issues, but she started out a hysterical stepford Broken Bird and ends up a Team Mom with friends, who doesnt need a relationship and is less under her fathers control.
- Sergeant Rock: What she later becomes after her Character Development.
- She's Got Legs: As seen on the rare occasions when she wears a skirt, or shorts, or a short nightgown, or runs out of the shower wearing only a short towel (and, curiously, pantyhose).
- Slap-Slap-Kiss: Does this with Frank in "Dear Dad...Three".
- Her liaison with Hawkeye in "Comrades in Arms" could be seen as a more figurative version.
- Sleeping Their Way to the Top: More than once other staff members make remarks suggesting that Margaret has slept around to help her career. And while it's never shown (or confirmed by "Hot Lips"), it is made clear she has had sexual relations with high ranking officers. However, even in her Hot Lips days it was suggested she only slept with high ranking officers because that's just the kind of men she likes, and that she hasn't used it to her advantage. One might remember who her father is. That said, her relationship with particular generals certainly made it easier to make things difficult for Henry.
- The Smurfette Principle: There's quite a few nurses, but she's the sole female character in the core cast.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Specifically noted by Hawkeye in one episode, where he describes Margaret to his father like this: "The major is a paradox. A woman of considerable passion, she is also a stickler for military correctness. I wouldn't mind making a grab for her myself, but I don't know how to do that and salute her at the same time."
- Stepford Smiler: Much tougher and gritter than the usual example, but definitely one. Even in an early episode we see her smiling over her younger sister getting married, though it's clear that Margaret is bothered that she, herself, is not even engaged.
- Sweater Girl: Especially in the early seasons.
- Team Mom: To her nurses, in a way. She's very hard on them but she's also quite protective of them. Plus shes always kind to kids, and in the last few seasons takes on a mother hen role when anyone else (especially Potter) is struggling.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: To Hawkeye and B.J., with some underlying Belligerent Sexual Tension with the former. She never stops snarking at them, but eventually warms up enough to play practical jokes on them and even tickle-attacks Hawkeye in one episode.
- Speaking of sexual tension, there's a fair amount of this between her and Trapper in the early seasons. In "Hot Lips and Empty Arms", (while she's drunk as a skunk,) she wraps her arms around Trapper and tells him her true feelings while they're both in the shower.
- The same thing happens in "Check-Up", when everyone thinks Trapper is going home and he's given a farewell party, she makes it very clear that she's always found him attractive.
- Wartime Wedding: To Donald Penobscott, at the end of Season 5. It doesn't last.
- Well Done, Daughter Girl:
- Shares a moment like this with her father at the end of the episode "Father's Day." Col. Potter gives her this a couple times, as well.
- She also always goes overboard in trying to be good for visiting female officers, even giving Lil flowers and calling her attractive.
- What Does She See in Him?: Margaret's passionate affection for Frank elicits a lot of puzzlement, In-Universe and out. It's implied it's because he is both as passionately supportive of the military and its regulations as she is (in theory, at least) and a relatively high-ranking military officer (rank being a definite turn-on for her). Later series episodes add the implication she also found Frank's tormented side and passionate displays of affection endearing, if not enough to make up for his many, many personality faults. Or his persistent status as a married man.
Maj. (offscreen, Lt. Col.) Franklin "Frank" Marion "Ferret Face" Burns
The camp's second-in-command, and a real Jerkass. The closest anyone came to enjoying his company in the series was Maj. Houlihan, with whom he had an illicit relationship—he has a wife and family back in his home of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
- Abusive Parents: As he tells Trapper in one episode, "I'm from a very strict family. We weren't allowed to talk at meals. We couldn't even hum. Anybody who hummed got a punch in the throat."
- During a phone call with his mother, he comments that his father only pretended to like him, a comment seemingly undisputed by his mother.
- Annoying Laugh: A childish, high-pitched giggle, ad-libbed by Linville.
- Birthday Episode: Both "For Want of a Boot" and "The Most Unforgettable Characters" have Frank's birthday as a subplot. Oddly enough, the former episode is set in the dead of winter while the latter takes place in June.
- For a character like Frank, a birthday in the dead of winter, where most people are freezing cold and miserable, seems quite fitting.
- Butt-Monkey: Squarely in the sights of anyone on the show with a rank of Captain.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Played with. He's normally a Teetotaler, and when he does drink he tends to get very drunk indeed. On the other hand, he seems to be able to imbibe without feeling it or reacting to the taste. Possibly he can hold his liquor, and just happens to drink enough to get good and plastered on the rare occasions that he lets his hair down.
- Combat Medic: What he thinks he is.
- The Neidermeyer: What he actually is. In about every field he was involved in, whether military or medical.
- The season one episode "Major Fred C. Dobbs" has Henry Blake refer to him as "a fair, competent general surgeon", implying that Frank was not really a bad doctor but merely an inferior one when compared to Hawkeye and Trapper (and later B.J. and Winchester), but as time went by the writers just went more and more with the all-around bad doctor jokes. Granted, those were ubiquitous from the beginning, and was in fact a defining trait in the book. Henry's anger at Hawkeye and Trapper in that particular episode may have led him to give Frank more credit than he deserved. It could also be possible that he is a skilled surgeon, but his own ego causes him to make mistakes that make him seem worse than he is.
- Control Freak: One of his defining traits is his being a stickler for discipline and order, especially military. It made his (fortunately brief) tenure as a base commander absolutely unbearable.
- Dark and Troubled Past: His stories about his childhood are genuinely disturbing. Even his actor Larry Linville said there was something very dark and dangerous about Frank.
- Delusions of Eloquence: He's sometimes prone to this.Frank: Leadership is a lonely business. Your Napoleons, your Kaisers, your Atillas the Hun...
- Dirty Coward: When he believes he's been captured by North Koreans pretending to be supply soldiers, he immediately tries to surrender and offer them all of the information he knows. Lucky for him, even the enemy couldn't stand him and told him to get out of the jeep and walk back to camp.
- Dr. Jerk: He's a doctor, and he's a complete and total asshole. What more need be said?
- Dry Crusader: In "Alcoholics Unanimous".
- Embarrassing Middle Name: Marion
- Embarrassing Nickname: "Ferret Face". Which, as he drunkenly confesses in one episode, was given to him by his own brother.note
- "Needle Nose" is also employed in a couple of episodes.
- The Koreans in the area also have a nickname for him, though only heard in one episode:Kim Chung Quoc: The Major had what we call, here in Korea, a real "fertilizer face".
- Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: He seems to really love his mother. Part of the reason he became a doctor was to please her, and when he's upset over Margaret's engagement, a phone conversation with his mother was just the thing he needed.
- Fatal Flaw: Greed. It's implied that he truly does love Margaret, but he's simply too greedy to give up his money by divorcing his wife (who has all the stocks and properties in her name).
- Fetish: Frank has a thing for feet.
- First-Name Basis: Pretty much every other officer in camp routinely addresses him this way (save for Col. Potter, who's Regular Army enough to call him "Major" or "Burns" despite having no more respect for him than any of the others).
- Flanderization: Particularly in the fifth season, which led to Linville leaving the show when his contract expired, as there was no further development possible for Burns. (And the fact that even Linville was starting to hate Frank.) While other characters got better, Frank got worse.
- Foil: To Hawkeye, being gung-ho, prone to surgical mistakes, fixated on one woman (albeit unhealthily), humorless and showing little sympathy for his patients.
- Freudian Excuse: Frank apparently had an absolutely miserable childhood.
- The Friend No One Likes: Frank is this to the entire 4077th beyond Margaret. Best seen in "Movie Tonight" when everybody in the main cast sings an ad-libbed lyric to "I Don't Want No More of Army Life" and gets an amused/colorful reaction from the rest of the camp. After remaining oddly silent, suddenly, Frank chimes in long after the singing has stopped and everyone's attention is turned away, hastily belting out a lyric that is more of a thinly-veiled threat to Hawkeye and B.J. out of nowhere after feeling too bashful to speak up, and the whole room goes as dead as a mortuary, while Frank shrinks back into his seat feeling totally small and put out and making it obvious that he knew this was doomed to happen.
- Gung Holier Than Thou: Frank is constantly flaunting what a patriotic American he is and his love for the military. At the same time, he's also a total coward who lives in fear of actually getting hurt in the war, and he cheats on his taxes.
- Hate Sink: Serves as one of these In-Universe. At one point, Hawkeye attacks a particularly obnoxious Frank whilst claiming that nobody will save him due to Frank being "the ten most hated men in this camp". Something of a Running Gag is that even Margaret, the one person in the camp who actually likes him, will often lose patience and call him out on being a despicable human being. Case in point, after he gets Section 8'ed out of the camp, whilst packing Frank's things, Margaret goes from talking about Frank's sweet, tender side to angrily calling him a fink for stealing her alarm clock.
- Henpecked Husband: Implied from conversation and from the home movie of his wedding.
- Holier Than Thou: Though not so much as his movie counterpart, and in fact most of his ardor is channeled into patriotism rather than religion.
- Hypochondria: Seen any time he's sick or injured. Especially in the episode where the unit had to take precautions due to a hepatitis scare.
- Gave himself a Purple Heart because he was caught a shell fragment in his eye. No, not a mortar shell fragment, an egg shell fragment. From opening a hardboiled egg too hard.
- Immigrant Patriotism: In "The Trial of Henry Blake", Frank states that his family moved to the US in 1927, suggesting Frank was born elsewhere.
- Insane Troll Logic: He once put a nurse on report for handing him the instrument he had asked for.
- It's All About Me: He never cares that effectiveness and morale plummet whenever he's in command (and it's never his fault anyway according to him), he feels he's where he deserves to be and nothing else matters. This is especially evident when he gets the news that the camp is getting a new commanding officer, which causes him to throw a tantrum and then run away from camp.
- Jerkass: Frank Burns is the camp's resident asshole. So much so that he was more of an enemy to the MASH populace than the war was, during the early seasons. The war was down the road, whilst Frank was right next door.
- Jerk Ass Woobie: As much of a whiny, pompous and stubborn jerk as he is, you really are inclined to feel a bit sorry for him on occasion, such as during the telephone call scene in "Margaret's Engagement." Most of the time, his suffering at the hands of his tentmates is classic Comedic Sociopathy material. His wedding video increases the Woobiedom, with almost no guests, a bride who doesn't smile, and getting a fly strip stuck to his face while cutting the cake.
- Lawful Stupid: When commanding, he discovered that the "M" in "M.A.S.H." stood for "mobile". So he naturally decided to move the entire camp 100 feet down the road... and then, the next day, moved it back. For context, the camp is supposed to move with the front lines, not whenever the commanding officer feels like it.Frank: The "M" stands for mobile!Hawkeye: Also for meshuggah'.
- Leader Wannabe: He often would covet being the CO, and would thus relish the times when (as 2nd in command) he would be temporarily put into command (his underlings, not so much).
- Manchild: Frank often displays appallingly childish behavior for a man his age and in his position. Perhaps the most telling is in Colonel Potter's introductory episode; not only does Frank, upon retreating to Margaret's tent after hearing he's being replaced as Commanding Officer of the 4077, start shouting and flailing his limbs around in a temper tantrum befitting a toddler, he then complains about how the camp will miss him when he's gone and starts holding his breath like a toddler. Soon after, he actually runs away from home like a little kid, something that an incredulous Hawkeye calls Margaret out on.
- Some of Frank's more disturbing moments arguably bump him up to Psychopathic Man Child, with his willingness to do stuff like steal a colonel's six-shooter to impress Margaret and then allow Radar to take the blame and potentially be given 15 years in the stockade for it.
- Manly Tears: On hearing the news of Henry's death in "Abyssinia, Henry". A rare human moment for the character.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Larry Linville was, in Real Life, very different from his character.Larry Hama: Larry Linville was a sweet and charming guy, and one of the most popular people on the set. Quite the opposite of what he played.
- Miles Gloriosus: Frank is a smug, spineless and officious fool that likes to make out that he's a tough soldier who's ready to fight the Red Menace bare-handed, but tends to fold like a tent anytime there's a hint of real danger.
- Mistaken for Gay: The episode "The Chosen People" has a scene where Frank is on the phone with another Major from the Civilian Affairs office. After bitching about the slipshod way things are being run at the 4077th, Frank tells the other officer, "You're my kinda fella... Hey, maybe we can get together sometime? I have a feeling that we're very much alike." While we only see/hear Frank's side of the conversation, it's clear from his subsequent, horrified reaction that the guy propositioned him.
- And, of course, Hawkeye and Trapper deliberately induce this as part of their scheme to gaslight a visiting colonel in "The Ringbanger".
- Momma's Boy: Frank's mother is probably the only one who truly loves him.
- Significantly, he keeps a photograph of her next to his cot but none of his wife or kids. (He does mention he's got a picture of his wife in his wallet at one point, but considering that he's on the phone with his wife and trying to stop her from leaving him at the time, it's questionable whether that's actually true.)
- My God, What Have I Done?: In the "O.R." episode, after discovering he was trying to remove a kidney from a patient who only had one.note Frank's surgical incompetence is usually Played for Laughs, but in this particular case he seems to be genuinely horrified at what he nearly did... and uncharacteristically grateful to Trapper for pointing it out to him in time.
- The Neidermeyer: He's rude, loud, obnoxious, entitled, racist, sexist, homophobic, a stickler for draconian discipline, has no respect for anyone but himself unless he's kissing their ass, and is an incompetent doctor besides. Literally no one in the camp except for Houlihan liked him during his time there, and even she has her limits with him.
- Never My Fault: He gives Klinger a hard time for being out of uniform by wearing a red bandanna while Klinger is delivering some necessary supplies a nurse asked for. Frank physically holds Klinger back, causes him to drop the supplies, and remarks, "See what you did?!"
- He'll often verbally tear into his current nurse for a mistake he made or for something he omitted during surgery. At one point his words even cause Nurse Ginger to cry.
- Number Two: And no, that's not a Double Entendre. Okay, not an intentional one.
- Only in It for the Money : Why he became a doctor, and why he never divorced his wife despite his affair with Houlihan. It's mentioned pretty frequently that his house and most of his investments are in her name.
- Patriotic Fervor: And how.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Along with his other negative qualities, Frank is strongly prejudiced against Koreans (even South Korean allies), calling them "savages" and "heathens", and has little use for foreigners in general. He's also a homophobe.
- Put on a Bus: His offscreen crackup and departure at the start of Season 6. After losing it and attacking a general and his wife (mistaking them for Margaret and Donald) while on R&R in Tokyo, he's put under psychiatric observation. Then he's cleared of all charges, promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, and assigned to a VA hospital back in the States. Hawkeye and B.J. understandably do not take the news of this well.
- Rank Up: promoted to lieutenant colonel after his breakdown over Margaret's marriage to Penobscot. Further, in the original book he'd only been a captain.
- Red Scare: Bought into this thoroughly.
- Sanity Slippage: Not that he's the sanest character to begin with, but he really doesn't react well to Margaret dumping him and getting engaged to (and eventually marrying) Donald Penobscott.
- Small Name, Big Ego: Frank's ego far outstrips his actual capabilities.
- Straw Loser: Used to help emphasize his villain status in comparison to Hawkeye et al.
- Suspiciously Specific Denial: Frequently, especially with regard to his relationship with Margaret.
- That Came Out Wrong: Occasionally, in his conversations with Margaret.Frank: Oh, Margaret, you're my snug harbor. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't have you to sail into.
- Also, in one episode where he assumes temporary command: "During Colonel Blake's absence, I will act in his capacity. So if there are any problems, you may bring them to me, or to our fine adjutant here, Major Houlihan. Now, talking to the Major is the same as talking to me, since we are intimate with each other at all times." (Cue awkward pause as Frank and Margaret both realize what he said.)
- Throw the Dog a Bone: After having spent the entire fifth season being humiliated and abandoned, he gets promoted and given a plum posting at a stateside VA hospital.
- Token Evil Teammate: To the other Swampmen, and really the entire rest of the 4077. This is a man who made a serious attempt to get Hawkeye convicted of mutinya capital offense.
- Triage Tyrant: Sent in American soldiers ahead of Korean ones even though the Koreans are in much more critical state. However, this IS Truth in Television, as this was the actual standard triage procedure at genuine MASH units. It's the WAY he went about it, however, that put the "tyrant" in Triage Tyrant.
- It should be noted that while this is still standard operating procedure for US Military Medicine, Burns way of doing it was purely out of his distaste for anyone that wasn't an American. The triage priority however only applies when dealing with limited staff, and lots of critical patients. If an American or Allied soldier can wait, then a critical enemy soldier will go ahead of them. This is done for two reasons. 1. It shows how willing we are to treat people, regardless of faction, and 2. It allows Intelligence groups to glean information from them later. Dead men tell no tales after all.
Cpl. Walter Eugene "Radar" OReilly
- Absentee Actor: Gary Burghoff renegotiated his contract to limit his appearances beginning in the fourth season, so there are actually quite a few episodes that have Radar "away on R&R".
- And Starring: Burghoff was billed this way in the season 8 episodes up to and including "Good-Bye, Radar".
- The Anticipator: More strongly in the early seasons, but Radar is defined by his ability to anticipate and preemptively prepare just about everything, including the Running Gag of always hearing choppers before anyone else does.
- Bearer of Bad News:
- Most famously at the end of "Abyssinia, Henry"."I have a message... Lieutenant Colonel Henry Blake's plane was shot down over the Sea of Japan. It spun in. There were no survivors."
- It also falls to him to inform Trapper he's not going home in "Check-Up", and to tell Hawkeye that Trapper did go home (while Hawk was away on R&R) in "Welcome to Korea".
- In "Change of Command" he has to tell Frank Burns that Potter's replacing him as CO, an assignment that fills him with such terror that Hawkeye and B.J. accompany him as backup. (To everyone's surprise, Frank accepts the news with calm professionalism...at least until he's alone with Margaret in her tent.)
- In "Dear Sigmund" he composes a letter to the parents of an ambulance driver killed in a crash, which Potter then signs. It's implied that this is something he often does.
- It usually falls on him to wake up a sleeping surgeon, typically because all Hell has broken loose (incoming wounded, patient getting worse, etc).
- Most famously at the end of "Abyssinia, Henry".
- Berserk Button: Don't let him see you mistreat an animal.
- Don't talk badly about his teddy bear. Or Iowa. Or his mother.
- It's also not such a good idea to shoot the bugle out of his hands during morning assembly.
- Making fun of his short stature is also a massive source of annoyance for him.
- Big Eater: He is seen quite a few times carrying or devouring a huge tray full of food, and is the only person in camp who never complained about the quality of the food. Hawkeye at one point suggests ending the war by having Radar eat North Korea.Klinger: How can you eat this slop?
Radar: My mouth is tone-deaf.
- Bitter Sweet Ending: Of all the characters whose post-Korean War fates we know about decisively, Radar had the absolute worst luck. When he departs the series in season 8, things seem to be looking up for him; he's finally going home to his mother, and he even meets a cute girl — Missouri native Patty Haven — who is actually shipping back out to his neck of the woods. Then, in season 9, we learn that the farm is really struggling financially, to the extent that Radar has had to take a second job. In the After Show AfterM*A*S*H, we learn that the bad harvest seasons only got worse, and Radar ultimately had to sell the entire farm, especially because he couldn't keep up with the competing government subsidies in his area, forcing them both to leave and his mother move in with his Aunt Lucille. In the failed After Show "W*A*L*T*E*R", we learn that it got even worse from there; he married Patty Haven... but she dumped him and ran off with another man on the honeymoon. Not surprisingly, he was Driven to Suicide! What keeps this from being a full-fledged Downer Ending is that, when he went to the drug store to buy a fatal overdose worth of sleeping pills, he struck up a friendship with the girl working there, Victoria, who snapped him out of it. And then his cousin Wendell Micklejohn got him a new job on the police force in St. Louis, Missouri. So his luck had finally turned itself around.
- Broken Pedestal: "Fallen Idol" is all about Radar's disillusionment after learning Hawkeye, who Radar saw as a "Super Surgeon" who could do anything under any kind of pressure, was drunk on duty and had to leave the O.R. mid-operation to throw up, leaving Charles to finish for him. Radar was never told it was because Hawkeye was under tremendous guilt for getting Radar wounded in the first place.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: Seeing that he doesn't drink often, he doesn't really have much of a tolerance. He once ended up getting hammered on barely two drinks.
- The Cast Showoff: Got a chance to show off his drumming at one point. Burghoff was an accomplished drummer outside the show.
- "Here they come!" or "Choppers!" when sensing the arrival of incoming wounded preemptively.
- And then "Wait for it!" if another character says they don't hear anything.
- Prone to saying "Gosh" or "Gee", childish and innocent words that reflect his youthful innocence.
- There's also the fact that Radar often parrots what someone is going to say right as they're going to say it, which in itself happens so much it might as well be a catchphrase.
- "Here they come!" or "Choppers!" when sensing the arrival of incoming wounded preemptively.
- Characterization Marches On: As noted above, he's a lot more sly, devious and worldly in the early seasons, including stealing Colonel Blake's brandy and cigars, but he becomes more childlike and innocent after Colonel Potter joins the cast, losing his taste for smoking and drinking anything other than soft drinks.
- Companion Cube: His teddy bear, which he sometimes has with him in his office and not just his bedroom.
- Country Mouse: From a small town in Iowa. When interviewed, he initially doesn't see the point in saying hi to his mom because there was only one television set in his town.
- Cute, but Cacophonic: Played with. Henry and Potter occasionally have trouble getting the staff to quiet down, only for Radar to instantly shut them all up by bellowing "QUIET!" Other times, he merely has to say it at a normal volume and everyone immediately quiets down.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not nearly as often as the doctors, but even more so on the "deadpan" end of the scale. And he was more likely to get away with it because it wasn't expected of him.Frank: Here's tomorrow's routine. See that it's posted.
Radar: (reading the routine) They're not gonna like this.
Frank: I didn't come here to be liked.
Radar: You certainly came to the right place.
- Dreadful Musician: His bugling leaves a lot to be desired. And when he plays the bridal chorus on the piano during Margaret's wedding, he flubs a couple notes and winds up noodling a bit before Mulcahy gets him to stop. However, he can play a mean set of drums...as can Gary Burghoff.
- Fainting: On a bus with a wounded Korean woman who goes into labor, Radar practically has a Heroic BSoD.
- Flanderization: Grew increasingly more childlike and naive as the show went along. Until Pierce got mad at him for his foolishness, which is where Radar began to snap back and mature in indignant response, before finally outgrowing all this in his departure episode.
- Friend to All Living Things:
- His menagerie of pets. He even objected to killing a rabbit of his as part of a pregnancy test.
- In one episode he tells Col. Blake he's got sixteen cats back home. ("At the draft board they found a furball in my throat.")
- In another episode, he saves a lamb from becoming an Easter feast by tricking Henry into giving it a medical discharge.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Rarely swore; his epithets of choice were mostly limited to "Heck!" and "Aw, jeez!"
- To the point that when he actually says "Hell," Hawkeye and B.J. realize he's seriously distressed.
- Hates Baths: Rarely showered, much to the merriment of Hawkeye and the other officers.
- Height Angst: Radar is periodically embarrassed by or ashamed of his shortness, combined with others teasing him this makes him very angry.
- Hiding the Handicap: Meta-example: Gary Burghoff has a congenital deformity of three fingers on his left hand, and would always hide his hand the best he could whenever possible on camera, usually by holding a clipboard or some other item related to Radar being a clerk.
- Hyper-Competent Sidekick: Former Trope Namer. Generally the main interaction between the unit and I-Corps. One episode is built entirely around Hawkeye and Trapper John trying to get an incubator, going all the way up to (and disrupting the press conference of) a brigadier general. In the denouement, Radar reveals he just traded for one.
- Especially in the early seasons where Colonel Blake was "in charge," Radar pretty much ran the unit and pointed to the lines where Blake needed to sign. (One episode had Blake "jokingly" admitting that Radar actually ran things at a camp assembly. Absolutely nobody laughed.)
- Later in the series, Col. Potter plainly and proudly said "Radar really runs the base" to his worried doctors when his departure to an indoc required Burns to be in charge.
- In-Series Nickname: Called Radar because of his ability to predict incoming helicopters.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: In the form of a Grape Nehi, of course.
- Malaproper: Occasionally, along with elements of Buffy Speak and Department of Redundancy Department. However, at other times he can be quite eloquent; witness, for example, his impassioned condemnation of the cost of war on people in the episode "The Interview".
- Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Radar is called as such because he seems to be psychic, knowing when choppers are coming before they do and completing his superiors sentences when asked to do an order. The show makes it vague at whether Radar is psychic or just has extremely good hearing and knows rules, regulations and what his superiors will tell him by heart. Once, Potter managed to foul it up by giving him an order he didn't expect; Sherman was, to say the very least, pleased.
Hawkeye: [writing home to his father] It's very quiet at the moment, Dad. The only man in sight is Radar O'Reilly, an amazing kid. I've never put much stock in E.S.P. but if it is possible for one person to read another person's mind Radar has that ability, the little fink.Radar: [walking by that very moment]] Is that a nice thing to say?
- At one point, he appears to be a telepath....
- In another episode, Potter is composing a letter to his wife (which we hear via voiceover). At one point he tells her that his company clerk is "nice enough, but a little squirrelly". Radar, who's busy tidying up the desk right next to Potter, pauses in his work and glances at him.
- In the original novel, he actually is. His girlfriend in the book is too.
- Meaningful Name: Called Radar because of his ability to predict... well, just about everything, but approaching choppers in particular.
- Misplaced Wildlife: He has a skunk. In Korea. Skunks are mostly New World creatures; the few that aren't (stink badgers) are from Indonesia and the Philippines.
- Nerd Glasses: Present and accounted for, Sirs!
- Not Himself: In his final episode, the "Good-Bye Radar" two-parter in Season 8, he acts noticeably older — and angrier — than what we're accustomed to. According to co-scripter Ken Levine, this shift in characterization was Gary Burghoff's idea, as was having him appear in most of the episode without a hat, revealing Burghoff's rapidly-receding hairline. (Burghoff had also lost a considerable amount of weight since the previous season, giving Radar much less of a youthful baby-faced look.) The idea was apparently to show that the character had finally left his childhood behind and was likewise ready to leave the bosom of his 4077th "family".
- Another possible in-universe reason for the change: his Uncle Ed had just died, and the news hit him very, very hard. It's understandable that Radar would change so dramatically upon learning that one of the people he was closest to and grew up with would not be there when he went back home, a reverse of Henry's unfortunate fate.
- Precision F-Strike: From the last person you'd expect. But in the episode where Potter's horse takes sick while he's away, the doctors have trouble taking the animal's ailment seriously until Radar lets loose with the dreaded H-bomb (followed by "H-E-double-toothpicks!") It later happens again with no humorous sentiment attached when he's on the receiving end of one from one high-strung Pierce, who accidentally sent him into the line of fire, feels bad about the fact Radar got wounded on his watch, and then tells him "To hell with all your Iowa naivete, and while we're at it, to hell with YOU!" and stop idolizing him. Radar fires back spectacularly by echoing his statement; "To hell with me?! To hell with YOU!!" Followed by a truly epic comeback where Radar defends his small town upbringing and blasts Pierce for all the rotten things he's spouted.
- Put on a Bus: He receives a hardship discharge so he can go home and help run his family's farm after the death of his Uncle Ed in Season 8. He meets Hunnicutt's wife and daughter (offscreen) on his way back home, and later sends the 4077th a letter in Season 10. He also makes an appearance on AfterMASH and even gets a follow-up special all his very own titled W*A*L*T*E*R*.note
- Rank Up: Gets promoted to Second Lieutenant in one episode, thanks to an administrator owing a poker debt to Hawkeye and B.J. It gets undone at the end of the episode, though.
- Reality Ensues: When the 4077th receives a letter from him in Season 10, he makes them think all is going well back at home. It is not. Nobody was prepared for Uncle Ed's sudden death, who was helping the family barely scrape by at the time he died, and the farm is on the verge of collapse. This prompts the 4077th to band together and send Radar a Korean kid who's a brilliant farmer to help pull him and his family out of the hole.
- The Scrounger: Part of his effectiveness as a clerk comes from his being good at this. He's better at the paperwork side, however.
- Security Blanket: He had a teddy bear (likely to symbolize his childlike innocence) which he was always a little embarrassed about. However, in the episode where he left the cast (where his going-away party was canceled due to an emergency rush of wounded shipped in and he had to leave without saying goodbye to anyone) he leaves it behind so they can remember him; Hawkeye and the others find it in the last scene. In the final episode, they place it in the time capsule, representing all the soldiers who came there as boys and left as men.
- The Short Guy with Glasses: With the "short" part, in particular, being the source of a great many jokes from Hawkeye and others.
- Shout-Out: Some people will note that the name "Radar" is a familiar holdover from their childhoods. That's because on Sesame Street, Big Bird named his teddy bear "Radar", the show's obvious send-up to Radar and his own teddy.
- Spider-Sense: Always knows when the choppers are in-coming before any announcement over the PA is made.
Hawkeye: [to Trapper, as Radar picks up and answers the phone] Did you hear a ring?
- In "The Army-Navy Game," he manages to hear incoming artillery shells with a radio blaring right next to him.
- He also tends to pick up the phone just before it rings, and in the early seasons had a habit of anticipating Col. Blake's orders before they were even given.
- The Tonsillitis Episode: He comes down with this in "None Like It Hot".
- This had been a minor Running Gag through the series up until that point, with Hawkeye randomly commenting that Radar's tonsils would have to come out eventually.
Cpl. (later Sgt.) Maxwell "Max" Q. Klinger
- Always Someone Better: After Radar goes home, Klinger takes over his job as company clerk. Things don't go so smoothly at first, with Klinger taking a lot of flak for not being able to perform to Radar's high standards. However, Potter later admits that it was wrong to expect Klinger to simply be Radar and not give him a chance to grow into the job.
- Klinger eventually becomes a clerk on par with, if not even better than, Radar. He eventually earns a promotion to sergeant.
- Becoming the Mask: At one point, he worries about his orientation, given that at one point he's looking at sexy catalog shots... and contemplating how the outfits would look on him. Out of character, fears of this being implied by Farr's dressing in drag on TV every week and the fact that his children were becoming old enough to watch their father on TV in same led to Farr lobbying to get the crossdressing diminished (leading to more focus on zany schemes to prove Klinger's "insanity") and nearly eliminated as the series wore on. The Contract (a scripted s7 episode but not filmed) went further, with Klinger actually getting his section 8, but not taking it because Toledo has changed since he left and his parents would disown him if he kept wearing dresses.
- Blatant Lies: Many of his attempts to get out of the army involve insisting he has a medical condition of some kind or that there's a family emergency.
- Breakout Character: Klinger had been intended as a one-time throwaway gag character (meant to reference Lenny Bruce and (apocryphal rumours of) his attempts to get out of World War II dressed as a WAC). Klinger proved so popular with the audience and the cast that they just kept writing him into episodes.
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: For all Klinger's discharge schemes, he never does them at the expense of his duties. That in turn explains why his antics are usually tolerated by the commanding officers even while they are never fooled.
- Camp Straight: He was originally written this way for his initial appearance (in "Chief Surgeon Who?"), but this was changed at Jamie Farr's behest. Klinger wants the Army to think he's crazy, not gay.
- Character Development: From Flat Character, add Hidden Depths. In fact, used to name the antitrope to Flanderization. Klinger started off as the guy bucking for a Section 8, then became the Lebanese jokester from Toledo who comes from a hard luck background. And when Radar departed and he became company clerk in Radar's stead, he also had a nightmare about what it would mean if he actually did run out on his friends at the 4077 and completely stopped donning drag, deciding to ride out the war like the rest of them.
- *Click* Hello: Pulled this on a Chinese POW who tried to assault him using a scalpel.Klinger: Are you crazy? You wrecked a thirty-nine dollar dress! Your people will pay for this! *Pulls back the lever on his rifle and points the barrel not five inches from the POW's face.*
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Klinger had a bunch of awesome moments, usually coming through when nobody expected he would. This is the guy who walked guard duty in heels and a fur stole...and then one time, used said stole to take down someone who had managed to get his rifle away from him without really hurting the guy. Klinger is the corpsman who hauled litters in heels, set the M*A*S*H pole-sitting record in Army boots and a nightie, sewed his own wardrobe from scratch, drove halfway across Korea and brought back crates of live crabs and a footlocker full of beach sand for the sake of unit morale, scrounged up everything the unit needed when it needed it most, and concocted endless plans to get himself discharged from the army. Granted, the plans never actually worked, but points for creativity.
- Crying Wolf: Because of all the escape and discharge-catching attempts, there are several times in the series when others think Klinger is faking an actual source of trouble. Most notably his emotional distress when his wife sends him a "Dear John" letter and his getting sick from a dose of the antimalarial Primaquine.
- Determinator: When it comes to trying to get out of the Army, he is an absolute marvel of perseverance.Henry: (*pulls out binder of Klinger's forged letters*) Father dying, last year. Mother dying, last year. Mother and father dying. Mother, father, and older sister dying. Mother dying and older sister pregnant. Older sister dying and mother pregnant. Younger sister pregnant and older sister dying. Here's an oldie but a goodie: half of the family dying, other half pregnant. (*puts file down*) Klinger, aren't you ashamed of yourself?Klinger: Yes, sir. (*beat*) I don't deserve to be in the Army.
Charles: That man is the Michelangelo of deviant behavior.
- In "Souvenirs," he tries to get a Section 8 by sitting on top of a pole in the middle of winter. Potter doesn't buy it, but persuades him to stay up there in order to break the M*A*S*H pole-sitting record. Klinger succeeds after 94 hours and change, and Potter rewards him with a three-day pass to Tokyo.
- Averted in "None Like It Hot" when Potter tells Klinger that if he can wear a rubberized bodysuit and a heavy fur coat for 24 hours straight in the heat of a Korean summer, he really is crazy and deserves a Section 8. Klinger ends up folding with just one hour to go.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Several times.
- After he learns his wife has left him for someone else and wants a divorce, he goes looking for sympathy, but everyone thinks it's another con to get a Section 8. Ripping off part of his dress demonstrates he's not joking around this time.
- Had this reaction after getting hassled over not living up to Radar's high standards immediately.
- One episode shows him trying to decorate his living area with personal mementos, but Potter chastizes him for it. His quarters are the headquarters for the camp, so Potter demands a more professional look and no mementos at all. Klinger responds that everyone else gets to decorate their living areas with reminders of home and expressions of their identity, so he deserves the same freedom. In the end, they compromise and Klinger is allowed to set up some small items.
- Klinger once became seriously ill, but everybody believed that Klinger was faking illness to get out of work. When a Jewish soldier develops symptoms identical to Klinger's, that soldier is believed without question, something that Klinger calls the medical staff on. It's eventually discovered that Klinger had developed hemolysis from taking the antimalarial Primaquine, and his life was in serious danger.note
- Early Installment Weirdness: In his second appearance, Klinger was portrayed as having a Hair-Trigger Temper, to the point where he plans to threaten Frank Burns with a live grenade as revenge for Frank chiding him in postop (and refusing to allow him to wear a lucky red bandana his mother had given him). The incident was never mentioned again, and Klinger was generally portrayed as good-natured and easygoing from that point on. Well, he does have a Berserk Button when it comes to Sgt. Zale, specifically if Zale insults either his manhood or Toledo. In the fifth season episode "Hepatitis", when Hawkeye comes to check Klinger (who's in the kitchen) to see if he's showing any signs of the disease, Klinger brings up Zale insulting Toledo and starts getting worked up and throwing things around. He apologizes, but then gets worked up again with the same results. It gets to the point where Hawkeye has to pin Klinger against the wall just to keep him from doing it again.
- Extreme Omnivore: Invoked in one of his more famous one-off attempts to get a Section 8, where Klinger methodically starts disassembling an Army jeep and ingesting the parts (washing them down with motor oil). Deconstructed in that not only does it fail to work, Klinger has to be operated on to remove the bolts, oil and windscreen wiper rubber that he ended up eating after they cause him severe stomach pain.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Almost always, with his efforts to get out of Korea. Only two have a chance to work, and he nixes them. In one, he fakes a form to go home, to desert; after What Have I Done, he rushes to get the form rescinded—just as the brass are ready to approve it. In the other, the war ended. He stayed for his new wife.Klinger: I Can't Believe I'm Saying This...I'm staying in Korea!
- In the Season 2 episode "Radar's Report," Sidney Freedman offers to put his discharge through - if Klinger signs a form stating that he is a transvestite and a homosexual. Klinger balks, especially when Sidney emphasizes that Klinger would have to keep wearing dresses for the rest of his life.
- His next-closest attempt was in Season 6's "Change Day". He got one of his many uncles to recommend him for application to West Point, with the intention of being kicked out after being admitted. Had he bothered to study for his entrance exam, it probably would have worked.
- Fashionista: The man takes his cross-dressing seriously, and makes sure to get only stylish, flattering outfits that work together and complement each other. Women often comment approvingly on his sense of style.
- Gag Nose: And proud of it. He's been known to make light of it himself too, in one episode saying, "I come from a long line of short-nosed people. One day, my grandfather's camel spit in the eye of the village witch. Ever since then, we've been growing 'em like this!"
- Guile Hero: One of the reasons he's a good scrounger is that he knows how to talk to and influence the right people to get what the 4077 needs. He demonstrates it in "Cementing Relationships".
- Happily Married: Averted with his first marriage to Laverne Esposito; (presumably) played straight with his second marriage to Soon-Lee.
- He's Got Legs
- Hidden Depths: Klinger has no real love for the Army, but he always does what is expected him at the camp. He desperately wants out of Korea, but he's not going to endanger a patient because of it. And the whole reason he wants out is because, as he explains to Father Mulcahy in one early episode, "I was brought up to respect life, and that's impossible with all this killing."
- Demonstrated with his tireless efforts as an orderly. No matter what scam he was pulling, he never once shirked his responsibilities. Even the time that he tried to convince everyone that he was crazy by acting as though he were home in Toledo, he still assisted in triage (under the guise of helping victims of a traffic accident, but still).
- As mentioned above, he called out the officers for believing that he was faking an illness to get out of work. He was obviously very offended that they would think he would shirk his responsibilities.
- He furiously shouted at and was on the verge of man handling Colonel Potter when the latter accused him of lying about another serviceman being mentally ill. The soldier in question was in fact disturbed, enough so to present a real danger to the camp.
- As evidenced by the fact that he is introduced as a corporal and never gets busted down shows that his superiors consider him to have genuine leadership skills and to be a good NCO, despite his endless attempts to prove them wrong. He later earns a promotion to Sergeant and begins to show a talent for scrounging and finagling that would make Radar proud.
- Even in the midst of his schemes, he never failed to answer the call... even if he tried to keep "in character" while performing his duties. The best example of this was in an episode where he feigns amnesia and "believes" he's in Toledo. He dresses in civvies, tries to talk Margaret and others into buying aluminum siding, and all around play-acts with a conviction that would have made Laurence Olivier proud. However, when the wounded start rolling in, he's there, though he pretends that he's a Good Samaritan helping out at a particularly nasty traffic accident. It all comes apart only when Potter, playing along, tricks him into reciting his Army rank...
- Love at First Sight: Averted oh so hard with Soon-Lee. When they first meet, he is in charge of watching her after she is arrested. Their relationship builds over several episodes.
- MayDecember Romance: It's unclear exactly what ages he and Soon-Lee are in-universe, but in real life Jamie Farr has a good 23 years on Rosalind Chao.
- Nice Hat: He has a truly impressive and varied collection of millinery to go along with his dresses and other outfits. And, in later seasons, a Toledo Mud Hens cap. He even gets a Mud Hens cap for Potter later on, who adorns his with a colonel's eagle.
- Obfuscating Insanity: His entire M.O., as he seeks a Section 8 to get out of the Army. In one case, he really milks this trope by pretending his surroundings are Toledo, that he's a mere salesman and that he has no memory of the unit. It almost works, but Potter tricks him in the end.
- One episode has him confiding to Sidney Freedman a nagging fear that he might be suffering genuine Sanity Slippage.
- This man ate a jeep trying to get a Section 8.
- According to Klinger, it runs in the family, as feigning insanity has gotten his other male relatives out of military service. He states in one episode that several of his dresses came from an uncle who used the same ploy to get out of World War 2.
- Only Sane Man: At one point B.J. suggests that Klinger may actually be this, precisely because he's the only one actively trying to remove himself from the war.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In season 4.
- Rank Up: He gets promoted to Sergeant in season 10.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Even after he gives up wearing dresses, he still wears a pink bathrobe.
- The Scrounger: He takes over the mantle from Radar along with the clerk's job. Radar may have been better at the paperwork angle but Klinger is the better scrounger.
- Surrounded by Idiots: For all his own quirks, he often rolls his eyes at the others' antics. "Dear Uncle Abdul" even caps off with this. When Hawkeye and B.J. interrupt his letter to ask which of them is the funniest in the camp, an annoyed Klinger gladly bursts their bubble. He says they just tell jokes all day and rattles off a list of far funnier things lately: Potter getting him to wear his clothes and sit on Sophie the horse for a supposed self-portrait, seeing Mulcahy writing a song, Winchester's bird hunting triggering a land mine, and Margaret shooting her foot locker in order to get I Corps to finally replace it.Klinger: [continuing his letter] See, Unc? It's no wonder I never got a Section 8. There's nothing special about me. Everybody here is crazy.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: He had a vast number of dresses and costumes.
- Wartime Wedding: To his childhood sweetheart Laverne Esposito, whom he marries (via radio) in season 3. After she finds another love back in Toledo, she and Klinger divorce in season 6... clearing the way for him to meet and marry Soon-Lee at the end of the final season.
- Wholesome Crossdresser: Well, as wholesome as an average U.S. Army corporal can be. Abandoned (along with most of the other Section 8 dodges) once he becomes company clerk.
- You Know I'm Black, Right?: When Charles goes off on "swarthy" Italians, Max becomes outraged, telling him that his family is all "swarthy" (being Mediterranean).
1st Lt. (later Capt.) Father Francis John Patrick Mulcahy
- Badass Preacher: Whether it is performing an tracheotomy under enemy fire, asking a frustrated and desperate Klinger to give him a grenade, or disarming a desperate AWOL soldier covering him at point blank range, Father Mulcahy knows no fear when called upon.
- Badass Pacifist: In the entire course of the Korean War, he had a total of two violent moments - once where he kicked a stove after giving a What the Hell, Hero? to Hawkeye (and admitted that it was completely out of character for him), and once when punching a patient who had struck him while they were trying to give him medical aid (which he spent the entire episode angsting about). The man coached boxing and never once aimed to hurt anyone.
- Beware the Nice Ones: He is one of the show's nicest characters (right alongside Radar), but when he gets angry, he is a force to be reckoned with. He scared the daylights out of a pair of patients (one Turkish, one Greek) who refused to stop fighting in Post-Op by telling them, "Love thy neighbor or I'll punch your lights out!" Best summarized by Sidney Freedman:Sidney: He's shy, and studious, and yet he has a right hook that could stop a truck.
- Cannot Tell a Joke: While he certainly had a sense of humor and wit, if he tried to tell a joke it invariably fell flat, even if he was reading the joke directly from a book.
- Can't Hold His Liquor: In "Alcoholics Unanimous", he's ordered by acting commander Frank Burns to deliver a temperance sermon to the entire camp. Suffering an attack of pulpit fright on seeing a larger audience than he's ever spoken to before, he takes "a bracer" to steady his nerves... and you can probably guess the rest.
- Covert Pervert: Still the most innocent of the 4077th, but he had a few moments of appreciating a good body. And like everyone he enjoys Hawkeyes striptease in The Joker Is Wild.Mulcahy: Take it off Hawkeye! I want to see some skin!
- Dark and Troubled Past: His parents were implied to be abusive alcoholics, with a rather large household of kids. When asked if he wants to say anything to his family by a documentary maker once he simply hesitates and gives an awkward, "hello" while others in the camp say a lot more.
- Deadpan Snarker: On occasion, usually when dispensing a little therapy.Father Mulcahy: [Trapper, drunk, is sitting at the piano at the O Club] Is something bothering you, Trapper?
Trapper: I'm not Catholic, Father.
Father Mulcahy: Well, all in good time... Which is more that I can say about your piano playing.
Klinger: Stray bomb appears out of nowhere. Blows up a shipment of chipped beef. What do you call that?
- Sometimes he just managed to get one in before the doctors.
Father Mulcahy: A gift from heaven.
- Determinator: The guy never stops. Helping out around the 4077th, hearing confessions, playing therapist to the wounded and the staff alike, working in his garden, helping out at the local orphanage, and he only ever admits to being tired two or three times in the entire series. Also apparently a theme in his sermons. When he's busy, he typically seems happier, because he's of more use. When virtually the entire 4077th was down with salmonella, he was thrilled.Colonel Potter: Indomitable. The man is indomitable.
- Dreadful Musician: He is pretty good on the piano most of the time, but others...I've been playing this song for twenty minutes, I can't find the ending!
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: Suffers from it more than anyone on the show, to his own chagrin. He's repeatedly passed over for promotion from 1st Lieutenant to Captain, and it irritates him every time it happens. But as a dedicated Good Shepherd, he considers his ambition for rank and status as something of a betrayal of his duty to be a model Christian. Epitomized in the episode "Captains Outrageous" where he goes directly to Col. Potter and angrily demands the promotion.The meek shall inherit the Earth, but the grumpy get promoted!
- That said, the entire camp made it clear that while most don't attend his services on Sunday, they all hold him in the highest respect. They demonstrate that on one Christmas story when the whole camp sang "Dona Nobis Pacem" (Give Us Peace) for him.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: The man is an amazing boxer. It starts as an Informed Attribute, but later becomes demonstrated in his reluctance to hurt people. This also becomes a plot point in "Dear Sis"; see below.
- Good Shepherd: Mulcahy is not a parody priest; he is devoted to his charges and the care of their souls. He extends this even to the Koreans in the vicinity, raising money to help orphanages in the area and ministering to both Korean civilians and Army personnel alike. He is also non-legalistic and ecumenical in his theological outlook (which is slightly ironic for a devout Catholic, and very unusual for the time periods in which the show was both set and shot in), to the point of being fascinated by—and even supportive of—local customs and spiritual beliefs. It seems that to him, what you have faith in isn't nearly so important as that you have faith.Wondrous is man and mysterious the ways of God. And I would have no one shield my eyes from the glory of His works.
- Taken to possibly the fullest extreme in the Season 8 episode "Life Time". B.J. is watching a wounded soldier who is on the verge of death, as that soldier's aorta could save another wounded soldier in the OR (the one around which the episode is centered). After Mulcahy asks if the first soldier has passed on yet, B.J. says they're moving the soldier to Pre-Op so the doctors can take the aorta immediately. Mulcahy starts up a jeep to go check the chopper for more blood (which is needed in the OR), then asks the Lord for the most unusual favor:Dear God, I've never asked You for this before, and I don't know what You're going to think of me for asking now...but if You're going to take him anyway, please, take him quickly so we can save the other boy.
- Taken to possibly the fullest extreme in the Season 8 episode "Life Time". B.J. is watching a wounded soldier who is on the verge of death, as that soldier's aorta could save another wounded soldier in the OR (the one around which the episode is centered). After Mulcahy asks if the first soldier has passed on yet, B.J. says they're moving the soldier to Pre-Op so the doctors can take the aorta immediately. Mulcahy starts up a jeep to go check the chopper for more blood (which is needed in the OR), then asks the Lord for the most unusual favor:
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: He is a man of the cloth, after all. So you know he's really miffed when, for instance, he tells the camp (in the "Blood Brothers" episode), "You're all a bunch of...stinkers!"
- While conducting a bingo game, he runs out of Biblical names starting with G, and says "Gosh" rather than use His name.
- The Heart: The man is the camp priest, after all. So, naturally, he does his best to be the most empathic and moral of them all.
- Hidden Depths: His attempt at writing a war song is initially treated as a goofy distraction, but he ends up coming up with a very dignified one.
- Hot for Preacher: Is subject to this in one episode. Very much to his dismay.
- Irish Priest: Well, seems to have a slight lilt in his voice sometimes. And is fond of roller derby.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Mulcahy in general shows an open-mindedness regarding other religions and denominations; as chaplain for any soldier who wants spiritual counseling, he does his best to meet their diverse needs.
- The Load: Subverted. In "Dear Sis", he feels like this because he thinks he doesn't make a difference. This was right after he got violent with a patient. After confiding in Hawkeye, Hawkeye raises a toast to him and calls him "too modest, too utterly simple a man to know how much strength he gives us just by the decency of his life among us".
- The McCoy: Surprisingly, he tends to be the one bringing up the emotional or "morally right" approach to various crises.
- My God, What Have I Done?: In the episode "Dear Sis", an unruly patient in Post-Op slugs Mulcahy; the good Father reacts by hitting the patient right back. Even though the patient did justify the use of force by punching first, Mulcahy feels wracked with guilt afterward, especially after the patient angrily suggests that Mulcahy went to seminary school at a boxing gym. (Turns out, Mulcahy actually taught boxing at the CYO.)
- In "Blood Brothers", Mulcahy starts acting like a jerk when he finds out a visiting Cardinal will be there for his weekly sermon and wants everything to be perfect. When he finds out one of the patients in Post-Op has been diagnosed with leukemia (after offering to be a blood donor for a wounded comrade), he breaks down during his sermon and says he feels ashamed that he behaved so selfishly over trivial matters.
- Nice Hat: The white Panama hat he frequently wears.
- Noodle Incident: He's been to two bachelor parties in his life. One was Donald Penobscott's, and the other was apparently wild and involved a nun jumping out of an angel food cake.
- Not So Above It All: In "Death Takes A Holiday", Mulcahy conspires with Hawkeye, B.J., and Margaret to falsify a patient's death certificate to read that he died just after midnight on December 26, that way his family doesn't have the burden of remembering Christmas as the day he died. Notable in that it's Margaret who (mildly) objects; Mulcahy is completely on board with it.
- Only Sane Man: An early episode had Hawkeye suggest that Father Mulcahy was the sanest person in the camp.
- Promotion to Opening Titles: In season 5.
- Rank Up: Gets promoted to Captain in season 8, after numerous complaints about being passed over.
- Running Gag: If there is some sort of betting pool among the personnel, Mulcahy will usually win (and donate the money to the orphanage).
- Seen It All: Says as much by the end of the series:I'll miss hearing confession, but after listening to you people for so long, I think I've just about heard it all.
- This also works as a stealth Tear Jerker since, by this time, the audience knows what the other characters don't: Mulcahy has lost his hearing.
- Soldiers at the Rear: As an Army Chaplain, he is not allowed to enter combat zones, and most people understand that. One episode, "Mulcahy's War", is all about him making an unauthorized trip to the front precisely so he can better relate to what the hospital's patients are going through.
- There Are No Therapists: This is averted, thanks to him. Both he and Sidney Freedman (an actual therapist) admit that he is more the camp's sounding board and confidant than he is their actual spiritual leader. Mulcahy even notices when Sidney himself needs some counseling. And when he needs one, he usually turns to Hawkeye, of all people. Multiple times throughout the series, he questions his own usefulness amongst the destruction, and notes that the stakes are higher with his line of work.[to Hawkeye] When you lose a patient, he's out of his misery. When I lose a patient, he's lost his soul.
Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt
- Berserk Button: He's one of the nicest characters on the show, but he has his buttons.
- Don't question his loyalty to his family. Aside from his rant in "Period of Adjustment", he threatens to "break every bone" in the body of a colonel who insinuated that he fathered a half-Korean child.
- He's also very protective of Hawkeye. He frequently stands up for him verbally and once completely lost his cool, threatening to "break the neck" of a soldier who tried to throttle his friend.
- Beware the Nice Ones:
B.J.: I...er...I'm sorry, Father.Mulcahy: Nothing to worry about, my son. beat Maybe you should try needlepoint.
- Generally, he was the resident Nice Guy family man on the show but when he lost his temper and let his frustration out he could get violent. Namely by getting stinking drunk, smashing the still, and punching Hawkeye in the face. Later, after the confrontation with the soldier who tried to hurt Hawkeye, he turned to Father Mulcahy, who suggested using his speedbag for a bit. B.J. knocked the thing off its mounting with one hit.
- He's also revealed to be an even better, more devious prankster than anyone else in camp.
- Beneath Suspicion: New characters are frequently shocked at how devious he can be behind the smiley california exterior.
- The Big Guy: Mike Farrell is one seriously tall man (then again, so were Wayne Rogers, McLean Stevenson and David Ogden Stiers). A Running Gag is his shoe size - according to Sidney in "Dear Sigmund," he wears size fifteen. Most of the time, though, he falls into Gentle Giant territory. He's also the only officer besides Mulcahy to ever be shown voluntarily exercising in any way.
- Break the Cutie: Gradually over the show's run. Doesn't quite complete, but he's waved goodbye to Hawkeye with his knuckles at least once.
- Character Development: In the earlier episodes, B.J. tends to be idealistic, passionate, but a bit naive whereas Hawkeye was the more cynical of the two. By the end, Hawkeye would frequently be the passionate one trying to enact some kind of change with B.J. acting as the cynical voice of experience restraining him.
- Cool Bike: He acquires one in "Blood and Guts" (although it's taken and subsequently wrecked by another character), and a different one in "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen". He's first seen on one in "The Yalu Brick Road," but it was presumably only borrowed long enough to get him and Hawkeye and their accidentally captured Chinese prisoner back to camp.
- Control Freak: He confesses in "War Correspondent" that the lifeline to his daughter and wife gives him a tiny piece of control that he needs to hang onto, in a situation where he cant control anything.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Treated sympathetically, but he takes it worse than Peg does when she mentions someone hitting on her or even having an attractive neighbour. Then theres the bitterness at Trapper, a man who hes never met.
- Declaration of Protection: "The Late Captain Pierce". "Welcome to Korea" has him instantly loving Hawkeye as The Mad Hatter, but its his first Hawkeye breakdown episode, and whenever Hawkeye slips hes there either as distraction or gentle Tough Love.
- Everyone Has Standards: More than happy to affectionately call Hawkeye a deviant and hussy, but is disgusted in "Taking the Fifth" when Hawkeye does Sex for Services, calling him depraved.
- Fatal Flaw: As with the other surgeons, pride. Hawkeye even mentions that every time one of his patients develops complications, B.J. starts getting worked up.
- Foil: To Hawkeye, being more laid-back, Happily Married and prone to introspection.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Expect this every time Trapper is mentioned, whether it's him going home or being Hawkeye's friend first. The pranking in "The Joker Is Wild" was induced by the others talking about Trapper a bit too much.
- Happily Married: He adores his wife Peg who is very supportive and loving spouse. They have a daughter named Erin, whom he also adores.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Hawkeye. The two are best friends who do a lot together and have a very strong bond.
- Hidden Depths: Sidney is surprised to find out clean-cut, nice guy B.J. is the prankster in "Dear Sigmund." Also, his darker, angry side peeks out more often as the show goes out.
- The Lancer: Hawkeye's best friend.
- Meaningful Name: His mother's name is "Bea", his father's name is "Jay".
- Misery Poker: While he has a lot of good reason to be depressed, the later seasons have him act like because he has a wife and recently born daughter at home, hes the worst off in camp. Margaret rips him a new one in "Wheelers and Dealers", and even Hawkeye, who is usually I Want My Beloved to Be Happy about the whole thing, is sick of it in "No Sweat".
- Morality Chain: Tries to be this for Hawkeye in general, although he sometimes needs a little help too.
- Nice Guy: He's just a generally sweet-tempered, easy-going, affable sort of fellow. Makes him an interesting foil to Hawkeye, since the latter is a lot more of a scheming, hysterical, somewhat self-righteous jerk by comparison.
- Nice Shoes: Later in the series he started wearing a pair of black Converse All-Star sneakers.
- The Not-Love Interest: Hawkeye made a lot of jokes about being his second wife, or them being married.
- Not So Different: To Trapper, which is partly his problem. Theyre both repressed (though B.J. is better at emotions exist, if not how to deal with them healthily), deeply miss their children and are protective of Hawkeye though they can both hurt him without meaning to.
- One Head Taller: According to a throwaway line in "The Kids," his wife is only 5'1". Mike Farrell stands at 6'3".
- OOC Is Serious Business: "Period of Adjustment" and "Wheelers and Dealers" both involve B.J. sinking into sullen depression and turning on other characters in response to a letter from Peg.
- The Perfectionist: He fears being replaceable (like Peg being self-sufficient and not needing him anymore, Erin calling Radar daddy first, being anywhere similar to Trapper), so he feels like he has to be perfect: perfect dad, perfect husband, perfect prankster.
- The Prankster: Several episodes revolved around B.J.'s mastery of the prank gambit. It's established early on that this is one of his ways of coping with the stress of war.
- Pungeon Master: Not as much as Hawkeye, but he's quick to sling a pun or two when presented with the option.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Spent much of the last few seasons wearing a pink shirt whenever he wasn't in the O.R.
- Replacement Flat Character: According to an interview with Mike Farrell, B.J. averting this was the cause of himself and Alan Alda aggressively campaigning for Beej to have actual flaws and contrast both Trapper and Hawkeye, as a lot of the original writing just had him as a Nice Guy Straight Man.
- Replacement Goldfish: Period Of Adjustment, Depressing News and The Joker Is Wild all have him jealous of Trapper, and bitter/upset at feeling like hes same size, same shape, as Hawkeyes original bunkmate, as much as thats not actually the case.
- Secret Keeper: In the series finale, Father Mulcahy begs him not to inform the others of Mulcahy's hearing loss. He never does.
- Spell My Name with an "S": One long-running argument is if his first name is actually spelled "BJ" or "B.J.". Sources like IMDb use "B.J." for consistency based on the spelling in the show's credits.
- Stay in the Kitchen: To Peg in his more pigheaded moments. Hes mostly just worried hell come back from Korea and she wont need him anymore.
- Stepford Snarker: Hawkeye sure knows how to pick repressed best friends. B.J. is slightly better than Trapper in that hes capable of talking about emotions, but he has so much repressed anger that he nearly chokes a patient who was trying to hurt Hawkeye. The advice he took from his first episode was shut up and do your job, and boy did he take that to heart.
- Tragic Dream: He wants to get out of the war unscathed and cling to his perfect domestic fantasy. This show being what it is, it doesnt happen and hes heartbroken to realize hes got angrier since he came to Korea.
- Tranquil Fury / OOC Is Serious Business: B.J. seldom wears his rage on the outside - when he explodes, look out.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: His relationship with Hawkeye occasionally crosses into this, especially in the later seasons.
- What Have I Done:
- As a result of a Sadistic Choice in a late episode.
- When he cheats on his wife, he deeply regrets it.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Hawkeye spends an entire episode trying to find out what "B.J." stands for. It turns out that's his actual name, given by his parents: Bea and Jay.
Col. Sherman Tecumseh Potter
- Anything but That!: "Enrico Caruso?! The singer? Nix on that!"
- Awesome Mc Coolname
- Bait-and-Switch Tyrant: In his introductory episode. It may have been deliberate, establishing his authority before he settled into the role of Reasonable Authority Figure.
- Badass Bureaucrat: While he doesn't have Radar's seemingly superhuman efficiency, Potter is a master of making the military bureaucracy work for him. That is in part because Col. Potter is on a first-name basis for much of the senior Army brass and can usually persuade them to help him.
- Badass Pacifist: He admits he can't hit the side of a barn with the army-issue sidearm he carries, but his voice is enough to scare his men into submission.
- Berserk Button:
- Cruelty to horses, or even borrowing Sophie without asking. Deliberately used by B.J. and Winchester to get rid of an unwanted companion. In one episode, distressed by the recent death of an old army buddy, he goes on a minor rant about he hates the fact that the main source of meat for South Koreans is horseflesh, which he finds barbaric.
- Only two people ever got away with taking Sophie without permission: Klinger (who was in the midst of an Heroic BSoD after he thought he had reenlisted in the army) and an old Korean cavalry soldier who was just wanting one last ride before he died. Both times, they were forgiven immediately.
- Never, ever put soldiers in danger for your own glory. He shuts down two of his old war buddies that get wounded because they took a line command in the name of promotion or glory - both times, it cost him their friendship. For that matter, he on one occasion got tough with a soldier who wanted to transfer to EOD to impress a couple of jerks in his unit.
- If you value your safety, don't hurt anyone under his command, physically or emotionally. Even if you're related to them.Col. Potter: [to Margaret's father] You're so busy being "Howitzer Al" Houlihan, you couldn't even tell your own daughter you love her?
- Do NOT attempt suicide on his watch.
- Cruelty to horses, or even borrowing Sophie without asking. Deliberately used by B.J. and Winchester to get rid of an unwanted companion. In one episode, distressed by the recent death of an old army buddy, he goes on a minor rant about he hates the fact that the main source of meat for South Koreans is horseflesh, which he finds barbaric.
- Bizarre Taste in Food: He likes raisin cookies, the ones with the stale raisins.
- Also, Fig Newtons and scotch. He even tells Hawkeye they're better when you dunk them.
- Colonel Badass: Potter served in the cavalry World War I, after which he earned a medical degree and served as a surgeon in both World War II and Korea. He is immensely proud of his Good Conduct Medal with gold clasp, which only an enlisted soldier is eligible for; identifying him as an Army mustang—an enlisted man who became an officer (even though it wasn't available when he was an enlisted man).
- Cool Old Guy
- Deadpan Snarker: With particular emphasis on the "deadpan" part.
- Establishing Character Moment: Minutes after he arrived in camp, Klinger presented himself in a dress and rattled off a dozen reasons he should be discharged. Potter utterly deflated him and ordered him to dress in uniform.
- Later, after an episode of Hawkeye worrying this regular army man will be a far harsher taskmaster than Henry, Potter gets drunk with the gang and reveals he was just like Hawkeye in World War II. In fact, his Purple Heart injuries were actually from his still blowing up.
- Fan Boy: of The Western in general and the novels of Zane Grey in particular.
- A Father to His Men: He's a caring leader, who's also old enough to be the father of nearly everyone in the camp.
- Gosh Darn It to Heck!: Played with. He wasn't above dropping a "damn" or "jackass", but he had a long list of alternative phrases for a particular curse: Buffalo-cookies, horse-hockey, bushwah, cattle-chips, road-apples, mule-fritters, etc.
- Happily Married: He loves his wife who must be understanding and supportive. They have grown-up children and form a happy family.
- Heroic BSoD: In "Pressure Points," he loses his confidence because Hawkeye had to operate on one of his patients while he was away. During a briefing about phosphorous-tipped bullets, Potter loses control and howls about when they're going to "stop this stupid war!" He has a slightly lesser case during the episode "Point of View" where he forgot to call his wife on their anniversary. In over forty years of marriage he had never failed to give her a call, no matter where he was.
- Medal of Dishonor: The Purple Heart he won for being wounded in Guam. After all, it's not like he could turn it down and explain that the shrapnel came from his illicit still...
- Military Moonshiner: When stationed in Guam during World War II he had a still. He's experienced enough in moonshining that he gives Hawkeye some tips on how to improve his still.Potter: When I was on Guam, I had a still. One night it blew up! [leans close to the boys] That's how I got my Purple Heart.
- Old Soldier: It plays a part in one episode when he finds out that the last of his old squad has passed away.
- OOC Is Serious Business: About once per season toward the end of the show's run, there'd be an episode in which the usually even-tempered Potter would take a sharp left turn into Grumpy Old Man territory, usually brought on by some personal or marital crisis.
- Parental Substitute: For Margaret, being the father that her own father is too repressed to manage.
- Papa Wolf: He fills in as a father to Radar, but the "Wolf" part comes in when Margaret's distant father comes to visit. When he sees her father's lack of tangible approval and Margaret's need for his respect, he absolutely lays into the man. And when someone in the 4077 is sending reports to I-Corps about how non-regulation the camp is, the pain in his voice when he tells Hawkeye and B.J. about this is heartbreaking. He's absolutely livid when he finds out his son-in-law had an affair on a business trip.
- Reasonable Authority Figure:
- He's career Army like Houlihan, and rather more authoritative and no-nonsense than his predecessor Blake, but still capable of relaxing certain regulations when needed. Including, with morale plummeting and a pair of corpsmen tasked to Kill It with Fire on some infected uniforms going overboard, giving in and instructing the camp to build "one regulation bon-type fire" as a way to blow off steam. Potter might be Regular Army, but he was enough of a Cool Old Guy that Hawkeye and B.J. saluted him in the final show.note
- Team Dad: Takes Henry's place as this, but puts his own spin on it. Potter is a lot more professional than Blake was, but he still manages to be empathic and caring to his men as well as an effecient commander.
- Up Through the Ranks: He started as an enlisted man in World War I.note By the time of the Korean War he's a colonel and surgeon.
- While You Were in Diapers: How Potter tells Flagg off when the latter questions the former's patriotism.
- You Know I'm Black, Right?: He's one-quarter Cherokee, and takes offense to Burns complaining about operating on a North Korean and phrasing it as Hawkeye getting cowboys and he Indians. (As if his middle name weren't a clue.)
Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III
A (very) proud thoracic surgeon and pediatrician from Boston, he was initially stationed in Tokyo. Once Frank was Put on a Bus, the 4077th put in a call for a fourth surgeon. The call was taken by a colonel who Winchester was thoroughly trouncing at cribbage. One ill-timed boast later, and welcome to Uijeongbu. Unlike Burns, Winchester is an excellent surgeon and a real asset to the staff, which makes his hopes of being reassigned back to Tokyo for naught considering how much Col. Potter needs him.
- Actually Pretty Funny: He'll occasionally chuckle at one of Hawkeye's or B.J.'s jabs.
- Badass Boast: In his first episode, he gives one of these to Potter after learning he has to remain at the 4077th:Charles: But, know this: You can cut me off from the civilized world, you can incarcerate me with two moronic cellmates, you can torture me with your thrice-daily swill, but you cannot break the spirit of a Winchester. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness, and I shall be delivered from this fetid and festering sewer. [*smirk*]
- Bald of Awesome: He's a jerk and bald, but his Pet the Dog moments and awesome medical skills make him pretty cool.
- Berserk Button: Don't make fun of stutterers. Chiefly because his dearest sister has a strong one. It's notable that she's completely unconcerned and unselfconscious about it in her audio letter. Also, as a Harvard grad, he does not like being mistaken for a Yalie. To a lesser degree, don't be gauche with food and drink. He seemed physically pained when Klinger thought cognac should be chased with beer and needed to be put in the fridge so it wouldn't spoil. He also took it personally when some black marketeers (who had just ripped him off at gunpoint and stolen his clothes and his jeep) were drinking red wine with stuffed capon. Finally, when Hawkeye was trying to get his goat, the only insult that really bothered him was "Your parents voted for FDR — four times!"
- Also, never, ever, ask him to slander another person to save your skin. It'll take a bit for the button to fully depress, but when it does, you'll get a dose of righteous fury.
- Blue Blood: He comes from a distinguished, old-money White Anglo-Saxon Protestant family from Boston, basically the American version of the aristocracy.
- Break the Haughty: Hawkeye and B.J. constantly tried to do this, but Hawkeye admitted he never was successful when writing his will:"To Charles Emerson Winchester, though we may have wounded your pride, you never lost your dignity. I therefore bequeath to you the most dignified thing I own: my bathrobe. Purple is the color of royalty."
- However, what did finally break him was the death of the Chinese musicians he'd been teaching to play Mozart in the final episode. After learning of it, he suffered a Heroic BSoD and smashed the record of the piece he tried to teach them. Later in the episode, he told the camp during his farewell speech, "For me, music has always been a refuge from this miserable experience... now it will always be a reminder."
- Can't Hold His Liquor: One episode involves him coming back from a medical conference after becoming completely smashed at a party due to spiked punch and quickly becoming the life of it. (When asked how much he had, he grudgingly replies, "Two, three... bowls.")
- Catchphrase: "Gentlemen." Used as his final line in the final episode.
- Extended into a My Friends... and Zoidberg gag a few times with Radar:"Gentlemen... and Corporal."
- Extended into a My Friends... and Zoidberg gag a few times with Radar:
- Character Development: He still favoured Hidden Heart of Gold, but the Winchester of season six probably would have sold Margaret out in No Laughing Matter.
- Compressed Vice: He becomes addicted to amphetamines in "Dr. Winchester and Mr. Hyde".
- Death Seeker: In "The Life You Save", after doing triage while under sniper fire, he discovers two bullet holes in his cap, angled in such a way as to show that if he hadn't tripped and fallen the moment the shooter fired, he'd have died. He becomes obsessed with trying to find out what death is like, interrogating soldiers who were resuscitated and joining front-line aid stations to be in the line of fire.
- Dr. Jerk: Jerk with a Heart of Gold type. That said, he had a reputation to maintain. At one point, he agreed to take Hawkeye's OD duty, so Hawkeye could get some leave, on one condition - that Hawkeye never told anybody that Winchester had done something nice. Mostly because then everyone would start asking him for favors. Overjoyed Hawkeye swears he'll never call him anything but completely rotten.
- Dreadful Musician: Ironically enough, he appears to be one of these, based on his French horn playing in "The Smell of Music".
- Later discussed with a patient whose civilian career was as a classical pianist, but suffered nerve damage to one of his hands in combat. Charles convinces him to continue his career, noting that he has a gift Charles could only dream of.Charles: I could play the notes, but I could never make the music.
- Later discussed with a patient whose civilian career was as a classical pianist, but suffered nerve damage to one of his hands in combat. Charles convinces him to continue his career, noting that he has a gift Charles could only dream of.
- Establishing Character Moment: Several in "Fade Out, Fade In", most notably his Badass Boast to Potter (see above) and turning the tables on Hawkeye in The Tag.
- Also his surgical skills. He's overwhelmed by the frenzied pace of "meatball" surgery, and can't adapt readily ("I do one thing at at a time, I do it very well, and then I move on"). But when a soldier comes in needing an operation the other surgeons have barely heard of before, Winchester steps up and carries it off flawlessly. Later in the series, he chastises a substitute doctor for being too slow, having adapted to "meatball" surgery himself, showing he adapted to the pace.
- Everyone Has Standards: He's pompous, arrogant, classist and a bit of a Social Darwinist, but he's disgusted by a bigoted major who assigns black men in his outfit to more dangerous duties. Also, he's just as desperate if not more so than everyone else to get out of Korea, but he refuses to take the opportunity to leave if it means wrecking Margaret's career in the process, and he rips up a prospective news article about him that could have gotten him transferred because the article wasn't accurate.
- Family Honor: He takes a great deal of pride, not to say excessive pride, in being a Winchester. In "Bottle Fatigue" he's outraged that his sister Honoria would besmirch the family name by getting engaged to... an Italian.
- First-Name Basis: He doesn't mind if his immediate subordinates call him "Charles", so long as they do not use "Charlie" or "Chuck". (Oddly enough, Hawkeye and B.J. usually respected this request.)
- Foil: Though they never met, Winchester was one of these to Frank Burns in so so many ways that as the series went on, it became apparent that leaving the 4077 was the biggest favor Frank did for anyone, starting with their respective skills as doctors.
- Charles was a Harvard grad (a very prestigious school to say the least), worked at a well-regarded hospital before coming to Korea, and was a skilled surgeon to the point that not even being in Boston stopped him from being considered for the Head of Thorastic Surgery. Frank Burns had a private practice, on one occasion admitted to cheating on his exams at med school, and was such a poor doctor it's implied he had been sued for malpractice...more than once.
- Both men were greedy, but Winchester was a Blue Blood from a wealthy family who were known philanthropists while Burns was a middle-class lout who became a doctor strictly for the money (and make his mother happy). It should be noted that the only money-making scheme Charles attempted was to invest in Klinger's hula hoop (legal and legitimate) while Frank once tried to literally sell local South Korean civilians actual garbage (again legal but very immoral).
- Burns was married while having an affair with Major Houlihan while Charles never had a steady romantic relationship throughout the series and only had, and possibly sought, a strictly platonic relationship with Margaret.
- The most notable thing is that the two individuals moved in different directions in terms of Character Development: Frank started out a jerkass with (very) occasional sympathetic moments and only became nastier, more childish and less sympathetic with time, while Charles began as a proud and egotistical man who was repeatedly given opportunities to reveal a deep sense of honor and kindness.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Melancholic
- Gentleman Snarker: Frequently.
- Hahvahd Yahd In My Cah: Has a rather noticeable Boston accent.
- Happy Place: Listening to classical music is his mental escape from the war... until the finale, when tragic circumstances turn it into a reminder.
- Heroic BSoD:
- "The Life You Save" has him suffering one of these after discovering he was nearly killed by a sniper.
- And, of course, his reaction to the death of the Chinese musicians in the finale.
- Heroic Self-Deprecation: He tells Hawkeye and B.J. not too expect too much out of a movie that his hometown banned for being obscene, saying that they also banned Pinnochio.
- Hidden Depths: His love of music, yet saddened by his inability to play musical instruments. He also has a very well hidden generous side, is respectful to those who earn his respect, loyal, and can be surprisingly compassionate when he thinks nobody will notice.
- Insufferable Genius: Winchester is a great surgeon... the problem is that he knows this all too well, and acts accordingly.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Winchester can be obnoxious, pompous and egotistical, but everyone eventually learns that, in addition to being a far better doctor, he is also of better person than Frank Burns.
- One Christmas Episode is the shining example — throughout the episode, everyone thinks of Winchester as a creep because when the 4077th hosted a group of Korean orphans with a potluck dinner, Winchester's contribution was a meager tin of smoked oysters. However, Winchester had anonymously donated a large amount of hand-poured gourmet chocolate to the same orphanage a day previously. Winchester argues vehemently with the orphanage owner when he finds out that the chocolate was not given to the children but instead sold to the black market. He calms down (and even approves) when the owner explains why he did it — the chocolate would have made the children momentarily happy, but the sale generated enough money to buy enough staple foods for the orphanage for a month.Charles: And what, pray tell, is the catch of the day?Klinger: Oh, just one catch, Major. The source of this Christmas dinner must remain anonymous. It's an old family tradition.
- He passes up the chance to get the one thing he wants most - a transfer out of the unit and back to Tokyo - because it would involve destroying Margaret's career.Charles: As painful as this is for me to say, I must nevertheless unequivocally state...that...[whimper] Colonel Baldwin is lying through his teeth. He offered to have me reassigned to Tokyo if I would bear false witness against Major Houlihan. [turns to Baldwin] I've groveled! I have endured your insufferable cribbage playing. I have kissed your brass. But I will not — even for a return to that pearl of the Orient, Tokyo — lie to protect you while destroying a friend's career!
- In another episode, he dresses down an Engineer Captain who's been mercilessly making fun of a private with a severe stutter, going so far as to threaten the captain's service record to get him to stop. Winchester then goes out of his way to befriend the private to help him get over his self-consciousness.
- In the episode "Sons and Bowlers", he commiserates with Hawkeye over Hawk's dad going into surgery, sitting with him most of the night as Hawkeye anxiously awaits the call telling him how the operation went, and is visibly overjoyed when he hears that it turned out well.
- One Christmas Episode is the shining example — throughout the episode, everyone thinks of Winchester as a creep because when the 4077th hosted a group of Korean orphans with a potluck dinner, Winchester's contribution was a meager tin of smoked oysters. However, Winchester had anonymously donated a large amount of hand-poured gourmet chocolate to the same orphanage a day previously. Winchester argues vehemently with the orphanage owner when he finds out that the chocolate was not given to the children but instead sold to the black market. He calms down (and even approves) when the owner explains why he did it — the chocolate would have made the children momentarily happy, but the sale generated enough money to buy enough staple foods for the orphanage for a month.
- "London, England" Syndrome: A Running Gag has him run into this repeatedly whenever he tries to contact his family in Boston.
- Lonely Rich Kid / Parental Neglect: Hinted at. In one episode he admits to Hawkeye that he and his father have never been that close emotionally, while in another he tells Sidney Freedman that "I had my fill of psychiatrists by the age of nine".Charles: [to Hawkeye] My father's a good man. He always wanted the best for me. But, where I have a father... you have a dad.
- Neat Freak: Although the "Pressure Points" episode has him deliberately becoming The Pig-Pen as revenge against Hawkeye and B.J.'s slovenly housekeeping.
- Not So Above It All: He's just as capable of pranking as Hawkeye and B.J. are. In his first appearance, he even turns the tables on them with a snake-in-the-cot prank. He even would collude with pretty much the entire camp to help teach Hawkeye a lesson in one episode.
- In one episode he admits to enjoying Tom and Jerry cartoons, as well as The Three Stooges.
- In another, he finds himself giggling at the awful jokes a member of a visiting USO unit makes. He insists to Hawkeye (who didn't find the jokes funny at all) that they're not funny.Hawkeye: Then why are you laughing?Charles: [chuckling a little more] I don't know!
- Possibly his Ur-Example was pretending to help the paranoid Colonel Flagg investigate a supposed security leak at the camp...all the while setting Flagg up to embarrass himself by accusing not only Colonel Potter, but the Mayor and the Chief of Police of Uijeongbu.Charles: [chuckling]Hawkeye: Charles, you didn't have anything to do with this, did you?Charles: Who, me? Course not. Wouldn't dirty my hands. Unless, of course, [begins to crack up] I could get a good laugh out of it. [loses it completely]
- On a subtler level, Charles complained about having to do "meatball surgery" instead of being able to take his time as he would in a stateside operating theater. Later in the series, he admonishes a younger, visiting doctor that he can't take it slow operating on patients.
- Number Two: The camp's executive officer after Burns' departure.
- Officer and a Gentleman: Sometimes the gentleman would cause the jerkass behavior; sometimes it would be used to crack the jerkass shell.
- Odd Friendship: Over the character's tenure, he and Klinger went from mutual disdain to something like respect.
- Old-School Chivalry: In one episode, he does not want to talk to Radar's elderly mother, angrily protesting when asked to. However, when he does so, he quickly switches to his polite, gentlemanly, and proper tone as he speaks to her.
- Out-of-Character Moment: Screwing over Korean peasants by buying scrip for a tenth of its value in "Change Day". This is nothing like blue blood, old money Charles, who later anonymously donates candies to an orphanage. It feels more like something Frank or Klinger might do. In fact, it almost plays like (and may in fact have been) a leftover Frank script that had the names changed.
- Same with the sequence early in Charles' appearances that had him giving a sedative to a wounded man without checking the label first to see if the technician gave him the right stuff. As it turned out, she hadn't, and the fellow almost died. Charles' excuse was the lack of light bulbs in post-op, but he hadn't even bothered to take the bottle over to where he could read it beforehand. He's also whiny and blame-shifting about it afterwards, which Hawkeye calls him on. This is completely unlike Charles, who'd already been shown to follow proper medical protocol even if it slowed things down, and may have been a rewritten Frank story.
- Pet the Dog: Frequently. Almost every few episodes. See Jerk with a Heart of Gold above.
- The Proud Elite: He comes from a distinguished American old-money Boston family, which is the American version of Blue Blood. He's an extremely competent surgeon, Insufferable Genius and Dr. Jerk, though frequently revealed to be of the Jerk with a Heart of Gold variety. He had several Pet the Dog moments and often showed his softer side (his love for his dearest sister, helping Korean orphans in one Christmas Episode, or secretly helping Hawkeye so that he could take a leave)
- Reasonable Authority Figure: In another contrast to Burns, he's usually one of these when acting as C.O. in Potter's absence, letting the staff go about their usual business without interference. Well, save for appointing Klinger as his personal valet.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: He tries to employ this on occasion, though never to any avail.
- In "Fade Out, Fade In", when he protests to Col. Potter about being permanently assigned to the 4077:Charles: Sir, my father knows Harry Truman. He doesn't like him, but he knows him.Potter: [sarcastically] Fine. You have Dad call Harry, then have Harry call me, and then we'll work something out.
- In "The Winchester Tapes", as he records a taped message to his parents:Charles: Father, you must know someone influential who can get me out of here. Talk to Senator Griswold. After all, you paid good money for him.
- In "Fade Out, Fade In", when he protests to Col. Potter about being permanently assigned to the 4077:
- Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Frequently. Hawkeye impersonates him on the phone in one episode and resorts to using made-up words.
- Smart People Know Latin: Invoked and amusingly subverted. In "Snappier Judgment", Winchester defends Klinger at a court-martial for allegedly stealing a camera. At one point during the proceedings he objects on the grounds of "unum piliolae, acidus salicilicus tres in diem, post cibum"... which, as the presiding officer points out, translates to "aspirin three times a day".
- This is actually sort of justified, since this was exactly the way medical schools taught prescription dispensation for decades. It's a very legitimate and smart way of knowing some Latin, just not judicial Latin, and Charles was unfortunate enough to run into someone else who knew it.
- Smart People Play Chess: Occasionally seen playing chess against himself to pass his long periods of boredom in-between heavy casualties. He played it against Hawkeye and B.J. as well, usually winning without much difficulty.
- Smug Snake: Occasionally, whenever the writers wanted to emphasize his jerkass tendencies.
- Sophisticated as Hell: At the end of "The Winchester Tapes":Charles: [recording a taped letter for his parents] Mother and Dad, I will put this as eloquently and succinctly as possible... [stopping to pour tea, only to find B.J. has stuffed a rubber chicken into his teapot] Get me the HELL out of here!
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Subverted in his first episode; everyone who encounters his Dr. Jerk side assumes that he's the new Frank Burns, until they see him operate and realise that he really is just that good.
- Throughout his first season, he kind of dances around it, Depending on the Writer. Some episodes were clearly written with Frank in mind, making Charles greedy and conniving and trying to set him into the same role as Frank, making him a very slow surgeon instead of a bad surgeon and setting up a romance with Houlihan. This was quickly abandoned.
- Unsportsmanlike Gloating: What got him assigned to the 4077th. His cribbage partner Colonel Baldwin was in the middle of fielding a personnel request from Potter but was interrupted by Charles pointing out there'd been an error in the math: Baldwin didn't owe Charles $672.11, he owes him $672.17.
- What the Hell, Hero?: "Comrades in Arms" gets him in big trouble when Klinger finally manages to get through to a general that can send someone out to find Pierce and Houlihan, who are both trapped behind enemy lines during a North Korean offensive. Winchester tries to take advantage of it to get a transfer out while Klinger runs to get Potter, then ends up hanging up in a fit of pique when the general refuses to transfer him to Tokyo. When B.J. and Potter find out they are not pleased, especially when they'd been waiting nearly an entire day to get through to that general.
- Wine Is Classy: It was bad enough that the Korean black market crooks double crossed him and Father Mulcahy, robbed them of their goods (including the wine and gourmet food Winchester donated), their jeep, Winchester's uniform and polar suit — leaving him in only his long underwear — and refused to turn over the much-needed pentothal they came for; what really disgusted him about them was seeing them drink the red wine with stuffed capons!note
Pvt. Igor Straminsky
The long-suffering mess hall and kitchen staffer, who tends to cope the bulk of the camp's disgust-fueled abuse over the lousy quality of their rations.
- The Bartender: When not in the mess hall he sometimes tends bar at the officer's club.
- Butt-Monkey: Whenever people are upset about the food, they always take it out on him. And he has to listen all of their complaints before he can eat any of the food himself. After putting up with it for so long, he finally calls them out in "Morale Victory".
- Camp Cook/Lethal Chef: Although technically, he merely serves the awful food rather than cooking it. (The actual cook, a Sgt. Pernelli, was mostly unseen but did appear in a few later-season episodes.)
- The Ditz: He's frequently portrayed as a mild version of this. Most notably, in one episode revolving around the celebrations of a year spent in Korea, he takes the ears of corn lovingly grown by Father Mulcahy and creams them, affrontedly suggesting that next time he'll just roast them on the cob (which is what Mulcahy and the others had wanted in the first place) when he sees the Irish priest's angry disbelief. HE also washes his hands before digging latrines instead of afterwards.
- Dumb, but Diligent: He's not gonna win any medals for intelligence, but Igor is competent and hard-working enough that no one complains about him (they just complain about everything else his job entails).
- Never My Fault: He takes out his frustrations at not getting promoted on Hawkeye (one of the members of the promotion committee) despite the fact that he was unfit for promotion as shown during his oral exam when he couldn't answer basic Army questions that even a civilian would know.
- Sudden Name Change: In the "Bug Out" episode he's addressed as "Sowkowitz" by Hawkeye and B.J.
- In one episode, Frank demands his name. The actor accidentally gave his real last name of Maxwell and Larry Linville decided to Throw It In! and kept going.
Staff Sgt. Zelmo Zale
One of the minor sergeants who were part of the 4077's staff, originating from New York. Officially, he was rostered as the unit's supply sergeant. Appeared rarely, mostly notable for his bickering with Klinger and his hot temper.
- Alliterative Name: Zelmo Zale.
- Arch-Enemy: He and Klinger had a long-running feud.
- Brooklyn Rage: Very much a hot-blooded New Yorker.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: After his last appearance (which comes in Radar's farewell episode, coincidentally enough) he vanishes without explanation.
- Gadgeteer Genius: Claims to be one, but his invention ends up failing spectacularly and injuring Hawkeye.
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: With Klinger starting in the episode "End Run", when Klinger refuses to take part in a bar fight at Rosie's despite Zale himself sitting out the fight. Since then, Zale will often mock Klinger's cross-dressing, his other attempts to get discharged, or Toledo itself to the point where Klinger snaps and gets into a brawl with him.
Staff Sgt. Luther Rizzo
The unit's motor pool sergeant. A lazy, unambitious, sluggard from Louisiana who joined the Army because he thought it was a perfectly good skive. As he puts it, where else but the Army can you be a bum and actually get paid for it?
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Downplayed. He seems to be asleep whenever he's on duty, drunk or gambling whenever he's not, but the motor pool is always ready to go. He's also a pretty good teacher as all of the students who take his remedial driving course pass the written exam with high scores on the first try (except Col. Potter, who slept through most of it).
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: While normally laid back, he's pretty tough on the people he works through re-qualifying for their driver's licenses. At least until he finds out Colonel Potter (who he's terrified of flunking or shouting at) is in his latest class.
- Lazy Bum: He's often sleeping on the job and openly boasts that he joined the army to get paid for being a bum.
- Loan Shark: He puts the bite on Winchester (at 100% interest per day) in "That Darn Kid".
- Sleepyhead: Uses his assignment in the motor pool as an excuse to spend the day sleeping underneath the Jeeps that he's ostensibly repairing.Rizzo: Could you hold it down? There are people trying to work—Oh my gosh, it's night. Could you hold it down? There are people trying to sleep.
- Simple-Minded Wisdom: Not very bright, but he does show moments of wisdom like when he gives Klinger advice about how to handle army life.
- Southern Fried Sergeant: A sergeant with a thick southern accent and mannerisms.
- This Is Gonna Suck: He is not happy to find out that Colonel Potter is in his driving class.
Lt. Kealani Kellye
The most prominent recurring nurse character, a Japanese-Hawaiian (or, in "Life Time," a Chinese-Hawaiian).
- A Day in the Limelight: "Hey, Look Me Over", the last season premiere, centers around her. Her actress was well-liked among the cast, so Alan Alda surprised her with the episode.
- Alliterative Name: Kealani Kellye
- Ascended Extra: Originally a background character, Kellye began to get more exposure and dialogue in the show's later years, culminating in a well-regarded A Day in the Limelight episode.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: This was the point of her A Day in the Limelight episode ("Hey, Look Me Over"), showing Hawkeye being a Jerkass to her (through seeing right through her and ignoring her) just because she doesn't measure up to Hawkeye's standards of beauty.
- Girlish Pigtails: Her favored hairstyle.
- Sudden Name Change: AND HOW! As an extra, she was called "Nurse Able" or "Nurse Baker", which were the placeholder names for any generic nurses in the scripts (she shared the names with the other regular background nurses, as it was apparently assigned to whichever nurse had a line in the particular episode). As her character started to expand, she was assigned differing names — one episode she was Nurse Yamato, in another, she was Nurse Nakahara, before the writers finally settled on "Kealani Kellye".
Maj. Sidney Freedman
A psychiatrist assigned to the 121st EVAC Hospital in Seoul, he frequently visits the 4077 to assist on difficult cases... and to get in on the occasional poker game.
- Ambiguously Jewish: During an episode where a soldier thinks he is Jesus, this exchange takes place:B.J.: Come to see your savior?Sidney: Mine? No. Yours?B.J.: Who knows?
- A Day in the Limelight:
- "Dear Sigmund" is narrated by him as a "letter" to Freud.
- "War of Nerves" also gives him considerable focus.
- Book-Ends: In his first appearance on the show, he exits the scene by telling the doctors, "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice. Pull down your pants, and slide on the ice."note In the series finale, after deeming Hawkeye mentally fit, and knowing this will probably be the last time he sees everyone in the 4077th, he deliberately invokes this by once again exiting with that line.
- Deadpan Snarker: Not all the time, but when he's in the mood he can more than hold his own with Hawkeye and company. For instance, on being confronted with Klinger in his first appearance, he loses it a little:"You got me up here to ask about him? About that?... All the way from Seoul, to ask me what? Whether he needs a girdle under that? Whether his seams are straight?"
- Despair Event Horizon: In "War of Nerves", when it turns out one of Sidney's patients committed suicide. Father Mulcahy notes they're Not So Different.Sidney: When Pierce and Hunnicutt lose one, he's out of his misery. When I lose one, I've lost a mind.Mulcahy: When I lose one, I've lost a soul.
- Guest-Star Party Member: Occasionally joins the team to assist them with healing troubled patients, including one shift in the O.R. actually performing surgery.
- Hero of Another Story: He's very much like Hawkeye in terms of morals and ethics, just one from a different field of medicine and from a different unit.
- Honorary True Companion: The 4077th seem to regard Sidney as one of their own, even though he's not stationed with them. He nevertheless fits right in with them due to the similarities he shares with them.
- Layman's Terms: Freedman states that in his personal diagnosis of Flagg, he's "spooky".
- Meaningful Echo: As he's bidding farewell in the final episode, he repeats a line he'd used in Season 3's "O.R." when he first appeared. Alan Alda noted in the reunion special that he personally selected this line as Sidney's departing line because it was the one that resonated best."You know, I told you people something a long time ago, and it's just as pertinent today as it was then. Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice: Pull down your pants and slide on the ice."
- My Nayme Is: As Hawkeye explains to Col. Flagg in one episode, Sidney's surname is spelled "with two 'E's, as in 'freedom'".
- Not So Different:
- Admits on more than one occasion that his work is very similar to the "meatball surgery" the regulars do - fix the damage as best you can without worrying about neatness or long-term issues, then move on to the next case. He treats folks to help get them out of immediate danger (such as using hypnosis on an Asian-American soldier to channel his Death Seeker tendencies into a more harmless physical tic), but says many of his patients will need much more help than he can provide them in the short-term.
- Also the similarity of his work to Father Mulcahy's, as detailed above.
- Not That Kind of Doctor: Technically, he is, although he's very hesitant to help with surgery in "O.R." when the camp is having a crisis, saying he hasn't done any sort of surgery since medical school. He's still able to help by taking the less serious cases.(Some fans have wondered about this over the years, but as a psychiatrist, Sidney actually is an M.D.; he attended medical school and would have trained at least basic surgery before deciding on a specialty. Psychologists are the ones who have Ph.D's, not medical degrees.)
- Only Sane Man: Occasionally.
- Open Heart Dentistry: In "O.R." he has to lend a hand in surgery due to the 4077 overflowing with casualties. He helps out with simpler procedures and closing patients up and notes that it's been a very long time since he actually used these skills.
- The Shrink: Awesome variety. Psychology Today once lauded him as the "best TV shrink ever".
- Sudden Name Change: Freedman's first name is given as "Milton" in his initial appearance. (Perhaps the change was made so viewers wouldn't confuse him with the economist Milton Friedman?)
- There Are No Therapists: Thanks to him, averted. Though he mentions at least once that he could use a therapist sometimes. He has his own breakdown prior to "Dear Sigmund," due to the workload and losing cases due to the strain the war was putting on his patients.
- Took a Level in Kindness: In his first appearance, Sidney enjoys trolling Klinger and is somewhat apathetic. In later appearances, he's generally a friendly, compassionate guy to everyone and hopes that someday Klinger can get out on his own terms.
- Tough Love: Like the surgeons with their meatball surgery, he has to get his patients (and Hawkeye) ready to function again and can't do much more.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: Drops tuchus on occasion. Justified if, as suggested above, he's Jewish.
Lt. Col. (later Col.) Sam Flagg
A psychopathic governmental intelligence agent (read: spy) who occasionally blows through the 4077, always on the look-out for Communist subversives and so paranoidedly overzealous that the doctors took a delight in leading him headlong into disasters of his own making.
- CIA Evil, FBI Good: Although he keeps it a little fuzzy who he works for in his first appearance, the writers eventually settled on him being CIA.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Hard to believe otherwise. Likely his defense against the Red Scare. He's so secretive that by his own word even he doesn't know the truth, keeping himself in a state of total confusion.
- Flanderization: His goofier antics showed up later in the series.
- Gung Holier Than Thou: The Trope Namer.
- Harmless Villain: He's more dangerous to himself than anyone else, and when Potter took charge he made it fairly clear that he tolerated Flagg's shenanigans because in the end he wasn't likely to do any actual damage to the unit or the patients.
- Incredibly Obvious Tail: He is a master of this.
- Iron Butt-Monkey: Flagg has been known to injure himself on purpose simply to make his charade convincing. Hawkeye lampshades this in an episode while referring to a previous one, saying "If we had more guys like you, we'd have less guys like you."
- Shown to a triumphant degree in one of his earliest appearances, where he wrecks the VIP Tent and himself, both on purpose to make it look like a soldier he'd let go escaped violently. It gets so absurd that at the climax of the scene, we see Flagg judging the best angle of attack before rushing headfirst into a cabinet!
- Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique: It's implied that he uses this when given the opportunity.
- Actually shown (and out of character for Flagg, played chillingly straight) in one episode, where he tries to interrogate a recovering North Korean by bending his IV line, saying "You give me what I need, and I'll give you what you need." Radar, of all people, stops him, exclaiming "You can't just go around threatening people's blood!"
- Jerkass: He's an aggressively domineering, demeaning, arrogant boor of a man.
- Master of Disguise: He likes to think he is this, and gets really upset whenever anyone sees through his disguise. Still doesn't keep the others from mocking his attempts, however.Charles: Oh Colonel Flagg. Sorry, I didn't recognize you without your garbage can. Don't you have a dark one for evening?
- Also:Potter: Nice suit. Your clown outfit in the cleaners?
- Noodle Incident: Anything he mentions usually is one of these. Apparently he was a showgirl in Vegas at the Sands for six weeks. And he's going to need that cover of Louise Kline next week in Tokyo. The MP crew that shows up in his last appearance apparently are familiar with him hunting for spies where there aren't any.
- Patriotic Fervor: He even manages to outdo Frank Burns in the jingoism department.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Puts Frank to shame with the racism, and recoils with disgust when Hawkeye does his flirty thing.Hawkeye: Take me, I'm yours.Flagg: I knew it you're one of those too.
- Spy Speak: Part of his comedic act was constantly using this. He sent a telegram to his superiors - at a P.O. Box in Tijuana."Mary had a little lamb. My dog has fleas. Mairzy doats and dozy doats and I'll be home for Christmas. Your loving son, Queen Victoria."
- Stealth Hi/Bye: He thinks he's good at this but always fails miserably.Hawkeye: The "wind" just broke his leg!
- Sudden Name Change: Edward Winter first appeared in Season 2's "Deal Me Out" as a CID man named Captain Halloran. It's Fanon that the character is really Flagg using one of his many aliases.
- In Season 4's "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?", Flagg encounters Sidney Freedman, telling him, "We played poker once." This further supports the theory that Flagg and Halloran are one and the same, since the latter had indeed played poker with Sidney in "Deal Me Out".
- Too Kinky to Torture: Hard to tell if it's an actual fetish, but Flagg seems extremely willing to do physical violence to himself at the slightest prompting. Over the course of the show, he purposely crashed a helicopter, broke his own arm (twice!), and bashed his head into a wooden cabinet—all in the line of duty, of course. He also mentioned that he trained himself not to laugh by poking himself with a cattleprod while watching shorts from The Three Stooges. Another intelligence officer mentioned that Flagg once drove his jeep into a wall and set himself on fire.Hawkeye: If we had more men like you, we'd have less men like you.
- You Look Familiar: Edward Winter appeared in the Season 2 episode "Deal Me Out" as Captain Halloran from the CID. Since he's a spy, Captain Halloran could have easily been Flagg in disguise; it's never confirmed, but it is lampshaded in Season 4's "Quo Vadis, Captain Chandler?":Col. Flagg: (to Sidney Freeman): I'm Colonel Flagg, we played poker together once.
The owner of a small bar situated just outside the 4077, she provided a refuge for many of its personnel away from the routine of the camp.
- A Day in the Limelight: Rosie and her bar have been the focus of a couple episodes most notably "A Night At Rosie's" where Hawkeye B.J. and an increasing number of staff members end up partying.
- Bar Brawl: Naturally as you can't have a bar with people occasionally getting into fights, most of them are mentioned second hand but a few of the main cast have been known to get involved.
- Deadpan Snarker: She's full of quips and retorts about both her staff and her customers.
- Good-Guy Bar:
- Local Hangout: The main hotspot for the staff at the 4077 besides the Officer's Club.
Lt. Col. Donald Penobscott
An officer from a wealthy family whom Margaret meets and falls in love with whilst on leave; the relationship is so sincere that they are eventually married, something that causes Frank Burns to have a mental breakdown. Unfortunately for Major Houlihan, the Lt. Colonel is an adulterous tightass who tries to dominate her and steals her paychecks whilst sleeping around behind her back, an abuse that eventually pushes her to the extent of divorcing him.
- Blue Blood: Apparently. Which doesn't stop him from being a tightfisted cheapskate.
- Big Ol' Unibrow: Hawkeye indicated that he had one, but it wasn't there in his two appearances (For that matter neither was the tattoo on his bicep that Margaret had mentioned.).
- Financial Abuse: His system with Margaret is she sends him every paycheck and in return, he sends her an allowance of thirty dollars a week (Adjusted for inflation, equal to $263.16 up to $291.26 depending on what year of the war you're adjusting for), ostensibly so they can buy their dream house after the war's over. When there's a goof up with the pay, and Margaret appeals to him for a week's advance, he refuses to give her a penny. By the way, he and his family are supposed to be rich.
- The Ghost: For nearly all of Season 5 until his appearance in "Margaret's Marriage".
- The Scrooge: Margaret calls him "conservative." Everyone else calls him cheap.
Capt. Sam Pak
- Deadpan Snarker: His mouth was even faster than Hawkeye's.
- Special Guest: He only appeared in two Season 2 episodes.
- Surprisingly Good English: Given he's supposed to be a South Korean officer.
- Yiddish as a Second Language: Mostly a case of Throw It In! as Pat Morita would pepper his lines with Yiddish.
Capt. Calvin Spalding
A singing, guitar-playing surgeon who appears in three Season 3 episodes.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: He vanishes after season 3.
- Deadpan Snarker: In "Big Mac", he sings Henry and Frank the special ditty he's composed for Gen. MacArthur's imminent visit to the 4077th, and it's a masterpiece of smart-assedry.Well, it's not Corregidor, you know, it's only Korea
It's a lousy little war, but we'd still love to see ya
And I'm sure we can scrounge up a beach
And you can splash in and give us a speech
With your corncob pipe and your five gold stars.
- Greek Chorus: He kind of serves as this.
- Shout-Out: His name clearly derives from Groucho's character in the Marx Brothers' Animal Crackers.
- Special Guest
Sgt. (later Pvt.) Jerry (later Jack) Scully
A front-line infantryman who turns up a few times as a potential suitor for Margaret.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: Scully is a decent enough guy for the most part, but in his third and final appearance he's revealed to have severely retrograde (if not uncommon for The '50s) notions about gender roles, which is what finally leads Margaret to break things off with him.
- Rank Up: Inverted in his third and last appearance, when he's been busted down to a private for punching an officer.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In his first appearance (in "A Night at Rosie's") he's AWOL from the front line, explaining that he "decided to go away for a little rest" after an especially intense battle.
- Sergeant Rock: Based on his own descriptions he fills this role.
- Sudden Name Change: His first name is "Jerry" in his first appearance and "Jack" in the other two.
The camp PA announcer
- Catchphrase: "Attention, all personnel..."
- Deadpan Snarker: Frequently.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: He sometimes will even break the fourth wall during the credits.
- No Name Given: Not once are we given his name or rank.
- Not So Above It All: Even he once got involved in a prank at B.J.'s expense... quickly apologizing once B.J. realized what happened, of course.
- The Voice: Nor do we ever see him, although both Todd Susman and Sal Viscuso had onscreen appearances as different characters.
Family of the 4077
Daniel Pierce M.D.
- Death by Despair: Pissed off with being unpersoned and the army taking forever to sort out their foul up, Hawkeye rants that his dad will age a couple of years for every day he thinks Hawkeye is dead. (Hawkeyes mom clearly being dead at this point too.)
- Doting Parent: Hawkeye was apparently strange even as a kid (being able to repress trauma at seven years old for example) and that his dad was always kind to him, except one time where he found Hawkeye at fourteen in bed with a girl. "Sons And Bowlers" has him gently tell his dad that hes not ten years old anymore.
- The Ghost: The most frequently mentioned family member (as his son was effective the main character) and yet has never been seen not even in photos or flashbacks.
- The Lost Lenore: His unnamed wife died when Hawkeye was 10 and has been alone to all these years. He did try to get back into the dating game and even met a nice woman but Hawkeye didn't approve and so ended it. It was one of the biggest regrets Hawkeye has ever had seeing how lonely his father is.
The McIntyre Family
- Played By: None
- The Ghost: They are never shown throughout the first three seasons and eventually no longer mentioned after Trapper John left the show.
- Played By: Kathleen Hughes
- Happier Home Movie: She is shown in a home movie that Henry shows Hawkeye, Trapper and Radar during "Dear Dad...Three." As a gag, she tacks on a movie from when Henry was home, showing him fooling around with the neighbors.
Col. Alvin "Howitzer Al" Houlihan
- Afraid of Blood: He's overcome by the massive amount of blood and chaos in the O.R. and quickly leaves which his daughter thinks is because of a disappointment in her nursing staff.
- So Proud of You: As he's leaving the camp, "Howitzer" orders his driver to stop so he can tell Margaret how proud he is of her and makes plans to meet in Tokyo a month later.
- Unmanly Secret: He can't stand the sight of blood and the fact he's a career army Colonel makes himself feel ashamed even more.
- What the Hell, Hero?: Gets called out by Colonel Potter for letting Margaret think he's leaving out of disappointment in her rather than being honest about the fact he can't stand the sight of blood.
- Played By: Jeanne Schulherr
- Awful Wedded Life: If their wedding film and Frank's extramarital affairs are any indication, then Frank and Louise's marriage is this.
- Cuckold: She is the frequent, unknowing victim of Frank's constant infidelity.
- Marriage of Convenience: Frank clearly married her for her family's money.
- The Stoic: She never smiled once throughout their wedding film.
- Played By: Gary Burghoff
- Strong Family Resemblance: She basically looks like Radar in drag.
- Played By: None
- The Ghost: He never appears throughout Radar's time in the series.
GeneralKlinger's rather large and eccentric family.
- Massive Numbered Siblings: Klinger himself is an only child but makes references to a huge number of aunts and uncles who provide a connection whenever he or the camp needs something.
- Noodle Incident: Klinger will bring up some little tale or anecdote about his family.
- Everybody Knew Already: For most of the time he was in Korea, Klinger had his mother convinced he was stationed at Fort Dix, New Jersey not wanting her to live with the fear he was gonna die...At least thats what he thought. He surprised to learn she knew the whole time and never let on because she [his mother] didn't want him to worry about her.Klinger: [smiling] Boy I could never get one past her.
- Hidden Depths: A Season 7 episode reveals she's been studying for some time to become a real estate broker.
- Hope Bringer: The one thing keeping B.J. running into the mine field is the knowledge that Peg and their daughter are waiting for him back in San Francisco.
- Innocently Insensitive: On occasion her letters, filled with fun anecdotes, rub B.J. the wrong way mainly because he's not there to enjoy them with her. B.J. tends to blow things out of proportion such as being upset the rain gutters needed to be cleaned and he forgot to tell her
- Children Are Innocent: She rather adorably called one of her father's friends "Daddy" due to his Army Uniform not knowing the significance that it was the first time she called anyone that and it wasn't B.J.
- When You Coming Home, Dad?: Many of B.J.'s most vulnerable and emotional moments comes whenever he is faced with the fact that he's missing on some of his daughters most important most moments. Period of Adjustment saw him break down upon learning that she was now walking and talking.
Mildred PotterLongtime and patient wife of Col. Potter whom he married back in 1923, her picture sits on the right side of his desk.
- Supreme Chef: According to her husband, Mildred is the best cook around.
GeneralCharles family consisting of his father, mother, and sister Honoria.
- Blue Bloods: An old money family hailing from Boston.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Charles invites them to a "reunion" party for the camp's family members of the camp's staff, he completely reassured in himself they wouldn't go. To his surprise/horror, they decide to attend to meet the loved ones of the people most important in their son's life at the moment, despite Charles complaining about said people and the conditions of the camp in numerous letters.
- Not So Above It All: They got along best with Radar's family, and enjoy some decidedly lowbrow entertainment.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Early episodes have Charles repeatedly stating or making efforts to have his family's money get him out of Korea to no avail.
- Parents as People: A good man according to Winchester but their relationship is distant at best to the point Charles has shown to be jealous of the relationship, the "warmth," between Hawkeye and his father.
- The Ghost: By far the least-talked about member of the Winchester Family.
- Maiden Namedebate: Her maiden name being Emerson, Charles' name means that she likely hyphenated after marrying Charles' father.
- Affectionate Nickname: Downplayed as she refers to Winchester as her "Dear Brother Charles" in her recordings to him.
- Hidden Depths: After several seasons its revealed that she has a stutter in the episode Run For The Money.
- Maligned Mixed Marriage: She was going to marry "an Italian" and someone below her station as Charles saw it though the wedding was called off. Interestingly, it was the groom's family forbid because of their faith and no mentioned is made of how their parents reacted.
- Speech Impediment: Honoria has a marked stutter — but judging by her tape to Charles, she's unselfconscious about it.
- The Voice: The only contact viewers ever had with her was an audio-tape letter to her brother.
Capt. Jonathan Tuttle
- The Ace: "The best damn OD we ever had", according to Col. Blake.
- All Germans Are Nazis: Played with. A jealous Frank (before becoming Tuttle's new best friend) thinks Tuttle is a Nazi (despite being from Michigan) for having gone to a German medical school.
- Character as Himself: Is billed this way.
- Crazy-Prepared: How he died jumping out of a helicopter with everything a surgeon needs... except his parachute.
- Druid: Reformed. ("They're allowed to pray at bushes.")
- Heroic Sacrifice: Hawkeye claims he jumped out of a plane to conduct field surgery, but forgot his parachute.
- Imaginary Friend: Tuttle was originally one of these this in Hawkeye's childhood.Hawkeye: If anybody said, "Who knocked over the garbage?" I said, "Tuttle." They said, "Who broke that window?" "Tuttle." "Who wet the bed?"Trapper: "Tuttle!"Hawkeye: He had no control at all.Trapper: So, when you got drafted...Hawkeye: He got drafted.Trapper: Just in case you wet your cot.Hawkeye: Precisely.
- Invented Individual: Hawkeye and Trapper do this so they can help Korean civilians.
- Mr. Fanservice: Hard to say for sure, considering the above trope, but his physical description — 180 pounds, 6'4", auburn hair, hazel eyes — certainly gets Margaret interested.Trapper: [As Hawkeye rattles off the description he's writing down] Hawkeye, I think I'm in love.
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Hawkeye describes him as such during his eulogy, especially in his actions to donate 14 months worth of pay and his GI insurance to the orphanage.
General Bartford Hamilton Steele
- Played By: Harry Morgan
- Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He has to be, considering a man like him managed to rise through the ranks to become a general.
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Oh, most definitely. Whether he's always been like that or has only recently become senile or shell-shocked is unclear.
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: He's got the personality and the voice of one.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: He has two brothers (a senator and another general), who presumably pull some strings to keep him from being discipliend after his insanity becomes obvious.
Lt. General Robert "Iron Guts" Kelly
- Played By: James Gregory
- A Father to His Men: Kelly seemed less strict or by-the-book towards compared to any other generals who visited the M*A*S*H.
- Frontline General: He leads from the front, although unlike many similar examples on the show there's no indication that he gets his men needlessly endangered in the process.
- Death by Sex: He dies of a heart attack while having a "visit" with Margaret in her tent.
- Of Corpse He's Alive: His death is covered up in this manner for several hours by his aide and the doctors as they try to find a way to make it look as though he died in battle to preserve his legacy.
Dr. Syn Palik/Captain Cho-wan Ho
- Played By: Soon-Tek Oh
- Friendly Enemy: His first scene has him telling the doctors his prognosis of American soldiers and begging them to help the ones he identified as most critical. The main premise of the episode has him effectively defect from North Korea to join the camp's medical staff.Dr. Palik: You know I wish circumstances would be different and we could work together.Hawkeye:[surprised] You'd be willingly to do that?Dr. Palik: If you can treat the enemy,[shrugs] why can't I?
- Graceful Loser: He takes the end of the deception with rueful acceptance.
- Irony: He's a North Korean but shows more compassion for enemy soldiers than a member of the American army medical staff (the "good guys"). Granted that member was Frank Burns who couldn't show an milligram of compassion to save his life.
- Nice Guy: He takes the oath "Do No Harm" as seriously as the doctors (sans Frank Burns) to the point he's willing to actually work with his "enemies" in order to treat critically wounded soldiers.
- Paper-Thin Disguise: All it takes is a shave and a haircut along with some forged transfer orders to convince everyone he's an American surgeon with the army and not the North Korean soldier sent out on a bus less than an hour before. The only person whose really suspicious of him is Margaret (Frank only agreed out of petty jealously).
- Reality Ensues: He's gone by the end of the episode once Potter makes a phone call to "I" Corps regarding him; being a top-rate surgeon doesn't change the fact he's an enemy soldier.
- Villain Respect: He gets along fabulously with Hawkeye and B.J. despite being part of the The Korean's People Army, impressed by their surgical skills, techniques, and most of all their compassion. The respect is mutual with Hawkeye and B.J. arguing against sending him to a P.O.W. camp over a "technicality".Colonel Potter: "Technicality"? This man's the enemy!Hawkeye: Enemy-schemeny! He's a doctor and damn good one!
- Freudian Excuse: Played with, as Hawkeye was a clingy mess who had a lot of sex before her, but her leaving him is just one more abandonment in his life, so he barely tries committing with anyone else.
- Mythology Gag: Hawkeye in the first book has an unnamed wife along with three children in the sequel.
- The One That Got Away: Hawkeye and Breslin were in love and living together during his time in Med School but broke up due to his dedication to medicine which she claims was his "first and only love."
- Because You Were Nice to Me: He's on his way back to North Korea when Colonel Potter, Hawkeye, and B.J. present him with a Letter of Achievement for his help with a cure for the rash affecting the casualties.
- Beneath Notice: No-one at camp ever finds out that he's a North Korean spy believing him a bad-English-speaking South Korean.
- The Butler Did It: A houseboy who is spying on the camp.
- In Vino Veritas: In The Stinger, he's having a drink with the doctors and all of them are pretty drunk. All of them have a laugh when they notice his English suddenly improves and he claims its the whiskey.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: He pretends to not speak English well in order to better help his cover and while drunk is shown to be quite articulate. Rather than a language barrier, his confusion comes from the general madness of the camp's staff.
- The Mole: Sent by the Intelligence Division of the People's Army to find out the secret of the camp's success rate only to realize that they're all insane (at least to his point of view).
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: After deeming his mission a failure, Kwang plans to leave in the middle of the night citing Winchester's Bad Boss status as the reason. Doesn't stop him from having one last drink with the doctors...
Pvt. Paul Conway
- The Klutz: Put a rifle in his hand, the guy will find a way to trip into a foxhole and break his leg along with the collar bones of the guy he fell on. Give him a spatula and he's a cooking god especially compared to the 4077's usual cooking disasters.
- Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: While the Army is by no means infallible, everyone including Major Houlihan agrees in this case the army messed up by making such a great cook a rifleman.Private Conway: I told them I was a cook and they made me a rifleman.B.J.: See you should've lied! I'm a plumber look where they sent me!Hawkeye: Worked out so far, none of his patients have sprung a leak.
- Nice Guy: How else do you describe a guy who turns down a cushy job in Seoul to be a cook for his unit at the Front.
- Supreme Chef: An incredible cook from Chef Pierre New York who gives the 4077 a much needed reprieve from the vile concoctions that usually come out of the Mess Tent.Charles: Sir! If this were a truly civilized world, you would be made...king!
- What You Are in the Dark: Has the chance to be part of the personal cooking staff for a general; choses to return to his unit as a army cook.
R. Theodore Williamson
- Batman Gambit: How the staff get him to drop[ his "investigation" into Margaret: Pierce, Hunnicutt, and Winchester tells in passing to Williamson about the Major's romantic history so that he'll go to her counting on him trying to seduce Margaret. She was on it as well as Klinger was hiding in her closet in order to take a photo of them in bed to threaten him with.
- Hate Sink: Becomes this In-Universe and out- when he accuses Margaret of being a Communist before he tries to leverage it into spending a night with her. And he wasn't even going to protect her like he said he would.
- Hypocrite: Claims to be a model honest American only to use his position to solicitate sex from others using his position and the Red Scare. Then it turns out he's a liar on top of that.
- Ironic Echo: He claims to have the ear of the Congressmen which gets a Call-Back to in The Stinger after his wife is revealed to be having an affair.Major Houlihan: [laughing] Well that seems fair, he [Williamson] got the Congressman's ear and she [his wife] got the rest.
- Jerk with the Heart of a Jerk: He makes it out to be like he's just doing the job no-one else does, but is really a weasel and a creep who'll use his job to his every advantage.
- Red Scare: Is at the 4077 to investigate a Communist sympathizer and represents all the assholes who took advantage of it for their own means and pleasures.
Col. Bringham Lacy
- Bad Boss: His men call him a "maniac" for recklessly putting their lives at risk and none too happy to see him when he visits Post-Op with one outright saying he'd kill Lacy if sent back. When the Colonel tries to give out Purple Hearts to them, none of men want them and one goes into cardiac arrest!
- Colonel Kilgore: Lieutenant Colonel Lacy fits this trope, as he has an almost single-minded obsession with taking a certain Communist-held hill. Not for any strategic or tactical reason (and it's pretty much spelled out that taking that hill won't shorten the war by a millisecond), but because it'll satisfy his own sense of martial glory and put him in good stead for a promotion.
- Genre Blind: After its made clear that Hawkeye and B.J. hates his guts for all the wounded Lacy's responsible for, the colonel still agrees to have drinks with the doctors. Hawkeye is able to slip him a "mickey" in his drink and before an operation on him for appendicitis which will sent stateside to recuperate.
- The Friend Nobody Likes: Lacy is every unpopular with everyone especially Pierce and Hunnicutt to the point that when he's denied permission to attack a hill, Lacy decides to send a "reconnaissance unit" there and deliberately set off a battle claiming self-defense.
- Glory Hound: Everything Lacy cares about centers around his success as a battalion commander, measuring victories by the number of battles and not the number of men who died.
- Obliviously Evil: Doesn't seem to realize that as a commander, it's Lacy's first priority to obey orders to achieve assigned military objectives and attempt to minimize causalities in service of those objectives. He seems confused by Margaret's horror at Lacy's casualness at the prospect of leading a battle with at least a 20% casualty rate.
- Distaff Counterpart: Snarky and irreverent, and humourously flirty with a need to help? B.J. equating liking her and liking his best friend? Hawaiian shirt? Shes the female Hawkeye.
- Establishing Character Moment: Her first scene is on the evac bus holding a soldier's hand revealing that it made him feel safer, showing an utter calmness amongst the chaos.
- Everyone Can See It: Everyone in camp can see there's an obvious attraction between B.J. and Aggie with rumors going around about them to the point the only ones completely sure nothing went on is Father Mulcahy and Hawkeye.
- Expecting Someone Taller: When they first meet, B.J. is shocked to discover that this beautiful woman is the Aggie O'Shea whom he pictured as some "grizzled-old matron."
- Foil: To Carrie Dovovan, a nurse from Season 5 Hany Panky. Both women are the only women B.J. is tempted to stray from his marriage and cause him to fall off the "fidelity wagon." The difference is while B.J. does spend the night with Carrienote he doesn't with Aggie. Also Carrie is treated as a sort-of one night stand while B.J. sees Aggie differently, someone he could marry and live the rest of his life with.
- Hot Scoop: An beautiful woman even in army fatigues, her job as a journalist has taken her around the world and when we meet her, its during her second tour in Korea.
- Intrepid Reporter: Her main job is a reporter and has been all around the world, covering various events.
- Love Triangle: Two, one Played for Drama and one Played for Laughs with her and B.J. as two corners of both. The comedic one involves Hawkeye's usual attempts to swoon her falling flat and a little annoyed at her interest for the Happily Married and loyal B.J. The other is between Aggie, B.J., and Pegg but nevertheless B.J. does not stray despite the temptation.
- Nice Girl: Incredibly sweet and uses her connections in order to get the staff someone items they requested such as 12-year-old scotch for Hawkeye and bath soaps for Margaret.
- Omnidisciplinary Reporter: According to Aggie what type of reporter she currently is, is based on whatever story she's covering with her coverage of the Korean War making her a war correspondent.Aggie:Actually I started with Silly Putty...Did an article about it when it first came out in "49, somebody liked it so I'm a specialty writer. Florence Chadwick's channel swim in "50, and I'm a woman's writer who also does sketches. Sugar Ray beats Jake LaMotta and I'm a sports writer...
Colonel Horace Baldwin
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: He doesn't recognize Winchester on first meeting him again despite being one of his best surgeons. 'Course this is Charles we're talking about, but one would think Baldwin would remember a guy he owes over 500 bucks to.
- Dirty Old Man: His "fact finding missions" are implied to be an excuse to get his rocks off and according to Margaret's horror has a pair of "leather pajamas."
- Disproportionate Retribution: He loses to Winchester at cribbage enough times to owe him over $500 and change, though him sending Charles to the 4077 was to get out of paying the bet than getting back at him. In this case, Col. Potter is well aware of that gambling debt and he doesn't mind considering that circumstance allowed him to get a replacement surgeon quickly when Frank Burns went AWOL.
- Irony: His plan to frame Margaret would probably had worked if Winchester hadn't gone to several, subtle, levels of Character Development... development he never had gone through if Winchester was still in Tokyo instead of being sent to the M*A*S*H*.
- Jerkass: He sent Winchester to the Front and doesn't even recognize him, tries to extort him to find the colonel some professional company, and when Baldwin mistakes Margaret for said company tries to do the same in oder make him to be the victim.
Col. Lawrence Wheems
- Bad Boss: Besides sending his African-American soldiers into dangerous territories he wants to keep one of his white soldiers due to the mans equipment skills even though the guys earned a bad injury which would get him sent home and would probably want to go.
- Born in the Wrong Century: As pointed out by Potter;Col. Potter: Major you're fighting the wrong war, the Civil War was almost a hundred years ago.
- Insane Troll Logic: His plan is rather simple in its utter stupidity: he assigns his black troops the more dangerous assignments which either result in them a) getting more points and rotated home faster and/or b) get wounded and ship stateside that way or c) simply die.
- Oh, Crap!: When he sees a black officer inside the Swamp and realizes he's been tricked into an Engineered Public Confession.
- Politically Incorrect Hero: A Colonel in the U.S. Army (which is supposed to be the "good guys"), he also has some very slanted views about his Negro-troops referring to the desegregation of soldiers as "Uncle Sam burning the toast."
- Villain with Good Publicity: A couple calls to other M*A*S*H* units reveals he visits all of his wounded men and they have nothing but good things to say about him. Until he arrived at the 4077, only the soldiers under his command knew what he was really about.
- Villainous Friendship: He's quite cordial and pleasant with the doctors when eh thinks they're on his side.
Pvt. Jimmy Weston
- Cassandra Truth: Lampshaded by Weston himself that the only person in the whole camp is Klinger, whose delirious from a high fever so no-one will believe him anyways.
- Dead to Begin With: The episode literally begins with him dying from his wounds and the remainder of the episode has him comes to grips with it before moving on.
- Five Stages of Grief: Experiences this as Weston comes to realize that he's dead going from "Denial" to "Acceptance".
- Irony: The one person who can see or hear him is Klinger who not only is suffering from a high fever and infection, but has a long history of trying to make himself look nuts.
Col. Woody Cooke
- Aesop Amnesia: In-Universe. Despite the fact he nearly got himself and whole bunch of people killed, all Cooke can think about is the rush of being in combat again and wants back in. Potter's report on his actions are likely to put an end to those aspirations quickly.
- Glory Seeker: Part of the reason he went out into battle the way he did was because Cooke missed the excitement of battle and the thrill of danger.
- Ignored Expert: Not him by a long shot despite what he might think. The only reason Cooke and the soldiers he turned up with are wounded was because he ignored the Major in charge of the unit about a particualry dangerous ridge.
- Never My Fault: Played With as he seems to recognize that he made a mistake but doesn't believe he should be thrown out of the Army or stripped of his command over a mistake he made that nearly got him and a lot of people hurt. When Potter tells him that he is going on report at I-Corps, he goes into an immature hissy fit about being betrayed because he has to face real consequences for his reckless actions and renounces his friendship.
- Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Cooke is an old soldier and many of his friends form the Army are now Colonels and Generals at "I" Corps. As such, the platoon he encountered didn't report his reckless actions because of this trope including Col. Potter.
- Soldiers at the Rear: Cooke is assigned to garrison duty concerning fuel logistics and could have easily sent a subordinate to investigate a problem near the front. Instead, that arrogant Glory Seeker went himself and illegally assumed command of an infantry unit's duties that he had no business working with and those soldiers paid the price for his incompetence.
- We Used to Be Friends: He ends a decades-old friendship with Potter all because the latter refuses to risk anyone else's life on the chance Woody would pull a stunt like he had just done.
Lt. "Smilin' Jack" Mitchell
- Ace Pilot: He's able to bring in four wounded patients (twice the usual number) to camp on his last run.
- Camera Fiend: Jack takes pictures of the people he brings to the camp, believing it to be a good luck ritual which will help them live.
- Cool Shades: Jack often wears standard aviator sunglasses.
- Glory Hound: Even after being medically grounded he's determined to fly in more patients in order to set the record for the most evacuees before he leaves.
- Graceful Loser: After losing out on the record after all he takes it relatively well.
- Knife-Throwing Act: Jack does one with syringes that tips Potter off to his condition.
- Nice Hat: He wears an orange hunting cap.
- The Rival: To "Dangerous" Dan, his main-but-unseen competition for the record.
- The Scrounger: Jack is capable of digging up sparse medical supplies for the doctors.
- Shout-Out: His nickname most likely comes from the comic strip character of the same name.
Lt. John "Cowboy" Hodges
- Badass Mustache: He is a gun-toting explosives expert who has a prominent handlebar mustache.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Zigzagged. He becomes obsessed with the idea that his wife is cheating on him when there's a delay in her letters (she isn't) but doesn't target his wrath on her, but rather on Colonel Blake, for refusing Cowboy permission to go home and patch things up with her.Cowboy: She's probably off with some rodeo rider; she's a sucker for a 10-gallon hat!
- Easily Forgiven: He makes peace with Colonel Blake, who decides not to charge him with attempted murder of a superior officer.
- Nice Hat: He wears a ten gallon cowboy hat (and a gun holster) all the time, hence his nickname.
Season 1 Characters
Capt. Oliver Harmon "Spearchucker" Jones
Originally introduced in the novel and movie as a ringer for an interunit football game, he vanished about midway through the show's first season, ostensibly after the network learned that there weren't any black surgeons in the theatre.
- Adaptation Distillation: A special case. When the first season episodes were recut for syndication to allow more time for commercials, most of Spearchucker's scenes were excised. If you've only seen the early episodes in their trimmed form, you will be surprised at how large his part is in the uncut originals.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: There were, in fact, black surgeons in Korea. Jones was based on a surgeon who left a month before Richard Hooker arrived at the 8063.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Disappears without comment part-way through season one.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: his nickname is technically a racist slur against black people, but was lampshaded in the original movie by him saying he earned it by competing in the javelin throw in college.
- Nice Hat: A bright orange floppy model.
- Token Minority Couple: At least one episode has him dating Nurse Ginger, who - you guessed it - is also black.
Capt. "Ugly John" Black
Another novel/movie character seen in the show's first season, Ugly John was an anesthesiologist hailing from Australia.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Inverted. The book describes him as attractive, whereas on the show he's... well, ugly◊.
- Adaptational Nationality: Ugly John was American in the novel and film.
- Badass Mustache
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Disappears between Seasons 1 and 2.
- Nice Hat: His Australian bush hat.
That is all.