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Seasons 1-3 (1972–75)note 

    Capt. "Hawkeye" Pierce 
See his page above "Character specific pages".

    Capt. "Trapper John" McIntyre 

Capt. John Francis Xavier "Trapper John" McIntyre

Played by: Wayne Rogers (seasons 1-3; 1972-1975)
Dubbed by: Alain Dorval (European French, first voice)

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 Alcoholic: He and Hawkeye fight more often when they haven't had anything to drink for a while (they come to blows twice when Frank bans alcohol), and Hawkeye calls him out on using booze to deny reality.
  • Berserk Button:
    • He can't stand the unsanitary hospital conditions of the camp, which is a problem when he's ill and Hawkeye has to act like a mother to get him to eat, and when he has an ulcer and refuses to let anyone know until Hawkeye pushes.
    • Is five seconds away from beating the crap out of Frank for dismissing the wounded soldiers' PTSD in "Mad Dogs and Servicemen". Hawkeye has to hold him back and calm him down.
  • Better the Devil You Know: As much he hates the 4077th, the idea of being transferred to another camp after his ulcer is treated is an even worse thought. The former might be medically primitive, but it at least has Hawkeye.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Most of the time he's a snarky Handsome Lech, but when a patient of his isn't doing well or has been compromised, that's all he can think about.
  • Big Eater: A minor Running Gag is that if anyone is distracted while having their meal, Trapper will have finished it for them.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: "Big John" used to be a nickname of his from a three night stand in Chicago. Hawkeye reacts like how you would expect him to, but Radar sounds interested too.
  • 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.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: When he's alone with Margaret he promises not to do anything while she's sleeping, though that doesn't stop him from making innuendo to drive Frank crazy and Hawkeye's egging on.
  • I Choose to Stay: Radar tells him you actually can't go home for an ulcer, and he has a choice between staying where he is and getting treated, or Tokyo and then another camp. When he's telling everyone his options, he starts to say he's staying here "with..." looking blatantly in Hawkeye's direction, but finishes "with you idiots in this upholstered men's room."
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: According to Hawkeye (who clearly Has a Type), whenever the locals – and especially the children – want help, they come to Trapper. He spends a lot of time in season three ignoring his own pain and reassuring Radar, Henry, Hawkeye or his kids that things will be fine.
  • Cool Shades: He briefly wears these while hungover in a couple of episodes.
  • Cloudcuckoolander's Minder: Telling Frank he's 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 Trapper's frustrated with him too.
  • The Cynic: Unlike Hawkeye who at least gets his hopes up, Trapper's more world weary even at the start. In "Ceasefire" he's the only one who knows it won't end well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He's arguably even more of one than Hawkeye, with much of his day-to-day dialogue being delivered in this manner.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose in Life: When it's looking like he can adopt Kim, he feels like things seem a bit less senseless and he finally has a reason for being in Korea.
  • Emotionally Tongue-Tied: He knows full well that Hawkeye is better at words than he is, and he can't write his best friend a note or tell him properly how he feels about him, so he and Radar tried for twenty four hours to reach Hawkeye on r&r, and when that didn't work, leaves with no note.
  • 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.
  • Everyone Has Standards: As Trapper was angry at Henry for not letting him use a jeep, Henry accuses him of trying to kill him. As Hawkeye puts it, "Trapper might be insane but he's not crazy".
  • Fatal Flaw: He never says how he feels about Hawkeye (being genuinely protective when he can't 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 wasn't worth anything to Trapper.
  • Foreshadowing: Throughout season three, he and Hawkeye are codependent but dig at each other more, has moments of being uneasy with Hawkeye's flirting, and is also struggling to keep up his reassuring rock act, for both his family and Hawkeye. So when he leaves, there's no note but a kiss on the cheek delivered by Radar.
  • Formerly Fit: He used to box in college, but he complains in "Requiem for a Lightweight" that he's out of shape. Still looks and is treated like a hunk though.
  • Friend to All Children: As cheating as he is on his wife, genuinely loves his daughters and nearly goes AWOL for them, the Korean local kids love him and he would have adopted Kim if the mother hadn't shown up.
  • The Gambling Addict: Nearly always loses any game of cards, and only finally wins in "Pay Day" when he steals Hawkeye's watch for stakes.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Said by Hawkeye to be more likely friendly with Frank when the war gets boring, and in "O.R." Frank mentions that they got along fine for their first couple weeks together. In "Welcome to Korea", Frank expresses the wish that Hawkeye had left instead of Trapper, who was apparently marginally less depraved.
  • Go Through Me: Protects Hawkeye in "Yankee Doodle Doctor" when a director is pissed off with him, and while she's stronger than him getting a door open, shields Margaret in "Bombed".
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Not nearly as much as B.J., but gets annoyed when Hawkeye is Distracted by the Sexy with other guys, and has a bitchy moment in "Check Up" essentially calling him dirty.
  • Happily Married: Maybe yes, maybe no. He has no compunction about cheating, and the only time we see him writing a letter home it's to one of his daughters rather than his wife. On the other hand, we're never made privy to any actual conflicts in his marriage.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: He plays it like he likes Hawkeye too but can't admit it, as he's happy to dance with Hawkeye when it's a joke, but turns him down when it sounds for real, but then gets annoyed when Hawkeye flirts with a male patient right after.
  • 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.
  • Hunk: Margaret regularly gets a bit swoony over his puppy smile and his "being really built", even if his sexism and insults will bring her back to reality.
  • If It's You, It's Okay: Gets annoyed at other men apparently checking him out in calisthenics, but when everybody's noticing naked Hawkeye in "Dear Dad... Again", sneaks a leering peek himself in the direction of Hawkeye's crotch.
  • The Lancer: Was both this and a Foil to Hawkeye.
  • Lovable Jock: Margaret watches him play football in tight shorts, and is the manly man who has magazines about fishing, hunting and mechanics, to Hawkeye's theatrical In Touch with His Feminine Side.
  • Mellow Fellow: What he really tries to be. He's only mellow in comparison to Hawkeye, which is shown most clearly in "Mad Dogs and Servicemen": Hawkeye trying to relate to Travis regarding breakdowns doesn't help, but Trapper casually talking to the soldier about sports and Boston gets him to open up about trauma.
  • Morality Chain: He might have killed a POW if Hawkeye hadn't come in and brought him back to reality. In return he (and later B.J.) keeps Hawkeye from both killing Frank and running his mouth off too much in front of the wrong people.
  • 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.
  • Must Make Her Laugh: Hawkeye tells him to comfort Margaret after his gross friend tries to rape her, and his southern accent makes her giggle.
  • Not So Stoic: Mostly keeps his actual feelings under wraps, but has minor breakdowns of his own when a patient of his does badly. If Hawkeye hadn't come in and stopped him during "Radar's Report", he might have killed a POW.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: When he's cranky from the ulcer and not wanting anyone to know, he has a rant about the hospital conditions that includes the only disease Hawkeye would know would be "social". Hawkeye's hurt and notices the hostility, but does their usual "we won't talk about it" thing by offering him a drink.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Best summed up in the second season episode "The Incubator", when they're disrupting General Mitchell's press conference.
    General: Are you two together?
    Hawkeye: [smirking] In all kinds of weather.
  • Papa Wolf: Always seemed to care more for his daughters than his wife, and walks into a minefield to save a Korean boy he wants to adopt.
  • Parental Substitute: He's not good at the feelings thing, and they can't seem to actually talk about what's 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. He's 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.
  • The Quiet One: Happy to snark away, but is usually the one telling Hawkeye to let it go, and visibly looks like he wants to run whenever emotion is brought up.
    Hawkeye: You big strong dumb silent types, can't handle the tension, all cool on the outside but on the inside there's an acid factory in your belly.
  • Quirky Ukulele: Season three has him casually strumming on a ukulele on his off hours. When he and Hawkeye are off the wagon in "Alcoholics Unanimous" and nearly come to blows, Hawkeye is ten seconds away from smashing it.
  • Really Gets Around: Cheats on his wife without shame, to the point where after he leaves and is replaced by B.J. (who's definitely not the cheating type), Hawkeye seems a bit lost as he and Trapper had chased nurses together so often. Apparently has slightly higher standards than Hawkeye, as when Hawkeye gets Distracted by the Sexy and they're naked in a tent alone, he complains that he's cheap but not easy.
    Margaret: I don't know which one of you is more obscene.
    Trapper: [Hawkeye] is, we took a poll.
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man: They're both leches, but Trapper has the physical ability and women checking him out for his muscles, while Hawkeye's better at convincing and not shy about being In Touch with His Feminine Side with no interest in sports. And while he covers with jokes, Hawkeye is still better talking about emotions than Trapper is, who either would rather not talk about it or lets his anger bubble over.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: More than once wakes up like a Catapult Nightmare when there's shouting or loud noises in the Swamp, and he admitted in extra material that he'll remember every face who comes through the camp.
  • Stepford Snarker: He's 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, he's right back to trying to cover up being heartbroken by making cracks about Kim not fitting in at home anyway.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Book and movie Trapper bragged about "trapping" a girl on a train with no regret. TV Trapper refuses to talk about how he got the nickname and only implies it as a bad thing he did in a Gelbart-written version of his interview.
  • Tough Love: Doesn't quite have the patience or comforting language for Hawkeye's breakdowns (insomnia-induced or otherwise), but gives him someone to lean on anyway. Until he doesn't.
  • 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.
  • Unkempt Beauty: A drunk Margaret expresses attraction to him because he's built, has nice curls, has a great smile but also out of uniform and unshaven. The scene ends on Hawkeye agreeing and going after them with a Longing Look.
  • Unmanly Secret: Like Hawkeye and Henry he likes Klinger's dresses. Unlike either of them he doesn't enjoy admitting it.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: He's better with the physical love language than words, so he leaves Radar to give Hawkeye a kiss goodbye. He probably didn't think he would be contributing to Hawkeye's Sanity Slippage/feeling like he meant nothing to Trapper, and making B.J. fear he was a Replacement Goldfish in comparison.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In "Iron Guts Kelly", Hawkeye actually calls him out on his repression ("hiding behind booze again, afraid to face reality") before they both get distracted by the nurses.
  • When He Smiles: Hawkeye and Margaret both make it pretty clear that they like him more when he's showing off happy emotions.
  • 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 Blake 

Lt. Col. Henry Braymore Blake

Played by: McLean Stevenson (seasons 1-3; 1972-1975)

The Mildly Military commanding officer of the 4077 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.
    Henry: Well, I'm afraid this is what you call your command decision. It's "lonely at the top" time. Strictly something for your leader.
    [long pause]
    Hawkeye: Well, Henry?
    Henry: Oh, golly. Whatever you people decide is fine with me.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Cosmic Plaything: The universe seems to have it out for him. Over the course of the series, he has his property stolen, he's taken hostage in a helicopter, tricked into giving up a plum job in Tokyo, suffers frequent mishaps and injuries, he's nearly court-martialed, and finally, he is killed in what would've been a horrific plane crash without ever getting to meet his newborn son.
  • 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.
  • Dirty Old Man: As endearing as he is, he's 44 and thought he was in love with a 21-year-old, something both Hawkeye and Trapper (who admit she's hot, but the relationship bit squicks them) call him out on.
  • 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
  • Meal Ticket: Hawkeye affectionately treats him like one, touching him a lot and bragging about being able to walk all over him. Frank whines about Hawkeye being colonel's pet, and if "For Want of a Boot" is any indication they may have slept together.
  • 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.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Always got more military and sick of everyone's bullshit when he was stressed out.
  • 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. He is reasonably good at running the hospital part of the unit. It's the military part of the outfit that he's not suited for.
  • Put on a Bus: At the end of Season 3, he gets his discharge orders and heads off to fly home to the States. It's revealed that his homebound plane was shot down with no survivors.
  • 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 Houlihan 
See her page above "Character specific pages".

    Maj. Frank Burns 

Maj. (offscreen, Lt. Col.) Franklin "Frank" Marion "Ferret Face" Burns

Played by: Larry Linville (seasons 1-5; 1972-1977)

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.
  • Armored Closet Gay: When he's daffy in from sedation in "As You Were", he more or less admits to having had gay experiences in school. Unlike Hawkeye, who's open about hitting on guys, Frank is treated as pitiful.
  • Awful Wedded Life: If the home movies of Frank's wedding are anything to go on, it's clear that his wife, Louise, was not at all happy about marrying him.
  • Back-Alley Doctor: By a large margin the worst surgeon in the unit. While it was Flanderized over time, it was also there initially. Evidently due to an overall combination of his inability to admit mistakes, tendency to get heavily flustered while under stress, and lack of comparable training.note 
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: Shows no empathy for Radar's pets during a bug out, leading to one of the few times Radar actually talks back to Frank.
  • 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.
  • 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 he lets his hair down. That being said, beer goes right through him and he has to pee within minutes of drinking it.
  • Child Hater: Whenever there's an episode with kids, the rest of the camp will coo and make time for them, while he's the only one who complains.
  • 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.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: In "There Is Nothing Like a Nurse", he tells Margaret that if he found her with another man he'd kill her and then himself. Margaret is, at this point in her development, still low enough on self-esteem to find this appealing.
  • 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.
  • Domestic Abuser: Has a nasty habit of threatening to kill himself to get the women in his life to do what he wants. When Louise gets more politically active and wants to be seen as sexy, he outright says to Sidney he'll kill her before he divorces her.
  • Dr. Jerk: He's a doctor, and he's a complete and total asshole. What more need be said?
  • Dry Crusader: In "Alcoholics Unanimous".
  • Easily Forgiven: With some of the shit he gets up to in season four and five (wanting Hawkeye to get hanged or raped, attacking Margaret, letting Radar take the fall for stealing a gun and potentially getting sent to jail), it's a surprise that anyone still talks to him. It's suggested that they just don't expect any better from him.
  • 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.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: He complains about Henry Blake after his death being a slob, but adds in a "may he rest in peace". Flagg is the only person to insult Henry post-death.
    • An moment of this that's almost out of character: Frank is normally ecstatic to be able to rub Hawkeye's few mistakes in his face, but in one episode where Hawkeye misses a piece of shrapnel in a patient and goes in after it, Frank, who's observing, says anyone could have missed it without any malice or mocking tone.
  • Evil Counterpart: To Trapper in terms of Margaret and Hawkeye being foils. Trapper hurts Hawkeye badly but not intentionally while Frank rips up Margaret's notes two episodes later, hurting her feelings and only thinking of his own skin. Both married but cheating and Frank doesn't even mention his daughters while Trapper adores Becky and Kathy. And they've both attacked people (Trapper in college, Frank in Margaret's Engagement) but Trapper is ashamed of it while Frank blames Margaret for it.
  • Evil Gloating: When he gives up on a patient in "Dear Peggy" and an angry B.J. takes over, he gloats when it's looking bleak, caring more about getting one over on B.J. than a patient's life. He also does this when Hawkeye has problems with a patient in "Sticky Wicket".
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: He once tells a story of a kid losing control of his wheelchair and crashing into a car, finds it hilarious, and gets pissed off when nobody else finds it funny.
  • 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. They also both have submissive tendencies along with misogyny, but while Hawkeye's "kinsey bottom" deal is mostly celebrated (trauma and coping aside), Frank is a bootlicker both literally and figuratively.
  • 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.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Disgusted by Klinger wearing dresses, tries to report George, and one of the main reasons why Hawkeye has kissed him so often.
  • 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. He's religious when it's time to act superior, and compares himself to God making the universe in six days when Potter is on a six day holiday.
  • 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.
  • Hypocrite:
    • He's shown to have a point on Donald stringing Margaret along, but only because he apparently did the same thing to her when they first started.
    • He continually harangues Hawkeye for cracking up and shows no sympathy for the breakdowns, when he's going through Sanity Slippage himself.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: He cries to his mother about having no friends in the camp and Margaret only pretending to like him. A lot of Never My Fault on his part though, as he's racist, sexist, homophobic and was perfectly happy to have Hawkeye executed (or worse, as both Hawkeye and B.J. are quick to pick up on).
  • Ignored Epiphany: He realizes shakily in "Alcoholic Unanimous" that everyone detests him, but the moment quickly fades and he goes back to shouting at Radar.
  • 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.
  • Insufferable Imbecile: It's bad enough he's brown-nosing, bossy, greedy, jingoistic, cowardly and bigoted, but he's also a complete moron when it comes down to it. He's a careless, ineffective surgeon who constantly screws up in the O.R., proves to be an inept commanding officer when left in charge and is prone to fits of Insane Troll Logic and Delusions of Eloquence.
  • 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.
  • Karmic Butt-Monkey: Squarely in the sights of anyone on the show with a rank of Captain. Of course, most of Frank's misfortune is well-deserved since he's a bigoted, greedy, controlling, unfaithful and jingonistic idiot who has constantly tried to seize control of the 4077th and run it to the ground with his form of "peak military discipline".
  • Kick the Dog:
    • He's routinely verbally abusive to Radar, to the point where both Henry and Potter angrily call him out on it at least a couple of times.
    • Even before Trapper actually leaves, Frank is a little too happy at the prospect of Hawkeye being alone against him and Margaret, and he throws out Trapper's kimono and hat in "Welcome to Korea".
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Whines when Hawkeye is fighting him in the "Late Captain Pierce", but as soon as Hawkeye's dragged off him, starts screaming to punch him in the throat (which could either break his neck or damage his vocal chords).
  • Lack of Empathy: Margaret is disturbed when he laughs about taking away Hawkeye and Trapper's still, shrugging off their "excuses" about needing it because they're bored, afraid and cold.
  • 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 who 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. 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.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: He's a little too interested in what Flagg knows about "commies and what they do to women who won't talk", and has no qualms about seeing Hawkeye have a Fate Worse than Death.
  • Number Two: And no, that's not a Double Entendre. (Okay, not an intentional one.) And it's subverted as often as not; despite Major Burns being the second-highest ranking officer and technically second-in-command of the camp, Colonel Blake and especially Colonel Potter know full well how much of a moron he is and do everything in their power to limit his ability to abuse his authority when they're forced to give it to him.
  • Oedipus Complex: Much like Margaret will lust over him and mention her father being similar in the same sentence, he'll treat her like she's his mother and literally calls his wife "mommy".
  • 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.
  • Only One Finds It Fun: In "Dear Peggy", Colonel Potter notes how no one at the 4077th wants to be stuck so close to the frontlines thousands of miles from home. A minute later, Frank tells Potter that he loves it there.
  • 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: In the original novel he'd been a captain. In-universe, he gets promoted to lieutenant colonel after his breakdown over Margaret's marriage to Penobscot.
  • 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.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Very much how he sees himself, as revealed by how he relates the events of "The Novocaine Mutiny", as well as this exchange when Potter leaves him in charge of the camp for six days:
    Frank: [to himself] Six days, Colonel? God created the earth in six days.
    Klinger: [enters in a typically outlandish outfit] Here's the morning mail, Major Pussycat.
    Frank: [after Klinger leaves] 'Course, God wasn't surrounded by a lot of flakes.
  • 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.)
  • 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 mutiny—a 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.
  • Trigger-Happy: He finds the idea of firing over a Korean family to scare them hilarious.

    Cpl. "Radar" O'Reilly 

Cpl. Walter Eugene "Radar" O'Reilly

Played by: Gary Burghoff (seasons 1-8; 1972-1979)

The company clerk, and the epitome of Hyper-Competent Sidekicknote ; Steve Jackson has actually used him and his ability to know things 'before the Colonel' as full-blown Psychic Powers in two of the company's roleplaying games. In fact, his nickname derives from announcing incoming helicopters before anyone else can. Early on, he's shown as pretty savvy and worldly, and occasionally even a little bit devious; later, the Ottumwa, Iowa native develops more into the lovably naïve Woobie we all know. Note that we didn't say he stopped being savvy and worldly... whether he simply opted to behave better for the new CO is up to the viewer.

  • And Starring: Gary Burghoff was billed this way in the season 8 episodes up to and including "Good-Bye, Radar".
  • Animal Lover: He keeps a large collection of pets at the 4077, and evidently had/has many more at home. Later in the series he becomes a vegetarian.
  • 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 that 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 will be replacing him as CO, an assignment which fills him with such terror that Hawkeye and B.J. accompany him as backup. (To everyone's surprise, Frank accepts the news with calm 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).
  • Berserk Button:
    • Don't let him see you mistreat an animal.
    • Don't talk badly about his teddy bear. Or Iowa. Or his mother.
    • Making fun of his short stature is also a massive source of annoyance for him.
  • Big Brother Worship: Sees Hawkeye as his fun aunt that he wants to be like. Also deconstructed, as he always takes it a little personally when Hawkeye has a breakdown, and leaves him his teddy bear, feeling like Hawkeye will need it more than he does.
  • 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.
  • Bittersweet 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 his best man (with whom she had an affair with prior to the wedding) 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.
    • He was also a talented impressionist, which was written into a few epsidoes but called out specifically in "Movie Tonight."
  • Catchphrase:
    • "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.
  • 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, which is more in line with how he was portrayed in the movie. He became more childlike and innocent after Colonel Potter joined 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.
  • 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.
    • Maybe not. In 'Mad Dogs and Servicemen' when he's feverish from the rabies shots, he's been telling God that he'll be good if he lets him get better, and one of his promises is, "No more hells, damns, and especially not the big one!" So it's possible he was just very polite in front of other people and it was a different story if nobody could hear him.
  • 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.
  • Innocent Bigot: He's disgusted with Hawkeye and Trapper's teasing (and later Hawkeye and B.J., and Hawkeye in general), especially when they want him to pass kisses to each other, but unlike Frank he's a nice farm boy who still adores all three of them, just easily icked and embarrassed.
  • 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.
  • I Want to Be a Real Man: A repeating source of angst for him is that he feels too young and not manly enough. Eventually ends with his uncle dying, and having to be the man of the farm back home.
  • 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.
    • At one point, he appears to be a telepath...
    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?
    • 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 Radar 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.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: As he's (meant to be) a teenager, he's annoyed when his mom gets a new boyfriend, and when Potter seems to like Lil, as they're "old" and shouldn't do that kind of thing.
  • Parent with New Paramour: He was jealous when his mom got a new boyfriend, and antsy when father figure Potter seemed to be attracted to Lil. Less so when Henry thought he was in love with a twenty year old, but still instinctively reminded him of his wife and kids.
  • 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.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: When he's regressed a bit, he can make sad eyes at aunt Hawkeye at mostly any point and Hawkeye will give in instantly.
  • 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 After M*A*S*H 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.
  • 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.
  • Spider-Sense: Always knows when the choppers are in-coming before any announcement over the PA is made.
    • 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.
    Hawkeye: [to Trapper, as Radar picks up and answers the phone] Did you hear a ring?
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: 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 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. Max Klinger 

Cpl. (later Sgt.) Maxwell "Max" Q. Klinger

Played by: Jamie Farr

A corpsman forever trying to get out of the Army on a psychiatric discharge, most notably by dressing in women's clothing; he cited a family history of this. Of his family, most are not English-speaking, and most are in his hometown of Toledo, Ohio. And yes, both the Toledo Mud Hens and Tony Packo's are real. (The Mud Hens at one point slaughtered the big-league Detroit Tigers in a pre-season game. It was a rebuilding year.)

  • 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.
  • Ambiguous Gender Identity: Klinger will generally assert that he's a man when questioned about it, but he doesn't object to Hawkeye calling him the sister he never had along with various other forms of gender address, and at one point has a gender crisis.
  • 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 until succeeding Radar as company clerk gave him a reason to give up on getting a section 8 altogether. 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.
  • Book Dumb: Can't answer even the relatively simple questions for the West Point exam, but has enough street smarts to get by in anything else.
  • 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 the writers just kept putting him into more episodes, and Jamie Farr became a regular cast member at the start of the fourth season.
  • 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. He ultimately married a South Korean woman and decided to stay in-country after the war in order to help find her family.
  • *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! *Cocks his rifle and aims at 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.
    • In the latter's case, Klinger points out for all his scams and cons, he never once shirked his duty and put anyone at risk.
  • 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.
    • 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.
    Charles: That man is the Michelangelo of deviant behavior.
    • When he's upset about his wife leaving him and goes AWOL, he very nearly makes it, but decides to come back as he deserves better than Laverne.
  • 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 chastises 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 
  • Even the Guys Want Him: Henry genuinely likes some of his dresses, Hawkeye is Hawkeye, Trapper occasionally expresses interest and he tells the dentist in For Want Of A Boot he's had three marriage proposals.
  • Everyone Has Standards: For all the stunts he pulls, he meets a few other people trying for a section eight, and is always disgusted with them for actually posing a danger to others. And, as he points out to Margaret, he won't pull anything to get out of doing his duty or that would get the colonel in trouble, which finally convinces her that he wasn't faking being sick.
  • 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!"
  • Got Volunteered: How he got into the Army in the first place.
  • 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.
  • 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. There was also a time he faked having fainting spells, his dedication to his work is demonstrated when he walks into the OR, announces there are no more wounded, and promptly faints dramatically. He may want out of the Army, but he won't endanger lives by failing in his responsibilities.
  • 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.
  • May–December 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.
  • The Millstone: Increasingly fell into this in later episodes. If the writers needed someone to, say, mix up two different articles for the camp newspaper, or forget the correct mixture of ingredients for cement, Klinger was their go-to.
  • 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.
  • Sizable Semitic Nose: Klinger, a proud Lebanese-American (just like his actor Jamie Farr), is often the recipient of numerous remarks about his nose when he's not making them himself. In one episode, Klinger's nose is broken, prompting Hawkeye and BJ to joke that he'd injured over 50% of his body.
    Col. Potter: Every time you tell a lie, your nose gets smaller.
  • 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).
    Father Mulcahy 

1st Lt. (later Capt.) Father Francis John Patrick Mulcahy

Played by: William Christopher (at least, for the most part)

A Catholic priest, Mulcahy is the 4077's quietly devout company chaplain — and one of the few characters who managed to get a promotion during the course of the show.

  • Activist-Fundamentalist Antics: Mostly kept by the wayside to keep him a decent person and priest, but he does have a habit of (gently) trying to convert people.
  • Aesop Amnesia: Most of his plots revolve around feeling useless. Downplayed, as the feeling left out is more consistent than the big acts of heroism he sometimes does, and like Hawkeye, he's considered The Heart but mostly left to deal with that himself.
  • All of the Other Reindeer: The other cast love and respect him a lot, but he confesses in Nurse Doctor that he still feels excluded from all the times where they make a sexual joke amongst themselves and apologize to him.
  • Badass Preacher: Whether it is performing an tracheotomy under enemy fire, asking a frustrated and desperate Klinger to give him a grenade, recovering stolen medicine under sniper fire, or disarming a desperate AWOL soldier covering him at point blank range, Father Mulcahy knows no fear when called upon.
    • Perhaps most badass of all was the time that he ran out into a rain of mortar fire to rescue a group of North Korean P.O.W.s that were trapped out in the open.
  • 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.
  • Beneath Suspicion: He's probably the most knoweldgeable and well-connected person in the Korean black market. Being a friendly, sweet-looking priest, he gently brags that it's how he gets away with so much.
  • 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.
  • Big Brother Instinct: The only member of his family who he seems to have any love for is his sister Kathy.
  • 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 Hawkeye's 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.
    • Sometimes he just managed to get one in before the doctors.
      Klinger: Stray bomb appears out of nowhere. Blows up a shipment of chipped beef. What do you call that?
      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.
  • Foil: To B.J., in that they both appear to be sweet and innocent, but feel constrained in that image, and are more manipulative than they appear.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: He's convinced in multiple episodes that he's The Load, "hanging around on the edge of effectiveness".
  • 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.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: He really wants to think the best of everyone, and as he's in a warzone, is frequently disappointed.
  • 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".
  • Manipulative Bastard: A lot of times for the greater good, but even Sidney is impressed in how easily he'll be a manipulative therapist for patients.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: He pretends to be more naive than he actually is so the other doctors won't backtrack as often and remind him that he's not actually part of their group.
  • Oireland: Averted with the very Irish Mulcahy, who does not sport any sort of an Irish accent, does not have red hair, and otherwise does not have any Irish affections save being a former boxer.
  • Only Sane Man: An early episode had Hawkeye suggest that Father Mulcahy was the sanest person in the camp.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: From his very first episode, he mixes genuine kindness with stealth insults that people have to do a Double Take to get.
  • The Piano Player: In the officers' club, Mulcahy would often just sit quietly at the piano to entertain the patrons, although he wasn't exactly a great musician.
  • Phrase Catcher: Every time he mentions his sister (who is a nun) he is unfailingly asked "Your sister the Sister?"
  • 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).
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: while more or less every character in Mash does this, Father Mulcahey really goes the extra mile for orphans; and since he's a humble priest, he can usually get away with more tha most of the "regular" military members.
  • 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.
    • He is also emotionally detached dealing with a biracial infant, and sending her to a very strict orphanage and a hard life, because he's well-aware what happens to biracial children normally.
  • Sexy Priest: He's notably open minded about the amount of sex that goes on around him (he knows about motels as "each man prays in his own way") and seems perfectly happy to sleep/flirt with Hawkeye, which is apparently what gets him to run in "Run For The Money".
  • 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.
  • Stepford Smiler: Genuinely lovely and helpful, but as is common with the camp he's very good at repression, and admits to B.J. that they've all got very good at not facing things in the eleventh season.
  • 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.
  • Universal Chaplain: A Catholic chaplain, he has performed Jewish ceremonies (including circumcision and saying kaddish) in the absence of a rabbi. He also takes interest in other religious practices, including various Protestant denominations (although he's apparently intimidated by Southern Baptists) and has even sat in on Buddhist services conducted by local Koreans.
  • You Know I'm Black, Right?: After he tries to make Charles feel better about his sister marrying an Italian, Charles is only grateful that she's not marrying an Irishman. Mulcahy dumps his food at Charles' feet and storms off furiously.

Seasons 4-11 (1975–83)

    Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt 

Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt

Played by: Mike Farrell (seasons 4-11; 1975-1983)

A competent surgeon from San Francisco, California. He's introduced as a clean-shaven, nice-guy replacement for Trapper John at the start of the fourth season. As the series goes on, he starts slipping in his sanity (although not quite as far as some); granted, in his very first episode, he has to deal with a farmer using his daughters as minesweepers and roadside surgery. Later he would grow a Seventies Porn Moustache, and start letting out another facet foreshadowed in a Mockumentary episode: a growing anger.

  • Academic Athlete: The top of his class in medical school and the show took every opportunity to show him with his shirt off.
  • Being Good Sucks: He has a breakdown in season 10 over how following the rules has seemingly gotten him nowhere, and he acts like a huge dick until Margaret serves him Humble Pie. There's foreshadowing back in season 4, when he tells Radar that No Good Deed Goes Unpunished.
  • Beneath Suspicion: New characters are frequently shocked at how devious he can be behind the smiley California exterior.
  • 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:
    • 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.
      B.J.: I... er... I'm sorry, Father.
      Mulcahy: Nothing to worry about, my son. (*Beat*) Maybe you should try needlepoint.
    • He's also revealed to be an even better, more devious prankster than anyone else in camp.
  • 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.
  • Black Comedy: Used as a character point, as his pranks grow in cruelty the longer he spends in Korea. Hawkeye gets a day of Sanity Slippage (in addition to his usual decreasing sanity) and gives everyone a striptease because B.J. is jealous of Trapper.
  • 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.
  • Byronic Hero: Tries so hard to be the clean-cut all-american boy, but slides into byronism as the series goes on, struggling with his own morals and increasing anger at both the situation he's in and the perfect image of his home life seemingly breaking apart.
  • The Caretaker: He wants to feel needed, and most of his breakdowns come from tying himself up in knots when his lifeline over that is deemed threatened.
  • 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.
  • Character Tic: A thin but delightedly smug smile whenever he's winning or getting someone's attention, usually Hawkeye.
  • The Confidant: Mostly it's the patients who confide in him. Noted early on when he sadly lampshades The Main Characters Do Everything, saying you have to play therapist all the time.
  • 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 can't control anything.
  • 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.
  • Corrupt the Cutie: From Frank's POV, as he's snarking along (and flirting) with Hawkeye in his very second episode.
    Frank: I've warned you, Hunnicutt, don't let this man [Hawkeye] corrupt you.
    B.J.: I'm trying my very best, sir.
  • Covert Pervert: As Happily Married non-chasing as he is, he makes a lot of kinky jokes himself, mostly centered around topping Hawkeye, and wants to hear the "unspeakable things" Frank's imagined Chinese are doing to Margaret.
  • 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 there's the bitterness at Trapper, a man who he's never met.
    B.J.: [watching Hawkeye flirt with a nurse] Look at that brazen hussy... and the woman he's with!
  • Declaration of Protection: "Welcome to Korea" has him instantly loving Hawkeye as The Mad Hatter, but "The Late Captain Pierce" is his first Hawkeye breakdown episode, and from then on whenever Hawkeye slips he's there either as distraction or gentle Tough Love.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: While a lot nicer than Trapper and even Hawkeye, still makes some casual rape jokes at Margaret's expense, and, sets her up to think she's being attacked in An Eye For A Tooth, with no guilt and being giggly touchy feely with Hawkeye while they do it.
  • Despair Event Horizon: When he gets a medal in "Bombshells", but was in reality forced to leave behind a soldier, he can't manage the righteous snarky coping he and Hawkeye used to anymore.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: At the end of one episode, Father Mulcahy tries to teach B.J. boxing to help him deal with his frustrations, but B.J. ends up accidentally deflating Mulcahy's punching bag with one punch.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: He makes a joke to Zale in "Of Moose and Men" about already being an alcoholic eleven episodes in, and some of his more Angry White Man moments come when he's wasted.
  • Establishing Character Moment: He sees that Hawkeye is hurting about something and immediately wants to help, he gets Hawkeye's references (who does a Double Take and immediately pays more attention to him, which gets an affectionately smug grin), and takes Hawkeye's lunacy in complete stride. Except when it's hating himself about missing Trapper.
  • 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.
  • Fantasy-Forbidding Father: According to The Gun, his dad didn't want him playing with any kind of army dolls, and he was miserable until he discovered dolls.
  • 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. The first mini fight he and Hawkeye has is in "It Happened One Night", where a patient of his is doing badly, and Hawkeye assumes he missed something (like he did in "Sticky Wicket").
  • Foil: To Hawkeye, being more laid-back, Happily Married and prone to introspection.
  • Glad He's On Our Side: While pranking Winchester, Hawkeye tells him he's glad B.J.'s not his enemy. Beej replies "never assume".
  • 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. This is played with in later episodes.
  • Heroic Safe Mode: B.J.'s way of dealing, from the moment he gets into Korea, is acting like it's all a bad nightmare and it can't truly affect him. It can and it does.
  • 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. Season four has a lot of offhand moments that imply he's more cynical than he seems. Mike Farrell pitched "Hanky Panky" solely because he wanted to break B.J.'s "never been tempted" words.
  • Iconic Item: His red/pink henley.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: He's the perfectionist trying to act like he's above having flaws, but is also terrified he's replaceable, so when he has an angry breakdown, everyone's forced to know about it, even if they're not told the reason.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Almost like clockwork, he'll be having a breakdown, lash out at himself and Hawkeye will either get caught in the crossfire or be left to take it personally.
  • It Amused Me: More pronounced in later seasons as his mind games get nastier, but seasons four and five have their fair share of plots started because he thinks they'll produce a giggle.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Towards the end, he plays increasingly cruel mind games (mostly on Hawkeye, who doesn't always enjoy it) because he's bored, can lash out in anger at his friends' vulnerable spots, is jealous whenever Peg or Hawkeye even mention anyone else, and plays Misery Poker. But he's also still a fundamentally decent person, ready to take care of anyone who's hurting, keeps secrets told to him in confidence, has a breakdown because he couldn't save a soldier and he acts badly because his lifeline is breaking.
  • The Lancer: Hawkeye's best friend.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: Writing letters to Peg is the only way he can keep his sanity, and to Aggie he calls Peg and Erin his lifeline.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Gets worse the longer the seasons go on, as in season four he manipulates for the greater good, and in season eleven it's because he's bored (or jealous, in the case of The Joker Is Wild) and wants some fun.
  • 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, he's 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".
  • Money Dumb: Both him and Peg. They buy another house with trees and a beach in season six, but B.J. will spiral more than once over just thinking about money issues in later seasons.
  • Morality Chain: Tries to be this for Hawkeye in general, although he sometimes needs a little help too.
  • Naïve Newcomer: At the start, who Hawkeye is delighted to show off to, but also show how much of a messed up situation (both physically coming into Korea, and dealing with Hawkeye's self loathing over missing Trapper) he's got himself into. He has a quick Trauma Conga Line on his first day that dissuades any naivety, and the bus scene in Late Captain Pierce is as much him choosing to stay and help as it is Hawkeye's.
  • 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.
  • The Not-Love Interest: Hawkeye made a lot of jokes about being his second wife, or them being married.
  • One Head Taller: According to a throwaway line in "The Kids," his wife is only 5'1". Mike Farrell stands at 6'3".
  • O.O.C. 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.
  • Parenting the Husband: Between jokes where Hawkeye is played as his nagging wife, and a few mentions of needling Peg until she talks to him, he apparently needs a bit of parenting.
  • Passive-Aggressive Kombat: He has a cute sarcastic quip for literally anything, and drags mostly Frank or Winchester into a snark battle at every opportunity.
  • 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 he's the "same size, same shape" as Hawkeye's original bunkmate, as much as that's 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. He's mostly just worried he'll come back from Korea and she won't need him anymore.
  • Stepford Snarker:
    • Hawkeye sure knows how to pick repressed best friends. B.J. is slightly better than Trapper in that he's 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.
    • A funny example would be joining in on singing "working on nurses through the night" with Hawkeye, when the "Hanky Panky" breakdown was very recent.
  • They're Called "Personal Issues" for a Reason: Margaret and Hawkeye can both attest that when he's acting shitty, the real reason (usually a spiral over assuming his marriage is in trouble) has to be dragged out of him.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: The Character Development way, and pushed on by Mike Farrell. While he never loses core decency and has plenty of reasons to be depressed, he went from a Happily Married Naïve Newcomer to a Crazy Jealous Guy (to Peg and Hawkeye), a Manipulative Bastard whenever he got bored and regularly played Misery Poker.
  • 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 doesn't happen and he's heartbroken to realize he's got angrier since he came to Korea.
  • Tranquil Fury / O.O.C. 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 Potter 

Col. Sherman Tecumseh Potter

Played by: Harry Morgan (seasons 4-11; 1975-1983)

The 4077's commander following Blake's departure. A Regular Army officer and veteran of two previous wars. His eventual hometown is Hannibal, Missouri, where his wife still lives and yet again waits for her husband to come back from war. 1/4 Cherokee as well... and onetime member of The Cavalry. He even gets a horse, Sophie, during the series.

  • Anything but That!: "Enrico Caruso?! The singer? Nix on that!"
  • 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.
  • 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).
  • Contrasting Replacement Character: Unlike his predecessor Blake, Potter is a lifelong military man who's a highly competent and authoritative administrator, and both willing and able to lay down the law when necessary.
  • Cool Old Guy
  • Cruel to Be Kind: In "The General's Practitioner", Potter tells the assistant that Hawkeye's Sanity Slippage makes him a good man to "stay away from", knowing full well that while the unit's not great, Hawkeye having a breakdown in front of generals who mostly just want him to be a good boy, would be far less safe for him.
  • Deadpan Snarker: With particular emphasis on the "deadpan" part.
  • Due to the Dead: Has the utmost respect for his predecessor Henry Blake, knowing full well how loved the man he was, and the shoes he has to fill.
  • 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.
  • Ignored Expert: Lampshaded during "In Love and War", as he tells the post in the swamp to not fall in love during a war, as he knows Hawkeye won't listen to him.
  • 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 – titled "Old Soldiers", appropriately enough – when he finds out that the last of his old WWI comrades has passed away.
  • O.O.C. 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.
  • Papa Wolf: He fills in as a father to Radar, but the "Wolf" part comes in when Margaret's distant father comes to visit. After seeing the man's lack of tangible approval in the face of Margaret's obvious need for his respect, he absolutely lays into the man. When somebody at the 4077 starts sending reports to I-Corps about how non-regulation the camp is, his anger at the betrayal is palpable – and the pain in his voice when he tells Hawkeye and B.J. about this is heartbreaking. And he's absolutely livid when he finds out his son-in-law had an affair on a business trip.
  • Parental Substitute:
    • He acts as one of these for Radar, perhaps even more so than his predecessor Henry Blake.
    • For Margaret, being the father that her own father is too repressed to manage.
    • He admits in "The Interview" that he doesn't enjoy it, but feels like it's his duty as commanding officer to accept it and give it back best he can.
    • Hawkeye already has a very good dad with a loving relationship, but Potter knows early on Hawkeye is in for a bad end, and tries his best to Tough Love. "The Grim Reaper" has him outright say that if Hawkeye was his son, he'd give him a spanking.
  • 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 
  • Simple-Minded Wisdom: He doesn't actually know how to help Hawkeye, choosing to try and let him tire himself out so he doesn't end up in a padded room, but he's right on the money calling the guy passively self destructive, with a talent for tying himself up in knots.
  • Stepford Smiler: He tells Hawkeye in "Fallen Idol" that he has a whole drawer full of smiles that he forces on. Hawkeye tries to do the usual Sad Clown thing until it goes wrong.
  • Stubborn Mule: He can be occasionally insecure about his age, considering all the frozen at thirty colleagues he has, and can work himself extra hard to combat it.
  • 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.
  • Tough Love: As Margaret's Parental Substitute he's yelling at her actual father, but as Hawkeye's it's more "if you were my child I'd spank you". He seems to realise that every so often Hawk needs a kick, and doesn't respond well to kindness.
  • 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 Are What You Hate: He's generally okay with his military career, if not the war itself, but he has a rant in "Deluge" explaining his hate of colonels, when he's one himself. Somewhat justified. Potter's gripe is a gainst Colonels who are salivating at the chance to become a general, whether they've earned it or not. Potter himself, who began as an enlisted man, knows that he is not on a path to become a General before he retires.
  • 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 Winchester 

Maj. Charles Emerson Winchester III

Played by: David Ogden Stiers (seasons 6-11; 1977-1983)

A (very) proud thoracic surgeon and pediatrician from Boston, he was initially stationed in Tokyo. Once Frank Burns was Put on a Bus, the 4077th put in a call for a fourth surgeon. The call was taken by a colonel who Winchester happened to be thoroughly trouncing at cribbage. One ill-timed boast later, and welcome to Uijeongbu. In contrast to 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*]
  • 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.
    • 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 threatened murder when Klinger said to put his leftover portion 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 FDRfour times!"
      • The only other insult that came close was "Your father buys his suits off the rack!"
  • Big Brother Instinct: Downplayed, as he makes fun of Honoria for consistently marrying or living with other men, but is protective of her at heart.
  • Big Ego, Hidden Depths: "Dr Winchester and Mr Hyde" was the first episode to deal with his not wanting to admit he's exhausted, and his dream in the titular episode shows off his fear that all he has is flashy tricks.
  • 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: Well, most of the time, he can. But one episode has 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.
  • 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".
    • His dream in the titular episode calls back to Hawkeye's comment in "The Light That Failed" that all he cares about is the limelight. In said dream, he is indeed in the limelight, but can only desperately, impotently pull out tricks, leaving the man to die.
  • Compressed Vice: He becomes addicted to amphetamines in "Dr. Winchester and Mr. Hyde".
  • Contrasting Replacement Character: To Frank Burns, so much so that it quickly becomes apparent that leaving the 4077 was the biggest favor Frank did for anyone there (except, of course, for Charles himself), 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 Head of Thoracic Surgery. Frank 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 prone to greed, 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 to make his mother happy). It should be noted that the only real money-making schemes Charles attempted were to buy up soon-to-be-expired military scrip from the locals at a discount (legal, if ethically suspect) and to invest in Klinger's hula hoop (both 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.
    • Frank was a Dirty Coward, and if he'd got the offer Charles did in "Rally 'Round the Flagg, Boys", he would have given Hawkeye to Flagg for capture and likely torture within seconds. And even an offer to be sent back to Tokyo in "No Laughing Matter" wasn't enough for him to betray Margaret for, although he was tempted.
    • After his first session in the O.R. Winchester admitted that he had been overwhelmed and flat out said he didn't think he could adapt to meatball surgery, a far cry from Burns who was always insistent that he had everything under control, especially when he didn't.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Cold parents, a dead brother and had his fill of therapists by the age of nine.
  • 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.
  • Elite School Means Elite Brain: Major Charles Emerson Winchester III is extremely proud of being a Harvard man. He's acknowledged even by the other doctors as being very erudite and well-educated, and is probably the most intelligent person in the 4077th. The only down side is that he knows it, and it colors his perception of the others sometimes.
  • 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.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: A bit of Character Development, as in "The Winchester Tapes" he calls humor the opiate of the incompetent, but as he gets nicer, he's seen laughing more with the others.
  • Everyone Has Standards: He's pompous, arrogant, classist and a bit of a Social Darwinist, but when confronted with a bigoted major who deliberately assigns the black soldiers in his outfit to more dangerous duties, he's every bit as disgusted as Hawkeye and B.J. are. Also, he's just as desperate as everyone else (if not more so) 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, if not 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.)
  • 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: He loves music, but is saddened at his inability to progress beyond technical proficiency in his own playing. 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 than Frank Burns, he is also a much better person.
    • 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. Klinger overhears the argument, and brings Winchester a plate from the potluck.
      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.
      Charles: [smiling] Merry Christmas, Max.
    • 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, uses his own medical expertise to reassure Hawkeye that his father has a good chance of coming out of the surgery ok, and is visibly overjoyed when he hears that it turned out well.
  • "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.
  • Must Have Caffeine: When he's still adjusting to Korea, Potter calls him out on thinking he can replace sleep with three cups of coffee, and survive on that.
  • Neat Freak: Although the "Pressure Points" episode has him deliberately becoming The Pig-Pen as revenge against Hawkeye and B.J.'s slovenly housekeeping.
  • Nice to the Waiter: Covers it with condescension, and Radar gets abused, but he does give the Korean who gave him a lift in his cart some money as a thank you, when Frank Burns wouldn't have dreamed of such a thing.
  • 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.
    • "The Light That Failed" 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 when it slowed things down, and may have been a rewritten Frank story.
    • In "The Winchester Tapes", B.J. manages to gaslight him into thinking he's rapidly losing and then gaining weight, just by swapping out his uniform for a larger and then a smaller size. This is an especially gratuitous Idiot Ball moment for Charles, and once again seems like the sort of thing that Frank would have been much more likely to fall for.
  • Pet the Dog: Frequently. Almost every few episodes. See Jerk with a Heart of Gold above.
  • Politically Incorrect Hero: Even when he was sympathetic, and kinder to black people and Koreans, he was still casually dismissive of Klinger's "swarthy" features and working-class upbringing, and to a lesser extent Mulcahy for being Irish and Catholic. What's more, apart from a couple of episodes he never really got called out for it like Frank was.
  • 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 skilled surgeon, not to mention an 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 S. 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.note 
    • 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.
  • 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", when he 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