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Recap / M*A*S*H S1 E10: I Hate a Mystery

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A rash of thefts breaks out in the camp. Missing pieces include Frank's silver picture frame, Margaret's hair brush, and Trapper's watch. The camp is searched and everything is found in Hawkeye's locker, leaving the other MASH personnel suspicious of and, worse, disappointed in Hawkeye.

Hawkeye manages to let it be known to the camp where the recovered items have been stored (they have been locked in Lt. Col. Blake's desk). When the items disappear yet again, Hawkeye summons many of the MASH personnel to the mess tent in the middle of the night in order to reveal the identity of the criminal. After parodying countless detective stories by revealing possible motives others might have to frame him (jealousy, resentment, etc.), he tells the assembled staff that he has treated the items with a chemical which, when it comes into contact with a human being, turns that person's fingernails blue.


When Ho-Jon hides his hands, Hawkeye knows he has found the criminal. (The chemical treatment story was merely a bluff.) Ho-Jon is not punished, however, as he has stolen the items only to raise money to bribe border guards to bring his family from the north to the south.

Attention, all personnel! The following tropes have been submitted as clues:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Even Radar laughs after Henry gets his face covered with soot.
  • Alliterative Name: Barbara Bannerman
  • Bluffing the Thief: How Hawkeye gets Ho-Jon to confess.
  • Cassandra Truth: Hawkeye did not steal the items! Unfortunately, everyone but the culprit thinks he did. Even Radar and Father Mulcahy.
  • Clear My Name: What Hawkeye needs to do after the stolen loot turns up in his locker.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Frank once again pours out his problems to Margaret, who's trying to give herself a makeover.
    Margaret: Could you hand me my brushes?
    Frank: I don't think spanking them [Hawkeye, Trapper and Spearchucker] will do any good.
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  • Covered in Gunge: Henry, searching for the stolen items, gets a face full of soot while inspecting the furnace pipe in the Swamp. Leads to some corpsing from everyone, including some from McLean Stevenson himself that's hidden by said gunge.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • A rare occasion for Frank:
      Hawkeye: Luck has nothing to do with it. I win all the time because my heart is pure. Right, Frank?
      Frank: You're a vice-ridden degenerate, Pierce. I don't think you even have a heart.
    • Hawkeye delivers one when Frank and Margaret are trying to get him charged with multiple thefts without giving him a chance to defend himself.
      Hawkeye: You know, I've never hit a woman before.
      Frank: [defensively] You put one hand on her...
  • Distinction Without a Difference: Lampshaded when Radar starts spying on Hawkeye.
    Hawkeye: Why are you staring at me?
    Radar: I'm not staring at you. I'm just looking in your direction, that's all.
    Hawkeye: That's a fine distinction.
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  • Entertainingly Wrong: The moment he discovers his sterling silver frame is missing, Frank immediately accuses his tentmates of stealing it.
  • Everyone Is a Suspect: After the thief does not take Henry's chance to return the stolen items, the colonel decides to do a thorough search of the entire camp, placing everyone including himself and Radar under suspicion.
    • This is Played for Laughs later as Hawkeye demonstrates that any one of them are capable of both stealing the items and have a want to frame him.
  • Frame-Up: Hawkeye is framed for the rash of thefts going on in the camp. Turns out the framing was unintentional.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Ho-Jon unwittingly leads Frank to notice the first theft by asking Frank why he became a doctor.
  • Hurricane of Puns: Hawkeye likens the method Ho-Jon uses to serve him a drink from the still to the musical instruments and rhythm of a symphonic orchestra.
    Hawkeye: Ah, the symphony begins. The sultry saxophone splashes of melody. A subtle drum brush for counterpoint. The plucking of cool harp strings. [beat] And now, the silver vibes of the gentle swizzle stick.
  • I Know You're Watching Me: Hawkeye knows Radar is following him around to ensure he doesn't try to steal anything. Being the framed man that he is, Hawkeye gets fed up with it.
  • Mobile Shrubbery: Radar attempts using this to trail Hawkeye, who isn't fooled.
  • Noodle Incident: There was one time where Hawkeye sent General Barker brownies with laxative filling.
  • Oh, Crap!: Hawkeye is startled to find the stolen items in his footlocker.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Margaret and Frank, when trying to push through the court-martial against Hawkeye. Apparently being caught with the goods is enough investigation for Margaret, and she threatens to take the matter to one of the generals she's dated if Henry doesn't play along.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Hawkeye immediately flees from Father Mulcahy's tent when the padre notices his bible is missing.
  • Shout-Out: The PA announces that "tonight's movie is Les Misérables".
  • Sore Loser: Spearchucker has come to resent Hawkeye for continuously winning at poker. Brought up again later when Hawkeye mentions this could be his motive for framing him.
  • Spoonerism: "Stizzle swick" for swizzle stick.
    Ho-Jon: Stizzle swick not here.
    Hawkeye: Who stole my stizzle swick?!
  • Suddenly SHOUTING!: Margaret lets out a screaming rant when she discovers her brushes have been stolen.
    Margaret: My brushes? Where are my brushes?! THEY'RE GONE! SOMEBODY TOOK THEM!
  • Summation Gathering: Hawkeye uses the PA to summon half the camp to the mess tent in the middle of the night for one of these.
  • The Tease: Trapper and Hawkeye, at different times, both try to be this with Lieutenant Bannerman.
  • We'll See About That: Henry does the "I'll be the judge of that" variation.
  • Whodunnit: Someone has been stealing various items from people around the unit


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