M*A*S*H (1972–1983)
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The Life You Save 

Winchester goes on a spiritual journey after a near-death experience. Hawkeye experiences the problems of being the officer in charge of food services when Potter rotates the duty roster.


Alan Alda


Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Alan Alda ... Capt. Benjamin Franklin 'Hawkeye' Pierce
Mike Farrell ... Capt. B.J. Hunnicutt
Harry Morgan ... Col. Sherman T. Potter
Loretta Swit ... Maj. Margaret 'Hot Lips' Houlihan
David Ogden Stiers ... Maj. Charles Winchester
Jamie Farr ... Cpl. Maxwell Q. Klinger
William Christopher ... Father Francis Mulcahy
Val Bisoglio ... The Cook
Andrew Parks ... The Dying Soldier
G.W. Bailey ... Sergeant Luther Rizzo
Jim Knaub Jim Knaub ... Pvt. Markham
Arthur Taxier ... Surgeon
Jim Boeke Jim Boeke ... Sgt. Chiaverini
Jack Kearney Jack Kearney ... Soldier
Paul Ventura Paul Ventura ... Soldier


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After a sniper attack on the 4077th Winchester sees 2 bullet holes in his cap, and goes through a journey searching for meaning in this life, and goes on a search for anything about what happened to the man who came back from death. Meanwhile, the officers had duty rosters switched up, Hawkeye is on kitchen duty, and finds himself in a situation where the mess is missing 50 trays, BJ is in charge of laundry, and Father Mulcahe is garbage officer, and each has their trials with their new found fame. Written by Jared Johnson

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directed by star | See All (1) »


Comedy | Drama | War


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


The original broadcast of Episode #9.20, "The Life You Save", was delayed by several weeks. It featured a subplot about Maj. Winchester becoming obsessed with death after almost being shot. It was scheduled to air on the same day that U.S. President Ronald Reagan was wounded in an assassination attempt. The network felt the audience was not in the mood to see the episode at that time. See more »


The episode opens with triage, and Trapper John can be heard saying "Come on, Frank. Easy." However, by this time, both Trapper and Frank had left the show. See more »


Charles: [In a Jeep] Start you fool! START!
Sgt. Luther Rizzo: Major, what are you doing?
Charles: Why won't this idiotic engine turn over?
Sgt. Luther Rizzo: 'Cause, I tucked it into bed on that sheet over there like you told me.
Charles: Well I must have transportation immediately. What's available? Do any of these work?
Sgt. Luther Rizzo: Only the ambulance...
[Charles runs for the ambulance]
Sgt. Luther Rizzo: But that's off limits except in a medical emergency!
Charles: [Climbs in] This *is* a medical emergency.
Sgt. Luther Rizzo: Where are you going?
See more »


Referenced in Veronica Mars: Mars, Bars (2007) See more »


Give Me the Simple Life
Music by Rube Bloom
Plays in the Officers' Club
See more »

User Reviews

Charles and the Great Beyond
25 April 2015 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

During triage when a load of casualties shows up, a sniper begins to fire on the doctors and their patients. No one is badly hurt, but when Charles puts his cap on a hook, he realizes that a bullet entered and exited it, meaning the bullet could just as easily have entered his head. He becomes obsessed with trying to figure out what happens at the time of death. He is trying to figure out why we are what we are; more than the sum of our parts. He even has Rizzo take apart a jeep as a kind of metaphor for this. He begins to hover over a patient that was seemingly dead and then was brought back. He can get no satisfaction, so he goes to a battalion aid station where death is a daily occurrence. This is one of the gut wrenching of all the MASH episodes. There is also a secondary plot line which shows the whole camp, including doctors, taking over mundane duties: the mess tent, the garbage, morale. Hawkeye is met with the craziness that is the Army bureaucracy.

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Release Date:

4 May 1981 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Photophone Sound Recording)



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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