MASH Episode Review: Mad Dogs and Servicemen

by StevenHelmer

A review of the season 3 television episode that first aired in December of 1974.

Synopsis: Hawkeye (Alan Alda) treats a shell-shocked soldier (Michael O’Keefe) who is paralyzed but has no injuries. The treatment, however, involves him stepping out of character and being the villain in an effort to force his patient to open up about what happened.
Meanwhile, Radar (Gary Burghoff) is bitten by a stray dog and, since they can’t find the animal, must begin a precautionary rabies treatment.


I had an opportunity to watch this episode on Netflix when I was home for lunch earlier today and, even though I had seen it a while ago, I wasn’t really sure if it was an episode I would enjoy or not. As it turns out, it was actually a pretty decent story.

The part with the paralyzed patient was somewhat interesting, mostly because the writers waited until later in the episode to explain exactly what Hawkeye was trying to do. When he started his treatment, I figured there was a reason for it. But, admittedly, I wasn’t really sure what that reason was until Hawkeye and Trapper (Wayne Rogers) took the time to fill in the missing details while defending the decision. And, while the ending was a bit predictable, it did keep the situation a little more dramatic than I expected.

The part with Radar getting bitten had some funny moments, especially when he and Henry (McLean Stevenson) track the dog down to some villagers and are led to believe the animal has been eaten. Burghoff also does a good job making the viewer believe he is in pain when going through the rabies treatment. There were times when I felt sorry for him at the same time I was laughing.

I think the most memorable part of that story, however, had to be Major Houlihan’s (Loretta Swit) interaction with Radar while checking up on him. As I’ve mentioned in the past, she’s my favorite character from this series because she has so much depth and this episode does a great job showing that. In between criticizing Hawkeye and Trapper, her character takes the time to be almost mother-like with Radar by reading a pen pal letter aloud to him and even checking some reply boxes on his behalf when he falls asleep. I liked how the episode did that because it shows she really is a good person deep down.

M*A*S*H TV Season 3

By the showÂ's third year ratings were high enough to give the writers and creators more leverage with the network and thus a bit less trouble with the censors. In addition, the...

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Final Opinion

The episode had some pretty serious subjects but still managed to mix in just the right amount of comedy. As a result, I did enjoy this more than expected and would recommend it if you haven’t seen it.

My Grade: A

Updated: 07/27/2017, StevenHelmer
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