Sticky Wicket

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"Sticky Wicket"
M*A*S*H episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 21 (21st overall)
Directed byDon Weis
Written byRichard Baer
Production codeJ321
Original air dateMarch 4, 1973
Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Army-Navy Game"
Next →
"Major Fred C. Dobbs"
M*A*S*H (season 1)
List of M*A*S*H episodes

"Sticky Wicket" was episode #21 of the first season of the TV series M*A*S*H. written by Richard Baer with the teleplay written by Laurence Marks and Larry Gelbart, it originally aired on CBS-TV on March 4, 1973.


The episode opens in a poker game. When it is interrupted by incoming wounded, Hawkeye and Margaret operate on a patient and Hawkeye insults Frank. However, Hawkeye's patient fails to improve after surgery. Hawkeye becomes overly concerned with the case, to the point of attacking Frank over comments at lunch, sleeping in post-op, snapping at Trapper for playing poker too loudly, and moving out of the Swamp to the supply tent. While Hawkeye retreats to the supply tent to reflect on the case, he is interrupted by his date (whom he turns away), Trapper (whom he turns away as well), two other soldiers, and Henry. Henry implies that Hawkeye is concerned more about his ego than about his patient. Hawkeye replies with a glib remark about Henry's intelligence, which ultimately insults Henry and allows Hawkeye some peace and quiet. While pondering the case outside the supply tent, Hawkeye encounters Margaret and she theorizes that they made a mistake during surgery, eliciting extreme doubt from Hawkeye, who in turn insults her. During the night, Hawkeye has an epiphany and reopens the patient to find a small piece of shrapnel damage behind the sigmoid colon, at which point Frank states that "anybody could have missed that."[1][2][3][4][5] Hawkeye responds with a sincere "Thanks, Frank."

Guest cast[edit]

Production notes[edit]

This episode features an alternate, jazzier arrangement of the opening theme music.

Trapper makes a pun during the poker game comparing a "pair of twos" with paregoric.

B movies referred to are Love Life of a Gorilla (1940), Bride of the Gorilla (1951) and Bonzo Goes to College (1952).


  1. ^ Wittebols, James H. (2003). Watching M*A*S*H, Watching America. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. pp. 161–166. ISBN 0-7864-1701-3. Retrieved May 16, 2009.
  2. ^ "Episode Guide". TV Guide. Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  3. ^ "The Classic Sitcoms Guide: M*A*S*H". Retrieved 2009-05-15.
  4. ^ "M*A*S*H: Season One (Collector's Edition) (1972)".
  5. ^ Reiss, David S. (1983). M*A*S*H: the exclusive, inside story of TV's most popular show. ISBN 0-672-52656-5.

External links[edit]