M*A*S*H: Season 9, Episode 20

The Life You Save (4 May 1981)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Comedy, Drama, War
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 145 users  
Reviews: 2 user

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.


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Title: The Life You Save (04 May 1981)

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
The Cook
Dying Soldier
Jim Knaub ...
Pvt. Markham
Arthur Taxier ...
Jim Boeke ...
Sgt. Chiaverini
Jack Kearney ...
Paul Ventura ...


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.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

directed by star | See All (1) »


Comedy | Drama | War





Release Date:

4 May 1981 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Photophone Sound Recording)


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


This is the first time it's found out Charles had a sibling other than his sister, and is never mentioned again in the series. See more »


As Charles realizes that a sniper's bullet narrowly missed hitting him in the head, he sits down in the scrub room and tilts his head back against the wall as he realizes how close he came to death. As Col. Potter enters in the next cut, Charles has his head leaning forward with his chin almost touching his chest. See more »


Father Mulcahy: [Mulcahy is on garbage detail] There just isn't room for anymore.
Col. Sherman Potter: Well, Padre, you gotta ditch it some place. Preferably down wind.
Father Mulcahy: I can't. Winchester has all the transportation lying around in little pieces on bed linen.
Margaret: That's what I want to talk to you about.
[Hawkeye enters]
Hawkeye: Colonel, the motor pool has been taken completely apart and Klinger has to get to the 8063rd right away.
Col. Sherman Potter: Why?
Hawkeye: Because...It's a long story, but whatever idiot was in charge of the mess tent before I was stuck me with 75 ...
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 »

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User Reviews

Charles and the Great Beyond
25 April 2015 | by (United States) – See 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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