M*A*S*H (1972)

3 mistakes in The Abduction of Margaret Houlihan

(23 votes)

The Abduction of Margaret Houlihan - S5-E6

Other mistake: As Frank cocks his gun in the Swamp, the slide locks open and he has to hit the slide release to get it to move forward. Next he fiddles with the hammer. Next we hear the shot go off. Burns' excuse later is that he was cleaning The Gun and it went off (although admittedly, Frank doesn't always stick to the truth that religiously in situations like that). The slide on a semi-automatic locks open only if the magazine is empty or missing. The Gun locking open is also a clear, unmistakable indication that the breech is empty. He would have to insert a filled mag, then pull the slide back again to chamber a round before The Gun even had the chance to go off. One never does that while cleaning a gun. One does what Frank did to begin with: Pull the slide back without a magazine inserted to make sure the breech is empty.

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Suggested correction: Frank has demonstrated on numerous occasions that he does not follow the rules of safe gun handling, so ascribing his failure to do so is not a mistake.


You are missing the point. His gun is demonstrably unloaded when we last see it. He would either have to change his mind about cleaning it and load it instead, or load it first and then try to clean it (which makes even less sense), neither of which is not supported by anything in the dialogue.

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Cleaning The Gun was the lie. He told BJ he was going to hunt for Margaret. He had every intention of loading his gun at that point.


You got me there. Frank talks about looking for Margret, fiddles with The Gun, and only after the shot goes off, he talks about cleaning it.

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Bug Out (60 mins.) - S5-E1

Trivia: Early on in this episode a scene takes place in the shower between Harry Morgan and William Christopher. Right before the scene ends William pulls the chain on the lever for the shower to turn on, but the water doesn't come on; in fact when he notices the water doesn't come on, he holds onto the chain and the lever actually comes off. You can tell by his facial expressions this was totally unexpected, but since this was the end of the scene and no further dialog was needed, it was left in.

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Dear Dad - S1-E12

Question: A number of times it is mentioned that the outfit is unarmed, yet several times, Frank has a rifle, or a pistol, and once Klinger had a grenade, and the guards and Klinger, while on sentry duty, has a rifle. Was this standard, or is this a mistake?

Answer: Even an Army field hospital would have SOME weapons for self-defense if the enemy attacked. What's meant is that it's not a combat outfit, and therefore wouldn't have enough weapons to actually attack anyone. (It's also mentioned a few times that the Officer of the Watch is supposed to carry a pistol at all times, but Hawkeye refuses to do it when he's in charge and Colonels Blake and Potter don't enforce the rule).

Captain Defenestrator

Answer: The Geneva Convention allows even doctors to carry a sidearm to be used in their self defense or the defense of their patients, however it is rare to do so.


Answer: As an old medical unit staffer, my experience is that med units have combat units assigned to defend them. Usually it was marines.

Answer: My old doctor (now deceased) served in Korea during the War. He was required to carry a sidearm anytime he was not in the hospital.

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