Inspired by the 1970 film of the same name, M*A*S*H
followed the story of a team of medical professionals and their staff stationed at the 4077th Mobile Army Surgical Hospital, commonly known as MASH, during the Korean War. Here, lead by Captain Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce (Alan Alda), the courageous doctors and nurses stationed on the front lines in the midst of war tended to the soldiers wounded in combat. During the 11 season run, Hawkeye witnessed the trauma of war, all while trying to keep the mood light through practical jokes and one-liners. Hawkeye also meets a group of quirky, yet enduring group of characters, including company clerk Corporal Walter "Radar" O'Reilly (Gary Burghoff), the nearly crazy company clerk; Head Nurse Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan (Loretta Swit); Maxwell Q. Klinger (Jamie Farr), who's doing all he can to get sent home; Colonel Henry Blake (McLean Stevenson), a good surgeon who's in over his head; the compassionate Father Francis Mulcahy (William Christopher); Hawkeye's best friend Captain "Trapper" John McIntyre (Wayne Rogers) and a handful of other doctors, soldiers, and nurses that come and go during the war.
After 11 seasons, M*A*S*H ended with a 2½ hour grand finale episode viewed by over 106 million Americans, making it the most watched episode in television history.
Following its end, M*A*S*H had three spin-offs: AfterMASH
, Trapper John, M.D.
, and W*A*L*T*E*R
, a script based on Walter "Radar" O'Reilly that was never purchased by a television company.