Sidney Freedman was a somewhat enigmatic recurring character on M*A*S*H, who started out his stint on the show examining Max Klinger during one of his "Section 8" claims. Dr. Freedman then shifted his emphasis more to being a counselor to Hawkeye Pierce, but still continued to serve as general psychological support to the 4077th when his character recurred.

During the final episode, when Hawkeye has had a breakdown and is in treatment, he is seen by Dr. Freedman.

Was this the plan for the character all along, to be the ultimate outlet for Hawkeye's frustrations in the final hour, or was Freedman worked into the script as a means through which the writers could funnel the "war is Hell" message long before the ending of the series was planned?


I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that the Sidney Freedman character was just a counselor to Hawkeye. Sidney was called in whenever there was a case needing pyscho-analysis, from a medic suffering amnesia to a patient who thinks he is Jesus. Yes, on a few occasions that even included Hawkeye.

But he first debuted in season 2, back when the episodes were much more light-hearted. I doubt the writers would have kept the character around for the next 10 years, just to have him be a dramatic hook in the final episode. Couldn't any (unknown) psychiatrist have functioned as Hawkeye's doctor in the end? Yes, it was more effective because we already knew of Sidney, and he already knew of Hawkeye's past, but presumably any shrink would have been able to help Hawkeye with his self-analysis.


According to the trivia entry on IMDB, when Gary Bughoff left the series, the producers wanted to make Sidney a regular character, but actor Allan Arbus turned down the offer, preferring to appear only sporadically. So the producers may have wanted Sidney around more, but again I just don't think it was part of a master plan to setup the final episode. I think he was just an interesting occasional character (like Colonel Flagg or Rosie) that the writers used to make the episodes more interesting and also to help delve into the psyche of the different characters.

  • I accept your chastising, as I did try to oversimplify his role for someone who may not have seen the series. ;) Do you know anything about the aspect of planning for the character by the writers? – jonsca Aug 27 '13 at 2:08
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    I agree with this answer. There weren't (and still aren't) that many shows around whose creative teams have extremely clear visions of how they want each character to grow and what they want them to become for more than a season; let alone a 10 season gap. – Jamie Taylor Aug 28 '13 at 8:42

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