More About Miami Medical and M*A*S*H


The other day I wrote about a M*A*S*H reference in a new CBS drama called Miami Medical, which premiered last Friday (April 2nd). In the episode, the character played by Jeremy Northam called a Miami trauma center “MASH in paradise” and, according to CBS press material, his fictional back story includes a stint at a MASH unit during the first Gulf War. That was enough for me to mention it here. But it turns out the connection between the two shows goes a bit deeper.

Shortly after writing about the aforementioned reference I was contacted by a contributor to a website dedicated to Jeremy Northam called Jeremy Northam Info. She let me know about a Daily Kos interview with the creator of Miami Medical, Jeffrey Lieber, which included the following exchange:

One of the characters in Miami Medical, played by Jeremy Northam, worked in a MASH unit during the first Gulf War. Is he more Frank Burns or Hawkeye Pierce?
Hawkeye, absolutely. M*A*S*H is the great-grandfather of the show and if we have any real level of success, I’ll keep pushing the series more and more in that direction. In fact, for about a week, we were in the process of writing in a research team comprised of the actors who played Radar, Father Mulcahy and B.J. Hunnicutt. We eventually got Mike Farrell, Hunnicutt, into episode #5.

I admit, it would have been neat to see Gary Burghoff, William Christopher and Mike Farrell together again as a crack team of medical researchers but alas it was not to be. While browsing another Jeremy Northam website,, I found a link to a Toronto Sun article titled “‘Miami Medical’ reminiscent of ‘M*A*S*H’,” in which columnist Bill Harris calls Northam’s character “the Charles Emerson Winchester III of the group.” I also came across another article from the Sioux City Journal which touched upon the fact that Northam’s character worked at a MASH unit:

His character’s secrets aren’t immediately apparent — he left a lucrative practice to join the team. In his past: work in a “MASH” unit. The connection? “We’ll discover it through the course of the series,” he says.

“Tortured? I don’t understand the word. Everyone’s got a history. And he’s 47, 48 and he has been around a bit. He makes a conscious decision to make a change in his life. Why? We’ll just have to see.”

So, to sum up, not only was there a M*A*S*H reference in the first episode of Miami Medical, not only did one of the characters work in a fictional MASH unit, but the show’s creator considers M*A*S*H to be Miami Medical‘s “great-grandfather” and hopes to emulate it in some fashion. To be quite honest, though, I only watched the premiere of Miami Medical because promotional spots included the M*A*S*H reference and I don’t plan on watching future episodes. But it is nice to know that M*A*S*H is still influencing new television shows.

2 Replies to “More About Miami Medical and M*A*S*H”

  1. It’s too bad with how things are now that we don’t have characters like Frank Burns, Archie Bunker, and Fred G. Sanford anymore. Honestly, I don’t even see how we could. There’s no more humor when it comes to these sort of things. If this guy’s character was like Frank Burns, it would never work (of course who could ever pull Frank off like Larry Linville???) I’m trying not to bring politics into this, but back then, you’d have characters who were politically incorrect and get laughs. Now, if you did, you’d have half the bloggers and certain news stations blowing their tops. On the other hand, I think now, if there was a remotely conservative character on a show, the character would be portrayed as a heartless. But this is just my opinion.

    Anyway, the last time I watched a show premier was around 2002. Usually, I never hear about them! I’ve never heard of this one! BUT since Mike is going to be making a guest appearance, I think I’ll watch THAT episode.

  2. Its not political “correctness” that keeps these characters from being on shows today (otherwise why air them in reruns?). Its the fact that bigot type characters were the brunt of jokes in a time of major social changes. There really isn’t alot of social changes going on today. It wouldn’t sound funny to have an idiotic bigot who hated gays. And if they tried to make racial bigots like Archie, people would be more upset that they are trying to be like Archie or something. It wouldn’t mesh well in today’s time even though there are still many(and the same) racial problems like there was in Archie’s time. The 2000s has been all about pretending the problems are gone and over with, same with sexism.

    Because the political world has become so hostile in the last couple of years, it just doesn’t seem as fun to have ignorant characters like Archie because he sadly would represent a good majority of Americans when it comes to politics and no one would even know they character is joking.

    Shows like South Park, Family Guy, and The Simpsons are the closest we are ever going to get.

    Also, you won’t see Frank Burns and Archie type characters these days because of the emphasis on reality tv.

    It gets so annoying when misinformed people blame everything on “political correctness”. Not everything is the fault of “political correctness”. People wouldn’t be offended by having Frank Burns type characters on tv, they just don’t fit into the tv world that has been made for us today by the entertainment industry.

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