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, JeremyNortham.net, 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.