Bryan e-mailed me a few days ago with an interesting, if somewhat morbid, question:
While the episode guide is very helpful I’m still trying to find an episode in the series where a character either talks about or commits suicide. With a theme song like “Suicide is Painless” you’d think there would be more mention of it! The film had a rather large scene but I’m finding it hard to nail down one from the series. In “End Run”, Billy Tyler briefly mentions wanting to die if he loses his leg, but I can’t find any others.
Please let me know if something comes to mind. I’d love to know.
In addition to “End Run,” I’ve come up with three other episodes in which someone mentions, considers or actually tries to commit suicide:
“The Chosen People” (Season 2, Episode 43)
An overworked and overwrought Henry asks Sam Pak (played by Pat Morita) what the Korean word for suicide is. According to Pak, “that’s the Japanese. We don’t do that shtick.”
“End Run” (Season 5, Episode 113)
Billy Tyler (played by Henry Brown), a football player, contemplates suicide after losing his leg and asks for pills. Hawkeye talks to him but it is Radar who ultimately convinces him that life is still worth living even with only one leg.
“The Smell of Music” (Season 6, Episode 135)
Saunders (played by Jordan Clarke) has been wounded in the face and feels nobody will ever want to look at him again, especially his girl back home. So he tries to kill himself, first by overdosing on sleeping pills and then by inhaling an anesthetic (perhaps nitrous oxide). Colonel Potter uses a particularly harsh brand of reverse psychology that forces Saunders to come to realize he doesn’t want to die.
“Goodbye, Cruel World” (Season 8, Episode 190)
Sgt. Yee (played by Clyde Kusatsu) tries to commit suicide by slashing his wrists after learning that he’ll be sent home due to being wounded. Sidney Freedman is called in and determines that Sgt. Yee feels guilty for fighting an Asian enemy. He hypnotizes Sgt. Yee so that whenever he feels guilty he’ll twitch his hand rather than try to end his life.
Can anyone think of other episodes in which suicide plays a role?