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You’ve gotta understand I’m not working on sick people here. I’m working on hurt young people, with essentially healthy bodies that have been insulted by ammunition.
~ Hunnicutt, talking about his patients with a reporter.

Captain B.J. Hunnicutt was a character in the M*A*S*H television series from the 4th through 11th seasons.

B.J. was born and raised in California. Hunnicutt was a third generation doctor in his family, having been educated at Stanford University. He was married to Peg Hayden and had a daughter with her named Erin.

Prior to Erin's birth B.J. had been drafted into the Army and went through basic training before being sent home to await further orders. Not long after the birth of his daughter Hunnicutt came home from his first night out with his wife after Erin's birth to find out he was being called into active military service. Days later he found himself at the Kimpo air base, where he met Hawkeye Pierce and Radar O'Reilly for the first time. During the drive back to the 4077 MASH Hunnicutt became friends with both men.

B.J. quickly adapted to life in the 4077 and became friends with many of the staff there, especially Hawkeye Pierce and their new CO Colonel Sherman Potter. Unlike Trapper John, who had been something of a class clown at the 4077, B.J. was more a straight man to Hawkeye. Prior to meeting B.J. Major Frank Burns had high hopes of having an ally in the camp, however his hopes were dashed when Hunnicutt arrived and greeted him with "What say ya, Ferret Face?". After Burns crashed and burned some time later and was shipped stateside, his replacement Major Charles Emerson Winchester III thought B.J. was a decent enough fellow.

Hunnicutt felt a great deal of disgust about the war, stating that people had to understand that these were not sick people he was taking care of, but people who had been wounded by bullets and other tools of war. He was appalled by the state of Korean medical care, and lost his lunch the first time he saw a soldier who had been killed in combat.

B.J. was at his core a family man who deeply missed his wife and daughter. Whereas the married Trapper John was a womanizer who carried on with many of the nurses, B.J. remained faithful to his wife for the entire time he was there. B.J. looked forward to getting letters from home. He was anguished over missing important milestones in his daughter's life. This caused a nervous breakdown when B.J. learned that Erin had greeted Radar O'Reilly by saying "Daddy" upon meeting him in San Francisco. B.J. also was upset that his being in Korea was forcing his wife to face challenges on her own, and that it caused them some financial difficulties during a time that he thought he'd be in practice and their mortgage only a memory.

BJHunnicutt

Hunnicutt later in the war.

When not patching up wounded soldiers or hanging out with Hawkeye B.J. kept himself busy with various hobbies. These included fly fishing in nearby streams, working on a motorcycle he had obtained while there, or working on the still that he and Hawkeye maintained in their tent. B.J. was noted for his mastery of practical jokes, having played such jokes on many members of the 4077.

As the war came to a conclusion B.J. helped treat Father Mulcahy when the latter was wounded by an artillery blast that caused hearing loss. He was almost allowed to return home, however the Army changed its mind and kept him in Korea until the conclusion of the war. When the 4077 was disbanded B.J. took the time to spell out "Goodbye" with stones that Hawkeye could see as the helicopter took him away.

Trivia

  • B.J. Hunnicutt was portrayed by Mike Farrell. He was brought on to the series after Wayne Rodgers decided not to continue on the series after the third season.
  • Farrell requested Hunnicutt's daughter be named Erin after his own real life daughter Erin so that it would be easier to relate to this unseen character as a family member.
  • Farrell's then wife Judy Farrell also had a recurring role in the series as Nurse Able.
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