Allan Arbus played the part of Major Sidney Theodore Freedman, the Army psychiatrist who visited the 4077th many times. From his first appearance in "Radar's Report" (episode 27, season 2) through "Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen" (the series finale) he appeared in 12 episodes. In his first appearance he went by the name "Milton" but that was changed permanently in "Deal Me Out," his next appearance.
After his first appearance, the doctors of the 4077th
often called on Sidney whenever they needed help with a tough psychological
case, be it one of the patients or a member of the 4077th. Sidney felt
a bond with the people of the 4077th too. When he needed cheering up, he
came to the the 4077th ("Dear Sigmund"). Other times Sidney came
to the 4077th for one of their all night poker games. What follows is a
list of the episodes in which Sidney appeared.
When we first meet Dr. Freedman, his first name is Milton.
He was called to the 4077th in order to evaluate Corporal Klinger and to
decide if he should be discharged. Col. Blake only agreed to the have the
evaluation performed when Frank and Hot Lips pressed the issue. Milton's
first impression of Klinger was that he was obviously crazy. He didn't
understand why they called him all the way from Tokyo. After asking Klinger
a series of questions, Milton handed him a paper to sign. It stated that
Klinger was a transvestite and a homosexual; Klinger refused to sign.
In his second appearance (now going by the name Sidney),
Dr. Freedman came to the 4077th for a medical conference...also known as
a poker game. Sidney's expertise was called on when Frank's patient threatened
Frank in the showers with a gun. While Sidney tried to calm the patient
down, Trapper sneaked in and grabbed the patient from behind.
Once again Sidney stopped by the 4077th for a poker game and got more than he expected. The poker game was called off on account of the deluge of wounded arriving; instead, Sidney assisted the surgeons in O.R. Sidney talked to Hawkeye after he found out that one of his patients had died in post-op while he was busy operating. He tried to get Hawkeye to accept that he had done his best and that it was part of the job. As he left Sidney gave the stressed O.R. staff some advice: "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice."
When a wounded soldier claiming to be Jesus Christ arrives
at MASH 4077th, Hawkeye suggests to Potter that they call in Sidney to
help. Sidney determines that Captain Chandler, the bombadier who claimed
to be Christ, went crazy when he realized that he was killing many people
who had not done anything to him. He advises that Chandler can recover
his true identity with help, but he will never be a soldier again. Upon
hearing Sidney's opinion, Col. Flagg threatened to have Sidney discharged
from the Army for not signing his loyalty oath. Flagg changes his mind
and decides to keep Sidney in the Army where they can keep an eye on him.
Feeling somewhat depressed by his increased number of
patients and the one patient's suicide, Sidney comes to the 4077th to feel
better. As a form of self-therapy, Sidney writes a letter to Sigmund Freud
about the people of the 4077th. Sidney also helps B.J., the anonymous practical
joker, pull a prank on Frank. Feeling refreshed, Sidney leaves the camp
to return to his work.
Hawkeye is walking and playing games in his sleep and
having terrible nightmares. He dreams about his childhood friends having
awful accidents and calls Crabapple Cove only to find out that each of
them is doing fine. Col. Potter has Radar secretly call Sidney. Inbetween
rounds of poker, Sidney and Hawkeye take a stroll in the compound. Sidney
helps Hawkeye realize that in his dreams he's returning to a safer place
only to find the same horror which he encounters everyday. Hawkeye sees
wounded kids everyday and dreams of his childhood friends getting injured.
Sidney comes to the camp with a small head wound he got
while doing therapy in a foxhole with a soldier. Col. Potter thinks the
whole camp is going crazy so he sends a few of the doctors and nurses into
the tent for Sidney to speak to. Margaret and Charles speak to him complaining
about each other. Klinger drops in because he's afraid that he has really
become the cross-dressing lunatic whom he masquerades as. Radar secretly
tells Sidney he's afraid that he has gone crazy carrying around his teddy
bear. In each case it seems that the personnel are simply doing the best
they can to deal with the harsh reality of the war. Sidney meanwhile is
troubled by a soldier who blames him for sending him back to the front
where he got wounded. The whole camp finds some relief in building a large
bonfire with objects ranging from a desk to Charles's cot.
Sgt. Jerry Nielson, a medic, comes to the 4077th suffering
from "the billfold syndrome." He cannot remember who or where
he is. The doctors and nurses try to help him out, but it's clear that
he needs professional help so Sidney is called in. With the help of B.J.
and Hawkeye, Sidney hypnotizes Jerry and recreates the events which he
is surpressing. They discover that Jerry's little brother died in the battle
on Hill 403.
When Sgt. Michael Yee, an Asian-American war hero, finds
out that he will be sent home, he tries to commit suicide. Sidney comes
to the camp and concludes that Yee is having a battle within himself. To
be a good American he kills Chinese and to be a good Chinese he then tries
to kill himself. He suppresses Yee's suicidal impulse through a hypnotic
suggestion. Whenever part of him wants to commit suicide, Yee unconsciously
Sidney is called to the camp when Hawkeye suffers from
sneezing fits with no physical cause. Together he and Hawkeye discover
that the cause of Hawkeye's sneezing is the surfacing of his childhood
memory. Hawkeye was pushed into a lake by his cousin Billy who pretended
that Hawkeye fell in himself. This painful memory was brought to the surface
by the odor from a soldier's damp clothing.
Col. Potter has Sidney visit the camp to see a special
patient --- himself. Sherman is afraid that he's lost his surgical abilities
after Hawkeye had to operate on one of Potter's patients. Potter missed
a fragment and the boy could've died. Sidney helps Sherman realize that
everyone loses some of their abilities one day and only he knows if the
time is now. Potter returns to surgery and regains his confidence.
The series finale begins in Ward D where one of Sidney's patients is Hawkeye. Hawkeye was sent there after he tried to operate on a patient without anesthetic and drove a jeep into the Officers' Club. During several sessions with Hawkeye, Sidney gets him to remember bit by bit the events which caused him to go crazy. Most of the camp had went to a beach for a little R & R. On the way home, their bus stopped to pick up some wounded soldiers and some refugees. The bus had to hide in the bushes and remain silent as an enemy patrol passed by. Eventually Hawkeye remembers the one Korean woman smothered her own baby in order to keep the baby silent. Hawkeye is sent back to the 4077th and Sidney visits them after they relocate temporarily. Sidney makes sure that he is doing okay and leaves the camp with the same advice he gave some time ago: "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice."