China Beach is an American dramatic television series set at an evacuation hospital during the Vietnam War.
The title refers to My Khe beach in the city of Đà Nẵng, Vietnam, nicknamed “China Beach” in English by American and Australian soldiers during the Vietnam War. The ABC TV drama aired for four seasons, from 1988 to 1991.
McMurphy’s father dies. At the cemetery after his funeral, McMurphy tearfully witnesses a Marine’s funeral. She has a difficult conversation with her mother, who reveals her father, never religious in adulthood, went to church daily and refused to answer the door in the year-plus McMurphy was in Vietnam, worried about the possibility of her dying. McMurphy tells her mother she was “never going to be who you want me to be” and refuses to settle for life as a nun or a conventional housewife as her mother wants. McMurphy and her brother sneak back into the cemetery that night, where she wishes to she could have her father, her sister Molly, and the dying soldiers she’s treated back from the dead. On the tarmac boarding her flight back to Vietnam, she has a change of heart and risks going AWOL to visit Jan (guest star Kathy Bates), a nurse who was stationed with her in Vietnam and is now a nurse at an Army hospital for recovering amputees in San Francisco. She joins Jan and two wheelchair-bound veterans at a bar, where the two soldiers argue with two political science college students about the Vietnam War. McMurphy recalls the brutality and the camaraderie of her experiences in country before sharing an intimate dance with one of the vets. Still wavering on returning to Vietnam, McMurphy meets a wounded soldier at the hospital who recognises her from China Beach (seen in “Psywars”). She decides to return to Vietnam and leaves with him a necklace of St. Jude her father had given her before she originally departed for her tour. The soldiers give her an ovation as she departs; upon landing at China Beach, littered with wounded troops, she immediately gets to treating one and tells him he’s going to be okay.
China Beach Series
You can find a full index and overview of China Beach here.
Production & Filming Details
- Release Date: 03 May 1989.
- Running Time: 46-47 minutes.
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.