China Beach (1989): S03E04 – Who’s Happy Now?


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.


Dr. Richard finds a drinking buddy in a corporal who is the son of a doctor, but he is forced to perform a craniotomy on the corporal when he falls from the base’s water tower. The surgery to relieve the pressure on his brain leaves him in a childlike state behaviourally, causing Dr. Richard to feel guilty about performing the procedure and reminding him of his young son. US Army Colonel Darling (guest star R. Lee Ermey) visits China Beach to evaluate Lila for a potential promotion, where he is immediately enraged by a sardonic Dr. Richard. Lila apologises for his behaviour, trying to level with him by recalling service overseas during World War II, but Darling rebuffs her and tells her all of his military service to that point was spent in the US. During a night with K.C., he suffers a heart attack, leading her, Boonie, and Hyers to scheme of ways to plant his body without drawing attention to K.C. Infatuated by Lila, Sarge Pepper seeks counsel from Frankie on how to catch her eye. Lila comes to him in need of a Jeep to search for Darling and stressed about the possible promotion, only for Sarge to impulsively kiss her. Lila later visits him at the motor pool, asking him not to tell anyone about the kiss, but the two end up in bed together. McMurphy is asked to dinner by Dr. Bernard, but she turns him down. Richard snaps on the corporal when he can’t find a missing body (that of Darling, who Boonie and Hyers had left in the operating room), leading McMurphy to slap him to stop his rage. Out of options to stage Darling’s death like an accident, K.C., Boonie, and Hyers finally bring his body to Beckett, where Beckett finds a letter in Darling’s possession denying him a final opportunity to serve in combat for health reasons. The four pin medals to his uniform before sending him off with a final salute. Richard returns to apologise to the corporal and instead gives a tearful speech directed to his son about the moments he has missed while in Vietnam.

China Beach Series

You can find a full index and overview of China Beach here.

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 11 October 1989.
  • Running Time: 46-47 minutes.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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