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.
Frankie, back working as China Beach’s radio host, is frustrated when the military bans the records of popular bands on the radio. With most of the base listening to Hanoi Hannah (and her faster reporting of college football scores), Frankie and Beckett hijack the signal and begin broadcasting pirate radio. However, when the two broadcast that the war is over, China Beach breaks out in celebrations – and reveals some hard truths. McMurphy, filling in on the night shift, tries to save the life of a severely wounded soldier in the ward, determined not to have him be the final casualty in Vietnam. A drunk Lila reveals to McMurphy the other nurses call her “Sister McMartyr” (or Lila’s own “Our Lady of Perpetual Duty”), annoyed by her holier-than-thou attitude. Sarge Pepper declares his love for Lila; she eventually reciprocates and the two spend the night together. K.C. tries to coax Boonie into driving her to Da Nang, worried that the war’s end will scuttle her business deals. Frankie and Beckett grapple with admitting the peace announcement was a lie. Beckett is driven to his breaking point when the base lights a bonfire with the furniture from the Jet Set. He starts a final broadcast, asking listeners to keep the faith when the truth is revealed and noting the war ends every day for soldiers killed in action. McMurphy and Dr. Richard acknowledge the likely end of their complex relationship, sharing what they believe to be a final dance together. As morning breaks, the celebrations continue, but a helicopter carrying fresh wounded snaps the base out of the illusion of peace.
China Beach Series
You can find a full index and overview of China Beach here.
Production & Filming Details
- Release Date: 07 February 1990.
- Running Time: 46-47 minutes.
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.