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 receives a Bronze Star, earning the jealousy of Dr. Richard. To McMurphy’s shock, Vinnie is wounded and brought back to China Beach. He implores her to treat his friend Gil, but Richard discovers severe damage to his brain stem and sends him to the “checkout counter” to die. While delivering a body to Beckett, she discovers Gil still alive and struggling to breathe. She performs a tracheotomy to keep him alive, but Richard confirms he is braindead and warns McMurphy not to resuscitate him again. When Vinnie finds Gil alive, McMurphy gives him false hope that Gil may wake up. McMurphy puts Gil on a respirator when Vinnie pleads for help at night. Frankie is mistakenly given a promotion to sergeant and is sent to lead a combat squad. Unprepared for the role, she loses two weeks of meat rations in an ill-fated bet over a football game with a much larger squad. The squad tries to humiliate her by faking a live grenade being tossed at them, but are quieted when Frankie dives on it to save them instead of running away. Sarge Pepper reveals to her he ran from the grenade when the same prank was pulled on him, inspiring her to return to the squad, which has received orders to ship out. Together, they execute a heist to steal back the meat rations. When the real Sergeant Bunsen arrives, Frankie sends off the squad, their respect earned. Admitting the truth that Gil may not wake up, Vinnie questions keeping him alive in his vegetative state. Richard is irate at finding Gil on the respirator and Vinnie angrily confronts McMurphy when he finds Gil still alive the next night. McMurphy apologizes for the messy way their relationship ended, but refuses to help Gil die. The next day, Richard’s presentation of the Bronze Star and his words about the importance of her comforting dying soldiers convinces her to let Gil die; she and Vinnie keep vigil over Gil until he passes.
China Beach Series
You can find a full index and overview of China Beach here.
Production & Filming Details
- Release Date: 14 February 1990.
- Running Time: 46-47 minutes.
- Rating: Unknown.
- Country: US.
- Language: English.