China Beach (1990): S03E19 – Phoenix


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.


An American assassin disguised as a Vietnamese farmer shoots and kills a man outside his home, but is severely wounded when the man’s wife stabs him in the gut. K.C. holds a sale of some of her items, drawing McMurphy’s ire when she puts out for sale a crucifix McMurphy had given her; K.C. wears it for McMurphy instead. Boonie strikes up a friendship with a Vietnamese boy nicknamed GTO who claims to be 15. The wounded man (guest star Kevin Kilner), going by the names Ace and Agent 29, is taken to China Beach, where he demands not to be anesthetised during lifesaving surgery. He slips out of the ward after the procedure and finds K.C., asking her to meet with a Vietnamese contact, Truong Chinh, in Da Nang. At their meeting, Truong Chinh is shot at point-blank range by a different agent and rips the crucifix from K.C.’s neck as he falls through a window. Truong Chinh is brought to the ward for emergency surgery but is suffocated the next morning, leaving K.C. as the prime suspect. McMurphy denies K.C.’s involvement to military investigators but refuses to lie about her whereabouts on the night of the shooting, leading to K.C.’s arrest. Boonie discovers GTO is actually 18 and angrily confronts him about avoiding his duty to serve, causing GTO to leave the base. GTO returns in uniform and Boonie admits to him he remains in Vietnam because he likes it, but GTO replies that if Boonie wanted to escape war he could simply go home, while GTO does not have that option. McMurphy finds another agent rifling through the medical records for Agent 29’s file. She follows him back to the morgue, where Agent 29 is hidden in a body bag. She expresses her anger at them involving K.C. in their plan but the agent has no regrets, as they had credible evidence Truong Chinh was behind attacks on American servicemen and K.C. knew what her involvement meant – and was paid for it. After their departure, McMurphy finds K.C. at the Jet Set, her release secured by the agents’ arrangement. The two have an emotional fight; K.C. feels betrayed by McMurphy refusing to lie to save her and hurt by her remark that she does not have a sister and did not want one, but McMurphy responds that she is in an apologetic gesture.

China Beach Series

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

Production & Filming Details

  • Release Date: 21 March 1990.
  • Running Time: 46-47 minutes.
  • Rating: Unknown.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

Video Link

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