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"For What It's Worth"


By Lee Russell

One of the unexpected consequences of some Second Season decisions was to turn Anderson (no longer arguing with Goldman) into a kind of detective. Having his girlfriend be a psychiatrist was all right dramatically, but now a lot of episodes would involve soldiers with psychiatric problems. When the Army saw all these script proposals lined up, they dropped their support of the show. The Army PAO in Hollywood still continued to review the scripts, as a courtesy, but now no longer allowed the use of facilities, the rental of military equipment, and no longer provided a Set Advisor.
None of this was especially significant. Most of the episodes were set in rear bases or in Saigon. Several of the crew members had served in Vietnam and doubled now unofficially as Set Advisors. But it caused a sort of loss of focus. It also was not popular with veterans either.
Like several other episodes, "For What Its Worth" was based on a few lines in the Ronald J. Glassner book "365 Days". Glassner was a medical doctor and not a psychiatrist, but he speculated on stress and the effects it might have on combat troops. This is now called "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder", but was not recognized at the time.
The episode begins with, in my opinion, a preposterous and downright silly sequence of an American POW being carried in a cage. Any VC captives being moved (they didn't take many to begin with) walked. Any who couldn't, died. Period. Any such POW sighting would have immediately involved an operation to recover the captive. Any US troops who witnessed a fellow American in enemy hands would have been incensed. Here, it was "just another day". I discussed this with the writer, but it stood as written.


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