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China Beach

By Wikipedia

The ABC TV drama China Beach aired for three years (four TV seasons) from 1988 to 1991. Created by William Broyles, Jr. and John Sacret Young, the series looks at the Vietnam War from a unique perspective: that of the women, military and civilian, who were present during the conflict. John Wells took over most of the series beginning with the second season - many of the show's cast members would later appear on ER.

Set in a Vietnam locale called China Beach, at the 510th Evacuation Hospital and R&R (the "Five-and-Dime" Rest & Recreation) facility, the cast of characters include US Army doctors and nurses, officers, soldiers, Red Cross volunteers, and civilian personnel (American, French, and Vietnamese). Very often, however, the series features the experiences of the characters when returning to the U.S., either on leave or at the end of their tour of duty.

The show did not shy away from showing the gruesomeness of war, providing a very gritty view of the experience there.

Unusual story-telling methods were sometimes used: scenes presented in reverse chronology; insertion of animated cartoons to express a character's state of mind; alternating between interviews with former military nurses and scripted scenes; and a visit by the cast to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington, D.C..

China Beach was a critically lauded but poorly rated series. To their credit, ABC stuck with the show for four seasons, but the final season was put on hiatus in fall 1990 and did not air its finale until July 22, 1991. As a result of the strange scheduling, Dana Delany was eligible for (and ultimately won) a Best Actress Emmy in the fall of 1992, a year after the series broadcast its final episode and over a year and a half after many of the scenes were filmed.


  • Dana Delany (Lt. Colleen McMurphy)
  • Nan Woods (Cherry White, 1988-1989)
  • Michael Boatman (Pvt. Samuel Beckett)
  • Marg Helgenberger (Karen Charlene "K.C." Koloski)
  • Robert Picardo (Dr. Dick Richard)
  • Tim Ryan (Capt. Natch Austen, 1988)
  • Concetta Tomei (Maj. Lila Garreau)
  • Brian Wimmer (Cpl. Boonie Lanier)
  • Jeff Kober (Sgt. Evan "Dodger" Winslow)
  • Chloe Webb (Laurette Barber, 1988)
  • Megan Gallagher (Wayloo Marie Holmes, 1988-1989)
  • Nancy Giles (Pvt. Frankie Bunsen)
  • Ned Vaughn (Cpl. Jeff Hyers, 1989)
  • Troy Evans (Sgt. Bob Pepper, 1989-1991)
  • Ricki Lake (Holly Pelegrino, 1989-1990)


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Aired: April 26, 1988 - July 22, 1991

Cast: Dana Delany, Nan Woods, Chloe Webb, Marg Helgenberger, Michael Boatman, Robert Picardo, Tim Ryan, Concetta Tomei, Brian Wimmer, Megan Gallagher, Ricki Lake

Network: ABC

Genre: War Drama

Theme song

Image courtesy of ABC

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from this Wikipedia article, which is probably more up to date than ours (retrieved August 12, 2005).

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