Series: Hogan's Heroes
Episode: The Defector
Original Airdate: November 28, 1969
Production Number: 5784-131
Written by: Laurence Marks
Directed by: Jerry London
Produced by: Edward H. Feldman, William A. Calihan & Jerry London

Regular Edit

Prisoners Edit

Camp Personnel Edit

Semi-Regulars Edit

Guest Stars Edit

Synopsis Edit

Hogan must get a defecting Field Marshal, whom Hochstetter has followed to Stalag 13, to England.

Plot Details Edit

It is late at night in Germany and Hogan, dressed in a civilian suit has left the camp to meet with Gretchen, a local Underground agent. After getting into her car, she informs him that an important German officer wishes to defect to the allies. The man is none other than Field Marshal Rudolf Richter, a close friend of Hitler's who attended school with him. Hogan is reluctant, as it would be extremely difficult to spirit away someone of such importance without attention. Their stopped car soon catches the attention of a German patrol, forcing the two to kiss to throw them off. Hogan agrees to the plan after the kiss, and embraces Gretchen once more "in case they come back."

Later at Stalag 13, Hogan explains the details of their mission. Get Richter to England at all costs. The Heroes share Hogan's apprehension, but the die is cast and the mission cannot be scrapped.

Field Marshal Richter arrives the next morning with his "secretary" Gretchen, which presents a problem as the Heroes were not expecting him for a few more days. Klink tries to cosy up to Richter by telling him of Stalag 13's "achievements" before declaring that it is the humblest camp in Germany. They are soon interrupted by Hogan, who is invited in by Richter, and after offering for LeBeau to cook a gourmet dinner for Richter, Hogan is also invited for dinner that evening. Klink praises Richter's decision and makes the ridiculous suggestion of having Stalag 13 renamed as the "Rudolf Richter Stalag" which Hogan points out would cost a lot of money simply to have new stationery made up. 

Dinner is a splendid affair, as LeBeau has cooked up an excellent meal. The conversation turns to Hogan, as he is the first American officer Richter has met. Hogan takes the comment in his stride and merely remarks that General Eisenhower is arranging for him to meet more. Shortly after they are interrupted by Major Hochstetter, who characteristically mocks Klink with almost every sentence he makes. Richter however rebukes Hochstetter on Klink's behalf and professes a great respect for him. Bolstered by Richter's endorsement, Klink demands to know the reason for Hochstetter's visit; Hochstetter remarks that an escape from Stalag 4 has taken place and the Gestapo needs Klink's "expert" assistance to recapture him. As the two leave, Hogan and Richter convince Schultz to go with them and Richter soon explains why he arrived early. The Gestapo were planning to arrest him and thus he had no choice but to move, to Hogan's dismay.

As Klink and Hochstetter arrive in the former's office, the latter explains that Richter is being investigated for treason and there was no escape at Stalag 4; that was just a ruse to get Klink away to fill him in on the true situation without Richter getting suspicious. Both Himmler and Hitler have ordered Richter's arrest.

As Hogan, Richter and Gretchen ponder the situation, the American colonel comes up with an idea. He tells Richter to put his coat on, light up a cigar and take a walk around the camp and get to barracks 2 quickly. He also advises Richter not to gamble with any prisoners, as there may be a craps game in the barracks and the men are "killer" gamblers.

Hochstetter meanwhile has called Himmler, explains the situation and receives orders to arrest Klink's "dear friend" Richter, to which Klink insists that he hardly knows him and that he has no dear friends, a fact which Hochstetter is willing to believe. The Gestapo major demands Klink's cooperation, which Klink gives.

After a brief introduction to the Heroes, Richter is taken into the cooler, as it would be the last place Hochstetter would think to look. Hogan also has an American uniform brought up for Richter and dashes off to Klink's quarters in time to head off Hochstetter and Klink. After hearing that Richter went for a walk and hasn't returned, Hochstetter remarks that he will surround the camp with a ring of steel, confident that Richter will not escape. 

Some time later, after Richter has been placed in the cooler. Hogan comes up with a three part plan in order to create the only logical circumstance in which the Gestapo stop their hunt: Richter's "death". He orders Carter to prepare an explosive able to both fit in Richter's car, and destroy it. Newkirk is tasked to put on a German uniform and cut the perimeter wire as far away from the gate as possible, and also that a dummy be fitted with Richter's uniform. 

In a classic bit of skullduggery, LeBeau, Kinch and Hogan distract Schultz long enough to turn Richter's car to face the gate and load it with explosives and the dummy, just as Newkirk calls attention to the cut wires causing every guard in camp to leave to fruitlessly begin searching outside. In the midst of the confusion, the other Heroes rig Richter's car to drive, and Schultz, believing Richter is escaping, calls the attention of Klink and Hochsetter. Klink orders Schultz to shoot Richter, but Hochstetter who has been ordered to take Richter alive, instead tries to shoot out the tires, just as the explosives go off. Believing he hit the petrol tank and killed Richter, Hochstetter wonders in horror what is to become of him when Himmler finds out. Hogan merely remarks that Hochstetter should practise his marksmanship when he arrives at the Russian Front.

Now that the threat has passed, Newkirk retrieves Richter, informs him that the Heroes have faked his death and escorts him out of the cooler on his way to England.

The dejected Hochstetter, faced with the prospect of his own execution practically cries on Klink's desk. Klink is eager to rub salt into the wound by reminding him that a call from Himmler is imminent, and orders him not to cry on the desk. The call is soon received, and Hochstetter braces himself for the worst as he reports the evening's events. His horrified expression soon changes to joy as he thanks Himmler and ends the call. As it turns out, Himmler, believing the accident was staged by Hochstetter, is quite pleased that Richter has been "taken care of" and is likely to give Hochstetter a commendataion and promotion for his efforts. A fact Hochstetter is all to willing to taunt Klink with before leaving. Hogan insists that Klink have a good cry and clears the desk for him, which Klink takes a seat near, looking thoroughly miserable.

Story Notes Edit

  • This is the one hundred and thirty-first episode of the series, but is the one hundred and twenty-eighth episode shown on television and the tenth episode shown for the Fifth Season.
  • Field Marshal Richter is the highest ranking German officer that our heroes help defect to the Allies.
  • The premise for this episode may have been inspired by that of the flight of former Nazi Party Secretary Rudolf Hess to England in 1941. Hess was not defecting; rather, he had deluded himself into believing he could bring about an arranged peace between Germany and England. He spent the rest of the war (and his life) in prison.
  • According to Kinchloe, a POW named Jacobs has just been released after spending a week in the cooler immediately prior to the start of the episode.

Timeline Notes and Speculations Edit

  • It can be taken from Hogan's quotes that the Normandy landings have not yet taken place. Hogan jokes about this fact ("Oh, you will meet more of us {American officers}. General Eisenhower is arranging that right now."). As far as things implied, Hogan and Gretchen's conversation may indicate that this was the first German flag officer that our heroes helped to defect, or he may have been the first German officer of any rank that they helped. The former seems more likely, as a defecting Field Marshal would have been (and proves to be) quite conspicuous. As such, this could have taken place at any time between late 1943 or the spring of 1944.
  • This episode also takes place after the events of Hello, Zollie given Schultz' quote that once they were visited by "a very peculiar Major-General." The only confirmed Major-General seen at Stalag 13 is Klink's old friend Major-General Hans Stofle, who certainly fits the description of "peculiar" as he was made to look like a defector, and arrested. This episode was slated to take place in early 1943.

Quotes Edit

(As Hogan interrupts Klink's attempts to gain favour with Richter)
  • Hogan: I'd like to see the Kommandant, Schultz.
  • Klink: (to Schultz) Tell him I'm not in.
  • Schultz: Colonel Hogan I'm awfully sorry but the Kommandant is not in.
  • Hogan: I can see him!
  • Schultz: So can I, but he is not in.

Bloopers Edit

External links Edit

Previous episode:
The Big Gamble
Next episode:
The Empty Parachute

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