Star Trek

Season 1 Episode 20

Court Martial

Aired Unknown Feb 02, 1967 on NBC
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Episode Summary

Captain Kirk's career is at stake when he is put on trial for the loss of a crewman during an ion storm.

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Percy Rodriguez

Percy Rodriguez

Commodore Stone

Guest Star

Elisha Cook Jr.

Elisha Cook Jr.

Samuel T. Cogley

Guest Star

Joan Marshall

Joan Marshall

Lt. Areel Shaw

Guest Star

Nichelle Nichols

Nichelle Nichols

Lt. Nyota Uhura

Recurring Role

DeForest Kelley

DeForest Kelley

Dr. Leonard Horatio "Bones" McCoy

Recurring Role

Majel Barrett

Majel Barrett

voice of Computer / Starbase recorder computer (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (29)

    • During the court martial, Spock's ranks is listed as Lt. Commander. After moving the court martial to the bridge, Spock is wearing Commander stripes.

    • It's very dramatic, but why does Stone insist on staying aboard the ship because the court hasn't reached a verdict and they want to "hear the witness out"? Finney is alive: that renders the whole trial a moot point.

    • For some reason they shut down the impulse engines. The implication is the noise would render it impossible to detect Finney's heartbeat but they display they have the ability to filter noises out, and there must be thousands of other equipment noises aboard the ship.

    • Spock testifies that only three individuals have the level of computer programming knowledge sufficient to reprogram the Enterprise computer without obvious signs. One of them is... Captain Kirk? The captain has never displayed any superior knowledge of computers in any previous or subsequent episode. In "Tomorrow is Yesterday" he is fact stumped by his computer having been reprogrammed with a female voice.

    • Cogley is waxing a bit poetic at the end, but even so, the Bible never speaks anywhere of the right for a defendant to confront his accuser, the right to cross-examination, or to a jury of his peers.

    • Despite the fact they've found evidence confirming Kirk's innocence, and he's seconds away from being convicted, and McCoy even asks Spock "Why are you just sitting there?", the two men stop to change into their dress uniforms before reporting their findings to the court. Couldn't they have at least called down to Cogley and told him to delay?

    • When the court martial reconvenes on the Enterprise, the defendant and witnesses had changed out of their dress uniforms that they had been wearing for the court martial, even though the trial was continuing, and the members of the court were still wearing their dress uniforms. There is no explanation why they would have changed.

    • A prosecutor with a prior relationship with the defendant would be disqualified from participating in the case.

    • When Kirk is meeting with the Commodore on the Starbase, he is wearing the informal green uniform shirt. During the meeting, he is ordered confined to the Starbase. Later, he is in the bar wearing the standard gold uniform shirt. After that, he is back in the Commodore's office wearing the informal green shirt.

    • Trivia: McCoy's rank is specified as Lieutenant Commander.

    • Trivia: The term "Vulcanian" is used here instead of "Vulcan."

    • At the beginning of the fight scene between Kirk and Finney, you hear the first two punches, but as Kirk hits Finney a third time as they cut to the stunt double you do not hear the impact of the punch on the soundtrack.

    • Starfleet sure seems to make a big deal about one dead crewman. In the rest of the series, however, there must have been dozens of crew deaths that Kirk might have been responsible for, and there was never any indication of investigations into those deaths.

    • What exactly was Finney planning on doing if Kirk was convicted? Did he plan to just go in hiding for the rest of his life?

    • Sam Cogley is supposed to be this awesome attorney, but in reality he's pretty lousy. He conducts no cross-examination and even throws in the towel and rests his case after the visual extract is shown from the ship's logs. It is Spock, and Spock alone, who saved Kirk by telling Cogley about the chess game. Cogley makes this big noble speech about computer vs. man, but without Spock's help he would never have even thought to question the computer's accuracy.

    • When Kirk is having the crew beamed to the Starbase so they can isolate the heartbeats of those on board Commodore Stone asks if there's a skeleton crew for the impulse engines. He is told no, that they shouldn't be on board long enough to need to use them to correct their orbit. Once it become apparent that the engines are needed, and must be prepared there seems to be no trouble starting/running them -- even though there's no crew down there to do so. Either a crew wasn't needed, or they simply overlooked this fact.

    • At the beginning of the episode, Finney's daughter burst into the Commodore's office to start accusing Kirk of murder. Shouldn't a starbase be a little more secure so that a little girl can't just walk on in?

    • Kirk only has five buttons on the right arm of his command chair - two of them are alert buttons (as we see here, even though he never uses them before or since) and one is the usual open-communications button. It seems odd that he's the one in charge of jettisoning a pod given all the other stuff he does as Captain.

    • This is the first and only time we've ever seen Kirk hit a button on his chair to start an alert. Before he always gives the order and someone else does it.

    • The fake playback provides zooms and reverse angles and no one is surprised, but in "The Menagerie" Kirk said no vessel makes record tapes that detailed.

    • We've seen the computer used as a lie detector in episodes like "Mudd's Women" and later in "Wolf in the Fold" - but they don't use it here.

    • The Starbase in this episode is #11, but it looks nothing like the Starbase 11 seen in "The Menagerie."

    • Why does everyone stay on the bridge while Kirk wrestles (for a pretty good time) with Finney down in Engineering? They can all hear Finney say the ship is going to burn up in orbit if no one stops him - why do they just sit around?

    • Kirk says they can increase the booster on the auditory sensor "on the order of one to the fourth power." One to the fourth, or fifth, or twenty-fifth power,

    • They said that Engineering was "B" deck which is deck 2, but Engineering is deck 7 which would be "G" deck.

    • When McCoy muted Spock's heart, he put the machine on the left side of his chest, but Vulcans' hearts are where the liver in a human would be.

    • Kirk's shirt was torn in the fight, but Kirk's stunt double's shirt wasn't torn.

    • It was stated that Finney was a Lt. Commander, but when Kirk met him in Engineering, he had the full Commander rank braid.

    • The use of stunt doubles during Kirk and Finney's fight at the end of this episode is very obvious.

  • QUOTES (9)

    • McCoy: Dr. Leonard McCoy. And you?
      Areel: Areel Shaw. And I'm a friend, too--an old one.
      McCoy: All of my old friends look like doctors. All of his look like you.

    • Kirk: Dr. McCoy said you were here. I should have felt it in the air like static electricity.
      Areel: Flattery will get you everywhere.
      Kirk: It's been... how long has it been?
      Areel: Four years, seven months, and an odd number of days--not that I'm counting.

    • Kirk: What is all this?
      Cogley: I figure we'll be spending some time together, so I moved in.
      Kirk: I hope I'm not crowding you.
      Cogley: What's the matter? Don't you like books?
      Kirk: Oh, I like them fine, but a computer takes less space.
      Cogley: A computer, huh? I got one of these in my office. Contains all the precedents, a synthesis of all the great legal decisions written throughout time. I never use it.
      Kirk: Why not?
      Cogley: I've got my own system. Books, young man, books. Thousands of them. If time wasn't so important, I'd show you something--my library. Thousands of books.
      Kirk: What would be the point?
      Cogley: This is where the law is, not in that homogenized, pasteurized, synthe... do you want to know the law, the ancient concepts in their own language, learn the intent of the men who wrote them, from Moses to the tribunal of Alpha 3? Books.
      Kirk: You have to be either an obsessive crackpot who's escaped from his keeper or Samuel T. Cogley, attorney-at-law.
      Cogley: Right on both counts.

    • McCoy: Well, I had to see it to believe it.
      Spock: Explain.
      McCoy: They're about to lop off the captain's professional head, and you're playing chess with the computer.
      Spock: That is true.
      McCoy: Mr. Spock, you're the most cold-blooded man I've ever known.
      Spock: Why, thank you, Doctor.

    • Areel: Mr. Cogley is well-known for his theatrics.
      Cogley: Is saving an innocent man's career a theatric?
      Stone: Counsels will direct their remarks to the bench.
      Cogley: I'd be delighted to, sir, now that I've got something human to talk about. Rights, sir, human rights--the Bible, the Code of Hammurabi and of Justinian, Magna Carta, the Constitution of the United States, Fundamental Declarations of the Martian colonies, the Statutes of Alpha 3--gentlemen, these documents all speak of rights. Rights of the accused to a trial by his peers, to be represented by counsel, the rights of cross-examination, but most importantly, the right to be confronted by the witnesses against him--a right to which my client has been denied.

    • Areel: How long will it be before I see you again?
      Kirk: At the risk of sounding like a mystic, that depends on the stars.
      Areel: Sam Cogley asked me to give you something. It's not a first edition, just a book. Sam says that makes it special.
      Kirk: I didn't get to thank him.
      Areel: He's busy on a case. He's defending Ben Finney. He says he'll win.
      Kirk: I wouldn't be a bit surprised.

    • Areel Shaw: (whispering to Kirk) Do you think it would cause a complete breakdown in discipline if a lowly lieutenant kissed a starship captain on the bridge of his vessel?

    • Spock: Lieutenant, I am half Vulcanian. Vulcanians do not speculate. I speak from pure logic. If I let go of a hammer on a planet that has a positive gravity, I need not see it fall to know that it has, in fact, fallen.

    • Cogley: I speak of rights. A machine has none. A man must. My client has the right to face his accuser, and if you do not grant him that right, you have brought us down to the level of the machine. Indeed, you have elevated that machine above us. I ask that my motion be granted, and more than that, gentlemen, in the name of humanity, fading in the shadow of the machine, I demand it. I demand it!

  • NOTES (3)

    • Starfleet, the agency that the crew serve in is mentioned for the first time in this episode. Earlier episodes made vague and conflicting references to what service the Enterprise operated in including Space Command, Space Central, the Star Service, and the United Earth Space Probe Agency (or UESPA).

    • In this episode we get to see Kirk not only get the girl, but get the prosecuting attorney and kiss her on the bridge.

    • Dr. McCoy's handheld "medical scanners" were actually modified salt and pepper shakers. Another medical device, seen in the episode "Court Martial" is obviously a hand-held microphone.