Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 13

The Conscience of the King (8 Dec. 1966)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,146 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 10 critic

While Captain Kirk investigates whether an actor is actually a presumed dead mass murderer, a mysterious assailant is killing the people who could identify the fugitive.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Arnold Moss ...
Barbara Anderson ...
William Sargent ...
Dr. Tom Leighton
Natalie Norwick ...
Martha Leighton
David Somerville ...
Larry Matson (as David-Troy)
Karl Bruck ...
Marc Grady Adams ...
Hamlet (as Marc Adams)
Bruce Hyde ...


Capt Kirk is informed by an old friend, a colonial governor, that a Shakespearean acting troupe on his world is led by a man once known as Kodos the Executioner. Kodos had most of his colony killed when food supplies ran short rather than have so many starve. The only surviving witnesses to his actual appearance are Kirk, his friend, and a young crewman on the Enterprise. Kirk dismisses his friend's accusations until he turns up murdered, and his crewman nearly so. Karidian denies he's Kodos. Is he telling the truth? If so, who is behind the murders? Written by Tony-B4

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

8 December 1966 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Kirk refers to Riley as a lieutenant in the "Star Service" - another early name for Starfleet when the series' terminology was being made up as the first season went along. See more »


Mr. Spock reports that Governor Kodos had his 4000 victims killed efficiently and "without pain." The brutally half-destroyed face of Dr. Leighton, also attributed to Kodos, seems to be at odds with this claim. See more »


Karidian: I am an actor. I play many parts.
Captain James T. Kirk: You're an actor now. What were you twenty years ago?
Karidian: Younger, Captain. Much younger.
See more »


Featured in Bring Back... Star Trek (2009) See more »


Beyond Antares
Music by Wilbur Hatch
Lyrics by Gene L. Coon
Performed by Nichelle Nichols
Harpsichord by Marl Young
Guitar played by Laurindo Almeida
See more »

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User Reviews

Every great TV series has a clunker...
25 May 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Having watched all of the Star Trek TV series episodes many times each since the 1960s, most being quite good to superb, and only very few being mediocre, my opinion is that this one is the worst of all.

In fact, I think it's so poorly executed as to be an embarrassment to the series. It's not that the story is so bad, although it's not particularly outstanding in any way, but the acting is just abysmal on the part of the two lead characters, meaning those other than the regulars in this case. Barbara Anderson gives her weakest performance ever as the daughter of a mass killer, and who is on a mission of a sort. She practically calls in the role from a phone, and shows no real emotive abilities here. Although usually she's never used as more than a pretty face in most of her film/TV roles,usually small parts, she has done much better.

Arnold Moss as her father gives new meaning to the term 'Ham' and is the only actor ever on a 1960s Star Trek episode that outdid William Shatner in this area, and actually makes Shatner look superb by comparison. And he gets to play a Shakespearian actor no less, which gives him more impetus to overact, and he does so.

Other than these two leads being so weak, the story is such that anybody with any sense at all can tell who the killer is within the first 15 minutes. I say this because I told my brother the whole plot ending at the first commercial break when we were watching the original 1966 broadcast as pre-teens. His reply was, Yeah, you're right.

Skip this one and watch the much superior Menagerie episodes which were originally televised right before.

4 of 26 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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