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 989 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 9 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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Title: The Conscience of the King (08 Dec 1966)

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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)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Barbara Anderson developed a fever blister/cold sore on her lip during filming. Besides using makeup to partially disguise it, she was often filmed with part of her lower face in shadow. See more »


Several characters, including Kirk, state that if "the last few eyewitnesses" who know what Kodos looked like were to die, than that knowledge will be lost. But Kirk finds Kodos' mug shots and voice prints easily enough in Starfleet's files to compare with Anton Karidian. 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

Is He Kodos the Executioner or just an Actor?
1 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This is another example of a Trek episode where Capt. Kirk temporarily abandons his usual mission (exploring) and goes off on a personal vendetta (see the recent "Dagger of the Mind" and the much later "Obsession") - but it's very personal in this one. On the surface, it may seem trivial because larger questions concerning the galaxy are placed aside, but we become very involved in Kirk's private quest here. The episode is basically a mystery: is a traveling Shakespearean actor just what he seems to be or is he really the ex-governor of a failed colony, where, 20 years earlier, 4000 people had been put to death on his orders? We are left guessing for most of the episode. Will this turn out to be a false quest, a morality tale on the pitfalls of revenge? Or will this suspect truly be revealed as a mass murderer, causing Kirk to phaser him into oblivion? This episode also has an interesting set design for a futuristic house on another planet and a nice rendition of a song 'Beyond Antares' by Uhura (Nichols).

I would think guest star Moss had a field day with his role in this one; his specialty in real life were Shakespearean plays. He acts out Macbeth here, the story of which carries eerie parallels to the character he plays in this episode, and Hamlet, which parallels scenes in the actual episode. His voice is magnetic and his confrontation scene with Kirk as they parry verbally remains one of the better ones during this Trek season. Anderson, as his daughter, also holds her own in a strangely beautiful role. The episode is filled with nice touches

  • catch the very brief one as Yeoman Rand (Whitney) passes Anderson's

character in the turbolift. It's also telling that Spock, for all his usual annoyance with McCoy, runs to him when he notices the captain being edgy again. There's a key scene with Kirk, Spock and McCoy which sums up this trinity's relationship. Finally, we have Riley (Hyde) back again in his second and last appearance (after "The Naked Time"). It's an ironic form of justice that Riley ends up demoted to the lower decks in the engine room, where he caused all that trouble in his previous appearance. A rather haunting conclusion caps this foray into space intrigue.

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