Star Trek: Season 1, Episode 20

Court Martial (2 Feb. 1967)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.4/10 from 1,097 users  
Reviews: 14 user | 10 critic

Kirk draws a court martial in the negligent death of a crewman.



(teleplay by) (as Don M. Mankiewicz) , (teleplay by), 2 more credits »
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Title: Court Martial (02 Feb 1967)

Court Martial (02 Feb 1967) on IMDb 7.4/10

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Episode complete credited cast:
Percy Rodrigues ...
Portmaster Stone (as Percy Rodriguez)
Samuel T. Cogley (as Elisha Cook)
Joan Marshall ...
Richard Webb ...
Hagan Beggs ...
Mike Timothy (as Winston DeLugo)
Alice Rawlings ...
Nancy Wong ...
Personnel Officer
Bart Conrad ...
William Meader ...
Captain Lindstrom
Reginald Lal Singh ...
Captain Chandra


After encountering a severe ion storm, the Enterprise visits Star Base 11 for repairs. While there, Kirk files a report about the death of crewman and former friend LCDR Finney, who was taking scientific readings in an externally mounted instrument pod before Kirk needed to jettison it for the safety of the ship. However, the computer log shows that Kirk jettisoned the pod before there was a danger, thereby revealing the captain's willful perjury and culpable negligence in crewman Finney's death. Or so it would seem. Written by Tony-B4

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Release Date:

2 February 1967 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The changes made in the script make it less apparent as to why Jame Finney's attitude toward Kirk changes back to one of respect so quickly. In the script, she has been reading her father's old letters, and his attitude in them makes her believe that he might pull a stunt like this to get back at Kirk. See more »


There are four officers sitting on the court martial board. However, all court martials always have an odd number of officers sitting so there would be no tied vote. See more »


[Prosecutor Shaw interrupts the court computer from reading off the full list of Captain Kirk's commendations, awards, citations and honors]
Areel Shaw: The prosecution concedes the inestimable record of Captain Kirk.
Portmaster Stone: Mr. Cogley?
Cogley: I wouldn't want to slow the wheels of progress. But then, on the other hand, I wouldn't want those wheels to run over my client in their unbridled haste.
Portmaster Stone: Continue.
[the computer continues reading off the accumulated merits of Captain Kirk]
Cogley: [after only a few more of those] Stop! Now, ...
See more »


Referenced in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Far Beyond the Stars (1998) See more »

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User Reviews

Kirk finds out he needs a lawyer
13 July 2006 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

The title of this episode is self-explanatory: based on computer evidence, Kirk appears to have either panicked or, worse, acted with malice during a critical point on the bridge while one of those ion storms was raging, causing the death of a crew member with a push of a button. It turns out, Kirk has a long personal history with this Lt.Finney, who lost out on a promotion or two. Kirk is under fire in this episode not by some cosmic menace, science gone mad or warlike aliens but - perhaps more frightening to him - by Starfleet itself, the one entity you'd think would always back him up. We get to see some of the inner workings of this organization here and the proceedings are not really different from current military trials and bureaucracy ('regulations, captain'). We're back at Starbase 11, last seen in "The Menagerie" part one, but with a different commodore. I really liked the scene in the bar or lounge, where Kirk runs into some of his peers - it's a nice glimpse into Starfleet outside the usual parameters of just the Enterprise.

The most memorable thing about this episode is the introduction of Kirk's lawyer, Cogley, played with some eccentricity by old-time actor Cook Jr. He jabbers on about thousands of books and tends to rattle off a list of old historical documents (including some we've yet to know about) like he's conducting some strange class for aspiring attorneys. He makes it clear his preferences do not include computers, which sets up the entire 'man vs. machine' theme during the court scenes (we'll revisit this theme in later episodes, such as "The Ultimate Computer"). Who is this seeming nutcase, we might ask, and just what is he blathering on about? Kirk seems to be in real trouble now - his lawyer's a couple of cans short of a six-pack. But, by the 4th act, we realize Cogley is one of the reasons we were able to set up a Federation. He represents not only humanity, but civilization - that striving for decency by half-savages, manifested by written laws passed down through the ages - laws which govern - laws which make possible such civilized trials to protect the innocent, resulting in a thorough quest for the truth.

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