Star Trek (1966–1969)
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Turnabout Intruder 

An insane woman forcibly switches personalities with Capt. Kirk.



(created by), (teleplay by) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Sandra Smith ...
Harry Landers ...
Barbara Baldavin ...
David L. Ross ...
John Boyer ...


In answering a medical emergency at an archaeological expedition, Kirk confronts the deep hatred of an old love, Janice Lester, who supposedly lies severely ill from celebium radiation. In payment for jilting her back at Starfleet Academy, Dr. Lester arranges for an alien machine to swap her consciousness with that of the captain and takes command of the Enterprise. Once aboard, Kirk (in Lester's body) tries to convince Spock that he is trapped in her body. As a result, Janice (in Kirk's body) conducts a court-marshal with the intent of executing Spock and Kirk (in Janice's body), and later McCoy and Scott, to keep her secret. The crew realize something is seriously wrong with their captain and, not wishing to incur an illegal death-penalty themselves, begin a passive resistance. Written by JW Kearse

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Release Date:

3 June 1969 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


According to Harry Landers, he was very fatigued during this episode because he had just has his upper right lung removed due to an infection. He wanted to turn the role down but did it as a favor to producer Fred Freiberger. See more »


After Dr. Lester, in Kirk's body, first arrives on the bridge and starts issuing orders, a wide shot of the bridge and viewing screen clearly shows a blond crewman (stock footage featuring nm1028189) other than Chekov at the navigator station. At the tail end of this shot, Lester/Kirk specifically addresses his order to Chekov. In the very next shot Chekov is suddenly at the navigator station to hear the rest of Lester/Kirk's order. See more »


Dr. Coleman: She is suffering from the delusion of being Captain Kirk.
James T. Kirk: [in Janice Lester's body] I am NOT Janice Lester!
Dr. Coleman: The paranoia has been developing for the past six months. The radiation seems to have intensified it. She must be kept sedated.
Nurse Christine Chapel: Shall I prepare a mild sedative, Doctor?
Dr. Coleman: Of course.
See more »


References Battleship Potemkin (1925) See more »

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User Reviews

Capt.Kirk now knows the indignity of being a Woman
12 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

There are many detractors of this episode, for reasons we'll get into in a bit, but one also cannot overlook several scenes of nearly rapturous, quasi-Shakespearean melodrama affixed to a science fiction plot line. Some of these scenes are unforgettable: Kirk physically attacking Janice Lester (now actually Kirk) as McCoy and Spock look on, shocked, fearing the worst; that tense, somber moment when Spock must decide to believe that Kirk is trapped in Lester's body; the entire hearing sequence, where Kirk (actually Janice Lester) steadily implodes into rampaging hysteria; the scene in the hallway directly afterwards, where Scott & McCoy plot their mutiny; Sulu & Chekov, nervously realizing how wrong things really are. These are incredible to watch, whether for the 1st or 10th time. But, the episode's strengths are not just these standouts; this isn't some half-baked attempt at role reversal. After Kirk's body is appropriated by Lester, the subtleties kick in: note how Shatner now says 'Captain Kirk to Enterprise' instead of his usual shorthand 'Kirk to Enterprise.' And, it's these subtle changes in his behavior that prove to be Lester's undoing, not the later screaming fits, when Lester knows she is losing her bid to retain control of the ship indefinitely. When Lester, in Kirk's body, first walks onto the bridge and starts issuing orders, we learn that the job of a starship captain is made up of many little details and any even minor deviation will start causing problems...and raised eyebrows (by, guess who?). It's pretty well thought out.

Note also how, in logical order, Kirk's senior officers go over to his side, despite surface appearances of the usual routine: first Spock, of course, followed by Scotty & McCoy, then Sulu & Chekov; too bad Uhura is missing. In discussing Shatner's memorable interpretation of a female mind, we often forget Smith's performance as Kirk; the actress must have studied some of Shatner's past performances and it shows. Shatner, known for overacting in a few episodes - especially in the final season - gets to indulge himself here and it suits this particular episode very well. The viewer should remember that the female character, Lester, is an unbalanced woman, probably even deranged. She is not representative of the typical female of the 23rd century. This episode is not telling us that females, as a rule, are not suited to command positions. It's PC to buy into that, but I believe it's simply telling us that Lester is unsuited for command. Very few people are suited for command, in reality. When Lester, in the beginning, makes her comment about how Starfleet doesn't allow female starship captains, it seems to me as more of an attack, by Roddenberry, on the social mores of the sixties, a commentary on inequality (between males & females, in this case) similar to other statements by many 3rd season episodes on the status quo of that decade. We really don't know what Starfleet's approach is here, even though Kirk seems to agree with Lester on this point - perhaps he was humoring her - it's, again, more of a message to policymakers of the sixties. One could argue, tongue in cheek, that after this incident, Starfleet began an aggressive promotion program geared towards females, to avoid further such protests. We see the results on the TNG and Voyager shows. But, the next new Trek episode would be in animated form, in 1973. We had 3 good years. Well, 2 really good years and one pretty good year.

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