Star Trek (1966–1969)
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Turnabout Intruder 

An insane woman forcibly switches personalities with Capt. Kirk.



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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?


This episode was originally scheduled for broadcast on March 28, 1969. Special network coverage of the death of Dwight D. Eisenhower pre-empted it, and it didn't air until June 3. 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 Bill Blackburn) 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. Janice Lester: [in Kirk's body] Mr. Spock, if you'd concentrate on the areas for which you are responsible, Starfleet Command wouldn've been informed already.
Mr. Spock: Since the captain usually deals directly with Starfleet in these matters, I assumed that my suggestions might be deemed interference.
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References Battleship Potemkin (1925) See more »

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User Reviews

Thanks to ABC, this episode was aired.
26 April 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I remember this whole thing clearly, NBC pulled Trek after the Christmas Break, ABC made an arrangement to show the final episodes. This was the final Original Series episode, I remember it aired around the time of Apollo 11.

As an episode, it is particularly sparse - The hallways of the USS Enterprise were void of the extras in uniform who used to always be walking around doing whatever business they were attending to. Uhura is missing, replaced by "Angela" (Barbara Baldavin) from "Balance of Terror" and "Shore Leave"

But something great does happen in this episode, a woman, Doctor Janice Lester who has developed a Khan-type obsession with Kirk performs the ultimate form of invasive personal space invasion - rape is maybe too strong of a word but in fact it describes what she has done to Kirk, humiliating him, stealing his identity, she stops short of murder- Which she was not able to do when given ample opportunity to do it.

Both Television Actress Sandra Smith and William Shatner portray the madness of Janice Lester and the forlorn and deprived James T Kirk, who proves to Spock then to Bones and Scotty he is who "she" says he is.

And we believe the progression of events, from the moment Lester takes control of Kirk's body, pretending to be him, initially acting as he would act, but rapidly giving Spock and McCoy reason to start questioning his actions and orders. Just knowing the facts about a person does not give one the ability to take over that person's life - Which Lester learns as she struggles and ultimately fails to keep up the facade. And she finally learns that just being IN command does not immediately invoke the obedience of Kirk's crew.

In fact this episode was a very strong episode to go out with, in the two and a half years this show was on the air, we were introduced to all manner of impossible things, Miles Long Robots that chopped up planets into tiny chunks of rubble and ate them for lunch, a whole philosophy and history for Mr Spock and his "Vulcanian" people, Talosians, Klingons, Romulans... And we accepted it, but a lot of people cannot accept the concept of this episode, including the people IN the episode. But if we can believe in Warp Drive, we can believe that somewhere in this universe, something like this may happen or has happened.

Even in Religion, the concept that God clothed himself in a Human Body is more widely accepted than the idea here that a machine can move the personality of one person into another's body and vice-versa. And there are people whose reputations are based on the former supposition, theologians and even Scholars, whose lives are based on believing it to be fact, even though this cannot be proved, and has to be accepted as a matter of Faith.

When it comes down to it, what are our personalities other than a collection of electrical impulses which wriggle around in a mass of protoplasm designed to store what we call memories? IN the future, computer science may allow those impulses to be stored and even be replaced later, just because it has not happened yet, does not mean it cannot ever happen.

But this episode delivers this proposal almost in a way that it is rejecting it at the same time, which is another reason why it is great. Is this the most outlandish proposal of Trek? Never mind disassembling ourselves atom by atom and moving the whole mess to a transporter pad a planet's distance or a light year away... Never mind, intelligent creatures who are based on Silicon and can eat rock as it it were candy. Nevermind a "barrier" at the edge of the Milky Way Galaxy that if breached, can bestow Godlike Powers to people with High Esper ratings, or a similar barrier in the center of the Galaxy that is a prison to an entity that had been elevated to Pseudo-Godhood.

Trek went out with this proposal, it was as hard for us to swallow as it was for Shatner and Smith to act it out, and nobody can say either of those fine actors failed to make us believe that it really happened. But also noteworthy, was that Kelly, Nimoy, Doohan, Koenig, the absent Nichols, and Takei all made us believe that they would follow Kirk - The REAL Kirk, to the barriers of this galaxy and back.

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