23 user 7 critic

The Conscience of the King 

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.


Gerd Oswald


Barry Trivers, Gene Roddenberry (created by)




Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. James T. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
Arnold Moss ... Anton Karidian
Barbara Anderson ... Lenore Karidian
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. Leonard McCoy
Grace Lee Whitney ... Yeoman Janice Rand
Nichelle Nichols ... Lt. Uhura
William Sargent William Sargent ... Dr. Thomas Leighton
Natalie Norwick Natalie Norwick ... Martha Leighton
David Somerville David Somerville ... Larry Matson (as David-Troy)
Karl Bruck Karl Bruck ... King Duncan
Marc Grady Adams Marc Grady Adams ... Hamlet (as Marc Adams)
Bruce Hyde Bruce Hyde ... Kevin Riley


Captain Kirk is informed by his old friend, Dr. Thomas Leighton, that the head of a Shakespearean acting troupe on his world was once known as Kodos the Executioner. As Governor of Tarsus IV, 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, Leighton, and a young crewman on the Enterprise. Kirk dismisses Leighton's accusations until he turns up murdered, and his young crewman nearly so. The head of the Shakespearean acting troupe, Anton Karidian denies that he's Kodos. Is he telling the truth? If so, who's behind the murders? Written by Tony-B4

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

8 December 1966 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


In all other episodes, the crew drinks non-alcoholic beverages aboard ship from Styrofoam cups. In this episode, Riley drinks his milk from a glass, presumably because its shattering would be more dramatically effective. See more »


Spock discovers the Tarsus IV connection by asking to computer to correlate the historical data on Kirk, Leighton, Riley and Karidian and identify any common episode or experience. The computer reports in the affirmative. But it's previously clear that Kirk isn't certain about Karidian being Kodos at least in part because there is no record placing Karidian at Tarsus IV. See more »


Lenore Karidian: So, the captain of the Enterprise... Interesting.
Captain James T. Kirk: So, Lady Macbeth... Interesting. What's your next move?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Special Enhanced version Digitally Remastered with new exterior shots and remade opening theme song See more »


Featured in Half in the Bag: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) 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

A troupe of strolling players
13 December 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Enterprise is sent for under false pretenses by scientist William Sargent. A theatrical troupe is performing MacBeth and it's nice to see he's still appreciated in the future. Sargent is sure that the lead actor Arnold Moss is the notorious Governor Kodos who committed a genocidal massacre on an earth colony. And Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Riley on the Enterprise are some of the few survivors left who could remember the mass murderer.

But William Shatner's also mixing business with a little pleasure as he romances Moss's daughter Barbara Anderson who seemingly has no idea of who or what her father could be.

Shatner's also getting understandably obsessed, so much so that an unheard of alliance between the bickering Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley concerning Shatner's normal undeviating devotion to duty.

Of course there's something amiss when Sargent is killed and Bruce Hyde playing Lieutenant Kevin Riley is nearly poisoned.

Some nice guest star turns from both Arnold Moss and Barbara Anderson before she became a policewoman on Ironside. Anderson especially goes into an incredible mad act.

This one is one of the best from season one.

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