Battlestar Galactica (1978–1979)
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Murder on the Rising Star 

Starbuck is engaged in a game of triad (by Earth standards a mixture of basketball and football) and is consistently struck by hot-tempered bullying Flight Sergeant Ortega, whose low-blows ... See full summary »


Rod Holcomb


Glen A. Larson (created by), Donald P. Bellisario (teleplay by) (as Donald Bellisario) | 3 more credits »




Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Richard Hatch ... Captain Apollo
Dirk Benedict ... Lieutenant Starbuck
Lorne Greene ... Commander Adama
Herbert Jefferson Jr. ... Lieutenant Boomer
John Colicos ... Count Baltar
Maren Jensen ... Lieutenant Athena
Noah Hathaway ... Boxey (credit only)
Laurette Spang ... Cassiopeia
Tony Swartz Tony Swartz ... Flight Sergeant Jolly
Anne Lockhart ... Lieutenant Sheba
Terry Carter ... Colonel Tigh
Brock Peters ... Chief Opposer Solon
W.K. Stratton W.K. Stratton ... Lieutenant Barton
Ben Frank ... Chella / Riftis
Lyman Ward ... Pallon / Karibdis


Starbuck is engaged in a game of triad (by Earth standards a mixture of basketball and football) and is consistently struck by hot-tempered bullying Flight Sergeant Ortega, whose low-blows to Starbuck finally result in a fight and ejection of both from the game. Starbuck nearly resumed the fight with Ortega but is stopped by Cassiopeia. Both men separate and after Ortega cleans up he is confronted - and found shot to death. Starbuck is seen rushing to the shuttle bay before Ortega's body is found - and when Starbuck's laser gun is tested it is found to be the murder weapon. Now incarcerated, Starbuck is at wit's end protesting his innocence and driven to force an escape. He boards his viper but is persuaded to stop by Apollo, and Apollo, checking on Ortega's background, learns that Ortega knew a man named Charybdis - who turns out to be the man who was Baltar's personal pilot and a co-conspirator whose sabotage of Inter-Colony Defense computer systems made possible the complete ... Written by Michael Daly

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

18 February 1979 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


There was no script for the episode until very late into production. Only the title, Murder on the Rising star, existed and was used to pitch the show to the executives. A last minute scramble from the writers resulted in the script that made it to air. See more »


Starbuck's weapon is identified as the murder weapon because it is depleted by the same number of "ergons" as were used to kill Ortega. The investigator test fires the weapon. If each shot depletes ergons, a test fire would mean the weapon could not match. See more »


Col. Tigh: [Adama and Tigh are watching a game of Triad on a viewscreen] Are you sure you don't want to go to court and watch the rest from the gallery? It's just a short walk down the corridor.
Commander Adama: Ah, but these seats are more much comfortable. We have good Ambrosa and good company, huh?
Col. Tigh: [Disappointed] Yes, of course.
See more »


Edited into Remembering 'Battlestar Galactica' (2004) See more »


Exploration/Theme from Battlestar Galactica
Composed and Conducted by Stu Phillips
Performed by The Los Angeles Philharmonic
See more »

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User Reviews

Starbuck Is Not Above The Law!
5 February 2015 | by JasonDanielBakerSee all my reviews

Starbuck and Apollo engage in a gruelling game of "Triad" (Combination of guerrilla basketball with smash-mouth rugby) with a pair of driven opponents Barton (W.K.Stratton) and Ortega (Frank Ashmore who would go on to appear in the sci-fi series "V").

Ortega has a long-standing feud going with Starbuck all the way back to their days as cadets and dogs him with late hits throughout the much anticipated and widely viewed match, which is televised live across the fleet.

Starbuck is heard threatening Ortega twice and is separated from attacking Ortega by Apollo on the Triad court and then by Cassiopeia in the area near the locker rooms after Starbuck and Ortega have both been thrown out of the game.

When Ortega is murdered in his locker-room Starbuck is seen fleeing the area. His laser pistol is tested and identified as the murder weapon. Adama confines him to the brig pending trial. Apollo acts as Starbuck's defense lawyer and tries to find out who really killed Ortega.

This episode which crosses the genre of science fiction with murder mystery and courtroom drama happens to be one of the more highly regarded of the original series amongst fans of science fiction. So much so in fact that elements of it seem to have been ripped off for the staging of Star Trek 6: The Undiscovered Country in which Brock Peters who plays Solon here also co-starred as Admiral Cartwright.

What we see in this particular episode is some sense of what the justice system in the Colonial Fleet is like. Adama is both Chief of police and judge/jury from what we see here in addition to being it's military Commander-in-chief.

We also see a Colonial warrior with uncharacteristically villainous tendencies in the person of Ortega, a pilot with character traits (gambling, womanizing etc) similar to Starbuck but one who consistently takes things too far.

Ortega is a reflection of Starbuck but the differences in the characters emphasize the heroism of Starbuck and expands the depth of personalities aboard the Colonial fleet. On the original series base human instincts were not as pronounced.

Dirk Benedict was hardly the prize choice of producers in casting the show (Lorne Greene was) but by its end he had become its drawing card. The show perhaps revolved around him a little too much at times yet tended to lag in those moments when he was not on screen.

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