Star Trek (1966–1969)
25 user 6 critic

Patterns of Force 

Looking for a missing Federation cultural observer, Kirk and Spock find themselves on a planet whose culture has been completely patterned after Nazi Germany.


Vincent McEveety


Gene Roddenberry (created by), John Meredyth Lucas

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
Richard Evans ... Isak
Valora Noland ... Daras
Skip Homeier ... Melakon
David Brian ... John Gill
James Doohan ... Scott
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
Patrick Horgan ... Eneg
William Wintersole ... Abrom
Gilbert Green Gilbert Green ... S.S. Major
Walter Koenig ... Chekov
Lev Mailer ... S.S. Lieutenant (as Ralph Maurer)
Ed McCready Ed McCready ... S.S. Trooper


The Enterprise searches the reportedly primitive and warlike planet, Ekos, for the missing Federation cultural observer, Professor John Gill (David Brian). When Kirk (William Shatner) and Spock (Leonard Nimoy) beam down, they find the Ekosians have turned into a Nazi society, with Gill as their Fuhrer, and are at war with the peaceful people of neighboring planet, Zeon. They steal uniforms to enter the headquarters; but when Spock is forced to remove his helmet, his ears betray them and they are led straight to the torture chamber. After a flogging as Zeon spies, they manage to escape with a Zeon prisoner (Richard Evans), who takes them to the Zeon resistance. The resistance tests them, and plots with an Ekosian defector (Valora Noland) just to reach Gill, posing as a Nazi propaganda film crew. Once they enter inside, they discover things are not quite as they appear. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

16 February 1968 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


All the Nazi uniforms used in this episode are taken from Paramount's costume storage, and were previously featured in many of the studio's World War II-era films. Many of them featured mismatched epaulets, collar tabs, and other rank-identifying insignia. However, McCoy's collar tabs, bearing a single silver oak leaf, correctly identify him as a colonel, as Kirk had ordered. See more »


When Kirk and Spock penetrate the Nazi headquarters to attempt to see John Gill, Kirk notes that "They've got the booth curtained off." When he says that, there is a camera shot of the curtain with no one near it. However, prior to that and just after that, Nazis are seen standing right in front of the curtain. There was not enough time between shots to account for their disappearance and reappearance from in front of the curtain, and the action continues clearly indicating that there is no time lapse between shots. See more »


Newscaster: Führer's headquarters reports repulsing an attack by Zeon spacecraft. Our missiles utterly destroyed the enemy.
Capt. Kirk: You look, er, quite well for a man who's been... utterly destroyed, Mr. Spock.
See more »

Alternate Versions

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


Referenced in Futurama: Where No Fan Has Gone Before (2002) See more »

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User Reviews

Dark Subject, Classic Trek, Even With Punches Pulled
9 November 2009 | by Dan1863SicklesSee all my reviews

As a boy I rated this as one of my favorite TREK episodes, just because there's plenty of action, lots of gun play and because Kirk genuinely does make (in Spock's words) "a very convincing Nazi." Interestingly, when I began to recreate my Star Trek collection on video, twenty years later, I found that PATTERNS did not live up to my memories. I think part of the problem is that the treatment of Nazism is meant to be challenging and serious but actually pulls some punches.

Several reviewers correctly pointed out that the real Nazi Germany was in fact NOT "the most efficient state earth ever knew." But the differences between the "real" Nazi Germany and Professor Gill's Ecosian variety are also interesting. The horror of the real Holocaust is toned down in several ways.

1.) The Zeons have a planet of their own, and presumably could always find some way to hide and/or fight back in an emergency, (such as an extraterrestrial invasion) however "peaceful" they might be.

2.) The Zeons we meet on this planet, Isok, Abram, and the rest, are all openly militant, determined to fight back, well organized, and completely un-intimidated by Brown Shirts and SS. There's not even a hint of passivity, terror, or a state of denial comparable to what crippled Europe's Jewish population with such tragic results. (i.e. "this too will pass, they can't be serious, they really need us.")

3.) The anti-Nazi resistance in Germany was pathetically ineffectual (with apologies to the brave Von Stauffenberg.) But the story line here softens the historical truth. It seems the Ecosian Nazi party is riddled with resistance members, double agents, and free spirits of all types. One minute it's lovely Dara who's switching sides, and the next thing you know Party Chairman Enig is "one of us" too. Kirk and Spock could have stayed on the Enterprise and "phoned it in" if they had known defeating the Nazi menace would be this easy!

4.) Given that there are plenty of heroic Zeons and noble Ecosians to do the heavy lifting, it's a real shame Kirk couldn't have had a love scene or two with Dara, the ultimate Kitten With A Whip. Come to think of it, if SHE had been in charge of the "whipping" scene this episode would have definitely broken new ground!

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