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The Deadly Years 

A landing party from the Enterprise is exposed to strange form of radiation which rapidly ages them.


Joseph Pevney


Gene Roddenberry (created by), David P. Harmon




Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
Charles Drake ... Commodore Stocker
Sarah Marshall ... Janet Wallace
James Doohan ... Scott
George Takei ... Sulu
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
Majel Barrett ... Christine Chapel
Walter Koenig ... Chekov
Felix Locher Felix Locher ... Mr. Johnson
Carolyn Nelson Carolyn Nelson ... Yeoman Atkins
Laura Wood Laura Wood ... Mrs. Johnson
Beverly Washburn ... Arlene Galway


Rapid aging afflicts all six colonists on Gamma Hydra IV and five members of Kirk's six-man landing party - all but Chekov. With the Neutral Zone so close, suspicion falls on the Romulans testing a new weapon, but is it? With time running out, answers are elusive. As Kirk's memory progressively deteriorates, regulations necessitate a competency hearing no one wants - the outcome of which may eventually lead the Enterprise to its destruction with all aboard. Written by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This takes place in 2267. See more »


Spock is guilty of leading one of his witnesses (putting words in their mouth, one definition) which in court is not permitted. When he questions Lt. Uhura about Captain Kirk forgetting about the Romulans had broken code 2. She replied, "Yes, but he changed it to code 3." Spock then says, not in question form, but as a statement "After you reminded him that The Romulans had broken code 2." Uhura submits and says, "Yes." It was up to Uhura to testify that she reminded him, not for Spock to tell her that she reminded him. See more »


[Lt. Galway sees her aged image in a mirror in the Sick Bay doorway]
Arlene Galway: What a stupid place to hang a mirror!
See more »

Alternate Versions

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


Referenced in Star Trek: Discovery: The Vulcan Hello (2017) See more »


Music credited to Alexander Courage
Sung by Loulie Jean Norman
See more »

User Reviews

Senility Strikes Kirk and his Officers
9 October 2006 | by BogmeisterSee all my reviews

You're not sure whether you should be sad or laughing during the course of this episode - but usually you'll laugh; it's hard not to these days. Of course, if you've ever had a parent or other close relative going through something like dementia, for example, it may give you pause. But then again, this is escapist fare - you're not supposed to take it too seriously. The Enterprise crew encounter the latest unknown space disease, a form of aging. The cause turns out to be radiation left over from a passing comet. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty and a female junior officer all start to age very rapidly, on the order of 30 years per day. But people age differently and the female is the first to bite the dust, this episode's expendable crew member (as opposed to the usual red-shirt). Chekov was not affected at the site of the exposure for some reason and is the key to finding a solution. There's a commodore aboard, as it happens, and he quickly makes a nuisance of himself, forcing a competency hearing against Kirk (should they really have time for this with such a deadline fast approaching?).

The episode manages to touch upon the fears and drawbacks of getting older, mostly from Kirk's perspective. It shows that the best one can expect as one becomes elderly is probably pity - from those who used to respect you. The affected party ages mentally even swifter than they do physically, so there are numerous scenes of Kirk being forgetful; these begin quite early, in subtle hints that all is not right with the landing party. When Kirk starts dozing in his command chair, his loyal crew looking on bewildered and embarrassed, the time for subtlety is past and the audience may stifle an uncomfortable laugh, unless they enjoy a kind of payback for all of Kirk's virile past gallivanting. The physical make-up, however, leaves something to be desired; Kirk & Spock aren't too bad, but Scotty acquires an odd mummified look, while someone placed a mop-like strange hairpiece on McCoy's head. Again, the viewer probably shouldn't laugh too much looking at these heroes deteriorate, but it's taken out of our hands due to the presentation. The central competency hearing, conducted by Spock, repeats much of what had occurred up until this point and winds up being tedious.

But Shatner is great in every scene he's in: his outrage, at the hearing and, later, at Spock; his annoyance with commodore Stocker; his wandering mind, no longer fine tuned; his denial, obviously from plain fear. Kelley also turns in a great interpretation of a doddering old country doctor. Nimoy merely plays a Vulcan who seems tired all the time. Towards the climax, I found it difficult to understand how even a 'deskbound paper-pusher' like commodore Stocker would commit as grievous a blunder as he does here in regards to the Romulan Neutral Zone, but some crisis was needed to test the rejuvenated Kirk in full rescue mode. These scenes also consisted of stock footage of a Romulan ship firing its weapon from the "Balance of Terror" episode and lasted so long that the Enterprise should have been obliterated well before Kirk rushed up to the bridge to pull his fast one with corbomite again (see "The Corbomite Maneuver" from way back).

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8 December 1967 (USA) See more »

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