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The Man Trap 

Dr. McCoy discovers his old flame is not what she seems after crew members begin dying from a sudden lack of salt in their bodies.


Marc Daniels


George Clayton Johnson, Gene Roddenberry (created by)




Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
Jeanne Bal ... Nancy Crater
Alfred Ryder ... Prof. Robert Crater
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
Grace Lee Whitney ... Yeoman Janice Rand
George Takei ... Sulu
Nichelle Nichols ... Uhura
Bruce Watson ... Green
Michael Zaslow ... Darnell
Vince Howard ... Crewman
Francine Pyne Francine Pyne ... Nancy III


In the series premiere, the Enterprise visits planet M-113 where scientists Dr. Crater and his wife Nancy, an old girlfriend of Dr. McCoy, are studying the remains of an ancient civilization. When Enterprise crewmen begin turning up dead under mysterious circumstances, Kirk and Spock must unravel the clues to discover how, why, and who is responsible. Written by JW Kearse

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


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Did You Know?


When Nancy Crater first walks into the dig headquarters, Nichelle Nichols' singing from Star Trek: The Original Series: Charlie X (1966) is briefly dubbed in. Curiously, Nancy's mouth does not appear to move as she is singing. See more »


When Uhura replied to the call to report to the Bridge, she didn't turn off the intercom button. See more »


[first lines]
Captain James T. Kirk: Captain's log, stardate 1513.1. Our position, orbiting planet M-113. On board the Enterprise, Mr. Spock, temporarily in command. On the planet, the ruins of an ancient and long-dead civilization. Ship's surgeon McCoy and myself are now beaming down to the planet's surface. Our mission: routine medical examination of archeologist Robert Crater and his wife Nancy. Routine but for the fact that Nancy Crater is that one woman in Dr. McCoy's past.
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Alternate Versions

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


Theme From Star Trek
Written by Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Space: the final frontier...
18 March 2009 | by MaxBorg89See all my reviews

Predating the same mistake they made with Seinfeld's second season (specifically, the last four episodes) by 25 years, NBC aired the first episodes of Star Trek out of order (the approved pilot, Where No Man Has Gone Before, was broadcast as Episode 3). Not that it's a major problem: for one thing, the original Trek is famous for not having any significant narrative continuity between episodes (something that changed with the spin-offs); secondly, The Man Trap is just as good an example of what really makes Star Trek a riot to watch - the interaction between the characters.

Starting, like any other episode, with the "Captain's log, star date whatever" narration by Captain James Kirk (William Shatner), The Man Trap takes place on a deserted planet where a scientist (Alfred Ryder) and his wife (Jeanne Bal) are studying the remains of an ancient society. The starship USS Enterprise is orbiting around the planet so that Kirk can give the two new food supplies and the ship's physician, Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy (DeForest Kelley), can check on their medical condition. This proves to be a bit awkward, since he and the woman were romantically involved once. Greater problems lie ahead, though, as Enterprise crew members are found dead. The cause is salt deprivation, and the strange marks on their necks suggest someone or something is doing this deliberately. Now it's up to Kirk, McCoy and Mr. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), the Enterprise's half-human, half-Vulcanian scientist, to find out what's going on and how to stop it.

As is the case with most Star Trek episodes, the plot is quite simple: new planet, weird event, people in danger, Kirk and his pals saving the day. It's essentially the blueprint for the monster-of-the-week stories of The X-Files, not to mention the reason NBC agreed to give the show a chance (the original pilot, The Cage, was rejected because it was considered "too cerebral"). The apparent simplicity is used as a tool to conceal deeper issues in later installments, but here it's exactly what it looks like: a very basic script that allows any viewer to access the classic Star Trek universe without worrying about any complicated, underlying "mythology" (an element that has been mandatory in successful genre shows made after 1990). In that sense, the first Trek series is the science-fiction equivalent of Seinfeld: watch a random episode, and you'll enjoy it just as much as if you were viewing them in the correct order (the feature films changed that a little, but it's another story).

But if the stories are that simple, why bother? The answer is equally basic, but not less relevant for that: the leading trio of Kirk, Spock and McCoy (even though they weren't acknowledged in that way until the start of Season 2: up to that point, only Shatner and Nimoy are credited in the title sequence; everyone else is listed in the closing credits). The elementary combination of a curious, optimistic leader, a less cheerful doctor and a purely rational, (mostly) emotionless half-alien is the kind of narrative decision that, if played well, can make the fortune of any good story. Granted, this episode doesn't contain many of the typical elements (especially the more alien traits of Spock's personality), but the seeds of all the great things to come (the chess games, the arguments, the incessant exchanges of dry wit between Bones and Spock) are clearly visible here.

In short, this may not be the proper first episode of the series, but given the standalone nature of the original Trek scripts, it works pretty well as an introduction to Gene Roddenberry's seminal TV universe, a place "where no man had gone before". It's the beginning of a small-screen legend, therefore a must-see.

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8 September 1966 (USA) See more »

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