Star Trek (1966–1969)
27 user 7 critic

Turnabout Intruder 

Captain Kirk's insane ex-lover Dr. Janice Lester forcibly switches bodies with him in order to take command of the Enterprise.


Herb Wallerstein


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Arthur H. Singer (teleplay by) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. Kirk / Dr. Janice Lester
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. McCoy
Sandra Smith Sandra Smith ... Dr. Janice Lester / Capt. Kirk
Harry Landers ... Dr. Coleman
James Doohan ... Scott
George Takei ... Sulu
Walter Koenig ... Chekov
Majel Barrett ... Nurse Christine Chapel
Barbara Baldavin Barbara Baldavin ... Communications Officer
David L. Ross ... Lt. Galoway
John Boyer John Boyer ... Guard


In answering a medical emergency at an archaeological expedition, Kirk confronts the deep hatred of an old love, Janice Lester, who supposedly lies severely ill from celebium radiation. In payment for jilting her back at Starfleet Academy, Dr. Lester arranges for an alien machine to swap her consciousness with that of the captain and takes command of the Enterprise. Once aboard, Kirk (in Lester's body) tries to convince Spock that he is trapped in her body. As a result, Janice (in Kirk's body) conducts a court-marshal with the intent of executing Spock and Kirk (in Janice's body), and later McCoy and Scott, to keep her secret. The crew realize something is seriously wrong with their captain and, not wishing to incur an illegal death-penalty themselves, begin a passive resistance. Written by JW Kearse

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

3 June 1969 (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?


After two years on the series, Roger Holloway finally gets to speak dialogue, all of two words. His character's name (Lemli) was the same as William Shatner's license plate at the time, a mixture of his daughters' (Leslie, Melanie, Lisabeth) names. See more »


After Dr. Lester, in Kirk's body, first arrives on the bridge and starts issuing orders, a wide shot of the bridge and viewing screen clearly shows a blond crewman (stock footage featuring Bill Blackburn) other than Chekov at the navigator station. At the tail end of this shot, Lester/Kirk specifically addresses his order to Chekov. In the very next shot Chekov is suddenly at the navigator station to hear the rest of Lester/Kirk's order. See more »


James T. Kirk: [to Spock while in Janice Lester's body] You are closer to the captain than anyone in the universe. You know his thoughts. What does your telepathic mind tell you now?
See more »


References Battleship Potemkin (1925) See more »

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User Reviews

Severe bi-polar
9 December 2011 | by BlueghostSee all my reviews

Trek takes us to yet another psychological battlefield where a one Janice Lester, former romantic interest of Captain Kirk, harbors an old grudge immersed in the sexism of the time. She blames her failures, problems and lack of success on the fraternity that is starship captaincy. Is she wrong? Probably not. But the extent to which she is willing to compromise basic human values to ascertain her goal demonstrate not only an unbalanced mind, but one knitted together by strands of anger and hate.

Her own biochemical composition in her brain chemistry exaggerates her fears and desires to measures we cannot imagine. She is more than just obsessed with becoming a starship captain (woman starship captain, no less). It is a vendetta for her. A white wale of sorts that has done her wrong, and she means to exact revenge in any way possible to achieve her ends.

On the surface she's calm and almost pathologically in control of her emotions. She barely cracks a smile. Her behavior is so normal as to be abnormal. Whereas everyone else seems to have casual interactions.

Lester is not only emotionally charged to the point of psychological imbalance, but she is also a genius. This makes her dangerous. She holds onto her hate no matter what.

And that's pretty much the driving force for the episode. We're given a "treat" of sorts as we witness Shatner interpret a female character driven to vengeful madness. The performance is a bit over the top, but it is fairly much on the money. I wonder if he and Sandra Smith didn't talk about the character and do some rehearsals so Shatner could get Smith's nuances just right. I'd be surprised if they didn't.

As with all Star Trek episodes we know there's going to be a positive outcome of sorts. The antagonists and other protagonists who are not part of the crew may get screwed in the end, but Kirk and crew will come out okay. So it is that when Kirk, as the superego of the Enterprise, is driven into the body of another human (a woman no-less), it is his ID (McCoy) and logical side (Spock) that must come to bring Kirk's body and mind back to operational norms (to borrow from Vulcan English).

It's a low budget episode that, like for nearly all 3rd season Trek) relies on plot, story and performances to carry the show. There aren't a whole lot of SFX here, and the sets are mostly interiors of the ship. We're given the opportunity to witness the infamous schlocky b-movie plot device (brain transfer) in full swing in an episode of Trek, and treated with a kind of seriousness that allows us to examine what makes people tick.

Trek was again on the cutting edge as we see the psychology of a person who is infused with the worst kind of fusion imaginable; an unbalanced mind married to a history of being wronged. Unlike the rest of us, Janice blamed her emotional woes on an old love and society as a whole, unable to realize that even though she had suffered in her view heinous discrimination (which, in my book, and you can call me a sexist jerk isn't so heinous, as I believe starship captains should be males), she herself had physiological issues that lent her to overreact in the first place. Unable to realize that she is part of the issue, she schemes to take over and murder the mental sum-total of Captain James T. Kirk; his essence or spirit, if you will.

All in all it's a pretty mundane episode as far as classic Trek goes. Shatner throws one punch to knock out Janice who is inhabited by Kirk's mind. No phasers are fired. No Klingons or other usual baddies show up, nor is the galaxy imperiled (yet again).

All in all not a sterling episode as such, but one worth watching for the character study.


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