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Court Martial (episode)

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"Court Martial"
TOS, Episode 1x14
Production number: 6149-15
First aired: 2 February 1967
Remastered version aired: 10 May 2008
15th of 80 produced in TOS
20th of 80 released in TOS
68th of 80 released in TOS Remastered
20th of 728 released in all
Kirk on trial
Teleplay By
Don M. Mankiewicz and Steven W. Carabatsos

Story By
Don M. Mankiewicz

Directed By
Marc Daniels
2947.3 (2267)
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For the 1953 short story published in Galaxy, please see Court Martial.
For the military legal procedure, please see court martial.

Kirk is accused of criminal negligence causing the death of one of his subordinates, Lt. Commander Benjamin Finney, and is put on trial for his murder.

Summary Edit

Teaser Edit

Starbase11orbit

Orbiting Starbase 11

"Captain's Log, stardate 2947.3. We have been through a severe ion storm. One crewman is dead. The ship's damage is considerable. I have ordered a nonscheduled layover on Starbase 11 for repairs. A full report of damages was made to the commanding officer of Starbase 11, Commodore Stone."

On the surface-based facility of Starbase 11, Commodore Stone is advising Maintenance Section 18 to reschedule to give the Enterprise priority one. Captain Kirk is reading – for the third time – a copy of his sworn deposition on the events that led to the death of records officer Benjamin Finney. While waiting for Spock to arrive with an excerpt of the computer log, Kirk explains that he waited until the last possible moment but, with the ship on red alert, the ion storm got worse. Kirk had to eject the ion pod containing Finney, to his death.

Spock finally arrives with the computer records, which Stone takes; shortly afterward, Jame Finney enters and names Kirk as "the man who killed my father." She shrieks at him and breaks down into tears. Stone asks Spock to escort the girl out of the room, but then accuses Kirk of committing willful perjury: The computer records show that Kirk ejected the pod before placing the ship on red alert. Stone orders Kirk to remain on Starbase 11 for an inquiry on whether a general court martial is in order.

Act One Edit

"Captain's log, stardate 2948.5. Starship Enterprise remains in orbit around Starbase 11. Full repair is in progress. I have been ordered to stand by on Starbase 11 until the inquiry into the death of Lieutenant Commander Finney can be conducted. I'm confident of the outcome."

Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy walk into the M-11 Starbase Club on Starbase 11, and meet up with several members of Kirk's graduating class, including Corrigan, Teller, Timothy and Mike. Several claim to be concerned about how long they are staying, but Kirk realizes they have made up their minds that he was responsible for Finney's death.

As Kirk leaves, Areel Shaw enters. Dr. McCoy introduces himself and they find they are both friends of Kirk, McCoy calling himself "one of the few."

Starbase11 chart

Commodore Stone and chart of starship repair status

In Commodore Stone's office, Stone begins the inquiry. Kirk starts by describing his relationship with Finney, including the fact that he taught at Starfleet Academy when Kirk was a midshipman, and that his daughter was named after him.

Picasso inspects the Enterprise

But a number of years later, while they both served on the USS Republic, Kirk says that Finney left a circuit open to the atomic matter piles that should have been closed. Another five minutes and he could have blown up the ship. Kirk closed the switch and logged the incident, and Finney drew a reprimand and was sent to the bottom of the promotion list. Kirk says that Finney believed that Kirk's action delayed Finney's assignment to a starship and to command.

They turn to the ion storm. Kirk says he chose Finney to occupy the ion pod solely because the duty roster said it was Finney's turn. Finney entered the pod just before the Enterprise reached the leading edge of the storm. Kirk signaled yellow alert. Due to "pressure, variant stress, force seven, the works," Kirk signaled red alert. This alerted Finney to exit the pod, and Kirk said he delayed even longer before ejecting the pod. Stone reminds Kirk that the logs show he ejected the pod before signaling red alert. Kirk cannot explain that, but says it is next to impossible that the computer is wrong.

Commodore Stone stops the recording, and suggests that perhaps stress and time have worn Kirk down. Stone offers Kirk a report that will lead to a ground assignment if Kirk admits responsibility. Stone says it would smear the Service if a starship captain were to be court-martialed. However, Kirk is insulted by the idea of covering up the incident. Stone says Kirk's decision draws a General Court Martial – and Kirk replies that he demands one.

Act Two Edit

"Captain's log, stardate 2948.9. The officers who will comprise my court martial board are proceeding to Starbase 11. Meanwhile, repairs on the Enterprise are almost complete."
AreelShaw

Prosecutor Areel Shaw

Captain Kirk meets with his old friend, Areel Shaw, whom he hasn't seen in over four years. She warns him that he's taking the case very lightly, which he attributes to "the confidence of an innocent man". She says that the prosecution will argue "Kirk vs. the computer", on which he'd lose.

He asks her to be his attorney, but she's busy with another case. She recommends Samuel T. Cogley. He asks her how she knows so much about what the prosecution is going to do. She reveals that she is the prosecution – and will have to do her very best to have him broken out of the service in disgrace.

In Kirk's temporary quarters on Starbase 11, a man has set up shop with a number of bound books, which he argues is "where the law is," along with the intent of its writers, not in a computer, which he has but never uses. Kirk declares that the man is either an "obsessive crackpot" or Samuel T. Cogley, Attorney-at-Law. Cogley says Kirk is right on both counts and agrees to take the case.

CourtMartial

In court

Captain Kirk's court martial begins, with Commodore Stone presiding and with Starfleet Command representative Lindstrom, and starship Captains Krasnovsky and Chandra. Kirk does not object to the personnel, and consents to Areel Shaw as prosecutor. After the computer lists the charges against him, Kirk pleads not guilty.

Shaw questions Spock

Shaw questions Commander Spock

Lieutenant Shaw calls Spock to the stand. After the computer reads off his service file, Shaw asks Commander Spock how much he knows about computers. Spock says, "I know all about them." Shaw asks Spock if he knows of any malfunction that caused an inaccuracy in the Enterprise computer, and Spock says he does not. "But the computer is inaccurate, nevertheless," he adds. Shaw clarifies that the computer reports that Kirk was reacting to an extreme emergency that did not then exist. Spock says that is impossible based on his knowledge of Kirk, which he insists is not speculation. Spock says that Kirk's characteristics are as predictable as gravity, and do not include panic or malice. Shaw finishes by getting Spock to admit that this is all his opinion. Cogley does not cross-examine him.

Lieutenant Shaw then calls the personnel officer of the Enterprise to the stand. She confirms that when Kirk was an ensign on the Republic with Finney, Kirk's log entry cost Finney a promotion. Cogley has no questions for this witness, either.

Lieutenant Shaw then calls ship's surgeon Dr. Leonard McCoy to the stand. She confirms that he is an expert in space psychology and the mental effects of long-term space travel. She then asks McCoy if it was possible that, if Finney hated Kirk, Kirk reciprocated by hating Finney. McCoy is adamant that Kirk is not that kind of a man, but Shaw forces McCoy to admit that it is possible. Again, Cogley does not cross-examine.

Commodore Stone questions Cogley's failure to cross-examine any of the prosecution witnesses, but Cogley calls their testimony "preliminary business" and calls Kirk to the stand. The computer begins to list Kirk's service record and awards. Shaw tries to halt this, conceding Kirk's "inestimable record," but Cogley insists that the wheels of progress not run over his client, though he relents once a few more honors are recited.

Cogley asks Kirk if there was indeed a red alert before the pod was jettisoned, despite what the computers said. Kirk states that there was, and that he would do it again, because his actions were absolutely necessary for the safety of his ship.

Stone (Commodore)

Commodore Stone presides over the court-martial

In cross-examination, Shaw plays the video playback from the bridge of the Enterprise on Stardate 2945.7. The footage shows Finney being posted to the pod, and the Enterprise going to yellow alert after encountering the ion storm. Shaw then magnifies a panel on the side of Kirk's command chair. The video shows that Kirk did in fact launch the pod before signaling red alert. A puzzled Kirk insists, "But that's not the way it happened."

Act Three Edit

"Captain's log, stardate 2949.9. The evidence presented by the visual playback to my general court-martial was damning. I suspect even my attorney has begun to doubt me."

Back in Kirk's quarters, Cogley suggests that maybe Kirk did have a lapse in memory, and that they can still change their plea. Kirk allows himself a moment of self-doubt, but concludes, "No. I know what I did."

Spock contacts Kirk from the Enterprise, saying that he ran a megalite survey on the computer. Kirk guesses the results: Nothing. Kirk thanks Spock but has no further orders for him – only speculation that Spock will be able to defeat his next captain at chess, and closes the channel. Spock repeats that word thoughtfully and leaves the bridge.

Jame Finney enters, asking Cogley to make Kirk change his plea and take a ground assignment. Cogley calls Jame's change of heart unusual, but Jame says she has been reading through old letters to her and her mother, in which Benjamin Finney talked about how close he was to Kirk. Kirk leaves to change into his dress uniform, while Cogley formulates an idea.

Back on the Enterprise, Spock is playing a game of 3-D chess with the computer in the briefing room. Dr. McCoy walks in and calls Spock cold-blooded for playing chess while the Captain's career is in the balance. After thanking McCoy for the compliment, Spock adds that he has won four games in a row. As Spock programmed the computer himself, he says the best he should be able to attain is a draw. The two men immediately prepare to beam down to Starbase 11 with the new information that the program bank has failed a test.

SamuelCogley

Defense Samuel T. Cogley

The court martial is back in session, and prosecution and defense both rest their cases. Just then, Spock and McCoy enter and whisper to Cogley and Kirk. Cogley now tells the court that he has new evidence that he cannot tell the court but must show it. Shaw objects that Cogley had rested his case and is now attempting "theatrics." Cogley enumerates a long list of historical precepts that an accused man has the right to confront the witnesses against him. In this case, the most damning witness is the computer of the Enterprise. Cogley demands that the court reconvene aboard the Enterprise, lest it elevate the computer above Humanity.

Act Four Edit

"Captain's log, stardate 2950.1. After due consideration, the general court-martial has reconvened on board the Enterprise."

Spock testifies that he has now won five games of chess against the computer, to which he gave a knowledge of the game equal to his own. Spock concludes that someone, either accidentally or deliberately, adjusted its programming and therefore its memory banks. The only people who could have done it are Kirk, Spock himself, and the records officer – who, at the time, was Lieutenant Commander Finney.

Cogley turns to Kirk to describe the search for Finney after the storm. Kirk says it was a phase one search, a painstaking effort to find a crewman who may be unable to respond. Cogley notes that it presupposes that the crewman wishes to be found. Kirk says that it is possible that, on a ship of this size, a man could evade such a search. Cogley declares that Finney is not dead at all.

The court demands an explanation, and Cogley defers to Kirk to conduct an experiment. Kirk orders all but the command crew and the court to beam off the Enterprise to the surface – including Cogley, who says he has an errand of vital importance to the business of this court.

Court martial officials on bridge

Stone hears Finney's heartbeat

The crew leaves, the impulse engines are shut down, and the ship orbits by momentum, though Kirk assures the court they will be finished long before the orbit starts to decay. Spock uses the ship's auditory sensors to amplify the heartbeats of all aboard, and McCoy uses a white sound device to mask the heartbeats of all aboard the bridge. After masking the crewman in the transporter room, a single heartbeat is still heard, coming from the B-Deck, in or near engineering. Kirk orders that area sealed and goes down with a phaser to find Finney. The Enterprise's orbit begins to decay.

Ben Finney

Benjamin Finney, alive, but not well

Kirk encounters Ben Finney, who explains that Kirk and Starfleet conspired to rob him of his own command. He aims a phaser at Kirk, but says that Kirk's death would mean too little to Kirk. Finney has also tapped out the primary energy circuits and intends to destroy the ship.

Shaw and Kirk, 2267

"Goodbye, Jim."

Kirk tries to reason with Finney, but they begin fighting in main engineering. Spock tells members of the court that time is running out to beam back to the planet, but Stone regards Finney as a witness that the court should finish hearing.

However, Sam Cogley's errand on the planet was to bring Jame aboard. Kirk asks Ben Finney whether he also intends to kill his daughter, and gets the upper hand. Beaten and sobbing, Finney tells Kirk where he tampered with the controls. Kirk begins attempting repairs.

On the bridge, Lieutenant Uhura takes the navigation console as power returns. The orbit stabilizes and Stone rules that the court is dismissed.

As the Enterprise prepares to depart, Shaw delivers a gift from Cogley to Kirk: a book. Cogley himself is busy, now representing Finney in his own trial. Kirk wishes Shaw better luck next time, but Shaw counters that she had pretty good luck in losing the current case. Shaw kisses Kirk goodbye and leaves.

Memorable Quotes Edit

"Consider yourself confined to the base. An official inquiry will determine whether a general court martial is in order!"

- Stone, to Kirk


"All of my old friends look like doctors. All of his look like you."

- McCoy, to Shaw


"So that's the way we do it now...sweep it under the rug, and me along with it. Not on your life. I intend to fight!"
"Then you draw a General Court!"
"Draw it? I demand it! And right now, Commodore Stone--right now."

- Kirk and Commodore Stone, after Stone labels Kirk an "evident perjurer"


"Areel. Doctor McCoy said you were here. I should have felt it in the air--like static electricity."
"Flattery will get you everywhere."

- Kirk and Areel Shaw, reunited after "...four years, seven months and an odd number of days..."


"This is where the law is. Not in that homogenized, pasteurized, synthesized...do you want to know the law? The ancient concepts in their own language? Learn the intent of the men who wrote them, from the Moses to the Tribunal of Alpha III?"
"You have to be either an obsessive crackpot who's escaped from his keeper or Samuel T. Cogley, attorney at law."
"You're right on both counts!"

- Kirk and Cogley, meeting for the first time


"Human beings have characteristics just as inanimate objects do. It is impossible for Captain Kirk to act out of panic or malice. It is not his nature."

- Spock, during his testimony


"Mister Spock, you're the most cold-blooded man I've ever known."
"Why, thank you, doctor."

- McCoy and Spock, with McCoy unaware that Spock is testing the ship's computer in a chess match (and Spock going out of his way to preserve the misconception)


"I speak of rights. A machine has none. A man must!"

- Cogley, to the court martial panel


"Officers and gentlemen, captains all. Except for Finney and his one mistake."

- Finney, as he confronts Kirk


"She's a very good lawyer."

- Kirk to Spock and McCoy, after kissing Shaw

Background Information Edit

Script Edit

  • The first draft for this episode's script, titled "Court-martial on Starbase Eleven," was turned in on 21 September 1966, with the final draft and revised final draft turned in on 26 and 29 September, respectively. The episode was filmed during early October of that year.
  • Producer Gene L. Coon contacted writer Don M. Mankiewicz with a proposal to write a compelling dramatic story which could be filmed using a single and easily constructed set. (For the final episode, of course, four new sets were constructed: Commodore Stone's office, Kirk's quarters on the starbase, the bar/lounge and the courtroom itself.) Mankiewicz came up with the idea of a courtroom drama, and wrote "Court-martial on Starbase Eleven". The script needed to be heavily re-written, but Mankiewicz was not available further, so story editor Steven W. Carabatsos got the job. It was Carabatsos who shortened the title to "Court Martial". [1]
  • The changes made in the script make it less apparent as to why Jame Finney's attitude toward Kirk changes back to one of respect so quickly. In the script, she has been reading her father's old letters, and his attitude in them makes her believe that he might pull a stunt like this to get back at Kirk.
  • In the shooting script, there was a scene (filmed but cut) where Jame Finney comes into the engineering room at the end of Kirk and Finney's fight. The appearance of his daughter and his wish to save her are why Finney tells Kirk where he sabotaged the Enterprise. The scene was presumably deleted because the episode was running long. However, the cut necessitated Kirk's voice-over log entry wherein he relates that a beaten and sobbing Finney tells him about the sabotage. [2]
  • It is never clearly explained why Kirk is under pressure to jettison the pod. In his adaptation of the script in Star Trek 2, James Blish establishes that the pod is directly exposed to the vacuum of space, allowing its instrumentation to take accurate readings. However, its plastic construction picks up radiation from dangerous ionization particularly quickly and must be jettisoned when its contamination begins to pose a threat to the rest of the ship.

Props and sets Edit

  • The picture on the wall outside Stone's office appears to show the launch of an early NASA rocket.
  • Also seen in Stone's office is the two-person transporter alcove. This is later seen on Space Station K-7 in "The Trouble with Tribbles".
  • The plants in Stone's office contain pieces of those seen in "The Conscience of the King" and was later used for the spores in "This Side of Paradise".
  • The starbase courtroom contains the large reflective Starfleet Command insignia that appears behind all of the admirals the ship communicates with in future episodes.
  • The abstract wall decoration in Kirk's starbase quarters is composed primarily of brightly painted blocks of wood.
  • The same bell was used in TNG: "The First Duty". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
  • The arm rest/sensor on the court room witness chair later shows up in the Enterprise briefing room in "Wolf in the Fold".
  • The door through which Spock and McCoy enter the courtroom is one of the few hinged doors seen in the original series.

Cast and characters Edit

That board would also include Lt. Alice Rawlings, named for the actress who played Jame Finney.

  • Elisha Cook, Jr. had great difficulty remembering his lines. The speech of his character, Sam Cogley, was pieced together with editing. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • The actors who portray the members of Kirk's court martial are seen in the bar before Stone even considers convening a court-martial. This incongruity is the result of the shifting of scenes from their order in the script. [3] This was done during editing, to fasten up the pace of Act One, as it was considered too slow and uneventful in its original format. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season One)
  • This is the third and final time Uhura takes over the navigation station. She previously handled navigation in "The Naked Time" and "Balance of Terror". She can also be seen sitting at navigation at the beginning of "The Man Trap", via a recycled shot from "The Naked Time".

Costumes Edit

  • The dress uniforms debut in this episode.
  • The Starfleet crewmen and officers at the bar are seen wearing uniforms with the Enterprise arrowhead insignia, despite the fact that many (if not all) of them serve on other ships (this is made apparent in dialog – Kirk has not seen Timothy since the "Vulcanian expedition"). Earlier in the series, we saw the crew of Antares with an assignment patch for their ship in "Charlie X". In later episodes, the series officially established that each Starfleet ship would have its own unique insignia (as seen in "The Omega Glory", "The Doomsday Machine", and the two-part Star Trek: Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly".
  • The barkeep wears the same costume later worn by the K-7 bartender in "The Trouble with Tribbles". The back of the bar contains recycled pieces from the interior of Balok's ship.
  • Areel Shaw sports the only female dress uniform in the series. It has gold braid on the cuffs as well as a Starfleet breast patch, which the male uniforms do not. The hemline is also somewhat lower than the usual female duty uniforms.
  • Finney is clearly referred to as a lieutenant commander throughout the episode, but when he finally appears in engineering, he is wearing commander's braid.
  • The courtroom computer gives Spock's rank as lieutenant commander, but he wears the braids of a commander. Such was Spock's uniform throughout the first season (except for "Where No Man Has Gone Before"), even though he was twice more referred to as lieutenant commander in "The Menagerie, Part I", "The Menagerie, Part II" and "Tomorrow is Yesterday". This rank discrepancy appears to have been corrected as of "Amok Time", when Vulcan Space Central asks for "Commander Spock."

Effects Edit

  • Stock footage from "The Naked Time" is used on the viewscreen shots as the Enterprise re-establishes its orbit around Starbase 11.
  • "Court Martial" was the last episode in which the sound of the ship's engines could be heard during fly-bys. However, in the DVD releases, this sound has been added in for all of the rest of the episodes.

Other information Edit

  • This is the first episode in which the names "Starfleet" and "Starfleet Command" were used.
  • This is also TOS' first trip to a Federation starbase.
  • Areel Shaw once loved Kirk, but doesn't let this get in the way of prosecuting him and ending his career in Starfleet. It is not known why this apparent conflict of interest does not prevent her serving as prosecuting attorney. A similar scenario played itself out between Captain Jean-Luc Picard and JAG Captain Phillipa Louvois in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Measure Of A Man".
  • Commodore Stone is the highest-ranking African-American to appear in the original series. He also commanded a starship at one time.
  • Several musical scores are reused in this episode, including some cues from "The Naked Time" by Alexander Courage, romantic themes by Joseph Mullendore from "The Conscience of the King", used for Kirk and Areel Shaw, and music from "The Enemy Within" by Sol Kaplan, accompanying the fight between Kirk and Finney.
  • We get a look, for the only time in the series, at a series of registration numbers on the chart in Stone's office. Greg Jein associated them with ten names previously used in production memos which will later be assumed to be Constitution-class starships, despite the numbers ranging lower than the USS Constitution. The wall chart disappears in a later scene in Stone's office. At the time of this episode, the Intrepid, the all-Vulcan starship, is being repaired at Starbase 11. It is later destroyed by the space amoeba in "The Immunity Syndrome".
  • Although stated to be located around the same place as a Human liver in later episodes, in this episode McCoy places the white noise device to Spock's chest as if his heart were in the same place as a Human's.

Production timeline Edit

Video and DVD releases Edit

Remastered informationEdit

When the episode was remastered for the TOS Season 1 HD DVD, an opening shot of the Enterprise clearly reveals the hole where the ion pod used to be.

Links and references Edit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Co-starring Edit

Featuring Edit

And

With Edit

Uncredited co-stars Edit

Stunt doubles Edit

References Edit

2250s; 2254; 2262; Agena target vehicle; Alpha III; atomic matter pile; attorney; auditory sensor; Axanar; Axanar Peace Mission; bench; Bible; board; "Bones"; booster; briefing room; chess; clerk; Code of Hammurabi; Code of Justinian; computer; computer transcript; Constitution of the United States; course; court; court martial; culpable negligence; decapitation; deposition; duty roster; first officer; fourth power; Fundamental Declarations of the Martian colonies; Gemini 8; graduating class; Grankite Order of Tactics; hammer; Hammurabi; Human rights; impulse engine; instructor; Intrepid, USS; intuition; ion plate; ion pod; ion storm; Justinian; Karagite Order of Heroism; lawyer; logic; M-11 Starbase Club; Magna Carta; Maintenance Section Eighteen; megalite survey; memory bank; meteorology; midshipman; Moses; Palm Leaf of Axanar Peace Mission; pasteurization; perjury; personnel officer; Phase 1 search; portmaster; positive gravity; prejudice; Prentares Ribbon of Commendation; president of the court; pressure; prime energy circuit; program bank; promotion list; psychology; records officer; red alert; reprimand; Republic, USS; science officer; service record; signal booster; Space Command Representative; space regulations; Starbase 11; Starbase 11 Planet; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Award of Valor; Starfleet Command; Starfleet Citation for Conspicuous Gallantry; Starfleet Legion of Honor; Starfleet Medal of Honor; Starfleet Silver Palm; Starfleet Surgeons Decoration; static electricity; Statutes of Alpha III; Titan II; three-dimensional chess; Tribunal of Alpha III; Vulcanians; Vulcanian expedition; Vulcanian Scientific Legion of Honor; weather scan; white sound device; yellow alert; Yorkshire

Starship repair references Edit

NCC-1685; NCC-1697; NCC-1700; NCC-1718; NCC-1831; USS Exeter; USS Hood; USS Lexington; USS Reliant

External links Edit


Previous episode produced:
"The Galileo Seven"
Star Trek: The Original Series
Season 1
Next episode produced:
"The Menagerie, Part I"
Previous episode aired:
"Tomorrow is Yesterday"
Next episode aired:
"The Return of the Archons"
Previous remastered episode aired:
"Assignment: Earth"
TOS Remastered Next remastered episode aired:
"A Private Little War"
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