Episode 20 – TOS 1×20: “Court Martial”

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In the Space Justice System, the Space people are represented by two separate, yet equally important Space groups: the Space officers who commit the Space Crimes, and the Space attorneys who Space prosecute the Space offenders.

These are their stories.


That’s right, it’s Law and Order, ST: TOS!

In this episode, Kirk is in trouuuuble. During a recent crisis, he ejected a mumblemumbleplot pod to save the ship. Sounds fine, right? Except the pod contained a guy with whom he had some seriously rocky history (and who’s been holding one hell of a grudge against Kirk), raising concerns that James T. Kirk, of all people, might have chosen to deliberately eject said pod in order to get the angry jerk out of his face. And worse: the computer records say that Kirk is lying about what happened. Cue a court martial, aka: Space Court Room Drama, which comprises about 75% of this story.

Now, I want to be up front here about the fact that this episode contains what we will call a multitude of holes. There are, for instance, better ways to get revenge on someone than elaborately framing them for your murder (because SPOILER: angry jerk isn’t dead! the whole thing was a set-up!). There are also tidier ways of framing people for murder. Agatha Christie, this man is not. Some of the arguments made in the court martial are, let us say: facile. We could also call them: stupid. Also, the crucial central evidence that was supposedly falsely created by the computer due to some kind of *handwave* tinkering? I lost count of how many times I yelled “COMPUTERS DON’T WORK LIKE THAT.”

All that aside, though, 2/3 of your hosts really like this one. Everyone is working really hard. There are some excellent guest stars in the form of Kirk’s defense advocate and the prosecutor, who is an old flame of Kirk’s but is not a) played by a 19-year-old girl or b) swayed by him in any way, shape or form, despite being visibly very fond of him. There’s even some (fundamentally stupid and wrong but whatever) narratively clever detective work by Kirk’s crew, who are basically NOPE about this whole “the captain murdered somebody for petty revenge” thing. It’s also set on a Starbase, which is always a joy: show us more futuristic pseudo-cities!

It turns out all right, with the angry jerk being caught, Kirk being exonerated, and the Enterprise warping off on her merry way. If you like Law and Order or half-baked but very enthusiastic murder mysteries, this episode’s for you.

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