Star Trek – The Original Series – Complete Series Review – Season 1 Episode 20 – Court Martial

Kirk is on trial for the wrongful death of one of his officers.  Lt. Commander Finney, the records officer, was in an ion pod (whatever that is) during an ion storm and according to the Enterprise’s computer telemetry Kirk jettisoned the pod prematurely before a red alert was declared.  The court martial featured one of Kirk’s old girlfriends as the prosecutor and Elisha Cook Jr. as his defense attorney.  We see a video clip of Kirk jettisoning the pod before the red alert status occurs.  This evidence seems to seal Kirk’s fate.  After this scene we hear Kirk telling Spock that at least Spock’s next captain might not be able to beat Spock at chess.  After hearing this Spock raises an eyebrow.

In the next scene we see Spock in his cabin playing chess against the computer.  McCoy enters and berates Spock for his unfeeling frivolous actions while Kirk’s career is in jeopardy.  Spock explains that he has just beaten the computer five times in a row.  Even McCoy recognizes that this is an impossibility.  They rush down to the trial and Kirk’s lawyer reconvenes the trial on the Enterprise where we learn that Finney is not dead but hidden on the Enterprise and is responsible for faking the accusatory video evidence against Kirk.  In a climactic scene Kirk fights Finney and after a vicious shirt tearing fight defeats Finney and saves the Enterprise from crashing by pulling loose a couple of electrical cables.

As silly as this episode sounds it was actually fun.  Seeing Shatner calmly shrug off the cold shoulder he was getting from his peers at the star base where the trial was taking place was interesting.  And Elisha Cook Jr. was amusing as the eccentric lawyer who preferred paper books to computer files.  The courtroom drama was fairly entertaining.  All in all, I’d say it was a 7.


The Shatner mockery index was low.  It really didn’t break a 4.

7 // 4