20 – Court Martial

Grade: B+

Court Martial (1967) on IMDb


The Enterprise has suffered some damage after going through an ion storm. Captain Kirk is facing court martial because one of his crewmen is now dead. The evidence shows that he jettisoned the pod before declaring Red Alert. To make matters worse, a former girlfriend of his has been assigned as the prosecuting attorney.


This is a pretty decent episode – better than average. The characterizations are very good, and I especially liked Kirk’s defense attorney. I loved it that he was quirky and preferred to use books instead of electronics. It was an interesting twist that the prosecuting attorney was one of Kirk’s former love interests, though both characters make it seem like they could still be together. Honestly, I think Kirk has too many former girlfriends and I find it far too coincidental that he comes across so many of them. But I guess that’s just part of his character.

I don’t like the way this episode ends. I’ve never liked this kind of ending when suddenly everything is resolved and we only get a voice-over explanation. I would prefer it if we would see the characters discovering the evidence on their own. But it’s OK for episodes to end this way every now and then.

Of Note

Here again, Spock is referred to as “Vulcanian”. It sounds funny, but again, they were probably still ironing out all the details in the series.

In the TNG episode “Measure of a Man”, one of Picard’s former love interests played the role of the judge in the trial to determine if Cmdr. Data actually could refuse to subject himself to an invasive examination. I’m guessing that episode drew some of its character development from “Court Martial”.

In one scene, Kirk says something about “one raised to the fourth power”, as if that was a lot. But one to any power is still one. He probably meant 10 to the fourth power. Oops.

At the end of the episode, when they are scanning the ship for heartbeats, Kirk tells McCoy to “eliminate his heartbeat”, but I don’t think he meant he wanted him killed.