Star Trek: Court Martial   Rewatch 
December 6, 2014 1:40 PM - Season 1, Episode 21 - Subscribe

Captain Kirk's career is at stake when he is put on trial for the loss of a crewman during an ion storm.

"Court Martial" is episode #20, production #15, and was aired on February 2, 1967. It was written by Don Mankiewicz, and Stephen W. Carabatsos, and directed by Marc Daniels.

On stardate 2947.3, the Federation starship USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, sustains severe damage from an ion storm and seeks repairs at Starbase 11. Soon after the Enterprise arrives, the portmaster, Commodore Stone, begins an investigation of the only reported casualty: the death of Lt. Commander Ben Finney. Reports show Finney had been killed during the storm when his research pod was jettisoned from the ship. Kirk claims the ejection of the pod was necessary to save the Enterprise. Stone refers to computer logs which show Kirk had ordered the pod ejected while the ship was at "yellow alert" status, indicating the ship was not yet considered to be in serious danger.

Memory Alpha Link

The episode can be viewed on Netflix and Hulu.
posted by Benway (6 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
"Mister Spock, no vessel makes record tapes in that detail, that perfect. What were we watching?" -- Captain Kirk, in The Cage, pt 1

I want a command chair with a 'pod jettison button', too.

And a device to selectively mask the sound of heartbeats voices from my ship office.

Books, young man. Books! Thousands of them!
posted by Herodios at 10:26 AM on December 9, 2014

And a device to selectively mask the sound of heartbeats...

The Starfleet College of Medicine Heartbeat Reader is one of my favorite Star Trek props.
posted by Rob Rockets at 3:40 PM on December 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

SENSOR ALERT: what in the name of...????? The heartbeat mute device was clearly considered more suspenseful than just using a tricorder or locking onto Finney's coordinates, plus even more suspense since to use it you had to beam all personnel off the ship and risk burning up in orbit. The whole episode was an exercise in creating drama where none had to exist. For example: the defense lawyer's impassioned speech about the Code of Hammurabi. I'm pretty sure the original script just said "insert impassioned speech here". [I forgive it all because the lawyer was Elisha Cook!]

On the plus side, a woman got to be prosecutor; on the minus side, she had to wear one of those filmy paisley tops that were all the rage in that century. This episode continued the icky "teenager bonds with Kirk" theme when there was absolutely no need for it.

Was Finney working with Riley? Engineering certainly had its share of stable personalities.

From now on, I'm going to look at that command chair very carefully to see if it continues to have a "jettison pod" button.
posted by acrasis at 12:58 PM on November 22, 2020

... I'm back from reading up on "ion pods" in "Memory Alpha". There has never been another mention of jettisoning one in the history of the Federation, so I think that button could be put somewhere else in the bridge. It would be so easy to lean your elbow on it accidentally, so why risk it?

Don Mankiewicz was the son of Herman Mankiewicz, screenwriter for "Citizen Kane".
posted by acrasis at 1:27 PM on November 22, 2020

How odd that less than a dozen episodes after “The Menagerie” we are back to another court-martial at Starbase 11.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:09 AM on July 7

Well, a lot of people have died aboard the Enterprise. Like 55 deaths over 3 seasons. That's a 12 percent casualty rate for a ship purportedly on a mission of peace.
posted by pwnguin at 5:48 PM on November 20

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