‘The Conscience of the King’ (TOS) (TV)

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Please feel free to comment on my review.

‘The Conscience of the King’ is a whodunit murder mystery from ‘The Original Series’ of ‘Star Trek’. It’s one that I’ve enjoyed watching, but I don’t think it’s one of the best ‘Star Trek’ episodes I’ve seen.

The Enterprise visits Planet Q. After being summoned by one of his friends, Kirk has to find out whether the mass murderer, Kodos the Executioner, is really an actor performing Shakespeare plays.

This is an episode where Captain Kirk tries to take matters into his own hands by solving this mystery. He keeps things quiet, but it’s not long before Spock suspects that Kirk is hiding something.

There is a lot of background information about Kodos the Executioner that gets revealed in the episode. Three murder suspects are identified here, including Kirk, Dr. Thomas Leighton and Lt. Riley.

This episode features guest star Arnold Moss as Anton Karidian, the man suspected for being Kodos the Executioner. Karidian is a fine Shakespearean actor. Could he really be a mass murderer as well?!

There’s also Barbara Anderson as Lenore Karidian, Karidian’s daughter. Kirk forms a romantic attachment to Lenore in the episode, as she is performing in the Shakespeare plays with her father.

There’s also William Sargent as Dr. Thomas Leighton, Kirk’s friend who suspects that Karidian is really Kodos. Leighton has a black bandage over his left hand and comes to a sticky end during the episode.

And there’s Bruce Hyde as Lt. Kevin Thomas Riley, who previously appeared in ‘The Naked Time’. Riley is one of the eyewitnesses for Kodos’ killings and he is quickly targeted as a victim for murder.

Grace Lee Whitney makes a cameo appearance as Yeoman Janice Rand in the episode. I’m dismayed that Janice Rand didn’t have enough appearances in the ‘Star Trek’ TV series as she would deserve.

There are some exciting moments to mention from watching this episode. One is the moment when Hyde gets poisoned from drinking his cup of coffee after being seconded right down in engineering.

Added to that is Nichelle Nichol’s opportunity to shine as Uhura when she sings a song in the recreational room to Riley in engineering beforehand. I’m so sure that Uhura has her own CD album.

There’s also a moment when a phaser on overload is about to blow up in Captain Kirk’s quarters. Kirk has to try and find the phaser before the Enterprise ship blows up. It was very tense, gripping scene.

I enjoyed that scene where Kirk confronts Karidian about his identity as Kodos the Executioner. It’s a tense scene, and is added on by Lenora who enters the room and accuses Kirk for using her as a tool.

The Shakespeare elements of the episode are very effective. Having studied ‘Macbeth’ at school beforehand, I could gain a sense of the atmosphere of this story and the incidental music helped too.

The reveal of the actual murderer in this episode was quite a surprise and a shock when I saw it. All I can say is that one person gets killed at the end and the murderer mourns the death of that person.

‘The Conscience of the King’ is a very enjoyable ‘Star Trek’ episode to watch. I enjoyed how Kirk tries to solve the whodunit mystery by himself for a while, before Spock and Bones eventually intervene.

The DVD special features for this episode are as follows. On Disc 4 of both the original and re-mastered DVDs of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 1’, there is a preview trailer for this episode.

On Disc 4 of the original DVD of ‘Star Trek: The Original Series – Season 1’, there is a text commentary on the episode by Michael and Denise Okuda.

‘The Conscience of the King’ (TOS) rating – 6/10

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