Star Trek (1966–1969)
23 user 7 critic

The Conscience of the King 

While Captain Kirk investigates whether an actor is actually a presumed dead mass murderer, a mysterious assailant is killing the people who could identify the fugitive.


Gerd Oswald


Barry Trivers, Gene Roddenberry (created by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
William Shatner ... Capt. James T. Kirk
Leonard Nimoy ... Mr. Spock
Arnold Moss ... Anton Karidian
Barbara Anderson ... Lenore Karidian
DeForest Kelley ... Dr. Leonard McCoy
Grace Lee Whitney ... Yeoman Janice Rand
Nichelle Nichols ... Lt. Uhura
William Sargent William Sargent ... Dr. Thomas Leighton
Natalie Norwick Natalie Norwick ... Martha Leighton
David Somerville David Somerville ... Larry Matson (as David-Troy)
Karl Bruck Karl Bruck ... King Duncan
Marc Grady Adams Marc Grady Adams ... Hamlet (as Marc Adams)
Bruce Hyde Bruce Hyde ... Kevin Riley


Captain Kirk is informed by his old friend, Dr. Thomas Leighton, that the head of a Shakespearean acting troupe on his world was once known as Kodos the Executioner. As Governor of Tarsus IV, Kodos had most of his colony killed when food supplies ran short rather than have so many starve. The only surviving witnesses to his actual appearance are Kirk, Leighton, and a young crewman on the Enterprise. Kirk dismisses Leighton's accusations until he turns up murdered, and his young crewman nearly so. The head of the Shakespearean acting troupe, Anton Karidian denies that he's Kodos. Is he telling the truth? If so, who's behind the murders? Written by Tony-B4

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

8 December 1966 (USA) See more »

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Did You Know?


James Doohan and George Takei do not appear in this episode. See more »


The drama hinges on the idea that if "the last few eyewitnesses" die, then the knowledge of what Kodos looked like will be lost. But Kirk easily orders up Kodos' mug shots and voice prints to compare with Anton Karidian. See more »


Lenore Karidian: You are like your ship - powerful and not human. There is no mercy in you.
Captain James T. Kirk: If he is Kodos, then I've shown him more mercy than he deserves. If he isn't, then we'll let you off at Benecia, and no harm done.
Lenore Karidian: Captain Kirk, who are you to say no harm was done?
Captain James T. Kirk: Who do I have to be?
See more »

Alternate Versions

Special Enhanced version Digitally Remastered with new exterior shots and remade opening theme song See more »


Featured in Half in the Bag: Avengers: Infinity War (2018) See more »


Beyond Antares
Music by Wilbur Hatch
Lyrics by Gene L. Coon
Performed by Nichelle Nichols
Harpsichord by Marl Young
Guitar played by Laurindo Almeida
See more »

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User Reviews

Murder, Mayhem, and a Play to Catch the Conscience of the King
26 April 2014 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

Captain Kirk is such a loose cannon sometimes. He is unable to repress his "maleness" in virtually any setting. A Shakespearean troupe traveling the galaxy (an intriguing concept) lands on the Enterprise. In exchange for transport, they agree to perform for the crew. As time goes on, it is revealed that the principle actor and the father of a beautiful daughter may be a murderer of mass proportions. The task then is to somehow prove this. On board is a young man whose family was killed by this person. The fun thing is that there is a kind of Agatha Christie like parry and thrust going on, including an attempted poisoning. Kirk, as he always does, pursues the beautiful daughter. Apparently, William Shatner was the perfect choice for the Kirk portrayed in this series. Anyway, things aren't always as they seem to be and we are treated to some interesting twists and turns.

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