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?


An uncredited extra wearing an ill-fitting costume, first seen in that costume in Star Trek: What Are Little Girls Made Of? (1966), makes a repeat appearance here in the climactic scene in the ship's theater (he's over Barbara Anderson's right shoulder. His costume still doesn't fit him particularly well. 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 »


Dr. McCoy: In the long history of medicine, no doctor has ever caught the first few minutes of a play.
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Alternate Versions

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


Referenced in The Simpsons: Treehouse of Horror V (1994) See more »


Theme From Star Trek
Written by Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

A troupe of strolling players
13 December 2014 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Enterprise is sent for under false pretenses by scientist William Sargent. A theatrical troupe is performing MacBeth and it's nice to see he's still appreciated in the future. Sargent is sure that the lead actor Arnold Moss is the notorious Governor Kodos who committed a genocidal massacre on an earth colony. And Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Riley on the Enterprise are some of the few survivors left who could remember the mass murderer.

But William Shatner's also mixing business with a little pleasure as he romances Moss's daughter Barbara Anderson who seemingly has no idea of who or what her father could be.

Shatner's also getting understandably obsessed, so much so that an unheard of alliance between the bickering Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley concerning Shatner's normal undeviating devotion to duty.

Of course there's something amiss when Sargent is killed and Bruce Hyde playing Lieutenant Kevin Riley is nearly poisoned.

Some nice guest star turns from both Arnold Moss and Barbara Anderson before she became a policewoman on Ironside. Anderson especially goes into an incredible mad act.

This one is one of the best from season one.

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