In this episode of Trekking Through Compliance, we consider the episode The Conscience of the King which aired on December 8, 1966, Star Date 2817.6.
A friend of Captain Kirk, Thomas Layton diverts the Enterprise to the Signia Minor Earth Colony, 300 light-years off its course, with a phony message. Layton tells Kirk his suspicions that the actor Anton Karidian is actually Kodos the Executioner but doesn’t live to expand on this allegation since he is murdered shortly thereafter.
Kirk consults the computer banks and discovers that Karidian’s history begins exactly where Kodos’s ends. Of the nine witnesses of Kodos’ murder of 4000 colonists on Tarsus IV 20 years previously, Kirk finds that Layton, Kevin Riley, and himself were the only survivors, the others are all dead. Kirk finds further that the deaths of all these witnesses occurred when the Karidian players were nearby.
Hoping to conclusively establish the identity of Karidian, Kirk requests his friend Captain Daily not to pick up the acting company. At the request of Karidian’s 19-year-old daughter Lenore, Kirk then uses the Enterprise to take them to the Benecia colony (8 light-years out of the way). While the players are aboard, Riley’s milk is poisoned and a phaser on overload is hidden in Kirk’s room. Kirk confronts Karidian but is not conclusively convinced of his guilt.
After Riley escapes from sickbay and tries to kill Karidian, Kirk overhears the psychopathic Lenore telling her father that it was she who has been killing the eyewitnesses to his deeds of the past. Kirk tries to take Lenore into custody, but she grabs a phaser from a security guard. She tries to shoot Kirk, but her father takes the fatal phaser blast intended for Kirk, and Lenore goes insane.
Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons named his recurring alien character Kodos after Kodos the Executioner from this episode.
- When does a leader step over the line from business to personal?
- Can you ever be sure in an investigation absent a confession?
- What is the difference between an investigation and a root cause analysis?