In this episode of Trekking Through Compliance, we consider the episode I, Mudd which aired on November 13, 1967, Star Date 4513.3.

Story Synopsis

A man named Mr. Norman, who has been aboard the Enterprise for 72 hours, who strikes Dr. McCoy as odd. McCoy’s suspicions are confirmed when Mr. Norman overpowers Ensign Jordan, the auxiliary control operator, and re-directs the ship. Security guard Rowe reports that the directional controls are unworkable. Mr. Norman then barges into Engineering, increases speed to Warp 7, and sets up a booby trap to prevent tampering. He hijacks the Enterprise and takes it on a four-day trip to an uncharted planet of robots who exist solely to serve humans.

Harcourt Fenton Mudd, previously encountered in the Mudd’s Women episode, is the “ruler” of the robots. He has escaped from prison, where he was condemned to death for fraud and has created an army of 500 robot women. He has also created an android version of his nagging wife Stella. Unlike the real Stella, the android follows instructions and is forced to shut up when Mudd tells her to.

Mudd is being studied by the robots, who are accommodating, but refuse to let him go. The androids tell Kirk that they were built by people from the Andromeda galaxy. However, the civilization which constructed them was destroyed by a supernova, and so the androids were left without supervision. Now they have found new purpose in Mudd. Spock makes inquiries, discovers that there are 207,809 androids, and most importantly that they seem to be controlled by some central coordinating power.

Mudd beams androids aboard the Enterprise and has them send down the entire crew. Chekov is fascinated when he finds that the female robots have been programmed to carry out all activities of which human females are capable. Uhura also doesn’t find captivity so unpleasant when she is promised immortality. Mudd attempts to take over the Enterprise and strand Kirk and the crew on the planet in place of himself. However, the robots do not permit Harry to carry out his plan. They find people too destructive, and plan to take over and “serve” all humans in the galaxy in order to control them.

Spock learns that there are many robots of each Alice, Oscar, etc., series, but only a single Norman. He speculates that Norman is the central coordinator and suggests that they coordinate their efforts on him. They tranquillize Mudd and then claim they need to beam aboard the Enterprise to cure him. The androids are about the grant the request until Uhura pretends to reveal that this is merely a ploy to get aboard the Enterprise. She claims her motivation is that she wants to be made immortal. The landing party (including Spock), then engage in a series of illogical (and moronic) actions in order to confuse and overload the androids. This culminates in the immobilization of Norman himself when Harry tells him “everything I say is a lie.”

Kirk leaves Harry on the planet with his attendant robots to serve as an example of human failure to them. The robots are also reprogrammed to carry out their original task of rendering the planet fit for human life. As a final blow to Mr. Mudd, Kirk also leaves behind several android copies of his shrewish wife Stella.

 Fun Fact

According to Walter Koenig, NBC considered making a spin-off series detailing the comical adventures of Harry Mudd after the success of this episode. They assigned Gene Roddenberry to develop the idea, but being busy with Star Trek and other projects, he didn’t have time for it, and the series was never conceived. However, Mudd appears in the cartoon version of Star Trek up to his usual tricks.

Compliance Takeaways:

  1. Why continuous monitoring is a mandatory part of any compliance program.
  2. Will AI take over compliance? (Answer: No)
  3. As a CCO, you are only limited by your imagination.

Resources

Excruciatingly Detailed Plot Summary by Eric W. Weisstein for I, Mudd

MissionLogPodcast.com-I, Mudd

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