|Star Trek: The Original Series episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Marc Daniels|
|Teleplay by||Art Wallace|
|Cinematography by||Jerry Finnerman|
|Original air date||March 29, 1968|
|Running time||50 minutes (runtime)|
"Assignment: Earth" is a second season episode of the original American science fiction television series Star Trek. It was first broadcast on March 29, 1968, as the last episode of the second season, and repeated on August 9, 1968. It is episode #55, production #55, written by Art Wallace, based on a story by Wallace and Gene Roddenberry, and directed by Marc Daniels.
Engaged in "historical research", the Enterprise time travels to 1968 Earth where they encounter an interstellar agent planning to intervene in 20th Century events with motives uncertain to Kirk and Spock. This episode served as a backdoor pilot for a proposed spin-off television series, produced by Roddenberry, also to be called Assignment: Earth. Guest performers Robert Lansing as Gary Seven and Teri Garr as Roberta Lincoln, would have continued in the new series had it been commissioned.
Using a controlled gravitational slingshot maneuver around the sun, the Federation starship USS Enterprise time travels to 1968 Earth for historical research. The ship orbits Earth using its deflector shields to avoid detection. Suddenly, the Enterprise intercepts a highly powerful transporter beam from one thousand light-years away. A man dressed in a 20th-century Earth business suit materializes, carrying a black cat named Isis and introduces himself to Captain Kirk (William Shatner) as Gary Seven (Robert Lansing). Seven tells Kirk that he is a man taken from Earth over 6,000 years ago to an advanced world and there trained to intercede to help Earth survive. Seven refuses to reveal his home planet and warns Kirk that history will be changed and Earth destroyed if he is not released immediately. Kirk demands more proof, but Seven refuses. Kirk orders him taken into custody but Seven evades attempts to subdue him, even shrugging off First Officer Spock's (Leonard Nimoy) Vulcan nerve pinch. When Seven tries to beam himself down, Kirk stuns him with a phaser. Kirk has Seven taken to the brig and asks Spock to search the history database for any critical events that will soon occur. Spock finds that the United States will launch a nuclear weapons platform from McKinley Rocket Base. The launch is scheduled in a few hours and Spock speculates that it may be the reason for Seven's visit.
Meanwhile, Seven awakens and finds himself in a holding cell. He removes an advanced "servo" weapon from his pocket, disables the force field and stuns the guard. His escape is detected, but not before Seven and Isis make their way to the transporter room, stun the technicians and beam down to New York City. Kirk and Spock, camouflaged in local attire, follow them. Seven enters an office and activates a sophisticated computer which reports that agents "201" and "347" have not been heard from in three days. With only an hour until the launch, Seven decides to complete their mission. A young woman arrives and Seven mistakes her for agent 201, so he asks her to dictate a report to an electric typewriter with speech recognition. Seven asks the computer to identify her: she is Roberta Lincoln (Teri Garr, credited as Terri Garr), a secretary employed by the missing agents. Seven, realizing his blunder, appeals to her patriotism and tells Roberta he is a secret government agent and that she should remain quiet about what she has seen. An intelligent woman, she realizes something very odd is happening. The computer then informs Seven that agents 201 and 347 have died in a car accident.
Kirk and Spock track Seven to the office. Seven has Roberta stall them while he enters a powerful transporter and dematerializes. As Kirk opens the door with a phaser, Roberta manages to call the police. The police arrive and the two officers are inadvertently beamed to the Enterprise along with Kirk and Spock. The two confused officers are quickly beamed back down. Seven and Isis materialize at McKinley Rocket Base. With fake identification, Seven easily stuns a guard and stows away in the launch director's car as he makes a final check of the pad. Riding the elevator to the top of the gantry Seven, carrying Isis, climbs an access arm to the side of the rocket. He opens a panel and begins to rewire the circuits within.
On the Enterprise, Kirk, Spock and Chief Engineer Scott (James Doohan) try to locate Seven. Meanwhile, a curious Roberta explores the office and discovers the transporter. Scott locates Seven on the rocket gantry and tries to beam him up but Roberta, randomly operating the office transporter controls, intercepts the beam and Seven materializes instead in the office. Briefly furious at being beamed away before he was done, the computer tells him he can still take manual control of the rocket after launch. Kirk and Spock beam down to McKinley Rocket Base, are quickly captured and the missile is launched shortly thereafter.
In the office, Seven takes control of the missile, arming its warhead and targeting it to the heart of the Euro-Asian continent. McKinley Base controllers frantically try to destroy the missile without success. Every major power on the planet goes on alert, ordering retaliatory strikes as soon as the missile warhead explodes. Roberta, extremely perturbed by Seven's actions, tries to call the police. Seven severs the phone line with his servo pen. He then turns back to the computer, allowing Roberta to hit him on the head with a cigar box and seize the servo. Roberta threatens Seven with it, excitedly telling him to stop whatever he is doing. Seven replies, "You've got to let me finish what I started or in six minutes, World War III begins!"
Scotty beams Kirk and Spock away from base security and sends them to Seven's office. Roberta, now utterly confused, points the servo pen at Kirk. Seven manages to take it from her and hands it to Kirk, adding that it was "set to kill". Spock tries unsuccessfully to destroy the missile with Seven's computer. Seven pleads with Kirk to let him complete his plan to destroy the missile at a safe altitude to scare the world's leaders out of their insane arms race. Kirk decides to trust Seven. Seven retakes control of the computer and safely detonates the warhead at 104 miles altitude, only 4 miles above the safe minimum.
In the epilogue, Spock and Kirk explain to Seven that the Enterprise was meant to be part of the day's events. Meanwhile, Roberta sees that Isis has turned into a slinkily dressed woman. When she demands an explanation, Seven answers "That, Miss Lincoln, is simply my cat." When Roberta looks again, Isis is once again a cat. Seven decides to keep Roberta employed as his assistant for any future missions. Kirk and Spock beam back to the Enterprise, much to Roberta's continuing astonishment.
In 2008, IDW Publishing launched an Assignment: Earth five-issue comic book series written and drawn by John Byrne. The stories show the characters' lives from 1968 up to 1974, including Seven and Roberta's peripheral involvement in the events of a prior episode, "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" (occurring before "Assignment: Earth" for the Enterprise crew, but after for Seven and Roberta), and an epilogue set in 2008 depicts an annual reunion between Roberta and Isis (in her humanoid guise) at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to honor a friend who was killed in that conflict. The characters appear also in 2010 in issues #3 and #4 of Star Trek: Leonard McCoy Frontier Doctor.
Author Greg Cox has included Gary Seven and Roberta in three of his Star Trek novels, Assignment: Eternity and the two-part novel, The Eugenics Wars: The Rise and Fall of Khan Noonien Singh. In the latter two novels Gary Seven and Roberta Lincoln go on to eventually stop Khan Noonien Singh and his fellow genetically engineered humans from taking over the planet.
- ""Star Trek" Assignment: Earth (1968) - Full cast and crew". IMDb. n.d. Retrieved August 3, 2013.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: "Assignment: Earth"|
- "Assignment: Earth" at StarTrek.com
- "Assignment: Earth" at the Internet Movie Database
- "Assignment: Earth" at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- "Assignment: Earth" at TV.com
- Synopsis of original pre-Star Trek pilot script