A Piece of the Action (Star Trek: The Original Series)
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|"A Piece of the Action"|
|Star Trek: The Original Series episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||James Komack|
|Teleplay by||David P. Harmon
Gene L. Coon
|Story by||David P. Harmon|
|Cinematography by||Jerry Finnerman|
|Original air date||January 12, 1968|
"A Piece of the Action" is a second season episode of the original science fiction television series, Star Trek first broadcast on January 12, 1968; its repeat on August 30, 1968, was the last episode to air in the 8:30 pm time slot on Friday nights. It is episode #46, production #49, written by David P. Harmon and Gene L. Coon, and directed by James Komack.
The Federation starship USS Enterprise has been ordered to Sigma Iotia II, where the space vessel Horizon had been reported missing 100 years earlier. The ship receives contact from Bela Oxmyx, an Iotian, who promises information about the Horizon and invites the crew to come to the planet. First Officer Spock notes that their interference in the planet's development could endanger the Prime Directive, but Captain James T. Kirk contends that the Horizon's arrival a century ago, predating the Directive, would have already contaminated the culture. Kirk, Spock, and Chief Medical Officer Dr. McCoy transport to the planet.
They find themselves in a city fashioned after the 1920s period of the United States, and most of the residents appear to be gangsters carrying Tommy guns. The landing party is escorted by Oxmyx's men to his offices, during which they observe a drive-by shooting that kills one of their escorts, but the other continues on as if nothing had happened. They arrive at Oxmyx's office, where Oxmyx orders his men to make a retaliatory attack against their rival gang led by Jojo Krako. Spock discovers an Earth book "Chicago Mobs of the Twenties", and determines it was left by the crew of the Horizon. Oxmyx explains they have modeled Iotian society off "The Book", which Kirk compares to the "cargo cults" of Earth's 20th Century. Oxmyx demands the Enterprise crew supply his gang with phasers, and when Kirk refuses, threatens to kill them if Kirk cannot deliver these. The landing party is held in captivity while Oxmyx uses a communicator to reiterate the deal to Chief Engineer Scott.
Kirk is able to trick their guards by horning in on their poker game and teaching them how to play a fictitious game "Fizzbin", allowing him to distract the guards long enough for Spock to overpower them. Spock and McCoy flee to a radio tower to contact the Enterprise and transport back to the ship, while Kirk is captured by Krako's men. Krako demands phasers of Kirk as well, though offers him a "third of the action" in exchange. Kirk attempts to offer a peaceful solution, but Krako refuses and confines him, threatening to kill him later if he does not relent on the deal. Oxmyx contacts the ship and informs them of Kirk's capture, and offers to help rescue Kirk if they would come help. Spock and McCoy return to the planet, but are quickly captured by Oxmyx. However, Kirk has managed to engineer his own escape, and arrives in Oxmyx's office in time to rescue Spock and McCoy.
The three set a plan in motion; dressing in period garb, they return to Krako's office and gain entrance. Quickly subduing Krako's men, Kirk informs Krako that the Federation is taking over the entire planet, but if Krako helps to maintain order and be a willing puppet of the Federation, they will give him a "piece of the action". Krako agrees, but for safekeeping, Kirk transports him to the Enterprise. The three then repeat the same offer to Oxmyx and Oxmyx quickly accepts. As they prepare for the meeting of the mob bosses, Krako is transported back to the planet; the boss sees the opportunity to displace Kirk as the "top man" and has his men attack Oxmyx's headquarters, but the Enterprise uses a low-power phaser to stun the men as they approach. Both Oxmyx and Krako realize that they are at Kirk's mercy, and agree to work for the Federation. Kirk installs Oxmyx as the "top boss" with Krako as his lieutenant, and states that a Federation ship will come by once a year for their "piece of the action".
The three return to the ship and prepare to leave orbit. Kirk states that while the Federation will take the cut, they will use the funds to help reorganize the Iotians into a more civil society. McCoy reveals that he left his communicator on the planet. Kirk notes that the Iotians are skilled in analyzing and recreating technology, and it may be sooner rather than later that they will want their piece of the action from the Federation.
This episode plays out very much like a sitcom, due to its direction by James Komack. An experienced comedy producer, Komack was involved in later productions such as Chico and the Man, and Welcome Back, Kotter. Unorthodox by sci-fi standards, "A Piece of the Action" is the only other ST:TOS episode, besides "The Trouble with Tribbles," to be intentionally funny.
|Wikiquote has quotations related to: "A Piece of the Action"|
- "A Piece of the Action" at StarTrek.com
- "A Piece of the Action" at the Internet Movie Database
- "A Piece of the Action" at TV.com
- "A Piece of the Action" at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- "Mission Into Chaos" First draft of "A Piece of the Action" September 28, 1967; report & analysis by Dave Eversole