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
Episode 17
Directed byJames Komack
Story byDavid P. Harmon
Teleplay byDavid P. Harmon
Gene L. Coon
Cinematography byJerry Finnerman
Production code049
Original air dateJanuary 12, 1968 (1968-01-12)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Gamesters of Triskelion"
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"The Immunity Syndrome"
Star Trek: The Original Series (season 2)
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"A Piece of the Action" is the seventeenth episode of the second season of the American 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.

In the comedic episode, the Enterprise visits a planet with an Earth-like 1920s gangster culture, with Runyonesque dialog and costumes.


The Federation starship USS Enterprise has been ordered to Sigma Iotia II, where the space vessel Horizon was reported missing 100 years earlier. The ship receives a message from Bela Oxmyx, an Iotian, who promises information about the Horizon and invites the crew down to the planet. First Officer Spock notes that their interference in the planet's development could violate the Prime Directive, but Captain James T. Kirk points out that the Horizon's arrival a century ago 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 an American city of the 1920s, and some 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, published in 1992, and determines it was left by the crew of the Horizon. Oxmyx explains they have modeled Iotian society on "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. The landing party is held while Oxmyx uses a communicator to repeat the demand to Chief Engineer Scott.

Kirk distracts their guards by intruding on their poker game and teaching them the fictitious game of "Fizzbin", allowing Spock and McCoy to overpower them. McCoy and Spock flee to a radio station to contact the Enterprise and transport back to the ship, while Krako's men capture Kirk.

Krako demands phasers of Kirk as well, offering to cut him in for a third of "the action" in exchange. Kirk offers a peaceful solution, but Krako refuses and confines him, threatening to kill him by slow torture if he doesn't cooperate. Oxmyx contacts the ship, informs them of Kirk's capture, and offers to help rescue Kirk if they will help him. 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. Taking suits and hats from Bela's men, the Captain and Mr. Spock return to Krako's office and gain entrance with the help of a local kid. 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 agent of the Federation, they will give him a "piece of the action". Krako agrees, but for safekeeping, Kirk transports him to the Enterprise. They then make the same offer to Oxmyx, which he 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 down-powered ship's 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 40% cut of the planet's "action."

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy transport back to the Enterprise, which then prepares to break orbit. Kirk states that while the Federation will indeed take its "cut", the funds will be used to create a more conventional Iotian society. However, McCoy sheepishly reveals that he misplaced his communicator on the planet. The Captain notes that a communicator contains a transtator and Spock points out, "The transtator is the basis for every important piece of equipment that we have ..." Amused, Kirk observes that the Iotians are so skilled in analyzing and recreating technology that they might eventually be in a position to demand "a piece of our action!"

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