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 by James Komack
Story by David P. Harmon
Teleplay by David P. Harmon
Gene L. Coon
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 049
Original air date January 12, 1968 (1968-01-12)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"A Piece of the Action" is a second season episode 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.


In 2268, 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 Okmyx, 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 in the United States, and most of the residents appear to be gangsters carrying Tommy guns. The landing party is escorted by Okmyx'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 Okmyx's office, where Okmyx 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. Okmyx explains they have modeled Iotian society off "The Book", which Kirk compares to the "cargo cults" of Earth's 20th century. Okmyx 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 Okmyx uses a communicator to reiterate the deal to Chief Engineer Scott.

Kirk is able to trick their guards by intruding 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. McCoy and Spock flee to a radio tower to contact the Enterprise and transport back to the ship, while Krako's men capture Kirk. Krako demands phasers of Kirk as well, offering 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. Okmyx contacts the ship, informs them of Kirk's capture, and offers to help rescue Kirk if they would help him. Spock and McCoy return to the planet, but are quickly captured by Okmyx. However, Kirk has managed to engineer his own escape, and arrives in Okmyx'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 Okmyx, 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 Okmyx's headquarters, but the Enterprise uses a low-power phaser to stun the men as they approach. Both Okmyx and Krako realize that they are at Kirk's mercy, and agree to work for the Federation. Kirk installs Okmyx 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 they may want their own cut of the Federation's wealth sooner rather than later.

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