I, Mudd

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"I, Mudd"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 8
Directed by Marc Daniels
Written by
Featured music Samuel Matlovsky
Cinematography by Jerry Finnerman
Production code 041
Original air date November 3, 1967 (1967-11-03)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
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"I, Mudd" is a second season episode of the original American science fiction television series, Star Trek, first broadcast November 3, 1967, on NBC, and repeated April 5, 1968. It is episode #37, production #41, and was written by Stephen Kandel, based on a story by Gene Roddenberry and directed by Marc Daniels. David Gerrold performed an uncredited rewrite, but little of his material was used.[1]

Set in the 23rd century, the series follows the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and the crew of the Federation starship Enterprise. In this episode, Captain Kirk has a second run-in with the conman Harry Mudd (Roger C. Carmel). Mudd is now the supreme ruler of a planet of androids who cater to his every whim. (The Enterprise's first encounter with Mudd was in the early Season One episode "Mudd's Women".)


On stardate 4513.3, the Federation starship Enterprise, under the command of Captain James T. Kirk, is hijacked by an android who has been posing as Mr. Norman (Richard Tatro), a recently assigned crewman. The android seals off engineering and redirects the ship to an unknown planet at Warp 7. Any attempt to undo his tampering will likely destroy the ship. The planet is discovered to be populated with other androids.

When the crew arrives at the planet, Captain Kirk discovers that Harcourt Fenton Mudd, an outlaw whom Kirk has encountered previously, is the apparent "ruler" of the androids. Having previously escaped incarceration for his crimes, Mudd explains that he crashed his spaceship on the planet, and the androids took him in. He says that they are very accommodating, but refuse to let him go. During his stay, Mudd has acquired thousands of android women as servants as well as an android version of his estranged wife Stella (Kay Elliot), which nags Mudd incessantly until being commanded to "shut up", at which point she deactivates.

The androids tell Kirk they were built by a people from the Andromeda Galaxy, but their creators were destroyed by a supernova, and the robots were left to fend for themselves. First Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) discovers there are over 200,000 of these androids that may be controlled by some as yet unseen central operator.

Mudd orders the androids to beam up to the Enterprise to fetch the rest of the crew. The crew are rounded up and brought down; Ensign Chekov (Walter Koenig) finds a pampered existence by the service of hundreds of beautiful android women to be not such a bad idea. Even Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) is impressed when she finds that she can live forever in an immortal android body. In the meantime, Mudd plots to escape by taking over the now deserted Enterprise, but is stopped from carrying out his plans by the androids.

The androids finally reveal their plan. They tell the Enterprise crew that they believe humans are too destructive and flawed and should be kept under control. The androids plan to leave their planet by means of the Enterprise and will expand and take over the galaxy.

Spock notices that almost all of the androids exist in numbered sets and series. There are many "Alices", "Oscars", etc., but only one Norman. Spock speculates that Norman is the central coordinator and the crew should concentrate on him when attempting to escape. They tranquilize Mudd and explain to the androids that he is ill and they must return to the Enterprise in order to save his life. The androids are about to authorize the request, but Lt. Uhura reveals that this is a ploy to escape. This apparent betrayal is then shown to be part of the plan; a ruse to provide the androids with the "escape attempt" they presumably expect.

The crew then engage in clownishly silly activities in an attempt to confuse and overload the Norman android. Illogic causes the androids to go into lockup loops, insensible to further input. Mudd and Kirk pose Norman the Liar paradox, where Kirk claims everything Mudd says is a lie and Mudd declares that he is lying. Unable to resolve this contradiction, Norman shuts down. Without a controlling leader, the other androids freeze up. This allows them to be reprogrammed to return to their original task of making the planet habitable and productive. Mudd is indefinitely paroled to the android population {as an example to the androids of human failure}, a prospect which he finds acceptable - even enjoyable - until he discovers to his horror that not only has the nagging android Stella been reprogrammed not to respond to his command to "Shut up!" but there are now at least 500 copies of her.

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  1. ^ a b Gerrold, David (1973). The Trouble with Tribbles: The Birth, Sale and Final Production of One Episode. New York: Ballantine Books. [page needed]

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