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 appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"I, Mudd" is a second season episode of the 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]

In the 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".)


The starship Enterprise is hijacked by an android who has been posing as Lieutenant Norman (Richard Tatro), a recently assigned crew member. The android seals off engineering and redirects the ship to an unknown planet. 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 broken out of prison and stolen a spaceship that was damaged during his escape, Mudd explains that he crashed on the planet and the androids took him in. He says they are very accommodating, but refuse to let him go. Mudd has ordered the creation of android women as servants and an android version of his estranged wife Stella (Kay Elliot) who, when activated, nags Mudd incessantly. When he commands her to "shut up", she shuts down.

The androids tell Kirk they were built by a people from the Andromeda Galaxy, but their creators were destroyed by a supernova, leaving the robots 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; Scotty is fascinated by the engineering knowledge available to the androids; Ensign Chekov (Walter Koenig) finds the idea of living on a planet full of complaisant female androids not too bad. Even Lt. Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) is impressed when she finds that she can live forever in an immortal android body. Mudd intends to depart aboard the Enterprise, now crewed by the robots; but the androids refuse his orders to beam him aboard.

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 human galaxy to provide that control.

Spock notices that almost all of the androids exist in numerous series, but there is only one Norman. Spock speculates Norman is the central coordinator and the crew should concentrate on him when attempting to escape. They tranquilize Mudd and explain that 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 the "escape attempt" they would expect.

Kirk earlier tried to get the androids to obey his command to return them to the ship, but they found a logical reason to refuse. In protest, Kirk insists, "The Enterprise is a beautiful lady, and we love her!" Not understanding the human metaphor of a "female" ship, the android pauses and calls out, "Illogical...illogical...Norman, correlate!" From this, Kirk deduces that they have a weapon to use against the androids: "We must use wild, insane irrational ILLOGIC, aimed right at Norman!", theorizing that such behavior will eventually overload and disable the androids.

The crew then engage in bizarre activities in an attempt to confuse and overload Norman. As a final blow, Mudd and Kirk pose the Liar paradox to Norman (Kirk claims everything Mudd says is a lie and Mudd declares that he is lying). Unable to resolve this contradiction, Norman shuts down and the other androids freeze. This allows them to be reprogrammed to return to their original tasks. Mudd is indefinitely paroled to the android population, a prospect which he finds acceptable – even enjoyable – until he discovers that the nagging Stella android has been reprogrammed not to respond to his command to "Shut up!", and there are now at least 500 copies of her, all programmed to keep Mudd from exploiting the other androids.

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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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