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For the alternate reality counterpart, please see Leonard McCoy (alternate reality).
For the mirror universe counterpart, please see Leonard McCoy (mirror).
"I'm just an old country doctor."
– Leonard McCoy, 2267 ("The Deadly Years")
"You're an old fashioned boy, McCoy."
– James T. Kirk, 2267 ("Space Seed")

Admiral Leonard H. McCoy, MD was a male Human Starfleet officer of the 23rd and 24th centuries. He was an accomplished surgeon, physician, psychologist, and exobiologist, and was also considered an expert in space psychology. As chief medical officer, he served aboard the USS Enterprise and USS Enterprise-A for a combined twenty-seven years. (Star Trek: The Original Series; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint"; VOY: "Lifesigns", "Message in a Bottle")

Early life[]

Dr. Leonard McCoy was born in Georgia, USA, Earth, in 2227. He was the son of David McCoy. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; TAS: "Once Upon a Planet"; TOS: "This Side of Paradise"; TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint"; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

According to a line cut from the 9 May 1968 "final draft" of the "Spectre of the Gun" script, McCoy mentioned to Doc Holliday that he was originally from Atlanta.

McCoy was attending the University of Mississippi during the mid-2240s when he met the joined Trill Emony Dax, who was visiting Earth to judge a gymnastics competition. According to Jadzia Dax, "he had the hands of a surgeon". (DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations")

While it was made clear that in the alternate reality McCoy attended and graduated Starfleet Academy, this obviously was not true in the prime universe – although he did, of course, receive a Starfleet officer's commission. DS9: "Trials and Tribble-ations" established McCoy's alma mater as the University of Mississippi– and, in TOS: "The Ultimate Computer", McCoy did not understand the reference to "dunsel" in Commodore Bob Wesley referring to Kirk as "Captain Dunsel". Spock had to explain to McCoy that midshipmen at Starfleet Academy used the term– a reference McCoy would have understood had he attended the Academy.

McCoy began studying medicine in or before 2245. (TAS: "The Pirates of Orion") While in medical school, McCoy and his friends used to play practical jokes on each other all the time. For example, they would substitute real drinking glasses with trick drinking glasses, causing the target drinker to spill on their shirt. (TAS: "The Practical Joker")

McCoy's graduation date from medical school was never confirmed in a Star Trek production, but with four years of pre-med followed by four years of medical school, McCoy would normally have received his medical degree in 2253, assuming he started college at the age of eighteen in 2245. Kirk's statement in 2270 that McCoy had been a doctor for twenty-five years seemed to support this.

Starfleet career[]

In 2251, McCoy led a massive inoculation program on planet Dramia II, where he saved a Dramen colonist, named Kol-Tai, from a strain of the Saurian virus. Shortly after McCoy departed, a plague struck Dramia II, killing most of the colonists. (TAS: "Albatross")

In 2253, McCoy developed a surgical procedure for the humanoid brain; grafting neural tissue to the cerebral cortex, followed by the creation of an axonal pathway between the tissue graft and the basal ganglia. (VOY: "Lifesigns")

McCoy divorced his wife and enrolled in Starfleet Academy in the alternate reality in 2255. (Star Trek) The novel Shadows on the Sun stated the prime reality McCoy separated from his wife and then enrolled in 2253.

McCoy's first visit to Capella IV

First visit to Capella IV

In 2266, Lieutenant Commander McCoy was a sciences division officer. He was stationed on Capella IV where Capellan lack of interest in medical aid or hospitals ensured a short visit, lasting only a few months, before eventually joining the USS Enterprise's five-year mission. The knowledge of Capellan customs he acquired on this mission would prove valuable in a later mission to the planet. (TOS: "Friday's Child"; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

The five-year mission[]

In 2266, McCoy was the Life Sciences department head and the chief medical officer of the Enterprise. His assigned quarters were "3F 127" on Deck 9, section 2. His predecessor was Dr. Mark Piper. (TOS: "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "The Corbomite Maneuver", "The Man Trap")

In the final revised draft of the script for "The Conscience of the King", McCoy's quarters were described as being located on the other side of sickbay from the doctor's office (which is where, in the final version of that episode, McCoy exits while finishing preparing himself for attending a performance of Hamlet).

Kirk liberally used the nickname "Bones" for his doctor from this point on. (TOS: "The Man Trap") During a 2267 away mission on Pyris VII, Kirk made a special point to avoid calling McCoy "Bones", instead using the nickname "Doc", after finding themselves in shackles hanging alongside a skeleton. (TOS: "Catspaw")

In an ultimately omitted line of dialogue from the second revised final draft script of "The Corbomite Maneuver", McCoy stated that he "never" asked approval from Kirk for his diagnoses.

Evil Kirk and McCoy

Kirk's evil persona threatening McCoy

McCoy provided Kirk with advice when the Enterprise's transporter duplicated him in 2266. Kirk was split into two people – one good and one bad. Kirk needed his evil side to live as well as to command the Enterprise. McCoy told his captain that all Humans have their darker side; it is literally half of what they are and they need it to live. Later, Kirk had the choice of going through the transporter again to reintegrate into one being. The procedure was dangerous and McCoy told him, "Jim, you can't risk your life on a theory!" However, McCoy decided that the decision was Kirk's alone after he refused to relinquish command. Later, Kirk was successfully reintegrated as one being. (TOS: "The Enemy Within")

McCoy Kirk Spock, 2267

Three friends in 2267

On stardate 1513.1, while conducting a routine medical examination of outpost personnel at the archaeological dig on planet M-113, McCoy became reacquainted with an old flame, Nancy Crater. Unbeknownst to McCoy, what became known as the "M-113 creature" had murdered and replaced Nancy years before.

The last survivor of M-113's long-dead civilization was a telepathic shapeshifter who digested the salt content from its prey. Drawing from a potential food source's mental imagery, it appeared as sympathetic or attractive, and further hypnotized its victim before feeding; hence McCoy saw a vision of Nancy exactly as he had known her years earlier.

McCoy administering antidote to Kirk

McCoy curing Kirk of polywater intoxication on the bridge of the Enterprise

When the creature began taking the lives of Enterprise crew members on the surface and aboard the ship itself, McCoy's past feelings for Nancy tainted his judgment. It was only when Spock was assaulted and Captain Kirk's life was in imminent jeopardy that Dr. McCoy saw past the illusion of Nancy, forcing him to fire a phaser at a sentient being, the last of its kind. Just before firing, he said quietly, "Lord forgive me." (TOS: "The Man Trap")

McCoy escorts Barrows

McCoy with Tonia Barrows in 2267

In early 2267 the Enterprise visited the Shore Leave Planet located in the Omicron Delta region. During the initial survey, McCoy reported seeing a giant white rabbit followed by a little girl.

Further investigation revealed that a vast underground factory recorded their thoughts and brought them to life. While walking through the glade with Yeoman Tonia Barrows, they discovered the dress of a princess, conceived from the thoughts of Barrows.

McCoy encouraged Barrows to try on the dress, and afterward begin to romance the yeoman, later stating that she should not be afraid "with a brave knight to protect her". Moments later a Black Knight appeared on horseback, bearing a lance.

McCoy killed by Black Knight

The apparent death of McCoy

Convinced it was illusion and could not harm him, McCoy stood his ground against a charge – impaled in the chest, he died instantly. McCoy was brought underground, healed, and returned to the surface with two cabaret chorus girls he had once met on Rigel II. Barrow's obvious jealousy prompted McCoy to extricate himself from his fantasy girls, taking the yeoman's arm instead. (TOS: "Shore Leave")

On stardate 2713.5, the Enterprise discovered an Earth-like planet inhabited only by children. They soon discovered that all of the adults had died from a virus that caused the victim to age rapidly. The landing party contracted the disease and only had one week to live. McCoy and Spock developed a cure, but were unable to verify the formula with the Enterprise's computers, because the children had stolen their communicators. Desperate, McCoy decided to test the serum on himself when Spock stepped out. Spock and Kirk returned to find an unconscious McCoy, but also that the serum worked. (TOS: "Miri")

Khan choking McCoy

Khan choking McCoy from his biobed in sickbay

On stardate 3141, McCoy accompanied Captain Kirk, Scott, and historian Marla McGivers to the SS Botany Bay, where the landing party encountered Khan Noonien Singh in stasis. McCoy had Khan removed from his enclosure when it began to malfunction while waking him and caused Khan to have a heart flutter. McCoy later stabilized Khan and brought him back to health aboard the Enterprise. Khan awoke shortly thereafter in sickbay and threatened McCoy with a scalpel when the doctor came to check up on him. Khan removed the scalpel from McCoy's neck when the doctor told him to cut his carotid artery, remarking, "I like a brave man." Later on, Khan commandeered the Enterprise and forced McCoy and several other Enterprise crewmembers to watch as Kirk was put into a decompression chamber to die slowly. Khan asked the crew to join him and his brethren but McCoy and the crew refused and were later knocked out by anesthesia gas sent out by Kirk and Spock, intending to knock out Khan and his followers. After the defeat of Khan and his augments, McCoy, in dress uniform, attended Khan and McGivers' sentencing. McCoy expressed incredulity when Kirk announced that he was dropping all charges in exchange for marooning Khan, his followers, and McGivers on Ceti Alpha V. (TOS: "Space Seed")

On stardate 3417, McCoy's tonsils, which had been removed some years earlier, regrew when he was briefly under the influence of the Omicron spores. He mentioned that he had broken three ribs once. Although he took part in the subsequent mutiny, he returned with the rest of the crew after the spore's influence was eradicated. (TOS: "This Side of Paradise")

During an investigation of temporal disturbances over an ancient planet, McCoy accidentally injected himself with an overdose of cordrazine, resulting in psychosis and paranoid delusions, and he escaped to the planet's surface. Kirk, Spock, and a landing party followed him into the ruins of an ancient civilization, where they discovered the Guardian of Forever, an ancient time portal device.

Still psychotic, McCoy entered the device, transporting himself into Earth's past, and somehow created a history without a Federation or the Enterprise. Kirk and Spock, stranded and alone on the planet's surface, had no choice but to follow McCoy into the portal to try to undo whatever he had done to change the course of history.

They found themselves back in 1930 New York, where they met social worker Edith Keeler but had trouble locating McCoy. Using an improvised tricorder device, Spock determined that Keeler's death was the focal point of the altered timeline – she died in the original history, but somehow McCoy's going back in time prevented this from happening. Eventually, Kirk and Spock spotted McCoy walking down a city sidewalk. McCoy was happy to see them, but then he noticed that Keeler was crossing the street nearby in front of a speeding car. McCoy tried to rush forward to save her life, but Kirk, realizing that this was the critical moment, tearfully grabbed his friend and prevented him from intervening, allowing Keeler to die and restoring their own historical timeline. (TOS: "The City on the Edge of Forever")

After the first discovery of a silicon-based lifeform on Janus VI, the Horta matriarch, McCoy was the first exobiologist to actually treat one of the creatures, healing the wounded mother with a bandage of thermal concrete. Considering he successfully medically treated a type of lifeform that he previously did not even believe could exist, McCoy could not help but comment, "By golly, Jim, I'm beginning to think I can cure a rainy day!" (TOS: "The Devil in the Dark")

He was also the first to describe the deadly habits and help find the cure for the flying parasites, a plague of one-celled flying creatures linked in a collective mind that had been sweeping across whole star systems and destroying all humanoid life. (TOS: "Operation -- Annihilate!")

James T

McCoy examining an in shock Matt Decker on the USS Constellation

On a return to Capella IV, McCoy helped lead Kirk through tentative negotiations over dilithium mining rights with the Capellan Teer, talks which fell apart due to Klingon interference.

After the death of the Teer, the Enterprise landing party fled with the Teer's pregnant wife, Eleen. McCoy's truculent patient required an atypical bedside manner (i.e. "a right cross"), but he delivered the newborn High Teer, the rightful leader of the Capellan tribes.

Eleen, having grown fond of McCoy, named the child Leonard James Akaar, much to the annoyance of Spock, who commented that the name would cause Kirk and McCoy to become insufferably pleased with themselves for at least a month. (TOS: "Friday's Child")

Leonard McCoy, 2268

McCoy happy at finally getting the last word

Although possessing limited surgical experience in Vulcan anatomy and physiology, McCoy successfully operated on Spock's father, Ambassador Sarek of Vulcan, when Sarek suffered from a faulty heart valve and subsequently near-fatal heart attacks. With blood donations from Spock, McCoy performed open heart surgery on Sarek while the Enterprise shuddered under the attack of hostile Orions.

Despite the distractions of his captain being knifed in the back, phaser attacks on the ship, and his blood donor attempting to get up and report to duty during the procedure, McCoy successfully completed the operation and Sarek fully recovered. (TOS: "Journey to Babel")

While mapping near the Sigma Draconis system, the Enterprise encountered an Eymorg starship, whose occupant, Kara rendered the crew unconscious. Upon waking, they discovered that Spock's brain had been stolen.

It fell to McCoy to find a way to keep Spock's body alive; McCoy not only managed this, but also fitted him with a control system to move Spock's body remotely. When Spock's brain was located on Sigma Draconis VI, wired to the planet's environmental control system to care for its inhabitants, it fell to McCoy to use an advanced Great Teacher machine to learn how to place the brain back within his body.

The effects of the teaching machine quickly wore off, but not before McCoy had reconnected Spock's autonomic and speech centers, enough for the Vulcan to verbally assist the doctor with the rest of the procedure and reconnect the rest of his voluntary functions. (TOS: "Spock's Brain")

Kirk and Spock try to save McCoy

McCoy near death on Minara II

On stardate 5121.5, while investigating the disappearance of a science team sent to study an impending nova, the Enterprise encountered a mute alien with empathic abilities on Minara II. McCoy named her "Gem." They discovered that the Vians were holding her captive. McCoy nearly died after volunteering himself to satisfy the Vians' demands for an experimental subject to teach Gem the value of self-sacrifice. (TOS: "The Empath")

McCoy and Sulu

McCoy with Sulu on the Kalandan outpost in 2268

In 2268, the Enterprise found the USS Defiant floating in and out of interphase space, its crew having apparently killed each other from space madness. When the Enterprise crew soon exhibited the same symptoms, McCoy discovered that prolonged exposure to the effects of interphase were causing the episodes. The symptoms were alleviated after McCoy created and administered a radical derivative of theragen (a Klingon nerve gas) mixed with drinking alcohol. (TOS: "The Tholian Web")

McCoy and Natira

The joining of McCoy and Natira

In 2268, McCoy was diagnosed with a terminal disease known as xenopolycythemia; he was given one year to live. Shortly thereafter, the Enterprise encountered the Fabrini asteroid-ship Yonada where he met their high priestess, Natira.

McCoy joined Natira and the Fabrini by having an instrument of obedience subdermally implanted into his body. He later changed his mind about staying with the Fabrini, choosing instead to search the galaxy to discover a cure for his disease.

Kirk and Spock discovered that the Fabrini, in fact, had the cure for xenopolycythemia in their databanks, curing McCoy and allowing him to continue his life aboard the Enterprise. (TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky")

In 2269, McCoy was promoted; from that point on, he wore the insignia of a commander on his uniform. He held this rank for over 25 years. (TAS: "Beyond the Farthest Star")

McCoy's sleeve braid changes back and forth from lieutenant commander to commander throughout TAS, possibly due to the vagaries of Filmation's "limited animation" modus operandi. The same happened to Scott.

Around stardate 5371.3, Captain Kirk consulted McCoy to get his expert psychological opinion on whether the inhabitants of the planet Mantilles should be warned of the impending danger of an unidentified cosmic cloud that was approaching and preparing to consume the planet.

McCoy figured that with only four hours and ten minutes until the cloud reached the planet, there would be planet-wide panic, which Kirk clarified as "blind panic." Spock, however, recommended otherwise and noted that if they told the inhabitants of the situation, they might be able to save a small fraction of the population. McCoy then agreed with Spock, after learning that Bob Wesley was governor of the planet, and urged Kirk to contact the governor. (TAS: "One of Our Planets Is Missing")

Spock and McCoy old

McCoy rapidly aged on the planet

Later that year, McCoy was among the landing party that beamed down to inspect the second planet of the Taurean system. He was among those affected by the glandular secretion of the planet's female inhabitants, known for controlling the male mind.

This caused McCoy to be drained of his "life force", making him age at a rate of ten years per day. Unable to counteract the effects of rapid aging, McCoy employed a hypospray of cortropine on himself and the landing party to help alleviate their conditions. An all female Enterprise security detachment led by Uhura eventually recovered McCoy and the landing party. Using their molecular pattern stored in the transporter system, they were returned to their previous ages. (TAS: "The Lorelei Signal")

In 2270, following a delivery of medical supplies to Dramia, McCoy was arrested for the wanton mass murder of the colonists of Dramia II some nineteen years earlier. McCoy feared that he might have accidentally been responsible for the plague that killed the Dramens and that he might be found guilty.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise visited Dramia II and discovered a survivor named Kol-Tai, who wished to help acquit McCoy of the charges. On the journey back to Dramia they passed through an aurora, which was later discovered to be the source of the plague.

Spock helped McCoy break out of the Dramian prison in order for the doctor to help find the cure for the plague that was now unleashed aboard the Enterprise. McCoy discovered the cure in Saurian virus antibodies and was able to save the crew. Later, in a series of ceremonies, the Dramians honored McCoy for his significant achievements in the field of interstellar medicine. (TAS: "Albatross")

On stardate 5499.9, while exploring the ocean planet Argo to study the regular seismic disturbances there, Kirk and Spock were separated from the rest of the landing party during an attack by an aquatic predator.

They were found later adapted for water-breathing, even possessing gills and webbed hands. Dr. McCoy was able to stabilize their condition aboard the Enterprise, but could not find a reversal for their condition. He endorsed their going back to Argo to investigate the mystery.

Kirk and Spock were able to locate the underwater city of the Aquans, and discovered a medical treatment within the city's records which could reverse their condition (utilizing the venom of another dangerous predator, the sur-snake). After obtaining a sample of venom, McCoy was able to synthesize a vaccine. The vaccine was nearly fatal for Kirk, but the treatment was successful, and Kirk and Spock were fully cured of their condition. (TAS: "The Ambergris Element")

On stardate 5591.2, McCoy returned with the others to the Shore Leave Planet for shore leave once again. They soon discovered, however, that the Keeper had died and the planet's central computer was rebelling against its programming, assaulting the landing party with dangerous manifestations.

McCoy tricked the planet into taking Spock beneath the surface by injecting him with melenex, an anesthetic which induced unconsciousness and odd skin discoloration in the Vulcan. McCoy and Sulu were later in danger of being incinerated by another of the planet's manifestations, a fire-breathing dragon, but were rescued when Uhura and the others were able to "talk down" the planet's computer. (TAS: "Once Upon a Planet")

As an "old country doctor" in the 23rd century[]

McCoy frequently displayed a love/hate attitude towards technology. Although he was a great believer in the body's own natural ability to heal and felt that a little suffering was good for the soul, he also held 23rd century medicine in high esteem and frequently lamented how barbarous medicine used to be in the past – when on Earth in 1986, he angrily dismissed the medical technology of San Francisco's Mercy Hospital, state-of-the-art for the time, as "medieval" compared to what he knew. (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver", "The City on the Edge of Forever"; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

He also distrusted other highly technological devices, especially the transporter. (TOS: "Space Seed", "Obsession", "Spectre of the Gun"; Star Trek: The Motion Picture; TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint")

While technically only lieutenant commander in rank, McCoy was still the only person on the Enterprise besides Spock who could talk back to the captain and get away with it. Although not without apology when wrong, he displayed a unique individuality and plain-spoken character which certainly clashed with the service, considering himself a doctor first and an officer second. This pugnacious attitude surfaced on a number of missions. Despite his sardonic wit and curmudgeonly personality, McCoy was very compassionate and cared deeply about all living things.

While on Miri's planet, McCoy discovered a vaccine for the deadly life prolongation project virus which had killed all the adults on the planet and left the children with impossibly long life spans. Although completely unsure of the dose, McCoy "shot from the hip," as it were, injecting himself with the vaccine and successfully providing the landing party with a cure. (TOS: "Miri")

McCoy beard

McCoy and the beard he grew during his off time

Upon the conclusion of the historic five-year mission in 2270, then-Commander McCoy, always modestly proclaiming himself to be "just a good ol' country doctor," retired his commission and proceeded to grow a beard. He was heard saying he would never return to Starfleet. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

The Star Trek Chronology speculated that McCoy entered a private medical practice between 2270 and 2272. The novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture indicated that McCoy spent two and a half years spreading the Fabrinis' cure for xenopolycythemia.

Return to Starfleet[]

Kirk and McCoy, 2270s

"Damn it, Bones. I need you. Badly!"

In the mid-2270s, Fleet Admiral Nogura, using a "little-known, seldom-used, reserve activation clause" at the request of now Admiral James T. Kirk, reactivated McCoy's commission. True to form, he refused to use the transporter until the other five crewmembers passed through safely. Though initially indignant about his re-activation, McCoy calmed down and served as chief medical officer during the V'ger encounter, and afterward continued to serve with his shipmates in this capacity aboard the newly-refitted Enterprise. (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)

Training cruise aboard the Enterprise[]

In March 2285, McCoy was a participant in Saavik's Kobayashi Maru scenario at Starfleet Training Command. After the scenario, he served aboard the Enterprise under the command of Captain Spock. He was the ship's chief medical officer for a three week training cruise. Upon receiving a call for help from Regula I, Starfleet Command ordered the Enterprise to investigate. With Rear Admiral Kirk assuming command, the cruise was cut short. The Enterprise became involved with Project Genesis and Khan Noonien Singh's attempt to steal the Genesis Device. McCoy accompanied Kirk in a landing party to rescue the surviving scientists of Project Genesis, and was able to witness the results of Carol Marcus' work on the project beneath the Regula planetoid. Back aboard Enterprise, he continued to treat casualties during the Battle of the Mutara Nebula. He was present in main engineering when Captain Spock arrived with the intention of entering the highly radioactive dilithium chamber to reactivate the ship's warp drive, so that Enterprise could escape Khan's suicidal ploy to kill them all with the Genesis Device. McCoy objected, but Spock felled him with a Vulcan nerve pinch and (almost as an afterthought) deposited his katra within McCoy's mind. Following their escape and Spock's death, McCoy grieved with Kirk and the rest of the crew as Spock was laid to rest on the newly formed Genesis Planet. (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

Hosting Spock's "soul"[]

On their return to Earth, as the rest of the crew found that Enterprise was to be decommissioned, McCoy began to suffer increasingly erratic behavior, making odd requests of Kirk to return to Vulcan, and even sounding like Spock at times. Although at first it was thought he was only under too much stress, McCoy soon found himself placed under protective custody after making several inquiries into securing transportation to the newly restricted Genesis Planet. Spock's father Sarek explained the significance of the Vulcan katra to Kirk. With their careers at stake, Kirk and his crew took it upon themselves to rescue McCoy, steal the Enterprise and take both to Genesis to recover Spock's body for return to Mount Seleya on Vulcan.

Spock and Leonard McCoy in Klingon sickbay

A melancholy McCoy looks down at an unconscious Spock, while carrying his katra

Although Enterprise was disabled then later destroyed, and rogue Klingons had killed Kirk's son, the crew managed to commandeer the attacking Klingon vessel and take McCoy and the rejuvenated Spock to Mount Seleya on Vulcan. En route to Vulcan, in the Klingon ship's infirmary, a melancholy McCoy admitted to his old rival, the unconscious Spock, that he missed him, and couldn't stand the thought of losing Spock again.

Spock's katra was restored via the fal-tor-pan, an ancient, legendary Vulcan technique. Although it was not generally known whether another species could serve as a "keeper of the Vulcan katra", McCoy appeared to suffer no lasting ill effects from the incident. (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)

Saving Earth[]

While returning to Earth with his shipmates to stand trial for the many violations in Starfleet regulations committed in saving Spock, McCoy discovered with the others that an unknown probe was intent on sterilizing the planet after replies to its broadcasts went unanswered. Spock deduced that the intended recipients of the probe's transmissions were extinct Humpback whales, and McCoy soon found himself a somewhat reluctant participant in Kirk's plan to time travel back to 20th century San Francisco to recover a pair of whales and save their future. McCoy was included in Sulu's and Captain Scott's team to recover supplies for the construction of a whale tank aboard their ship.

McCoy, 1986

McCoy finds himself in the "Dark Ages"

He later led a rescue team into a San Francisco hospital to save the critically-injured Chekov, pausing just enough to also provide an elderly lady suffering from kidney failure with some 23rd century medicine, and berate several 20th century physicians on their methods of practice. Accompanying his shipmates and the whales back through time to successfully save Earth from the Whale Probe, McCoy was acquitted with the rest of the crew for their offenses, and returned to duty aboard the newly commissioned USS Enterprise-A. (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

Chief medical officer of the USS Enterprise-A[]

Afterward, while enjoying a well-deserved leave with his close friends Kirk and Spock, McCoy also berated both the others (Kirk for taking unnecessary risks, Spock for apparently not completely becoming his old self after the re-fusion with his katra). Underneath, McCoy's real lament was for lacking a true family, and always being "stuck", as it were, with the crew of the Enterprise. During the rescue mission that immediately followed to save the ambassadors of Nimbus III, the renegade Vulcan Sybok hijacked the Enterprise. Sybok later forced McCoy to reveal his secret pain, the loss of his father, to Kirk and Spock (see "Family and relationships" below). In the events that followed and their return to Earth, McCoy finally came to terms with his loss and accepted the love and camaraderie of his two friends, who remain his enduring family, as they began singing songs around a campfire. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

McCoy is arrested

McCoy in 2293, after failing to save Gorkon's life

Shortly after stardate 9522 in 2293, the Enterprise was sent on a diplomatic mission to escort a Klingon envoy to Federation space for peace talks. When the Enterprise mysteriously appeared to fire on the ship of Klingon Chancellor Gorkon, Dr. McCoy beamed aboard with Captain Kirk to assist with casualties. McCoy attempted to save the life of the critically wounded Gorkon, the victim of an assassin's phaser. McCoy's limited knowledge of Klingon anatomy and physiology hindered his efforts and the chancellor died. The Klingons arrested McCoy and Kirk and charged them with his assassination.

The Klingon Empire put Kirk and McCoy through a show trial, and although McCoy was able to draw a laugh from the assembled Klingons with an off-the-cuff quip, neither had much of a chance of defending their case. Handed a life sentence of hard labor they were then taken to the penal asteroid Rura Penthe to live it out. Luckily Spock rescued McCoy and Kirk in time to discover the roots of the Khitomer conspiracy and disrupt a second assassination attempt at the peace talks at Khitomer. It was McCoy who assisted Spock in modifying a photon torpedo with a plasma sensor, so that it would home in on Klingon General Chang's attacking cloaked ship. McCoy then helped prevent the assassination of the Federation president, safeguarding a conference that fostered in an eighty-year era of peace between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. (Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)

Later career[]

Data and Leonard McCoy

Admiral McCoy touring the USS Enterprise-D with Data in 2364

On stardate 41153.7, 71 years after the decommissioning of the Enterprise-A, the 137-year old Admiral Leonard McCoy inspected the medical layout of the USS Enterprise-D during its first mission; still refusing to use the transporter, he was ferried to the ship by shuttlecraft before he was escorted to the USS Hood by Lieutenant Commander Data. He commented on the great significance of the ship's name to Data, telling him, "You treat her like a lady... and she'll always bring you home." (TNG: "Encounter at Farpoint")

McCoy's promotion to Captain, while never seen on screen, has been stated in non-canon publications as having taken place sometime in the late 2290s. Several published works (citation needededit) have also indicated that McCoy later served as the head of Starfleet Medical School and as the Starfleet Medical Surgeon General. The reference manual Star Trek: The Next Generation Officer's Manual [page number?edit] states that McCoy eventually became Chief of Starfleet Medical and held a special rank known as "branch admiral".

Fictional or exaggerated stories about McCoy[]

McCoy on the viewscreen

McCoy's big open-mouth grin

While in an argument with Montgomery Scott, Arex and M'Ress about the holodeck, D'Vana Tendi told Scotty that the rec room was a far cry from the holodeck. She references back to the time that McCoy, Sulu and Uhura were in the rec room experiencing a "boring snowstorm," as she called it. (VST: "Walk, Don't Run")

During a song that was sung by a Post Mainframe Acid-Cardassian Ten Forwardcore band on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, Leonard McCoy could be seen in a variety of clips on the main viewer that were played.

The first clip showed Doctor McCoy beaming with a landing party consisting of himself, James T. Kirk, Montgomery Scott and Spock. They were all shown wearing life support belts, as they apparently beamed down to a location where it was impossible for them to breathe. The next clip shows McCoy with a big open-mouth grin on his face. (VST: "Walk, Don't Run")


Family and relationships[]

David McCoy

David McCoy

An early ancestor of McCoy's, his great-great-grandfather, was a noted gardener, having had one of the finest gardens in the South. He also was noted for having developed his own recipe for weed spray. (TAS: "The Infinite Vulcan")

A famous McCoy family recipe for Southern baked beans dated back several generations. McCoy prepared a batch for Kirk and Spock during their camping trip in 2287. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

McCoy suffered many family hardships early on in life, which helped mold him into the prominent individual he eventually became. It began when McCoy was forced to face the harsh reality of his father's bout with a painful, incurable disease.

His father pleaded with McCoy to release him from the pain, but McCoy could not, as he was adamant he could find a cure. Seeing his father suffer so painfully, however, moved McCoy to soon acquiesce and take his father off life support.

Only weeks later, a cure was discovered, and McCoy subsequently lived many years in regret for causing his father's apparently needless death. However, Spock's estranged half-brother Sybok was able to relieve McCoy of this regret by helping him realize that it wasn't his fault. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier)

McCoy eventually married and had a daughter named Joanna. Sadly, McCoy's marriage ended in a bitter divorce, separating him from his daughter and deepening his hardships. (citation needededit) His daughter eventually moved to the planet Cerberus to attend school, where she nearly died, in 2259, when the planet experienced a crop failure. Fortunately, the kind actions of Carter Winston saved Cerberus. McCoy was grateful for this deed and expressed his most sincere thanks to Winston ten years later, when the Enterprise rescued him. (TAS: "The Survivor")


Natira McCoy

In 2254, McCoy became romantically involved with the future Nancy Crater. Nancy nicknamed her beloved boyfriend "Plum". They walked out of each other's lives in 2256, and did not see each other again, although in 2266, McCoy met a creature who mimicked Nancy. (TOS: "The Man Trap")

In 2268 (during his stay on the Yonada), McCoy fell in love with and married Natira. Although the removal of his instrument of obedience technically annulled their marriage, McCoy and Natira still felt strongly for each other and he asked her to come with him when he left. She declined, indicating that her place was with her people.

The two planned to be reunited just over a year later, when Yonada reached the star system that was to be the new home for its people. (TOS: "For the World is Hollow and I Have Touched the Sky")

Though not shown on screen, Kirk indicated that he felt certain that he could arrange for the Enterprise to be on hand when the Yonadans disembarked on their new planet. In the TOS novel Ex Machina, after a number of terrorist acts occurred on Daran IV, Natira requested assistance from McCoy and the Enterprise.


Kirk McCoy drink 2266

Sharing a drink in 2266

McCoy was not above kicking back with a good drink with the captain now and again, regularly keeping stashes of vintage saurian brandy and other libations with the controlled substances in sickbay. He was the only Enterprise crewmember who routinely addressed Kirk by his first name, (though Spock did occasionally as well). (TOS: "The Corbomite Maneuver", "The Enemy Within")

McCoy displayed a fondness for alcoholic beverages of his region of Earth, such as Kentucky bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, his favorite drink was believed to be the mint julep. (TOS: "This Side of Paradise") He also made a Finagle's Folly "known from here to Orion." (TOS: "The Ultimate Computer") He was even known to put whiskey in baked beans. (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier) He also used his connections to procure quantities of prohibited alien drinks such as Romulan ale, which he says was used only for "medicinal purposes." (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)

His closest friends aboard the Enterprise included Captain Kirk and, begrudgingly, Spock. McCoy's friendship with Kirk dated back well before Kirk took command of the Enterprise, and he often served as a sounding board and voice of conscience for the young captain.

His legendary feud with the half-Vulcan science officer (borne more from dispute over the merits of emotion versus logic rather than true prejudice) camouflaged the genuine mutual respect and friendship the two had. Over time, the three appeared to form nearly a single personality, with McCoy ever emotional and passionate, Spock ever objective and logical, and Kirk intuitive; the focus, direction and driving force combining the best of the other two.

While he and Kirk were observing Spock's marriage rites on Vulcan, McCoy suddenly found himself watching his two best friends in a fight to the death over the entranced Spock's betrothed. In a covert, underhandedly sneaky Human move, he tipped the scales of the fight and saved Kirk's life when he ostensibly injected Kirk with a tri-ox compound respiratory aid when he was actually injecting him with a neural paralyzer. When Kirk appeared dead, Spock snapped out of his trance and ended the marriage, only to gleefully find Kirk alive back on the Enterprise a short time later. (TOS: "Amok Time")

On Minara II, the Vians kidnapped Kirk, Spock, and McCoy and forced them to choose which one would die in their experiments. Sacrificing himself for the others against their will, McCoy submitted to a level of torture which nearly killed him. The empathic Gem, another of the Vian's prisoners, healed McCoy's injuries.

It was all a test, to determine if Gem's people were worthy of the Vian's salvation from Minara's own supernova. (TOS: "The Empath")

Memorable quotes[]

About McCoy[]

By McCoy[]

  • "I'm a doctor, not a..." (various episodes)
  • "He/she's dead, Jim." (various episodes)
  • "My god, man!" (various episodes)
  • "I signed aboard this ship to practice medicine, not to have my atoms scattered back and forth across space by this gadget." (TOS: "Space Seed")
  • "Spock, I've found that evil usually triumphs - unless good is very, very careful." (TOS: "The Omega Glory")
  • "Just a moment, Captain, Sir, I'll explain what happened. Your revered Admiral Nogura invoked a little-known, seldom-used reserve activation clause. In simpler language, Captain, they drafted me!" (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
  • "Well, Jim, I hear Chapel's an MD now. Well, I'm gonna need a top nurse, not a doctor who'll argue every little diagnosis with me. And they probably redesigned the whole sickbay too! I know engineers, they love to change things!" (Star Trek: The Motion Picture)
  • "Jim, I'm your doctor and I'm your friend. Get back your command. Get it back before you turn into part of this collection. Before you really do grow old." (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan)
  • (Upon learning he was the recipient of Spock's katra via a mind-meld) "That green-blooded son-of-a-bitch. It's his revenge for all those arguments he lost." (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
  • (As Kirk watches the hulk of the Enterprise burn up and asks McCoy: "My God Bones what have I done"?) "What you had to do, what you always do; turn death into a fighting chance to live." (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock)
  • (Arguing with a 20th century surgeon over treatment of Pavel Chekov) "My God man! Drilling holes in his head is not the answer! The artery must be repaired! Now put away your butcher knives and let me SAVE this patient!" (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home)

See also[]




Background information[]

DeForest Kelley, TNG screen test

Kelley in a screen test for his appearance in "Encounter at Farpoint"

Leonard McCoy was played by actor DeForest Kelley. In Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, a couple of lines spoken by McCoy while he was possessed by and in possession of Spock's katra were voiced by Leonard Nimoy.

An ultimately unused stage direction from the final revised draft script of TOS: "The Conscience of the King" described McCoy thus; "McCoy is tart in manner and somewhat privileged in behavior."

Although McCoy doesn't appear in "The Menagerie, Part II", he did feature in the script for that episode. Initially, there were a couple of incidences where he was mentioned, without having any lines of dialogue, entering the Enterprise's hearing room, such as at the end of the episode's teaser, when he accompanied Scott into the room, eager to help Captain Kirk but unable to. When Christopher Pike needed rest later in the script, McCoy alone arrived to maneuver him, in his wheelchair, out of the room. McCoy also appeared in a deleted scene from "The Menagerie, Part II". In it, after again accompanying Scott into the hearing room, he was credited, by Scott, as having thought of a way to determine which of the Enterprise's computer tapes Spock had jammed in order to lock the ship on a course to Talos IV. The solution McCoy had devised involved using a spectrograph beam to detect traces of copper salt from Vulcan sweat on the tapes Spock had touched. However, McCoy wished he'd thought of the method earlier than he had, as he considered it "elementary body chemistry." [1]

The Star Trek Concordance established that his daughter Joanna was born around 2249, and was in training to become a nurse. It also established that although they wrote each other often, Dr. McCoy's duties aboard the USS Enterprise kept the two apart. The Star Trek Chronology provided additional background information on his divorce and his daughter. This scenario established that as a result of the divorce McCoy left the private practice (which he apparently rejoined in 2270) to join Starfleet. "The Way to Eden" was originally written for and titled "Joanna", but was however rewritten and Joanna became Irina Galliulin.

The Star Trek Encyclopedia speculated that Emony Dax and McCoy met around 2245, this based on the fact that McCoy appeared to have not yet entered (or at least not yet completed) medical school when they knew each other. Jadzia Dax strongly implied that Bones and Emony were physically intimate, if only for a short time.

The animation for Star Trek: The Animated Series depicted McCoy as a full commander in both promotional artwork and in episode photography, although more than a few erroneous sequences of him with lieutenant commander insignia cropped up during the course of the series.

He was one of at least five Starfleet officers (along with Spock, Scott, Sulu, and Uhura) who had at some point served under James T. Kirk to have attained a rank of captain or above, as he was a retired admiral during the events of "Encounter at Farpoint".


The novels Provenance of Shadows and The Assassination Game have identified McCoy's middle name as "Horatio", but this was never established on screen. The novels The Romulan Way and Spock's World claim that his middle name is "Edward".

In David Gerrold's Encounter at Farpoint novelization, McCoy served on three vessels named Enterprise before being promoted to admiral and head of Starfleet Medical. He finally retired from this position in 2354 and moved to a farm in present-day Georgia to live his old days peacefully. By 2364, he had at least one great-great-grandchild from his daughter, Joanna.

According to Star Trek II: Biographies, McCoy was born in 24 October 2119 in Atlanta, Georgia to parents Robert Edward Lee McCoy and Maureen Abney. He has two brothers named Henry Clay McCoy and Landor Abney McCoy, and two sisters named Melissa Jane McCoy and Elizabeth Ashley McCoy. His ex-wife was named Elinor Lee.

Other novels and comics have given different names for McCoy's parents: David Andrew McCoy (Star Trek V: The Final Frontier novelization) and Eleanora McCoy (Star Trek III: The Search for Spock novelization). McCoy's ex-wife has variously been called Gillian (Who's Who in Star Trek 1), Joann Zauber (The Real McCoy), Jocelyn Treadway (Shadows on the Sun) and Pamela Branch (Bones).

In the novel Crisis on Centaurus, McCoy has a sister named Donna Withers.

Michael Jan Friedman's novel Shadows on the Sun elaborated on much of McCoy's backstory, particularly his marriage to Joanna's mother, Jocelyn Treadway (β).

The novel Shadows on the Sun had, as one of its subplots, the story of his marriage and divorce, when his ex-wife arrived on the Enterprise-A to help them deal with a crisis on a world that McCoy visited fresh out of medical school, only to die in the course of the mission – killed, ironically, by someone whose life McCoy saved on his first visit.

According to the video game Star Trek: Starship Creator, McCoy's mother is named Louise and his ex-wife is named Miriam.

In David R. George III's novel, Provenance of Shadows, McCoy was portrayed as passing away peacefully in 2366, at home on Earth in present-day Georgia. In this story, he was married to Tonia Barrows, who was also still alive at advanced age during the story. Although they had been married for decades, when they married isn't exactly known.

In William Shatner's novels, McCoy was alive and well in 2379 thanks to the use of artificial body parts, many of which he developed (he claims to be on his third heart, has a new set of lungs grown each month, and had around ten meters of cloned intestines inside him). He helped Julian Bashir remove a Borg implant from Kirk's brain, advising the young physician as to what to do due to his elderly condition, and was subsequently the first person Kirk saw upon regaining consciousness.

Mccoy 2380s

Leonard McCoy in the 2380s

In the IDW Publishing comic Star Trek Special: Flesh and Stone, McCoy is still alive in the 2380s, living at the Viirre-5 Agricultural Cultivation Facility, and using a wheelchair similar to that of Christopher Pike.

In Star Trek Cats, McCoy is depicted as a gray-and-white longhair cat.

External links[]

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