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Acting apparently restless and irrational, Captain Kirk inexplicably orders the Enterprise into Romulan space where the ship is quickly captured by the enemy and Kirk held captive aboard their flagship.



"Enterprise medical log, stardate 5027.3. Dr. Leonard McCoy recording; I'm concerned about Captain Kirk. He shows indications of increasing tension and emotional stress. I can find no reason for the captain's behavior, except possibly that we've been on patrol too long without relief and diversion. He has resisted all of my attempts to run a psychological profile on him."

Captain Kirk has been behaving irrationally of late, as noted in McCoy's medical log. Kirk then inexplicably orders helmsman Sulu to take the USS Enterprise across the Romulan Neutral Zone and into Romulan space, where it is quickly surrounded by the Romulans – who are now using Klingon-style vessels.

Act One[]

Kirk instructs Lieutenant Uhura to contact Starfleet Command and transmit all log entries. Sub-Commander Tal demands the immediate surrender of the Enterprise. Kirk says he will blow up the Enterprise if any Romulans attempt to take it. Tal tells Kirk that no one should have to choose quickly to die, and gives Kirk one hour to surrender the ship. If he does not, he and his crew's deaths are certain.

In an exchange of hostages, Kirk and Spock transport aboard the Romulan vessel, where they meet Tal's superior, a female commander. Kirk is accused of invading Romulan space in an attempt to steal a newly developed cloaking device for study by the Federation. The commander points out that there are no methods to coerce a Vulcan to speak, but threatens to torture Kirk until he confesses his crime – or dies. Spock, however, testifies that Kirk was not under Starfleet orders; he is mentally unstable and has ordered the Enterprise across the Romulan Neutral Zone for his own glorification. An enraged Kirk is taken to a holding cell.

Act Two[]

The Romulan commander broadcasts a message to the Enterprise informing them of what has transpired. She orders the crew to have the Enterprise follow her to Romulus, where the crew will be processed and then released back to the Federation. Chief engineer Montgomery Scott retorts that he takes no orders except those of Captain James T. Kirk, causing the slightest of smiles to flicker across Kirk's face.

Thereafter the Romulan commander attempts to persuade Spock to side with his Romulan "cousins," take command of the Enterprise and accompany the commander back to Romulus. She wonders why an officer of his abilities was never given the opportunity to command, despite his 18 years of service to Starfleet. She says that Spock must have his own ship but he points out that it is she that needs a ship: the Enterprise. She admits that bringing the Enterprise to Romulus would be considered a great accomplishment. In the process, she attempts to woo him, which he finds moving to his Human – and emotional – side. Spock attempts to walk down the forbidden corridor, but respects the commander's wish that only loyal Romulans walk down it.

Meanwhile, Kirk injures himself when he is transferred to a holding cell aboard the Romulan ship. McCoy beams aboard to examine him. McCoy reports to the commander that he is mentally incapacitated, which seems to corroborate Spock's testimony. She proclaims Spock to be the commander of the Enterprise. This leads to an altercation between Spock and Kirk, in which Spock uses the Vulcan death grip on him. McCoy pronounces Kirk dead.

Act Three[]

Scott recognizes Kirk as Romulan

Commander Scott meets Captain Kirk following his cosmetic surgery allowing him to appear as a Romulan

Kirk is brought back aboard the Enterprise and is revived by McCoy; the "death grip" is revealed to be a simple nerve block. Another truth is learned: Kirk and Spock are working under Federation orders to steal the cloaking device. Kirk asks McCoy to surgically alter him to appear Romulan. Nurse Chapel and Scotty are brought into the conspiracy.

Meanwhile, the Romulan commander brings Spock to dinner. He notes that the food is much better on board than it is on the Enterprise, being a powerful inducement. They drink a blue beverage, followed by an orange colored beverage. She continues her promise that a place can be found for Spock in the Romulan Star Empire. She promises him that Romulan women, unlike Vulcan women, are not dedicated to pure logic and the sterility of non-emotion. She demands a token of his love: he must lead some Romulans on board the Enterprise and bring the ship to Romulus. He agrees, but suggests that they spend an hour in her chamber before proceeding. She accepts, and whispers her first name in his ear. Spock remarks that the name is beautiful, but incongruous when said by a soldier. The Romulan commander tells Spock that she will now "transform into a woman," and goes off to change out of her uniform.

Kirk Romulan

Kirk wearing a Romulan uniform

Wearing the uniform from one of the Romulan prisoners, Kirk transports aboard the Romulan battle cruiser. While the Romulan commander is changing, Spock contacts Kirk with his communicator and speaks low. Spock reveals the location of the cloaking device. Their transmission is detected on the Romulan bridge and Sub-Commander Tal is alerted. While Spock and the commander proceed with their intimate time together, Kirk makes his way to the forbidden corridor. Sub-Commander Tal interrupts the commander and Spock, saying through the door that the matter is urgent. The commander reluctantly allows him to enter, where he informs her of the source of the alien transmission: right there, in the commander's chamber. Spock is discovered. All proceed urgently to the cloaking device.

Kirk removes the cloaking device from its control panel and has Scotty beam him with it back to the Enterprise. Upon returning, Scott takes the device and installs it into the deflector shield from engineering. Back on board the Romulan ship, the commander confronts Spock; she wonders who he is that he has done this. Spock replies, "First officer of the Enterprise." She slaps him across the face upon learning of his betrayal of her. Spock asks what the Romulans' present form of execution is.

Act Four[]

"Captain's log, stardate 5027.4. Commander Scott has less than fifteen minutes to install the Romulans' cloaking device, and get it working. I hope Mr. Spock can buy us the time we need."

Kirk returns to the bridge with Romulan physiology; however he appears, the crew is happy to see him. He quips that the reports of his death were premature. He orders Sulu to plot a course back home and for Chekov to man the sensors to locate Spock.

The commander learns of Spock's complicity in the scheme and prepares to have him executed. He asks for twenty minutes to exercise the Romulan Right of Statement. He begins that he is guilty of the charge of sabotage – but he had carried out his duty due to the fact that the Romulan cloaking device poses a threat to the Federation.

Chekov locates Spock by using the sensors to isolate the Vulcan life signs and establishes a transporter lock as Scotty finishes connecting the cloaking device. While making his final statement, Spock is beamed back aboard the Enterprise – with the commander holding onto him. Brought to the bridge, the commander orders Tal to destroy the Enterprise, leaving Kirk to prepare to fight in case Scott is unable to activate the cloaking device. Scott succeeds, however, and Enterprise escapes with the Romulan commander.

Kirk needs his ears bobbed

Spock and Captain Kirk return to the bridge

While escorting her to her quarters on Deck 2, Spock tells the commander that he regrets that she was unwittingly brought aboard the Enterprise. He confesses that his only interest was the cloaking device when he came on board her ship, but now he tells her that his interest wasn't all pretend. She tells him the Romulans will soon develop a way to penetrate the cloaking field technology Starfleet now possesses. "Military secrets are the most fleeting of all," he says. "I hope you and I have exchanged something more permanent." The commander and Spock agree that what has passed between them will be their secret. Returning to the bridge, Spock takes command from Kirk, who leaves for sickbay to get his Human appearance restored by Dr. McCoy.

Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

"Your language has always been most difficult for me, captain. Perhaps you have another word for it."

- Romulan commander, as she accuses Kirk of espionage

"There's a well-known saying – or is it a myth – that Vulcans are incapable of lying."
"It is no myth."

- Romulan commander and Spock, as she interrogates him

"It is unworthy of a Vulcan to resort to subterfuge."
"You're being clever, commander. That is unworthy of a Romulan."

- Romulan commander and Spock

"It is not a lie to keep the truth to oneself."

- Spock, during the interrogation

"I'm betraying no secrets. The commander's suspicion that Starfleet ordered the Enterprise into the Neutral Zone is unacceptable. Our rapid capture demonstrates its foolhardiness."
"You filthy liar!!"
"I am speaking the truth, for the benefit of the Enterprise and the Federation. I say now, and for the record, that Captain Kirk ordered the Enterprise across the Neutral Zone on his own initiative and his craving for glory."
"I'll kill you, you filthy traitor! I'll kill you! I'll…kill you!!"

- Spock and Kirk

"This is Lieutenant Commander Scott. The Enterprise takes no orders except those of Captain Kirk and we will stay right here until he returns and if you make any attempt to board or commandeer the Enterprise, it will be blown to bits along with as many of you as we can take with us."
"You Humans make a brave noise. There are ways to convince you of your errors."
(to Spock) "Did you hear that, you coward?! You've betrayed everything of value you ever knew! Did you hear the sound of Human integrity?!"

- Scotty, Romulan commander and Kirk

"I don't make house calls."

- McCoy to Uhura, after she tells him of a medical emergency aboard the Romulan flagship

"It would be illogical to assume that all conditions remain stable."

- Spock to the Romulan commander, after he walks into a restricted area

"My neck feels like it's been twisted off." "That's the Vulcan death grip for you." "There's no such thing as the Vulcan death grip!" "Yes, but the Romulans don't know that."

- Kirk, McCoy, and Chapel on the Vulcan death grip

"Well, you look like the devil himself. But as long as you're alive, what's it all about?"

- Scott, after seeing Kirk as a Romulan

"Just don't put me inside a bulkhead."

- Kirk, before beaming over to the Romulan flagship

"Romulan women are not like Vulcan females. We are not dedicated to pure logic and the sterility of non-emotion."

- Romulan commander, as she seduces Spock

"How rare, and how beautiful. But so incongruous when spoken by a soldier."

- Spock, after the Romulan commander whispers her first name into his ear

"Why would you do this to me? What are you that you could do this?"
"First officer of the Enterprise."

- Romulan commander and Spock, as she realizes that he has betrayed her

"It's the biggest guess I've ever made!"

- Scott to Kirk, after installing the cloaking device on the Enterprise

"Commander, you'll forgive me if I put up a fight."
"Of course. It's expected."

- Romulan commander and Kirk, as the Enterprise flees from the Romulan vessels

"Captain, please go. Somehow, they do not look aesthetically agreeable on Humans."
"Well, are you coming, Jim? Or do you want to go through life looking like your first officer?"

- Spock and McCoy, urging Kirk to have his pointed ears removed

Background information[]

Production timeline[]

Story and script[]

  • D.C. Fontana's initial inspiration for this story and its title was the Pueblo incident which involved the capture of an American patrol boat, the USS Pueblo (AGER-2), by North Korean forces during the Vietnam War. The incident occurred on January 23, 1968, just two months before Fontana completed her first draft story outline. [1]
  • Fontana noted, "It was really based on the Pueblo Incident, in the sense that here's this ship caught spying and they have to find a justification for their being there. Kirk's sanity is put on the line in terms of why they're there. Then, of course, they have to get out safely, preferably with the information they came for. Now that's not what happened with the Pueblo, but the Pueblo Incident kicked off this line of thinking in my mind." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
  • In Fontana's first draft script, dated 7 June 1968, it is explicitly stated that the Romulans have an "improved" undetectable version of the cloaking device, which was a prismatic type of mechanism. It was stored in a laboratory waiting to be installed on the Romulan ship, rather than an already operational mechanism. (The Star Trek Compendium)
  • Also in Fontana's original draft, both Kirk and McCoy are disguised as Romulans and steal the cloaking device. (The Star Trek Compendium)
Vulcan-Romulan relations

Vulcan/Romulan relations

  • The first draft of the episode stressed the attraction between Spock and the Romulan commander based upon their common heritage. (The Star Trek Compendium) Originally, Spock was supposed to kiss the commander (the first draft script describes Spock as "raining kisses on every square inch above the shoulder"), but both Nimoy and Linville agreed they needed something different from normal "Human" love expressions, and suggested the hand contact instead. Nimoy, in fact, wrote a long letter of complaint to Gene Roddenberry about this issue. In Star Trek Lives!, Dorothy Fontana tells how she attempted to warn Roddenberry about fan reactions if Spock were to behave out of character. She insisted that Nimoy was right, that the pair's interactions should suggest "an alien sexuality, but not Human passion". Even with Nimoy and Linville's restrained gestural contact, Fontana was flooded with letters from fans. Aware of the pon farr and believing it meant Vulcans had sex only once in seven years (Theodore Sturgeon's original idea), they complained that the scene was out of character. Years later, Fontana wrote sex scenes into Vulcan's Glory, establishing that the pon farr is only a fertility cycle and that Vulcans can have sex anytime.

Props and sets[]

  • Although long thought otherwise, from the very first draft, the script had the Romulans using Klingon ships. The series had a lot of money invested in the Klingon model and needed to get its money's worth.
  • This episode was originally aired before "Elaan of Troyius" so when the audience first saw the Klingon ships, they were being used by Romulans.
  • The Howard Anderson Company, responsible for the visual effects photography involving the D7 class starships, offered the producers a choice if they should prioritize this episode or "Elaan of Troyius". "The Enterprise Incident" was chosen because its ties to the "Pueblo incident" made the episode more timely. "Elaan of Troyius" could wait until December to be broadcast. (These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Three, pp. 143-144)
  • Photographic effects using special mattes were produced of the D7 class studio model that, when combined, gave the appearance that three warships had surrounded the Enterprise.
Romulan symbol, TOS

Romulan symbol

  • The Matt Jefferies-designed Romulan symbol, composed of a yellow hexagon in the center with three colored spokes coming out of it, can be seen outside the commander's quarters, above her door. This symbol never appears again in any Star Trek series or movie.
  • The Romulans use Klingon disruptor pistols.
  • The Klingon bridge set is reused from "Elaan of Troyius." Romulans refer to their bridge as "Control Central."
  • The Romulan cloaking device prop consists of part of Nomad's head and a globe from "Return to Tomorrow". The Romulan console that holds the cloaking device had been used before in "I, Mudd" and "The Return of the Archons" and was used again in "Whom Gods Destroy".
  • The computer device in the Romulan Commander's quarters, used to record Spock's testimony, reappeared later in "The Lights of Zetar", in the decompression chamber room. The top of the device is a round computer monitor (without its lower, goose-neck part), recycled from the pilot episodes. [2]


  • Both the Romulan commander's uniform and casual attire were designed by William Ware Theiss. The commander's uniform was patterned after the male Romulan costume, but like those of her Federation counterparts, it revealed more of her form. In a rare instance, Theiss' sketch of the commander's uniform, which appears in the Star Trek: The Original Series Sketchbook (p. 154), and resultant costume were identical in appearance. A photo of both the commander's uniform and "something more comfortable" also appear together in the Sketchbook.
  • Unlike in "Balance of Terror", the Romulans depicted here don't wear black gloves.


  • Alexander Courage returned to compose the music for this episode. Later in the season, he also composed music for "Plato's Stepchildren", his last score for Star Trek. In the second season, Courage composed about a half-hour of musical cues and conducted some music for the series.


  • This episode is the first to feature a female starship commander.
  • This is the second and final appearance of Romulan characters in Star Trek: The Original Series.
  • The Romulans have improved their cloaking system since "Balance of Terror" and "The Deadly Years". In the former, Spock refers to it as an "invisibility screen" that can mask a Bird-of-Prey's appearance, but not its motion. In "The Enterprise Incident," the cloaking device now renders a ship undetectable while moving, and not even the Romulans themselves can track a vessel so equipped.
  • According to Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages (p. 270), Naren Shankar suggested that Linville reprise her role as the Romulan commander for the Star Trek: The Next Generation sixth season episode "Face Of The Enemy", but the actress was unavailable.
  • Kirk's comment that the report of his death was premature is an allusion to Mark Twain responding to an early obituary. Jean-Luc Picard makes a similar comment in TNG: "Samaritan Snare" and in Star Trek: First Contact, as does Kasidy Yates in DS9: "What You Leave Behind".
  • This episode depicts transportation of intruders or prisoners between opposing ships as a simple matter done at will. Later incarnations of Star Trek establish that shields prevent the use of a transporter, and both opposing parties must lower them if any transports are to be made.
  • This is the first mention of any relationship between the Klingons and Romulan Empires. The idea that the Klingons and Romulans have formed an alliance of some sort has been developed extensively in the expanded universe. However, in the episode, Spock only confirms intelligence reports about Romulan use of Klingon ships and falls short of explicitly mentioning any reason.
  • The Romulan commander suggests that Spock hasn’t been offered a command because he is Vulcan. However the all Vulcan crew of the USS Intrepid (“The Immunity Syndrome”) would suggest at least one Vulcan had been made a Starfleet captain before.


  • Fontana remarked, "Overall it was not a bad episode, but I did have a lot of complaints about it and things that weren't approached or handled right… Let's face it, the romantic scene between the Romulan commander and Spock was totally out of context. Any Romulan worth her salt would have instantly suspected Spock because they are related races. That was wrong. Kirk's attitudes were wrong. A simple thing – the cloaking device was supposed to be a very small thing, about the size of a watch, for instance, and it could be easily hidden. Here's Kirk running around with this thing that looks like a lamp. You know, highly visible. This is stupidity as well as illogical thinking. Visually it was stupid, conceptually it was very bad. There were a lot of things, little things, that were changed, but my biggest objection is the scene between Spock and the woman, because I really did not believe it. And I did not believe that the Romulan did not suspect Spock of something underhanded. She does know enough about Vulcan and Vulcans to know that something's afoot." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)

Remastered information[]

Romulan bird-of-prey enters, remastered

The return of the Romulan Bird-of-Prey

"The Enterprise Incident" was the sixty-fourth episode of the remastered version of The Original Series to air. It premiered in syndication on the weekend of 5 April 2008 and aside from the standard CGI replacement footage of the Enterprise, this episode most notably featured several new effects shots of the Romulan D7-class battle cruiser. While the remastered scenes remain true to the original, two significant changes in the visual effects: the Romulan Bird-of-Prey as the third surrounding vessel, and the addition Romulan "bird-of-prey" markings painted on the underside of the ship's hull.

The next remastered episode to air was "Obsession".

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]


Guest star[]


Uncredited co-stars[]


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External links[]

Previous episode produced:
"The Paradise Syndrome"
Star Trek: The Original Series
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"And the Children Shall Lead"
Previous episode aired:
"Spock's Brain"
Next episode aired:
"The Paradise Syndrome"
Previous remastered episode aired:
"Elaan of Troyius"
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