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"The Man Trap"
Star Trek: The Original Series episode
The M-113 Creature, disguised as Nancy, attacks Kirk
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 1
Written by George Clayton Johnson
Directed by Marc Daniels
Original airdate September 8, 1966 (1966-09-08)
Guest stars

Jeanne Bal
Alfred Ryder

Episode chronology
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"The Cage" "Charlie X"
List of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes

"The Man Trap" is a first season episode of Star Trek: The Original Series. It originally aired on September 8, 1966, and was the first episode to be shown on NBC. It is episode #1 of the entire series, and was written by George Clayton Johnson, and directed by Marc Daniels.

Although it was first aired, it was not the first produced (the pilot "Where No Man Has Gone Before" and several regular episodes had been produced before it). The current official timeline considers "Where No Man Has Gone Before" to be set first.

Overview: An illusory, shapeshifting, salt-hungry creature terrorizes the crew of the Enterprise.



Stardate 1513.1: The Enterprise arrives at M-113 for routine medical exams of the Craters. Robert, an archeologist exploring the ancient planetary ruins and his wife Nancy. First Officer Mr. Spock is left temporarily in command. Kirk, McCoy, and Crewman Darnell beam down and Kirk gives McCoy a friendly hard time that he and Nancy Crater were an item ten years ago. Nancy arrives and each of the three men seems to see her differently: McCoy as she was ten years ago, Kirk as she should look age-wise, and Darnell as a totally different attractive younger woman. Kirk sends the dazed Darnell outside and when Nancy goes out, she beckons Darnell to follow her.

Professor Crater arrives and doesn’t appear happy to see them, telling them that he and his wife don’t need a medical examination. But then, he adds that he's glad to see McCoy as an old friend of his more social wife. Nancy appears, nervously insisting they restock their salt tablets. Kirk orders Crater to submit to the medical exam but before McCoy can proceed they hear a scream from outside. They go out to find Darnell, dead, with red ring-like mottling on his face. There’s a plant root in his mouth and Nancy comes up, saying she saw Darnell taste the plant and she couldn’t stop him. Kirk is skeptical that an experienced crewman would taste an unknown plant. Kirk has Darnell’s body beamed up to the ship.

Spock analyzes the plant, a Borgia root, and confirms records showing it’s poisonous but skin mottling is not a usual symptom. McCoy conducts the initial exam but can’t find any cause of death, poisoning or otherwise. Kirk and McCoy compare notes on Nancy, and McCoy admits he might have been seeing her the way he imagined her from ten years ago.

Kirk decides to remain to investigate Darnell’s death. McCoy, along with Spock, finally determine that Darnell had every bit of salt drained from his body. Spock adds that he would die almost instantly. Kirk beams back down to the planet with McCoy and two crewmen, Green and Sturgeon. They spread out but Crater slips away and calls out to Nancy saying he has salt. Kirk and McCoy find Sturgeon’s body, unaware that Nancy is nearby over Green’s corpse. Both the bodies have the same red rings on the faces. She pauses and then changes her shape, turning into a duplicate of Green. He meets with Kirk and McCoy and they beam back up to the ship to conduct a search from orbit.

"Green" roams the halls and runs into Rand, who is taking a food tray to Sulu in Botany. "Green" is attracted to the salt and follows her in, but the plants react badly to him. He leaves and runs into Uhura, taking the hypnotising form of a crewman from her memories. Rand and Sulu arrive and Uhura is summoned to the bridge.

In his quarters, McCoy is trying to get some sleep. Kirk reminds him of the sleep medication McCoy gave him once. Spock confirms that the scans only show Crater on the planet, and he and Kirk beam down to capture the professor. "Nancy" assumes her female form and goes to McCoy’s quarters, and seems reassured by the fact he has strong memories of her that she can rely on. Nearby, Sulu and Rand find a dead crewman with the same red mottling.

McCoy is already asleep when the general alert sounds, and "Nancy" takes on his form and goes to the bridge. On M-113, Kirk and Spock find Green’s body and realize an imposter is on-board. They find Crater, who tries to frighten them off with phaser fire. They flank and then stun him, and the dazed Crater says that his real wife died a year ago, killed by the creature. Crater rambles on that the creature still appears to him as Nancy out of true affection. He adds that it's like the Earth Buffalo, the last of its kind and he helped to keep the creature alive. Kirk immediately communicates with the ship "It's definite Mr. Sulu, the intruder can assume any shape - crewman, you, myself, anyone, do you understand ?" Sulu acknowledges, and Kirk adds "Go to General Quarters-4." As they're about to transport to the Enterprise, a frustrated Kirk tells the Professor, "Your creature is killing my people !"

With Crater, Kirk calls a meeting. McCoy & Spock join them, but the officers are unaware that McCoy isn’t McCoy. "McCoy" suggests they try to deal with the creature peacefully and Crater clearly recognizes it for what it is. Kirk prefers to eliminate the predator creature and insists that Crater help identify it. Refusing, Kirk orders McCoy to administer truth serum. They go to sickbay and a suspicious Spock insists on going with them. The alert goes off and Kirk arrives in sickbay to find an injured Spock. Crater is dead, killed by the increasingly desperate creature. Fortunately, Spock’s Vulcan blood made him immune to the creature’s hunger.

Back in her "Nancy" form, the creature goes to McCoy’s quarters and asks him for help. Kirk arrives with a phaser and a handful of salt and tries to entice the creature into attacking. McCoy refuses to believe Nancy is false and gets in the way so the creature can attack Kirk. It hypnotizes him and starts to feed off of him while McCoy holds the phaser, indecisive. Spock arrives and tries to use his superior strength against the creature, but it is stronger than Spock. McCoy realizes the creature isn’t his "Nancy" and, with his phaser, fires at it. The creature reverts to its true alien appearance and McCoy continues firing, finally killing it, saving Kirk.

40th Anniversary remastering

This episode was remastered and aired September 29, 2007 as part of the remastered Original Series. It was preceded a week earlier by the remastered version of "The Conscience of the King" and followed a week later by the remastered version of "What Are Little Girls Made Of?". Aside from remastered video and audio, and the all-CGI animation of the USS Enterprise that is standard among the revisions, specific changes to this episode also include:

  • The planet M-113 has been given a more realistic appearance.
  • The opening scene showing a slow pan of the live action M-113 surface set has been replaced by a panning CGI matte painting with more detail given to the ruined structures and landscape.


In the book Inside Star Trek The Real Story, producer Robert Justman recalled feeling that The Naked Time would have made it easier for viewers to understand the characters. He suspected that NBC chose The Man Trap as it was "scarier and more exploitable than the others". However Justman later agreed with NBC's decision. [1]


One of the series of Turkish films based on the character Turist Ömer, parodied this episode.[2][3]


Daily Variety columnist Jack Hellman gave the episode an unfavourable review, stating, "Not conducive to its popularity is the lack of meaningful cast leads. They move around with directorial precision with only violence to provide the excitement."[4]

Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club was more favourable and gave the episode an 'A-' rating, describing the episode as "done very well" with a plot that is dark and ambiguous. [5]


  1. ^ Inside Star Trek The Real Story. June: Simon & Schuster. 1997. pp. 163. ISBN 0-671-00974-5. 
  2. ^ IMDB entry for Turist Ömer Uzay Yolunda
  3. ^ Somethingawful article
  4. ^ Inside Star Trek The Real Story. June: Simon & Schuster. 1997. pp. 265. ISBN 0-671-00974-5. 
  5. ^ Handlen, Zack (16 January 2009). ""The Man Trap"/"Charlie X"/"The Naked Time"". The A.V. Club.,22774/. Retrieved 7 June 2009. 

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