Movie Reviews

Star Trek's Kirk & Riker Both Romanced Murderers


  • Captain Kirk and Commander Riker had questionable Star Trek romances with murderous women.
  • Both “The Vengeance Factor” (TNG) and “The Conscience of the King” (TOS) feature murderous women and themes of revenge.
  • In both episodes, the officers’ judgment is clouded by their romantic interests, leading to tragic consequences.

Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) of Star Trek: The Original Series and Commander William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) of Star Trek: The Next Generation both romanced women who turned out to be murderers. Like Captain Kirk before him, Riker was a bit of a ladies’ man, particularly during the early seasons of TNG. Kirk and Riker both had their fair share of romances over the course of their respective series, and some of them ended better than others. While both Starfleet officers had a strong sense of morals, Riker and Kirk’s judgment sometimes faltered when they encountered a particularly pretty face.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation season 3, episode 9, “The Vengeance Factor,” Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) hosts the Acamarian leader, Sovereign Marouk (Nancy Parsons), and her assistant Yuta (Lisa Wilcox). CommanderRiker immediately shows an interest in Yuta, openly flirting as he tries to get to know her. In Star Trek: The Original Series season 1, episode 13, “The Conscience of the King,” the USS Enterprise hosts a traveling Shakespeare troupe, and Captain Kirk romances the lead actress, Lenore Karidian (Barbara Anderson), the daughter of Anton Karidian (Arnold Moss).


Every Riker Love Interest In Star Trek: TNG (Including Troi)

Captain Kirk may have been Star Trek’s original ladies’ man, but Commander Riker might be even more deserving of that title in Star Trek: TNG.

Star Trek: TNG’s “The Vengeance Factor” Echoes TOS’s “The Conscience of the King”

Both stories feature murderous women and comment on the futility of revenge.

As revealed in Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “The Vengeance Factor,” Acaramarian society had been divided into various clans for much of its history, often resulting in violent clan disputes. Now that Acamaria is at peace, Marouk seeks to extend that peace to an exiled group of Acamarians known as the Gatherers. When one of the Gatherers winds up dead, the Enterprise crew eventually discovers Yuta to be the murderer. As the last member of the Tralesta clan, Yuta has made it her mission to kill every member of the Lornak clan, who were responsible for the annihilation of her people.

Although many of the details differ, Star Trek: The Original Series season 1, episode 13, “The Conscience of the King”, features similar themes and plot lines. Captain Kirk suspects that Anton Karidian may actually be the infamous mass murderer, Kodos the Executioner. As he searches for proof of his suspicions, Kirk continues to romance Lenore, blind to her own machinations. Lenore eventually admits that she has been killing any eyewitnesses who could identify her father as Kodos. Much like Yuta in TNG‘s “The Vengeance Factor,” Lenore was a woman on a murderous mission, although Lenore was blinded by her own psychosis rather than a desire for revenge.


Every Captain Kirk Love Interest In Star Trek

James T. Kirk has a reputation as a ladies’ man, and the Captain of the Enterprise had a lot of romances throughout Star Trek: The Original Series.

Kirk & Riker’s Star Trek Romances With Murderers Explained

Kirk and Riker both had questionable Star Trek romances.

In Star Trek: The Next Generation‘s “The Vengeance Factor,” Commander Riker wastes no time expressing his interest in Yuta, and although she seems receptive, she remains closed off, offering only cryptic hints about her past. Still, Will and Yuta share a kiss before her dark secret comes out and puts an end to any romantic feelings. In a particularly violent ending for TNG, Riker is forced to vaporize Yuta when she refuses to give up her mission of revenge. Riker ends the episode understandably upset by Yuta’s actions and the choice he was forced to make to stop her.

Captain Kirk’s romance with the young and criminally insane Lenore Karidian may be even more questionable, as he uses her to investigate her father. However, as Lenore later reveals, she was also using Kirk and always planned to kill the Enterprise Captain. In the climactic final confrontation of “The Conscience of the King,” Lenore does try to kill Kirk, but her father jumps into the path of her phaser. As Kodos dies, Lenore loses the remaining shreds of her sanity and is taken into medical custody. Like Kirk, Commander Riker, too, had some questionable romances on Star Trek: The Next Generation, and both Starfleet officers once fell for murderous women.

  • Star Trek The Original Series TV Poster

    Star Trek: The Original Series

    Star Trek: The Original Series follows the exploits of the crew of the USS Enterprise. On a five-year mission to explore uncharted space, Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) must trust his crew – Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy (Forest DeKelley), Montgomery “Scotty” Scott (James Doohan), Uhura (Nichelle Nichols), Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Sulu (George Takei) – with his life. Facing previously undiscovered life forms and civilizations and representing humanity among the stars on behalf of Starfleet and the United Federation of Planets, the Enterprise regularly comes up against impossible odds and diplomatic dilemmas.

    Release Date
    September 8, 1966


    Gene Roddenberry

  • Star Trek the Next Generation Poster

    Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Star Trek: The Next Generation is the third installment in the sci-fi franchise and follows the adventures of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew members of the USS Enterprise. Set around one hundred years after the original series, Picard and his crew travel through the galaxy in largely self-contained episodes exploring the crew dynamics and their own political discourse. The series also had several overarching plots that would develop over the course of the isolated episodes, with four films released in tandem with the series to further some of these story elements.

    Release Date
    September 28, 1987


    Rick Berman , Michael Piller , Jeri Taylor

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