We’ve seen a variety of mentally unstable characters in the Star Trek universe. Traditionally it seems to be the admirals, like there’s something in the water there at Starfleet headquarters. There are some villains who’ll sacrifice their followers, their ships, even their own lives to achieve total victory. Then you just get misguided morons like the Space Hippies and their jug-eared leader Sevrin. All we know is that they must need an awful lot of rubber rooms in the future, because these are some people who don’t just ride the crazy train, they drive it…

Khan (TOS –Space Seed, ST II): Megalomaniac, intellectual, owner of the greatest abs in Star Trek history and professional alien earwig-breeder. Not content with trying to conquer Earth in his own time, he’s so mad in Kirk’s time that he even goes as far as to detonate the world-changing Genesis device just to kill the one man who he blames for everything: Kirk. A huge case of overkill.

Admiral Satie (ST:TNG – The Drumhead): She’s got a reputation for getting to the root of any problem in Starfleet, and it’s probably well-earned. Unfortunately she’s not just lost a couple of marbles, she’s lost the whole bag. She’s so obsessed with uncovering corruption that she starts pinning anything on anyone, including Picard. Ultimately she unravels faster than a cheap sweater.

Admiral Cartwright (STIV, STVI): When we first met Cartwright, he seemed to be a great admiral and he was on our side. Then we learned that he was one of the loons responsible for trying to sabotage the Klingon/Federation peace treaty. The irony of him working with Klingons to avoid cooperation between the two factions clearly points to him being totally bonkers and a bit daft.

Admiral Dougherty (ST IX): Cooking up a crazy plan for immortality that involves siding with the guy who helped kill Mozart in Amadeus and the forced relocation of the universe’s answer to the Amish never sounded more rational! Dougherty blames all of the confusion on Data, of course, which leads to Picard, Worf and Data having to do a karaoke number before saving the day.

Admiral Leyton (DS9 – Home Front, Paradise Lost): If you want a guy to create so much paranoia and fear on Earth that everyone starts seeing the Dominion under their beds at night, and can use that to justify implementing martial law, he’s your man! He’s even willing to rope in the help of some Starfleet cadets. Yes, he corrupts the kids, folks! Presumably he carries candy with him.

Admiral Pressman (ST:TNG – The Pegasus): Here’s a guy who really knows how to violate the Treaty Of Algeron! As a captain he was involved in illegal Starfleet cloaking experiments and was so mad his own crew mutinied against him. As an admiral he gets the Enterprise involved in his crazy shenanigans too, and we wouldn’t have blamed Picard for committing mutiny as well.

Commodore Decker (TOS – The Doomsday Machine): Proving that you don’t have to be an admiral to go off the rails, Decker showed that all it took was one bad day. After evacuating his crew to a planet only to watch said planet get eaten, he went so mad he tried to ram the Enterprise into the mouth of the Doomsday Machine to stop it. Thankfully he only wound up ramming himself into it.

Garth Of Izar (TOS – Whom Gods Destroy): Garth was a fleet captain, which is like an admiral only without the paperwork. Still, give the man some shape-shifting powers and before you know it he’s picking up followers like a cult leader and killing them just because he can, proclaiming himself Master Of The Universe. Which is like He-Man, only without the sword.

Captain Ronald Tracey (TOS – The Omega Glory): When Ron (can we call him Ron?) and his crew get infected by a wacky space-virus, the only way to survive is by beaming down to a planet where the locals apparently have a fountain of youth. Which they don’t. Before you know it he’s violating the Prime Directive, killing the locals and comparing Spock to Satan.

Lt. Cmdr. Ben Finney (TOS – Court Martial): Khan wasn’t alone in his hatred of Kirk. Ben Finney was just some Starfleet guy making his way up the ranks, until his good buddy Kirk reported him for sloppy work that could have killed the crew. How did he repay Kirk? By faking his death and making it look like Kirk committed murder. He should have just gotten him some flowers.

Admiral James T. Kirk (ST I, ST II, ST III, ST IV): What? The great man himself was off his rocker? Well, after being so gung-ho in getting the Enterprise back despite booting out its new captain Will Decker, he then did it again with Captain Spock, and finally just stole it from Starfleet to save Spock. For an encore he went back in time and swore at a San Francisco driver. Double dumb-ass!

Admiral Kathryn Janeway (ST VOY – Endgame): Janeway just can’t leave well enough alone. Having gotten Voyager back home, she then wants to rewrite history, risking her original crew, violating the Temporal Prime Directive and sacrificing everyone’s future. What about Naomi’s cute daughter, or The Doctor finally choosing a name and getting married?! Who cares? Not Janeway!

Dukat (DS9): You don’t even have to be Starfleet to be bonkers! His career and life had more ups and downs than a roller coaster. It didn’t matter if he was obsessively chasing after Kira, freaking out about his illegitimate daughter or even selling his soul for ultimate power, this was the Cardassian who was so mad he made that bloke who tortured Picard look like a flower-power hippie.

Dejaren (VOY – Revulsion): He’s more than just a shiny hologram who loves his goldfish, he’s also a maniac who killed the crew of the ship he works on. Oh, and he hates you. Everything about you, from the way you eat to the way you never clean up. Picture Norman Bates only without the mother. On the plus side, he neatly stores away the corpses of his victims because he’s a neat-freak.

Sybok (ST V): Spock’s half-brother proved that while Spock got the brains and the looks, he scored and got all of the “crazy” genes. He’s just your typical cult leader who does a mind meld whammy on his followers, hijacks the Enterprise and then takes everyone on a field trip to find God. Instead, all he finds is another maniac who wants to hijack the Enterprise. Oh, the irony!

Sina Alvarado

Author: Sina Alvarado

I live in Houston, Texas, and while I don’t own or ride a horse, I do occasionally say “Y’all” and even “All Y’all.” I am married and have one daughter. I started watching Trek regularly with TNG and got absolutely hooked after watching “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” Trek has been a big part of my life ever since then and I am happy to share my love for it with all y’all.

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1 Comment

  1. Thanks for another great article Rick. I really enjoy them.

    You didn’t mention Troi going looney toons when she lost her powers, or Riker when he was in the rubber room, I mean play in Frame of Mind. I am sure there are more examples. Are there enough for another article?

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