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The revolution is successful, but survival depends on drastic measures. Your continued existence represents a threat to the well-being of society. Your lives means slow death to the more valued members of the colony. Therefore, I have no alternative but to sentence you to death. Your execution is so ordered. Signed, Kodos, Governor of Tarsus IV.
~ Kodos' fateful order

Kodos the Executioner is a one-shot villain in the Star Trek franchise, appearing in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Conscience of the King."

He is played by Arnold Moss.

Kodos was the governor of the human colony on Tarsus IV circa 2246, until an exotic fungus ruined the colony's food supply. In order to save half of the 8,000 colonists, he had the other half executed so that the remaining food would be enough. A believer of eugenics, he personally chose which ones would live and which ones would die. His executions were later proved unnecessary, since the rescue ships arrived earlier than expected. A badly burned body was discovered in Kodos's residence, but was so badly disfigured that it could not be identified. The body was presumed to be Kodos, and he became a historical villain. Only nine survivors were eyewitnesses who saw Kodos, including future Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk.

It was later discovered that he was still alive and living as an itinerant actor under the name Anton Karidian. In 2266, Captain James T. Kirk was summoned to Planet Q by his friend and fellow Tarsus IV survivor Dr. Thomas Leighton, who was convinced that Karidian was Kodos. Kirk was skeptical of this, believing that Kodos had died 20 years earlier. By then, Kirk, Leighton, and Starfleet Lt. Kevin Rielly were the only three eyewitnesses alive, all the others had been killed, and Karidian had been nearby when these murders had occurred.

When Leighton turned up dead a short time later, Kirk began to suspect something was going on, and arranged to take Karidian's company to their next performance on Benecia Colony.

While Karidian was on the USS Enterprise, Kevin Rielly - a third Tarsus IV survivor - was nearly killed when his meal was poisoned. Kirk himself was almost killed when a phaser was set to overload in his quarters, but Kirk located the phaser and dumped it in a protected exhaust chute before it could explode.

To his shame and horror by Kodos learned that his daughter Lenore, murdered or try to murder the eyewitnesses in order to prevent her father's arrest. When Lenore tried to shoot Kirk, Kodos, apparently regretting his earlier actions and feeling the one good thing in his life was destroyed, saved Kirk's life by taking the phaser shot.

The death of Kodos caused Lenore to experience a total mental breakdown. When the Enterprise arrived at Benecia Colony, Lenore was institutionalized there, with McCoy promising Kirk she would receive the best of care.

Quotes

Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hands.
~ Kodos' first lines in the episode
I hoped you would have respected my privacy, Captain.
~ Kodos, after Kirk barges into his guest quarters
Do you believe that I am? [...] Then I am Kodos, if it pleases you to believe so. I am an actor. I play many parts.
~ Kodos' reply to Kirk asking if he's Kodos
I find your use of the word "mercy" strangely inappropriate, Captain. Here you stand, the perfect symbol of our technical society--mechanized, electronicized, and not very human. You've done away with humanity, the striving of man to achieve greatness through his own resources.
~ Kodos, to Kirk
Kodos, whoever he was... [...] Or is! Kodos made a decision of life and death. Some had to die that others might live. You're a man of decision, Captain; you ought to understand that.
~ Kodos, to Kirk
In order to save four-thousand others. And if the supply ships hadn't come earlier than expected, this Kodos of yours might have gone down in history as a great hero!
~ Kodos, to Kirk
If you're so sure that I'm Kodos, why not kill me now? Let bloody vengeance take its final course! And see what difference it makes to this universe of yours.
~ Kodos, to Kirk
Blood thins. The body fails. One is finally grateful for a failing memory. I no longer treasure life, not even my own. I am tired! And the past is a blank.
~ Kodos, to Kirk
My hour is almost come, when I to sulphurous and tormenting fires must render up myself.
~ Kodos, playing the Ghost of Hamlet's Father in a stage production of Hamlet
There was a voice out of the past haunting me, torturing me. There was another part I once played long ago. I never told you about it. Now that same curtain rises again. The time has come.
~ Kodos, to Lenore
All of them? All seven? More blood on my hands?
~ Kodos, after finding out that Lenore is the one responsible for the murders
Oh, my child, my child. You've left me nothing! You were the one thing in my life untouched by what I'd done.
~ Kodos, to Lenore
I was a soldier in a cause. There were things to be done, terrible things. [...] Murder, flight, suicide, madness. I never wanted the blood on my hands ever to stain you.
~ Kodos, to Lenore
No, child! Don't!
~ Kodos' last words, before sacrificing himself to save Kirk from Lenore

Trivia

  • The characters Kang and Kodos on The Simpsons were named after Kodos the Executioner and Kang the Klingon, both villains from Star Trek.