Published Sep 27, 2015
Everything You Wanted to Know About Harry Mudd... and More
His name is Mudd... Harcourt Fenton Mudd.
By Rich Handley
His name is Mudd... Harcourt Fenton Mudd. He's been labeled a scoundrel, reprobate, con-man, forger, thief, sociopath and much worse. To know him isn't so much to love him as it is to be swindled at every available chance. Conceived by screenwriter Steven Kandel as a comic foil to the ultra-serious James T. Kirk, Harry Mudd immediately charmed fans thanks to the wonderfully campy performance of the late Roger C. Carmel.
Mudd's three televised appearances, two in The Original Series ("Mudd's Women" and "I, Mudd") and a third in The Animated Series ("Mudd's Passion"), often rank among the classic years' most popular tales, but his story didn't end there. The decades since have seen the release of numerous novel, comic book and video game sequels that are well worth reading for the sheer lunacy that inevitably results whenever Mudd is around.
Star Trek - Mudd and Kirk Meet Again
Harry was slated to return in a third TOS episode titled "Deep Mudd," which sadly never came to pass. Reportedly, Gene Roddenberry later considered bringing the character into the 24th century by having him among those revived from cryogenic suspension in "The Neutral Zone," and there was also talk of his appearing as a character witness at Kirk's trial in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. However, Carmel's tragic death in 1986 prevented his return. He would have turned 83 today, September 27.Saying Mudd has committed a few crimes is like saying Tribbles have had a few babies. His conviction record is a legend among criminologists, matched only by his ability to avoid facing the consequences. The following file represents a mere sampling of Mudd's infractions as depicted on television, as well as in the books, comics and games, from which a solid picture of the walking shenanigan that is Harry Mudd begins to emerge.
A Timeline Through the Star Trek Universe
- Name: Harcourt Fenton "Harry" Mudd • Future Police Record-Code: X731248
- Height: 6 feet, 1 inch • Weight: 240 pounds (fluctuating with age)
- Eyes: Brown • Hair: Brown • Complexion: Fair
- Identifying Details: Receding hairline, handlebar mustache, jowls, pendulous abdomen
- Aliases: H.F. Mudd, Harcourt Fenton, Leo Francis Walsh, Blackbeard Teach, Socrates, Grand Qaal of Eulus, Emperor Mudd the First, Harry Patton
- Personality: Jovial, hedonistic, dishonest, cunning, cowardly, charismatic and manipulative, with an almost sociopathic inability to discern right from wrong
- Criminal Profile: Shows a penchant for ventures involving mining colonies or alcoholic beverages
PERSONAL LIFEMudd was born in 2219 on Antares Pi Four. He married a woman named Stella, whom he considered the love of his life, but abandoned her two months later to escape her incessant nagging, by stowing away aboard a freighter. The two eventually divorced, with no children. Stella's mother, a thin, ornery hillbilly, openly detested Harry and was skilled with a shotgun, which scared him. ["Mudd's Women" (early script draft), Mudd in Your Eye, Mudd's Angels]In his later years, with no children to carry on his legacy, Mudd took under his wing a young thief named Shilo. Despite both being unscrupulous criminals, the two formed a genuinely close father-daughter bond. ["The Sky Above, The Mudd Below"]In at least one reality, Mudd may not have been childless. In an alternate universe resulting from the Romulan Nero's temporal incursion, Mudd is believed to have fathered a half-Bajoran daughter, first name unknown, who worked as a trader. In 2259, she helped Robert April and Section 31 provide Starfleet weaponry to one side of a civil war on Phaedus IV, in violation of the Prime Directive. That timeline's James Kirk impounded her K'normian trading ship, which he and his crew used a month later for a mission to arrest John Harrison (Khan Noonien Singh) on Qo'noS. [Countdown to Darkness, Star Trek Into Darkness]RECORD OF OFFENSES
Mudd has been convicted of smuggling (sentence suspended), transport of stolen goods and the purchase of a space vessel with counterfeit currency. He received psychiatric treatment, the effectiveness of which was disputed, and his Master's License was revoked on Stardate 1116.4. In addition, he sold the natives of Omega Cygni their own oceans, conned two miners on Ophiucus VI out of a year's supply of dilithium crystals using fake Federation vouchers, and figured out how to break the gambling machines on Curalon IV. ["Mudd's Women," "Mudd's Passion," "Another Fine Mess"]In 2266, at age 47, Harry Mudd stole a class-J cargo ship. When the vessel exploded, Captain James T. Kirk beamed Mudd to safety aboard the Enterprise, along with his "cargo" of seductive women: Ruth Bonaventure, Magda Kavacs and Eve McHuron. Posing as Captain Leo Francis Walsh (the cargo ship's late owner), Mudd had planned to sell the women to settlers on Ophiucus III. Kirk arrested him for galaxy travel without a flight plan or identification, failure to respond to a starship signal and causing a menace to navigation. When the starship visited Rigel XII to obtain lithium crystals, Mudd contacted miners Ben Childress, Herm Gossett and Benton, offering the women as payment if the men arranged for his freedom. The miners gladly accepted, leaving Kirk no choice but to release Mudd and his cargo, but when the women turned plain and non-glamorous after a night spent on the planet, Kirk arrested Mudd for fraudulently enhancing their beauty with illegal Venus drugs. Kirk promised to testify at Harry's trial, much to the latter's displeasure. ["Mudd's Women"]
Mudd bought his freedom and organized a technical information service, selling modern industrial methods to backwater planets without paying patent royalties. When he sold Deneb V the rights to a Vulcan fuel synthesizer, the Denebians convicted him of fraud and sentenced him to death. He escaped aboard a stolen starship but a shot damaged his controls, forcing him to land on Galor IV, which he christened Mudd's Planet (Mudd for short). The planet was inhabited by more than 207,000 Andromedan androids, who made Harry their leader, Emperor Mudd the First, granting his every wish but refusing to let him leave.Mudd sent an android named Norman to hijack the Enterprise, hoping to exchange the crew for his freedom, but the androids instead decided that all of humanity needed their guidance. Kirk, Spock and Mudd overwhelmed the mechanicals with illogic, re-programming them to resume their original task of adapting the planet's surface for productive use. Kirk then left the scoundrel in their protective custody, guarded by 500 android replicas of Stella Mudd. ["I, Mudd"]The details of Harry's inevitable escape from the android planet are muddled (pun intended), as he has offered at least five conflicting accounts. Given Mudd's gift for gab, any, all or none might be accurate. Among his claims:
- He mimicked Spock's demeanor to make the androids think him rehabilitated, then stole technology and weapons left behind by their Makers and escaped aboard a stolen space yacht that he called the Jolly Roger. ["Deep Mudd"]
- He taught the androids organized sports and gambling, then fled in a stolen spacecraft when they caught him cheating. [Star Trek Log Three]
- He re-formed android society around the concepts of legality and justice, used their technology to terraform the planet and build himself an empire, turned the Stellas into a starship fleet (including ships called Evening Stella, Dark Stella, Stella Sapphire, Interstella and Superstella) and traveled the galaxy trading android wives to miners. [Mudd's Angels]
- He feigned an interest in ending a war in the Nevis System, fooled the androids into letting him leave with a single Stella escort, and then made a run for it. [Mudd in Your Eye]
- He helped the androids terraform the planet, losing much weight in the process, until former starship captain Ronald Tracey abducted him for his own purposes. ["Made Out of Mudd"]
In 2269, Mudd sold Starfleet Academy to Ilyria VI and peddled a love potion on Sirius IX that sickened thousands. When the Sirian bank impounded his funds, he fled to Motherlode (Arcadia III), where the Enterprise crew found him using a Rigellian hypnoid to project an illusion of a beautiful woman to con miners into buying love crystals. When the miners resorted to violence, Kirk took Mudd into protective custody in the ship's brig.Mudd preyed upon Christine Chapel's attraction to Spock, convincing her to use a love crystal to make the Vulcan return her affections. Stealing her phaser and ID, he escaped to the shuttle bay, holding the nurse as his hostage. Kirk and Spock pursued the craft, saving Chapel and Mudd from an alien predator by feeding it the crystals. Harry—who, when Spock pronounced his love for Chapel, was stunned to find that the love crystals actually worked—was remanded to the Peaceforcer court on the planet Darius. ["Mudd's Passion", Star Trek Log Three]
Mudd once posed as the pirate Blackbeard Teach. Hiring a ragtag crew and a Klingon first mate named Tarsh, he used the Jolly Roger to loot the starship Dauntless of its star-charts. Kirk pursued him to Spica III (Mudball), but he captured the crew and demanded they help him fleece the natives of their gems. Lieutenant Nyota Uhura seduced Mudd with a confiscated love crystal, while Tarsh tried to kill Harry and use the Andromedan weapons to sieze the Klingon throne. Harry gave Kirk the weapons to halt the renegade's plans, but evaded capture thanks to an Andromedan device implanted in his system, enabling him to bypass electronic security systems. ["Deep Mudd"]
Mudd salvaged a derelict extraterrestrial spaceship in the Harrapan System, then peddled items from the vessel as Mudd's Miracle De-grimer, Mudd's Limited Coffee Substitute, build-your-own telescope kit lenses, novelty paints and more, with which he conned (and angered) a band of Elasi pirates. After issuing a distress call (which the Enterprise answered), the con-man become infected with mysterious alien drugs and inadvertently erased a priceless archive of computer records. As penance, Kirk forced him to donate five of every artifact he found to research, while Uhura informed Stella of her deadbeat husband's whereabouts. ["Another Fine Mess"]At around this time, Mudd launched a company called HFM Enterprises, hired a buxom Orion receptionist named Verlida and began altering the habitat of the Saganicus giganticus in order to draw in tourists on Tttnicktttnor. Although the Federation had no jurisdiction on that world, he agreed to cease such activities, in exchange for assistance from Uhura and Spock in creating a "Ride on the Enterprise" holodiorama as a replacement attraction. ["A Sucker Born"]During a galactic dilithium shortage, Kirk met with miners on Muldoon, Coridan and Akladi, who sold their dilithium rights to the Galactic Trading Company after Starfleet failed to renew contracts. Based on Liticia, Galactic operated subsidiaries named after the British East India Co., Yukon Fur Trading Co., Muscovy Trading Co., South Sea Bubble Co., Great Western Railway Co., Vocational Trading Institute, and Governors and Company of the Merchants of the Levant, all dubious traders of the 18th century.In actuality, Liticia was Mudd's Planet. Mudd had bought out Starfleet's contracts by trading android wives to the miners, until eventually cornering the market. He loaded the crystals aboard his cargo ship, the Superstella, to auction on the open market, but when his ship entered the galactic energy barrier, the crystals started to expand. The vessel exploded, destroying the Large Magellanic Cloud and causing a time-loop that erased these events from happening.The androids charged Mudd with first-degree androlepsy, charlatanry, barratry, multiple civil rights violations, crossing planetary boundaries for immoral purposes, embezzling, pandering, malversation, privateering, tax evasion, piloting without a license, speculation and solicitation, but Mudd argued that since the time-loop prevented his crimes from occurring, he couldn't be tried for them. Though granting him that point, the androids nonetheless deemed him a menace and exiled him from the galaxy on a ship designed to self-destruct if he ever re-entered the barrier. [Mudd's Angels]Mudd apparently circumvented this restriction and returned to Federation space. Paying the Denebians to clear his name, he avoided further charges for years. During this time, Vulcan hired him as a consultant to learn how he had managed to breach the planet's computer network and steal the fuel synthesizer. Harry eventually re-surfaced in the Nevis System, ending a 12,000-year war between the planets Prastor and Distrel by forging a deal to distribute palko fruits throughout the galaxy. He had come to Nevis to steal a long-range transporter allowing instantaneous galactic travel without a starship, which he had learned about while scouring the androids' archives for a way to escape. But the peace talks stalled when Prastor invaded its neighbor.Mudd was killed in the conflict, but was rejuvenated by a computer designed to circumvent death on both worlds by reincarnating all casualties of war. The system then malfunctioned while trying to revive the non-living form of Mudd's android escort, Stella. Showing uncharacteristic courage, Mudd challenged the Grand General of Distrel to a duel, volunteering to temporarily die in order to restart the computer. This restored normalcy to the system—though Mudd, once rejuvenated, absconded with the Nevisians' technological secrets. [Mudd in Your Eye]Mudd became a pawn of Ron Tracey when the disgraced officer plotted revenge on Kirk for getting him drummed out of the Service. Tracey forced Harry to enter an alien mechanism on Triangularis III that altered his form, down to his DNA, to be a perfect replica of James Kirk. He then blackmailed Mudd into infiltrating a Starfleet base on Tau Delta IX and stealing computer data so Tracey could betray the Federation to a Klingon invasion armada led by Captain Koloth.
Mudd outsmarted Tracey by purposely being caught so he could alert Starfleet. Since Harry risked his life to help thwart Tracey's plans (even if only to get his own body back), Kirk convinced Starfleet to reduce all outstanding charges and let him return to Earth a free man (albeit with Stella as his parole officer). With no way to reverse the transformation, Mudd was stuck in his new Kirk-like body, much to his outrage. As a consolation, Doctor Leonard McCoy used a cellular growth accelerator to regrow Harry's handlebar mustache. ["Made Out of Mudd"]At some point, however, Mudd apparently regained his original form.
Sometime later, the Enterprise crew discovered dilithium on the planet Eulus while exploring a neutral sector near Klingon space. The Klingon cruiser Ectacus had formed a mining treaty with the Grand Qaal of Eulus, who was really Mudd in disguise. In return for a cargo of gold, Mudd had sold the Klingons cheap synthetic dilithium, which proved unstable and exploded easily. Kirk rushed to warn the Klingons of the deception, leaving McCoy to guard Mudd. Using sign language, Harry summoned local primitives who had come to worship him. Fleeing in a space-buggy, he planned to strand the physician on a backwater asteroid, but Kirk captured him and returned the stolen gold to the Ectacus. Charged with jeopardizing two starship personnel and kidnapping a third, Mudd received a long sentence for these crimes. ["Operation Con Game"]On one occasion, Mudd pickpocketed McCoy's communicator at a bar, which ended up saving the con-man's life. After being caught up in a Neutral Zone dispute on Shroud IV, Harry was captured while trying to swindle a Romulan with forged Starfleet encryption codes purchased from Orion pirates. However, he managed to contact Kirk for assistance using the stolen communicator. [25th Anniversary game]In 2271, when the Enterprise was assigned to study seismic disturbances plaguing a thermium mining colony on Argus IV, Kirk learned that owner Max Vargas had sold the planet to Mudd. Spock detected life-readings in the planet's core, and when the quakes became deadly, the starship evacuated the colonists. The world broke apart, giving birth to a vast creature incubating in its core. Argus IV was an egg, Spock realized, placed in orbit to grow in the sun's warmth. To cut his losses, Mudd quickly sold Argus IV back to Vargas, forgetting that the planet could now be towed away in chunks without the expense of mining. Realizing the enormous wealth he'd just given up, Mudd was horrified at having this time scammed himself out of profit. ["It's a Living"]At some point, Mudd stole sacred artifacts from the Venturi. The furious aliens tracked him down to Newton II and fired on his independent freighter, the Stella. A Starfleet vessel intervened on Mudd's behalf, securing the thief's release by forcing Harry to return the items, then towed Mudd's damaged vessel to the planet Mocra. Starfleet later recreated these events for use in a simulator to train cadets. [Bridge Simulator game]Mudd maintained a low profile for years. He claimed to have retired to a villa on Cygnus, but was actually homeless, selling "used tribbles" to passersby. Eventually, he and a young thug named Albert (possibly his nephew) released a pack of Taurian rodents at a farm colony on Caniga VII, then sold the colonists a robotic pest-control system to catch the vermin. When the malfunctioning robots destroyed the farms, Mudd abandoned Albert and fled to space. Unfortunately, the rodents had overrun his ship, forcing Harry to jettison in a lifepod. Crashing on an uncharted world, he found among ancient ruins a nanny robot that lovingly granted his every wish—except his desire to leave. When Harry wished for help so he could escape, the artifact obligingly forced the Enterprise to change course for that world. ["Mudd's Magic"]A riddle-speaking alien led the Enterprise's officers on a journey through recreations of Wrigley's Pleasure Planet and other locations, culminating in a stroll down the yellow-brick road of L. Frank Baum's Oz books. Waiting for them in the Wizard's palace was Mudd. McCoy realized the nanny robot had mistaken them for infants in its care. After Spock mind-melded with the artifact to convince it they were adults, Kirk called the Final Wish Upon a Star Foundation and offered the planet as a resource to make terminally ill patients happy during their final days. Though Mudd had committed no recorded crimes this time, Kirk took him into custody anyway, figuring he must have been wanted somewhere. ["When You Wish Upon a Star," "Mudd's Magic"]Mudd first met Shilo during a speculative venture in the Timonium System. So impressed was he when she successfully swindled him that he took her in as his ward. He began operating under the alias "Socrates," and the two struggled to survive, using electronic wizardry to con tourists with a bogus snake-charming act on Skellen III. Looking to retire, Harry hired an alien named Vashi to steal the Sacred Jaheelah from Domine Ravia of the Nasgul, so that Mudd could sell it to her insane half-brother, Salla Vlagro. Ravia and Vlagro both threatened war over its return, and Mudd tried to double his profit by selling it back to her instead. Furious at his treachery, she tortured him until the Enterprise crew intervened. Kirk returned the Jaheelah to the rightful leader, Salla Watan, restoring order to the Nasgul—but thereby forcing Mudd to continue his life of crime. ["Mission: Muddled," "The Sky Above, The Mudd Below," "Target: Mudd"]
After repeated prison terms and intensive psychiatric treatments, Mudd's rehabilitation remained inconclusive. His ultimate fate is unknown, but the existence of at least one grandson indicates he may have finally retired, settled down with a second wife and started a family. Anyone with information pertaining to Mudd should notify authorities immediately.LEGITIMATE BUSINESS VENTUREIn 2256, Mudd helped the Arronians distribute distilled liquor to the Alpha Quadrant. Years later, he entered the business of importing "100% Columbian Raktajino" (Klingon coffee). By the 24th century, this brand of raktajino was widely distributed, and was even sold on the space station Deep Space Nine. [Where Sea Meets Sky, Art of Star Trek]APPENDED FILE: HORACE TIBERIUS MUDD (Grandson)In 2371, Horace T. Mudd violated the quarantine rules of Starfleet Directive D72, regarding the transportation of dangerous animals and contravention of Customs Articles 25 to 36. Horace had smuggled four meeps from the Gamma Quadrant's Rahkar V to Deep Space Nine, hiding them in a false-bottomed sarcophagus. He and a Ferengi named Quark plotted to infest Bajor's Southern Continent with the voracious meeps during harvest season, and to then sell System-K Pest Control Robots to address the problem.The meeps ate through the box and began devouring power cables, and the rapidly reproducing vermin soon overran the station. Horace's grandfather, Harcourt Fenton Mudd (Horace's middle name had been chosen to honor Harry's long-time nemesis, James Tiberius Kirk), had perpetrated a comparable scam on Caniga VII a century prior.When the System-Ks failed to stop the meeps, Doctor Julian Bashir created a gas to alter their body chemistry, causing them to dissolve in their own corrosive saliva. Mudd stood trial in Bajor's Third Federation Court, presided over by Judge Sdred. Already sought by authorities for bribing the senior magister of Ventax II, perpetrating twelve cases of serious fraud on Aldebaran III, embezzling the Delbian Widows and Orphans Fund, fixing Antidean mud-wrestling fights, managing a tribble-torturing farm on Largo V and feeding explosives to Endicorian hedgehogs (a protected species) to sell the bits as Klingon chewbones, Horace was convicted and sentenced to clean up the meeps' fetid remains throughout the station. ["Mudd's Pets"]Author Bio:Rich Handley is the author and editor of numerous science fiction reference books, and the editor of Hasslein Books (hassleinbooks.com). He has contributed to IDW's two Star Trek newspaper strip reprint books (with two more to come), Sequart's New Life and New Civilizations: Exploring Star Trek Comics anthology, Star Trek Communicator and Star Trek magazines, and GIT Corp's Star Trek: The Complete Comic Book Collection. His resemblance to Harry Mudd is only superficial, dear boy.