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Star Trek 101: James T. Kirk

Kirk is the quintessential Starfleet officer, a hero for the ages. His adventures are legendary.

Stylized image of James T. Kirk

Risk is our business. That's what this starship is all about. That's why we're aboard her.

James T. Kirk, "Return to Tomorrow"

A sweaty Kirk, bearing his teeth, screams in 'The Enemy Within'

"The Enemy Within"

Kirk is the quintessential Starfleet officer, a man among men, and a hero for the ages. His adventures are legendary. He has earned the admiration of his peers, the grudging respect of his opponents, and a chest full of commendations for valor.

Cunning, courageous and confident, Kirk is renowned for his ability to think outside the box, manipulating seemingly impossible situations like a master chess player.

If he has one flaw, it's his tendency to ignore Starfleet regulations when he feels the end justifies the means. Kirk's unique style of "cowboy diplomacy" has served him well in countless close encounters.

In his formal dress, James T. Kirk stands in front of a tribunal in 'Court Martial'

"Court Martial"

Kirk was born on Earth in Iowa. He proved a very serious student at Starfleet Academy, remembered by a classmate as a "stack of books with legs." As a Starfleet officer, he is a study in contrasts.

He depends on the state-of-the-art 23rd-Century technology that surrounds him, but prefers resolving difficult situations with a hands-on approach — bare-knuckle brawling or bamboozling sophisticated computers with his glib tongue. Kirk openly despises humankind's ancient instinct for war and killing, but has a deep-seated distrust of apparent peace and tranquility.

He dreams of "a beach to walk on" with a beautiful woman, but firmly believes that man wasn't meant to live in paradise. Although Kirk has quite a reputation as a ladies' man, no woman has ever come between him and his career. His passion for the Enterprise always comes first.

Kirk leans over as his shirt uniform is torn in 'Shore Leave'

"Shore Leave"

Key Kirk Episodes

Kirk and Spock in civilian Earth clothes pause on a couple brooms in 'The City on the Edge of Forever'

"The City on the Edge of Forever"

You keep wondering if man was meant to be out here; you keep wondering and you keep signing on.

James T. Kirk, "The Naked Time"