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Redshirt Deaths in TOS

In The Original Series under Captain Kirk's command, Enterprise crew members of "minor importance" were frequently killed by hostile aliens or in freak accidents, in landing parties as well as aboard the ship. Purportedly most of them wore the red uniform shirt of the engineering/security department, which earned the stock character of an expendable crewman the name "Redshirt" in popular culture. The following is a complete list of all casualties during the original Enterprise's five-year mission, with some interesting statistics.

 

List of Casualties

We could witness the deaths of the following crew members on screen, or they were reported to have died. The casualties are listed in chronological order (by production numbers).

Season 1 excl. "The Cage"
Color Rank Name Position Sex Image Cause of death Place Annotations Episode
  9 unspecified crew members Died as the chip crossed the Galactic Barrier Enterprise These deaths all happen off screen. "Where No Man Has Gone Before"
  Lieutenant Lee Kelso Navigator Male Strangled by Gary Mitchell Delta Vega These three deaths are the only ones of "notable" crew members in TOS, owing to the episode's nature as a pilot episode.
  Lieutenant Commander Gary Mitchell Helmsman Male Killed by Kirk with the help of ESP forces of Elizabeth Dehner, officially killed in action
  Lieutenant Dr. Elizabeth Dehner Psychiatrist Female Killed by ESP forces of Gary Mitchell, officially killed in action
  Crewman Darnell Medical assistant Male Killed by the M-113 creature through sodium chloride extraction M-113   "The Man Trap"
  Crewman Sturgeon Uncertain Male Sturgeon and Green both seem to perform the duties of security officers, although their shirt colors don't indicate that.

Green's death is discovered too late. The creature takes on his shape for a while and is beamed up in his guise.

  Crewman Green Uncertain Male
  Crewman Barnhart Engineer (presumably) Male Enterprise  
  Lieutenant Junior Grade Joe Tormolen Science officer Male Died of a minor injury inflicted on himself following a polywater intoxication Enterprise, infection on Psi 2000   "The Naked Time"
  Lieutenant Robert Tomlinson Phaser control specialist Male Died of exposure to phaser coolant during Romulan attack Enterprise Tomlinson is one of only two "minor" crew members to be commemorated in some fashion at the end of the episode when Kirk speaks to his widow. "Balance of Terror"
  Crewman Mathews Security officer Male Pushed down a cliff by Ruk Exo III The first two killed redshirts. "What are Little Girls Made of?"
  Crewman Rayburn Security officer Male Suffocated by Ruk
  Lieutenant Latimer Shuttle pilot Male Killed by inhabitants of Taurus II after crash of shuttlecraft Galileo Taurus II   "The Galileo Seven"
  Lieutenant Gaetano Uncertain Male
  Unknown O'Neill Uncertain Unknown Killed by inhabitants of Taurus II on the search for shuttlecraft Galileo O'Neill's death happens off screen and is reported by Kelowitz.
  Ensign O'Herlihy Security officer Male Vaporized by Gorn weapon Cestus III   "Arena"
  Lieutenant Commander Lang Security officer Male Killed in Gorn attack Lang is wearing a yellow shirt, unlike his supposed position as a tactical officer would lead us to expect. He is killed off screen, as Kelowitz reports (once again).
  Crewman Unknown Security officer Male Killed by the Horta Janus VI This crewman is the only Enterprise crew member killed in this episode. All other casualties are miners from Janus VI. "The Devil in the Dark"
Season 1 summary Total: 26
Red:
4
Officers:
9
    Male:
15
  Killing:
16
Enterprise:
12
   
Blue:
4
Crewmen:
7
Female:
1
Accident:
9
Yellow:
7
Unknown:
10
Unknown:
10
Disease:
1
Planet:
14
Unknown:
11
 
Season 2
Color Rank Name Position Sex Image Cause of death Place Annotations Episode
  Lieutenant Jackson Uncertain Male Killed by Sylvia with "voodoo" magic Pyris VII Kirk refers to Jackson as "crewman", but he is wearing the stripes of a lieutenant.

It is noteworthy that Kirk mentions Jackson's death in the end. 

"Catspaw"
  Lieutenant Grant Security officer Male Killed by Capellans with a kligat after reaching for his phaser at the sight of a Klingon Capella IV   "Friday's Child"
  Lieutenant Karen Tracy Medical technician Female Killed by the entity known as "Redjac" during a psychotricorder recording of Montgomery Scott Argelius II She is the first woman to die in the regular series. "Wolf in the Fold"
  Lieutenant 2 security officers Male Vaporized by Nomad when trying to prevent the probe from leaving confinement Enterprise   "The Changeling"
  Lieutenant Carlisle Security officer Male Vaporized by Nomad when trying to prevent the probe from taking a wrong turn Kirk orders two guards to accompany Nomad. When we see Nomad with two officers in the turbolift a bit later, Carlisle has replaced one of them. Carlisle's voice could be identified earlier in the episode.
  Lieutenant Unknown Security officer Male This is the other officer who was originally with Nomad when Kirk ordered the probe to follow them.
  Crewman Hendorff Security officer Male Killed by thorns of a poisonous plant Gamma Trianguli VI It remains to be said that Spock survives the poisonous plant, as well as the lightning. "The Apple"
  Lieutenant Kaplan Security officer Male Struck by lightning
  Lieutenant Mallory Security officer Male Killed by explosive rock  
  Lieutenant Marple Security officer Male Hit with a stick by Akuta The fact that McCoy just kneels beside the motionless Marple and Spock's line "They [the People of Vaal] have learned to kill" are strong evidence that Marple was indeed killed, although Akuta didn't hit him too hard.
  Lieutenant Arlene Galway Uncertain Female Died of old age after undergoing a rapid aging process Enterprise, infection on Gamma Hydra IV    "The Deadly Years"
  Crewman Unknown Security officer Male Killed by dikironium cloud through extraction of erythrocytes Argus X This crewman belongs to the first group attacked and killed by the cloud creature, right at the beginning. The two other officers in this group are Rizzo and Leslie.

The same actor previously appeared in "The Changeling" as one of the two guards in the turbolift with Nomad and was killed too. 

"Obsession"
  Lieutenant Leslie Security officer Male Quite a few of the actors playing security officers returned from the dead. The particular dilemma with Leslie is that after his definite death in "Obsession" he can be seen prominently and frequently, and his name is called out a couple of times.

It is very unlikely that Kirk could have declared Leslie dead prematurely. His pale face insinuates that he is missing far too many erythrocytes to be still alive (unlike Rizzo whose face still looks healthy and who dies nonetheless). Also, Kirk later confirms that two crewman have died. Since Rizzo is still alive at the time, he must refer to the unnamed security officer and Leslie.

There may be indeed two characters (twins?). This would also alleviate the other huge problem, that in the course of TOS Leslie occupies so many different positions as if he could run the ship all alone, as a navigator, a science officer, a medical officer and, of course, as a security officer.

  Ensign Rizzo Security officer Male Enterprise, after an attack on Argus X Rizzo dies some time after the attack on his team. His death is mentioned in dialogue.

Rizzo is played by Jerry Ayres, who previously portrayed the equally unlucky O'Herlihy in "Arena" (there with dark hair).

  Crewman Unknown Security officer Male Argus X When Kirk beams down again for the "monster hunt", this crewman is in Garrovick's team when the cloud strikes. Garrovick remains unharmed, a third redshirt barely survives. 
  Unknown Unknown Unknown Male (probably) Enterprise Two crewmen are attacked when the cloud enters the ship. One dies, the other one has a chance of survival, according to Dr. McCoy.
  Crewman Leslie Thompson Yeoman Female Turned into a mineral cube by Rojan and crushed Unnamed planet She is the only female redshirt to be killed. "By Any Other Name"
  Crewman Harper Engineer Male Vaporized by plasma flow activated by computer M-5 to restore its power supply  Enterprise   "The Ultimate Computer"
  Lieutenant Galloway Security officer Male Vaporized with a phaser by Captain Ronald Tracey Omega IV Galloway's death in "The Omega Glory" is absolutely certain. Yet, in "Turnabout Intruder" actor David L. Ross appears once again as a lieutenant of the ship's security. Here his character is credited as "Galoway" (with only one "l"), insinuating that someone who didn't pay attention indeed intended this officer to be the same Galloway, but the name is not mentioned in the episode. We should assume that the man from "Turnabout Intruder" is another person who just happens to resemble the late Galloway. "The Omega Glory"
Season 2 summary Total: 20
Red:
16
Officers:
14
    Male:
17
  Killing:
16
Enterprise:
8
   
Blue:
2
Crewmen:
5
Female:
3
Accident:
3
Yellow:
1
Unknown:
1
Unknown:
0
Disease:
1
Planet:
12
Unknown:
1
 
Season 3
Color Rank Name Position Sex Image Cause of death Place Annotations Episode
  Crewman Watson Engineer Male Killed by Kryton after discovering sabotage of the warp core Enterprise   "Elaan of Troyius"
  Crewman 2 security officers Male Beamed into open space under the induced illusion that the ship was still in orbit Enterprise   "And the Children Shall Lead"
  Crewman Compton Uncertain Male Died of rapid cellular decay after a small injury he suffered in hyperaccelerated state Enterprise   "Wink of an Eye"
  Ensign Wyatt Transporter chief Male Killed by Losira's touch Enterprise   "That Which Survives"
  Lieutenant D'Amato Geologist Male Kalandan outpost planet
  Crewman John B. Watkins Engineer grade 4 Male Enterprise Watkins' red overall is clearly equivalent to a red shirt.
  3 unspecified crew members Died of Rigelian fever Enterprise   "Requiem for Methuselah"
Season 3 summary Total: 10
Red:
6
Officers:
2
    Male:
7
  Killing:
6
Enterprise:
9
   
Blue:
1
Crewmen:
5
Female:
0
Accident:
0
Yellow:
0
Unknown:
3
Unknown:
3
Disease:
4
Planet:
1
Unknown:
3
 
TOS summary Total: 56
Red:
26
Officers:
25
    Male:
39
  Killing:
38
Enterprise:
29
Average casualties per episode: 0.7  
Blue:
7
Crewmen:
17
Female:
4
Accident:
12
Episodes with casualties: 23
Yellow:
8
Unknown:
14
Unknown:
13
Disease:
6
Planet:
27
Most casualties: "Where No Man Has Gone Before" (9)
Unknown:
15
Most on-screen casualties: "The Man Trap", "The Changeling", "The Apple", "Obsession" (4)
 
Uncertain casualties These crew members were killed, but were likely revived in some fashion.
Color Rank Name Position Sex Image Cause of death Place Annotations Episode
  Unknown Sam Unknown Male Spirited away by Charlie Evans, very likely restored off screen Enterprise Sam is wearing red clothing like everyone else in the gym, so there is not hint about his department.

In the end the Thasian voice says "Everything is as it was", which insinuates that Sam is restored too (although my impression is that they can't bring back the destroyed Antares).

"Charlie X"
  Crewman 2 technicians Male Killed by Nomad in engineering, possibly only unconscious Enterprise When Kirk follows Nomad to engineering, he finds two motionless technicians. The only thing he does is that he quickly feels the pulse of one crewman, but we can't really tell what has happened from his reaction. The four people that arrive a few moments later don't try to help them either, and no one calls sickbay. So either they are all aware that the two are only unconscious, or they are clearly dead. Considering that Nomad kills by vaporizing his victims, the two may be still alive.   "The Changeling"

 

Addendum

"Resurrection" The following crew member was dead by 23rd century medical standards but was brought back to life.

Illusory deaths The deaths of the following crew members turned out to be just illusions. Unsurprisingly no member of the principal recurring cast of TOS ever remained dead.

TAS No one of the Enterprise crew died in The Animated Series.

 

Summary

56 crew members can be confirmed to have died on the original Enterprise's five-year mission (or, to be precise, during the about three years shown in TOS). This gives us 0.7 casualties per episode, or roughly one casualty every three weeks. 26 of those 55 killed men or women were wearing a red shirt or an equivalent red engineering/security uniform. Considering that the shirt color of 15 deceased crew members remains unknown (because they were killed off screen or were not wearing a standard uniform), redshirts easily make up more than 50% of all casualties. The myth that redshirts are more likely killed than other colors can be confirmed. Some of the redshirts were engineers but most performed the duty of a security officer, which may be rated as intrinsically more dangerous and more likely lethal.

Looking at the subtotals we can notice that in season 1 only 4 crew members with red shirts were killed, 4 wearing blue shirts and as many as 7 with yellow shirts. Considering that a couple of the two latter groups effectively acted as security officers, especially in "The Man Trap", it is possible that the red color for this department was not yet set in stone at the time. Season 2 had by far the most redshirt deaths of the series, 16 altogether. 12 of those 16 were killed in just three episodes, "The Changeling", "The Apple" and "Obsession".

Only 4 women were killed under Kirk's command, as opposed to 39 men. This is significantly less than the ratio of female to male Enterprise crew members. Considering that in the 1960s women were obviously not deemed fit for a position in the security department with its high casualty rate, the low number of female deaths appears plausible though.

The clearly most common cause of death among Kirk's crew was an attack or sabotage by aliens (38 casualties). 12 crew members died in accidents, but if we take into account that as many as 9 perished when the ship crossed the Galactic Barrier in "Where No Man Has Gone Before", accidents were otherwise not that common at all. 6 of the crew died of diseases. Regarding the places in which crew members were killed, the Enterprise proved to be just as unsafe (29 casualties) as the surface of an unexplored planet (27).

 

Credits

Some facts are from Memory Alpha, the HD screen caps are taken from TrekCore. Thanks to Frank Bitterhof for the hint about the technicians in "The Changeling" and the suggestion to declare Leslie's death in "Obsession".

 


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