Dr. Link is working on his robot Adam. Alone . . . at night . . . in a dark lab . . . all the standard markers for an Outer Limits cutting-edge research facility lab. Whatever the doctor is doing, the robot suddenly takes offense and throws him against the wall, killing him.
Adam flees the scene of the crime — he thinks he’s people! And is found by a uniform cop who pulls a gun on him, demonstrating that he might not be detective material. The cop might be wearing Kevlar, but Adam is Kevlar. As Adam approaches, the cop begins firing, managing to nail himself with a ricochet. This is pretty stupid, but on the other hand, it is nice to see a TV show acknowledge that ricochets are dangerous for a change.
Dr. Link’s hot daughter Mina comes to visit Adam in jail. She grew up with him as a brother and wants to see him tried as a sentient being. To assist, her she recruits civil rights attorney Leonard Nimoy who is retired, playing mere 2-D chess in the park.
Nimoy reluctantly accepts. The irony is that if he can convince the court that Adam is sentient, and therefore should not be dismantled, it also follows that he must then stand trial for Dr. Link’s murder.
The rest of the episode is an extended courtroom scene. But given the subject and Nimoy’s excellent performance, it is all riveting. Barbara Tyson is also very good as the prosecutor. Unfortunately, Cynthia Preston as Mina is not not quite up to it. Especially when she is testifying, it is not a joke to say she sounds . . . robotic. I defy anyone to close their eyes and listen to her and not think “robot.” Just re-watching, it is so unlike the rest of her performance that I think it must have been a choice by her or the director. Overall, another very good episode.
- Dr. Link’s lab was in Rossom Hall Robotics. That sounded familiar — it was the Rossum Corporation behind the titular Dollhouse. Both are presumably references to R.U.R., Rossum’s Universal Robots, a company in the 1920 play by that name which introduced the word “robot” into the English language. Or “robe-it” as Rod Serling used to say on TZ.
- The episode is based on a 1939 short story by Otto Bender. Asimov’s better known re-use of the title was forced on him by a publisher. But he can’t avoid blame for the muttonchops.
- Similar story to Star Trek TNG’s The Measure of a Man.
- In a stunning coincidence, this episode was directed by Leonard Nimoy’s son.
- Hulu sucks.