By the end of S01E07 of Star Trek: Discovery, Mudd knew a lot about the Spore Drive. Also, Starfleet had every right to imprison Mudd as he committed serious crimes against Federation.

Why did Captain Lorca let him go free which could be costly? Mudd could sell those secret information to Klingons or he could attack Discovery or Federation again with his criminal mind.

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    Because Discovery wanted to use Mudd, while claiming to be in continuity, which meant they had to keep him able to meet Captain Kirk, and rather than write a story with him that logically fit within those constraints, they just told a story they thought sounded cool and gave it a ridiculous ending that preserved continuity in the laziest way possible. This is a Star Trek era where "sounding cool" or "looking cool" to a low quality writing team trumps any other storytelling concerns. Dec 9, 2017 at 14:17
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    @starpilotsix - are you suggesting the writers of discovery are disgracing the Star Trek Universe with their preposterous pseudo science and terrible distribution of character roles? Even if you weren't, I am. I agree with you. Everything about Discovery seems lazy and poorly thought out except the visuals. I stopped watching it, personally. I want there to be more Star Treks but I just can't get behind this spore crap, constant red alert, and every episode focusing on the walking dead captain who behaves exactly the same as she did as sasha.
    – Kai Qing
    Dec 14, 2017 at 16:35
  • So, Discovery is more Chronicles of the Intrepid than Star Trek (ref. John Scalzi's novel Redshirts)?
    – RDFozz
    Dec 14, 2017 at 18:38
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    @KaiQing Discovery is a phenomenally terrible show. But I don't think it is possible to disgrace Star "reverse the polarity of the deflector dish" Trek with pseudoscience.
    – Shane
    Mar 9, 2018 at 19:09
  • @Shane - lol yeah but to those of us who watch the show we kind of know the joke of playing off pseudo science as "somehow" like how they explain the borg time travel in first contact. When they go out of their way to try to explain it, it gets hard to listen to. I haven't resumed watching so my judgement is now skewed. They may have gotten better. I'll wait for public reviews to solidify before giving it another chance
    – Kai Qing
    Mar 9, 2018 at 20:29

3 Answers 3


Regarding the “secret information”: the Klingons were already aware of the Discovery and it’s abilities. So it whether it was “secret” and the Klingons would want to buy it is questionable.

However, Mudd never found out what the secret to the Discovery was. He knew it had a special engine, but that’s all. The best deal he could make would be delivering the Discovery to the Klingons, which he failed to do.

The other tradeable information Mudd gained was primarily access codes to the Discovery’s computer systems - security codes which could (and would) be changed - and what was in Lorca’s psycho man-cave.

As for Lorca’s motives:

Lorca is from the Mirror Universe, which is revealed after the Mudd incident, so the security of the Federation, let alone whether the Klingon Empire wins, would not be something that he cares about.

Also, Federation “prisons” in the Trek universe, are like “recreation resorts,” according to Kirk. They focus on reform. What happened to Mudd was definitely a punishment,

given how much he hates Stella, her father and how restricted his actions would be, by being a stay-at-home husband.


In Universe its very inconsistent with Lorca's behaviour. Out of Universe they needed to leave Mudd in one piece so he can show up in Kirk's time, and somehow be a very different character.

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    Mudd a different person? Last I recalled from TOS, he tried to steal Enterprise from Kirk..
    – user931
    Dec 14, 2017 at 13:55
  • @Bat: I'm sure that was all just a misunderstanding..
    – NotMe
    Dec 15, 2017 at 20:20
  • The difference between TOS Mudd and Discovery Mudd, is that TOS Mudd is substantially darker, which matches the tone of the series. In TOS, we’re introduced to Mudd as a man who‘s business appears to be sex slavery, and next he’s on a planet where he creates 500 sexbots. He isn’t a nice person: Disco Mudd is just honest about it. Apr 8, 2018 at 18:36

The plan to thwart Mudd was very specific: they needed a ship in close range that they could "redirect" Mudd's signal to (from the captain's chair). They also needed a ship that get the signal and show up quickly (like the Klingons would).

Perhaps no friendly ships were in range, or perhaps they were thought a friendly ship wouldn't care about weird message from a "Harry Mudd", and would just ignore it. Whatever the reason, they decided the most reliable target for the signal would be Stella and her father. Obviously, they chose right, because Stella and dad showed arrived just as expected, and took Mudd away, just like they wanted.

Part of your question is why Captain Lorca would allow Mudd to simply leave.

As a Starfleet officer, he simply couldn't justify executing Mudd. And once Stella and her dad arrived to take Mudd away, it would have been very unappreciative, and potentially dangerous, to execute Mudd (since Mudd was the only reason Stella and dad came in the first place).

If you've seen the whole season:

We eventually learn that Lorca is from an alternate universe, and isn't truly a member of Starfleet, but of the Terran Empire. He definitely doesn't have moral objections to killing Mudd.

But - his entire plan depends on his ability to maintain his cover as the "in-universe" Gabriel Lorca. If he had killed Mudd or destroyed Stella's ship, he would have seriously jeopardized his cover.

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    They never needed to execute Mudd. They just needed to imprison him before sending him out for trials.
    – user931
    Mar 9, 2018 at 5:30

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