"Space is disease and danger, wrapped in darkness and silence!"
- Leonard McCoy, 2255
Leonard H. "Bones" McCoy, MD, was a Starfleet medical officer serving in the 23rd century. He became the chief medical officer of the USS Enterprise during the destruction of Vulcan, serving under acting captain Spock and then his classmate at Starfleet Academy, Captain James T. Kirk.
McCoy completed medical school and was a certified doctor sometime prior to 2255. He was married, but he had endured a harsh divorce. So with nowhere else to go, he decided to enlist in Starfleet. McCoy boarded the Starfleet shuttle for new recruits which departed from Riverside Shipyard in 2255. McCoy suffered from aviophobia and attempted to remain in the shuttle's bathroom during the flight, as there were no windows in that section of the craft. However, a flight officer discovered him and forced him to sit with the other passengers and buckle up. He sat next to James T. Kirk, who assured McCoy of the shuttle's safety, to no avail; the nervous doctor kept ranting to Kirk about the health hazards of flying in a shuttle. McCoy confided to Kirk his reasons for joining Starfleet, saying that his wife "took the whole damn planet in the divorce," and "all I have left are my bones." He and Kirk then introduced each other and shared a flask of alcohol as the shuttle took off for Starfleet Academy.
McCoy spent three years at Starfleet Academy, during which time he and Kirk became closer friends; Kirk was now referring to McCoy as "Bones", based on McCoy's statement three years ago that his bones were his only remaining possession. McCoy thought Kirk was mad for wanting to retake the Kobayashi Maru test, and knew Kirk well enough not to believe him when he claimed he was going to "study." Indeed, Kirk had gone off to engage in sexual foreplay with fellow cadet, Gaila.
At Kirk's request, McCoy participated in Kirk's third attempt to beat the Kobayashi Maru simulation, serving at the helm station. McCoy believed Kirk would fail miserably as he had done the first two times, but he was surprised when his friend somehow defeated the simulation. Shortly thereafter, however, McCoy was among the cadets in attendance in the Academy assembly hall when the ruling council accused Kirk of cheating. As it turned out, Kirk had reprogrammed the simulation to make it possible to win. McCoy watched as Kirk faced off against his accuser, Commander Spock, the programmer of the Kobayashi Maru test.
Kirk's hearing was interrupted when the ruling council received word of a distress call from Vulcan. All cadets, including McCoy, were ordered to report to Hangar 1 for assignment. McCoy was assigned to the newly-commissioned USS Enterprise, which had yet to have its maiden voyage. Kirk, however, was on academic suspension, which prohibited him from being assigned to a starship. McCoy decided to smuggle his friend aboard the Enterprise; to do so, he injected Kirk with a vaccine to protect against a viral infection from Melvaran mud fleas. The injection caused Kirk to experience the symptoms of the infection, allowing McCoy to bring Kirk aboard the Enterprise as a patient.
Aboard the USS Enterprise
After successfully sneaking Kirk aboard the Enterprise, McCoy brought him to the ship's medical bay, sedated him, and prepared for duty. Kirk awoke as the Enterprise neared Vulcan, and McCoy was horrified to find that Kirk's hands had swollen, an allergic reaction to the Melvaran mud flea vaccine. Kirk, however, was preoccupied with the notion that the Enterprise was heading into a trap, a deduction he reached after hearing Ensign Pavel Chekov's announcement over the intercom.
McCoy chased Kirk through the ship, injecting him with various medications while Kirk searched for Nyota Uhura to confirm his theory. Afterward, McCoy and Uhura chased after Kirk as the seemingly delusional officer ran onto the ship's bridge to warn Captain Christopher Pike that they were heading into a Romulan trap. McCoy attempted to explain Kirk's presence to Pike, accepting full responsibility for his actions, but Kirk was ultimately able to convince the crew that there were indeed Romulans waiting for them at Vulcan.
Doctor Puri, the Enterprise's chief medical officer, was on deck six when he was killed by missiles fired by the Romulan ship, Narada. McCoy took over his role and later received acknowledgment from Spock over the comm as being Puri's replacement. He later treated the injuries Kirk sustained while attempting to deactivate the Narada's drilling platform, and also saw to the survivors of the Narada's destruction of Vulcan. With Captain Pike captured by the Romulans, McCoy joined Kirk, Acting Captain Spock, and the rest of the bridge crew in discussing the continuing threat of Nero, the captain of the Narada. Kirk argued with Spock over their next course of action, with McCoy siding with Spock's decision to rendezvous with the rest of the Federation fleet in the Laurentian system. McCoy then laid witness to Kirk's attempted – and failed – mutiny.
Later, in a private discussion with Spock, McCoy voiced his extreme displeasure with the acting captain's decision to maroon Kirk on Delta Vega. Spock disagreed with McCoy's assertions, and when Spock left, an infuriated McCoy referred to the acting captain as a "green-blooded hobgoblin." Shortly thereafter, McCoy was on the bridge when Kirk – who had returned to the Enterprise via transwarp beaming – instigated a brawl between himself and Spock, proving that Spock was emotionally compromised by the mission at hand, having lost his planet and his mother, and could not continue commanding the Enterprise. After coming to his senses, Spock reported to McCoy that he was emotionally compromised and that he was resigning his command as a result.
In spite of his obvious support of Kirk, McCoy was still vocally incredulous when Kirk became acting captain of the Enterprise following Spock's resignation, crying out, "You've gotta be kidding me!" when his friend sat in the command chair. He reacted much the same way towards Ensign Chekov and his idea for beaming onto the Narada without being noticed after learning that Chekov was only 17 years old. Chekov's calculations proved to be correct, however, and Kirk and Spock were able to rescue Captain Pike and stop Nero before he destroyed Earth.
McCoy continued serving aboard the Enterprise after Kirk received full command of the ship. McCoy was on the bridge when Kirk assumed command for the first time. With a slap on the shoulder, Kirk advised McCoy to "buckle up," referring back to the first time they met aboard the recruitment shuttle. (Star Trek)
A year later, McCoy was on Nibiru helping prevent a volcano from causing the extinction of the Nibirans, all while avoiding breaking the Prime Directive. McCoy greeted Kirk with a docile animal as their getaway transport, but Kirk accidentally stunned it, forcing them to run and jump off a cliff to dive to the Enterprise, hidden beneath the waves. On the bridge McCoy listened as Spock, who was activating a cold fusion device to stop the volcano's eruption, asked them to leave him, as getting the Enterprise in range to beam him out would expose the ship to the natives and ignore the Prime Directive. While McCoy asked Kirk to consider what Spock would do in his position, Kirk opted to rescue him and ignore the Directive anyway.
Later, Kirk was ordered to hunt down the traitor John Harrison, who was behind a bombing in London and an attack on Starfleet Headquarters that left many, including Admiral Pike, dead. McCoy expressed skepticism, believing his friend was too inexperienced to combat him. Kirk found Harrison on Qo'noS, and witnessed him taking down scores of Klingons singlehandedly, so he ordered McCoy to investigate the source of his superhuman strength. McCoy analyzed his blood, and found it possessed extraordinarily regenerative platelets, which he experimented with by injecting into a dead tribble.
In the meantime, Harrison was reticent about his motives but suggested Kirk examine the 72 experimental photon torpedoes Admiral Alexander Marcus had given them to fire on his location. McCoy was skeptical, but took a shuttle with Marcus's daughter Carol to examine one of the classified weapons on a meteor. He accidentally activated it and trapped his hand: Kirk ordered him to be beamed up, but was warned doing would also bring an exploding torpedo aboard. Fortunately, Marcus deactivated it before she could be beamed up. The two then opened up the torpedo and discovered it contained a man in cryogenic stasis.
Harrison explained he was actually Khan Noonien Singh, having been revived and forced by Admiral Marcus to design weapons and ships for a war with the Klingon Empire. He had attempted to smuggle out his fellow Augments on the torpedoes, but was forced to escape when his scheme discovered: believing Marcus killed his family, he responded in kind in London and San Francisco. Marcus appeared in the Dreadnought-class USS Vengeance and opened fire on the Enterprise when Kirk refused to hand over Khan, but its weapons were deactivated by Montgomery Scott, who boarded the ship during a leave of absence. Kirk and Khan allied to fly over and commandeer the ship, but a suspicious Spock asked McCoy to remove the cryopods from the torpedoes.
As expected, Khan took the Vengeance for himself, but McCoy removed the cryopods so Spock was able to use the torpedoes against Khan, crippling his ship. Both damaged ships began hurtling to Earth: Kirk entered the warp core to reactivate the Enterprise's engines, but did not put on a containment suit and suffered radiation poisoning. Kirk was brought to sickbay, where he lay dying as McCoy examined him. When he returned to his desk, the tribble he had inject came back to life. McCoy ordered one of the augments' cryotubes brought to sickbay. Its occupant was removed and reanimated, but McCoy ordered them maintained in a medically-induced coma. He and Marcus then placed Kirk in the cryotube, placing him in suspended animation to preserve his brain. Spock and Uhura beamed down, subduing Khan after he crashed in the Vengeance, allowing McCoy to perform a blood transfusion on Kirk.
McCoy later greeted a conscious Kirk in a hospital room as his attending physician, checking his vital signs and whether the transfusion had any psychological effects as well. Almost a year after their encounter with Khan, McCoy attended a memorial for the lives lost, and continued serving on the repaired Enterprise. He was less than pleased however, to learn they were embarking on a five-year mission. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
James T. Kirk
McCoy and Kirk met on a transport shuttle to Starfleet Academy, when the pair found themselves in adjacent seats where a slightly neurotic McCoy instantly opened up to the rebellious and somewhat incredulous Kirk. The two remained good friends throughout their time together at the Academy. When the time came, McCoy always had Kirk's back, such as helping to get him aboard the Enterprise after his suspension, and berating Spock for throwing Kirk off the ship and marooning him on Delta Vega. Despite this, he did not support Kirk's mutiny and was annoyed when he later forced Spock to resign command. Despite his friendship with Kirk, McCoy expressed shock at the idea that he was now acting captain, but supported him.
- 2227: Born on Earth
- 2255-2258: Cadet/Lieutenant commander at Starfleet Academy
- 2258: Appointed Chief medical officer on USS Enterprise
- 2259: Embarks on the five-year mission
"I don't need a doctor, damn it! I am a doctor!"
- - Leonard McCoy, being forced to his seat from the bathroom of the cadet shuttle at Riverside Shipyard (Star Trek)
"I suffer from aviophobia. It means fear of dying in something that flies!"
- - Leonard McCoy (Star Trek)
"I might throw up on you."
- -Leonard McCoy to James T. Kirk, in the shuttle just before liftoff. (Star Trek)
"Don't pander to me, kid. One tiny crack in the hull and our blood boils in thirteen seconds. A solar flare might crop up, cook us in our seats. And wait 'til you're sitting pretty with a case of Andorian shingles. See if you're still so relaxed when your eyeballs are bleeding! Space is disease and danger wrapped in darkness and silence."
"Well, I hate to break this to you, but Starfleet operates in space."
"Yeah. Well, I got nowhere else to go, the ex-wife took the whole damn planet in the divorce. All I got left is my bones."
- - Leonard McCoy and James T. Kirk, about the safety of their shuttlecraft and why McCoy enlisted in Starfleet. (Star Trek)
"Who was that pointy-eared bastard?"
"I don't know. But I like him."
- - Kirk and McCoy, after meeting Spock for the first time (Star Trek)
"I might throw up on you."
- - James T. Kirk to Leonard McCoy, in the shuttle on the way to the Enterprise, after McCoy had injected him with the Melvaran mud flea vaccine. (Star Trek)
"Damn it, man, I'm a doctor, not a physicist!"
- - Leonard McCoy, in response to Spock's explanation of Nero's origins. (Star Trek)
"Are you out of your Vulcan mind?"
- - Leonard McCoy to Spock, discussing Spock's marooning of Kirk on Delta Vega. (Star Trek)
- - Leonard McCoy, about Spock. (Star Trek)
"Well congratulations Jim. Now we've got no captain and no goddam first officer to replace him!"
"Yeah we do."
"Pike made him first officer."
"You've got be kidding me!"
"Thanks for the support."
- - Leonard McCoy, Jim Kirk and Hikaru Sulu after Kirk forces Spock to resign. (Star Trek)
"Same ship, different day."
"Damn, it Man, that was our ride! You just stunned our ride."
- - Leonard McCoy to James Kirk when Kirk stuns a Nibrian mammal (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Jim, you don't rob a bank when the getaway car has a flat tire."
- -Leonard McCoy, in response to Kirk going down to Qo'nos to find John Harrison (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Jim, wait. You just sat that man down at a high stakes poker game with no cards and told him to bluff. Now Sulu's a good man but he's no captain."
"Well for the next two hours he is... and enough with the metaphors alright? That's an Order."
- - Leonard McCoy and James Kirk on putting Sulu in command (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Mr. Sulu... remind me never to piss you off."
- - Leonard McCoy, reacting to the tone of Sulu's warning message to John Harrison. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Are you out of your corn fed mind?!"
- -Leonard McCoy to James T. Kirk on opening up a torpedo. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"You know, when I dreamed about being stuck on a deserted planet with a gorgeous woman, there was no torpedo."
- -Leonard McCoy to James T. Kirk on working with Dr. Carol Marcus.
"Damn it, man, I'm a doctor, not a torpedo technician!"
- -Leonard McCoy, in response to Spock asking him to do surgery on a torpedo. (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Don't be so melodramatic. You were barely dead."
- - Leonard McCoy, after Kirk regains consciousness (Star Trek Into Darkness)
"Five years in space. God help me."
- - Leonard McCoy on the Five Year Mission (Star Trek Into Darkness)
|Chief medical officers of the starships Enterprise|
|USS Enterprise:||April • Boyce • Piper • McCoy • Chapel|
|USS Enterprise-D:||Crusher • Pulaski • Ogawa|
|ISS Enterprise NX-01:||Phlox|
|ISS Enterprise (NCC-1701):||McCoy|
|USS Enterprise (alternate reality):||Puri • McCoy|
Leonard McCoy was played by Karl Urban. In the audio commentary for the film, J.J. Abrams stated that the "Bones" line was not actually in the script, but an on-set improvisation by Urban, a Trek fan long before being cast in the film.
During filming of Star Trek Into Darkness, Urban became concerned McCoy's lines were making him "some [kind of] metaphor man": Abrams's response was to add the line where Kirk orders him to stop using metaphors. Urban's personal favorite of McCoy's metaphors were "You don't rob a bank when the getaway car has a flat tire."
When asked why McCoy had Khan retrieved to perform a blood transfusion on Kirk instead of using the 72 other augments on the ship, Roberto Orci said "everyone is frozen, they could die if awakened improperly as Bones says, and Bones KNOWS John's blood works. He doesn't know anything about the others."
According to his dossier at the official Star Trek movie website, McCoy was top of his class in anatomical and forensic pathology and organized the Academy's first astrophobia seminar.
In the novelization of Star Trek, as McCoy nervously watches Kirk, Spock and Pike beaming back from the Narada, a throwaway line states that he is never confident about transporter use, establishing that he hates the device just like his counterpart does.
The opening issue of IDW's Star Trek comic series - the first half of an alternate reality re-imagining of "Where No Man Has Gone Before" - reveals that McCoy had a prior relationship with Dr. Elizabeth Dehner; it ended badly, and relations still so strained that she withdraws a transfer to the Enterprise after discovering McCoy is aboard. This turn of events is fortuitous for Dehner, as therefore, unlike Gary Mitchell, her fatal encounter with the galactic barrier never takes place.
McCoy is also the protagonist of issue 17, which recounts his backstory. His wife's name in the issue is given as Pamela Branch.