This page contains information regarding Star Trek: Discovery, and thus may contain spoilers.
Captain Philippa Georgiou was a female Human Starfleet officer who lived during the mid-23rd century. She served in the command division as the commanding officer of the USS Shenzhou in 2256. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")
Her ready room was decorated with memoirs of her life, including several artifacts, books, and awards. It also contained Georgiou's most beloved possession, a telescope that had been in her family for centuries. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")
She earned an impressive list of commendations during her career, including the Star Cross and the Legion of Honor. She was also awarded a diploma from the Laikan Military Academy on Andoria for Advanced Interstellar Combat. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello", "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry") In 2256, Georgiou was considered one of Starfleet's most decorated captains, listed among other legends such as Robert April, Matt Decker, Jonathan Archer, and Christopher Pike. (DIS: "Choose Your Pain")
Commanding officer of the USS Shenzhou
Sometime prior to 2249, Georgiou was given command of the USS Shenzhou. In that year, she welcomed Michael Burnham aboard the Shenzhou as her new officer, at the request of Burnham's guardian, Sarek, whom Georgiou had previously been acquainted with. Sarek felt that her personal history might help Burnham come to terms with her own past, although Georgiou feared that, one day, Burnham's Humanity might be overridden by the Vulcan training she had undergone. (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars")
As captain, Georgiou preferred a relaxed command style, encouraging conversation between her officers on the bridge; in particular, she enjoyed the friendly rivalry between Burnham (who eventually became her first officer) and her science officer, Saru, although she recognized when to cut between them and assert her authority. However, she was quick to react when an officer crossed a line. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")
Saving the Crepusculans
In 2256, Captain Georgiou led an expedition to the Crepusculan homeworld, accompanied by Burnham, to prevent a drought from wiping out the native civilization. When a storm cut off communications with the Shenzhou, Georgiou used her footsteps to mark out a Starfleet symbol in the sand, allowing the starship to locate and recover the pair. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")
Encountering the Klingons
Dispatched to a binary star system to investigate a damaged interstellar relay, Georgiou used a telescope she kept in her ready room to visually identify an object of unknown origin. Feeling that the object's location prevented them from getting a closer look, she was inclined to agree with Saru's recommendation that they leave it alone; however, she was persuaded by Burnham to allow the first officer to take a thruster pack to investigate, on the condition that it was "just a flyby."
Despite Burnham returning from the "flyby" in critical condition, Georgiou was initially reluctant to accept her first officer's declaration that the object was of Klingon origin. She ultimately recognized that Burnham's view was not caused by her injuries, and ordered the ship to red alert, knowing that retreating from Federation space was not an option, rejecting Saru's calls to leave immediately.
When a Klingon vessel decloaked before the Shenzhou, Georgiou informed Starfleet Command by way of an encoded message, and decided to adopt a non-aggressive posture, attempting to establish communications. After receiving orders from Admiral Brett Anderson to maintain their position and not engage, she remained unwilling to preemptively strike against them, hoping that whatever events transpired could connect the two civilizations. Despite the entreaties of her first officer and the object's activation blinding the Shenzhou, Georgiou stood by her orders, angrily reprimanding Burnham for questioning her authority on her bridge. Burnham decided to take matters into her own hands, incapacitating Georgiou using a Vulcan nerve pinch and attempting to take command of the Shenzhou. Quickly recovering from the effects, Georgiou entered the bridge, armed with a phaser, and ordered her first officer to stand down, just as a fleet of Klingon ships entered the system. (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")
After removing Burnham from the bridge, and upon the arrival of reinforcements, Georgiou was finally able to contact the Klingon fleet. Advising the Klingons to either leave or enter into dialogue, and expressing regret for the death of their warrior in the encounter with Burnham, Georgiou reassured them that the Federation came in peace. However, this was the clarion call that the Klingon leader, T'Kuvma, had been anticipating, and he used it to rally the Klingon fleet to attack, triggering the Battle of the Binary Stars.
The Shenzhou took significant damage during the initial volley, despite Georgiou's evasive action allowing the Federation fleet to cover its retreat. She then ordered the ship to cover the USS T'Plana-Hath. Georgiou was dismayed to learn that the damage sustained included hull breaches on the deck where the ship's brig was located – right where Burnham had been remanded.
With the Shenzhou completely disabled and drifting into the system's accretion disk, Georgiou instructed her crew to prepare to evacuate. Only the arrival of the USS Europa prevented the destruction of the ship, and Georgiou thanked Admiral Anderson for their assistance, explaining to her superior that the Klingons had fired in response to her communication, and reporting the state of the fleet.
Determined to strike a blow against the Klingons after the deliberate ramming of the Europa, Georgiou took on a suggestion from Saru to use the Shenzhou's worker bees to transport a photon warhead to the enemy flagship, and resolved to pilot the warhead in herself, as the auxiliary craft lacked an autopilot. However, Burnham, having survived the destruction of the brig, arrived on the bridge to warn Georgiou that killing T'Kuvma would only lead to his martyrdom. Instead, she proposed capturing T'Kuvma.
Still reeling from her first officer's actions, Georgiou asked why she had done what she had, and berated herself for her own arrogance in thinking she could "pick away the shell the Vulcans had put around" Burnham and in believing the first officer was ready for command.
Seeing the Klingons gathering their dead, Georgiou modified the plan, disabling the Klingon flagship by beaming the warhead to a Klingon corpse, then transporting aboard with Burnham to capture T'Kuvma. In the ensuing boarding action, Georgiou engaged the Klingon leader in hand-to-hand combat; however, she was no match for the trained warrior and his mek'leth, and was killed. Her body was left behind on the Klingon ship as Burnham was beamed away. (DIS: "Battle at the Binary Stars")
Meanwhile, T'Kuvma's ship was assumed lost and left stranded by the other Klingons for six months. The surviving crew spent this time slowly repairing their crippled ship by salvaging the debris field left behind by the battle. Yet, after many months with no resupply, they faced the likelihood of starvation; Voq and his crew ate Georgiou's corpse, in part simply to survive, and in part as revenge for her role in their master's death. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")
Georgiou's last will and testament reached Burnham six months after her death. It contained a holographic message, along with Georgiou's telescope, which she bequeathed to Burnham. (DIS: "The Butcher's Knife Cares Not for the Lamb's Cry")
Georgiou's Starfleet badge, inscribed with her name and serial number, fell into the possession of Kol, then Head of the House of Kor. Eventually, Burnham took the badge from Kol while engaged in personal combat, beaming back to the USS Discovery with it. (DIS: "Into the Forest I Go")
- 2202: Born on Earth
- 2220–2224: Cadet at Starfleet Academy
- 2240s–2256: Commanding officer of the USS Shenzhou
- 2256: Participates in the Battle of the Binary Stars and is subsequently killed by T'Kuvma
"Ensign Connor, agreement between my senior officers. Note the date and time."
- - Georgiou to Ensign Danby Connor, on the agreement between Michael Burnham and Saru (DIS: "The Vulcan Hello")
"Battle is not simulation. It's blood and screams and funerals. I thought you better than that. We don't start shooting on a hunch. And we don't take innocent lives, period."
"All warfare is based on deception. When you're able to attack, you must seem unable."
Philippa Georgiou was portrayed by Michelle Yeoh.
To take on the part of Captain Georgiou, Michelle Yeoh relied on the help of the creative staff. "I worked very closely," she recalled, "with Aaron (Harberts) and Gretchen (Berg), our show runners, and then with David Semel (director of the pilot) and some of the writers that were here at that time, and Ted (Sullivan), to get a feel of 'When you wrote this character, what were you thinking? Is she married? Does she have family? Does she have that?' Because it forms who she is."