Star Trek Actor on Being Pulled Over in Costume

star trek actors

Amanda Edwards/Getty Images Leonard Nimoy, John Cho, William Shatner , Karl Urban, and Bruce Greenwood attend the 19th Annual "Hollywood Charity Horse Show" at the Los Angeles Equestrian Center on April 25, 2009 in Burbank, California.

One famous actor has shared a story about the time they got pulled over by the police…while wearing their Star Trek costume. Read on to get all the info about this funny incident, including what the police officer had to say when they saw a Starfleet officer behind the wheel.

William Shatner Was Pulled Over in Costume

william shatner

Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesWilliam Shatner speaks during Comic-Con International 2015.

The story goes that, while filming one of the Star Trek movies at an undisclosed desert location, William Shatner drove to set while wearing his Captain Kirk costume. He was pulled over by the police very early in the morning because he was speeding. However, the officer was apparently a fan, and let Shatner go, exclaiming “Live long and prosper” to the veteran actor.

It’s a tale that Shatner’s told a few times over the years, including at a Q&A in Nashville back in 2020. Shatner also recounted the tale under his own byline for the Daily Mail back in 2008.

The two accounts are more or less the same, with a slight difference in how the police officer behaves before delivering a “Vulcan salute” to Shatner and sending him on his way to the film set.

Here’s the 2008 account in Shatner’s own words:

I got out of my car, dressed in my uniform. The police officer looked me up and down, frowned and asked: “So where are you going so fast at this time in the morning?”

I told him the truth: “To my spaceship.”

He sighed. “OK, go ahead,” he said, before adding the Vulcan blessing: “Live long and prosper.”

In a more recent telling of the story, admittedly not in Shatner’s own words, it appears that the officer may have stepped away for a moment before ultimately releasing Shatner, which does ratchet up the tension in the anecdote. Sounds Like Nashville‘s reporting on the version of the story Shatner told in 2020 certainly has more dramatic tension:

“Without a word, the officer returned his license and just walked away. Shatner says with the cop wearing his sunglasses, he couldn’t see his eyes or read what he was thinking. He had no idea what was about to happen. Suddenly the officer threw his hand up in the Vulcan salute and uttered Mr. Spock’s famous words, ‘Live long and prosper.'”

Whether it’s a case of the story evolving over the years to maximize dramatic effect, or a misinterpretation from Shatner’s remarks at that live event in Nashville, the essentials of the story Shatner tells have remained more or less the same over the years.

Shatner Had a Reasonable Reason For Wearing Kirk’s Uniform

In the video above, uploaded in 2018, Shatner recounts the incident where he was pulled over while in costume. In the version he tells above, Shatner does recall the police officer returning to his own vehicle before saying “Live long and prosper”.

In his 2008 account for the Daily Mail, Shatner explained the simple reason he was driving at 4am in his Captain Kirk costume. Quite simply, he wanted to maximize sleep and have a delayed call time.

“Give me my uniform and I’ll put it on at the house so I don’t have to come in any earlier for wardrobe,” Shatner told the wardrobe person. “I’ll just wear it to the set.”

Shatner vs. His Uniform

William Shatner as Captain Kirk on Star Trek The Original Series


While Shatner asked to spend more time in uniform before getting pulled over, it’s worth noting that he hasn’t always relished the idea of spending additional time in costume.

Back in 2015, SyFy reported that Shatner revealed his true feelings about his on-screen costume at a Comic-Con panel. Apparently, Kirk’s original TOS uniform was tailored to have a snug fit, which Shatner did not appreciate.

SyFy quoted Shatner as saying, “It was a little embarrassing after lunch to have that tight green thing [his uniform] on you…you keep tugging that thing down.”

Shatner isn’t the only former Star Trek cast member to complain about costumes. George Takei is on the record about hating the design of his costume from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, for example.

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