Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, our subject is Pavel Chekov from The Original Series. (Nuclear Wessels!)
Chekov is a Russian who served as navigator aboard the Enterprise under Captain Kirk. Chekov actually rotated to other stations such as science as well, but navigator is where Chekov settled in during the five year mission. He returns as Chief of Security aboard the Enterprise during the movies.
Although Chekov did not join the show until the second season, he joined the crew sometime during the first season based on what Chekov knew of events in the first season. The most notable example of this is his familiarity with Khan in Star Trek II, although Space Seed was a season one episode.
Chekov is wildly proud of his Russian heritage and makes numerous big claims about Russian culture during the show. These boasts include that the Garden of Eden is located just outside Moscow, Cinderella was a Russian epic, and the saying "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me" was coined in Russia. Although each of these is untrue, you can't fault Chekov for his home country pride.
Chekov was added to the show to fill a lot of roles originally written for Sulu because George Takei was busy filming The Green Berets during much of season two. Although Chekov was drafted as a young Englishman originally, Gene Roddenberry changed him to Russian after receiving some complaints that fashioning a future with a united world and no U.S.S.R. presence was disingenuous.
The wig that Chekov originally wore was designed to make him look like the musician Davy Jones, but it comes across as looking like one of the Monkees.
The best episodes featuring Chekov include The Way to Eden, Who Mourns for Adonais, and The Tholian Web.
Our notable quote this week comes from the episode The Trouble With Tribbles:
Scott: When are you gonna get off that milk diet, lad?
Chekov: This is vodka.
Scott: Where I come from, that's soda pop.
Scott: [raising his glass] Now this is a drink for a man.
Chekov: It was invented by a little old lady from Leningrad.
Actor: Walter Koenig is the actor who played Chekov. Koenig has acted for 50 years now and is also well known for his role as scoundrel Bester on Babylon 5.
Until next time, live long and prosper...