Legendary Journeys
Legendary Journeys
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Hercules on Trial
The Judge
Series Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
Season 4
Antagonist Spencius
Setting Greece
In-Universe Date Year 3
Production # V0306
Filming Dates 25 July to 1 August 1997
Original Air-Date 19 January 1998
Written By Robert Bielak
Directed By John Laing
Episode Chronology
Order in Series 69 of 111
Order in Season 10 of 22
Order in Franchise 130 of 304
Previous Episode in Series "If I Had a Hammer..."
Next Episode in Series "Medea Culpa"
Previous Episode in Franchise "Warrior... Priestess... Tramp"
Next Episode in Franchise "The Quill is Mightier..."
Title Image
Herc on trial title.jpg

Hercules is tried for manslaughter when a man impersonating him is killed while doing a good deed.



In a tavern, Kazankis is drinking and telling people that he is Hercules. The Barkeep confirms that two of his regulars saw this man lift a rock that only Hercules could have lifted. A woman called Marcenea rushes into the tavern seeking help from Hercules. Her two children have been trapped in an old mine. In the mine, Marcenea's husband is trying to keep the ceiling from collapsing. Kazankis rushes in to take his place while the man gets his children out.

Coincidentally, Hercules and Iolaus happen upon the entrance to the mine. When they learn what is happening, they rush inside to help. Hercules helps to brace the ceiling while Iolaus gets the family outside. Unfortunately, Kazankis is crushed to death by a ceiling collapse that Hercules is unable to prevent.

Back in the tavern, Iolaus informs the villagers who the real Hercules is. Turgeus, an old acquaintance of Hercules, enters with Spencius. They place Hercules under arrest, saying that he is responsible for the death of Kazankis.

Act One[]

Hercules allows himself to be arrested. He refuses to break out of the prison because he wants to demonstrate that he has faith in the justice system. When alone in prison, Ares visits Hercules. Ares tells Hercules he is not responsible for the situation but he is enjoying it.

Spencius tells Iolaus that he has been building a case against Hercules for months. In the preliminary hearing, Hercules refuses to plea to the various charges Spencius levels against him. Spencius tells Hercules that he is guilt because he encourages others to be like him and to work outside the law.

Spencius then calls the widow Galea to the witness circle. Galea was Kazankis' wife. She confirms that Kazankis was a farmer but when he met Hercules he was inspired and his life changed. He stopped tending the farm, letting their fields lay fallow. This put Galea and her children in danger of starvation.Ares appears in the back of the courtroom to watch. Turgeus announces that the charges stand and the trial of Hercules will begin in Athens in one week. Galea's Daughter approaches Hercules and asks him why he killed her daddy. This causes Ares to laugh gleefully.

Act Two[]

In Athens, Iolaus visits Hercules in his cell. They discuss the poor quality of the food and the fact that Spencius has never lost a case. Hercules tells Iolaus that he has to clear his name. If this can be done to him, it can be done to anyone.

In court, Spencius questions a Farmer who testifies that he was waiting for Hercules to save his farm from a wild boar. Hercules was busy elsewhere dealing with a war, and a Hydra. The Farmer's farm was destroyed. Hercules testifies that he has never met this Farmer and Spencius says this is the point: Hercules influences people he's never met.

Another Witness testifies that all four of his sons were killed in war. They had wanted to be heroes like Hercules.

Back in his cell, Hercules tells Iolaus that he never realized how much he influenced people he never met. Iolaus has hired Dirce to be Hercules' lawyer. She enters with an armful of scrolls and tells Hercules that she can get him out of this in less than a week. She suggests they need witnesses that Hercules has helped. Dirce and Iolaus leave to find people.

Back in court, Cassandra gives an account of the destruction of Atlantis and how Hercules saved her from the fate of most Atlanteans. Spencius accuses Cassandra of manufacturing Atlantis and lying about its wonderful machines and achievements. Spencius points out that heroes have to make decisions about who lives and who dies. He says this is not fair.

Back in his cell, Hercules talks to Dirce about what to do next. Hercules says he wants to enter the witness circle and speak for himself. In court, Hercules says he wishes he could have saved Kazankis but that this trial takes away from the selfless act of his death and self-sacrifice. Dirce agrees that this was a good speech and that it might convince the court to drop the manslaughter charge, however, she believes Spencius really wants to convict Hercules on a charge of sedition. If this happens, he would be banished from all of Greece forever.

Act Three[]

Back in court, Kara, widow of Derkus Petronicus, testifies. Spencius says that none of Derk's executions were government sanctioned. Spencius then points out that after Hercules brought Derk in for justice, he set Derk free when he didn't feel the court's judgement was correct. Hercules put himself above the law. Spencius says this indicates seditious behaviour.

Dirce called Daedalus to the witness circle. He testifies that Hercules convinced him to follow his dreams. after Icarus dies, Daedalus says he lost his way. He was blinded by his grief and his inventions were hurting people. Hercules helped him to see this. He says Hercules is the best friend he's ever had. In Spencius' cross examination, he gets Daedalus to testify that Hercules encouraged Icarus to risk his life, following his dream of flight. When Hercules makes some interjections, the Judge warns him to stop.

Back in his cell, Hercules is angry that things are not going well. He is beginning to wonder if he is responsible for the deaths of Kazankis and Icarus. Dirce tells him not to doubt himself. After she leaves, Ares appears. Ares says people shouldn't treat his brother this way. He says Hercules should be angry at this treatment. He says that both he and Hercules want order for the world; no crime, no vice. He suggests that they team up and Hercules turns him down.

Back in court, Queen Melissa testifies that without Hercules' help, her kingdom would have fallen into the hands of her evil sister. Dirce comments that Melissa is an "uncommonly beautiful woman" and Melissa returns the compliment. Jason and Alcmene enter the court and Dirce calls Jason to the witness circle. Jason says that Hercules is his stepson and his best friend. Hercules helped Jason turn his life around after he became a "hopeless drunk." Spencius asks Jason how many people died in the two quests for the Golden Fleece. Spencius tries to convince people that these deaths are Hercules' fault.

Alcmene visits Hercules in his cell. She was the one who taught him to comply with the system. They tell each other that they love one another and Hercules tries to convince her that he will be alright.

In the streets, Dirce and Iolaus are talking about how the trial is not going well. They decide Iolaus should testify, but for the prosecution.

Act Four[]

Iolaus testifies that Hercules has saved his life countless times. When Iolaus dies, Hercules managed to use his godly influence to have him brought back to life. Why didn't Hercules do the same for men like Kazankis. Spencius then brings up the death of Hercules' family, arguing that he is a danger to everyone around him.

Back in his cell, Hercules says that some of what Spencius claims is true. Hercules is very independent and tries to do what he feels is right. Maybe his family would still be alive if he were different.

In the streets, a Villager finds Iolaus and says that Mong is on a rampage in her village. The only one who can stop him is Hercules. Back in his cell, Hercules tells Iolaus he can't help. He promised Turgeus he would remain in custody until a verdict was reached. Iolaus leaves, saying he'll try to figure something out. Ares appears and says the jury wants to banish Hercules from all of Greece. He says his warlords will have great fun burning and pillaging in Hercules' absence. Ares shows Hercules visions of war breaking out even as they speak.

Meanwhile, in the village, Mong is destroying everything in sight. The villagers are no match for him, Iolaus rushes in and asks Mong to stop and return to his cave. When Mong attacks Iolaus, Iolaus is also no match for him. Hercule suddenly appears and Mong tells him that he has a terrible toothache. Hercules helps him by knocking the bad tooth out and then asks Mong to help the villagers rebuild.

Back in the court, Spencius reports to the Judge that Hercules has broken out. Hercules enters and apologizes for being late. The Judge agrees that the trial can continue. In Spencius' closing arguments, he says that Hercules disrupts "perfect order". This corrupts the youth and puts the future of Athens in peril. Hercules responds that he has bent the law when he felt it was unjust. He says justice about the spirit of the law, not the letter. He also admits that he has encouraged people to go against the gods. He does try to inspire others to be everything they are capable of being. Hercules says a hero is a person who's not afraid to risk their life for another. Sometimes, like in the case of Kazankis, it means that hero loses his life. He says we all need heroes to set an example that everyone can aspire to. Hercules offers himself to the court, and Iolaus, and all of the witnesses stand up and say "I am Hercules". The judge is moved and says if they were to proceed, he would have to banish everyone, himself included. The judge stands up and says "I am Hercules. Case dismissed."

Hercules tells Galea and her children that he is sorry about Kazankis. She apologizes for listening to Spencius. She says Kazankis changed positively and died a hero thanks to Hercules. Hercules and Iolaus walk off to stop the war that Ares had started.


"Due to extensive DNA testing, Hercules was proven innocent during the production of this motion picture."


Background Information[]

  • Trial by a magistrate with no jury, as depicted in this episode, would have been anathema to the ancient Athenians, who invented the concept of the trial by jury as we know it. Had Hercules actually been on trial, he would have been judged by a jury of twelve Athenian citizens.
    • In mythology, trials held in Athens during the heroic age were presided over by Athena herself, who acted as both the judge and as the swing vote in the event of a hung jury.
  • The series' habit of recasting actors to play different minor characters resulted in Lisa Chappell pulling double duty as Dirce and as Queen Melissa. Dirce comments on Melissa's beauty as an in-joke.
  • This marks one of the few appearances of Athens. In spite of being identified anachronistically as the capital of Greece, the city appears very infrequently.

Memorable Quotations[]

"We've had our differences, but it's because you refuse to look past what you think you see in me. We want the same thing for this world."
"Yeah. Order – perfect order. It could be a place without crime, without vice. Think how happy that'd make your beloved mortals. And wouldn't it set Zeus back a step or two? You and me? Think about it."
"You and me?"
"A team? What color is the sky in your world?"
"See, that's your weakness. You don't have the stomach for it."
"No, it's just that whenever you’re around, I lose my appetite."

Ares and Hercules

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