Justice is the third episode in Series IV of Red Dwarf, and twenty-first episode overall.


While at a space prison to dispose of a possible bio-mechanical killer, Rimmer is convicted for killing the 1,169 crew of Red Dwarf in the accident three million years earlier.



Rimmer with the skutters on his tour of the Diesel Decks

The gang from Red Dwarf pick up a cryogenic escape pod. Meanwhile Lister is being treated for Space Mumps, which has caused his head to be grossly disfigured. After Kryten lets slip of the news about the pod, and its possible female occupant, Lister leaves his sick bed to investigate. The Cat accidentally starts the thawing process too early. Rimmer returns from his tour of the Diesel Decks and angrily explains why the pod wasn't opened: it's Black Box revealed it was from a prison transport ship where the prisoners, a group of psychopathic Simulants, mutinied, and there was a pitched battle with only two survivors. As a result they can't be sure whether an innocent guard called Barbara Bellini or a kill-crazed Simulant is inside. With the robot too strong for them to destroy with their available weapons, but Lister and the Cat reluctant to dispose of the pod in case it's the guard inside, Holly suggests they travel on Starbug to the prison where the ship was en-route. If the pod's occupant is the guard, she can be released. If it's a Simulant, they can "bung him in a cell and leave him to rot."


Justice World, where Rimmer is threatened with a 10,000 year imprisonment

Justice MindProbe

Justice World uses the Mind Probe on the boys from the Dwarf

Lister recovers from his Space Mumps, much to the Cat's distress for how it happens - Lister's head pops all over the Cat. Once they arrive the prison's computer puts them in Escort Boots and scans the crew's minds (a mind probe) for crimes they've committed.. After judging the Cat and Kryten to be innocent, they turn to Lister, who panics over numerous adolescent misdemeanours. The probe forgives Lister and frees him. However it convicts Rimmer of 1,167 counts of second degree murder, on the grounds that his "wilful negligence in failing to reseal a drive plate" resulted in the radiation leak that killed the Red Dwarf crew. Since he is a hologram, his total sentence is 9,336 years, eight years per death, to be serve consecutively.


An imprisoned Rimmer explains how the Justice Zone works - by getting Lister to set fire to the bed sheets, which instead sets fire to Lister's clothes

Rimmer is imprisoned in the Justice Zone where any crime that is committed is reversed on the user (as demonstrated when Rimmer invites Lister to set his bed sheets alight which causes Lister's own clothes to catch fire, or in the deleted scene where Lister litters and is pooed on by a giant bird). Lister and Kryten try to come up with a defence that paints Rimmer as a total fool. Kryten convinces the computer, through a brutal character assassination, that Rimmer isn't responsible because he's a neurotic mess who considers himself far more important than he has any right to be. Rimmer's own ego and inflated sense of self-worth leads him to blame himself for the accident that he could never have committed because only a fool or the truly incompetent would put him in a position of authority where he might have endangered lives. Ergo the true culprit of the disaster is the one who assigned someone as obviously unqualified as Rimmer such an important job, not Rimmer himself. Rimmer is found not guilty and is released. However Rimmer demands an apology from Kryten for such an insulting defence.

The crew return to Starbug exhausted, having forgotten why they went there in the first place... the pod has opened, and the occupant was not Barbara Bellini but the Simulant Convict who chases the Dwarfers into the Justice Zone.
Better late than never

"Better late than never!"

After avoiding each other the Simulant asks to talk to one of the crew, something Lister agrees to do. They both promise not to bring any weapons to the meeting, which is a lie from them both. However, much to Lister's dismay, the Simulant lied twice. Without any hope in the fight the Simulant attacks, only to find his blows strike him instead of Lister. Thanks to the Justice Field's ability to make the effects of a crime happen to the perpetrator rather than the victim, Lister is spared from the wrath of the Simulant's assault, but not before the Cat hits the Simulant with a shovel and knocks himself unconscious.

With the Simulant dealt with, the Dwarfers return to Red Dwarf and Lister gets what's coming to him after boring the rest with a rant on the nature of justice and free will.

Deleted scenes

Dvd recovered scenes 300104 3

A walk in Justice World's parks

  • There is a deleted scene available for viewing on the Series V DVD. The boys take in a walk in the "park" - the botanical gardens held in the "hanging scales" of Justice World. The scene was actually filmed in a London park, and extra effects were never added to it. Lister explains to the Cat how the Justice Field works, and soon after throws an empty can into one of the bins in the park, but misses. In response to littering, a giant bird swoops down and poos on Lister; a great glob of reddish gunk.
  • Numerous extended dialogue scenes, including extra lines at Rimmer's trial.


  • In the much later Series XI episode Samsara, the boys from the Dwarf encounter a "Karma Drive" which is based on the same technology of the Justice Zone the gang encounter in Justice.
  • It's not stated what legal system was in use by the Justice Computer and it can be assumed to something other than English law, which had no concept of "second-degree murder" at the time this episode was made. While you might expect that negligent homicide would be manslaughter at most, the Justice computer describes Rimmer's actions as "willful" indicating that he intended to kill (thus murder). This is either the Justice computer counting Rimmer's hatred of the crew as a motive, or the computer just being hard on him.
  • During Rimmer's trial, when the Justice Computer asks Lister is anybody had shared intimate moments with Rimmer, Lister says only one, "and she's got a puncture". This is a reference to Rachael.
  • The Justice computer calculated Rimmer's sentence Incorrectly, totalling 9328 years when it should have been 9336.

Noteworthy Dialogue

  • Cat: Inside this pod is either death or a date? And personally, I'm prepared to take the risk.
  • (After having lit himself on fire after attempting arson inside the Justice Field as a suggested example from Rimmer) Lister: Nice example Rimmer! Nice example! You could have just explained that to me verbally!
  • Justice Computer: [Rimmer] if you object to your own defence counsel once more, Mr Rimmer, you will be in contempt.
  • Kryten: This man is not guilty of manslaughter, he is only guilty of being Arnold J. Rimmer. That is his crime, it is also his punishment.
  • Cat: (To the Simulant) You wouldn't by any chance be Barbara Bellini?

Background Information

  • This episode retcons some of the background details from previous series:
    • Rimmer is no longer said to be responsible for the crew's extermination. It had been decided behind the scenes that his abilities were far too lacking for him to realistically be assigned a task that could endanger crewmates' lives.
    • The number of crew aboard Red Dwarf is increased from 169 to 1,169 (which makes more sense considering the sheer size of the ship).
  • Rimmer's ability to, as a soft-light hologram, step into the escort boots was explained merely with the lines "that has been accounted for" from the Justice computer, leaving the explanation to the viewer to figure out. Possibly Rimmer's boots are also emitters or hologrammatic in nature? The writers probably wanted to acknowledge that they recognized this was strange, but not take away time from the main plot explaining it.

Guest Stars


Other articles of things featured in this particular episode

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