This article is about the episode. For the event, see Coup d'etat.

Gallery Episode Transcript

"Coup D'etat" is the seventeenth episode of the second season of Stargate: Atlantis.


Ladon Radim of the Genii contacts Atlantis and wants their help in staging a coup against Cowen, in exchange for a Zero Point Module. However, not all has changed since the expedition's last encounter from the Genii.

Previously on Stargate: Atlantis

Major John Sheppard and Cowen, the leader of the Genii, decide to form an alliance but Sheppard informs him the Wraith have awakened and the Genii plan to destroy the Wraith as they sleep with atomic weapons five years from now was no longer possible. Dr. Rodney McKay warns the Genii that the shielding for their atomic weapons research was insufficient. A strike force lead by Commander Acastus Kolya invades Atlantis but Sheppard is able to retake the city and activate Atlantis' shield to protect it from a powerful storm. During the Wraith siege of Atlantis, Dr. Elizabeth Weir traded C-4 to the Genii for two of their atomic weapons.



Atlantis receives an emergency call from Major Evan Lorne's team on M1K-177. Lt. Colonel John Sheppard's team comes to investigate only to find them dead, having been burned in a fire. After returning to Atlantis, the Stargate is activated by Ladon Radim, a member of the Genii strike force lead by Commander Acastus Kolya, with the prospects of a new Zero Point Module in exchange for weapons to orchestrate a rebellion and overthrow Cowen, the current leader of the Genii.

After informing Cowen of Ladon's plan, Atlantis decides to raid Ladon's base in order to get get the ZPM. Ladon sends his sister Dahlia Radim and a few Genii civilians, all of whom are later discovered to be afflicted by terminal radiation poisoning, to pick up the weapons. While investigating the death of Lorne and his team, Teyla Emmagan and Ronon Dex discover a hit list for members of the Atlantis expedition that have the Ancient Technology Activation gene. Dr. Carson Beckett determines that the remains of the men found in the fire are not those of Lorne and his team but Genii.

Lorne captured.jpg

Sheppard then leads a raid on Ladon's undermanned compound. However, though they stun all of Ladon's guards, they are informed by Ladon that they found the ZPM in their archives, but that it has long since run out of power; then, one by one the whole team fall unconscious - Ladon has gassed them. Sheppard wakes to be confronted by Cowen, who planned Ladon's trap all along. He is informed of Cowen's plans then soon thrown into prison, where he finds the rest of the raiding team, as well as the captured, previously thought dead, off-world team led by Lorne.

In Atlantis, the team receives Cowen's demands, he wants all ten of Atlantis' Puddle Jumpers. They inform him that Dahlia and the others can be saved from death with their technology, but Cowen does not care whether they live or die. He then threatens to kill all the captured men, one every 15 minutes, starting with Sheppard. When his demands aren't instantly met, Cowen orders Ladon to kill Sheppard.

In the team's cell, Ladon asks if Beckett can really cure his people and when Sheppard confirms this, Ladon states that he's letting them go. Ladon reveals that he really was a planning a coup and all of this was to get Cowen and his elite guard in one place so he could kill them with a nuclear weapon Ladon had built and placed beneath the building. Despite some brief resistance, Ladon, his men and the Atlantis team are able to safely escape.

On Atlantis, everyone continues to monitor the wormhole when Chuck receives McKay's IDC. Upon arrival in Atlantis, Ladon's men surrender their weapons and McKay explains the situation to a shocked Weir. Ladon contacts Cowen on the radio and apologizes, saying Cowen was a good leader. A horrified Cowen asks what Ladon's done as the nuclear weapon detonates, killing him and his elite guard.

Medical operating room.JPG

After the death of Cowen, Ladon asks to be taken to his sister and Backett tells Ladon that while he had to remove a tumor from Dahlia's left lung, she will recover. A grateful Ladon asks if Beckett can cure others of the Genii with similar afflictions and Weir agrees. Ladon tells her that he doesn't anticipate any more casualties and returns to the Genii homeworld to take power.

Later that night, Sheppard visits Weir in her office and informs her that the coup was a success: Ladon Radim is now the leader of the Genii. The remainder of Cowen's loyalists surrendered once they learned of his death and that of his elite guard so it is being billed as a bloodless coup. Weir wonders if they made things worse or not as usually the governments that take over after coups are worse, but Sheppard suggests that things will be better given the way Ladon has been treating them.


Appearances for Coup D'etat





Sentient Species



Notable quotes

McKay: Look, we all know that eventually the Wraith are gonna discover we're still here. Having more power means that we have more options. We might even be able to light up the engines and get the city to fly.
Sheppard: Really?
McKay: .. No. But we still need it.

Ladon: I'll only talk to Weir.
Sheppard: Do I make you nervous.
Ladon: Not at all, Major. I'm just not interested in talking to the errand boy.
Sheppard: That's Lieutenant Colonel Errand Boy to you.

McKay: You know, I'm not sure that you've sufficiently trained me in actual combat. I don't know how much use I'd be in a fight-our-way-out kind of scenario.
Sheppard: Well, I look at it this way: the Genii have tried to kidnap you on numerous occasions to mine that big old brain of yours.
McKay: Yes.
Sheppard: Well, if we get into trouble, I'll just trade your life for mine.
McKay: Oh, funny.

Weir: A raid?
Sheppard: Hell, yes, a raid! If this is their main base of operations, I'm willing to bet the ZPM is there.
Weir: And, what? Just steal it?
McKay: Well, the Brotherhood stole it from us. Ladon stole it from the Brotherhood. It's not really stealing, it's, um ...
Sheppard: ... recovery!

Ronon: (about a 'wanted' list) And why aren't we on it?
Weir: Excuse me?
Ronon: Sheppard's on the list; McKay is on the list. Why aren't Teyla and me?
Weir: What, you're feeling left out?!
Ronon: I just wanna know who thinks I'm not a threat and give 'em a chance to change their mind.

McKay: See how I almost stunned that guy?
Sheppard: I must have missed it.
McKay: Yeah, but if he was, like, a step to the right, I would've stunned him for sure.
Sheppard: Good for you!

Sheppard: What do you want with the Jumpers?
Cowen: What do I want with invisible spaceships that could fly to other worlds and even deliver our atomic weapons?
Sheppard: Well, since you put it that way ...

Sheppard: (in cell) Major. Boys.
Lorne: Colonel.
Sheppard: Way to be alive.
Lorne: Thanks, sir. So, have you come to rescue us?
Sheppard: Well, until about a moment ago I thought you were dead, but now that I see you speaking and breathing... yeah, I'm thinking about it.
Lorne: Well, good. Let me know if there's anything we can do to help, huh?

Ladon: I needed Cowen and his elite guard together in one place. I knew the chance of some Puddle Jumpers would get him here.
Sheppard: Good one.
Ladon: Most of my men are waiting for me on our homeworld. Tonight, the leadership of our people changes hands.
Sheppard: You were just gonna leave us here to be vaporized with the others?
Ladon: Yes, I was... but things have changed. Let's go.


Main Characters

Guest Stars


  • Radim's mention that rumors of Atlantis' demise were greatly exaggerated is likely a reference to Mark Twain's infamous comment that "rumors of (his) death have been greatly exaggerated."


  • Upon returning to Atlantis at the beginning of the episode, the shadows of the people carrying the bodies can be seen on the ground before coming through the gate. The issue with shadows and the gate is prevalent through this episode.
  • After Cowen reveals to Lt. Colonel John Sheppard that "..there is no rebellion..", back in Atlantis there is an off world activation. There is a noticeable time delay between the shield being activated and the sound effect heard.
  • When Dr. Lindsay is leading Sheppard's team to the site of the fire, subtitles incorrectly identify the speaker as "Novak". Dr. Lindsey Novak is a different character.

Other languages

  • Hungarian: Puccs (Coup d'Etat)
  • German: Coup d'Etat (Coup d'Etat)

External links

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