The Drumhead Stardate: 44769.2 Original Airdate: 29 Apr, 1991

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The Drumhead (episode)

  • View history
  • 1.2 Act One
  • 1.3 Act Two
  • 1.4 Act Three
  • 1.5 Act Four
  • 1.6 Act Five
  • 2 Log entries
  • 3 Memorable quotes
  • 4.1 Production history
  • 4.2 Story and script
  • 4.3 Production
  • 4.4 Continuity
  • 4.5 Reception
  • 4.6 Video and DVD releases
  • 5.1 Starring
  • 5.2 Also starring
  • 5.3 Guest stars
  • 5.4 Co-star
  • 5.5 Uncredited co-stars
  • 5.6 Stand-ins
  • 5.7.1 Unused production references
  • 5.8 External links

Summary [ ]

On Stardate 44765.2, a dilithium chamber hatch explodes aboard the USS Enterprise -D and sabotage is suspected. The explosion coincides with reports that the Romulans have gained access to information about the Enterprise 's dilithium articulation frame a week later, indicating that there is a spy on board. A quick investigation turns up one suspect – a Klingon exchange officer named J'Dan , but upon being interrogated by Riker and Troi , he strongly denies any involvement. As Worf escorts him to his quarters , J'Dan asks for aid as a fellow Klingon, by asking Worf to escort him to a shuttlecraft to escape, and in return would help to restore Worf's honor through powerful friends he has. Worf angrily rebuffs his request and tells him that he will find out the truth and once the Klingon High Council learns of the incident, J'Dan will be put to a slow death as a traitor.

Act One [ ]

Starfleet Command sends retired Admiral Norah Satie and her assistants – including Sabin Genestra , who is a Betazoid – to expedite the proceedings. Satie gets right to work, and Picard escorts her to engineering , where Geordi La Forge and Data relate their findings on the explosion. Data reports to Picard that it will take 49 hours to gain access to the warp core at the current rate of decreasing radiation levels beyond the isolation door . La Forge offers to play back the sensor log for the admiral. It initially appears to be sabotage, as all logs indicated normal operations 52 milliseconds before the incident and the articulation frame was indeed the culprit. She sees there is something to investigate and wants a full briefing.

Later, as Satie and Picard talk in his ready room , Worf arrives with his finding of J'Dan's hyposyringe in his room, modified to scan and resequence classified information into biological tags for transport on an injected body; J'Dan covers this by the fact that he has Ba'ltmasor Syndrome , which requires weekly injections and thus, would easily hide the transfer of information. With this evidence against him, J'Dan readily admits his crime, confessing that he believes the alliance with the Federation has made the Klingons weak, and that the Romulans are stronger and would be better allies. Despite his confession, he adamantly maintains his innocence in the explosion. However, Satie is still unsatisfied, and Sabin says he believes J'Dan is now telling the truth; they are convinced that J'Dan could not have been working alone.

Act Two [ ]

In the admiral's quarters, Satie and Picard discuss the current situation with J'Dan and his possible sabotage. Satie admits that when Starfleet ordered her to the Enterprise to participate in the investigation, it was expressly stated that she and the captain were to be equals. She was initially reluctant, as her father, Judge Aaron Satie , had always advised her to avoid partnerships. Picard expresses his admiration for Judge Satie's decisions, as those judgments were required reading when he attended the Academy . Satie states she and Picard will be quite a team.

Simon Tarses

Crewman Simon Tarses is interrogated

In the observation lounge , Genestra and Worf look over the people J'Dan had contact with on the Enterprise , but the Klingon apparently did not make many friends on board, narrowing their search of possible collaborators. Genestra compliments Worf on his thorough investigation. However, Genestra tells him that he and Satie initially suspected he could have possibly been a security risk due to his father Mogh having been declared a traitor for betraying his people to the Romulans . Worf strongly declares that what his father did or did not do is no one's business but his own. Genestra assures Worf that he has the admiral and his complete confidence. Worf assuredly states, " If there is a conspiracy on board, I promise you I will find it. " With that, he begins arranging interviews.

Admiral Satie then begins an inquiry into all personnel and passengers on the Enterprise with whom J'Dan has come into contact with during his stay. When she questions young crewman and medical technician Simon Tarses , Sabin senses great fear and guilt from Tarses, as if some sort of lie is consuming him. He believes they've found J'Dan's co-conspirator.

Act Three [ ]

Data and Norah Satie in engineering

" I believe, sir, that the conclusion to our investigation must be that the explosion was not intentional. "

Picard refuses to restrict Tarses' movements based solely on Genestra's Betazoid intuition. Before a consensus can be reached, he and Satie are called to engineering by La Forge and Data; the radiation levels preventing them from entering the chamber – caused by the explosion – have now dropped low enough for them to enter safely, and their examination shows no foul play had been involved. The explosion was caused by simple neutron fatigue along an undetectable defect in a hatch cover that was installed during the ship's last refit at Earth Station McKinley , making it an accident that just happened to coincide with the theft of the chamber's plans rather than sabotage.

But Satie and Genestra are unconvinced by this, still believing Tarses was a co-conspirator with J'Dan since they don't think J'Dan could have come aboard the Federation flagship and accomplish what he did without help from within. Another inquiry against Tarses is launched on Stardate 44780, this time open to the public, and he is barraged with numerous accusations to try and establish his guilt, including a lie that the explosion was caused by corrosive chemicals stored in sickbay to which he had access to, and the exposure of the lie Tarses himself tried to kept hidden: that he put false information about his parentage in his Academy admission form, stating that his paternal grandfather was Vulcan when, in fact, he was Romulan. Overwhelmed, Tarses invokes the Seventh Guarantee of the Constitution of the United Federation of Planets to decline to answer further questions to avoid self-incrimination, on the counsel of Commander Riker.

Act Four [ ]

Picard, seeing Worf instruct several security officers in an investigation into Tarses' background, tells him he feels that Satie is engaging in a drumhead trial , a xenophobic witch-hunt. After talking with Tarses and establishing that his lying on his application was his only misdeed, Picard confronts Satie and demands that the hearings be put to rest, threatening to go over her head and complain directly to Starfleet Command if necessary. Satie rebuffs him and reveals she has been in full contact with Starfleet Command since the beginning of the investigation and they fully approve of her methods. In fact, Admiral Thomas Henry of Starfleet Security will be coming aboard to witness the next and all subsequent hearings until the conspiracy is solved. In other words, the interrogations will not be stopped; they will be expanded. As Satie turns to leave the ready room, Picard tells the admiral that what she is doing is unethical and immoral, and he will fight it. Satie tells the captain he should do what he must – and so will she.

Later, Picard is on the bridge , distracted, when Data informs him that the warp engines have been restored and they are ready to begin restart sequences. Going over to sit in his chair , Riker asks Picard if he is all right. Picard tells his first officer that he is fine, just a little preoccupied at the moment. Unfortunately, because of his outspokenness against them, Picard receives a summons delivered by Nellen Tore , Satie's assistant, to appear tomorrow morning at 0900 hours before the committee for questioning.

Act Five [ ]

At his interrogation, Picard makes an opening statement in attempt to appeal to Satie's sense of reason and convince her to end the hearings, but he is met with a thorough and borderline irrelevant nitpicking of his competency and loyalty to Starfleet and the Federation. First, Satie brings up that Picard had violated the Prime Directive a total of nine times since he was given command of the Enterprise , to which Picard had stated he was already aware of, since his reports to Starfleet had documented the circumstances of each violation. Next, Sabin brings up the events of Stardate 44390.1 : when Picard delivered a supposed Vulcan ambassador named T'Pel to the Romulan Neutral Zone , and it turned out that she was actually a Romulan spy who was being delivered back to the enemy. Satie highlights the fact that Picard had willingly let T'Pel go, despite knowing that she had classified information from the Federation.

Worf, who up until this point had sided with Satie, realizes where the hearing is going and attempts to defend his captain, stating that the Enterprise was outnumbered by many Romulan warbirds , and Picard did the only thing he could do. Worf is rebuffed with how he had security do nothing during the spy's stay on the Enterprise and accusations of his father's supposed betrayal to the Romulans, at which Picard calmly restrains Worf. Satie then questions Picard about his past experience as a Borg , along with his role at the massacre at Wolf 359 . Picard finally responds to the accusations laid against him by quoting her father's famous words about the dangers of denying basic rights to one man in the name of protection.

Enraged at this invocation of her father's name, Satie abruptly rises from her chair and interrupts Picard, accusing him of treason and conspiring with the Romulans. She calls men like him a threat to the entire Federation whom it is her job to seek out and destroy and warns him that she has "brought down bigger men than you!" At this point in her tirade, Admiral Henry, with a visible expression of disgust at Satie, gets up and wordlessly leaves the room, bringing an informal end to the interrogation. Embarrassed, Sabin declares a recess until the following day, and the room empties quickly, leaving Satie alone, shaken. By turning her father's words back on her, Picard has goaded her into revealing the depth of her fanaticism and paranoia in front of an audience, severely damaging her credibility, possibly permanently.

Picard Worf, observation lounge

" Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we have to continually pay. "

Later on, in the ship's conference lounge , Picard is informed by Worf that Admiral Henry has officially called an end to the hearings, and that Satie has departed the Enterprise . Though it is unlikely that she will ever be trusted with such authority again, Worf cannot help feeling guilty for having been deluded into aiding her cause without realizing what she was and what she stood for. Picard, however, sees it as a learning experience; such enemies who cloak their misdeeds with the pretense of serving a greater good are often very difficult to spot. Although it is very unlikely Satie will ever be trusted again, people like her are always waiting in the wings for the time to strike and spread fear and mistrust in the name of righteousness and, as Picard tells Worf, continual vigilance against them is "the price that [they] must pay" to maintain their freedom.

Log entries [ ]

  • Captain's log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), 2367

Memorable quotes [ ]

" The blood of all Klingons has become water! Ever since the Federation Alliance , we have turned into a nation of mewling babies! The Romulans are strong; they are worthy allies! They do not turn Klingons into weaklings like you! " (hints at Worf)

" Captain, I predict that officer will be extremely valuable in this investigation. "

" Admiral. I have to tell you; you must not expect me to permit any action against Mr. Tarses solely on the basis of Betazoid intuition. " " Sabin has uncanny instincts. I've learned to trust them. " " I'm not happy about this use of a Betazoid. " " But you have a Betazoid counselor. Surely, you're aware of the advantages. " " There is a difference between a counselor and an investigator. " " Are you saying you never use your counselor during interrogations? " " Yes, I do… but I would not act solely on the basis of her instinct. " " Nor do I. " " But you're asking… you're asking me to restrict Mr. Tarses' movements solely on the basis on Sabin's feeling . " " If Counselor Troi suggested to you that someone on the ship were dangerous, would you not act on that? Observe him? Curb his activity? " " Yes, I admit I probably would, and perhaps I should re-evaluate that behavior.

" Mr. Tarses, didn't you deliberately and pre-meditatively lie when you filled out your personnel application and compounded that lie by repeating it to this committee? " " What?! " " Isn't it true that the paternal grandfather of whom you speak was not a Vulcan, but was in fact a Romulan? That it is Romulan blood you carry and a Romulan heritage that you honor? " (Riker whispers something in Simon's ear) " We're waiting, Mr. Tarses! " " On the advice of my counsel… I refuse to answer that question in… in that the answer might… might serve to incriminate me. "

" But we know there is a traitor here. J'Dan has admitted his guilt. " " That's true, and he will stand for his crime. " " Tarses has all but done the same. " " How? " " He refused to answer the question about his Romulan grandfather. " " That is not a crime, Worf! Nor can we infer his guilt because he didn't respond. " " Sir, if a man were not afraid of the truth, he would answer. " " Oh, no. We cannot allow ourselves to think that. The Seventh Guarantee is one of the most important rights granted by the Federation. We cannot take a fundamental principle of the Constitution and turn it against a citizen! "

" Sir, the Federation does have enemies! We must seek them out! " " Oh, yes. That's how it starts. But the road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think. Something is wrong here, Mr. Worf; I don't like what we have become! "

" Captain, may I tell you how I've spent the last four years? From planet to starbase to planet. I have no home. I live on starships and shuttlecraft. I haven't seen a family member in years. I have no friends. But I have a purpose. My father taught me from the time I was a little girl still clutching a blanket that the United Federation of Planets is the most remarkable institution ever conceived. And it is my cause to make sure that this extraordinary union be preserved . I cannot imagine why you are trying to block this investigation. There have been others in the past who doubted me. They came to regret it. "

" The hearings on Simon Tarses will stop. If necessary, I will go to Starfleet Command. " " I have news for you, Captain. I've been in constant contact with Starfleet Command. The hearings are not going to stop. They're going to be expanded. " " What are you saying? " " I'm going to get to the heart of this conspiracy if it means investigating every last person on this ship. And every hearing, from now on, will be held in the presence of Admiral Thomas Henry of Starfleet Security. I've requested he be brought here at once. " " You never told me about this. " " I report to Starfleet Command directly. I do not need your permission or your approval for my decisions. " " Admiral, what you're doing here is unethical. It's immoral. I'll fight it. " " Do what you must, Captain… and so will I. "

" I'm deeply concerned about what is happening here. It began when we apprehended a spy, a man who admitted his guilt and who will answer for his crime, but the hunt didn't end there. Another man, Mr. Simon Tarses, was brought to trial, and it was a trial, no matter what others choose to call it. A trial based on insinuation and innuendo. Nothing substantive offered against Mr. Tarses, much less proven. Mr. Tarses' grandfather is Romulan… and for that reason, his career now stands in ruins. Have we become so… fearful , have we become so cowardly , that we must extinguish a man because he carries the blood of a current enemy? Admiral, let us not condemn Simon Tarses, or anyone else, because of their bloodlines, or investigate others for their innocent associations. I implore you, do not continue with this proceeding. End it now. "

" You know, there are some words I've known since I was a schoolboy: 'With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censored… the first thought forbidden… the first freedom denied – chains us all irrevocably.' Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie , as wisdom… and warning. The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. I fear that today– " " How dare you! You who consort with Romulans, invoke my father's name to support your traitorous arguments? It is an offense to everything I hold dear! And to hear those words used to subvert the United Federation of Planets! My father was a great man! His name stands for integrity and principle! You DIRTY his name when you speak it! He loved the Federation! But you, Captain, corrupt it! You undermine our very way of life! I will expose you for what you are! I've brought down bigger men than you, Picard!! "

" We think we've come so far. Torture of heretics, burning of witches, it's all ancient history. And then, before you can blink an eye, suddenly, it threatens to start all over again. " " I believed her. I-I helped her! I did not see what she was. " " Mr. Worf, villains who twirl their mustaches are easy to spot. Those who clothe themselves in good deeds are well-camouflaged." " I think, after yesterday, people will not be so ready to trust her. " " Maybe. But she or someone like her will always be with us, waiting for the right climate in which to flourish – spreading fear in the name of righteousness. Vigilance, Mr. Worf. That is the price we have to continually pay. "

Background information [ ]

Production history [ ].

  • Final draft script: 7 February 1991 [1]
  • Filmed: 19 February 1991 – 27 February 1991
  • Premiere airdate: 29 April 1991
  • First UK airdate: 9 November 1994

Story and script [ ]

Roddenberry and Simmons

Gene Roddenberry and Jean Simmons

  • "The Drumhead" was conceived as a money-saving installment for the series. The studio suggested a clip show . Michael Piller and Rick Berman , however, both despised the idea, as neither wanted a repetition of the " Shades of Gray " approach. Piller commented on clip shows, " We think they're insulting to the audience. They tune in and then you create this false jeopardy and then flashback as their memory goes back to the wonderful time they had before they got trapped in the elevator and all that bullshit. " They persuaded the studio to avoid a clip show while still producing an episode that was under budget – a bottle show . ( Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages , pp. 219-220)
  • Jeri Taylor wrote the script based on a story idea Ronald D. Moore had proposed called "It Can't Happen Here." Taylor's aim was to show that witch-hunts, along the lines of US Senator Joseph McCarthy 's Communist hearings and the Salem witch trials , could happen even in the enlightened 24th century if individual liberties and freedoms were breached, even if only slightly, in the name of preserving the Federation. She remarked, " It's a very provocative story and one which is a little darker than some of the others. " ( Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages , pp. 219-220)

Production [ ]

Frakes and Stewart The Drumhead

Director Jonathan Frakes and Patrick Stewart on the set

Stewart, Goldberg, Simmons, Spiner

Simmons visiting the set in 1991

  • "The Drumhead" was filmed between Tuesday 19 February 1991 and Wednesday 27 February 1991 on Paramount Stage 8 and 9 .
  • The episode finished US$250,000 under budget. ( Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion  (2nd ed., p. 163))
  • According to director Jonathan Frakes , several shots from the episode were "stolen" from courtroom films including Judgment at Nuremberg , the 1961 Stanley Kramer film starring William Shatner , and The Caine Mutiny . ( Departmental Briefing, Year Four: Production , TNG Season 4 DVD special features)
  • Jonathan Frakes had previously appeared with Jean Simmons on North and South . He described being able to cast her in this episode as a dream come true. To Frakes' surprise, he learned that Simmons was a "monstrous Trekkie ". ( Star Trek: The Next Generation 365 , p. 204)
  • This was the final episode to have music composed by Ron Jones . Jones was fired shortly afterward for repeatedly arguing with Rick Berman and Peter Lauritson over what type of music was thought to be appropriate for the series. Berman subsequently asked Dennis McCarthy if he would be willing to act as the sole music composer for the series, but McCarthy turned the offer down, citing that the resulting workload (including his non- Trek projects) would be too much for him, and so Berman brought Jay Chattaway on-board as Jones' replacement. ( Cinefantastique October 1993)
  • A scene which was filmed on Friday 22 February 1991 was deleted from the final episode. According to the call sheet, the scene would be 12-14 in sickbay and feature Gates McFadden, Michael Dorn, Spencer Garrett, and regular background performers Michael Braveheart and Bowman .
  • The release of this episode on Star Trek: The Next Generation (Blu-ray) features 2 seconds of standard definition footage upconverted to high definition.

Continuity [ ]

  • The events of " Conspiracy ", " Sins of The Father ", " The Best of Both Worlds ", " The Best of Both Worlds, Part II ", " Family ", and " Data's Day " are referenced in this episode. It reveals that thirty-nine Federation starships were annihilated, and eleven thousand personnel were lost at the Battle of Wolf 359 .
  • As " All Good Things... " later establishes, it was Norah Satie who initially " requested and required " Jean-Luc Picard to take command of the Enterprise when he first received that assignment. This fact is not mentioned in this episode.
  • Neither the Excelsior -class starship nor the Oberth -class starship seen in this episode are named in either the episode or the script. The identification of the Oberth -class ship as the USS Cochrane is derived from the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion  (2nd ed., p. 163).
  • This episode shares a common theme, the danger of sacrificing freedom for security, with the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine two-parter " Homefront "/" Paradise Lost ".
  • This is the second appearance of the interrogation room set after " The Defector ". It is a modification of the bridge of the original USS Enterprise as seen in the first three movies .
  • A long time extra, Ensign Kellogg , played by Cameron , is finally named in this episode during Worf's briefing with his security officers.
  • This is the only time in the run of the series that the inner isolation door in main engineering is seen; normally the outer door is seen after a warp core breach .
  • This episode establishes the technology of genetically encoding secret information in order to be carried discreetly inside a carrier's body. A similar technology is seen to be used by the Suliban Cabal to Klaang in ENT : " Broken Bow ".
  • Crewman Tarses mentions that his tour of duty aboard the Enterprise started on Stardate 43587, which would place it between the events of " Deja Q " and " A Matter of Perspective ".

Reception [ ]

  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion  (2nd ed., p. 163), Jeri Taylor names this episode's script as the one of which she was proudest.
  • This is one of Michael Dorn 's two favorite TNG episodes, the other being " The Offspring ". [2]
  • Jonathan Frakes has also named this episode as one of his favorites, in part for the chance to work with Jean Simmons. ( Departmental Briefing, Year Four: Production, TNG Season 4 DVD special features.) He commented, " I've always thought she was arguably the classiest, most significant actor we had on the series. She was wonderful in the scenes with Patrick [Stewart]. And she was still so gorgeous. " ( Star Trek: The Next Generation 365 , p. 204)
  • In contrast, author Keith R.A. DeCandido is not fond of the episode. In an online review, he gave the episode a "warp factor" rating of 3 out of 10. He criticized the script for "stacking the deck" against the character of Satie and called the climax of the episode "awful". He stated, " [I]n the end, we get this strong-willed, powerful, respected woman who is bound and determined to save the Federation at all costs – that is, until Picard quotes her father, at which point she turns into a crazed, blubbering mess. And then, all of a sudden, it's over. " Fellow author Christopher L. Bennett disagreed, remarking, " [T]his has always been an episode I've admired. It is a valuable message story, and a nice touch of imperfection in the often too-perfect Federation of TNG. " He added, " It may seem heavy-handed, but that's because that's how it really works. What Senator McCarthy and HUAC did was so heavy-handed and irrationally excessive that nobody would believe it in a story if it hadn't really happened. " [3]
  • A mission report for this episode by John Sayers was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine  issue 17 , pp. 17-20.

Video and DVD releases [ ]

  • Original UK VHIS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video ): Volume 48, June 1992
  • UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment ): Volume 4.7, 3 September 2001
  • As part of the TNG Season 4 DVD collection
  • As part of the TNG Season 4 Blu-ray collection
  • As part of the Region 1 edition of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - Jean-Luc Picard Collection

Links and references [ ]

Starring [ ].

  • Patrick Stewart as Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
  • Jonathan Frakes as Cmdr. William Riker

Also starring [ ]

  • LeVar Burton as Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
  • Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Worf
  • Gates McFadden as Dr. Beverly Crusher
  • Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
  • Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data

Guest stars [ ]

  • Bruce French as Sabin Genestra
  • Spencer Garrett as Simon Tarses
  • Henry Woronicz as J'Dan
  • Earl Billings as Thomas Henry
  • Jean Simmons as Admiral Satie

Co-star [ ]

  • Ann Shea as Nellen

Uncredited co-stars [ ]

  • Arratia as Alfonse Pacelli
  • Rachen Assapiomonwait as Nelson
  • Joe Baumann as Garvey
  • Karin Baxter as operations ensign
  • Michael Braveheart as Martinez
  • Debbie David as Russell
  • Cameron as Kellogg
  • Cooper as Reel
  • Denise Deuschle as sciences officer
  • Jeremy Doyle as operations ensign
  • Elliot Durant III as operations ensign
  • Michele Gerren as sciences officer
  • Kai as sciences officer
  • Kast as command officer
  • Mark Lentry as civilian
  • Marin as command officer
  • Jeri McBride as sciences officer
  • Tim McCormack as Bennett
  • Michael Moorehead as sciences ensign
  • Randy Pflug as Jones
  • Keith Rayve as command ensign
  • Richard Sarstedt as command ensign
  • Noriko Suzuki as operations ensign
  • Guy Vardaman as Darien Wallace
  • Natalie Wood as Bailey
  • Civilian woman
  • Female operations officer
  • Female sciences officer
  • Female transporter operator

Stand-ins [ ]

  • Brett — stand-in for LeVar Burton
  • Nora Leonhardt — stand-in for Marina Sirtis
  • Tim McCormack — stand-in for Brent Spiner and Bruce French
  • Lorine Mendell — stand-in for Gates McFadden and Ann Shea
  • Josephine Parra — stand-in for Jean Simmons
  • Richard Sarstedt — stand-in for Jonathan Frakes and Earl Billings
  • Dennis Tracy — stand-in for Patrick Stewart
  • Guy Vardaman — stand-in for Henry Woronicz and Spencer Garrett
  • James Washington — stand-in for Michael Dorn

References [ ]

19th century ; 2362 ; 2363 ; 2364 ; accident ; accusation ; admiral ; advice ; alliance ; ally ; ambassador ; amino acid sequence ; " ancient history "; appeal ; argument ; article ; assistant ; associate ; atomic cohesive structure ; baby ; background check ; Ba'ltmasor Syndrome ; Battle of Wolf 359 ; battlefield ; beard ; behavior ; bench ; Betazed ; Betazoid ; blast pattern ; blood ; bloodline ; bloodstream ; body ; bomb ; Borg ; briefing ; burning ; career ; case ; censure ; chain ; chance ; chapter ; chief security officer ( security officer ); choice ; citizen ; classroom ; Cochrane , USS ; coincidence ; collaborator ; committee ; communicator ; computer ; conclusion ; confidence ; confined to quarters ; conspiracy ; Constitution of the United Federation of Planets ; conversation ; corner ; counsel ; counsellor ; crewman ; crime ; criminal ; Cruces system ; damage ; death penalty ; debate ; debris ; deception ; Delb II ; Delbian ; deoxyribose suspension ; destruction ; device ; Devoras ; dilithium articulation frame ; dilithium chamber ; dilithium chamber hatch ; dinner table ; drum ; drumhead trial ; Earth Station McKinley ; elm ; emergency confinement field ; encephalographic polygraph scan ; enemy ; engine room ; enlisted personnel ; evidence ; Excelsior -class ; exobiologist ; experience ; explosion ; fear ; Federation ; feeling ; file ; flagship ; fluid ; " for the record "; fragment ; freedom ; friend ; Galaxy class decks ; glory ; good deed ; grandfather ; guest ; guilt ; hatch ; hatch casing ; hatch cover ; hatch mounting ; head of security ; hearing ; heart ; Henry's transport ; here and now ; heretic ; heritage ; home ; honor ; hour ; Human ; hundred ; hunt ; hypospray ; hyposyringe ; idea ; identification ; immorality ; " inch by inch"; information ; injection ; innuendo ( insinuation ); innocence ; inquiry ( informal inquiry ); institution ; integrity ; interrogation ( questioning ); interrogation room ; interview ; intuition ( instinct ); investigation ; investigator ; isolation door ; isolinear chip ( optical chip ); J'Dan's powerful friends ; job ; judge ; judgment ; Klingon ; Klingon-Federation Alliance ; Klingon High Council ; knowledge ; lemon ; liar ; lie ( lying ); lieutenant ; list ; location ; logic ; loyalty ; malfunction ; Marcus ; Mars Colony ; mass spectrometer ; matter-antimatter reaction assembly ; medical technician ; metal ; microtomographic analysis ; Midsummer Night's Dream, A ; military officer ; millisecond ; mistake ; Mogh ; mustache ; name ; nation ; neutron fatigue ; night ; number one ; Oberth -class ; " off the record "; Officer Exchange Program ; online ; opportunity ; optical chip reader ; order ; " out of my element "; outpost ; parade grounds ; parameter ; paranoia ; parasitic being ; partnership ; paternal ; permission ; person ; personnel application ; petaQ ; plan ; planet ; power ; premeditation ; price ; Prime Directive ; principle ; problem ; propulsion system file ; protein ; punishment ; Qo'noS ; question ; radiation burn ; radiation level ; rank ; reason ; recess ; referee ; " refresh your memory "; relationship ; relative ( family member ); report ; residue ; restart sequence ; retirement ; right ; righteousness ; roach ; road ; Romulan ; Romulan Neutral Zone ; rumor ; sabotage ; saboteur ; Satie, Aaron ; Satie's brothers ; schematic ; schematic drawing ; scientific exchange program ; security breach ; security clearance ; security risk ; sensor log ; Seventh Guarantee ; shuttlecraft ; sleep ; social gathering ; spectator ; spectrometer ; speculation ; spy ; statement ; star ; starbase ; Starfleet ; Starfleet Academy ; Starfleet Command ; Starfleet record ; Starfleet Security ; starship ; stopwatch ; sub-micron fracture ; summary justice ; surveillance ; suspicion ; suspension ; tactic ; Tarkanian ; Tarkanian diplomat ; Tarses' brother ; Tarses' friends ; Tarses' mother ; Tarses' assignments ; Tarses' outposts ; Tarses' Romulan grandfather ; tea ; theory ; thought ; thousand ; top secret ; torture ; T'Pel ; training ; training drill ; training program ; traitor ; trial ; tricorder ; truth ; turbolift ; Uniform Code of Justice ; union ; victim of circumstance ; villain ; visual log ; Vulcan ; warp drive ( warp engine ); warrior ; water ; weakling ; week ; witch ; word ; year

Unused production references [ ]

External links [ ].

  • " The Drumhead " at Memory Beta , the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
  • " The Drumhead " at Wikipedia
  • "The Drumhead" at
  • " "The Drumhead" " at , a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
  • "The Drumhead" script  at Star Trek Minutiae
  • 1 Abdullah bin al-Hussein
  • Cast & crew
  • User reviews

The Drumhead

  • Episode aired Apr 27, 1991

Jean Simmons and Patrick Stewart in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)

A retired admiral boards the Enterprise in an effort to determine the actions aboard the ship surrounding an act of sabotage and possible treason. A retired admiral boards the Enterprise in an effort to determine the actions aboard the ship surrounding an act of sabotage and possible treason. A retired admiral boards the Enterprise in an effort to determine the actions aboard the ship surrounding an act of sabotage and possible treason.

  • Jonathan Frakes
  • Gene Roddenberry
  • Jeri Taylor
  • Ronald D. Moore
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Spencer Garrett in Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987)

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Did you know

  • Trivia The events of Conspiracy (1988) , Sins of the Father (1990) , The Best of Both Worlds: Part 1 (1990) , The Best of Both Worlds: Part 2 (1990) , Family (1990) , and Data's Day (1991) are referenced in this episode. It reveals that 39 Federation starships were annihilated and 11,000 personnel were lost at the Battle of Wolf 359.
  • Goofs In the first act's captain's log entry, Picard says that Admiral Satie was the one who uncovered the alien conspiracy from three years prior ("Conspiracy"). However, it was Picard and Riker who shot the infected officers and ultimately killed the mother creature that was hiding inside of LCDR Remmick. That sounds more like an uncovering than any investigation an elderly admiral would've undertaken.

Captain Jean-Luc Picard : You know, there are some words I've known since I was a schoolboy: "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie, as wisdom and warning. The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. I fear that today...

Admiral Nora Satie : How dare you! You who consort with Romulans, invoke my father's name to support your traitorous arguments. It is an offense to everything I hold dear. And to hear those words used to subvert the United Federation of Planets. My father was a great man! His name stands for integrity and principle. You dirty his name when you speak it! He loved the Federation. But you, Captain, corrupt it. You undermine our very way of life. I will expose you for what you are. I've brought down bigger men than you, Picard!

  • Connections Featured in Star Trek: First Contact Review (2009)
  • Soundtracks Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage

User reviews 30

  • brianjohnson-20043
  • Apr 18, 2019
  • April 27, 1991 (United States)
  • United States
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  • Paramount Studios - 5555 Melrose Avenue, Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA (Studio)
  • Paramount Television
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  • Runtime 45 minutes
  • Dolby Digital

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Den of Geek

Revisiting Star Trek TNG: The Drumhead

Witch hunts, interrogation and paranoia feature in fairly straightforward space-court Star Trek: TNG episode The Drumhead...

star trek the drumhead transcript

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This review contains spoilers.

4.21 The Drumhead

Sabotage! On board the Enterprise! D! Cue up the Beastie Boys! (Actually don’t, we’ve all seen Star Trek Beyond and the last thing we need is that being taken literally again.)

But regardless, a Klingon Exchange officer – J’Dan the Exobiologist – stands (well, sits) accused of trying to blow up the Enterprise’s engines and funnelling secrets to the Romulans. In an attempt to establish his innocence he tries to bribe Worf, who gives him the full Space Rodney King treatment in a scene which I can’t decide if I’m supposed to feel uncomfortable with or not.

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Luckily, one of Starfleet’s meddling Admirals is around to help investigate this potential espionage onboard the Enterprise. Not only that, Admiral Satie has her own Betazoid who can establish guilt with nothing but the power of a smug glance. After investigating, it turns out that J’Dan is injecting secrets into people using proteins and sending them to the Romulans – but he maintains that the explosion wasn’t anything to do with him.

Satie, who is openly paranoid and out for blood (even weird pink Klingon blood) insists that J’Dan did not act alone and that there must be a conspiracy on board the ship, then sets about interrogating the rest of the crew. As luck would have it, the second person they interview turns out to be their guy: Crewman Simon Tarses is shaking in his Starfleet boots when he’s being interrogated, and Sabin (Satie’s own Betazoid) insists “He’s hiding something” (an old Betazoid proverb, we can assume.)

Picard isn’t keen on convicting anyone entirely on the basis of Betazoid feelings, and even admits maybe relying on psychic intuition isn’t 100% reliable (I’m currently imagining Picard in an audience with Derek Acorah looking enrapt and impressed) and pledges to take less notice of his own Betazoid in the future. As if that were possible. But Satie makes sure to emphasise that Tarses is not yet guilty. Just not entirely innocent.

Meanwhile Data and Geordi turn up to establish that actually, the engine wasn’t sabotaged, it was just badly repaired (by someone else, they’re super-competent). This doesn’t interest Satie, though. She’s not interested in facts, only results. They call Simon Tarses back to the interrogation theatre with a full audience and grill him like Neelix’s famous Ocampan cheese toastie. Riker is defending him, but when Tarses is accused of having Romulan (rather than Vulcan) heritage his big play is that Tarses stop answering questions on the basis that the answer might incriminate him. I mean he might as well have said yes.

Tarses admits to Picard that his grandfather was Romulan and laments the destruction of his Starfleet career, and Picard decides that the trials have turned into a witch hunt, at which point Satie accuses him of being a witch and brings her boss in to oversee proceedings. Picard heads to the dunking chamber and Satie instantly declares that he’s a traitor, reminding him of all the times the Enterprise broke the Prime Directive in the last four seasons (nine, apparently, including that time Riker and O’Brien got drunk and starting beaming up people from a pre-industrial civilisation directly into Worf’s bedroom.)

Unfortunately for her, Picard is used to a courtroom fight. He has a bunch of quotes lined up from her father, a noted judge, and the invocation of his name causes her to have a paranoid meltdown accusing him of treason and vowing to destroy him. Her boss, Admiral Henry, sees that this is a waste of his time and leaves without speaking a word in the entire episode, blowing his big chance to get SAG accreditation. Satie’s credibility is shot to pieces, and the hearing is called off. Picard ruminates on the situation with a regretful Worf, who had aided Satie.

Simon Tarses, meanwhile, is never seen again. Presumably he was fired. That’ll teach him to lie on his application form.

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TNG WTF: Dare I say it, but this episode was pretty straightforward (other than the Admiral’s asymmetrical Space Fashion collar). Like okay, Satie was crazy and it was increasingly obvious that she was going off the rails, but that was the point of the story. It got a bit unlikely but never beyond the realms of believability. With the possible exception of having an audience section in your interrogation room, that is.

TNG LOL: Something I remember Phil Farrand’s Nitpicker’s Guides pointing out: a Klingon Exobiologist is an inherently funny idea, given that the society seems to mostly revolve around drinking, fighting, and dying with honour. I think we can maybe assume all that is the obsession of a specific warrior caste of society and J’Dan is just outside of it. Although he does suddenly start ranting about restoring the Klingon heart or whatever so maybe he was forced into exobiology because he’s just really bad at fighting.

To Boldly Go: Er, in this episode they ain’t going anywhere, boldly or otherwise. They’re just hanging around in the middle of space fighting amongst themselves. In fairness, their engines are broken but whatever they were doing it clearly wasn’t urgent.

Mistakes and Minutiae: This is the final episode scored by Ron Jones, who was fired for arguing with the producers over the type of music that the series should’ve had. Personally, I never noticed any real difference in the episode scores before and after, and The Best Of Both Worlds is the only time the score has ever registered with me beyond the level of background noise. More appreciative ears may differ, though.

Who’s That Face?: That’s Jean Simmons! From the rock group Kiss! And a lot of 1940s and 50s Hollywood films. I mean I had no idea who she was but just from her presence I could tell she was from that world. Apparently she was a big Trek fan who had been keen on guest-starring at some point. Could’ve gone worse, Ms. Simmons.

And there’s a bonus face: Bruce French plays her Betazoid assistant, but he’s also the Caretaker, the guy we can thank (or, depending on your perspective, hold responsible) for the entirety of Star Trek Voyager .

Time Until Meeting: 25:48 is the first actual meeting, and what do you know? It’s only being held by Worf! To be fair, he learned from the master.

Captain’s Log: The thing about this episode is that it’s pretty good on a lot of levels. It’s tense, it’s got some good twists, it’s a very strong Picard episode and the guest star is really giving it some welly. And regular readers know that I love me some Space Court – at least, usually…

Because something about this one doesn’t really work for me. I’m not sure if it’s just that the McCarthyist allegory is lost on me because I’m a Brit, or if it’s the weirdly Kafkaesque tone, or if it’s just because Data’s barely in it, but… I just didn’t feel much jeopardy or urgency.

The part where Picard gets served to come for interrogation is the best bit, and the subsequent run down of his crimes referencing the events of previous episodes is fun too (“Says here several of your senior staff once got stuck in a space casino created by aliens from a novel, what the hell are you talking about?”) but generally? It just doesn’t work for me like it should. Some of the cast list it as their favourite episode, though, so what do I know?

Read James’ lookback at the previous episode, Qpid, here .

James Hunt

Star Trek Minutiae: Exploring the Details of Science Fiction

Sometimes it really helps to go back to the original source! But watching the episode—or even skimming it—can be time consuming. So why not let the computer search the text for you? I’ve collected the scripts of every episode of The Next Generation , Deep Space Nine , and the first 10 movies.

All episodes are stored in plain text format.

Archivist’s Note: All of these scripts were obtained from other published sources; the complete scripts for TOS, Voyager , and Enterprise are not available right now. (Please don’t ask me about getting more scripts added, I’ve posted all the files I’ve found.)

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  • Episode 131: “You Are Cordially Invited...”
  • Episode 132: “Resurrection”
  • Episode 133: “Statistical Probabilities”
  • Episode 134: “The Magnificent Ferengi”
  • Episode 135: “Waltz”
  • Episode 136: “Who Mourns for Morn”
  • Episode 137: “Far Beyond the Stars”
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  • Episode 143: “In the Pale Moonlight”
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  • Episode 145: “The Reckoning”
  • Episode 146: “ Valiant ”
  • Episode 147: “Profit and Lace”
  • Episode 148: “Time’s Orphan”
  • Episode 149: “The Sound of Her Voice”
  • Episode 150: “Tears of the Prophets”
  • Episode 151: “Image in the Sand”
  • Episode 152: “Shadows and Symbols”
  • Episode 153: “Afterimage”
  • Episode 154: “Take Me Out to the Holosuite”
  • Episode 155: “Chrysalis”
  • Episode 156: “Treachery, Faith, and the Great River”
  • Episode 157: “Once More Unto the Breach”
  • Episode 158: “The Siege of AR-558”
  • Episode 159: “Covenant”
  • Episode 160: “It’s Only a Paper Moon”
  • Episode 161: “Prodigal Daughter”
  • Episode 162: “The Emperor’s New Cloak”
  • Episode 163: “Field of Fire”
  • Episode 164: “Chimera”
  • Episode 165: “Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang”
  • Episode 166: “Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges”
  • Episode 167: “Penumbra”
  • Episode 168: “‘Til Death Do Us Part”
  • Episode 169: “Strange Bedfellows”
  • Episode 170: “The Changing Face of Evil”
  • Episode 171: “When It Rains...”
  • Episode 172: “Tacking Into the Wind”
  • Episode 173: “Extreme Measures”
  • Episode 174: “The Dogs of War”
  • Episode 175-176: “What You Leave Behind”

Star Trek: Voyager

  • Episode 34: “Death Wish”
  • Episode 68: “Scorpion, Part I”
  • Episode 69: “Scorpion, Part II”
  • Episode 74: “The Raven ”
  • Episode 89: “The Omega Directive”
  • Episode 93: “One”
  • Episode 94: “Hope and Fear”
  • Episode 30: “Death Wish”
  • Episode 44: “False Profits”
  • Episode 53: “The Q and the Grey”
  • Episode 95: “Night”
  • Episode 104: “Counterpoint”
  • Episode 110: “The Disease”
  • Episode 111: “Dark Frontier, Part I”
  • Episode 112: “Dark Frontier, Part II”
  • Episode 120: “ Equinox , Part I”
  • Episode 121: “ Equinox , Part II”
  • Episode 129: “The Voyager Conspiracy”
  • Episode 140: “Good Shepherd”
  • Episode 157: “Shattered”
  • Episode 158: “Lineage”

Star Trek: Enterprise

  • Episode 1: “Broken Bow” (Draft Version)
  • Episode 69: “Azati Prime”
  • Episode 76: “Zero Hour”
  • Show Spoilers
  • Night Vision
  • Sticky Header
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star trek the drumhead transcript

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Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S4E21 "The Drumhead"

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Worf: Sir, the Federation does have enemies! We must seek them out! Picard: Oh, yes. That's how it starts. But the road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think. Something is wrong here, Mister Worf. I don't like what we have become.

Original air date: April 29, 1991

Things are tense aboard the Enterprise . A few days ago, an explosion in the engine room put the warp core out of commission and several crew members in sickbay. Sabotage is suspected, and all signs point to J'Dan, a Klingon scientist currently serving aboard the Enterprise as part of the Federation–Klingon Officer Exchange Program ( Remember that? ). Starfleet Intelligence has discovered that several design specs and schematics of Enterprise systems have fallen into Romulan hands right about the time J'Dan started serving aboard. J'Dan denies the charges, naturally, but his behavior during and immediately after the inquiry raise suspicions. Troi detects that he's hiding something, and as Worf escorts him back to his quarters, J'Dan tries to bribe him: he's got powerful friends back on the Klingon homeworld, he claims, and if Worf would help him escape the Enterprise he could see what he could do about that whole family disgrace thing Worf has. Fortunately for him, Worf has enough presence of mind to wait until they've gotten back to his quarters before sucker-punching J'Dan and promising him that he'll expose his spying ways.

A short time later, the Enterprise receives a visitor. Starfleet Command has been watching the situation and have deemed the threat of espionage significant enough to warrant a formal investigation. To that end, they have plucked legendary intelligence expert Admiral Norah Satie ( Jean Simmons ) out of retirement, and with her arrival the investigation kicks into full gear. Security footage of the explosion indicates a sudden catastrophic failure of the dilithium chamber's hatch, which could well be the result of sabotage. Furthermore, Worf has discovered that J'Dan's personal hypospray has been modified to download information from the Enterprise 's computer and encode it into a biological sequence. Several people who have left the Enterprise while J'Dan has been serving there have since mysteriously disappeared. It would seem that J'Dan has been using random people as "data mules," injecting them with the encoded information, and then directing his accomplices to abduct them. Satie is so impressed by Worf's work that she requests that he be part of her investigation team, and that he lead the interrogation of J'Dan.

Confronted with this new evidence, J'Dan cracks, admitting that he's a spy for the Romulans and a traitor to the Empire. However, he still claims to know nothing about the warp core explosion. It's a puzzling thing that he refuses to admit to this in the light of the rest of the evidence against him, but that sets Satie's suspicions off. She finds it hard to believe that J'Dan was acting alone, and if he was in fact telling the truth, then he might not be only spy aboard the Enterprise . She continues her investigation, focusing on the Enterprise medical team, as they were the ones with the most frequent contact with J'Dan. Picard is uneasy with the course the investigation is taking, but Satie assures him that it's just a routine inquiry. And that she and he are a team, the Enterprise and her crew are his command, and she will not step on his toes.

The investigation proceeds, and it soon uncovers a suspect: Simon Tarses, a quarter-Vulcan medical technician who most often attended to J'Dan when he came into Sickbay for his regular checkups. During his interview, Tarses is cooperative but extremely nervous. And Sabin Genestra, Satie's Betazoid aide, senses that he's hiding a very big secret.

Satie immediately recommends that Tarses be watched and his movements restricted, but Picard disagrees. There is no evidence that Tarses is really a spy; all they've got to go on is a Betazoid's read of his emotions and, well, who wouldn't be nervous in his situation? Before this argument can go much further, LaForge checks in. The engine room is clear, and he and Data have finished their investigation. The explosion was not due to sabotage. The chamber hatch failed due to metal fatigue. It was an accident. The fact that it happened at the same time there was a spy on board was a complete coincidence .

This doesn't stop Satie, however. She's convinced Tarses is hiding something, she's determined to root it out. She calls him back for another inquiry — and this time she opens the hearing to the public. Genestra tears into Tarses, firing off hostile question after hostile question, even outright lying about the cause of the explosion, until finally he makes his biggest accusation: the secret Tarses has been hiding is that he lied about his heritage on his Starfleet application. His grandfather wasn't Vulcan; he was Romulan .

This whole situation is now leaving a bad taste in Picard's mouth. First he speaks to Worf about it. But Worf believes that the Admiral has the best interests of the Federation at heart, and he's adamant about working with her to root out these Romulan collaborators. Then Picard speaks to Simon Tarses privately, to get to know the man a little. He finds that all Simon is really guilty of is being too enthusiastic about joining Starfleet; lying on his application was his way of trying to head off any questions about his loyalty (ironically, the very thing that led to all these questions now). And now, Tarses laments, the career he worked so hard to build is done.

Finally, Picard confronts Satie. This has gone on long enough, he says. He will no longer cooperate with her investigation, and if she refuses to stop interrogating his crew, he will go to Starfleet Command directly. Satie counters with the fact that Starfleet Command authorized her to do this, and furthermore, the head of Starfleet Security, Admiral Thomas Henry, is on his way to the Enterprise to personally observe the further investigations. The inquiries will continue with Henry in attendance — and Captain Picard himself will be the next one on the stand.

When Picard takes the stand, he's immediately called to account for nearly every black mark on his record, from his occasional bending of the Prime Directive to his assimilation by the Borg. At this point, Worf finally realizes this is getting out of hand and tries to defend his captain, but he's smacked down by Genestra, who calls his loyalty into question due to his family's alleged collusion with the Romulans. Picard responds to these accusations by quoting the words of Aaron Satie, renowned Federation judge and Norah Satie's father, regarding personal freedom and suppression of rights.

Picard quoting her beloved father's words back to her makes Admiral Satie go berserk , launching into a scathing tirade that exposes her as a paranoid tyrant. The crowd turns against Satie, and Admiral Henry leaves the room in disgust without a word. Realizing how unhinged her outburst made her come across as, an embarrassed Satie slumps deflated back in her seat. Sabin hurriedly declares a recess as the crowd leaves the room.

The hearings are stopped, Admiral Henry leaves, and Admiral Satie is sent back out to pasture. Worf and Picard discuss the events of the last few days, and Worf beats himself up for allowing himself to be Satie's tool. Picard assures him that he wasn't alone, that those who spread fear in the name of righteousness are not always easy to spot. And that the cost of freedom from tyranny is to always be on guard against people like her.

Tropes featured in "The Drumhead" include:

  • 10-Minute Retirement : Admiral Satie is called out of retirement for this investigation. She later tells Picard that the last four years of her life have been devoted solely to her duty, suggesting she hasn't been out of the game long at all.
  • Whether J'Dan actually did have help smuggling information off the Enterprise is never established; Satie uses the possibility to justify her continued witch hunt, but by Picard's admission, J'Dan succeeding alone might have been extremely difficult, but not impossible.
  • Sabin twice brings up the false charges against Worf's father, but it's never made clear if he personally believes them; Worf dodges the question, and Sabin only brings it up later to discredit Worf and Picard.
  • Amoral Attorney : Sabin Genestra, although even he thinks that Satie's rant at the end is going too far .
  • Aside Glance : When Picard learns that there may be a collaborator on board, he reacts by looking into the camera and grimacing at us.
  • Believing Their Own Lies : It's implied that Satie only brings up charges against Picard to discredit him for standing up to her, but as she rants at him during her Villainous Breakdown , she openly accuses him of colluding with Romulans, suggesting that at some point, she started to actually consider him a traitor.
  • Berserk Button : Satie remains in control of herself at the hearing until Picard quotes one of her father's famous speeches about civil rights. Then she absolutely loses it .
  • Biodata : J'Dan conducted his espionage using this technology. He modified a hyposyringe with an optical chip reader, and would use that to transform digital information from the ship's computers into amino acid sequences. Then he would inject someone without their knowledge, and the information would be carried in their bodies in their bloodstream as inert proteins, which could be extracted at any time by another spy.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing : While their intentions are arguably good, both Satie and Sabin prove to be far nastier individuals than their initially professional and reasonable demeanors suggest. Satie, in particular, acts quite friendly towards Worf and Picard until they start questioning her, at which point she becomes downright venomous.
  • Blatant Lies : While questioning Tarses, Sabin claims that the damage to the warp core was caused by a corrosive chemical that Tarses had access to. As Picard points out, it was an accident caused by defective equipment.
  • Bottle Episode : It takes place entirely on the Enterprise , with little in the way of special effects. Rebuffing executive demands for a Clip Show , the writers came up with a much better concept that could still be brought in under budget.
  • Break Them by Talking : Picard delivers one of his famous speeches near the end of the hearing, leading to Satie's Villainous Breakdown as she spits back a flurry of invective, surrendering any credibility. Picard: You know, there are some words I've known since I was a schoolboy: "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured... the first thought forbidden... the first freedom denied... chains us all irrevocably." Those words were uttered by Judge Aaron Satie, as wisdom... and warning. [Satie starts looking like a volcano about to erupt] The first time any man's freedom is trodden on, we're all damaged. I fear that today— Satie: [jumps to her feet] How dare you! You, who consort with Romulans, invoke my father's name to support your traitorous arguments? It is an offense to everything I hold dear! And to hear those words used to subvert the United Federation of Planets! My father was a great man! His name stands for integrity and principle! You dirty his name when you speak it! [Admiral Henry gives Satie an angry, disappointed glare ] He loved the Federation! But you, Captain, corrupt it! You undermine our very way of life! I will expose you for what you are! I've brought down bigger men than you, Picard!! [Henry stands up and silently walks out ] Satie: [ visibly shaken ] ...I have nothing more to say. [sits down looking devastated]
  • Bribe Backfire : Not a monetary bribe, but J'Dan offers to have some powerful friends help restore Worf's honor in exchange for his help escaping the Enterprise . Worf responds with an Offhand Backhand , followed by: Worf: [holding J'Dan against a wall] I don't know how you transferred secret information to the Romulans, but I will find out . And when I inform the Klingon High Council, they will put you to a slow death .
  • Broken Pedestal : Picard is initially thrilled to have the revered Admiral Satie on board to assist their investigation into a possible saboteur on the Enterprise , but his pedestal is quickly broken when Satie starts ruthlessly persecuting his crew, including the captain himself.
  • Bullying a Dragon : Genestra quite unwisely attacks Mogh as a Romulan spy in front of his son, nearly resulting in Worf providing a physical demonstration to Genestra of what he thought of Genestra's accusations. Fortunately Picard prevents Worf from doing so.
  • Call-Back : "The Drumhead" references quite a few previous episodes. Satie supposedly helped ferret out the conspiracy in " Conspiracy ". J'Dan offers to fix Worf's discommendation, and Satie brings up Mogh's supposed collusion with Romulans, both referencing " Sins of the Father ". Satie's accusations against Picard include his assimilation by the Borg in " The Best of Both Worlds " and his unwitting delivery of a Romulan spy back to her people in " Data's Day ". All this continuity might be a relic of the original concept as a Clip Show .
  • Conflicting Loyalty : Sabin and Satie accuse both Tarses and Worf of having conflicting loyalties due to Tarses having a Romulan grandfather and Mogh being branded a traitor by the Klingon Empire.
  • Daddy's Girl : Norah Satie loved her father a great deal and inherited his love for the Federation. Unfortunately, this gets harshly deconstructed as her patriotism twists into zealotry and she forgets her father's lesson about what happens when the citizens' rights are trampled. Picard reminding her of this ends up pushing her over the edge.
  • Dastardly Whiplash : Picard mentions to Worf how villains of this sort are easier to spot than the Bitch in Sheep's Clothing , thus providing this episode's Aesop .
  • During Picard's questioning, Satie has the gall to ask if Picard has completely recovered from his experience with the Borg in "The Best of Both Worlds" . Picard says "Yes, I have completely recovered", with a glare that could punch a hole in any Borg cube .
  • When Sabin throws Mogh's (alleged and untrue) collaboration with the Romulans into Worf's face, Worf looks like he's about to strangle Sabin until Picard talks him down.
  • Admiral Henry gives Satie one during her Villainous Breakdown before he walks out.
  • Satie treats Picard as a criminal because of the Mind Rape he suffered from the Borg. Can you say " Victim-Blaming "?
  • The Fantastic Racism with which Satie (and Sabin) treat Tarses certainly has resonance with any number of Real Life examples of people hated and distrusted for their ancestry or race, such as the treatment of Americans of German and Japanese descent during World War II . This is only underscored by having the admiral who walks out of the court proceedings in disgust being portrayed by a black actor. The fact that Tarses is mistreated despite only being one-quarter Romulan also brings the One-Drop Rule to mind.
  • Don't Answer That : When Sabin demands that Tarses admit that his paternal grandfather was a Romulan, rather than a Vulcan, Riker, acting as his legal counsel, tells him not to answer. Discussed later between Worf, who believes that Tarses' refusal to speak is in itself an indication of guilt, and Picard, who tells him he can't think that way; Tarses is innocent until proven guilty and cannot be made to incriminate himself; the entire point of the Seventh Guarantee (an equivalent of the US's Fifth Amendment) is that a person may invoke it and not have their guilt presumed.
  • Dramatic Irony : During the final hearing, Genestra questions the wisdom of Worf — the son of a Romulan collaborator — serving as Picard's Chief of Security. Only Picard, Worf, and the audience are aware of the truth of those revelations (that Mogh wasn't a traitor and that Worf accepted Discommendation to save the Empire from a House of Duras-instigated civil war). While it's not outright stated, Worf seems to recognzie the bitter irony that his heroic sacrifice — one which Picard supported — is now being used as a weapon against his own Captain.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point : Picard quotes Admiral Satie's father on the topic of how paranoia and restricting freedoms can cripple a society, Satie's only response is to be infuriated that Picard dared to quote her father in the first place.
  • Worf is willing to follow Satie's hardline tactics until she cites the incident with the Romulan spy (something that Worf knows for a fact was just a case of Picard being deceived and outplayed) as "proof" of Picard's supposed duplicity.
  • When the head of Starfleet Security, the guy whose job is to be paranoid, thinks you're going too far...
  • Evil Is Petty : After Picard makes his intentions to fight Satie's witch hunt clear, the very next scene has Satie issue an order for Picard to be subjected to a hearing, implying that she's willing to ruin his career out of pure spite. During said hearing, she omits important context (such as the Enterprise being hopelessly outnumbered during the incident with the Romulan double agent) to paint him in the worst possible light and brings up Picard's experience with the Borg, accusing him of having "caused" the resulting devastation, making it clear that the point of the hearing is to discredit Picard rather than serve actual justice.
  • Admiral Satie is genuinely baffled at why Picard wants the hearings to stop, seeing his moral objections as an attempt to block her noble efforts and a sign that he is, at best, disloyal, and at worst, a full-on traitor. In fact, when Picard tries to drive home the point of how dangerous Satie's way of thinking can be, Satie simply brushes it off until Picard quotes her own beloved father on the topic, which only makes Satie angrily accuse him of sullying her father's good name rather than give the words themselves a moment's thought.

star trek the drumhead transcript

  • Fair-Weather Friend : Worf and Sabin work together very well at first. Then when Worf speaks up for Picard when he finds himself in Satie's crosshairs, Sabin is quick to turn on him and bring up his father's alleged betrayal at Khitomer.
  • Anti-Romulan sentiment plays a significant role in this episode. Satie's suspicions about Tarses are based solely on his ancestry, not his personal feelings or political leanings. Ironically, she proves that he was right to fear discrimination based solely on being one-quarter Romulan.
  • J'Dan claims to be a victim of this , that he's being accused of espionage and sabotage just because he's Klingon. Of course, he is guilty of espionage, but not sabotage.
  • A Father to His Men : Picard puts his ass directly on the line to defend Crewman Tarses, a member of the Enterprise crew that he'd never even spoken to (at least, not on-screen).
  • Sabin mentions the charges against Worf's father during their first conversation, claiming to have briefly considered Worf a possible security risk because of it. When Worf stands up for Picard during the hearings, Sabin immediately throws the charges against Mogh in Worf's face to discredit him.
  • After being informed that the supposed sabotage was a genuine accident, Sabin remarks "I find that difficult to believe", despite the empirical, physical evidence, foreshadowing how irrational Satie's hunt for a conspiracy will prove to be.
  • It is obvious to anyone but Satie that Admiral Henry is not a fan of these proceedings from the start. Whenever the camera cuts to him, the look on his face becomes more sour as it sinks in to him that he was dragged here for a paranoid rant into a non-existent conspiracy. It's when Satie declares that a captain as respected and admirable as Picard is a traitor that Henry finally has enough and walks out.
  • In his Motive Rant , J'Dan denounces the Klingons' alliance with the Federation and insists the Romulans would be more worthy allies. With the help of Klingon insiders, the Romulans will later plot to break the alliance by way of an assassination attempt and then become silent partners in a civil war .
  • Freudian Excuse : Worf seems to have this going on. The disgrace of his family due to the accusations of his father collaborating with the Romulans drives him to prove his loyalty and hatred of the Romulans even more, falling under Satie's influence very easily. It's when Genestra brings his family history up against him that he finally realizes he's on the wrong side.
  • General Ripper : Admiral Satie, renowned for her zeal in sniffing out conspiracies, goes loco looking for Romulan collaborators. Apparently, being famous as a conspiracy-uncoverer makes one pretty paranoid in one's old age.
  • Halfway Plot Switch : The first half does indeed focus on the investigation and what J'Dan is up to, but he reveals himself soon enough, and after laying seeds in the first half, the story takes a much darker turn into Satie's pathological obsession with investigating the crew. When Tarses ends up in her crosshairs, the issue becomes the security of the state versus the rights of its citizens, with Satie arguing the former while Picard defends the latter.
  • He Who Fights Monsters : Satie already has experience at defending The Federation from conspiracies, such as the one with the mind-control parasites . That time, there was a conspiracy to deal with. This time, however...
  • Hiding Your Heritage : Simon Tarses is one-quarter Romulan, but hides it by claiming that he's part-Vulcan instead. As Romulans and Vulcans are related, this holds up to the usual scrutiny, until Sabin decides to dig deeper and demonstrates exactly why Tarses was right to fear people finding out .
  • Hoist by Her Own Petard : Satie's decision to bring Admiral Henry into the investigation backfires when Henry shuts her down for going out of control.
  • Hypocrite : Before he gets on her bad side, Satie assures Picard that the two of them are equal partners. No sooner does Picard argue that the hearings should be stopped does Satie reveal that she's been reporting directly to Starfleet the entire time, smugly stating that she doesn't need to keep him in the loop.
  • Hypocrisy Nod : When Picard refuses to accept Tarses's guilt based on "nothing but Betazoid intuition", Satie promptly points out how much he often relies on Troi's intuition in similar situations — and to Picard's credit, he concedes the point, and says he's going to reconsider that going forward.
  • Improperly Paranoid : There is a spy on board working for the Romulans, but he's found quickly and had nothing to do with the malfunction. Yet Satie is still willing to destroy the careers of every single person on board the Enterprise with her witch hunt just to make sure. Picard ends up destroying her career instead by proving to her superiors that she's running on sheer crazy.
  • Informed Ability : Picard initially talks about Satie as if she were a master investigator, but this doesn't actually come through on-screen. By the time she can take an active role in this investigation, Worf has already figured out how J'Dan committed espionage; her efforts to expose a supposed conspiracy only serve to ruin a good man's career and ultimately disgrace herself.
  • Insane Admiral : Satie goes completely out of control in her Witch Hunt . Fortunately, Henry is there to shut her down.
  • Insane Troll Logic : Satie's case against Simon Tarses is built on him having been in J'Dan's company once or twice, and him having lied about the species of his grandfather (claiming him to be Vulcan, rather than Romulan).
  • Iron Lady : Norah Satie is poised, dignified, and unwavering in her convictions, up until her Villainous Breakdown .
  • Jerkass Has a Point : Satie's not exactly wrong to point out that — on paper and without context, at least — there are a lot of alarming incidents on Picard's recent service record.
  • Jerkass Realization : Worf, at the end of the episode, realises that he was swept up in Satie's paranoia, and is disgusted with himself for having helped her.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope : Picard realizes that "the road from legitimate suspicion to rampant paranoia is very much shorter than we think".
  • Kangaroo Court : Satie turns the hearings into this until Henry shuts her down. The episode's title refers to the trope, as Picard recalls "drumhead trials" being performed on battlefields with no justice in sight. Picard: This is not unlike a drumhead trial. Worf: I do not understand. Picard: Five hundred years ago, military officers would upend a drum on the battlefield, sit at it, and dispense summary justice. Decisions were quick, punishments severe, appeals denied. Those who came to a drumhead were doomed.
  • As soon as Worf speaks up in Picard's defense, both Satie and Sabin ignore his previous help; Satie implies that he was partly responsible for the Romulan double agent's escape, and Sabin goes as far as to bring up the false charges against Worf's father. Worf: The Enterprise could have been captured by the Romulans! Captain Picard did the only thing he could. Satie: Really, Lieutenant? And where were you when this traitor was on board the Enterprise ? Where was ship's security? Sabin: Don't you think it's questionable judgment, Captain, to have a security officer whose father was a Romulan collaborator?
  • Satie throws Picard's assimilation by the Borg in his face, using it to try and discredit him and suggesting that he should be held responsible for the deaths at Wolf 359. Satie: Tell me, Captain, have you completely recovered from your experience with the Borg? Picard: [ Death Glare ] Yes, I have completely recovered. Satie: It must have been awful for you, actually becoming one of them, being forced to use your vast knowledge of Starfleet operations to aid the Borg. Just how many of our ships were lost? Thirty-nine? And a loss of life, I believe, measured at nearly eleven thousand. One wonders how you can sleep at night, having caused so much destruction. I question your actions, Captain. I question your choices. I question your loyalty.
  • Kirk Summation : Satie should've listened, but she didn't. Picard: I'm deeply concerned about what is happening here. It began when we apprehended a spy; a man who admitted his guilt and will answer for his crime. But the hunt didn't end there. Another man, Mr. Simon Tarses, was brought to trial, and it was a trial, no matter what others choose to call it. A trial based on insinuation and innuendo . Nothing substantive offered against Mr. Tarses, much less proven. Mr. Tarses' grandfather is Romulan. And for that reason his career now stands in ruins. Have we become so... fearful, have we become so cowardly, that we must extinguish a man because he carries the blood of a current enemy ? Admiral, let us not condemn Simon Tarses, or anyone else, because of their bloodlines , or investigate others for their innocent associations. I implore you; do not continue with this proceeding. End it now.
  • Knight Templar : Admiral Satie. She genuinely loves the Federation and has devoted her life to its service. Unfortunately she lets paranoia and a desire for the spotlight get the better of her. As she pushes the investigation into paranoid territory, she tells Picard with pride that she has nothing in her life but her duty — no family, no friends, no home. Given that she's also supposed to be retired, we can understand (though not agree with) her zeal to keep investigating.
  • Living Lie Detector : The Betazoid Sabin Genestra is used as this during investigations. Picard is uncomfortable with Genestra's readings being used as factual evidence, but Satie counters that Picard himself trusts Troi's readings enough to make decisions. Picard says that perhaps he is wrong to do so .
  • Lying to the Perp : Sabin pulls this on Tarses, claiming that the warp core explosion was caused by chemicals that Tarses had access to (even though it was an accident). Tarses refuses to cop to anything.
  • Mandatory Line : Because Jonathan Frakes was directing the episode, Riker's role is limited to appearing in the teaser, acting as Tarses' counsel during his hearing, and appearing in the background of a few other scenes.
  • Married to the Job : Satie notes that she's spent her life traveling from place to place doing her job and has no friends.
  • Motive Rant : J'Dan finally admits to passing information to the Romulans, saying that they would make better allies than The Federation . J'Dan: The blood of all Klingons has become water! Since the Federation alliance, we are turned into a nation of mewling babies! The Romulans are strong. They are worthy allies. They do not turn Klingons into weaklings, like you! [looks at Worf]
  • Simon Tarses, after getting publicly humiliated by Sabin, is just wallowing in remorse for lying to Starfleet. Picard takes it upon himself to try and talk it out with him and understand him, since it's clear Tarses is hardly any sort of malicious person. It's no use, since Tarses is too shaken up.
  • Worf's reaction at the end. Worf: I believed her. I... I helped her. I did not see what she was.
  • Satie's reaction as well, once she realizes how badly she just screwed herself.
  • Nervous Wreck : Poor Simon Tarses looks like a bundle of nerves every time he's on the stand, and it's hard to blame him, especially once Sabin starts laying into him. When we last see him in the episode, talking with Picard, he's at his lowest, utterly terrified and wracked with guilt.
  • Not Me This Time : J'Dan eventually does admit to having been a spy for the Romulans but denies sabotaging the warp core. This causes everyone to realize that wasn't his doing, since if he decided he had nothing to lose and confessed to one crime — which will result in his execution once he's remanded to the Klingons — why would he lie about another?
  • Not So Stoic : Admiral Satie is perfectly poised and reasonable-sounding throughout the investigation, letting her deputy Sabin handle the shouting and Perp Sweating — up until Picard quotes her father, sending her into her Villainous Breakdown .
  • The Paranoiac : Admiral Satie fits this to a T. Even when the evidence conclusively proves that there was no sabotage, she refuses to give up on the idea of a conspiracy aboard the Enterprise . She brushes off any criticism of her methods, disregarding it at best or considering it obstruction of her righteous efforts, and when challenged, she refers to her father's teachings and the personal sacrifices she has made, rather than considering that she might be in the wrong. She also demonstrates the controlling nature (she subverts Picard's authority on his own ship and goes over his head even before she starts suspecting him), self-righteousness (see Knight Templar , above), xenophobia (particularly of Romulans), and self-importance (" I've brought down bigger men than you, Picard! ") associated with the personality type. Her relentless badgering of Tarses and insinuation that Picard should be considered responsible for the actions of Locutus demonstrate a distinct lack of empathy, as well.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure : Admiral Henry turns out to be one. When Satie exposes herself as a lunatic, he withdraws his support by leaving the hearing in the middle of her tirade. He then gives orders ending any further hearings into the matter so that Satie cannot later resume them.
  • Red Herring : The warp core explosion. Turns out there is such a thing as coincidence — though if it hadn't happened, J'Dan may never have been investigated and exposed in the first place.
  • Remember the New Guy? : According to Picard, Admiral Satie was instrumental in exposing the alien parasite infiltration back in Season 1's "Conspiracy" , despite not appearing or being mentioned in that episode.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here : Admiral Henry decides he's had enough of the hearing and walks out, ending it.
  • Played for Drama , when Satie realizes that she's pissed off Admiral Henry, and thus ruined herself, with her Villainous Breakdown . Satie: [hushed tone] I have nothing more to say.
  • Simon Tarses after getting publicly humiliated by Sabin. Also Played for Drama . Simon Tarses: [extremely shaken up] On the advice of my counsel, I refuse to answer that question, in... in that the answer may... s-serve to incriminate me . [buries face in hands]
  • Smug Snake : Once Satie and her staff turn their sights on Picard and the crew, they lose all politeness and act blatantly disrespectful to him and his officers. At one point, Satie's aide Nellen strolls onto the Enterprise bridge and summons the captain to the committee for questioning, with a smirk on her face as she does so.
  • Sole Survivor : Satie says 39 ships were destroyed at Wolf 359. Given that 40 ships were said to have engaged the Borg cube, it would appear a single ship survived. (According to unconfirmed sources, it was the Endeavor under Captain Amisov.)
  • Stock Legal Phrases : Tarses invokes "The Seventh Guarantee" of the Federation Constitution, which appears to be the Federation equivalent of the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States: protection from self-incrimination.
  • Tautological Templar : Admiral Satie gets along fine with Picard until he tries to stop her paranoid witch hunt against Simon Tarses, at which point Satie seems to decide that the only reason Picard wouldn't support her is because he must be a traitor himself . When Picard throws Satie's father's words in her face, she flies completely off the handle, totally ignoring the actual meaning of what Picard was saying and angrily accusing him of treason and boasting of having brought down "bigger men than [Picard]", making it clear that she considers him a traitor purely for challenging her.
  • There Are No Coincidences : Subverted . The Klingon spy had nothing to do with the core explosion, which really was an accident. Satie, however, seems to believe in this trope.
  • Title Drop : Picard compares Satie's hearing to a "drumhead trial", explaining how this was a summary court-martial where defendants got short shrift, the name derived from its often being set up on the spot using a drum as a seat for the presiding judge.
  • When J'Dan offers to restore Worf's family name for his cooperation in betraying the Federation, Worf casually steps inside J'Dan's quarters and waits for the door to shut before pummeling the man.
  • When Satie brings up Picard's assimilation by the Borg, he gives her an ice-cold Death Glare , but keeps his voice level and calm despite clearly being enraged.
  • Uneven Hybrid : Simon Tarses claims to be one-quarter Vulcan courtesy of his paternal grandfather, although he is actually one-quarter Romulan . This is more politically than biologically significant, since Vulcans and Romulans are technically the same species. Tarses himself appears to be human except for slightly Pointy Ears and tapered sideburns reminiscent of Spock's.
  • Unperson : J'Dan says this was Worf's fate on the Klingon homeworld.
  • Villainous Breakdown : Satie has an epic one at the end of Picard's hearing, leading straight to a...
  • Villainous BSoD : She simply sits down and says "I have nothing more to say..."
  • The Voiceless : Henry doesn't speak a word on-screen, but his face and actions say everything.
  • The fate of J'Dan's "data mules" is never revealed, or for that matter if they were willing accomplices or just unsuspecting victims. Although, considering it was likely the Tal Shiar doing the abductions, maybe we're better off not knowing.
  • It's hard not to wonder about whatever became of Simon Tarses, as his final fate is never commented on outside of Picard acknowledging that regardless of the outcome of his own hearing, Tarses' career will likely be in ruins. note  Some pre-Coda Star Trek Expanded Universe works state that Tarses' Starfleet career was brought to an end by Satie's investigation. Most other works state that Tarses was given a formal reprimand for lying on his application to join Starfleet but that he was allowed to continue his career. These novels state Tarses was admitted to Starfleet Academy on Captain Picard's recommendation and also continued his medical studies to become a full medical doctor.
  • Witch Hunt : Satie is absolutely determined to root out any possible traitors, whether or not the targets of her persecution are actually innocent be damned.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation S4E20 "Qpid"
  • Recap/Star Trek: The Next Generation
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation S4E22 "Half a Life"

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star trek the drumhead transcript

Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987–1994) - episodes with scripts

Set in the 24th century and decades after the adventures of the original crew of the starship Enterprise, this new series is the long-awaited successor to the original Star Trek (1966). Under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the all new Enterprise NCC 1701-D travels out to distant planets to seek out new life and to boldly go where no one has gone before.

  • 1. Encounter at Farpoint
  • 2. The Naked Now
  • 3. Code of Honor
  • 4. The Last Outpost
  • 5. Where No One Has Gone Before
  • 6. Lonely Among Us
  • 8. The Battle
  • 9. Hide And Q
  • 11. The Big Goodbye
  • 12. Datalore
  • 13. Angel One
  • 14. 11001001
  • 15. Too Short A Season
  • 16. When The Bough Breaks
  • 17. Home Soil
  • 18. Coming of Age
  • 19. Heart of Glory
  • 20. The Arsenal of Freedom
  • 21. Symbiosis
  • 22. Skin Of Evil
  • 23. We'll Always Have Paris
  • 24. Conspiracy
  • 25. The Neutral Zone
  • 1. The Child
  • 2. Where Silence Has Lease
  • 3. Elementary, Dear Data
  • 4. The Outrageous Okona
  • 5. Loud As A Whisper
  • 6. The Schizoid Man
  • 7. Unnatural Selection
  • 8. A Matter Of Honor
  • 9. The Measure of a Man
  • 10. The Dauphin
  • 11. Contagion
  • 12. The Royale
  • 13. Time Squared
  • 14. The Icarus Factor
  • 15. Pen Pals
  • 17. Samaritan Snare
  • 18. Up The Long Ladder
  • 19. Manhunt
  • 20. The Emissary
  • 21. Peak Performance
  • 22. Shades of Gray
  • 1. Evolution
  • 2. The Ensigns of Command
  • 3. The Survivors
  • 4. Who Watches The Watchers
  • 5. The Bonding
  • 6. Booby Trap
  • 7. The Enemy
  • 8. The Price
  • 9. The Vengeance Factor
  • 10. The Defector
  • 11. The Hunted
  • 12. The High Ground
  • 14. A Matter of Perspective
  • 15. Yesterday's Enterprise
  • 16. The Offspring
  • 17. Sins of The Father
  • 18. Allegiance
  • 19. Captain's Holiday
  • 20. Tin Man
  • 21. Hollow Pursuits
  • 22. The Most Toys
  • 24. Ménage à Troi
  • 25. Transfigurations
  • 26. The Best of Both Worlds
  • 1. The Best of Both Worlds Part II
  • 3. Brothers
  • 4. Suddenly Human
  • 5. Remember Me
  • 8. Future Imperfect
  • 9. Final Mission
  • 10. The Loss
  • 11. Data's Day
  • 12. The Wounded
  • 13. Devil's Due
  • 15. First Contact
  • 16. Galaxy's Child
  • 17. Night Terrors
  • 18. Identity Crisis
  • 19. The Nth Degree
  • 21. The Drumhead
  • 22. Half a Life
  • 23. The Host
  • 24. The Mind's Eye
  • 25. In Theory
  • 26. Redemption
  • 1. Redemption II
  • 3. Ensign Ro
  • 4. Silicon Avatar
  • 5. Disaster
  • 6. The Game
  • 7. Unification I
  • 8. Unification II
  • 9. A Matter of Time
  • 10. New Ground
  • 11. Hero Worship
  • 12. Violations
  • 13. The Masterpiece Society
  • 14. Conundrum
  • 15. Power Play
  • 17. The Outcast
  • 18. Cause and Effect
  • 19. The First Duty
  • 20. Cost of Living
  • 21. The Perfect Mate
  • 22. Imaginary Friend
  • 24. The Next Phase
  • 25. The Inner Light
  • 26. Time's Arrow
  • 1. Time's Arrow, Part II
  • 2. Realm of Fear
  • 3. Man Of The People
  • 8. A Fistful of Datas
  • 9. The Quality of Life
  • 10. Chain Of Command, Part I
  • 11. Chain Of Command, Part II
  • 12. Ship In A Bottle
  • 14. Face Of The Enemy
  • 15. Tapestry
  • 16. Birthright, Part I
  • 17. Birthright, Part II
  • 18. Starship Mine
  • 19. Lessons
  • 20. The Chase
  • 21. Frame of Mind
  • 22. Suspicions
  • 23. Rightful Heir
  • 24. Second Chances
  • 25. Timescape
  • 26. Descent: Part 1
  • 1. Descent: Part 2
  • 2. Liaisons
  • 3. Interface
  • 4. Gambit: Part 1
  • 5. Gambit: Part 2
  • 6. Phantasms
  • 7. Dark Page
  • 8. Attached
  • 9. Force of Nature
  • 10. Inheritance
  • 11. Parallels
  • 12. The Pegasus
  • 13. Homeward
  • 14. Sub Rosa
  • 15. Lower Decks
  • 16. Thine Own Self
  • 18. Eye of the Beholder
  • 19. Genesis
  • 20. Journey's End
  • 21. Firstborn
  • 22. Bloodlines
  • 23. Emergence
  • 24. Preemptive Strike
  • 25. All Good Things...

Star Trek: The Next Generation

The Drumhead

Cast & crew.

Jean Simmons

Adm. Nora Satie

Bruce French

Sabin Genestra

Spencer Garrett

Simon Tarses

Henry Woronicz

Earl Billings

Adm. Thomas Henry


© 2013 CBS Corp. All Rights Reserved.


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Let’s Watch Star Trek

Let’s Watch Star Trek

[TNG] The Drumhead

[TNG] Season 4, Episode 21: The Drumhead

“The Drumhead” is one of the more straight forward trial episodes of Trek, both in theme and plot, but it’s well made and entertaining, hitting all the satisfying notes we’d expect from the genre. The McCarthyism connections are extremely direct, which we’d usually hold against an episode like this, but it provides us with fantastic scenes of Picard standing up for what’s right, and we’re total suckers for that.

Read more at Memory Alpha

Jean Simmons, the lead singer of KISS, is an admiral.

They uncover a Klingon that’s collaborating with the Romulans!

They don’t think the Klingon was alone, so they question this poor guy.

He says he’s a ‘lil bit Vulcan.

But then the admiral’s Betazoid friend says he’s lying and scared.

Geordi points at a thing to show that the sabotage was just a malfunction.

They find out that this guy lied on his starfleet application, and that he’s really part Romulan! The other ones with pointy ears!

Picard thinks things are getting out of hand with the accusations and investigation. Jean Simmons is just getting started though.

They question Picard, about how he has broken the prime directive 9 times, and let a Romulan spy get away in that other episode.

You don’t try to take on Picard in a trial episode. It’s kind of his thing.

While Picard tells everybody what’s what he uses a quote from Jean Simmon’s father, which makes Simmon’s get crazy and HUMILIATE herself.

Everyone’s had enough of her shenanigans.

<Previous Episode ——————————————————– Next Episode>

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‘star trek: the next generation’ — the 25 greatest episodes.

We boldly go — and revisit the top episodes from 'TNG' and the Enterprise-D.

By Aaron Couch , Graeme McMillan September 21, 2016 6:00am

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'Star Trek: The Next Generation' Episodes — The Best 25

How do you follow up one of the most beloved sci-fi TV shows of all time? 

The cast and crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation can answer that question in a way few in Hollywood can, with the voyages of the Enterprise-D managing to step out of the considerable shadow cast by the original crew.

Patrick Stewart (Picard), Jonathan Frakes (Riker), LeVar Burton (La Forge), Michael Dorn (Worf), Gates McFadden (Crusher), Marina Sirtis (Troi) and Brent Spiner (Data) brought Star Trek to new heights  over seven seasons and 178 episodes.

To mark the 50th anniversary of Star Trek this month, The Hollywood Reporter counted down the  top 100 episodes of  Star Trek  across all six TV series. Every day through Friday, we're breaking that list down even further — ranking the episodes by individual series.

Here, you'll find the cast and writers behind TNG sharing what makes these episodes the best of what the crew had to offer. 

Related Stories

'star trek': 100 greatest episodes, 'star trek': 20 greatest episodes from the original series, "conspiracy".

It turns out, sometimes it pays to be paranoid. Picard and Riker discover an alien infestation, with parasites preparing to slip into the Federation by taking over officers. The episode culminates with Riker and Picard teaming up to take down the possessed Lt. Commander Remmick (Robert Schenkkan ) to explosive results. It's the favorite episode of TNG property master Alan Sims, who had to use all of his talents for the hour. "Creating the tongue puppet parasites, the live worms that were eaten by Riker to puppeteering the queen parasite that burst out of Dexter Remmick's host body … What an episode,"  recalls Sims. 

"Skin Of Evil"

Tasha Yar's death famously came from actress Denise Crosby's desire to leave Trek (though she would later return as an alternate timeline version of character and then, the character's daughter, Sela ). It's shocking for killing off a main character, and her funeral gives us an early example of Data's journey to understanding humanity. 


Patrick Stewart stepped behind the camera to direct TNG 's Halloween episode, which saw Data begin having nightmares — and gave viewers one of the most iconic and schlocky scenes in Star Trek history: the cellular peptide  Troi cake (with mint frosting!).

"The Offspring"

If Data's creator Noonian Soong  could create an android — why couldn't Data do the same? The surprisingly funny and touching episode showed Data dealing with loss after he creates — and loses — a daughter. The episode marked the directorial debut of Jonathan Frakes (Will  Riker ), who would go on to be among the most prolific actor-turned-directors in Trek history. 

"They were always capable, but you saw the progression of them becoming not just good directors — but becoming really good directors," Michael Dorn ( Worf ) says of working with costars  Frakes and LeVar Burton ( Geordi La Forge) as directors. 

Brent Spiner gets to show off his considerable acting chops in this episode, playing Data, his brother Lore, and their creator Dr. Noonien Soong — who has called his sons home to say goodbye as he nears death. There's a real sweetness to Lore, who is genuinely upset when he learns Dr. Soong is dying, though that's undone when Lore attacks his father later in the episode, which also introduces the notion of Data's emotions chip. 

"The Pegasus"

The shine starts to come off Commander Riker in this episode in which he's forced to come to terms between the demands of his duty to the Enterprise, and to his former commanding officer, who is up to no good. In many ways, this episode feels like a mix between the holier-than-thou TNG and the less perfect original series, giving Riker's blind loyalty to his superiors a long overdue exploration. Of course, his former superior officer is none other than Terry O'Quinn , showing both slightly more hair and slightly more humanity than he would as Lost 's John Locke. 

"Cause and Effect"

Forget going back to a period of Earth's history to hang out with Mark Twain — this Next Generation time travel story from writer Brannon Braga  sees the Enterprise-D crew stuck in a loop that leads in their deaths over, and over. The teaser, showing the Enterprise being destroyed, may just be the greatest opening in Star Trek history. 

"Frame Of Mind"

If David Fincher  had directed a Star Trek episode in the early 90s , perhaps it would have been something along these lines. The episode sees reality blur as  Riker  is imprisoned in an alien insane asylum and told he has committed murder. Jonathan Frakes  gives a stellar performance of a tortured Riker that is unlike anything viewers saw in the show before or after. 


The crossovers between The Next Generation and the original series were remarkably few, as if those working on the new show were fully aware of the potential that it would be overcome by nostalgia. This late-era episode — which brought James Doohan's Scotty back from the void to deal with the fact that most of those he knew were now gone — threatened to be every bit as sentimental as that synopsis sounds, but managed to avoid that fate thanks to some nice performances from Doohan and LeVar Burton's Geordi LaForge , and a great script from future Battlestar Galactica showrunner Ronald D. Moore.

"The Lower Decks"

"Have you ever had a dream of working on the Starship Enterprise? I know — like every night!" says  The Guardian 's Hoffman of one of his favorite Next Gen episodes. "This season 7 Next Generation episode offers a glimpse at what life is like for the members of the crew who are off to the side, the ones who aren’t sure if Captain Picard knows their name and, yes, the ones who are in the most danger during away missions."

"The Drumhead"

Star Trek always struck gold when Picard entered the court room, and in this episode he spoke out after one of his crew was the victim of a witch hunt, partially for being a quarter Romulan (not Vulcan, as he said on his Starfleet Academy application). Admiral Norah Satie (Oscar nominee Jean Simmons) conducted a trial, and makes it into an indictment of Picard himself.

"Jean Simmons was a joy to work with," recalls Michael Dorn , who rates the episode as his favorite from his Next Generation years. "If you watch the very ending, it's a very cool scene between Picard and Worf , basically talking about how you have to be on guard from people like Satie . Constantly."


By the final season of TNG , the series was beginning to strain to find new stories to tell about the much-loved cast. On the face of it, audiences had seen the basic concept of "Parallels" before — a crew member finds themselves traveling to a different dimension without any control — but what makes this episode special isn't just the insight it provides into the usually all-too-insular Worf , but also the thrill of seeing so many "What If"? versions of familiar ideas from the series' past. As the series headed towards its conclusion, it was a surprisingly graceful, and fun, way to provide fan service without ruining the show as a whole. 

Having successfully defined the Borg as an almost unbeatable hive mind of destructive force, "I, Borg" sets out to do the seemingly impossible and humanize them. The result is something that speaks as much to Star Trek 's inherent humanist outlook, as one Borg is given his individuality back while Picard and Guinan are forced to overcome their own prejudices against the enemy that in some ways ruined both of their lives. More ethically tricky than a lot of TNG , it's to be lauded for showing how flawed the leads can be — and also raising the specter of the many deaths the Enterprise was responsible for in "The Best of Both Worlds" two-parter . 

"As a kid watching Star Trek I would never have imagined that I would be the first Borg to define an entire alien race- playing Hugh has shaped my life in so many great ways, proud to be a part of the legacy," says guest star Jonathan Del Arco .

"Redemption Parts I & II"

The original series may have primarily been the Kirk, Spock, Bones show, but The Next Generation was able to truly have seven leads — each getting his or her own time to shine multiple times a year. Next Generation celebrated its 100th episode by delving deeply into Worf's story, examining a family dishonor that has plagued him. It's a complicated and undeniably badass arc, seeing Worf resign from Starfleet, Picard navigate the tricky waters of a Klingon civil war, and the Enterprise bridge crew temporarily commanding their own ships. For good measure, there's the return of Denise Crosby as Sela , Tasha Yar's half-Romulan daughter, born after the "Yesterday's Enterprise" version of Yar went back to the past. 

"The Measure of a Man"

The emotional touchstone of Next Generation was Data's quest to understand humanity, and there's no more poignant example than the android's very sentience being put on trial — with Picard and Riker  finding themselves on opposite sides of a trial for Data's rights and life. 

"Even though I was hardly in the episode, I thought it encapsulated everything that was good about Star Trek, " recalls recalls Marina  Sirtis  ( Troi ), of her favorite episode from TNG .

"Elementary, Dear Data"

Holodeck episodes became a mainstay of Star Trek beginning with Next Generation — and the greatest contribution to this genre came courtesy of Data's love of Sherlock Holmes. Geordi asks the computer to create an adversary who could beat Data, and the computer grants that wish in the form of the sentient Moriarty (Daniel Davis). 

"I was twenty years old when we began to boldly go and twenty three years later, I was going with them," recalls Davis, a fan from the days of the original series. "I was sent sides for an episode of The Next Generation called 'Elementary, Dear Data.' I auditioned for the role of Professor James Moriarty and two days later I was on the holodeck with Brent Spiner and LeVar Burton. It was a brilliant script that combined the Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek mythologies. But it was mostly Star Trek , and presaged the questions of reality vs. virtual reality, computer generated consciousness, whether self awareness is all that is required to define our humanity."

"Ship in a Bottle"


Daniel Davis had already established himself as one of Next Generation' s greatest villains with his turn as Moriarty  in season 2, and he cemented his status with the sequel, which raised even greater questions about the rights of artificial intelligences and the nature of reality. The holodek program is initially able to outsmart the likes of Data and Picard — who ultimately grants Moriarty  his wish to live in the real world, though he in fact will continue to live in a holographic simulation in a Matrix -level twist that predates the 1999 film by years. 

"It was an extraordinary thing to be a part of and five years later, I was able to revisit the character and some very mind bending plot twists," recalls Davis of his work on Next Generation . "The cast and crew were as great a pleasure to work with as any I've known in my career. And thanks to the world of conventions, I'm able to enjoy reunions with them from time to time. Cogito Ergo Sum! Happy Anniversary, Live Long and Prosper."

"All Good Things"


Trying to sum up seven years' worth of adventures seemed like a tall order for the show's grand finale, but writers Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore pulled off the near-impossible with a story that doesn't just send Picard spinning through time into the past of the series and the future of the characters, but goes all the way back to the pilot of the series to reveal that everything really had been leading up to this moment, but no-one had realized it just yet. Add in some fond farewells from familiar faces and great performances from the regular cast, clearly relishing their last chance to play on TV together, and you have arguably the best series finale of any of the Star Trek s.

Parting is such sweet sorrow, ad veteran  Trek  producer Ronald D. Moore recalls his first meeting with Patrick Stewart years earlier on set of the writer's first episode, "The Bonding."

"He was very gracious meeting this young writer and in my enthusiasm, I pitched him the story for the next episode I was writing," says Moore. "He listened with a smile, then said, 'Lovely. Just bear in mind that the Captain doesn’t do nearly enough screwing and shooting in this show,' and then he walked away."

"Chain of Command, Parts I & II"


There! Are! Four! Lights! The two-part "Chain of Command" manages to mix another bravura performance by Patrick Stewart — the second episode, which focuses on Picard being tortured by the Cardassians , is compelling viewing thanks to the interplay between Stewart and David Warner as Gul Madred — with a sly commentary on the status quo of the show itself, with Picard's surly temporary replacement ( Ronny Cox's Edward Jellico ) finally letting Deanna Troi wear a real Starfleet uniform and calling some of the regular cast out on their storytelling tropes. A victory lap from when the show was at its peak.


No alien race in Star Trek history has been as terrifying as The Borg — and it all began with Q flinging the Enterprise to the other side of the galaxy. The hive mind villain's terror would only increase with "Best of Both Worlds" — and subsequently lose some of its mystique as the Borg was further explored with "I, Borg" and in Voyager . But it all begins here, where the Borg is at the height of its mystique. 


Not many shows would be gutsy enough to start an episode by killing off the leading man, but TNG was in the middle of its imperial period, and knew that Picard could be magic-ed back to life via the omniscient Q at any point. He does indeed return, but with a twist — given the opportunity to change his past by Q, he takes it and finds himself a lesser man as a result. Essentially "It's A Wonderful Life," Trek -style, the episode reveals more about what makes Picard tick (literally; the Macguffin is his artificial heart) and plays out as a morality tale about letting go of regrets over past experiences. 


The episode followed the traumatic events of "Best of Both Worlds" and allowed Picard to deal with the trauma of being made into a Borg pawn who murdered thousands of people. Pausing to consider a previous episode was a rarity for Trek at the time — as the show went from adventure to adventure without stopping to reflect on what had come before. It contains the best Picard monologue of the series — but not everyone was a fan of the episode. 

"Gene Roddenberry hated it. He wanted to throw it out," Ron Moore, then a young writer on Next Generation , told THR last year . "We all met in Gene's office and Gene just said 'this isn't the 24th century.' 'These brothers reflect outdated, 20th-Century modes of childhood development. Mankind had solved these kind of issues by then. I hate this.' " Fortunately for us, the episode made it to air. 

"Yesterday's Enterprise"


Considered one of the greatest sci-fi stories every told on television, the story grew from  Next Generation 's unusual policy of allowing the submission of unsolicited story pitches. Writer Trent Christopher  Ganino  pitched the story and ultimately shared a credit with Eric A.  Stillwell , then a production assistant on  TNG . This Next Generation tale explores what would happen had a key historical event not kept the peace between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. It turns out, Picard would be in charge of a militarized version of the Enterprise, and Tasha Yar (Denise Crosby) would still be alive. The Enterprise-D teams up with the Enterprise-C, whose crew ultimately decides to return to their own time to sacrifice their lives to defend a Klingon  outpost, thus restoring the universe to its proper timeline. Tasha goes with them … and later we learn gave birth to a daughter. 

"The Inner Light"


Without doubt the best Star Trek episode named after a George Harrison song — although who could forget Enterprise 's third season classic "Wah-Wah"? — this episode is a poignant showcase for Patrick Stewart, who gets to live out the remainder of Jean-Luc Picard's life in just 40-odd minutes after the captain is transported into the life of an alien scientist after being zapped by a probe on the Enterprise bridge. Watching him grow old against the backdrop of a dying planet is one of the most beautiful things TNG managed during its seven year run. No wonder this episode won the 1993 Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation.

"The Best of Both Worlds Parts I & II"


The two-part episode was the first (and many consider the greatest) cliffhanger in Next Generation history, seeing Picard abducted by the Borg and forced to be its de facto head, Locutus . The arc introduced layers of psychological complexity to the show and would pay off with 1996's  Star Trek: First Contact , considered the finest TNG film. 

"All of us were quite thrilled they had the balls to leave Picard on the Borg cube," Jonathan Frakes told THR last year for the arc's  25th anniversary. "It's commonplace now. Shows like Lost and House of Cards — they'll kill off a regular and think nothing of it. This was 1990. It was not commonplace to be killing off any of your series regulars. That was a big "who shot J.R." type of plot."

'Star Trek': The Story of the Most Daring Cliffhanger in 'Next Generation' History

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Published Apr 24, 2021

Spencer Garrett Looks Back At The Drumhead

The actor tells us about being intimidated by Patrick Stewart, getting caught by the TNG cast at his day job, and trying to figure what the heck a Romulan was before YouTube existed.

Star Trek: The Next Generation - "The Drumhead" | ShutterStock/Eugene Powers

You’ve seen Spencer Garrett in dozens upon dozens of TV shows as well as in big movies like Air Force One and Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood . Back in 1991, he was a young, green actor who landed the plum role of crewman Simon Tarses in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “The Drumhead,” directed by Jonathan Frakes.

Written by Jeri Taylor based on a story by Ronald D. Moore, “The Drumhead” — which celebrates its 29th anniversary this month — took the persecution of the Salem witch trials and 1950s McCarthyism and put it in a 24th-century setting. Originally intended as a money-saving “ bottle episode, ” it became a TNG favorite, and a must-see episode for fans prepping for the Star Trek: Picard premiere.

Star Trek: The Next Generation -

We spoke to Garrett about playing Tarses in “The Drumhead,” Weiss in Voyage r’s “Flesh and Blood,” and the friendships he formed with the TNG cast. What did you know about Star Trek before you got the role?

Spencer Garrett: My only knowledge of it was that my godfather, an actor named Liam Sullivan , was on the original show. On TOS, he was on an episode called “ Plato’s Stepchildren .”  Do you know that one?

I know all of them, so yes. [Laughs]

SG: When I was cast, he dug out an old VHS copy of his episode, and I put it in my VHS player and I watched it, and that was probably the first time that I had seen any episode of Star Trek since I was a little kid. I was like, “Wow, this is a cool show.”

So how did you prepare for the role?

SG: I was trying to do as much research as I [could]. I mean, what is a Romulan? What does a Romulan act like? I had no clue. There was no YouTube back then; I was trying to find reruns of TOS, and started watching Next Generation to try to get the vibe and the tone of the show. I was asking friends of mine, Martha Lee, my cousin, “What’s a Romulan? How is a Romulan different from a Vulcan?”

I was all of the sudden in this completely foreign world. And I think it was the scene in the trial, where I’m being interrogated by Bruce French, the actor who was representing Jean Simmons’ character, and I started crying, in the scene. And we ended up having to go back and re-shoot that scene because Rick Berman, the exec producer, said, “No, a Romulan would never cry. He would be emotionless.” So we went back and re-shot that scene without me crying.

What was the atmosphere like on set while you were filming?

SG: It was great! I’m sitting next to Michael Dorn as he’s getting his head put on, they’re gluing his face on. Patrick’s to my right, and Jean Simmons, and — I mean, you’ve got to remember, this is really one of my first jobs with a significant role as a guest actor in a TV series, I hadn’t really done a heck of a lot before that. I was kind of like a kid in a candy store.

I remember the vibe being very welcoming. And I was treated like a veteran.

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What was it like working with the cast?

SG: Doing those scenes with Patrick in his quarters... I remember being a little intimidated, and a little scared. And Jonathan Frakes, it might have been one of his earliest directing gigs, he was so gentle and loving, and just really wonderful with me. He’s, coincidentally, one of my favorite directors to act for ever since we did that episode because he just loves actors... being one himself and having been a very successful actor even before Star Trek , we just had a great rapport and a great vibe.

When I got cast, and I heard that Jean Simmons was going to be in the episode, I expected to see the guy from KISS when I walked into the makeup trailer. I was like, “The guy with the tongue from KISS, what a trip! I wonder what alien he’s gonna be playing!”

And then I walk in, and it’s J-E-A-N Simmons , from Guys and Dolls , and Spartacus . And she was probably in her late 50s, early 60s (and of course she was iconic to me even then, ‘cause I’ve been a movie junkie my entire life) and this gorgeous woman, who I’d known from her early films, had a mouth like a sailor. [I was] instantly crazy about her, because this gorgeous, genteel English actress, and she’s talking like a truck driver. We had a lot of fun together.

She was so chilling and scary in those scenes with me in the trial. But she was wonderful. It was a great experience.

What did you think of the final episode?

SG: I love the episode. I love what it was saying, first of all. I loved the writing. My interpretation of it at the time was “this is very much a metaphor for what’s going on with AIDS in the world right now.” The writing was wonderfully subversive and slyly political in its way.

That’s an interpretation I haven’t heard. When people talk about this episode, most of them focus on civil liberties and to McCarthyism. I’d love to get more specific about how it connected to the AIDS crisis for you.

SG: When Picard came to my defense, essentially his defense of me was, “Let’s not denigrate this man, let’s not convict him because he has tainted blood.” That was my takeaway in terms of the AIDS crisis. I mean there’s definitely a McCarthy-ist vibe that flows underneath all of it. You can interpret it that way as well.

Star Trek: The Next Generation -

To me, it was about me having tainted blood, and me being “the other” and me being ostracized because I had this otherness about me. And you could see Jean Simmons as a McCarthy character. Or even a Reagan-like character, if you want to get that deep with it.

I was very much involved with several AIDS relief projects back then, and I remember the script speaking strongly to me when I read it. I was aware of what the writers were trying to do.

Did getting that role on such a big show change your career at the time?

SG: Not really. I got the job, and then there was sort of a lull. I worked a little bit here and there, but I was still catering, and waiting tables, doing what I could to make ends meet. I got a job working at a restaurant in Silver Lake in L.A., which at the time, wasn’t really the bustling hipster place that it is now. I thought, If I’m going to wait tables, work at a restaurant, I’m going to take a gig at a place that’s not trafficked by people in my industry.

The very first night I worked there — I’m not kidding, the first night I worked there on the floor as the maître d, in walks Frakes, LeVar, Brent Spiner, Whoopi Goldberg, and Michael Dorn. They had a jazz night at this restaurant, and these guys came in on a regular basis — they played there every Thursday night. I think Frakes played the trombone, Spiner played the piano, Whoopi came to watch, they all hung together. So they walked in the door, and they saw Simon Tarses there as the maître d, and I thought, “Well this is fucking humbling.”

That’s hilarious! How was their performance?

SG : They were terrific! They came in every Thursday night. And they all became [my] friends. I knew after we did the episode that Jonathan and I would have a rapport that would last beyond that, but I became friends with Brent and Whoopi; we’ve all worked together at various points over the years as well.

But it was just so strange to see them come in there: I mean, oh God, I picked this restaurant where I can get away from all the Hollywood types, and in walks the cast of the show that I had just worked on.

Let’s talk about Voyager ! How did you get cast in “Flesh and Blood”?

SG: I’d always wondered if they were going to bring Tarses back in some other iteration. I was jonesing to do another one. I would run into Rick Berman or Ken Biller or Brannon Braga — who’s a neighbor of mine, still lives around the corner from me — and every time I would see them, it would be like, “Yeah, we’re gonna get you back here somehow.”

Ken Biller, who was showrunning Voyager , said, “I’ve got a role for you. It’s not Simon Tarses. You’re going to come back as a hologram. But it’s a terrific part. You get to carry a gun, and emerge out of this murky swamp.” I said, “I’m in.”

At that point, nine years later, I had become a full-on fan. I’d seen every episode of TNG, and every episode of Voyager , and every episode of Deep Space Nine , so I was psyched to play the character in Voyager .

I was living in an apartment literally right across the street from Paramount Studios, so I would walk out my front door and walk across the street onto the Paramount lot. And there was not a lot of makeup involved in that! So it was a pretty easy gig.

I remember that when we broke for lunch, instead of eating the catered lunch food, I would run back to my apartment across the street and grab a nap in my own bed.

In your uniform?

SG : Sure! I’d throw a sweater on, over my spandex — my polyester uniform. I still have my badge.I swiped a couple of things. I’ve got three or four pairs of ears [from “The Drumhead”], which are kind of worse for wear now, and I have a couple of badges that were velcro’d to my suit. I remember saying to the costume person at the time, “Can I have one of these?” And he just said, “I’m gonna look the other way. I didn’t see anything.”

Star Trek: Voyager -

Standing waist-deep in that swamp, what was that like? You had to rise up out of it.

SG: Over and over and over and over again. We shot that swamp scene on the Warner Brothers lot, and it was freezing cold. There were three or four of us in the water, and I had to keep going down under water. It was just so bloody cold, I forget what time of the year it was, but probably six o’clock in the morning. They don’t heat that water, and it was just nasty. The water was murky, and god knows what all crap was in there. [Laughs] I just remember scrubbing myself down hard at the end of that two days of filming.

I remember thinking at the time, “I’m gonna get sick.” And I did. I got sick from the cold water, and whatever germs were in that swamp.

Your scenes were separate from most of the rest of the cast, did you get to spend any time with them?

SG: I don’t think so. I knew Robbie McNeill a little bit, but we didn’t have any stuff together. When he got Voyager , I was doing a show that nobody had ever heard of called Hitz , with Andrew Dice Clay. Robbie and I met at the Upfronts in New York, for our respective shows. He was there with Kate Mulgrew, you know, this very sophisticated bunch of actors, and I’m there with Andrew Dice Clay (laughs), and this motley bunch for this really bawdy wonderful/awful sitcom that lasted one season, and I remember turning to Robbie and I said, “You’re gonna be on this ride for a long time, well beyond this, you know that.” And he was like, “Oh, I know.”

He’s also a terrific director. Actors love working with Robbie much the same way they love working with Johnny Frakes.

How would you say has Star Trek fandom affected you?

SG: Years later, when I started to get some recognition for some work that I had been doing over the years, the first thing that people would say is, “You’re Simon Tarses, from ‘The Drumhead’.” It was always shocking to me; I’d racked up a pretty good body of work at that point, and every time, to a person, everyone would say “Simon Tarses from ‘The Drumhead’.” So that’s when I realized Oh my god, this thing has a footprint.

And when I went to the first convention a couple years ago, the reaction to me being there was so lovely. People came to me and said, “We’ve always wondered when you were going to show up at one of these things, what took you so long?” The fandom of Star Trek , the fact that it has endured this long and that it’s so strong… it’s such an extraordinary community. It’s a very cool thing to be a part of.

We talked a bit our mutual love of the show Better Things , and the conversation found its way into this fun story about several actors who, like Spencer, had also appeared on one Star Trek or another .

SG : Speaking of character actors, there’s a group of us that meets for dinner every Sunday night, once a month, the last two years. And we call ourselves “the CADS,” it’s the Character Actors Dining Society. It’s me, Steven Weber…

He was on Star Trek .

SG: Yes, also on Star Trek !  Richard Kind—probably not on Star Trek , Alfred Molina, Kevin Pollack, LeVar is part of it, Laurence Fishburne. Titus Welliver who’s on the show Bosch [and was on Voyager .] Danny DeVito has joined us. Oh, and Michael McKean is a part of it.

Michael was also on Star Trek .

SG: Was he really?

You have to see his Voyager episode. It is the creepiest… he is unbelievable in it. He’s the centerpiece of the whole episode and rightfully so.

SG: He’s a phenomenal actor.

Last month, I was in Chicago doing Chicago PD, and I couldn’t make it. So all these guys are dining, and it’s LeVar, and Alfred Molina, and Weber, and Richard Kind, and Kevin Pollack, and McKean, and maybe a few others, and they were here at a restaurant in L.A. And Patrick Stewart showed up. He was having dinner at the next table, and he’s like [in a pretty good Patrick Stewart impression], “Well look at this motley crew.” And he came over and joined them. I was so bummed. I would’ve just freaked if I saw him.

View this post on Instagram From my mates @eric_mccormack @levar.burton @wumpyinc @realrichardkind @fredmolina9953 #JasonAlexander @michaelnouriofficial #MichaelMcKean @kevinpollak123 @wearepressure #LaurenceFishburne #covid19 #grateful #heroes A post shared by Spencer Garrett (@spencergarrett1) on Apr 8, 2020 at 12:05pm PDT

(The CADS say thank you to health care workers)

So, what do you have coming up that you’re excited about? You’ve had a pretty good year.

SG: Yeah, I had a fun year last year. I did the Tarantino film Once Upon a Time... in Hollywood , I did Bombshell .

Had you worked with Quentin Tarantino before?

SG: I had not. That was a treat. We shot that entire scene in about an hour, just me and the two guys [Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio]. And when the movie was coming out last summer, I was standing in line waiting to get a table in a restaurant and there was a tap on my shoulder, and I turned around, and I said, “Oh hi, Leonardo DiCaprio.” ‘Cause you know, you don’t see that every day. And he said, “Dude, I just saw the trailer, it’s coming out tomorrow.” He said, “And you’re in the trailer.” And I said, “Oh that’s great, I’m happy to know that.” And he’s like, “No no, you are the trailer.” And the trailer came out the next day and I was all over the thing.

I had a podcast called America 2.0 with Laurence Fishburne and Kate Walsh, and Patrick Adams from Suits that became the number one podcast in the country last year. It’s a political drama, like The West Wing . We’re developing that into a television show right now.

That’s amazing.

SG: Yeah, pretty exciting stuff. And Fishburne is on board. I mean, god knows when everything is going to get moving again. Everything’s shut down.

And the most exciting thing that I’m looking forward to is an HBO series called Showtime . It’s about the early 1980s L.A. Lakers, with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Pat Riley and that whole gang. And I play Chick Hearn, he was the broadcaster for the Lakers for fifty years. We were supposed to start filming our ten episodes at the end of this month, and that’s been shut down. Whenever life gets back to normal, we’re going to go into production on that.

So, some fun irons in the fire when the more important fire in this world is hopefully extinguished.

This interview has been edited and condensed. You can check out Spencer's coronavirus fundraiser show, Quarantine The Show , on InstagramTV where he i s raising money for the SAG/AFTRA Foundation's COVID-19 relief fund helping actors in need.

Laurie Ulster (she/her) is a freelance writer and a TV producer who somehow survived her very confusing adolescence as the lone female Star Trek fan in middle school. She's a writer/editor and was the Supervising Producer on After Trek.

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Star Trek: The Next Generation : "Qpid"/"The Drumhead"

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Or  The One Where I Miss Alan Rickman, But Not Kevin Costner

Look, this is a completely inoffensive episode. Aside from some intermittently amusing comedy, the entertaining hamminess of John de Lancie, and the return of Picard's occasional love interest, Vash, there's really nothing here. Oh, sure, we get some silliness with the cast dressed as characters from  Robin Hood , but there's no thematic depth, no tension, and no consequences. There's no sexism to complain about and no distractingly uncomfortable subtext. Just light-enough-to-be-practically-weightless silliness. I didn't find it hugely entertaining, mainly because I think Picard and Vash's relationship is about as believable as, well, any other romantic relationship on this show, but I can't think of any concrete reasons why it would irritate me. Oh sure, bad comedy is  always  annoying, but there are actually some decent jokes here, most of them centered on Worf. ("Sir, I protest. I am  not  a Merry Man!" was great, but I also enjoyed the  Animal House- inspired lute smashing and his casual, "Nice legs. For a human.")

And yet, sitting down to write this review, I am a little irritated. Partly it's because there's not a whole lot here to unpack. Vash's subversion of Q's gameplan is intriguing, but it quickly settles back into the expected "damsel in distress" rhythms. It's cute that they end up together in the end, I suppose. Although the odds of Q getting bored and conveniently forgetting her on some planet no one's ever heard of seem fairly high. I could write about Robin Hood, but really, "Qpid" is basically just stealing some set-ups from the Errol Flynn movie (which gave us Basil Rathbone as Sir Guy of Gisbourne), and then there's a castle. The context is meaningless, and, since Q is running the show, there's no threat. In his first few appearances, Q was mercurial and potentially deadly, but now, he's just comic relief. While he made vaguely ominous comments about blood being spilt, there's no concern that anyone in the crew is going to be seriously injured. Q is no longer an unknown quantity. We understand what essentially drives him, and that he'll only go so far.

Still, I suppose "Qpid" doesn't need casualties (or a potential for casualties) to be entertaining. But still, there's that irritation. It's not really anger. It's not even sharply negative. It's more frustration that a talented cast and crew were wasting their time on something that sort of just sat there for forty minutes, eating a hole in the schedule.  TNG  has done episodes of this quality before, and it will certainly do episodes like this again, but usually, there's   some hook or odd quirk or weird runner for me to fixate on. Maybe there's something here, and I'm just not seeing it. Mostly, this episode just feels lazy, even if it isn't particularly annoying or tedious. The sudden injection of Sherwood Forest doesn't have much to do with anything, and Q's attempts to teach Picard a lesson about the dangers of romance seem half-assed, even for him. More than anything else, it feels like somebody wanted to write a holodeck episode, but then remembered we hadn't had a Q episode this season, so what the hell.

The plot, such as it is: Picard is giving a speech to a bunch of archaeologists about some ruins on the planet Targus III, which nobody is allowed to ever visit. He is, unsurprisingly, stressed about giving this speech. (Troi has one of her classic "GAH SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP" moments here when she essentially lectures the Captain on getting to bed.) (Note: I don't hate Troi. I just find it exceptionally easy to pretend as I though I do.) Then Vash shows up, partly to flirt, partly because she wants to find some way to sneak into those famed ruins and do a bit of grave-robbing. The expected squabbling/romantic tension ensues, and we get some weird forced drama when an exceptionally lovely Beverly Crusher shows up for morning tea at Picard's, only to find Jean-Luc already entertaining a new conquest. Or something to that effect. Anyway, Picard hasn't really told any of his friends on the  Enterprise  about Vash, which, seeing as how Picard rarely divulges any personal information to anyone who doesn't absolutely need it, isn't that surprising. But Vash is a little hurt that he hadn't thought to mention her. Seeing as how, so far as I can tell, they only had a weekend together, I'm not sure what her deal is, but women, right? Ha-ha, something something horribly sexist. Riker proves once again that he'll hit on anything that moves (seriously, Vash is in Ten-Forward for all of a minute before he swoops in), and Vash enjoys poking around. So, if it wasn't for the title and the cast list, it would look like this is what the episode's going to be: Picard and Vash spar, Vash vies to get exactly what she wants without entirely betraying her lover, and it all ends with what may or may not be a subtle implication of successful coitus.

Except Q shows up, and he wants to do Picard a favor, or else he's bored, which basically amount to the same thing. After they have their usual conversation (it's like Dennis the Menace and Mr. Wilson, only Dennis can fold space-time in on itself, and Mr. Wilson gave up on the comb-over), Q zaps the main ensemble and Vash into a simulated Sherwood, assigning roles at random, although none of the woman apart from Vash are cast as named characters. Vash-Marian is being held captive at Sir Guy's castle; he intends to marry her or execute her on the morrow. Amusingly, Vash nearly short-circuits Q's plotting by first agreeing to marry Sir Guy and then turning Picard in when he shows up at the castle to rescue her. Of course it's all part of her own game, and Q catches her trying to get a message to Riker and the others. So it's up to the crew to rescue their captain and his lover using swords and fisticuffs and various shouts.

I'm doing more plot summary here than I usually do, I realize. But honestly, that's all I got. Like I said, it's briefly unexpected when Vash throws tradition to the wind and accepts Sir Guy's proposal. This is the sort of character moment that makes me like her more than just about anything else she's done on the show; the kid-friendly femme fatale routine is amusing, but it gets old. Vash behaves logically and cleverly, and briefly, the episode rises above routine. Briefly, it becomes more than just marking time.

I'll admit that the sudden transition from the  Enterprise  to the woods is very odd, and if I hadn't known it was coming, I may have been more delighted by it. It was nice to have some continuity with Vash, and I continue to appreciate that she's (somewhat) age-appropriate for Picard. But while it may make me a bad fan, I just don't particularly care about Jean-Luc's love life, and Vash, for all her cleverness, isn't compelling enough to make me care. I wasn't hugely bored here, and I did laugh a couple times. But while I don't expect every episode to be as intense as, say, "The Drumhead," I need some reason for a story to exist beyond, "Hey, let's dress everybody up in community theater period costumes!" Casual plotting can be fun, and a hang-out episode every now and again is good for a series like this. But this one was all about exploring a relationship that didn't matter and resolving a question no one had asked.

Stray Observations:

  • I will say that Troi and Beverly both looked quite fetching in Merry Men outfits. Also, if this episode had just been Worf walking around dressed as Will Scarlett, it would've been much better.
  • And once again, Worf tries to fight someone and gets injured just to prove to the crew that they're in danger.
  • "This human emotion: love." Yes, because we've never met any other race on the show with a concept of "love" before.
  • "He wants to do something nice for me." "I'll alert the crew."
  • "I would've taken my own life, but for you." "We all make mistakes."
  • "I'm in no mood for your foolishness, Q." Yes, and that is so different from the 10 million other times you've said it.

"The Drumhead"

Or  The One Where The Truth We Want Isn't The Truth We Need

It's easier to expect the worst in people because they so rarely disappoint. Most folks aren't inherently evil or cruel, but we can often be selfish and short-sighted, and if you go through life looking for these qualities in the strangers you meet, you'll find them. Partly because we're hardwired that way—biology dictates a certain level of self-interest—but also because innocence is as difficult to prove as a negative. Once you presume guilt, life will conform to your assumptions, and the longer you cling to them, the more desperately important it becomes for those assumptions to remain true. Because if you're wrong, if others are capable of dignity and nobility and honor, what does that make you? What kind of monster could look at the world and only see its shadow?

"The Drumhead" is about how our prejudices and need for redemption color our ability to effectively parse information, and worse, how our expectations can blind us to the cost of our actions. It's powerful, dramatic, and moving. It's also a shade on the didactic side, at least if we're going by the dialogue-as-written. Picard gives any number of speeches about the dangers of overeager prosecution, and while the episode does a decent job in justifying the actions of its chief antagonist, it doesn't really do much in the way of making her sympathetic once the tables start turning. Once again, the  Enterprise  proves to be a bastion of sanity in a universe full of corrupt politicians and obsessives, and once again, if it wasn't for Picard, everyone would probably just go flat-out insane. But it works. You might be getting tired of how often I praise Patrick Stewart in these write-ups, but so much of this series wouldn't work without him as the center; it's hard to think of many other actors pulling off the heavy thematic lifting that's required of him here. (Shatner would've been entertaining, and passionate, but he would've heightened the overly-direct dialogue, rather than made it more effectively naturalistic.) Picard carries the episode, with some excellent assisting work from guest star Jean Simmons. And Worf gets to have a moral conflict, which is nice for him.

"Drumhead" hits the ground running, with a cold open that takes place after an event that one would normally assume to be the focus of the episode: A saboteur aboard the ship has apparently stolen design plans and caused an explosion in the engine room. The likely suspect, a Klingon xenobiologist, has already been taken into custody, and we start with his interrogation. The Klingon, J'Dan, denies his guilt, but he doesn't try very hard, and when he mocks Worf later in private, it's pretty obvious that the bad guy has already been caught here. J'Dan takes too much pride in his contempt, and he soon admits to providing information to the Romulans.

So, there you have it, really. Not much of a mystery left to explore. Except there was that explosion in Engineering, and J'Dan vehemently denies any involvement in it. Why would he lie about that? Maybe there was someone else working with him on the  Enterprise , and maybe that someone decided to cover their tracks by damaging the ship. (I'm not sure if I'm reading too much into this or not, but it fits in with the plot of the episode that this explosion really wouldn't provide much in the way of tactical value. If it had been intentional, I suppose J'Dan could have intended   there to be more significant damage   and to be off the ship when it happened, but when the explosion is ultimately proven to be just an unfortunate coincidence, that coincidence doesn't seem convenient to the point of contrivance. It's just that the timing of events is close enough to be bad for everybody.)

Starfleet sends Admiral Norah Satie (Simmons) to help aid Picard in his investigation of the disturbance. Satie brings with her two aides (one of them a Betazed) and an invisible chip on her shoulder roughly the size of one of your angrier continents. She's perfectly pleasant at first, of course, bonding quickly with Picard, telling him that she hadn't initially liked the idea of working with someone else, but she respects him and thinks they make a good team. There's something very brittle about her, though. Simmons plays the role very well. She brings a prim, precise presence to all her performances, and Satie is no exception. In the same scene where she tells Picard she's pleased to be working with him, the two talk about her father, and it's not hard to see what drives the admiral and how her need for justice could curdle into something more like contempt.

While Satie's pursuit of the "truth" (and her persecution of anyone who stands in her way) turns into a witch hunt very quickly, she remains well-motivated. I said earlier that Satie wasn't as sympathetic as she should've been; this isn't entirely true. The final shot we see of her, alone in the courtroom after her supporters have abandoned her, is moving in all the right ways. But I do think the episode makes her shift from legitimate inquiry to pointless, self-fulfilling accusation, too easy to spot. Her victim, poor Simon Tarses, is too obviously innocent. This sort of modulation is very tricky to pull off, so the episode doesn't really lose points for being overly obvious. But as Picard says at the end, the danger of people like Satie—and, in a way, the tragedy of them—is how easy they are to follow over the cliff. "Drumhead" makes it too simple for viewers to draw the line between what's right, and what's expedient. While  TNG  has never been afraid of outlining its moral conflicts in primary colors, the level of performances here are so good, and the central concept so powerful, that it's hard not to wish the issues had been handled with a little more subtlety.

Thankfully, what we do get is still very satisfying. Satie is determined to root out what she perceives as a conspiracy aboard the  Enterprise . Geordi and Data eventually determine that the explosion in Engineering was caused by an equipment malfunction, but the admiral is having none of that. There's a problem here; she's sure of it, and it's her duty to root it out. She finds her first weed, the aforementioned Tarses, a crewman who works in Sick Bay and had some dealings with J'Dan. (J'Dan's spying efforts are a kind of MacGuffin, in that their only real relevance to the plot is as a motivation for others' actions. The fact that he used amino acids to transfer information, though, is unbelievably cool. It's that sort of attention to detail that makes this show such a pleasure to watch when it's firing on all cylinders, and, I suspect, adds to my frustration with genial shoulder-shrugs like "Qpid.") During Tarses' initial interrogation, he's forthcoming but nervous, and Satie's Betazed assistant senses that he's concealing something. So she decides to hound him, with no other evidence than "feelings," until his reason for nervousness becomes clear: He lied on his job application, pretending he had a Vulcan grandfather instead of a Romulan one.

All sorts of fascinating stuff going on here. I may have been too quick to dismiss J'Dan's biological transmissions as mere plot ornamentation. It's the blood that's in question here, and it's the blood that both men are trying to hide. J'Dan's subterfuge essentially calls everything into question, as it conceals information under the skin, tainting whoever carries it, whether they realize it or not. Satie proves Tarses was willing to lie about his heritage to further his career. What else might he be willing to conceal about his biology?

Plus, there's Satie's use of a Betazed counselor and Picard's unwillingness to use that counselor's judgment alone to determine Tarses' guilt. As Satie points out, Picard has often used Troi in the past to get a read on others in difficult situations. (In fact, Troi is present during J'Dan's interrogation at the beginning of the episode.) But there's something different about this. Satie isn't simply taking into account her assistant's interpretation of Tarses' emotional weather; she's using that interpretation to justify her own conviction that someone is guilty here and that someone needs to be blamed. I've made fun of Troi's somewhat useless presence on the  Enterprise , but this scene is one of the few times that uselessness seems less a function of the writers inability to handle the character properly (which I think it generally is) and more an intentional choice on Picard's part. However reliable the Betazed intuition is, it's still just one person's word against another. Given how difficult it is to read emotions even under ideal circumstances, simply saying, "I sense he's hiding something" doesn't justify destroying a man's life. And Tarses' life  is  destroyed, or at least his career is; it's one of the stronger points of "The Drumhead" that it doesn't compromise on the costs of Satie's vehemence.

And then, of course, there's Picard. He's a little like Henry Fonda at the start of  12 Angry Men  here. While I don't doubt Riker or any of the rest of his crew (apart from Worf, who is seduced by Satie's conviction, and by his own need to prove himself) would stand behind their captain, the episode purposefully isolates Picard for much of the running time as the quiet voice of reason in an increasingly shout-based universe. Most anyone else in this role might've seemed nearly as self-righteous as Satie does, but Stewart has that whole unassuming dignity thing down cold. Even more important is the slow spread of grief across his features. It's a process that takes nearly half the episode to come to fruition, as he does his best to placate both sides, to give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Stewart plays Picard here not as a man just bothered by an injustice but horrified by it; his heroism is less boldness and more the calm decency we all should aspire to. He gets a lot of heavy chewing, monologue-wise, but by underplaying those monologues, by routinely showing Picard's shock and dismay and only letting his anger rise to the surface near the very end, Stewart heightens the sense of tragedy that pervades "Drumhead." In the end, he tells Worf that vigilance is the cost of freedom, and it's easy to see that cost etched into every line on his face.

  • Nice that the explanation for the "drumhead" of the title was so low-key. (It's a form of military trial where accusation was essentially the same as proof.)
  • I wish Picard would've asked Satie if she were a bell, would she be ringing?
  • Hey, that red-headed ensign Riker was eying in "Data's Day" is back! I missed her.
  • The ending of this seems very familiar to me. (Picard pushes Satie until she snaps, and then everyone abandons her in the "courtroom.") There's a similar scene near the end of  12 Angry Men , but I think I've seen it elsewhere, as well. Maybe  Inherit The Wind ?

Next week: Lwaxana Troi returns for "Half a Life," and  TNG  backs down in the face of controversy with "The Host." (At least it does if I'm thinking of the right episode.)

11 episodes

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The Hive Mind: BQN's Patrons Podcast BQN

  • TV & Film
  • APR 16, 2024

The BQN Table Read: The Drumhead

Join our Discord: Support the network on Patreon: The BQN Hive Mind Presents: A dramatic audio re-enactment of the TNG season 4 episode THE DRUMHEAD. Originally written by Jeri Taylor.  Featuring BQN Hosts and Patreon members! 

  • SEP 11, 2023

Hive Mind 010: September 2023

Listen to our Patrons Roundtable for the month of September with Jim McMahon, Matt Harker, Vera Bible, Mahendran Radhakrishnan, Mark White and host Amy Nelson. Topics include season 2 Strange New Worlds, season 4 Lower Decks, Star Trek Day, and Very Short Treks. BQN Podcasts are brought to you by listeners like you. Special thanks to these patrons on Patreon whose generous contributions help produce the podcast! Tim Cooper Anonymous Mahendran Radhakrishnan David Willett Peter Hong Tom Van Scotter Vera Bible Jim McMahon Greg Molumby Thad Hait Chrissie De Clerck-Szilagyi Joe Mignone Carl Wonders Matt Harker Jason Anderson Lars Di Scenza Susan Capuzzi-De Clerck David (no last name provided) You can become a part of the Hive Mind Collective here: We’d love to add your uniqueness to our own! Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. STAR TREK and all related marks, logos and characters are owned by CBS Studios Inc. “BQN” is not endorsed or sponsored by or affiliated with CBS/Paramount Pictures or the STAR TREK franchise.

  • JUN 21, 2023

Hive Mind 009: June 2023

Listen to our Patrons Roundtable for the month of June with Jim McMahon and host Joe Keegan, Mark White, and Laz Marquez. Topics include season 2 premiere of Star Trek Strange New Worlds. Please excuse the audio quality of this episode. BQN Podcasts are brought to you by listeners like you. Special thanks to these patrons on Patreon whose generous contributions help produce the podcast! Tim Cooper Anonymous Mahendran Radhakrishnan David Willett Peter Hong Tom Van Scotter Vera Bible Jim McMahon Greg Molumby Thad Hait Chrissie De Clerck-Szilagyi Joe Mignone Carl Wonders Matt Harker Jason Anderson Lars Di Scenza Susan Capuzzi-De Clerck David (no last name provided) Steven Russell You can become a part of the Hive Mind Collective here: We’d love to add your uniqueness to our own! Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. STAR TREK and all related marks, logos and characters are owned by CBS Studios Inc. “BQN” is not endorsed or sponsored by or affiliated with CBS/Paramount Pictures or the STAR TREK franchise.

  • APR 30, 2023

Hive Mind 008: April 2023

Listen to our Patrons Roundtable for the month of April with Mahendran Radikrishnan, Jim McMahon and hosts Amy, Christos, Mark, Kelvin, and Chrissie. Topics include Picard Season 3 wrap up. BQN Podcasts are brought to you by listeners like you. Special thanks to these patrons on Patreon whose generous contributions help produce the podcast! Tim Cooper Anonymous Mahendran Radhakrishnan David Willett Peter Hong Tom Van Scotter Vera Bible Jim McMahon Greg Molumby Thad Hait Chrissie De Clerck-Szilagyi Joe Mignone Carl Wonders Matt Harker Jason Anderson Lars Di Scenza Susan Capuzzi-De Clerck David (no last name provided) Steven Russell You can become a part of the Hive Mind Collective here: We’d love to add your uniqueness to our own! Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. STAR TREK and all related marks, logos and characters are owned by CBS Studios Inc. “BQN” is not endorsed or sponsored by or affiliated with CBS/Paramount Pictures or the STAR TREK franchise.

  • MAR 12, 2023

Hive Mind 007: March 2023

Listen to our Patrons Roundtable for the month of March with Mahendran Radakrishnan, Jim McMahon, Mark White, Matt Harker, Kevin Scharf and hostAmy Nelson. Topics include Picard Season 3. BQN Podcasts are brought to you by listeners like you. Special thanks to these patrons on Patreon whose generous contributions help produce the podcast! Tim Cooper Anonymous Mahendran Radhakrishnan David Willett Peter Hong Tom Van Scotter Vera Bible Jim McMahon Justin Oser Greg Molumby Thad Hait Chrissie De Clerck-Szilagyi Joe Mignone Carl Wonders Matt Harker Jason Anderson You can become a part of the Hive Mind Collective here: We’d love to add your uniqueness to our own! Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. STAR TREK and all related marks, logos and characters are owned by CBS Studios Inc. “BQN” is not endorsed or sponsored by or affiliated with CBS/Paramount Pictures or the STAR TREK franchise.

  • MAR 6, 2023

Hive Mind 006: February 2023

Listen to our Patrons Roundtable for the month of February with Christos Giannaris, Joe Keegan, Matt Harker and host Amy Nelson. Christos was fortunate to attend the Picard Premiere party in Los Angeles and he shares his experience with us. BQN Podcasts are brought to you by listeners like you. Special thanks to these patrons on Patreon whose generous contributions help produce the podcast! Tim Cooper Anonymous Mahendran Radhakrishnan David Willett Peter Hong Tom Van Scotter Vera Bible Jim McMahon Justin Oser Greg Molumby Thad Hait Chrissie De Clerck-Szilagyi Joe Mignone Carl Wonders Matt Harker Jason Anderson You can become a part of the Hive Mind Collective here: We’d love to add your uniqueness to our own! Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. STAR TREK and all related marks, logos and characters are owned by CBS Studios Inc. “BQN” is not endorsed or sponsored by or affiliated with CBS/Paramount Pictures or the STAR TREK franchise.

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Screen Rant

Dune 3 gets exciting script update from denis villeneuve: “there’s a lot of firepower there”.

Dune 3 gets an exciting script update from Denis Villeneuve, who confirms he's in the midst of penning the threequel and teasing its big focus.

Dune 2 Box Office Breaks Major Domestic Record For Timothée Chalamet

  • Denis Villeneuve confirms he's currently writing the script for Dune 3 , teasing a storyline focus and intense emotions from Zendaya's character.
  • Villeneuve is excited about the decision for the third movie, promising " a lot of firepower " in the upcoming installment.
  • Villeneuve holds back details on the Dune 3 plot, but assures fans that he knows exactly what to do.

Just a few weeks after the threequel was reportedly confirmed to be moving forward, Denis Villeneuve has an exciting script update for Dune 3 . The sci-fi epic franchise based on Frank Herbert's beloved novel is at the height of its success following Villeneuve's Dune: Part Two , which has grossed over $685 million worldwide and garnered even higher critical acclaim than its predecessor. Well before filming even began on the 2024 sequel, Villeneuve had teased his plans to make a third movie based on Herbert's second book in the franchise, with Legendary confirming it was in development in early April.

During a recent interview with the New York Times to dive into spoilers about the most recent installment, Villeneuve was asked about the development of Dune 3 . The co-writer/director was enthusiastic about making progress on the threequel, confirming that he is currently in the midst of writing the script and teasing who will be a key focus in its story. See what Villeneuve shared below:

That anger (felt by Zendaya’s character at the end of Part Two) is tremendous. I don’t want to reveal what I’m going to do with the third movie. I know exactly what to do. I’m writing it right now. But there’s a lot of firepower there, and I’m very excited about that decision.

Dune 3 Has One Major Hurdle To Overcome In Adapting Its Source

While Villeneuve has frequently confirmed that Dune Messiah would be the basis for the third movie in the franchise, his newest comments about the importance of Zendaya's Chani heading into the threequel indicates the biggest hurdle the filmmaker faces in adapting the book. The 1969 novel picks up 12 years after the events of its predecessor, in which the Fremen warrior is now Paul Atreides' concubine after he married Princess Irulan in order to take power from Emperor Shaddam IV and free Arrakis.

Where Dune: Part Two essentially picked up right after its predecessor's ending, the next movie will have to determine whether to utilize a time jump to stay true to Messiah 's story or make changes to the source material. The Part Two ending in particular did tease a deviation from the story as Chani set off in the desert on a sandworm with a feeling of betrayal at Paul's decision to wed Irulan. In Herbert's original novel, Paul and Lady Jessica were able to convince her to accept the political move as he promised to remain completely loyal to her.

12 Biggest Dune 2 Book Changes From Denis Villeneuve's Sequel

Even if Villeneuve makes some changes to the source material for Dune 3 , even the most dedicated fans of Herbert's works are sure to be open to seeing how he does so. Unlike David Lynch's divisive 1984 adaptation, Villeneuve has proven a greater ability to stay true to the books, meaningfully utilizing his two-part adaptation of the original book to introduce the galaxies-spanning themes, characters and worlds. With Villeneuve also clearly having learned from Dune 's reviews to craft a more entertaining sequel with Part Two , it seems likely any changes he makes to Messiah won't be detrimental.

Source: NYT

Dune: Part Three

A Star Trek origin story movie is officially on the way from Andor and Black Mirror director

It's set to take place decades before 2009's Star Trek

Chris Pine in Star Trek Beyond

Paramount has officially announced a new Star Trek movie – but it's not Star Trek 4.

The Untitled Star Trek Origin Story was unveiled at CinemaCon, with J.J. Abrams set to produce (H/T The Wrap ). The film will take place decades before 2009's Star Trek, with Andor's Toby Haynes set to direct and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter author Seth Grahame-Smith set to pen the script. Plot details have yet to be released. Deadline first announced the film earlier this year.

Haynes directed the popular Black Mirror episode U.S.S Callister, which acts as a Star Trek parody. Black Mirror season 7 will feature a sequel to U.S.S Callister , though it has not yet been announced who will direct.

Paramount also stated that the origin pic would begin production later this year to make it in time for a 2025 theatrical release. Star Trek 4, the sequel to Abrams' 2009 flick, is still in development. WandaVision's Matt Shakman was previously attached to direct, but  left the project  in August 2022  around the same time he was announced as the new Fantastic Four director. Last month, Variety reported that Sucker Punch and Supernatural writer Steve Yockey would pen the fourth Star Trek film, which intends to bring back Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, and the rest of the cast.

The Untitled Star Trek Origin Story does not yet have a release date. For more, check out our list of the most exciting upcoming movies in 2024 and beyond, or, skip right to the good stuff with our list of movie release dates .

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Lauren Milici

Lauren Milici is a Senior Entertainment Writer for GamesRadar+ currently based in the Midwest. She previously reported on breaking news for The Independent's Indy100 and created TV and film listicles for Ranker. Her work has been published in Fandom, Nerdist, Paste Magazine, Vulture, PopSugar, Fangoria, and more.

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star trek the drumhead transcript


  1. The Drumhead (1991)

    star trek the drumhead transcript

  2. "Star Trek: The Next Generation" The Drumhead (TV Episode 1991)

    star trek the drumhead transcript

  3. Captain Picard's Speech on Freedom and Liberty

    star trek the drumhead transcript

  4. "The Drumhead" (S4:E21) Star Trek: The Next Generation Screencaps

    star trek the drumhead transcript

  5. Captain Picard

    star trek the drumhead transcript

  6. The Drumhead (1991)

    star trek the drumhead transcript


  1. Star Trek Next Generation

  2. Star Trek TNG S04B21

  3. TNG s2e02 Where Silence Has Lease

  4. Alan Walker

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  1. The Next Generation Transcripts

    The Next Generation Transcripts - The Drumhead. The Drumhead Stardate: 44769.2 Original Airdate: 29 Apr, 1991. Captain's Log, Stardate 44769.2. For some weeks we have had a Klingon exobiologist on board as part of a scientific exchange programme. Unfortunately, we suspect that he was involved in a security breach and in the possible sabotage of ...

  2. The Drumhead (episode)

    Simmons visiting the set in 1991 "The Drumhead" was filmed between Tuesday 19 February 1991 and Wednesday 27 February 1991 on Paramount Stage 8 and 9.; The episode finished US$250,000 under budget. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion (2nd ed., p. 163))According to director Jonathan Frakes, several shots from the episode were "stolen" from courtroom films including Judgment at Nuremberg ...

  3. The Drumhead

    The Drumhead. " The Drumhead " is the 95th episode of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and the 21st episode of the program's fourth season. The episode was directed by cast member Jonathan Frakes. It takes the form of a courtroom drama . Set in the 24th century, the series follows the ...

  4. Next Generation Transcripts

    The Next Generation Transcripts - Episode Listings : Season One : Episode Name: Production: Airdate: ... The Drumhead: 195: 29 Apr, 1991: Half a Life: 196: 6 May, 1991: The Host: 197: 13 May, 1991: The Mind's Eye: 198: 27 May, 1991: ... The Star Trek web pages on this site are for educational and entertainment purposes only. All other ...

  5. Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 4, Episode 21 script

    Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994): Season 4, Episode 21 - The Drumhead - full transcript. A retired admiral boards the Enterprise in an effort to determine the actions aboard the ship surrounding an act of sabotage and possible treason. Stardate 44769.2. exchange program.

  6. Star Trek Minutiae: Exploring the Details of Science Fiction

    No one is authorized to dispose of same. If lost or destroyed, please notify the Script Department. FINAL DRAFT FEBRUARY 7, 1991 STAR TREK: "The Drumhead" - 2/7/91 - CAST STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION "The Drumhead" CAST PICARD ADMIRAL NORAH SATIE RIKER SABIN GENESTRA DATA NELLEN TORE BEVERLY LT. ... Vigilance, Worf. That is the price we must ...

  7. "Star Trek: The Next Generation" The Drumhead (TV Episode 1991)

    The Drumhead: Directed by Jonathan Frakes. With Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn. A retired admiral boards the Enterprise in an effort to determine the actions aboard the ship surrounding an act of sabotage and possible treason.

  8. "The Drumhead"

    Chris. Fri, Mar 21, 2008, 7:24am (UTC -5) "The Drumhead" is one of my favourite episodes of all time - it has a wonderful slow build, with things becoming more and more sinister as the episode progresses. And as you said Jammer, it touches on continuity very well, referencing "Best of Both Worlds" and "Data's Day".

  9. How The Next Generation Illustrated the Dangers of Fear

    The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Drumhead" takes a very close and personal look into the issue of spreading rumors and fear for the sole purpose of establishing the perceived dominance and authority of one individual. What starts as a trial investigating the movements of J'Dan, a Klingon spy, quickly escalates into an ...

  10. Revisiting Star Trek TNG: The Drumhead

    4.21 The Drumhead. Sabotage! On board the Enterprise! D! Cue up the Beastie Boys! (Actually don't, we've all seen Star Trek Beyond and the last thing we need is that being taken literally ...

  11. Collected Star Trek Scripts » Star Trek Minutiae

    Star Trek: The Movies. All Movies [ZIP file, 612 KB] Star Trek: The Motion Picture; Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan; Star Trek III: The Search for Spock; Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek V: The Final Frontier; Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country; Star Trek: Generations; Star Trek: First Contact (Draft Version) Star Trek: Insurrection ...

  12. Recap / Star Trek: The Next Generation S4E21 "The Drumhead"

    Witch Hunt: Satie is absolutely determined to root out any possible traitors, whether or not the targets of her persecution are actually innocent be damned. A page for describing Recap: Star Trek: The Next Generation S4E21 "The Drumhead". Original air date: April 29, 1991 Things are tense aboard the Enterprise. A ….

  13. Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes' Transcripts

    Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) - episodes with scripts. Set in the 24th century and decades after the adventures of the original crew of the starship Enterprise, this new series is the long-awaited successor to the original Star Trek (1966). Under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, the all new Enterprise NCC 1701-D travels ...

  14. Revisiting "The Drumhead" from Star Trek: The Next Generation with

    An overzealous Starfleet admiral begins a witch-hunt aboard the Enterprise, determined to find a conspiracy, and eventually accuses Captain Picard of treason...

  15. TNG S4E21: The Drumhead

    TNG S4E21: The Drumhead - by far one of the most thought provoking episodes of the entire series. "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." ... And yeah, making the message clear is important, and honestly star trek has a bit of an ...

  16. The Drumhead

    Star Trek: The Next Generation ... The Drumhead Sci-Fi Apr 29, 1991 43 min Paramount+ Available on Paramount+, Prime Video, iTunes S4 E21: A retired Starfleet Admiral begins a witch-hunt for a traitor aboard the Enterprise after a visiting Klingon officer admits to spying. Sci-Fi Apr 29, 1991 43 min ...

  17. [TNG] The Drumhead

    "The Drumhead" is one of the more straight forward trial episodes of Trek, both in theme and plot, but it's well made and entertaining, hitting all the satisfying notes we'd expect from the genre. ... 3 = Good! Generally enjoyable, worth watching if new to Star Trek. 4 = Great! An example of why we love Star Trek. 5 = One of the best. A ...

  18. Episode Preview: The Drumhead

    © 2023 CBS Studios Inc., Paramount Pictures Corporation, and CBS Interactive Inc., Paramount companies. STAR TREK and related marks are trademarks of CBS Studios Inc.

  19. 'Star Trek: The Next Generation'

    "The Drumhead" Logo text. Star Trek always struck gold when Picard entered the court room, ... It was a brilliant script that combined the Sherlock Holmes and Star Trek mythologies.

  20. Watch Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 4 Episode 21: The Drumhead

    Help. S4 E21 45M TV-PG. A search for a spy aboard the Enterprise turns into a witch-hunt in which Picard is implicated as a traitor.

  21. Spencer Garrett Looks Back At The Drumhead

    Back in 1991, he was a young, green actor who landed the plum role of crewman Simon Tarses in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Drumhead," directed by Jonathan Frakes. Written by Jeri Taylor based on a story by Ronald D. Moore, "The Drumhead" — which celebrates its 29th anniversary this month — took the persecution of ...

  22. Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Qpid"/"The Drumhead"

    The Klingon, J'Dan, denies his guilt, but he doesn't try very hard, and when he mocks Worf later in private, it's pretty obvious that the bad guy has already been caught here. J'Dan takes too much ...

  23. Half a Life (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

    Star Trek: The Next Generation. ) " Half a Life " is the 22nd episode of the fourth season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 96th episode overall. It was originally released on May 6, 1991, in broadcast syndication. The episode was the first of the series written by Peter Allan Fields, who ...

  24. The Hive Mind: BQN's Patrons Podcast BQN

    Hive Mind 010: September 2023. Listen to our Patrons Roundtable for the month of September with Jim McMahon, Matt Harker, Vera Bible, Mahendran Radhakrishnan, Mark White and host Amy Nelson. Topics include season 2 Strange New Worlds, season 4 Lower Decks, Star Trek Day, and Very Short Treks. BQN Podcasts are brought to you by listeners like ...

  25. Dune 3 Gets Exciting Script Update From Denis Villeneuve: "There's A

    Summary. Denis Villeneuve confirms he's currently writing the script for Dune 3, teasing a storyline focus and intense emotions from Zendaya's character. Villeneuve is excited about the decision for the third movie, promising " a lot of firepower " in the upcoming installment. Villeneuve holds back details on the Dune 3 plot, but assures fans ...

  26. A Star Trek origin story movie is officially on the way from Andor and

    The film will take place decades before 2009's Star Trek, with Andor's Toby Haynes set to direct and Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter author Seth Grahame-Smith set to pen the script. Plot details ...

  27. Denise Crosby on Leaving Star Trek: I Wasn't Going to Be 'The ...

    She agrees. Nobody leaves a TV show. You have a contract. I had a signed contract. -Denise Crosby. ". "And half of me thought I was crazy," laughs Crosby. "It was like I saw it, I had to ...