Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 2, Episode 3

Elementary, Dear Data (3 Dec. 1988)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 1,109 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 6 critic

An attempt to provide Data with a challenging Sherlock Holmes holodeck RPG scenario backfires when its Prof. Moriarty character accidentally becomes self-aware.



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Title: Elementary, Dear Data (03 Dec 1988)

Elementary, Dear Data (03 Dec 1988) on IMDb 8.1/10

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Episode cast overview:
Wesley Crusher (credit only)
Biff Manard ...
Diz White ...
Ensign Clancy (as Anne Elizabeth Ramsay)
Richard Merson ...
Pie Man


When the Enterprise arrives a few days early at its rendezvous point to meet the USS Victory, the crew have a bit of leisure time on their hands. For Data and Geordi Laforge, it means a trip to the holodeck and 221B Baker St. With Data in the role of Holmes and Laforge as Dr. Watson, they take on a challenge from Dr. Pulaski that Data couldn't solve a genuine mystery. Data has a bit of time adjusting to a real mystery - as opposed to one for which he knows the outcome. In giving the holodeck computer its instructions however, Geordi's specifications for an opponent results in a far superior creation than expected putting them and the entire ship in danger. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

3 December 1988 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title refers to the expression "Elementary, My Dear Watson" which was created for movie adaptations of the Sherlock Holmes character. The line does not appear in the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle stories. See more »


The computer tells the senior staff that the override protocol was initiated under the authority of Lt La Forge. So La Forge has the authority to shut it down but no such attempt nor its aftermath are shown. Only Data was shown as unable to shutdown the holodeck. See more »


Moriarty: What I have seen... what I have learned... fascinates me. I do not want to die.
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Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Ship in a Bottle (1993) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Oh no.....a holodeck episode!!!
11 November 2014 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

I noticed that so far every review for this particular episode is great. Well, I don't see it. After all, it's a holodeck episode and to me these particular plots are very unsatisfying and contrived. And, as a fan of Sherlock Holmes, I take no pleasure in seeing these characters brought into the annoying holodeck. In this case, Geordi and Data are playing Sherlock Holmes on the holodeck. However, the program is taken directly from an original story--and Data has memorized EVERYTHING--making the fantasy a complete waste of time. Geordi and the Doctor challenge Data to star in a NEW Holmes mystery--one that the computer could create. In it, their nemesis is Moriarty* and through some strange programming, this character gains sentience and eventually figured out that he was a hologram as well as how to access the control panel and computer!

I found this episode insufferable. The show had practically nothing to do with "Star Trek: The Next Generation"--and seemed amazingly misplaced. Additionally, while it's not as awful as the baseball game episode from "Deep Space 9", I found it very tough going sticking with this one. As a fan of Holmes and sci-fi, the episode really didn't satisfy either.

*Although it's practically a cliché to feature Moriarty, he was NOT a frequent character in the original Holmes novels and only appeared on a very occasional basis. The same can be said for Lestrade--who is only one of many policemen who Holmes works with in the original stories.

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