Captain Picard and some of his crew are caught in a deadly trap in the holodeck as the result of a ship-wide scan from an alien race.



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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Cyrus Redblock
Harvey Jason ...
Felix Leech
William Boyett ...
Lt. McNary
Desk Sergeant


The Enterprise is sent on a diplomatic mission where Captain Picard has to master a very difficult language and deliver a welcome address faultlessly or face the end of any hope of establishing relations. Stressed and tired from his efforts, he decides to take Counselor Troi's advice and spend some time on the holodeck. He chooses his favorite program, that where he plays a private detective named Dixon Hill in 1940's San Francisco. Accompanied by the ship's historian, Dr. Crusher and Data they live out the wonderful world created for them in the holodeck but when they are scanned by aliens, it causes a malfunction that traps them there. Not only that, but the safety mechanisms malfunction as well leading to one of the participating crewmen being seriously injured. With the clock ticking away, time is growing short for Picard to make his address to their hosts. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

9 January 1988 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


William Boyett would later play a policeman in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Time's Arrow: Part 2 (1992). See more »


When Data is in the holodeck, the tone of his voice changes to that of a stereotypical 1930s/'40s street character from that era. It makes sense that Data would begin to use the vernacular of the hard-boiled detective genre, as he has read the complete stories of Dixon Hill, but he did not view any movies, so how would he know how these characters would have talked? (He's the only one who speaks like this; even holodeck characters don't sound as ridiculous as Data.) See more »


[Cyrus Redblock intends to go out of the holodeck into the "new world"]
Lt. Commander Data: If you were going to go through yourself, sir - that is not possible.
Cyrus Redblock: One look at you, sir, is proof that anything is possible.
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Referenced in Star Trek: First Contact (1996) See more »


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

Hammett and Chandler by way of Roddenberry
28 April 2016 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

And thus, it is born, the holodeck - which, outside of time travel, has got to be Star Trek's go-to plot device (who am I kidding, this is kind of a time travel story). But as cynical as that sounds, I'm sure this was pretty cool back in '88 before it became (almost) groan-inducing. And really, it's one of the reasons I dig the Enterprise-D. the wish-fulfillment possibilities are endless.

Anyhoo, stressed out while prepping for a diplomatic mission, Jean-Luc uses the holodeck to disappear into a detective novel; which means trading in a starship set for a dingy P.I. office, period suits (which everyone wears the hell out of) and '40s cliché dialogue. Naturally, the computer wigs out, a man is shot with no access to sickbay, and in walks the big bad guy (Lawrence Tierney, lending his signature terrifying toughness to the show).

Despite the mild silliness and the completely uneven pacing, I do like this episode. The pulp environment is a fun one and it does give Data an opportunity to overdo the period mannerisms while Dr. Crusher tries to blend in as a dame. And it's kinda nice to see Picard get really excited about something.


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