Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 1, Episode 11

The Big Goodbye (9 Jan. 1988)

TV Episode  |   |  Action, Adventure, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.3/10 from 1,105 users  
Reviews: 7 user | 7 critic

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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Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This takes place in 1941 and 2364. See more »


When Dr. Crusher is at the police station, a molded plastic bottle sits atop the water cooler. Water bottles in 1941 were all glass. See more »


Desk Sergeant: Pretty hep-lookin' broad.
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Is that good?
Desk Sergeant: It ain't bad.
See more »


Spoofs The Maltese Falcon (1941) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Star Trek Noir
18 September 2008 | by (Germany) – See all my reviews

"The big goodbye" introduces us to the first holodeck adventure, in this case Captain Picard posing as private investigator Dixon Hill. This episodes creates some sort of standard pattern, repeated several times on TNG as well as DS 9 and Voyager. After entering the holodeck something goes wrong and the characters have to deal with the program under different circumstances beyond playing a game (represented by the failure of the holodeck's safety program).

This concept is used to expand Star Trek's possibility and enabling a kind of genre-mix. Picard's Dixon Hill stories are examples of 1940s crime fiction and their representation on the screen are referred to as Film Noir often having the stereotype antihero in the lead (see for example Chandler's Marlowe stories or Polanski's all time classic "Chinatown"). Star Trek never focuses on the story (mostly it's a simple "how-do-we-get-out-of-here" scenario) but enables the actors to take a different approach to their characters. Those Holodeck "games" are commonly used for recreation and reflect the private interests of the crew members. Therefore the technical aspect is always neglected and from that point of view the stories are never sound (but did Star Trek ever had a technical, scientific point to it, I mean besides some utopic concepts?).

"The big goodbye" shows a relaxed Patrick Stewart, a McFadden that hardly ever looked better in a Star Trek episode (at least the early ones) and Data has some great scenes, too (although I find it hard to believe that pulling the lamp's plug out of the wall would have really surprised him, for the fact that he'd done research on that period and its customs). Wesley continues turning peaceful Trekkies into potential murderers (why didn't they take him to the holodeck and let the gangsters finish him off?) but all in all this one's fun...

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