Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 4, Episode 21

The Drumhead (27 Apr. 1991)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 841 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 6 critic

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



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Title: The Drumhead (27 Apr 1991)

The Drumhead (27 Apr 1991) on IMDb 8.2/10

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Episode cast overview:
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A Klingon traitor is arrested: engineer Lieutenant J'Ddan, who passed secrets to the Romulans via fluid in a medical syringe, sabotage is feared. Retired female Federation Admiral Satie and her former assistants arrive to take charge of the investigation, with security chief Worf. Meanwhile Data and LaForge look into the sabotage risk. J'Ddan's denial of sabotaging the vital dilithium chamber is credible, which implies another traitor aboard, so the crew is grilled, starting with medic Simon Tarses who gave J'Ddan his injections. After a paranormal counsel believes Tarses a liar, he's tricked by lies into acting guilty, even though the 'sabotage' was in fact found to be an accidental failure, and confesses he lied about his ancestry to hide a Romulan grandfather. Picard objects against the unethical procedure, Satie calls upon Starfleet chief of security Admiral Henry to look for an even wider conspiracy, starting with Picard himself, based on his long-term record, and Worf, based on ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

27 April 1991 (USA)  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A drumhead trial was the name for an archaic form of court martial practiced on Earth in the 19th century. Its name derives from the eponymous usage of a drum's head as a seat for the presiding judge in an ad-hoc military tribunal. Such trials were marked by an emphasis on expediency and a notable lack of due process and impartiality. Often, the actual "trial" was a mere formality, with the verdict known well in advance. They were sometimes used to curb similar behavior in other potential offenders. Trials akin to the drumhead-type were conducted in later eras and by different cultures. See more »


Admiral Nora Satie: Spies and saboteurs don't like the bright lights of an open inquiry. They're like roaches scurrying for the dark corner.
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References Star Trek: The Next Generation: Data's Day (1991) See more »


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

Emmy-worthy performance from guest star Simmons
15 April 2006 | by (Camilla, GA) – See all my reviews

Oscar nominee Jean Simmons is outstanding in this emotionally and politically charged episode. She plays "Nora Satie," a retired admiral who heads a Star Fleet investigative team that must determine whether or not treasonous activities have been done by members of the Enterprise, including Capt. Picard.

The episode is marvelously paced, never losing any of the tension, with outstanding performances from not only Simmons and Stewart but other featured players, including Spencer Garrett as novice crewman first class "Simon Tarses".

This particular installment of the series shows how science fiction can make commentary on the machinations of the government and how we all can fall victim to the paranoia that develops when mistrust is placed above faith.

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