Star Trek: The Next Generation: Season 2, Episode 9

The Measure of a Man (11 Feb. 1989)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Sci-Fi
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Ratings: 8.9/10 from 1,331 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 8 critic

When Data resigns his commission rather than be dismantled for examination by an inadequately skilled scientist, a formal hearing is convened to determine whether Data is considered property without rights or is a sentient being.

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Storyline

At Starbase 173, the crew have a bit of leave. Data learns some of the intricacies of playing poker while Captain Picard runs into an old friend of a sort, Captain Phillipa Louvois, who established a new JAG office at the base. She once prosecuted him, unsuccessfully, but there is admiration at least, on both sides. Problems arise however when Commander Bruce Maddox receives permission to disassemble Data to determine how he functions. When Data expresses doubts about Maddox's likelihood of success, he refuses to undergo the procedure and resigns his commission. He soon finds himself the center of a judicial inquiry to determine if he is just a machine and a piece of property or a sentient being who has the right to make his own decisions. Captain Louvois finds herself sitting in judgment with Captain Picard defending Data's claim against Commander Riker who is forced to present the opposing arguments. Written by garykmcd

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11 February 1989 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This takes place in 2365. See more »

Goofs

During the trial, Picard clasps his hands in front of him and looks down; the shot then changes to show Picard still looking down but his arms are apart. See more »

Quotes

Capt. Picard: Phillipa Louvois. And back in uniform. It's been ten years, but seeing you again like this makes it seem like fifty. If we weren't around all these people, do you know what I would like to do?
Captain Phillipa Louvois: Bust a chair across my teeth.
Capt. Picard: After that.
Captain Phillipa Louvois: Oh, ain't love wonderful?
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Connections

Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Offspring (1990) See more »

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

 
problem with the premise of this plot line
21 January 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This episode does a great job of exploring the nature of humanity and freedom. But there's always been one thing that bothered me about this episode as it relates to the whole Star Trek universe. Commander Maddox makes the statement that Data is a piece of machinery, no different than the ship's computer. However, Data is COMMANDER Data, a commissioned Starfleet officer, who graduated from Starfleet Academy. The ship's computer can make statements and recommendations, which crew members can evaluate, then either accept or reject. As a command officer, if Data gave an order and a crew member chose not to obey it, that crew member risked a court martial. This directly implies that Starfleet recognized Data as a sentient being, and not a "calculator" to be experimented upon. In all fairness, I also realize that by using this argument, Gene Roddenberry would have ended up with a very short episode.


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