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Chain of Command: Part I 

Picard is replaced as captain of the Enterprise so he, Lt. Worf and Dr. Crusher go on a top-secret mission into Cardassian space. Meanwhile, his replacement, Captain Jellico, meets his new command with some resistance from the crew.


Robert Scheerer


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Ronald D. Moore (teleplay by) | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview:
Patrick Stewart ... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes ... Cmdr. William Riker
LeVar Burton ... Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn ... Lieutenant Worf
Gates McFadden ... Dr. Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner ... Lt. Commander Data
Ronny Cox ... Captain Edward Jellico
Natalija Nogulich ... Vice-admiral Alynna Nechayev
John Durbin ... Gul Lemec
Lou Wagner ... DaiMon Solok
David Warner ... Gul Madred
Majel Barrett ... Enterprise Computer (voice)


Because of a feared imminent Cardassian invasion, Vice Admiral Alynna Nechayev comes to the Enterprise on the USS Cairo, to replace Picard as its captain by Cairo's captain, Edward Jellico, who immediately makes his mark on crew and ship, tells Troi there's no time for a 'honeymoon' with either for he expects the negotiations with the Cardassians he's charged with to fail and hastily deploys big plans to prepare the flagship for battle. Meanwhile, Picard, Worf and Dr. Crusher have a top-secret mission, to find and sabotage the presumed biological superweapon which can wipe out all life on a whole system prior to invasion. After their training, the trio bribes a Ferengi smuggler ship to reach the suspected Cardassian planet, but by the time they have intruded the subterranean installation... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Official Sites:

Official site



Release Date:

12 December 1992 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


At the 50th anniversary "Star Trek" convention in Las Vegas in August 2016, fans voted this and Star Trek: The Next Generation: Chain of Command: Part II (1992) the joint seventh best episode of the "Star Trek" franchise. See more »


At approximately 12:18 into the episode, when Captain Jellico (Ronny Cox) enters the turbo lift to leave the Bridge, he pauses in the open door to give an additional instruction to Commander Riker (Johnathen Frakes) and Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner). As the Captain pauses, the wooden door frame of the turbo lift set is clearly visible. There in a knot in the wood visible by the Captain's left elbow. See more »


[Picard, Worf and Dr. Crusher have to rappel down a precipice]
Doctor Beverly Crusher: [slightly uneasy] We could try to find another way down.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Unfortunately, that would take several hours. We don't have the time.
Lieutenant Worf: You're not afraid of heights, are you, Doctor?
Doctor Beverly Crusher: Of course not.
See more »


Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Attached (1993) See more »


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

One of the Best Episodes of the Entire Series
6 July 2008 | by gavin6942See all my reviews

Note: This review covers both parts of "Chain of Command".

Picard is replaced as captain of the Enterprise. He, Lt. Worf and Dr. Crusher go on a secret mission into Cardassian space. His replacement, Capt. Jellico, meets his new command with some resistance from the crew. The Cardassians use theta band emissions as a ruse to lure Capt. Picard into their hands and begin brutal rounds of torture to gain the information they seek.

Why is this one of the best episodes of the entire series? Because it has plenty of action while not holding back on quality writing. We get more insight into Riker's personality and how emotional he can get when confronted with an authority he doesn't respect. And we further learn to what lengths Picard will go to defend the Federation and Dr. Crusher. How one interprets Riker is open to debate -- is he a loose cannon, a maverick? Is he unreliable? Or is he simply confident? Picard insists time and again that "there are four lights" (which is true) despite intense pain all over his body. He has a great dedication to his crew, his mission and the truth. We really see that he can be both tough and compassionate at the same time.

As with many "Next Generation" episodes, a series of moral and philosophical questions are raised. Who is the good guy and who is the bad guy here? From our perspective, the Federation is in the right and the Cardassians reveal their ruthlessness through torture and lies. But can the Federation be absolved of all wrongdoing? They crossed into Cardassian space and took covert action, clearly a violation of armistice rules.

Is the Federation plagued with hypocrisy -- claiming to be a peaceful alliance but secretly breaking laws when it's convenient? (In the grand scheme, we notice that the Federation loves to add new members to their side, as long as they stop their traditional ways of life. The striving for hegemony and assimilation is as far-reaching as the Borg, but more discreet.) Keep that in mind when watching this one... our heroes are strong and have an admirable character. But is it possible that unintentionally they are advancing a sinister or divisive objective?

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