24 user 10 critic
Picard must learn to communicate with a race that speaks in metaphor under a difficult set of circumstances.


Winrich Kolbe


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Joe Menosky (teleplay by) | 2 more credits »




Episode cast overview:
Patrick Stewart ... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes ... Cmdr. William Riker
LeVar Burton ... Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn ... Lt. Worf
Gates McFadden ... Dr. Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner ... Lt. Cmdr. Data
Richard Allen Richard Allen ... Tamarian First Officer
Colm Meaney ... Chief Miles O'Brien
Paul Winfield ... Capt. Dathon
Ashley Judd ... Ensign Robin Lefler
Majel Barrett ... Enterprise Computer (voice)


The Enterprise approaches the uninhabited El-Adrel solar system, near the territory of the enigmatic, presumably pacific race known as the Children of Tamar, which is now establishing contact. Picard expected fairly easy diplomacy, but the Tamarians first have a row at their side, then transport Picard and their own captain Dathon down to the nearest planet surface, which they make impenetrable behind a particle shield, to pit them for a duel, which Picard is unwilling to engage. Both the captain and his crew on the bridge desperately study the Tamarian language, which they find to be unusually focused on mythical narrative, notably the epic of Darmok, which holds the key to its metaphorical 'code', and thus to the whole situation. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This takes place in 2368. See more »


While on the planet, Picard tries to light a fire. It goes out right away, but he never tries again. Not very productive of anyone from Starfleet, let alone a Starfleet captain. See more »


[first lines]
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Captain's log, stardate 45047.2 - The Enterprise is en route to the uninhabited El-Adrel system. Its location is near the territory occupied by an enigmatic race known as "The Children of Tama."
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Referenced in Star Trek: Birth of the Federation (1999) See more »


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

Stick with this one...
21 November 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

One of the things that always bothered me about the Star Trek shows and many other sci-fi shows is that EVERYONE seems to speak English throughout the galaxy! Now I understand that writing new languages for each episode and putting everything in subtitles is NOT practical--but ALWAYS finding planets that speak American-style English is amazingly ludicrous. This is one of the big reasons I really appreciated "Darmok"--an episode where the Enterprise and its fancy translation programs turn out to be rather useless, as the Tamarians and Federation WANT to establish diplomatic relations but simply cannot understand each other's languages. So, as Picard is frustrated with the lack of success in communicating, the Tamarians have a solution--and because their frame of reference is SO different, as they try to help the Federation THINKS they have kidnapped Picard and mean him harm!

In addition to the great topic, I appreciated Paul Winfield's acting. I could tell it was him because of his voice, but underneath all that makeup you'd never know it was him! And, he did a great job in trying to convey such an alien life form. All in all, very well done and it features and ending that is both touching and quite sad.

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Release Date:

28 September 1991 (USA) See more »

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Paramount Television See more »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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