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Data befriends an alien girl in distress, breaking the Prime Directive, while Wesley commands his first team.


Winrich Kolbe


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Melinda M. Snodgrass (teleplay by) | 2 more credits »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Patrick Stewart ... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes ... Cmdr. William Riker
LeVar Burton ... Lt. Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn ... Lt. Worf
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner ... Lt. Commander Data
Wil Wheaton ... Wesley Crusher
Diana Muldaur ... Doctor Pulaski
Nicholas Cascone Nicholas Cascone ... Ensign Davies
Nikki Cox ... Sarjenka
Ann Gillespie ... Ensign Hildebrant (as Ann H. Gillespie)
Colm Meaney ... Chief Miles O'Brien
Whitney Rydbeck Whitney Rydbeck ... Ensign Alans


On arriving at a newly identified planetary group, the crew finds that the entire system is unstable. As the person in charge of Wesley Crusher's training and education, Commander Riker wants to put him in charge of the planetary mineral survey, the results of which should explain why the system has become so unstable. He has to command a team for the first time, all of whom are older than himself. Data meanwhile has a pen pal of sorts when he establishes radio contact with Sarjenka, a young girl from a nearby planet. They exchange information for several weeks when Data finally realizes that Sarjenka's world isn't aware of extra-terrestrial life and as a result, he has broken the Prime Directive. Written by garykmcd

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

29 April 1989 (USA) See more »

Filming Locations:

Thousand Oaks, California, 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?


This is the first episode where Picard actually drinks Earl Grey tea. He had previously ordered a cup of Earl Grey from the replicator in TNG: "Contagion", but because of a computer malfunction he instead received a small potted plant See more »


When Sarjenka is in sick bay, a close up of her face reveals a poorly applied plastic mask that the actress wears to give her an alien appearance, especially noticeable around the eyes. See more »


Captain Jean-Luc Picard: [about horseback riding] It seems that some creatures have the capacity to fill spaces you never knew were empty.
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Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Picard's Dilemma
12 August 2014 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

Once again the prime directive gets put to the test. Because of the subjectivity of this directive, it is often up to the captain to be the interpreter. When Data makes contact with a young alien on a dying planet (due to geological issues) he makes a plea to Picard to save her and her family or even the whole planet. This puts the Enterprise in the position of playing god. Still, she is a child and pulls at our heartstrings. Coincidentally, Wesley is given his first significant position on the ship, leading a geological team in analyzing the planet's surface. He is torn between his given authority and the ages of those under him (he is, of course, wet behind the ears). So his issue with commanding others is his issue. The two plots eventually will come together. While I think it's sort of contrived and a little too easy for things to work out, it's a decent episode. Data's programming seems to contain a fair amount of humanity. His desires and his altruism must have been there from the start or we wouldn't have episodes like this.

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