10 user 7 critic

The Defector 

When a Romulan officer defects to the Federation with a warning of a impending invasion, Capt. Picard struggles to decide if he is to be believed.


Robert Scheerer


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

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Episode complete credited cast:
Patrick Stewart ... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard / Michael Williams
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
Wil Wheaton ... Wesley Crusher (credit only)
James Sloyan ... Setol / Admiral Alidar Jarok
Andreas Katsulas ... Commander Tomalak
John Hancock ... Admiral Haden
Simon Templeman ... John Bates (as S.A. Templeman)


Data was discovering the human condition by Shakespearian acting, when Picard gets informed a craft entered the Neutral Zone. It's identified as a Romulan scout, which claims to need urgently asylum from a persecutor. The wounded Setol gets it, and warns the Romulans nearly finished building a base on a planet in the Neutral Zone, in order to occupy it and from there strike 15 neighboring Federation zones with a fleet of war birds, which would mean another full war, but still remains rather defensive, at times hostile. Commander Riker and counselor Troi are charged with questioning him further, in case it's a ploy to lure them into the zone as a war pretext. The admiralty refuses the Empire's demand to return the defector, and orders Picard to find out if the threat is real. After technological means came to contradictory conclusions, Setol discloses his real identity, and that's not the last surprising twist... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Official Sites:

Official site




English | Klingon

Release Date:

1 January 1990 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


While Beverly Crusher and Jarok discuss the recent events at Galorndon Core, which allowed her to learn something about Romulan anatomy, she eyes Worf. This alludes to the events of "The Enemy" where Worf declined to save the life of a Romulan tended by Crusher. See more »


Setol asks Data if the replicator can create a Romulan Ale, and Data gives a dissertation on the options available. It is a running gag in this series that Romulan Ale is prohibited in the Federation, so that various characters find loopholes around this ban in humorous ways. It is odd that the overly precise Data fails to mention the ban. See more »


Admiral Jarok: I did it for nothing. My home... my family... For nothing.
See more »


Featured in The Chronic Rift: The 1990 Roundtable Awards (1991) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
See more »

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User Reviews

One of the best episodes
20 December 2013 | by PsilioSee all my reviews

I 'accidentally' watched this episode long before I became a Star Trek fan (my ex-girlfriend had lived in Seattle for 6 years and promptly introduced me to it several years later). I came home from a night on the town at maybe 3 AM, which was the time these reruns were shown on Norwegian TV back in the early 90's.

I was gripped by the story of this episode, but more importantly the acting. This was the first thing I had seen featuring Patrick Stewart, and I thought he was amazing along with guest star James Sloyan, and I was wondering why this show didn't air in the daytime/prime-time so that everyone could see it.

Norway has never been known to show sci-fi during prime-time though, and most Norwegians that admit to liking it are kind of cast-outs and are not taken seriously in other matters if they admit it. It's not like in the USA where even presidents admit to know of and even quote Kirk and Spock and even name space shuttles after it.

Anyway, since then I've watched every Star Trek episode (except TOS. Too dated for my taste) and movies (movies with the TOS cast are great) several times, but this still stands out as one of the best installments in any Star Trek media that I know of so far, mainly because of the acting.

And the best thing with this episode: Riker (Jonathan Frakes, the worst actor in Star Trek history, in my humble opinion) does not do any of his annoying moves:

  • His left eyebrow lowered when he attempts to look 'mean'.

  • His head cocking to one side when he's puzzled by something.

  • His stumbling, tilted moves when he pretends to look tough in action scenes (imitating John Wayne or some other action hero from the 50's)

  • His exaggerated speech when he pretends to be in distress ("Aaannyboodyyyyy!" taken from the first episode of TNG)

  • His over-acting in general.

In this episode he actually appears normal and professional, just like the other actors.

My first impression of this episode back in the beginning of the 90's or something when I had been out on town was maybe infused by alcohol, but I just saw the episode again now, and I stand by it.

Highly recommended!

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