11 user 7 critic

The Drumhead 

A retired admiral boards the Enterprise in an effort to determine the actions aboard the ship surrounding an act of sabotage and possible treason.


Jonathan Frakes


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Jeri Taylor | 4 more credits »

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Episode complete credited cast:
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
Bruce French ... Sabin Genestra
Spencer Garrett ... Simon Tarses
Henry Woronicz ... J'Ddan
Earl Billings ... Admiral Thomas Henry
Jean Simmons ... Admiral Nora Satie
Ann Shea Ann Shea ... Nellen Tore


A Klingon traitor is arrested: engineer Lieutenant J'Ddan, who passed secrets to the Romulans via fluid in a medical syringe, sabotage is feared. Retired female Federation Admiral Satie and her former assistants arrive to take charge of the investigation, with security chief Worf. Meanwhile Data and LaForge look into the sabotage risk. J'Ddan's denial of sabotaging the vital dilithium chamber is credible, which implies another traitor aboard, so the crew is grilled, starting with medic Simon Tarses who gave J'Ddan his injections. After a paranormal counsel believes Tarses a liar, he's tricked by lies into acting guilty, even though the 'sabotage' was in fact found to be an accidental failure, and confesses he lied about his ancestry to hide a Romulan grandfather. Picard objects against the unethical procedure, Satie calls upon Starfleet chief of security Admiral Henry to look for an even wider conspiracy, starting with Picard himself, based on his long-term record, and Worf, based on ... Written by KGF Vissers

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TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

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Release Date:

27 April 1991 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


A drumhead trial was the name for an archaic form of court martial practiced on Earth in the 19th century. Its name derives from the eponymous usage of a drum's head as a seat for the presiding judge in an ad-hoc military tribunal. Such trials were marked by an emphasis on expediency and a notable lack of due process and impartiality. Often, the actual "trial" was a mere formality, with the verdict known well in advance. They were sometimes used to curb similar behavior in other potential offenders. Trials akin to the drumhead-type were conducted in later eras and by different cultures. See more »


Considering that Admiral Nora Satie relied heavily on the advice given to her by her Betazoid assistant, it is surprising that Captain Picard did not require the assistance of Counselor Deanna Troi throughout the interrogations and trial. See more »


Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Have we become so... fearful, have we become so cowardly... that we must extinguish a man? Because he carries the blood of a current enemy?
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Referenced in Star Trek: Starship Creator (1998) See more »


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

Emmy-worthy performance from guest star Simmons
15 April 2006 | by Reginald D. GarrardSee all my reviews

Oscar nominee Jean Simmons is outstanding in this emotionally and politically charged episode. She plays "Nora Satie," a retired admiral who heads a Star Fleet investigative team that must determine whether or not treasonous activities have been done by members of the Enterprise, including Capt. Picard.

The episode is marvelously paced, never losing any of the tension, with outstanding performances from not only Simmons and Stewart but other featured players, including Spencer Garrett as novice crewman first class "Simon Tarses".

This particular installment of the series shows how science fiction can make commentary on the machinations of the government and how we all can fall victim to the paranoia that develops when mistrust is placed above faith.

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