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The First Duty 

Wesley Crusher's team has an accident at Starfleet Academy. Picard offers to help a Starfleet investigation as to what happened, and begins to suspect they are hiding something.


Paul Lynch


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




Episode complete credited cast:
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. Commander Data
Ray Walston ... Boothby
Robert Duncan McNeill ... Cadet First Class Nicholas Locarno
Ed Lauter ... Lt. Cmdr. Albert
Richard Fancy ... Captain Satelk
Jacqueline Brookes ... Admiral Brand
Wil Wheaton ... Wesley Crusher
Walker Brandt ... Jean Hajar
Shannon Fill ... Sito Jaxa


Captain Picard is delighted to be the commencement speaker at Starfleet Academy on earth, but even before the Enterprise arrives for graduation, he must deliver the news to Dr. Crusher that her son cadet Wesley's Nova squadron has had an accident during Saturn maneuvers, in which his teammate Josh Albert was killed. While Picard remembers with grounds keeper Boothby a potentially career-breaking incident during his own training, the official investigation he is part of soon discovers Nicholas Locarno's team is trying to cover up what really happened, for one thing deviating from the original flight plan and blaming the deceased panicking. Picard has Data and Geordi partake in the flight recorder analysis. A random Saturn satellite sensor sweep shows they lied by omission, and Picard realizes their cocky intent. They can get off with a formal reprimand for lack of proof... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »


Official Sites:

Official site





Release Date:

28 March 1992 (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?


Shannon Fill reprised her role as Sito Jaxa in TNG: "Lower Decks". See more »


When Wesley and Nicholas are seated at his desk in his quarters, the position of Wesley's left hand changes between shots. See more »


Wesley Crusher: We're Starfleet cadets. We have a duty to the truth.
Nicholas Locarno: What about your duty to your friends? I got you on this team. I gave you a chance, when there were upperclassmen waiting in line. I said, "He won't let us down. He was on the Enterprise. He knows what it's like to trust somebody with his life." Well, I guess I was wrong.
Wesley Crusher: If we all come forward together and tell Admiral Brand...
Nicholas Locarno: We don't wanna come forward! Sito, Jean and me, we don't have a problem with this. But if you do, then resign your ...
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Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: The Pegasus (1994) See more »


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

The Secret Origin of Thomas Eugene Paris
10 June 2015 | by XweAponXSee all my reviews

This is another Episode that bothered me, but not because it was a bad episode.

It is because, for the first time in Next Generation, Wesley Crusher is shown to be simply Human, and is put into a spot where he has to decide, "Do I keep my mouth shut and support my Leader Tom Paris... Er, I mean 'Nick Locarno'... and Picard will never trust me again in this lifetime, or do I tell the TRUTH right from the start?" I think this episode, despite my personal discomfort watching it, hits at the core of what Star Trek is all about. Our FIRST DUTY is to The Truth, however painful it might be to tell it, regardless of our feelings toward our crew mates and class mates, we MUST tell the Truth. That does not mean that there are not some times to withhold truth, that's called basic "tact" - But there are times to tell it right away. This idea even rises out of our TV sets and DVD players or SmartPhones, whatever we are using to watch this series, into our real lives. I think many of us might have had something similar happen to us. That is what makes this an episode to not pan or pass on.

I can accept Ensign/Cadet Crusher being ambivalent about this, he had developed a pattern of successes on The Enterprise that was leading toward an opportunity for command, which at this point in the series, was what the character wanted.

And we finally get to meet "Boothby" for the first time, portrayed by the great Ray Walston of "South Pacific", "Kiss Me Stupid", and "My Favorite Martian". And it is Boothby who states it: "Nick Locarno is leader, mentor, best friend and even surrogate father to those kids - He would do anything for them and they would do anything to support him, even if it requires jumping off a cliff".

This type of Cadet/Leader is even mirrored in the Deep Space Nine episode "Valiant" where a personality much like Locarno had been put in charge of a Defiant-Class Starship. "Captain" Tim Watters might have been the same to his "Red Squad" cadets as Locarno was to his "Nova Squadron" - But that DS9 episode shows the worst case scenario. Here, Picard is able to intervene before it gets to that point.

Locarno's "Nova Squadron" was not as large as Watter's Red Squad, so we get to see more of each member as they have to decide if they are going to tell the Truth or not. And they all would have lied to save their skins, had not Picard confronted Crusher.

And Picard knew how to Fine-Tune Crusher to get him to comply, by dangling Crusher's own values over a precipice. We know that what Picard thinks is what concerns Wesley the most, and therein lies the answer.

Look for Shannon Fill to reprise Ensign Sito Jaxa in the Season 7 episode "Lower Decks" along with Jeri Taylor's son Alex Engberg as "Taurik" - Who may be Vorick's identical twin brother from Voyager. I only started understanding recently why they can't use these names - Tom Paris was supposed to be Locarno and Vorick was supposed to be Taurik - But they would have had to pay Jeri Taylor or Ronald D Moore for every episode those characters appear in. It's an unfortunate truth about TV shows and why characters get their names changed occasionally.

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