13 user 9 critic

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. Cmdr. Data
Ray Walston ... Boothby
Robert Duncan McNeill ... Cadet First Class Nicholas Locarno
Ed Lauter ... Lt. Cmdr. Albert
Richard Fancy ... Capt. Satelk
Jacqueline Brookes ... Adm. 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 take part 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 »

Did You Know?


Nick Locarno's character would lay the framework for the role of Tom Paris in Star Trek: Voyager (1995). To the extent that the same actor Robert Duncan McNeill would play the role. Locarno was supposed to be on Voyager instead, but various legal issues, like having to pay royalties to the writers of The First Duty for every single episode of Voyager Locarno would appear in made the idea unworkable, so they turned him into a different character. Tom Paris' background and personality were based in part on Locarno. See more »


When Captain Picard is talking with Groundskeeper Boothby, Picard's breathing is clearly visible, and fog can also be seen in the background, but Boothby's breath cannot be seen. Most likely the wide shot of the scene, and Patrick Stewart's close-ups, were shot early in the morning. Then Ray Walston's close-up was shot later in the day, when it was warmer, so his breath was no longer visible. See more »


Capt. Picard: I would never have graduated if you...
Boothby: You made a mistake. There isn't anybody among us who hasn't been young enough to make at least one.
Capt. Picard: Nevertheless...
Boothby: You did what you had to do, what you thought was best. I just made sure that you listened to yourself. You needed to get your bearings; I knew that. The important thing is what you did with your life afterwards; seems you did okay. That's enough thanks for me.
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Referenced in Star Trek: Voyager: Pathfinder (1999) See more »


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

Wesley in a jackpot
20 October 2018 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

The Enterprise is back on earth and Jean-Luc Picard is the commencement speaker at StarFleet Academy. But the Enterprise's own Wesley Crusher is in a jackpot at the Academy. His flying squad is the subject of an investigation involving the death of one of its members.

The dead cadet is the son of a StarFleet officer Ed Lauter much like Wil Wheaton is the son of a man who was killed on active duty. But there is a wall of silence like in our police forces today and in this case it is enforced by the leader of Wheaton's squadron Robert Duncan McNeill.

No doubt McNeill's performance here led to his being cast as Tom Paris in the Star Trek Voyager. Paris is something of a bad boy though nowhere as reckless as his character here.

Ray Walston appears as groundskeeper Boothby sort of a father confessor to the cadets. He has an important scene with Patrick Stewart who values his opinion and his counsel. Imagine his character decades earlier as Lionel Barrymore's in Navy Blue And Gold and you have some idea of Walston's relationship to the cadets.

The key scene is Stewart and Wheaton who reminds him of his duty and how he's letting all on the Enterprise down who invested hopes and dreams in him.

Do you doubt Wesley Crusher does the right thing?

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Release Date:

28 March 1992 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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