At Starbase 173, the crew have a bit of leave. Data learns some of the intricacies of playing poker while Captain Picard runs into an old friend of a sort, Captain Phillipa Louvois, who established a new JAG office at the base. She once prosecuted him, unsuccessfully, but there is admiration at least, on both sides. Problems arise however when Commander Bruce Maddox receives permission to disassemble Data to determine how he functions. When Data expresses doubts about Maddox's likelihood of success, he refuses to undergo the procedure and resigns his commission. He soon finds himself the center of a judicial inquiry to determine if he is just a machine and a piece of property or a sentient being who has the right to make his own decisions. Captain Louvois finds herself sitting in judgment with Captain Picard defending Data's claim against Commander Riker who is forced to present the opposing arguments.
Did You Know?
The title comes from a statement by Plato
: "The measure of a man is what he does with power." 18th-century English philosopher Samuel Johnson expanded the saying: "The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good." The direct source for this episode, however, is most likely Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr.'s version: "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." Other famous variations of the "measure of a man" line have been created by 17th-century English Bishop Robert South, 19th century British scientist Lord Kelvin, Elton John
, Joe Biden
, and J.K. Rowling
. See more
Commander Bruce Maddox was the only member of the admissions board to object to Data's entry into Starfleet. Data entered the Academy in 2341. The events of the trial take place in 2365, 24 years later. The actor portraying Commander Maddox was 30 years old at the time of filming. Presuming his character is roughly the same age, Maddox would have been 6 years old at the time Data entered Starfleet Academy. It's highly unlikely that Starfleet would have had a child on their admission's board. See more
[at the hearing regarding the civil rights of androids like Data
Now, the decision you reach here today will determine how we will regard this... creation of our genius. It will reveal the kind of a people we are, what he is destined to be; it will reach far beyond this courtroom and this... one android. It could significantly redefine the boundaries of personal liberty and freedom - expanding them for some... savagely curtailing them for others. Are you prepared to condemn him and all who come...
Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith
and Alexander Courage See more