28 user 11 critic

The Measure of a Man 

1:33 | Clip
When Data resigns his commission rather than be dismantled for examination by an inadequately skilled scientist, a formal hearing is convened to determine whether Data is considered property without rights or is a sentient being.


Robert Scheerer





Episode complete credited cast:
Patrick Stewart ... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes ... Cmdr. William Riker
LeVar Burton ... Lt. Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn ... Lt. Worf
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner ... Lt. Cmdr. Data
Wil Wheaton ... Wesley Crusher
Diana Muldaur ... Doctor Pulaski
Amanda McBroom ... JAG Capt. Phillipa Louvois
Clyde Kusatsu ... Adm. Nakamura
Brian Brophy Brian Brophy ... Cmdr. Bruce Maddox
Whoopi Goldberg ... Guinan
Colm Meaney ... Chief Miles O'Brien


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. Written by garykmcd

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Did You Know?


The set of the court room is a redress of the Battle Bridge set. See more »


During the trial, Riker has Data bend a solid metal bar. Data does this until the ends are nearly touching. Riker then takes the bar and places it front of the JAG officer. Now the ends of the bar are far apart. See more »


Capt. Picard: Now, tell me, Commander, what is Data?
Commander Bruce Maddox: I don't understand.
Capt. Picard: What is he?
Commander Bruce Maddox: A machine!
Capt. Picard: Is he? Are you sure?
Commander Bruce Maddox: Yes!
Capt. Picard: You see, he's met two of your three criteria for sentience, so what if he meets the third, consciousness, in even the smallest degree? What is he then? I don't know. Do you?
Capt. Picard: [to Riker] Do you?
Capt. Picard: [to Louvois] Do you? Well, that's the question you have to answer.
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Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

Obviously, toast can't be replicated
7 February 2016 | by skiopSee all my reviews

In this episode, whether Data is a sentient being or merely property of Starfleet is determined, to see whether he has the free will to reject the request of unskilled cyberneticist Bruce Maddox to disassemble him. Initially, JAG captain Phillipa Louvois rules summarily in favor of Maddox, so Picard requests a hearing.

Louvois initially says "Data is a toaster", indicating that toasters are still popular in the 24th century and thus that toast can't be replicated.

One does wonder about the consequences to the Federation's supposedly superior morals if Data is property. We previously learned in "Datalore" that Data had been found on Omicron Theta by Starfleet officers and so if he's only property, Starfleet would be guilty of the theft of Dr. Sung's property.

Still, this is the best episode of season 2. It's what Star Trek is supposed to be about, an exploration of what constitutes a person, even if it does ignore some legal questions. The worst part here is Dr. Pulaski, as cynical and culturally insensitive as always.

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Release Date:

11 February 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Measure of a Man See more »

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Paramount Television See more »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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