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The Measure of a Man 

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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. Commander Data
Wil Wheaton ... Wesley Crusher
Diana Muldaur ... Doctor Pulaski
Amanda McBroom Amanda McBroom ... JAG Captain Phillipa Louvois
Clyde Kusatsu ... Admiral Nakamura
Brian Brophy Brian Brophy ... Commander 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »


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Release Date:

11 February 1989 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Measure of a Man 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?


The wall decorations in the Enterprise bar and café were borrowed from the palace set of John Landis' film "Coming to America". See more »


Data tells Wesley that he can utilize the wrapping paper again. However it is save to say the paper is replicated. See more »


Captain Phillipa Louvois: I can use serving officers as legal counsel. You, as the senior officer, would defend.
Capt. Picard: Very good.
Captain Phillipa Louvois: And the unenviable task of prosecuting this case would fall on you, Commander, as the next most senior officer of the defendant's ship.
Commander William T. Riker: I can't. I won't. Data's my comrade. We have served together. I not only respect him, I consider him my friend.
Captain Phillipa Louvois: When people of good conscience have an honest dispute, we must still sometimes resort to this kind of adversarial system.
Commander William T. Riker: You just want me to prove that ...
See more »


Referenced in Star Trek: The Next Generation: Data's Day (1991) See more »


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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