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When the Bough Breaks 

A planet that was able to cloak itself for thousands of years suddenly reveals itself, with its inhabitants proposing peace. But, after initial negotiations, children of the Enterprise are kidnapped due to the infertility of the inhabitants.


Kim Manners

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Patrick Stewart ... Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes ... Commander William T. Riker
LeVar Burton ... Lieutenant Geordi La Forge
Denise Crosby ... Lieutenant Tasha Yar
Michael Dorn ... Lt. Worf
Gates McFadden ... Dr. Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner ... Lt. Commander Data
Wil Wheaton ... Wesley Crusher
Jerry Hardin ... Radue
Brenda Strong ... Rashella
Jandi Swanson ... Katie
Paul Lambert ... Melian
Ivy Bethune Ivy Bethune ... Duana
Dierk Torsek Dierk Torsek ... Dr. Bernard


The Enterprise is delighted with a rare chance to visit a technologically advanced planet which long prevented access by means of a perfect cloaking technique. Prime administrator Radue shows how their people lead a life of leisure, trusting their central computer takes care of all necessities. But they can't solve a medical nightmare: endemic infertility, so they need to 'adopt' earthling children. Negotiations failing, they suddenly snatch Wesley and several younger, also gifted crew kids. Picard can barely keep negotiating credibly enough to avoid being chased too far in space ever to return, but Wesley manages to study and befriend the locals while planning a minimal risk revolt. Written by KGF Vissers

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Release Date:

13 February 1988 (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?


Hannah Louise Shearer pitched the episode to associate producer D.C. Fontana, highlighting the families living on board the Enterprise. While the pilot episode Star Trek: The Next Generation: Encounter at Farpoint (1987) first mentioned the children on the ship, this was the first time they had been used as a plot element. Shearer also discussed a story idea with Gene Roddenberry about "a society that had lost its humanity in favor of technology". See more »


At the start of the episode when Riker goes into the turbolift after his collision with the boy, you can see the foot of some sound equipment sticking out. See more »


Radue: Captain, let us begin discussions regarding appropriate compensation.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard: Compensation? You have stolen our children away from... away from their classrooms, away from their bedrooms, and you talk about compensation? You claim to be a civilized world, and yet you've just committed an act of utter barbarity!
Radue: Captain, we will continue these discussions when you've calmed down.
[ends transmission]
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Star Trek: The Next Generation Main Title
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

The obvious solution avoided again
14 February 2016 | by bloopvilleSee all my reviews

Another poster pointed out that some various obvious civilized, peaceful and mutually beneficial solutions were ignored, before sterility issue was discovered.

1. I am sure there are numerous families that would love to immigrate to this paradise.

2. There must be plenty of orphans for the existing families. Why must superior species always be unethical? (and speak perfect English and be bi-pedal humanoids living in suburban splendor).

The other frustrating thing, after 100s of contacts with these superior species both in TOS and TNG, why doesn't the Federation have any of these vastly superior technology that can push a starship 3 days away from a planet at warp 9, instantaneously?

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