Star Trek: Voyager (1995–2001)
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Life Line 

The Doctor gets himself transmitted back to Federation space to treat his mortally ailing creator, Dr. Lewis Zimmerman. A clash of egos ensues.


Terry Windell


Gene Roddenberry (based upon "Star Trek" created by), Rick Berman (created by) | 7 more credits »




Episode cast overview:
Kate Mulgrew ... Capt. Kathryn Janeway
Robert Beltran ... Cmdr. Chakotay
Roxann Dawson ... Lt. B'Elanna Torres
Robert Duncan McNeill ... Lt. Tom Paris
Ethan Phillips ... Neelix
Robert Picardo ... The Doctor / Dr. Lewis Zimmerman
Tim Russ ... Lt. Tuvok
Jeri Ryan ... Seven of Nine
Garrett Wang ... Ensign Harry Kim
Dwight Schultz ... Lt. Reginald Barclay
Tamara Marie Watson ... Haley (as Tamara Craig Thomas)
Jack Shearer ... Adm. Hayes
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi
Majel Barrett ... Voyager Computer (voice)


The Pathfinder Project makes use of a pulsar and the MIDAS Array, allowing a data stream to reach Voyager (and Voyager to reply) every thirty-two days. Lieutenant Barclay sends a letter to The Doctor asking for a second opinion on his dying friend, the eccentric genius Dr. Lewis Zimmerman. Lewis created the template for The Doctor's program and is terminally ill with no known cure in the Alpha Quadrant. After reviewing the medical record, The Doctor believes he can cure Zimmerman and convinces Captain Janeway to risk sending him through the data stream; but, The Doctor finds his maker to be his most difficult patient, insisting The Doctor's program is obsolete. Barclay recruits Deanna Troi to allay the two before Zimmerman's time runs out. Written by Meribor

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TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This episode takes place over the course of a little more than 32 days. See more »


Dr Zimmerman says to the EMH, "I didn't program you for sarcasm." In Star Trek: Voyager: Relativity, Captain Janeway is being given a tour of Voyager by a Starfleet Admiral before it leaves Earth. At one point the brand new, freshly programmed EMH is activated and makes a sarcastic comment when he finds there is no medical emergency; he's just being "shown off" to the Captain. See more »


Dr. Zimmerman: Reginald was right about you. You HAVE exceeded the sum of your programing. You've accomplished far more than I would have ever predicted but, let's face facts, you never overcame the inherent flaws in your personality subroutines. You're arrogant, irritable - a 'jerk', as Counselor Troi would say.
The Doctor: I believe she was describing YOU as well.
Dr. Zimmerman: Don't change the subject.
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References Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) See more »


Star Trek: Voyager - Main Title
Written by Jerry Goldsmith
Performed by Jay Chattaway
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User Reviews

Must see episode for fans of The Doctor
25 July 2020 | by snoozejoncSee all my reviews

The Doctor's program is sent back to the alpha quadrant via subspace to help treat his terminally ill creator Dr Zimmerman.

What follows is a battle of wills between an obsessive Doctor and a difficult patient who does not want to be treated by him. The plot concludes in a clever way, whilst giving us a plausible reason for Zimmerman's behaviour, not just making him difficult for the sake of a story.

The plot has been criticised for not taking simpler options than The Doctor take on such a high-risk mission when other options are clearly available. Well, the key to appreciate this episode is to just enjoy the confrontation between two characters and accept they have to share the screen for the full affect. When you get past the plot-hole, sit back and absorb what comes next.

Robert Picardo is on scintillating form playing both creator and creation. He delivers a masterclass in physical and emotional performance that keeps you engrossed in both characters. It's comparable to the bickering interaction between the two distinct characters such as Frasier and Niles Crane or Oscar Maddison and Felix Unger, just performed by a single actor.

There is able support from the Reg Barclay and Deanna Troi characters, but the two Docs blow everyone else off the screen.

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Official Sites:

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Release Date:

10 May 2000 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby | Stereo



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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