Commander Deanna Troi
|Born||March 29, 2336, Lake El-Nar, Betazed|
|Affiliation||United Federation of Planets
(FCT, INS, NEM)
(Seasons 1-7, GEN)
(Season 7, Movies)
|Father||Ian Andrew Troi|
|Children||Ian Andrew Troi, II (deceased)|
|Portrayed by||Marina Sirtis|
|First appearance||"Encounter at Farpoint" (TNG)|
Commander Deanna Troi // is a main character in the science-fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and related TV series and films, portrayed by actress Marina Sirtis. Troi is half-human, half-Betazoid and has the psionic ability to sense emotions. She serves as the ship's counselor on USS Enterprise-D. Throughout most of the series, she holds the rank of lieutenant commander. In the seventh season, however, Troi takes the bridge officer's examination and is promoted to the rank of commander, but continues as counselor. As of Star Trek: Nemesis she is credited as "Deanna Troi-Riker" because of her marriage to William Riker.
Deanna Troi was born on March 29, 2336, near Lake El-Nar, Betazed. Deanna's parents are Betazoid Ambassador Lwaxana Troi (portrayed by Majel Barrett), and deceased human Starfleet officer Lt. Ian Andrew Troi (portrayed by Amick Byram). An older sister, Kestra, was accidentally drowned during Deanna's infancy (see "Dark Page"). Although Deanna Troi has little exposure to Earth culture, she attended Starfleet Academy from 2355 to 2359, as well as the University on Betazed, and earned an advanced degree in psychology.
Deanna Troi serves as the ship's counselor aboard the Starfleet starships USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) and Enterprise-E under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). In Star Trek: Nemesis, Troi-Riker leaves the Enterprise with her husband William Riker, who has just been promoted to captain of the USS Titan, assuming the newly-created position of Diplomatic Officer (along with maintaining her original occupation of counselor).
The Betazoid race has telepathic abilities. Due to her half-human heritage, Deanna Troi has only partial telepathic abilities and is per result rather an empath with clairsentience. In Star Trek: Nemesis, Troi has expanded her empathic abilities as she is able to connect to another psychic and follow that empathic bond to its source. In this instance, her ability enables Enterprise-E to target and hit the Romulan vessel Scimitar, despite the fact that it is cloaked. She is also able to communicate telepathically with her mother and other telepathic Betazoids or races with sufficient aptitude. There are several species who are resistant to the telepathy and empathy of Betazoids, however, such as the Ferengi, the Breen and the Ulians.
Early in the series, Troi finds herself working with a former lover, the newly assigned First Officer to USS Enterprise, Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes). In later episodes, Troi has romantic involvements with several others, including a brief relationship with Klingon Starfleet officer Lieutenant Worf (portrayed by actor Michael Dorn).
She is addressed in various ways by fellow officers. Captain Picard calls her "Counselor", but when he is concerned about her, or in emergencies, he calls her Deanna. Picard also refers to her as "Commander" in the pilot episode ("Encounter at Farpoint"), which is consistent with her uniform's rank pips. Riker addresses her as "Lieutenant" a single time in the pilot episode; her service rank is not referred to again for several seasons. Doctor Crusher (one of her most noted female friends) usually calls her "Troi". Data very rarely calls her by her first name, usually calling her "Counselor Troi". Depending on the situation, Commander Riker will call her "Deanna", or "Imzadi", which means "beloved" in the Betazoid language.
In several episodes, Deanna Troi falls victim to aliens. She is usually targeted by aliens that can take control of her mind then talk through her body. In a key episode of Season 4 ("Clues") the Enterprise’s crew lose a day's memory. As events unfold, Deanna is taken over by an entity in order to communicate with the crew. She temporarily gains "super-human" strength and effortlessly tosses Worf across the bridge, breaking his wrist. In the season 5 episode "Violations", Enterprise encounters an alien species who are telepathic and specialize in being able to bring back lost memories. One of the aliens mentally assaults Deanna and also tries to physically assault her in her quarters. She is saved by Worf and one of his security teams. In the film Star Trek Nemesis, she is mentally violated by Shinzon's viceroy, who is also telepathic. This occurs in her quarters when she is with her new husband Commander Riker; it also occurs in the Star Trek Nemesis bonus deleted scenes, where she is attacked in the turbolift. In the latter case, she eventually is able to turn the tables on the viceroy using the same connection.
Troi is an avid connoisseur of chocolate, a fact that is significant in multiple episodes, including one in which she tells Commander Riker how to properly enjoy eating it. In the episode "Remember Me", Beverly Crusher briefly describes Troi to Captain Picard to jog his memory and mentions that she "loves chocolate".
Development and casting
Marina Sirtis at first read for the role that would become Tasha Yar in 1986. She had, in total, five readings all with Gene Roddenberry and other executives. It has been noted that Roddenberry took a liking to her almost immediately. Denise Crosby, who eventually won the role of Tasha, auditioned for the role of Deanna Troi. It was said that Marina Sirtis had a more "exotic" feel about her.
She was just about to return home, in debt and jobless, when she received "the phone call" alerting her that she had the role of Deanna Troi. She stated that if it had been an hour later she would have missed that call and been on her way to England. Sirtis' U.S. visa was expiring that day, and if she had stayed any longer, she could have run into legal trouble.
For Sirtis, Star Trek was her first big break. Prior to "Deanna Troi", her acting career was going nowhere: "What they told us about The Next Generation when we first started was that we were guaranteed twenty-six episodes. So that was the longest job I've ever had." She knew little about the Star Trek franchise and at first just thought of it as a good means to pay her bills.
Initially, Sirtis/Troi was planned as the eye-candy of the show. Gene Roddenberry intended her to have four breasts, before his wife told him this was a poor idea. Prior to filming, Sirtis was told to lose 5 pounds (2.3 kg; 0.36 st), but thought herself that she had to drop even more, and was often wearing plunging necklines and form-fitting dresses. After six years, the producers decided to drop the "sexy and brainless" Troi and make her a stronger character:
"I was thrilled when I got my regulation Starfleet uniform... it covered up my cleavage and I got all my brains back, because when you have cleavage you can't have brains in Hollywood... I was allowed to do things that I hadn't been allowed to do for five or six years. I went on away teams, I was in charge of staff, I had my pips back, I had phasers, I had all the equipment again, and it was fabulous. I was absolutely thrilled."
Scholarly and fan reception
Phil Farrand, author of The Nitpicker's Guides, criticized the way Troi was costumed and filmed. "Why does Troi get to wear the skin-tight bunny suit? ... Why would Troi want to wear the bunny suit? ... How would you react to a psychologist dressed like this?" At least one scholarly paper has explored Troi's many "extravagant hairstyles [and] low-cut costumes that emphasize her body...Every season brings another cut and shape to her hair and another neckline, hemline, color, and fabric to her clothes–a remarkable contrast to the occasional change in collar for the rest of the crew."
Besides being a regular in The Next Generation and its films, the Deanna Troi character later appears in three episodes of Star Trek: Voyager toward the end of its run (together with Reginald Barclay), and also in the final episode of Star Trek: Enterprise with William Riker. The final episode of Enterprise was also Troi and Riker's final appearance.
- Star Trek: Nemesis at the Internet Movie Database
- "StarTrek.com: Deanna Troi".
- The inability of Betazoids to read the Ferengi (as they can deliberatly keep their minds closed), the Breen and the Ulians was established in the episodes "Ménage à Troi", "The Loss" and "Violations", respectively.
- Adam Schrager, "Marina Sirtis: From Hoi Polloi to Counselor Troi" The Finest Crew in the Fleet: The Next Generation's Cast On Screen and Off. New York: Wolf Valley Books (1997): 147. "She landed a guest role on the series Hunter. Other small television roles followed, but no steady work came her way during her short stay. Just before she was to return home -- broke, credit cards "maxed out," and depressed -- Sirtis auditioned for the role of the chief security officer aboard the USS Enterprise, Lieutenant Macha Hernandez (later changed to Natasha Yar)."
- Adam Schrager, "Marina Sirtis: From Hoi Polloi to Counselor Troi" The Finest Crew in the Fleet: The Next Generation's Cast On Screen and Off. New York: Wolf Valley Books (1997): 147. "Meanwhile, Denise Crosby had been auditioning for the role of Lieutenant Commander Deanna Troi, the ship's Betazoid counselor."
- As stated in the DVD extras found on a bonus Star Trek TNG DVD
- "Marina Sirtis - Star Trek: The Next Generation's empathetic Counsellor". BBC. Retrieved May 7, 2011.
- Joel Engel Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek (Hyperion Books, 1994)
- Phil Farrand, "Trek Silliness: The Top Ten Oddities of Star Trek: The Next Generation" The Nitpicker's Guide for Next Generation Trekkers New York: Dell (1993): 241
- Hastie, Amelie (1996). "A Fabricated Space: Assimilating the Individual on Star Trek: The Next Generation". In Harrison, Taylor. Enterprise Zones: Critical Positions on Star Trek. Westview Press. p. 115. ISBN 0-8133-2898-5.
- Joyrich, Lynne (Winter 1996). "Feminist Enterprise? "Star Trek: The Next Generation" and the Occupation of Femininity". Cinema Journal 35 (2): 61–84. doi:10.2307/1225756. JSTOR 1225756.