||This Star Trek-related article describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (February 2008)|
|Star Trek: The Next Generation episode|
Picard, before Satie's Inquisition
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Jonathan Frakes|
|Written by||Jeri Taylor|
|Featured music||Ron Jones|
|Cinematography by||Marvin Rush|
|Original air date||April 29, 1991|
|List of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes|
"The Drumhead" is the 95th episode of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, the 21st episode of the fourth season. It was directed by cast member Jonathan Frakes ("Commander William T. Riker").
Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Federation starship USS Enterprise-D. In this episode, an explosion aboard the Enterprise brings a Starfleet Admiral (Jean Simmons as Admiral Norah Satie) out of retirement to investigate the possibilities of sabotage, espionage and treason aboard the Federation flagship.
When an explosion within the dilithium chamber of the Federation starship Enterprise's engine room appears to be the work of sabotage, Starfleet Command dispatches retired Rear Admiral Norah Satie to lead an investigation to uncover the cause.
Satie discovers that J'Dan (Henry Woronicz), a Klingon exchange officer, had been using modified hypospray syringes to encode information into amino acid sequences for secret transport. J'Dan is forced to admit his collaboration with the Romulans but attests he did not sabotage the chamber. Satie and Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) expand their investigation to interview crewmen who associated with J'Dan. One of the interviewees is medical technician Simon Tarses (Spencer Garrett) who claims that his only relationship with J'Dan was to administer injections necessary to treat a rare disease, but Satie's Betazoid aide (Bruce French) senses that Tarses is concealing something. Meanwhile, Chief Engineer La Forge (LeVar Burton) and Commander Data (Brent Spiner) determine that the hatch failed due to simple fatigue, not sabotage.
Picard now considers the matter closed, but Satie pushes to complete her investigation of Tarses. During a second interview with Tarses, held in front of a room full of people and Commander Riker acting as assigned counsel to the young crewman, Satie's aide falsely accuses Tarses of using a compound found in Sickbay to sabotage the hatch. He then accuses Tarses of falsifying his academy entrance application and that he is in fact one quarter Romulan, not one quarter Vulcan as he had claimed. Tarses, shaken, invokes his rights under the Seventh Guarantee of the Federation Constitution and refuses to answer the accusation on the grounds that his answer may serve to incriminate him.
Satie uses this discovery as a pretext to expand her investigations. Picard objects, but Satie reveals that she has been in constant contact with Starfleet Command and that all future hearings will be open and that Admiral Thomas Henry (Earl Billings) of Starfleet Security will attend. Though Picard resolves to prevent her from conducting a witchhunt, he finds himself summoned to be interviewed before the tribunal.
Satie uses the hearing to accuse Picard of numerous transgressions of the Prime Directive and other Starfleet orders. When Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn) stands to defend Picard's actions, Satie turns on him, pointing out Picard's poor judgment in having a Chief of Security who is the son of a traitor. Picard recalls a quote from Satie's father: "With the first link, the chain is forged. The first speech censured, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, chains us all irrevocably." Satie is infuriated. She accuses Picard of being a Romulan collaborator who plans to destroy the Federation from within and claims "I've brought down bigger men than you, Picard!"
Satie's fanatacism proves to be her undoing as Admiral Henry leaves the room and calls an end to the investigation.
Shortly afterward, Worf and Picard reflect on Satie's disgrace. Worf expresses regret for assisting her in her investigation. Picard points out that 'villains who twirl their moustaches are easy to spot', while Satie's goals were much less obvious. Picard's final words are that vigilance is the price humanity must continually pay in exchange for freedom.
- Guest star Jean Simmons, a noted longtime Trekkie, portrays retired Rear Admiral Norah Satie, a special investigator who visits the Federation starship Enterprise.
- Michael Dorn said this was one of his two favorite episodes, the other being "The Offspring", which was also directed by Jonathan Frakes.
- "The Drumhead" was the last Star Trek episode to be scored by Ron Jones, who was fired shortly after its completion by producers Rick Berman and Peter Lauritson as "Ron's stuff was getting big and somewhat flamboyant" and the producers "decided to move on and try other composers".
This episode is featured on the Star Trek: The Next Generation - Jean-Luc Picard Collection DVD set for Region 1 only. It is the fourth of seven episodes featured on disc 1 of the two-disc set.
- "The Drumhead". IMDB. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
- Zack Handlen (January 20, 2011). "Qpid/The Drumhead". AV Club. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
- "The Greatest Star Trek Quotes". John Petrie. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
- "Simmons, Jean". StarTrek.com. Retrieved December 28, 2012.
- "ST:TNG: Final Unity: Michael Dorn Interview". TrekCore.com. Retrieved March 12, 2008.
- "Rick Berman Answers Your Questions - Part 1". StarTrek.com. March 1, 2011. Retrieved April 6, 2011.
- Star Trek The Next Generation DVD set, volume 4, disc 6, selection 1.
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: "The Drumhead"|
- "The Drumhead" at the Internet Movie Database
- "The Drumhead" at TV.com
- "The Drumhead" at Memory Alpha (a Star Trek wiki)
- "The Drumhead" at StarTrek.com
- "The Drumhead" rewatch by Keith R. A. DeCandido