Sins of the Father (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

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"Sins of the Father"
Star Trek: The Next Generation episode
Episode no.Season 3
Episode 17
Directed byLes Landau
Story byDrew Deighan
Teleplay byRonald D. Moore
W. Reed Moran
Production code165
Original air dateMarch 19, 1990 (1990-03-19)
Guest appearances
Episode chronology
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"The Offspring"
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Star Trek: The Next Generation (season 3)
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"Sins of the Father" is the 65th episode of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and the 17th episode of the third season.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the Starfleet crew of the Federation starship Enterprise-D. In this episode, the Enterprise's Klingon Chief of Security, Lt. Worf, challenges the Klingon High Council's accusation that his father was a traitor.

This is the first of four appearances of Worf's brother Kurn, each played by actor Tony Todd, in the Star Trek franchise; Kurn last appears on the series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the episode "Sons of Mogh" (broadcast February 12, 1996).


As part of the Federation-Klingon officer exchange program, Klingon Commander Kurn (Tony Todd) has requested to be placed aboard the Enterprise as first officer. His typical Klingon command style aggravates the crew, particularly Lieutenant Worf (Michael Dorn). Worf confronts Kurn alone, where Kurn reveals he is Worf's younger brother; when the rest of Worf's family left to the Khitomer colony, he was left with Lorgh, a friend of their father Mogh. Kurn was raised as Lorgh's son, unaware until recently of his relation to Worf. Kurn tells Worf that Mogh is being charged posthumously as a traitor by Duras (Patrick Massett), the son of Mogh's rival, in the Khitomer massacre, which will mar the Mogh family name for seven generations. Worf requests an urgent leave of absence to defend his father's honor. Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) believes that Worf's actions as a Starfleet officer in his father's defense will be of significant interest to the Federation and directs the Enterprise to the Klingon homeworld so they may monitor the events. En route, Kurn volunteers to be Worf's Cha'DIch, a second to stand with Worf during the challenge. Worf agrees, but warns Kurn to not reveal his bloodline just yet.

At the High Council, Duras reveals evidence of Mogh sending Khitomer's defense codes to the Romulans. Worf challenges this, but is told privately by the aging K'mpec (Charles Cooper), the Klingon Chancellor, to drop the challenge and return to the Federation. Worf discusses this curious request with Picard, who also finds it strange and orders his crew to examine the evidence. Meanwhile, Duras has ambushed Kurn, aware of his Mogh bloodline, and attempts to get him to betray Worf. Kurn refuses and is seriously wounded in the ensuing fight, no longer able to support Worf in front of the Council. Picard accepts Worf's request to take Kurn's place.

The Enterprise crew finds evidence that the Khitomer logs have been modified and soon discover one more survivor of the massacre, Worf's nurse Kahlest (Thelma Lee). Picard is able to convince Kahlest, who knows Mogh was loyal to the Klingon Empire but does not know who the true traitor was, to help in Worf's challenge. Picard brings Kahlest to court and bluffs that she knows who the true traitor was, starting a heated dispute that is sure to end in needless bloodshed. Infuriated and as a means to halt the bickering, K'mpec calls Worf, Picard, Duras, and Kahlest into his private quarters and reveals the truth; the Council is well aware that Duras's father was the Khitomer traitor, but exposure of this, given Duras's high political position and capital, would certainly lead to an unwanted civil war within the already trouble-stricken Empire. The Council only accepted Duras's charge of treason against Mogh believing that Worf would not challenge it due to his Federation citizenship. To prevent further upheaval, K'mpec imparts that the Council will condemn Worf and Kurn, but Picard refuses to let this blatant injustice stand, thus creating a situation that could end the Klingon-Federation alliance. Worf, seeing what restoring his family's honor may cost, steps in and says he understands what he needs to do, that the only course of action for Worf is to accept a discommendation, tantamount to admitting his father's guilt; in exchange, the knowledge of the proceedings, including Kurn's true-bloodedness, will be undisclosed. Back in the council, all of the assembled Klingons, including a reluctant Kurn, ceremonially turn their back to Worf in disgrace, and he and Picard silently leave the hall.


This episode has the Klingon Great Hall designed by Richard James; the Great Hall and others sets won an Emmy for Best Art Design for this episode.[1] The Great Hall is where the Klingon High Council meets in the Star Trek science fiction universe.[2]

The view of the Great Hall exterior view was done by a matte painting.[1]


This episode won an Emmy award for Best Art Design.[1]

Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club gave the episode a B+ grade.[3] Keith DeCandido of rated the episode 8 out of 10.[4]

The episode ranked seventh in Entertainment Weekly's list of top 10 Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes.[5] In 2017, Den of Geek included "Sins of the Father" as one of their 25 recommended episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation.[6] In 2017, Daily Dot recommended this as a Star Trek Klingon alien themed episode to prepare for Star Trek: Discovery.[7]

In 2017, Nerdist ranked "Sins of the Father" the ninth best episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.[8]

In 2017, Den of Geek put this episode in its list of 25 "must-watch" Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes.[9]

In 2019, Screen Rant ranked "Sins of the Father" the second best episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.[10] In 2020, ScreenRant again ranked it the second best episode, noting it explores the fictional alien Klingon culture, Worf (played by Michael Dorn), and explores the concept of honor and alien politics.[11]

In 2021, Cinemablend ranked this one of the top ten episodes of TNG.[12] They note this episode helps establish background on Klingon aliens, and its plot is harnessed by later episodes.[12]


The episode was released with Star Trek: The Next Generation season three DVD box set, released in the United States on July 2, 2002.[13] This had 26 episodes of Season 3 on seven discs, with a Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track.[13] It was released in high-definition Blu-ray in the United States on April 30, 2013.[14]

The episode is one of three chosen for Paramount's "The Next Level" Blu-ray sampler. During the high definition (HD) remastering process a 13-second portion of the episode had to be upconverted from a standard definition source as the original 35 mm elements could not be located.[15] This footage was later located and remastered in HD for the third season Blu-ray set.[16]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Okuda, Michael; Okuda, Denise; Mirek, Debbie (2011-05-17). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4516-4688-7.
  2. ^ Erdmann, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (2000). Deep Space Nine Companion. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-0-671-50106-8.
  3. ^ Zack Handlen (2010). "Star Trek: The Next Generation: "Sins of the Father"/"Allegiance"". The A.V. Club.
  4. ^ DeCandido, Keith R. A. (10 January 2012). "Star Trek: The Next Generation Rewatch: "Sins of the Father"".
  5. ^ "'Star Trek: The Next Generation': The Top 10 Episodes". 2007-09-20. Retrieved 2012-07-10.
  6. ^ Harvey, Sven (January 29, 2016). "Star Trek: The Next Generation's 25 must-watch episodes". Den of Geek. Archived from the original on January 30, 2016. Retrieved March 11, 2019.
  7. ^ "9 Klingon episodes to watch on Netflix before 'Star Trek: Discovery'". The Daily Dot. 2017-08-20. Retrieved 2019-06-11.
  8. ^ Eric Diaz (2017). "The 11 Best STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION Episodes". Nerdist. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  9. ^ Harvey, Sven (2017-10-18). "Star Trek: The Next Generation's 25 must-watch episodes". Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  10. ^ "The 10 Best Star Trek: TNG Episodes Of All Time". ScreenRant. 2019-03-07. Retrieved 2019-06-29.
  11. ^ "The 15 Best Star Trek: TNG Episodes Of All Time". ScreenRant. 2020-04-28. Retrieved 2020-05-10.
  12. ^ a b "The 10 Best Star Trek The Next Generation Episodes, Ranked". CINEMABLEND. 2021-02-17. Retrieved 2021-02-26.
  13. ^ a b Beierle, Aaron (July 2, 2002). "Star Trek the Next Generation – Season 3". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on August 19, 2016. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  14. ^ Miller III, Randy (April 30, 2013). "Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season Three (Blu-ray)". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved May 7, 2016.
  15. ^ "CBS Addresses Issue with the Upcoming Release of TNG – The Next Level on Blu-Ray | Star Trek News". 2011-11-08. Retrieved 2011-12-16.
  16. ^ "Missing footage from 'Sins of the Father' found". 2012-04-11. Retrieved 2013-05-03.

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