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Starfleet Commander Bruce Maddox intends to disassemble Data to create copies of him. Picard seeks the advice of local Judge Advocate General officer Phillippa Louvois. She tells him that Data's only option is to resign his commission, which Data does. Maddox, however, refers to regulations that Data is not an individual who may decide for himself, but is Starfleet property.

Picard challenges the ruling. Louvois has to arrange a hearing quickly, and due to the lack of legal staff she assigns Riker to the position of the prosecutor. Riker is aware that in case he refused the judgment would be automatically against Data, and so he does his best to prove that Data is only a machine. Picard, on the other hand, successfully argues that Data could be sentient indeed and that Starfleet must decide in his favor; otherwise they would endorse an army of slaves.[N 1]

Errors and Explanations

Internet Movie Database

Character error

  1. Louvois tells Picard "call me". However, a later episode established that the phrase "to call" someone is no longer in the vernacular. Maybe she's a tradionalist!

Plot holes

  1. Data tells Picard that Maddox was the only dissenting member of a screening committee that approved his entrance into Starfleet. This implies that the majority approved him. Since only sentient beings can take the oath of a service personnel officer, this would be the grounds for Data's status as a living being, but this is overlooked at the trial. Maddox may have thought that the rest of the committee were wrong to approve Data's application, and is determined to finally prove it.
  2. When Riker calls Data to the stand, the computer reads out Data's medals and commendations. Riker tries to skip the reading, but Picard objects and insists the full record be read, and the judge sustains the objection. Later, however, when Picard calls Maddox to the stand and the computer begins to read out his accomplishments, Picard tries to skip the reading, and Riker does not object. The judge had already warned Riker that any laxity on his part in prosecuting the case would result in a summary judgment against Data, and this would seem to qualify. SENIRAMMaybe Maddox's accomplishments would take too long to read out!  FANDOM User Dxdynamite - 12:00, August 15, 2020 The reason why Riker does not object to Commander Maddox's record being read is that it would serve no real purpose for the court. Everyone present is not under any doubt as to Maddox's skills, time in service, etc. On the other hand, Data's record was read out in full because Picard needed to make the point that this is part of Data's uniqueness and humanity. Maddox is not the one on trial.

The Nitpicker's Guide
Next Generation Trekkers
Volume 2

Plot Oversights

  1. Looking approximately thirty-five years old, Maddox claims to have evaluated Data on the android's entrance to Starfleet Academy. in Redemption II, which takes place approximately two and a half years after the events here, Data states that he has twenty six years of service. This means that, at the time of this episode, Data has served in Starfleet for twenty three and a half years, after spending four years at the academy, as stated on his file in Conundrum. For his age to match his appearance, Maddox would have had to be seven or eight years old when he helped to evaluate Data.Like Graves in The Schizoid Man, Maddox could be older than he looks.
  2. The trial computer stating that Data was still assigned to Enterprise. Data's transfer to Maddox was halted for the duration of the trial.


  1. Subsequent broadcasts of the episode on BBC America have omitted the events which occur after the end of the hearing and the events which follow, instead cutting to the end credits immediately after Data refuses formally to undergo Maddox's procedure once the court rules in his favor. No reason has been given for this.[1]


The Next Generation Season 2
The Child I Where Silence Has Lease I Elementary, Dear Data I The Outrageous Okona I The Schizoid Man I Loud as a Whisper I Unnatural Selection I A Matter of Honor I The Measure of a Man I The Dauphin I Contagion I The Royale I Time Squared I The Icarus Factor I Pen Pals I Q Who I Samaritan Snare I Up the Long Ladder I Manhunt I The Emissary I Peak Performance I Shades of Gray