Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 3, Episode 14
Original Air Date: February 12, 1990
|via Memory Alpha|
Riker is accused of murdering Nel Apgar, a prominent Tanugan scientist. Picard must decide if he will allow his First Officer to be extradited. To that end, he directs Data and la Forge to recreate the circumstances of the crime on the holodeck in accordance with witness testimony.
"A Matter of Perspective" is a Rashomon-inspired story, not to mention a Rashomon-inspired title. One of filmmaker Akira Kurosawa's numerous masterworks, Rashomon - based in turn on two short stories by Ryunosuke Akutagawa - tells the story of an alleged rape from multiple perspectives. So too is Riker's story complicated by his interactions with Apgar's wife, Manua. She alleges an attempted rape. He claims she was the one who made unsolicited advances. A third witness believes it was mutual consent.
Let's be honest about all of this for a moment. It's icky. The film is icky, too. All adaptations of Rashomon are. Real-life rape cases are exactly like this: one's word against the other and the assailant gets away with it for lack of conclusive evidence. As much as we want our man Riker to be the good guy, it's clear Manua sees things in a different way. Even Deanna acknowledges Manua believes she's telling the truth.
Take another step back and the episode has a lot going for it. The interstellar legal considerations are inherently interesting. This particular use of the holodeck is novel and the explorations of its potential impact on the physical world signify a narrative groundbreaking.
Still, it's icky. I have a hard time getting past icky.
Craig Richard Nelson played the role of Krag, the Tanugan investigator. Nelson was born September 17, 1947 in Salt Lake City, Utah. He went to the University of Utah as an undergrad, then NYU's Tisch School of the Arts for graduate school. His first gig after getting his MFA was a Tony award winning, musical production of Two Gentlemen of Verona on Broadway.
Big screen credits include The Paper Chase, Quintet and My Bodyguard. This was the first of two Star Trek appearances. Other television credits include Square Pegs, The Golden Girls and Home Improvement.