Friday, May 13, 2022

Star Trek: Chain of Command, Part I

Episode: "Chain of Command, Part I"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 6, Episode 10
Original Air Date: December 14, 1992

"Chain of Command" begins with a jolt as Captain Picard is relieved of command and replaced by Captain Jelico whose manner is far more abrupt and his approach to the job by-the-book.  There is a reason why, though that reason is not revealed to the crew: Picard, Worf and Dr. Crusher are sent on a covert mission against the Cardassians.  While the Enterprise adjusts uneasily to new leadership, Picard & Co. are lured into a trap.

This two-part episode was intended as part of the bridge between The Next Generation and a new spinoff series, Deep Space Nine.  The Cardassians are the primary adversaries in the new series and "Chain of Command" helped to establish the depths of their cruelty.  Initially, Quark, one of DS9's principals, was supposed to be featured in the episode but the timing didn't work out.

While Jelico is set up to be an off-putting character, he brought a couple of permanent changes to the Enterprise.  First, he asks that Livingston, the resident lionfish, is removed from the captain's ready room.  Later, he asks Counselor Troi to wear a standard uniform.  Interestingly, both of these were welcome changes for actors Patrick Stewart and Marina Sirtis respectively.  Stewart never liked the fish, feeling it was un-Trek to keep a captive animal on the ship.  Meanwhile, Sirtis was delighted to no longer be "on display" all the time.

"Chain of Command" is a popular choice for best-of lists and it's definitely strong.  The second part, in particular, is rock-solid Patrick Stewart.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Acting Notes

David Warner played the role of Gul Madred, Picard's Cardassian interrogator.  He isn't introduced until the end of the first part.  His character will be far more important in the second. 

Warner was born July 29, 1941 in Manchester, England.  He was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.  Like Patrick Stewart, he is a Royal Shakespeare Company alum.  His Shakespearean credits alone are extensive, including the title roles in Henry VI, Hamlet and Richard II.  He made his film debut in 1963's Tom Jones.  Other movies include The Omen, Tron and Titanic.   For Trek, he appeared in both Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  He won an Emmy in 1981 for the role of Pomponius Falco in Masada.  


  1. This is a very interesting episode that leads into one of the best episodes, in my opinion. I love David Warner with his quirky face and even his voice. I remember seeing him in another Titanic film but it was a TV movie and he played Thomas Beasley. Beasley was a 2nd class passenger, a teacher, who survived the Titanic.

    1. Wow! I just looked up Beesley. He lived to be 89 years old.