Friday, November 11, 2022

Star Trek: Suspicions

Episode: "Suspicions"
Series: Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 6, Episode 22
Original Air Date: May 10, 1993

Dr. Crusher becomes the sleuth in a murder mystery.  She invites a group of scientists aboard the Enterprise so one of them, a Ferengi, Dr. Reyga, can demonstrate metaphasic shielding to the others.  One of them, a Takaran, Jo'Bril, dies in a test flight, then Reyga himself.  turns up dead.  Crusher gets in hot water herself when she violates both the Captain's orders and medical ethics by performing an autopsy on Reyga.

As a mystery story, "Suspicions" is pretty good, with a satisfying twist at the end.  But I have a hard time getting past the ethics violation by Beverly.  Detectives in stories bend the rules all the time to get what they want.  I get that.  It's one of the tropes.  The title character does it all the time on House, MD.  In this case, I object to it on Star Trek terms.  It is such an obvious violation of the Prime Directive - it went against Ferengi burial rituals - and as usual, our hero gets away with it.  Why?  Because in the end, through Crusher's efforts, Reyga was vindicated?  Maybe.  That bit's not ever explained.

For all its trumpeting for the cause of tolerance, there is a shameful arrogance to Trek sometimes.  The (Western) human perspective is still valued over others.  In this case, the disrespect for another culture was forgiven and forgotten because Crusher was "right."  This moral perspective plays out over and over again within the franchise.  In the real world, it's a prevalent, though infrequently acknowledged, perspective of white American liberalism.  We love your simple primitive ways until they get in our way in the search for a singular truth. 

Acting Notes

Tricia O'Neil played the role of Kurak, a Klingon scientist.  O'Neil was born March 11, 1945 in Shreveport, Louisiana, though she spent much of her childhood in El Paso, Texas.  She graduated from Baylor in 1968.

She started in modeling, then found work in commercials.  She made her Broadway debut in 1970 in Two by Two, a part that won her a Theatre World Award.  Films include The Gumball Rally, Brave New World and Titanic.  TV gigs include Barney Miller, Murder, She Wrote and The A-Team.  "Suspicions" is her second of three Star Trek appearances.

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