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The Defector 

When a Romulan officer defects to the Federation with a warning of a impending invasion, Capt. Picard struggles to decide if he is to be believed.


Robert Scheerer


Gene Roddenberry (created by), Ronald D. Moore | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Patrick Stewart ... Capt. Jean-Luc Picard / Michael Williams
Jonathan Frakes ... Cmdr. William Riker
LeVar Burton ... Lt. Cmdr. Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn ... Lt. Worf
Gates McFadden ... Dr. Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis ... Counselor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner ... Lt. Cmdr. Data
Wil Wheaton ... Wesley Crusher (credit only)
James Sloyan ... Setol / Adm. Alidar Jarok
Andreas Katsulas ... Cmdr. Tomalak
John Hancock ... Adm. Haden
Simon Templeman ... John Bates (as S.A. Templeman)


Data was discovering the human condition by Shakespearian acting, when Picard gets informed a craft entered the Neutral Zone. It's identified as a Romulan scout, which claims to need urgently asylum from a persecutor. The wounded Setol gets it, and warns the Romulans nearly finished building a base on a planet in the Neutral Zone, in order to occupy it and from there strike 15 neighboring Federation zones with a fleet of war birds, which would mean another full war, but still remains rather defensive, at times hostile. Commander Riker and counselor Troi are charged with questioning him further, in case it's a ploy to lure them into the zone as a war pretext. The admiralty refuses the Empire's demand to return the defector, and orders Picard to find out if the threat is real. After technological means came to contradictory conclusions, Setol discloses his real identity, and that's not the last surprising twist... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Ronald D. Moore describes the story as "the Cuban missile crisis at the Neutral Zone". See more »


At 36:44 as Captain Picard turns to walk back towards his chair on the bridge the reflection of the boom mic in motion can briefly be seen on the control panel in the top right corner of the screen just to the left of the turbolift doors. See more »


Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: I don't know, Data, my gut tells me we ought to be listening to what this guy's trying to tell us.
Lt. Commander Data: Your gut?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: It's just a... a feeling, you know, an instinct. Intuition.
Lt. Commander Data: But those qualities would interfere with rational judgment, would they not?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: You're right, sometimes they do.
Lt. Commander Data: Then... why not rely strictly on the facts?
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Because you just can't rely on the plain and simple facts. Sometimes they lie.
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Referenced in Star Trek: Voyager: Jetrel (1995) See more »


Star Trek: The Next Generation End Credits
Composed by Jerry Goldsmith and Alexander Courage
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User Reviews

One of Katsulas' finest moments....
16 February 2006 | by David_Powell3006-1See all my reviews

Worth it for not only James Sloyan's incredible work as the title character, and the performances by the series regulars which met all their usual standards and then some, but for the incredible delivery of one of the best "promos" ever in Star Trek history by Andreas Katsulas on Picard and the Enterprise near the end. Just awesome, awesome, awesome... truly the crescendo of the episode. Watching Sloyan, Katsulas and Stewart in that scene is incredible. When I heard today that Mr. Katsulas had passed on, it was one of the first memories of his performances that came to mind. Cool, perfect, and utterly gripping.

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English | Klingon

Release Date:

1 January 1990 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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