Picard is trapped on the holodeck, in 1940s San Francisco in the middle of a gangster novel.
The USS Enterprise is en route to a meeting with the Jarada of Torona IV, on a diplomatic mission. Captain Picard has been appointed by Starfleet to attempt to establish a relationship with them; however, the Captain must recite their greeting to them, in their native tongue, without any errors, or otherwise the meeting will fail. The Captain and Deanna Troi have been practicing the speech in his ready room for hours. Deanna says that the Captain should take a break and suggests trying the new holodeck upgrades. Picard's face brightens when he remembers that he's been looking forward to trying out the new Dixon Hill Private Detective holodeck program.
After entering the holodeck, Picard is impressed by the upgrades. He is met by a lady (Mrs. Jessica Bradley) in Dixon Hill's office, who claims someone is trying to kill her... Picard has been hired.
As Jessica leaves Dixon's office, Picard turns to the window, and notices automobiles outside, a sight which seems to fascinate him. Just as he is leaving the holodeck, a Mister Leech knocks on the door, and opens it, to find, to his surprise, that the Captain has 'vanished'.
Picard calls a meeting in the observation lounge with all the senior staff to discuss the holodeck upgrades. He invites Dr. Crusher to accompany him next time, along with Mr. Whalen (a 20th century historian). The conversation quickly turns back to the Jaradan mission, where Commander Data implies how important the correctness of the greeting will be for Starfleet, much to the Captain's annoyance.
Data and Geordi La Forge discuss Dixon Hill after the meeting, and compare him to Sherlock Holmes. This intrigues Data, and he decides to look up Dixon Hill. He then decides he should accompany the Captain and Whalen on their holodeck excursion.
They all enter the holodeck, kitted out in full '40s-style clothing, arriving in the middle of a busy San Francisco street. Data almost immediately attracts attention by not being "from around here", and Picard claims that Data is from South America, to which a near-by newspaper seller responds "Yeah, he's got a nice tan!".
Reading a newspaper, Picard notes that Jessica Bradley has been murdered, and he feels sorry that he couldn't do anything to stop it, despite Whalen's remark that she's only a character from a story. Two police officers arrive, and accuse Picard of Jessica's murder.
Back on the bridge, the Jarada send out a long-range probe, and commence scanning the Enterprise, disrupting the ship's systems momentarily, including causing the holodeck's doors to open and close repeatedly. The Jarada then attempt to communicate with the Enterprise, more specifically with the Captain, but they are offended to hear that only Commander Riker is available to speak to them. He tells La Forge to go find the Captain on the holodeck.
Dr. Crusher enters the holodeck, with some difficulty, but thinks nothing of it. She meets up with Whalen and Data in a recreation of a police station. Data confuses her with his newly-learned '40s accent. Dr. Crusher seems excited by the idea of her shipmates being "on ice" and wants to know why they're not all being interrogated. In a back room of the station, Picard is being grilled by the two officers, and loving every minute of it.
Outside the holodeck, La Forge has discovered a problem with the holodeck controls, and cannot locate the Captain or the rest of the team inside.
Wesley Crusher and Commander Riker leave the bridge and join La Forge outside the holodeck to try to solve the problem. Meanwhile inside the holodeck, Picard realises he's got to be getting back to the bridge soon for the greeting of the Jarada. He manages to worm his way out of the interrogation, and leaves the room.
Back in the station foyer, Dr. Crusher is getting some unwanted attention from a desk Sergeant. She's distracted from him by Picard's return, and they both look at each other for a lingering moment. At her request, they all head back to Dixon Hill's office. However, Leech is waiting for them when they arrive, and he pulls a gun on them.
Back on the other side of the holodeck doors, Wesley and La Forge are searching for the problem. Wesley proposes the problem started with the Jaradan Probe, which may prove difficult to fix. There has been no further communication from Torona IV.
Back in the holodeck again, Leech continues to detain the crew members, and demands to know what Picard has done with a certain "object" Dixon Hill was hired to find. Whalen acts tough in front of Leech, and Leech fires a shot at him. Whalen falls backwards, bleeding and pale. Everyone else is shocked, because holographic bullets aren't usually meant to be real enough to kill. Dr. Crusher rushes forward, and announces that if Whalen isn't taken to the sickbay immediately, he will die.
Picard rushes at Leech, knocks the gun out of his hand an punches him, before he lets him run out of the office. The Captain then tries to call for the holodeck exit, with no response. Data goes to try another exit point, but to no avail: the computer is not responding to their commands.
On the bridge, the Enterprise has arrived at Torona IV already, without resolving the holodeck problems. Riker announces to the repair team that they're running out of time before the greeting will be expected to be given to the Jarada.
Back in the holodeck, Dr. Crusher is struggling to keep Whalen alive while Picard and Data search in vain for a solution from their side. At that moment, Leech returns with a thug and a large man announcing himself as Cyrus Redblock. Redblock proceeds to look around Dixon's office, searching for "the object". He tries to get Whalen removed from the room, but Picard objects. Leech strikes Picard on the face with his gun, cutting his mouth.
One of the police officers from the station walks into the office at that moment, and is surprised to find Cyrus Redblock and his cronies there, too. He's quickly disarmed by the thug. Redblock then notices Data, and asks where he comes from. Picard decides to reveal where they all come from, but Leech is unconvinced. Data then exacerbates the situation by revealing that none of the others characters are actually real, a comment that seems to enrage Leech. Redblock wants to test Picard's theory by shooting one of them. He instructs Leech to shoot Dr. Crusher.
Just before Leech pulls the trigger, Picard says he has the item. Redblock is intrigued, and calls off Leech. Picard then tries to bargain with Redblock to try to save Whalen.
Back on the bridge, Commander Riker attempts to contact the Jarada, only to be receive an earful of angry insectoid-buzzing sounds in return. Hoping for better luck at the holodeck controls, he contacts La Forge and Wesley. Wesley comments that the problem can be fixed, but if it is not done properly, the holoprogram could abort and everyone inside the holodeck could vanish. Riker gives the order to proceed with the repair.
Inside the holodeck, the Enterprise crew members are trying to explain their situation Redblock and his team, however there are problems with the vocabulary. Leech is getting ever more edgy, and demands that he should be allowed to kill Data. At that moment, the holodeck scenery changes to a windy, snowy alien environment, much to the astonishment of the holodeck characters. Just as suddenly, the group are returned to the office, still shell-shocked by the sudden change. The holodeck exit appears and opens, revealing the Enterprise corridor. Picard remarks to Redblock and Leech that that is the way into their world. Redblock and Leech decide to attempt to leave the holodeck, and dematerialise just outside the doors.
Data picks up Whalen and takes him to sickbay, accompanied by Dr. Crusher, while Picard rushes to the bridge, where he recites the greeting perfectly, much to the relief of everyone on board.
- Captain's log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), 2364
- Captain's personal log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)
- First officer's log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)
- Ship's log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)
"I lost a bet."
- - Picard, explaining his Starfleet uniform to a bemused holodeck character.
"You'll have to call again, I was just leaving. I'm uhh... not dressed properly."
- - Picard, in response to a knock at Dixon's office door.
- - Data and Dr. Crusher
"I can't communicate with them, I can't access the program, and I can't open the doors."
- - La Forge
"You better not leave town!"
"If I leave town, the town leaves with me."
- - police officer and Picard
"Helm, take us out of orbit. And Mr. La Forge?"
(with gangster accent) "Step on it."
- - Picard and La Forge
- Tracy Tormé is listed as the author of the Dixon Hill stories, as seen on a computer screen.
- This episode was originally intended to be filmed and aired after "11001001", with the holodeck malfunction explained as having been caused by the Bynar modifications. Interestingly, the respective stardates of the two episodes suggest this could have happened.
- This is one episode in which Majel Barrett does not provide the voice of the computer, but rather an unidentified female voice.
- The illustrations of the characters for the Dixon Hill series are from FASA-based materials. Some of these illustrations are of canonical Star Trek characters. These are: Phillip Green, Harry Mudd, Zefram Cochrane, Ilia, Cyrano Jones, Richard Daystrom, Sarek, and Garth of Izar. The source for this information is from Ex-Astris-Scientia. Pictures can be seen there.
- This episode marks the third appearance of the silver Constitution class starship model in TNG. The other two were "Lonely Among Us" and "The Battle". Just like in the last instance, this model is seen in the ready room.
- One of the headlines Captain Jean-Luc Picard reads is, "DiMaggio streak reaches 37." According to Joe DiMaggio at Baseball Almanac, Mr. DiMaggio played this 37th game on June 25, 1941.
- Gregory Itzin was offered the role of Whalen. (citation needed • edit)
- The episode combines the titles of two Raymond Chandler detective novels, "The Big Sleep" and "The Long Goodbye"
- This episode makes reference of an unnamed baseball player breaking Joe DiMaggio's consecutive game hitting streak. This player later became Harmon "Buck" Bokai of the London Kings in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
- The episode won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Costume Design (William Ware Theiss), and received a nomination for Outstanding Cinematography (Edward R. Brown).
- The episode won the George Foster Peabody Award for excellence in television broadcasting in 1987.
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 6, 10 October 1990.
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.4, 15 June 1998.
- As part of the TNG Season 1 DVD collection.
Links and References
- Lawrence Tierney as Cyrus Redblock
- Harvey Jason as Felix Leech
- William Boyett as Dan Bell
- David Selburg as Whalen
- Gary Armagnac as McNary
1931; 1934; 1936; 1941; 2026; 2344; automobile; baseball; bi-converter interface; Big Good-Bye, The; Bokai, Buck; Bradley, Arthur Clinton; British; California; Camden City; chewing gum; Cleveland; Cleveland Indians; c-note; computer; DiMaggio, Joe; Dorsey, Tommy; Esquire; Fairmont Hotel; fish; French language; gangster; ghost; Halloween; Hill, Dixon; Hitler, Adolf; Holmes, Sherlock; Holodeck 3; Jarada; Jaradan language; Jaradan sector; Life; London Kings; Look ; Lord Halifax; McNary, Sharon; money; Murray, Philip; Newton, Isaac; New York; NRA; "Out of Nowhere"; Precinct 12; Roosevelt, Franklin D.; San Francisco; San Francisco Herald; San Francisco Sun; scotch; SFPD; smoking; South America; Time; Torona IV; Torona system; Tormé, Tracy; Union Square; United States Congress; United States dollar
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