By the 2340s, Maxwell had risen to the rank of captain and was in command of the USS Rutledge. During the Federation-Cardassian War, Maxwell received the highest citation for courage and valor two times. Maxwell was present during the Setlik III massacre, during which his wife and children were killed. Even though he seemed to take it well, the incident would in fact haunt him for many years.
In 2367, Maxwell was the commanding officer of the USS Phoenix. Believing in secret Cardassian preparations for a new war, he destroyed a Cardassian outpost in the Cuellar system and two Cardassian ships, killing nearly 700 Cardassians. When the USS Enterprise-D was sent out to stop him, he initially pretended to return to Federation space and remained in command, but then changed his course to intercept a supply ship heading for the Kelrabi system to find proof for his allegations. Though the ship indeed had something to hide, Enterprise captain Jean-Luc Picard refused to board the Cardassian ship and threatened to fire upon the Phoenix to prevent a new war. Maxwell remained stubborn, but was convinced in the end by Miles O'Brien, his former shipmate, to give up. Maxwell turned over the ship to his first officer and transferred to the Enterprise, where he was confined to his quarters to await a court martial. (TNG: "The Wounded")
Maxwell was played by Bob Gunton.
According to the script, Maxwell was described as the following:
He is not at all what one might have expected. Slight of build, short greying hair, chiseled, angular face – he could be Lenin. Or Lennon. But in the eyes there is warmth – and humor. Creases at the edges testify to a lifetime of smiles and laughter. He is genuinely at ease with himself, and consequently puts others at ease.