In her early days as an officer, Freeman was mentored by William T. Riker, and often got into trouble with him. Before commanding the Cerritos, she served aboard the USS Illinois with a Tellarite named Durango. (LD: "Moist Vessel", "No Small Parts")
During a second contact mission on Galardonian homeworld, Freeman appointed Ensign Brad Boimler to monitor Ensign Beckett Mariner, and report any breech of protocol. Boimler accepted the assignment. Freeman told Boimler to keep this assignment secret, and dismissed him. During the away mission, the Cerritos became infected by a rage virus brought back by Commander Jack Ransom, who was bitten by a Galardonian insect. This quickly resulted in an outbreak that consumed much of the ship. Freeman became infected during the struggle, but was soon cured after Dr. T'Ana synthesize a cure from some slime that Boimler was covered in after being suckled by a Galardonian spider cow.
Freeman met up with Boimler again in her ready room, and when she asked about Mariner's behavior on the mission, he reported that Mariner did not breach protocol. Freeman doubted his claims, and Boimler simply blamed the slime for having an effect on his memory. Frustrated, Freeman dismissed him, and then put in a call to Starfleet, and was answered by her admiral husband. She told him that she was fed up with Mariner's behavior and wanted her transferred back to the Quito, but before she could say anymore, the admiral tried to excuse himself. (LD: "Second Contact")
On stardate 57501.4, the Cerritos was on a mission to Cardassia Prime, only to be informed by Starfleet that the mission had been scrapped. The Cerritos was instead ordered to Gelrak V to deliver "diplomatic trinkets" to the inhabitants. This angered Freeman, and believed Starfleet did not take her ship and crew seriously because they don't do enough to get their respect. Freeman started scolding every crew member she saw not working. After learning about buffer time trough Boimler, she assigned her crew on strict deadlines. In about a week, the crew became overworked and stressed due to the deadlines and lack of buffer time. Freeman even started following the deadlines, which was taking a toll on her as well. She eventually found herself running the whole bridge by herself.
Things got worse when the Gelrakians started attacking the Cerritos when the away team insulted them with the wrong gift. Despite the attack on her ship, Freeman still had her crew continue their tasks as Gelrakian boarding parties consumed the ship. Freeman eventually came to her senses when Boimler urged her to terminate the deadlines and give the crew back their buffer time. She was at first unsure, but Boimler argued that buffer time gave them time to do their jobs properly. He told Freeman that she was a great captain, and asked for her to let crew be a great crew. Inspired by his words, Freeman immediately terminated the deadlines and order the crew to do whatever they needed to take back the Cerritos. With buffer time back, the crew was able to fight back against the Gelrakians.
Later on, Freeman commended Boimler for opening her eyes and revealed that they were instituting a new ship-wide mandate known as the Boimler Effect, which encouraged shortcuts and preventing people from just blindly following the rules, and that the crew would be able to build in buffer time when they desire. She even had the rule carved into a plaque. (LD: "Temporal Edict")
During a salvage mission of a generation ship, Freeman became fed up with Mariner's antics, especially after she disrespected her in front of Captain Durango. Commander Ransom suggested assigning her to all the worst jobs on the Cerritos to potentially influence Mariner to request a transfer off the ship. However, the plan backfires when Mariner found ways to enjoy her tasks, despite their odious nature. Seeing that assigning her to worse jobs would not work, Freeman came up with an idea that would certainly work. She knew Mariner hated moving up in rank, so she took advantage of this by promoting her two ranks to lieutenant and making her miserable by constantly calling her to multiple trivial tasks. Freeman offered to find Mariner another post on a different ship if she felt like she did not fit in.
At some point, the generation ship suffered a hull breach when the USS Merced moved position without realizing that the position was affecting the strength of the tractor beam. A molecular fluid that generates life leaked from the ship and drawn into the tractor beams. The fluid consumed both ships, terraforming their exterior and interiors. Freeman and Mariner worked together to get to the ship's environmental controls where Mariner was able to neutralizing the terraforming effect by venting the affected areas with Parizene gas. The Cerritos was saved, but the Merced had suffered beyond repair. So, Freeman and Mariner transported the crew directly into the stasis chamber aboard the generation ship.
Freeman commended on her daughter's performance, and expressed that she was happy that they were able to work together. She hoped they could continue working together as mother and daughter, but after Mariner disrespected her again in front of Admiral Vassery while being awarded medals, Freeman demoted her back to ensign. (LD: "Moist Vessel")
She kept belongings such as models of the Cerritos, an ancient sailing ship, and a Gorn, an encased tattered flag of California, a sword, sextant, a baseball, a fossil, various boxed bottles, and a Samurai helmet in her ready room.
She and her husband often experienced frustration in trying to keep their daughter, Beckett Mariner, in line; a struggle that continued when Mariner was transferred under Freeman's command. Freeman brought in Ensign Brad Boimler to keep close watch on Mariner, without revealing their relationship as mother and daughter, in an effort to transfer Mariner off the ship. (LD: "Second Contact")
It was not unlike Freeman to take any mission she had perhaps a little too seriously, often making things seem more important than they actually were, or hoping that Starfleet would give her some accommodation for her efforts. When working with Captain Durango in towing the ancient generation ship, she was so confident in her work that she thought that Starfleet should just put her name in a plaque right then. She also saw her job of planting rulot seeds as volatile in nature, much to the amusement of Captain Amina Ramsey. This behavior often resulted in frustration when she believed Starfleet wouldn't take her ship or her crew seriously. (LD: "Temporal Edict", "Moist Vessel", "Much Ado About Boimler")
According to Boimler's simulation of Jack Ransom, Captain Freeman had a notable sweet-tooth and could be manipulated via cookies, but died before warning of her allergy to chocolate. (LD: "Crisis Point")
- - Carol Freeman and Beckett Mariner, after scolding the latter for her behavior (LD: "Moist Vessel")
- Star Trek: Lower Decks (every episode)
In developing Freeman, Mike McMahan considered her a typical Star Trek captain, but needed a reason why the repeated butting of heads between the captain and Mariner wouldn't result in Mariner being "drummed out of Starfleet." This led him to base some of their argumentative relationship on his own sister and mother's arguments.