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For the honor code, please see code of honor.

A mission of mercy is jeopardized when a planetary ruler decides he wants an Enterprise officer as his wife.


Lutan, red carpet

A red-carpet entrance


The USS Enterprise-D has traveled to Ligon II for a vaccine, found only on that planet, that is needed to cure a plague, Anchilles fever, on the Federation planet Styris IV. Captain Picard has to negotiate with the Ligonian leader Lutan for the vaccine. Picard, Troi and Riker meet up with Natasha Yar in cargo bay 1 to greet the Ligonians. While travelling to the cargo bay in a turbolift, Riker and Troi inform Picard that the Ligonians are a closely humanoid race with similarities to Human culture, as well as an extremely proud race of people with a highly-structured society.

The Ligonians beam over with a red carpet, which is rolled out before Lutan himself beams over. Picard greets him, and Lutan introduces his secondary Hagon. Picard then introduces his crew. Immediately, Lutan is intrigued that a woman, Yar, is in charge of security on the Enterprise. Hagon approaches Picard with a sample of the vaccine, and brushes Yar out of the way when she tries to take it from him. Yar then throws Hagon to the ground before inspecting the vaccine and giving it to Picard. Troi recommends not to apologize for the incident as the Ligonians would view this as a sign of weakness. Picard thanks Lutan and invites them to stay for entertainment.

Lutan agrees, however, once the Enterprise crew leaves, he tells Hagon that Yar may be "just what he needs."

Act One[]

Yar demonstrates Aikido program

"You can create people? Without a soul?"

In the observation lounge, Picard presents Lutan with a 13th century statue of a horse from China's Sung Dynasty as a gift of gratitude and friendship. Lutan makes a speech praising Picard and saying he hopes their two peoples can become friends, while promising to make the vaccine available to all who need it. Lutan tells Picard that on Ligon, the women own all the land and wealth, but apart from that they are subservient to the men. He then asks to see the holodeck, and specifically requests Yar to show it to him. She brings him and Hagon there and shows them an aikido training holoprogram. Lutan tells Yar that he is very impressed by her.

Lutan kidnaps Yar

Lutan kidnaps Tasha

They return to the cargo bay and prepare to leave. Lutan goes to shake Yar's hand, but then grabs her and forcefully beams her down to Ligon with Hagon at his side. Picard taps his combadge and immediately orders a red alert.

Act Two[]

Picard tries to contact Lutan through Ligon's orbital control station, but he doesn't respond. He then orders Riker to fire a display blast of photon torpedoes 1,000 meters above the planet's surface. Unfortunately, they cannot trace the location of the transporter beam. Troi advises the captain that she sensed avarice and ambition from Lutan, but general attraction and curiosity from the rest of the Ligonians. Data comments that the Ligonians value patience and that perhaps they should wait and see if Lutan contacts them.

A day later, Dr. Crusher visits the captain in his ready room and tells him that the vaccine can't be replicated – only the original will work. She also asks him to allow her son Wesley to come on to the bridge. Picard relents and goes out onto the bridge and asks him to come out from the bridge's turbolift and to sit at the operations officer station. The crew is surprised as this violates Picard's order that no children should be allowed on the bridge, let alone man a station. But Picard reiterates his request for Wesley to sit at "Ops" (operations) and clarifies that it's "temporary." Data is ready with his briefing on the Ligonians. He tells Picard that they live by a strict code of honor and that what Lutan has done is similar to what Native Americans called "counting coup". In this case, Lutan's abduction of Yar was a sign of his heroism. Since Yar was the chief of security, she was the riskiest target to capture and thus carried the most prestige.

Lutan hails them and Troi, Riker, and Data advise Picard that he ask for Yar back, politely. Although he's not happy about it, Picard agrees with their advice and asks Lutan to return Yar. Lutan invites them down to the planet.

Act Three[]

Riker jokes with Picard

"But, I warn you. If you get hurt, I'll put you on report, Captain."

Riker is persuaded to allow Picard down to the planet, as a visiting leader becomes an honored guest and cannot be harmed. Riker jokingly warns Picard that if he gets hurt, he will put the captain on report.

Picard and Troi beam down to a building Lutan calls his Centerplace. He arrives with Hagon and his "first one" Yareena. Lutan offers any courtesy Picard desires, and so Picard insists to see Yar. When she is brought out, she tells him that she's all right. The culture difference in the incident is acknowledged, and Lutan says she will be returned at a banquet in their honor tonight.

Lutan refuses to return Yar

"Then you shall have no treaty, no vaccine, and no Lieutenant Yar!"

At the banquet, Picard makes a speech about Lutan and his honor and asks for Yar back. However, Lutan refuses, saying he wants Yar as his first one. This outrages both Picard and Yareena, who challenges Yar's right of supersedence with a fight to the death. When Picard objects, Lutan exclaims he won't give them the vaccine or enter a treaty.

Riker is alerted and maintains sensor sweeps of the compound. A message is received from Starbase 14, saying that the plague has worsened and that millions could die without the vaccine. Riker urgently calls Picard.

Picard and Troi come to visit Yar in a room prepared for her, where she admits that she finds Lutan attractive. She is confident that she can win, and Troi agrees, saying that the odds are in her favor. Picard decides to reason with Lutan. He finds out that Lutan needs Yareena's wealth and land if he is to stay in power. If she dies, he gets her wealth and land, so he's in a win-win situation. Picard says he will order Yar to fight, and they toast.

Act Four[]

Yareena angry

"The truth… is I will kill you if I can. And believe me, I can."

On the Enterprise, Data visits La Forge in his quarters while he shaves with a razor and tries to tell him a joke, but Data still doesn't understand humor, despite having told 662 jokes. Then they are ordered to beam down to the surface, where they meet Picard. He orders them to examine the weapons on display, as they won't know which is to be used until just before the fight. On the Enterprise, investigation of the area continues in order to be ready to transport Yar out in case of trouble.

Yareena comes to see Yar at her request. Yar tries to talk her out of fighting, but Yareena is determined to fight for Lutan, unconvinced that Yar is only fighting for the vaccine, and not out of love for Lutan. Clearly, the honor is to fight even if death is likely.

Yar reports this to Picard, as Data and La Forge return with their report on the weapons, which are very sharp, light, flexible, durable and tipped with poison. Hagon arrives with the weapon to be used – a spiked metal ball on a glove, called a glavin. As Yar examines the weapons, the group overhears Yareena practicing in the arena.

Act Five[]

Tasha beams Yareena up

A daring escape

Data beams back to the Enterprise to inform Riker on what the captain is planning. Meanwhile, down on the surface, Picard, Troi, La Forge and Yar enter the arena. The fight starts and Yar dodges and parries Yareena's attacks. Then Yareena's glove hits an electrified pole, and it flies off her hand and hits a spectator. The spikes pierce his body, and he is dead in seconds. After the dead Ligonian man is carried away, the fight resumes and eventually Yar bests Yareena, hitting her with her weapon, and dives down on top of her. They are both beamed up to the Enterprise where Dr. Crusher attempts to counteract the poison while Yareena lies dead on the transporter platform.

Lutan is initially upset, however, Picard convinces him he has seen the final blow, concluding the fight. Hagon reminds him he has Yareena's wealth and land. Happy with the outcome, he allows medical teams from the Enterprise to beam down to get the vaccine. Quickly, though, Picard orders the away team to be beamed up, along with Lutan and Hagon. They are brought to the observation lounge, where Yareena is alive, resuscitated by Dr. Crusher. Since Yareena technically died, her marriage to Lutan is over, but she still has her wealth. Upset with Lutan, and as she heard Hagon call out to her during the fight, she selects Hagon as her new first one. He now has all Yareena's wealth and power. She asks Lutan to be her second one and he accepts. Picard returns to the bridge and sees Wesley is still manning one of the bridge stations and says "Thanks again for manning one of our bridge stations, Wesley. We'll see… that you have another chance." Wesley is delighted at the thought and leaves.

With the vaccine secured, the Enterprise leaves for Styris IV at warp three.

Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

"He's on the turbolift. You'll remember you ordered him to stay off of the bridge."

- Beverly Crusher, to Picard about Wesley

"Then you shall have no treaty, no vaccine and no Lieutenant Yar!"

- Lutan

"A code of honor protects one, Captain, like a magic cloak."

- Lutan, to Picard

"This is my first one, Yareena."
"Lutan is a fortunate man."

- Lutan, introducing Yareena to Picard

"May I speak to you about my son, Wesley?"
"What? Oh, yes [grumbling]… all right."

- Beverly Crusher and Jean-Luc Picard

"Most interesting. Could this be Human joke number 663?"
"Negative, Data. That's a captain's order."

- Data and La Forge, when Picard asks both of them to examine the weapons Yar and Yareena will be using

"Surrounded by such friendship, I feel no need for my guards."

- Lutan, to Picard in the Enterprise-D's conference lounge

"You can create people without a soul?"

- Lutan, on the holographic simulation of an Aikido fighter

"Ah, I see. You too understand the proper value of women!"

- Picard, to Lutan

"Your skill impresses me. I like you."

- Lutan, to Tasha Yar

"You speak of a code of honor. What you are saying now, according to our customs is called an act of war!"
"This is not an act of war, but of love!"

- Picard and Lutan, after Lutan finds he cannot part with Tasha Yar

"Are you making demands, Captain?!"

- Lutan

"(To Wesley Crusher) Why don't you sit at Ops, next to Lieutenant La Forge?"
"Is the whole ship deaf? Sit down over there, young man! Temporarily!"

- Picard, Wesley Crusher, and Geordi La Forge

"I fight for the vaccine. That's the truth."
"The truth… is I will kill you if I can. And believe me, I can. There is nothing else to say."
"In my world, it's a greater honor to refuse…"
"You are on our world!!"

- Tasha Yar and Yareena

"Lutan is such… such a basic male image and having him say he wants you..."
"Well, yes of course, it made me feel good when he… Troi, I'm your friend and you tricked me!"
"Only so you'd think about it, completely and clearly."

- Deanna Troi and Tasha Yar

"We're all being manipulated, Lieutenant. Myself most of all."

- Picard, to Tasha Yar

"Includling" the kiddlies! Now, see that's funny!"

- La Forge, to Data after his tongue slipped while telling an old and unfunny joke

"For example, what Lutan did is similar to what certain American Indians once did, called 'counting coup'. That is from an obscure language known as French. 'Counting coup'…"
"Mr. Data, the French language for centuries on Earth represented civilization."

- Data and Picard

"By our standard, the customs here – their code of honor – is the same kind of pompous, strutting charade that endangered our own species a few centuries ago. We evolved out of it because no one tried to impose their own set of… I'm sorry, this is becoming a speech."
"You're the captain, sir, you're entitled."
"Hmm. I'm not entitled to ramble on about something everyone knows. Carry on."

- Picard and Troi, during an impromptu lecture with Data on the Prime Directive


- Riker, ordering Dr. Crusher to treat Yareena before she and Yar have finished materializing on the transporter pad

"She is not dead!"

- Lutan, seeing Yareena alive and well in the Enterprise-D's conference lounge

"These I understand."

- Yar, examining the combat weapons

"As you can see, Captain, you may excel in technology, but not in civilized behavior."

- Hagon

"What? Wesley?"
"Yeah. Wesley had been manning that station for me. I forgot."
"Well, thanks again for manning one of our bridge stations, Wesley. We'll see that you get another chance."
"Yes, sir."

- Picard, Riker, and Wesley

"Damn! Where are the calluses we doctors are supposed to grow over our feelings?"
"Perhaps the good ones never get them."

- Beverly Crusher and Picard

Background information[]

Production history[]

Story and script[]

Denise Crosby and Glenn R

Crosby and Glenn R. Wilder on set

Shooting Code of Honor

The take for a scene

  • The original concept of this episode's story, by Kathryn Powers and Michael Baron, called the Ligonians "Tellisians", a reptilian species with a culture similar to the Japanese samurai and a warrior caste called the Kadim. (Creating the Next Generation, p. 39) This story concept also named the planet Ligon II "Tellis" and Lutan was the captain of a Tellisian ship. He met the Enterprise-D crew on a shore leave planet where ritual fightings were held and kidnapped Tasha on this planet where she had a fight with Lutan's son. The concept also featured a reference to James T. Kirk, who once fought against Lutan's grandfather. Yareena's uncle, the king, was poisoned by Lutan and the away team of the Enterprise-D was imprisoned. In this prison, they met the Tellisian Hinun, a nephew of Lutan who assisted in their escape. (Creating the Next Generation, pp. 76-78)
  • Despite having vetoed Herbert J. Wright previously writing (into a different episode) a warning shot fired by the Enterprise at a Ferengi ship that had fired at the Enterprise (objecting that Captain Picard wouldn't allow the Enterprise to retaliate), Gene Roddenberry wrote into this episode's script, when he did a rewrite of it, that the Enterprise fired at a planet with full power, as a warning. (Gene Roddenberry: The Myth and the Man Behind Star Trek, paperback ed., pp. 235-236; The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 81)


Filming Code of Honor

Cast and crew filming a scene

  • In this episode, the entire humanoid population of the planet is portrayed by African American performers. In the teleplay, however, only Lutan's guards were specifically written as being African.
  • Glenn R. Wilder served as stunt coordinator for this episode. He was among the group of "one time" hired coordinators, prior to Dennis Madalone's employment on the series. Wilder also coordinated Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, two years later.
  • This was the only Star Trek episode directed by Russ Mayberry. He left the production during filming and was replaced by First Assistant Director Les Landau.


Cast and characters[]

  • Jonathan Frakes referred to the episode as a "racist piece of shit." [3] At a 2007 science fiction convention in Toronto, Canada, he told the audience, "The worst and most embarrassing and one that even Gene would have been embarrassed by was that horrible racist episode from the first season 'Code of Honor', oh my God in heaven!" [4]
  • Brent Spiner regarded this episode as the "worst episode we ever did" and "an inadvertently racist episode." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 82) In a 2012 interview with, Spiner recalled, "It ["Code of Honor"] was just a racist episode. Maybe not intentionally but it felt that way and looked that way. It was the third episode so it was fortuitous that we did our worst that early on and it never got quite that bad again." [5]
  • According to Wesley Crusher actor Wil Wheaton, 'if the cast wasn't arbitrarily decided to be African-American,' the idea of the episode being racist or non-racist wouldn't have been an issue. [6]
  • Michael Dorn (Worf) does not appear in this episode. This is his first non-appearance. The only other TNG episode in which he does not appear is "Haven". At the 2013 Toronto Comic Con's "An Evening With the Cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation", Dorn referred to this episode as "the worst episode of Star Trek ever filmed," to agreement from the rest of the cast and the crowd. [7] La Forge actor LeVar Burton wasn't proud of the episode, either. [8]
  • Michael Rider can be seen for the first time after his scene from "The Naked Now" was deleted. He later reprised this role in the episodes "Haven" and "Reunion".
  • Stuntman Bernie Pock later worked as stunt double for William Shatner on Star Trek Generations.
  • Stuntwoman Sharon Schaffer previously worked as stunt actress on Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
  • James Louis Watkins, who played Hagon, later worked under a different name on the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Tribunal".

Sets and props[]

Holodeck with carpet, 2364

A holodeck with carpet

  • Doctor Crusher is seen wearing an antiquated wristwatch when she is reviving Yareena in the transporter room.
  • The ivory-like sticks the Ligonians use to show approval or to applaud are later seen again in "Frame of Mind", where an illusory Tilonian inmate plays with them.
  • Characteristic white lamps, consisting of several tubes in different shapes, are seen on Ligon II for the first time. They later re-appear on many planets, like on Angel I, Risa, Cardassia, and the first Founders' homeworld.
  • One of the lamps, a spherical type, was recycled from the 1983 film Scarface, and later reused on Angel I in "Angel One" and on the first Founders' homeworld in DS9: "The Search, Part II". Another one was recycled from Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, where it appeared in the San Francisco bar. Another type of these lamps also appeared on Babylon 5. [9]
  • In this episode, the floor of the holodeck is not yet covered by the familiar pattern of yellow stripes on black background; instead, the floor is covered by grey carpet.
  • Special care was taken to include a Ligonian logo into many set pieces. The hexagonal shape, consisting of three diagonal stripes and a small circle, is seen on walls, doors, the vaccine box and the weapon boxes. The hexagonal shape is also echoed in the shape of doors, windows, and the weapon wall in the large open courtyard.
  • The blue razor prop that La Forge uses to shave was later seen, again as a razor, in DS9: "The Sword of Kahless" – which, coincidentally, was directed by actor LeVar Burton.
  • The Ligonian glavin appears in later episodes such as "Reunion" and "Cost Of Living", slightly repainted, in Worf's quarters as a Klingon hand-weapon.
  • The Ligonian gongs were later re-used in the Temple of Akadar in "The Perfect Mate".

Special and visual effects[]

  • According to Robert Legato, eighty visual effects shots were used in this episode. ("Departmental Briefing Year Five" ("Visual Effects"), TNG Season 5 DVD special features)



  • Katharyn Powers was later responsible for the very similar Stargate SG-1 Season 1 episode "Emancipation". Both episodes feature a female officer being abducted and later participating in a fight to the death which both parties survive. Both episodes were also widely criticized, not only by much of the cast, but by fans as well. Coincidentally, both episodes are also the fourth episode of the first season of their respective series.
  • As noted in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, 2nd ed., p. 34, Tracy Tormé was embarrassed by what he called a "1940s tribal Africa" view of Africans in this episode. Tormé commented, "That episode was offensive. It was like Amos 'n' Andy in the way African Americans were depicted." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 81)
  • At a Star Trek panel at DragonCon 2010, Star Trek: Voyager actor Garrett Wang said this episode "stinks", to which LeVar Burton agreed, adding, "Without question." [10] Furthermore, Wang attributed his viewing of the episode as the reason why he ended up landing the role of Harry Kim, stating that, had he watched another episode of TNG, he would have been "too nervous" during his audition, as he would have ended up being a big fan of the show: "So three times I tried watching [the series] and I realized God was telling me 'Do not watch Star Trek: The Next Generation'." [11]
  • Star Trek: Enterprise Consulting Producer David A. Goodman and Gene Roddenberry's son Rod were rare voices of approval for this installment. "As weirdly offensive as people think 'Code of Honor' is, I, at least, liked it because it felt new and different," Goodman commented. "There was some action, and it had a great score – it probably has the best score of any Next Generation episode." Rod Roddenberry stated, "'Code of Honor' is the one that people say is the most racist, but I just didn't see it. Is it the best episode ever? No. But did I enjoy the episode? Sure. I just saw them as people on a planet that happened to be of dark skin that evolved in this certain way." (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 82)
  • Mark A. Altman regarded this episode as one of a few "really sub-par" episodes in the early run of TNG. (Trek: Deepspace Nine, p. 73)
  • A mission report for this episode, by Patrick Daniel O'Neill, was featured in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 2, pp. 52-57.


  • The novel Dark Mirror establishes that in the mirror universe, when the ISS Enterprise-D arrived at Ligonia and the Ligonians tried to make the Enterprise-D crew follow their rituals, they simply sterilized the planet's southern continent, which forced the Ligonians into cooperating with the Empire's demands.

Video and DVD releases[]

On both UK VHS releases, the title of the episode was given as "Code of Honour" on the video sleeve.

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt doubles[]



13th century; 14th century; 2164; abduction; accusation; achievement; act of war; agreement; aikido; Aikido 1; alien; alkaloid poison; ambition; American Indians; analysis; ancestor; Anchilles fever; antidote; apology; area; art form; attack; avarice; away party/away personnel; axe; banquet; banquet hall; base; battle; behavior; Betazoid; blood; bridge; bridge station; briefing study; bronze; callus; career; Cargo Bay 1; career; carpet; Centerplace (Ligonian government compound); century; charade; China; Chinese dragon; civilization; code of honor; combat; combatant; combat readiness; composition; computer; conduct; Constellation-class model; contact; contest; counting coup; coordinates; course; crossbow; culture; cushion; custom; dais; danger; day; deafness; death; defense training; demonstration; display blast; durability; Earth; efficiency; effect; embarrassment; enemy; exercise mat; experience; expertise; explanation; expression; eye; Federation; Federation laws; feeling; festivity; "fight to the death"; First One; foolishness; foot; forgiveness; French language; friend; friendship; graduate; Galaxy-class decks; gift; glavin; gong; goods; graduate; gratitude; guard; guest; hailing frequency; headband; Heglenian shift; holodeck; honor; horse; hospitality; host; Human; Human equation; Human history; humanoid; humor; idea; image; importance; infection rate; information; injection; instruction; joke; juggler; kidneys; land; language; leader; liar; life; Ligon orbital control station; Ligon II; Ligon II settlement; Ligonian; Ligonian armaments; Ligonian government; Livingston; location; love; magic cloak; maid; main viewer; mate; mating agreement; matter-energy conversion; medical team; medical tricorder; meeting; message; metal; meter; million; mind; mission; necklace; need; Neptune; number one; number two; observation lounge; odds; "on report": opinion; painting; patience; patient; peace; percentage; person; personality profile; photon torpedo; physical training; physician; pity; place; plan; plague; "point of view"; poison; pole; politeness; pound; Prime Directive; prize; razor; ready room; reasoning; rectangle; red alert; red carpet; respect; right; risk; room; "round the clock"; rule; safety; sample; scar; sculpture; second-in-command; Second One; security officer; self-image; sensor; sexual attraction; shaving; shield; ship's captain; ship's company; shopkeeper; signal; size; skill; society; soul; spectator; speech; square; square meter; SS 433; standard orbit; Starbase 14; Starfleet; Starfleet Academy; starship operations; statue; stick; store; stranger; Styris IV; Sung Dynasty; subspace message; supersedence; surface; table; technology; thing; thought; thousand; threat; tongue; trace; tradition; transmission; transporter beam; transporter chief; transporter device; transporter lock; transporter people; transporter room; transporter trace; treaty; treaty negotiations; tricorder; Triton; truth; turbolift; unnamed plants; vaccine; value; victor; viewscreen; VISOR; wealth; weapon; "welcome aboard"; welcoming party; wisdom; witchcraft; wristwatch; yard

Deleted references[]

Olympics; Turkana IV

External links[]

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Star Trek: The Next Generation
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