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Something is luring a former away team back to the planet they once investigated five years ago – an away team that La Forge was a part of.



In the observation lounge, Jean-Luc Picard, William Riker, Geordi La Forge, and Susanna Leijten are viewing a sensor log from an investigation Leijten and La Forge were part of five years ago, while attached to the USS Victory. They were investigating the disappearance of 49 colonists from the Tarchannen III outpost. The other members of the Victory away team, Brevelle, Mendez, and Hickman, have now deserted their posts without any warning. A Federation supply ship has spotted Hickman's stolen shuttle and it is heading back to Tarchannen III. Leijten and La Forge are the only two remaining members of the Victory away team not to have disappeared.

Act One[]

"Captain's log, Stardate 44664.5. We've set a course to intercept Lieutenant Hickman's stolen shuttlecraft, and hopefully to discover the whereabouts of the other missing officers."

La Forge and Leijten go to Ten Forward to reminisce about their days on the Victory and catch up with events, such as Leijten discussing on how she almost married Paul Bogrow, a man she could barely stand. While reminiscing, Commander Riker calls both La Forge and Leijten to the bridge as they have gotten a fix on the missing shuttle. Helmsman Graham reports that they have entered the Tarchannen system, where the crew finds the shuttle. Worf hails the shuttle but Hickman doesn't respond. The shuttle approaches the planet too fast and burns up in the atmosphere. Sensors detect two more shuttlecraft on the surface, but no life signs. Picard orders an away team beam down to the planet to investigate.

Geordi La Forge discovers a torn Starfleet uniform

"Commander Riker. Found it in the shuttle."

On the surface, the away team discovers the shuttle Cousteau, which Mendez stole from the USS Aries. While La Forge checks out the shuttle, Leijten finds strange footprints in the sand, and she moves toward them for a closer look. Worf investigates further but his Klingon instincts kick in and tells Riker he has a feeling they are being watched as Data meets up with them. La Forge returns with chilling evidence from the shuttle: a torn Starfleet uniform, which belonged to Mendez.

La Forge notices that Leijten is missing. The other members of the team spread out to look for her. When La Forge follows some footprints in the sand, he finds her staring blankly into the darkness. She claims she can feel the missing crew's presence. She starts to shake violently, screaming, as La Forge holds onto her and calls up to the ship for a medical emergency beam-out.

Act Two[]

Leijten wakes up in a bed in sickbay. Dr. Beverly Crusher reports that her blood chemistry is off and that she's had a histamine response to something she can't identify. Leijten feels compelled to return to the surface but Crusher orders her to stay on the Enterprise until she can find out what is wrong. Leijten protests, but Picard confirms the order, telling her that they have just completed a survey of the surface and analyzing the data will take some time.

Leijten and La Forge are walking in the corridor when Leijten's hands start to tremble. She expresses the fear that whatever is happening to the away team members is starting to happen to her.

On the bridge, Data examines evidence collected from the survey. He has found some alien cells from the torn Starfleet uniform that don't belong to any known Tarchanen lifeform. While Data attempts to find a match for the cells and footprints, La Forge and Leijten decide to go through the mission log to see if there is any commonality they missed that would make the crew return to Tarchanen III to be abducted.

As they examine the logs in engineering, Leijten becomes agitated and demands to go back to the surface. As she leaves, she begins to shake uncontrollably and collapses as La Forge and Lieutenant Wallace rush over to help. La Forge notices a strange blue growth pattern on the back of her neck and that her fingers have become fused together.

Act Three[]

Leijten is in sickbay with the lights dark, as she has developed an extreme sensitivity to light. The strange growth patterns now cover most of her body. La Forge comes to visit and comfort her. Crusher discovers that Leijten's cells have now changed to match the alien cells found on the surface. Crusher theorizes that the missing crew were not abducted but transformed into a different species. Crusher informs La Forge that he will most likely be next and that he should stay in sickbay. He insists that he needs to work on the investigation and leaves, recommending that the computer monitor him.

He returns to engineering and begins to thoroughly examine the logs again. He runs several scans on the data, but nothing comes up. Data arrives to ask about his progress and if he can help, but La Forge is exasperated and says he just needs to go over it again, despite Data telling him he should get some rest and come at the problem again from a fresh point of view.

Meanwhile, Leijten's body makes more drastic changes. Alyssa Ogawa shows Crusher that her body can simulate light in a radiant reaction. Furthermore, her body temperature dropped drastically, despite the T-cell inhibitors. Crusher tries to scan her, but the readings are faint. She orders a full genetic analysis.

La Forge then notices a slight shadow on the visual log that he cannot identify. One that is out of place from the away team. He tells the computer to create a holoprogram based on the sensor log data. As he goes to enter Holodeck 3, he notices that his hand has begun to tremble as well.

Act Four[]

In the holodeck, La Forge uses the computer to remove people and their shadows from the simulation until only the strange shadow is left with the light from the visual recording device used by Brevelle. He then uses vector analysis to determine the location of the object causing the shadow which he can extrapolate. He is shocked to discover a Human-sized invisible shape. As he investigates further, he then slumps down in pain. The same physical changes that Leijten experienced are starting to happen in his body.

In sickbay, Crusher and Ogawa have found a parasite in Leijten's thymus which is transforming her body. Not like a normal parasite, it's using Leijten's immune system to propagate genetic changes to match its own. They have to act quickly, while there is still DNA intact, to help reverse the damage. Martinez comes to assist in the procedure.

Worf discovers Geordi's uniform and VISOR

A chilling discovery…

Dr. Crusher operates on Leijten and removes the parasite in time, but it will be several hours before she begins to return to normal. She tries to find La Forge to perform the same procedure on him, but he has disappeared. The computer reveals his last known location as Holodeck 3, which Worf and Riker leave the bridge. Crusher warns Picard that if La Forge has transformed, he may be undetectable by the ships sensors due to his skin developing mimetic capabilities.

Riker, Worf, and a security team arrive outside Holodeck 3, in which La Forge's simulation has been left running, and Worf orders an ensign to search the structure while he takes the perimeter, the other stands guard outside. Riker approaches the shadowy image, and Worf gets his attention by showing two chilling pieces of evidence: La Forge's torn uniform and his VISOR. Riker steps back as he gazes at the eerie image, thinking that this is what the chief engineer has become. In Transporter room 6, an invisible shape attacks Hedrick, the transporter operator, overrides the transporter lock out and beams down to the surface. During the beam-out, the image of what La Forge has transformed into, appears for the moment before the transport is complete.

Act Five[]

"Captain's log, Stardate 44668.1. Doctor Crusher's research indicates that we have less than an hour before Commander La Forge's transformation becomes irreversible. However, all attempts to locate him on the surface have failed."

With less than an hour left before the transformation is complete, Data develops a method to detect the aliens using ultraviolet light from an emergency beacon, while Hedrick finds the transport location and Riker and Worf prepare their search method. Meanwhile, Leijten has come around, the changes in her hands and body reversed. She wants to find La Forge and tells Crusher that the process was actually a method of reproduction, a metamorphosis; they multiply by infecting humanoids with the parasite. She also says she has to go with them to look for La Forge, as they won't be able to find him without her.

Crusher, Leijten, Riker, Worf, and Data beam down to the surface. They find the nearly transformed La Forge, along with the fully transformed creatures that were once Brevelle and Mendez. The latter two flee, but Leijten was able to talk with La Forge, breaking into the conflict between his Humanity and the metamorphosis trying to win control. Breaking through the fear, he reached out and grabbed Leijten's hand and the two embraced, allowing Crusher to beam both of them to sickbay.

On the Enterprise, Crusher is able to save La Forge, but sadly it's far too late to save Brevelle and Mendez. Based on his own experience, he reports that the creatures are unintelligent: operating entirely on instinct. He turns to Leijten and notes that he would not be able to recognize her voice in a matter of minutes. Picard decides that the inhabitants of Tarchannen III should be isolated. He orders warning beacons placed around the planet and on the surface to warn others of the aliens there. La Forge thanks Leijten for her assistance in helping to find him. He remarks that while he was transformed, he had no idea who Leijten was but somehow he both believed and trusted her. "Must have been because of all the good advice I used to give you", she says.

Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

"Forty-nine people gone."
"And five years later, the away team that was investigating their disappearances have started to disappear themselves."
"Geordi and I are the only two left."

- Leijten and Riker, discussing the mysterious disappearance of former officers from the Victory

"Well, Suz… what do you think?"
"I don't know, but I'm not ashamed to tell you… I'm a little scared, you know?"

- La Forge and Leijten, on their former crewmates' disappearances

"Well, if anyone's gonna figure this out, it'll be the "Leijten and La Forge Show", right? We always were a good team."
"(raising his glass) A hell of a team."

- Leijten and La Forge

"You're worried about Geordi, aren't you?"
"I am an android; it is not possible for–"
(Crusher interrupts) "… you to feel anxiety."
"Starfleet personnel have vanished. Others may be at risk. We must do the best we can to find out why. However, I am… strongly motivated to solve this mystery."

- Dr. Crusher and Data - Listen file info

"Computer, remove La Forge."

- La Forge, while in the holodeck

"I've come back, Geordi. Let me take you back too."

- Leijten, trying to persuade a completely transformed La Forge to return to the Enterprise

"You know, down there, I… I didn't know who you were and yet… somehow, I believed you. I trusted you."
"Must have been because of all the good advice I used to give you."

- La Forge, after being returned to normal talks to Leijten

Background information[]

Production history[]

Story and script[]

LeVar Burton makeup, Identity Crisis

LeVar Burton in full makeup


Tarchannen III outpost drawing

A concept sketch of the outpost, by Rick Sternbach

Computer screen trek frame

The anomalous computer screen

  • "Identity Crisis" was filmed between Wednesday 16 January 1991 and Friday 25 January 1991 on Paramount Stage 8, 9, and 16.
  • For a single frame (at approximately 17:08 on a Region 1 DVD and 16:27 on Region 2 DVD), a graphic displaying the Star Trek: The Next Generation logo can be seen on a computer readout in engineering.
  • Regarding the use of ultraviolet effects in the episode David Livingston recalled,
"We were talking about how we're going to make these guys glow and Peter Lauritson says to me, 'Why don't we try ultraviolet?' I said because we had done a test the year before. I almost dismissed it, but then pulled out the tape and looked at it and said this stuff is great. [I] went to Michael Westmore and Bob Blackman and said we want to do this, and they designed these suits and we painted them with u/v and put these contact lenses into this woman's eyes that glowed. It was fabulous and we got Mark and Brian to walk around in these suits. LeVar looked fabulous.
"We used heavy blue light for the set lighting, and it's different lighting than you see elsewhere, because all of the source coming from behind the camera is blue light. That's a decision we made and it should look harsh, and unrealistic and not well lit because it's not lit from one single blue source. It's basically a beacon shining out. It looked different than anything else and that was intentional. What I was surprised at was how powerful the u/v reflected back, and MTV is using it a lot now. I liked our use because it was integrated into the story. We used it to make it work dramatically rather than doing it as an effect. To me, that was a major accomplishment. We didn't do it to just be glitzy, we did it because it tied in dramatically with the story." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 218)
  • It took four make-up artists six hours to apply the full Tarchanne make-up to LeVar Burton. According to Michael Westmore, it was the longest make-up ever done on The Next Generation. ("Departmental Briefing, Year Four: Make Up", TNG Season 4 DVD special feature)


La Forge old visor

Older version of La Forge's VISOR

  • In the scenes set in the year 2362, the USS Victory crewmembers are correctly seen wearing the old Season 1 and 2 Starfleet uniforms (with La Forge wearing command red again) and using the early "dustbuster" type 2 phaser. La Forge additionally wears an older version of his VISOR.
  • Although the past scenes are set in 2362, the stardate given starts with "40", which would imply 2363.
  • The command of the USS Aries was previously offered to Riker upon the retirement of her captain, as seen in "The Icarus Factor".
  • When Crusher is ready to operate on Leijten, Martinez is seen to place a neural stimulator over her head, like the one prominently used on Riker in "Shades of Gray".
  • Other species that propagate by infusing other species with their DNA and transforming them include the Taresians, Kobali and Loque'eque.

Cast and characters[]

Mark and Brian interview

Mark Thompson and Brian Phelps interviewing Jonathan Frakes on set.


Kolbe and Spiner, Identity Crisis

Winrich Kolbe and Brent Spiner on set

  • Michael Piller remarked, "It was a very complicated, complex production that the director did a terrific job on. It had scenes within scenes and I was very happy with the show. It may not have been one of the best scripts we wrote, but it's a great example of how those guys in production can really turn out a helluva product." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 218)
  • Winrich Kolbe recalled, "That was an interesting show and a lot of [work]. First of all, LeVar Burton is a hell of an actor and it's a lot of fun working with him, even though I'm sure there was a lot of pain and agony on his part going into that suit. Technically speaking we didn't make things any easier for him because we had to light everything with black light. So we're kind of restricted camerawise to do what we wanted to do because of all of those tremendous black light units. It was a hell of a set, but a technical nightmare. But everybody seems to be happy about it." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages, p. 218)
  • A mission report for this episode by Patrick Daniel O'Neill was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine issue 16, pp. 54-56.


  • This episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Makeup for a Series.

Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest stars[]


Uncredited co-stars[]

Stunt double[]

Stand-ins and photo doubles[]


2362; abduction; absorption spectrum; acceleration; advice; advisor; air; alien; Alien samples; altitude; android; anomaly; answer; anxiety; apology; Aries, USS; arrival; atmosphere; atmospheric interface; audio analysis; away team; bachelor; bearing; bioscan; blanket; blood analysis; blood chemistry; blood pressure; body temperature; Bogrow, Paul; brain; Brevelle's shuttle; brother; building; cc; cell wall integrity; chameleon; computer; course; Cousteau; cross reference; data; day; day watch; degree; desertion; devotion; disappearance; distance; DNA; dozen; EM scan; emergency beacon; emitter module; error; evidence; eye; eyelash; family man; "fan out"; Federation; Federation supply ship; field of view; footprint; foreign body; friend; Galaxy, USS; gene; genetic analysis; genetic instruction; hail; hand; Hickman's family; histamine; holodeck 3; holographic simulation; host; hour; Human; hundred; idea; immune system; impulse power; infrared sensor; instinct; interferometric frequency; intruder; investigation; ionizing radiation; ionosphere; kayolane; kilometer; life sign; light; long range sensor; Malaya IV; marriage; medical database; medical emergency; medical tricorder; metamorphosis; meter; microscopic examination; micro-seismic disturbance; mimetic ability; mission; mission record; mucous membrane; mustache; NCC-70637 shuttlecraft; number one; object; "on foot"; outpost; palm beacon; parameter; parasite; parasitic infection; percent; perimeter; phaser; photosensitivity; pitch angle; plant; power supply; priority one; probability; proximity detector; question; radius; rate of acceleration; rate of approach; rate of change; report; reproduction; research; result; sand; sandstorm; second; security lockout; sedative; sensitivity; sensor array; shadow; shape; shuttlepod; skin (skin cell); species; spectrographic analysis; speed; square kilometer; Starbase 112; Starfleet record; Starfleet uniform; subspace; subspace channel; subspace projection; surface (ground); surgery; survey; symptom; T-cell stimulator; Tarchanne; Tarchannen III; Tarchannen star; Tarchannen system; thermosphere; threat; thymus; time index; tissue analysis; tractor beam; trajectory; transformation; transport coordinates; transporter cycle; transporter range; Transporter Room 6; tricorder; turbolift; Type 7 shuttlecraft; Type 15 shuttlepod; ultraviolet light; "up and running"; vector analysis; vehicle track; velocity; Victory, USS; viral crèche; VISOR; visual range; visual record; visual recording device; visual spectrum; voice; volunteering; wall; warning beacons; week; whistling; wind; "with flying colors"; witness; z-particle

External links[]

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