Memory Alpha
Memory Alpha
Real world article
(written from a Production point of view)

Captain Picard and some of the Enterprise crew get stuck on the holodeck while on their way to an important diplomatic mission.



312 dixon hill private investigator

The office of Dixon Hill

The USS Enterprise-D is en route to a meeting with the Jarada 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 complicated 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. Troi says that the captain should take a break and suggests trying out the new holodeck upgrades. Picard's face brightens when he remembers that he's been looking forward to trying out the new Dixon Hill holodeck program. Troi tells the captain that the program has been installed and is waiting. 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.

Act One[]

Bradley briefs Dixon on her predicament. As she leaves his office, Bradley takes Dixon Hill's business card with her and kisses Picard, leaving lipstick on his upper lip. Picard turns to the window, and notices automobiles outside, a fascinating sight to him. He leaves the simulation for the time being. Just as he is leaving the holodeck, a Mr. 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 Jarada mission. Before starting, though, he marvels at the holodeck upgrades, and invites Dr. Crusher to accompany him next time, along with Mr. Whalen, a 20th century historian. After Dr. Crusher removes Jessica Bradley's lipstick off Picard's lips, the conversation quickly turns to the Jarada, where Riker starts the briefing, noting the requirement that Picard perfectly enunciate the greeting for a successful outcome. Lieutenant Commander Data further emphasizes this, starting to mention in detail the last Federation attempt twenty years ago, much to the captain's annoyance and ends the meeting since he has seen it enough.

Data and Geordi La Forge discuss Dixon Hill after the meeting in a corridor and compare him to Sherlock Holmes. This intrigues Data, and he decides to look up every piece of literature on Dixon Hill in the ship's computer on the bridge. He then decides he should accompany the captain and Whalen on their holodeck excursion. The three enter holodeck 3.

Act Two[]

The Big Goodbye holodeck

On a San Francisco street

Kitted out in full '40s-style clothing, they arrive 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, since she had his business card on her.

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, a subordinate, is available to speak to them. He tells La Forge to go find the captain on the holodeck.

Crusher and Picard on the holodeck

"You wear it well."

Dr. Crusher enters the holodeck, with some difficulty, but thinks nothing of it. She meets up with Whalen and Data in the lobby 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, Dan Bell and McNary, and loving every minute of it.

Outside the holodeck, La Forge has arrived and discovered a problem with the holodeck controls and cannot locate the captain or the rest of the team inside.

Act Three[]

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 realizes 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 before leaving the holodeck. However, Leech is waiting for them when they arrive, and he pulls a gun on them.

Whalen shot

"But… they're not real!"

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. Yar communicates from the bridge, saying they have arrived in the Jaradan sector, and that there has been no further communication from Torona IV, so Riker decides to wait.

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, and initially everyone thinks he's just acting. But everyone is shocked as Whalen is genuinely bleeding and turning pale; the holodeck safety protocols that prevent injuries must have been deactivated by the Jarada scan. Dr. Crusher rushes forward to tend to him.

Act Four[]

Crusher announces Whalen is suffering from massive internal injuries and that if he isn't taken to the sickbay immediately, he will die. When Leech comes closer, Picard rushes at him, knocks the gun out of his hand and punches him, letting 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.

Cyrus Redblock

Cyrus Redblock

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.

Officer McNary 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 came 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.

Act Five[]

Just before Leech pulls the trigger, Picard says that 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 receive an earful of angry insectoid-buzzing sounds in return. Hoping for better luck with 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.

Leech and Redblock dissipate

"Don't they know who I am? I'm Cyrus Redblock!"

Inside the holodeck, the Enterprise crew members are trying to explain their situation to 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.

Enterprise-D crew applauds Picard

Picard successfully greets the Jarada

Redblock and Leech decide to attempt to leave the holodeck but dematerialize just outside the doors. Data takes the remaining thug's gun and bends the gun barrel with his fingers before knocking him out with one blow; Data then picks up Whalen and takes him to sickbay, accompanied by Dr. Crusher. Lt. McNary, who has befriended Picard throughout the episode, realizes the possibility that his own reality is in doubt. He asks Picard, "When you've gone, will this world continue to exist? Will my wife and kids still be waiting for me at home?" Picard responds with the only honest answer he can find "I don't know...". Picard then rushes to the bridge, where he recites the greeting perfectly, much to the relief of everyone on board. The Enterprise then leaves Torona IV.

Log entries[]

Memorable quotes[]

"What a language!"
"But you spell knife with a "k"."
"I spell "knife" with an "n". But then, I never could spell."

- Picard and Troi, discussing the complexity of the Jaradan language

"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

"The sense of reality was absolutely incredible! When that woman kissed me, it was so..."

- Picard, after getting kissed by Jessica Bradley on the holodeck, and Beverly Crusher

"Hey, Dix! How's tricks?"
"Oh, she's fine. Fine."

- Vendor greeting Picard, who doesn't understand 1940s vernacular

"Hiya Doc. What's cookin'?"
"Y'know, I had some trouble getting through. Where's Captain Picard?"
"He's on ice."
"He's being grilled."
"What is he, a fish?"
"He's being interrogated. They think he committed a murder."

- Data, Dr. Crusher, and Whalen

"And when I looked down into the street, I actually saw automobiles!"

- Picard and Worf, discussing automobiles

"Often a prime ingredient in teenage mating rituals."
"Teenage mating rituals?"

- Data and Wesley Crusher, discussing automobiles

"If on the other hand, the captain makes even the slightest error."
"The captain is well aware of the gravity of the situation, Commander."
"We are all aware of the tape of the last starship to come into contact with them. It graphically demonstrates what happened when that captain offended them."
"Captain Picard is familiar with that, Data."
"Should we not rerun it?"

- Data and Troi.

"Why would the Captain not want to review all available information on the subject?"
"Data, when you've seen the Jaradan react once, you don't ever have to see it again."

- Data and La Forge.

"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."

- Lt. Dan Bell and Picard

"But... they're not real!"

- Whalen, after being shot with holographic bullets by Felix Leech

"I am NOT Dixon Hill! I just look like Dixon Hill!"
"He speaks the truth, sir. From your point of view, he is only a facsimile, a knock-off, a cheap imitation..."
"...thank you, Mr. Data."

- Picard and Data

"If you are going to go through yourself, sir that is not possible."
"One look at you, sir is proof that anything is possible."

- Data and Cyrus Redblock

"So, Data, How was It?"
"It was raining in the city by The Bay. A hard rain. Hard enough to wash the slime.""
"Sorry, sir."

- Geordi, Data, and Picard

"Helm, take us out of orbit. And Mr. La Forge?"
"Yes sir?"
(with gangster accent) "Step on it."

- Picard and La Forge

Background information[]

Production history[]


Cast and characters[]

Sets and props[]


The big goodbye Okuda notes

Okuda's notes for this episode



  • This episode marks the first – of many – holodeck malfunction episodes in Star Trek. At one point, this episode had been scheduled for production after "11001001". If this had indeed happened, the computer modifications of the Bynars would have served to explain the holodeck malfunctions in this episode. (Star Trek Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., p. 44)
  • This episode is the first time when holodeck characters become aware that they are holograms.
  • 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: Phillip Green, Harry Mudd, Zefram Cochrane, Ilia, Cyrano Jones, Richard Daystrom, Sarek, and Garth. [7]
  • One of the headlines Captain Jean-Luc Picard reads is "DiMaggio streak reaches 37." According to the Baseball Almanac , DiMaggio reached that number on 25 June 1941.
  • The unnamed baseball player who broke Joe DiMaggio's record for longest consecutive game hitting streak was later revealed, in DS9: "If Wishes Were Horses", as Harmon "Buck" Bokai of the London Kings.
  • Picard accesses the Dixon Hill holodeck program again in later episodes "Manhunt" and "Clues" as well as in the film Star Trek: First Contact.
  • Cyrus Redblock and Felix Leech do not begin to disappear until they have completely exited the holodeck. Subsequent episodes, such as "Ship In A Bottle" and VOY: "Projections", make it clear that a holographic character or object will disappear immediately upon passing beyond the range of holographic projectors. This also means the lipstick on Picard's cheek should have disappeared, either gradually or immediately, after leaving the holodeck.
  • This is the only episode that briefly shows Tasha Yar in command on the bridge.
  • This is also the only time that any holodeck is shown to have two entrances; while Wesley Crusher is working at the entrance Picard and the others entered, Cyrus Redblock obviously leaves the holodeck through another hatch.
  • This is the second episode where a potential romance between Picard and Crusher is hinted at or explored. Crusher is pleased when Picard asks her to accompany him in the holonovel, but is disappointed when he intends to also bring Whalen. The pilot ("Encounter at Farpoint") establishes their non-romantic history, "The Naked Now" is the first to establish their potential romantic relationship, and this episode confirms that there is a romantic interest while in a sober state ("The Naked Now" romance happens under the influence).


Video and DVD releases[]

Links and references[]


Also starring[]

Guest stars[]



Uncredited co-stars[]

Stand-ins and photo doubles[]


20th century; 1924; 1931; 1934; 1936; 1941; 1944; 1946; 2026; 2344; .45 automatic; AD; access code; alcohol; Alderman; Alvano; Amazing Detective Stories; American flag; amusement; anomaly; apparatus; ashtray; assistant; automobile; Bailey, William; balcony; banker's lamp; bank manager; Barnes, Jock; baseball; bellboy suit; bi-converter interface; bicycle; blinds; blonde; blood; body; Bokai, Buck; book; boss; bottle; bow tie; boxing; Bradley, Arthur Clinton; briefing; bridge; British; brunette; building; business; business card; c-note; Cadillac Series 61; California; car; carpet; case; chair; chance; character; chat; chewing gum; childhood; choice; cigarette; Cleveland; Cleveland Indians; coat rack; Colt Detective Special; companion; computer; Constitution II-class; contact; cooking; cop; copyright; couch; "cut you loose"; dance; date; day; deal; demonstration; desk sergeant; desktop monitor; destiny; detective; De Soto S-11; device; diplomatic mission; Dixon Hill series; DiMaggio, Joe; door; Dorsey, Tommy; dream; earring; Earth; environment; error; Esky; Esquire; exit; expense; experience; explanation; facsimile; Fairmont Hotel; feather; Federation; Federation starship (2344); Federation starship captain; fee; feeling; fiction; fiction expert; file; filing cabinet; fire hydrant; fish; friend; French language; fun; funny farm; Galaxy class decks; game; gangster; garbage (trash); genre; ghost; Gidding; greeting; grilling; gun; hailing frequency; hall; Halloween; hat; hatching; heart; hero; Hill, Dixon; historian; Hitler, Adolf; Holmes, Sherlock; Holodeck 3; holodeck repair tools; Holodeck safety protocol; home; horse; hour; hurler; illusion; image; imitation; immorality; information; ingredient; insect; insect-like; intercom; internal bleeding; interrogation; Jarada; Jarada contact; Jaradan language; Jaradan probe; Jaradan sector; Jaradan sector planet; jewelry; Jorkins; Kaferian; "keep your nose cleaned"; Klotz; knife; knowledge; kiss; Lasker; Latin language; LCARS; leg; Life; light; lighter; Lincoln-Zephyr; lipstick; Livingston; location; London; London Kings; Long Dark Tunnel, The; "look what the cat dragged in"; Lord Halifax; lover; "Mac"; madam; make-up; manhole; manners (etiquette); mathematical operation; mating ritual; matter-energy conversion; McCackin; McCall's; McNary, Sharon; McNary's kids; meeting; memory; midnight; millimeter; mistake; mister; model; modus operandi; money; moonlighting; mop; morning; Morton, Glenda; murder; Murray, Philip; name; necktie; newsstand; newspaper; Newsweek; Newton, Isaac; night; novel; NRA; number one; object; observation lounge; obsession; office; Omicron Theta; "on ice"; oscillating fan; "Out of Nowhere"; page; painting; pallor; partner; passage; pitcher; permission; place; plan; pleasure; police; Powell Street; Precinct 12; price; private investigator (aka private dick); program; pronunciation; proof; prostitution; pulp magazine; pulse; purse; Purser, T.C.; ready room; reality; recreation; rendezvous; retainer; ring; risk; Robbins; rocketry; room; Roosevelt, Franklin D.; sailor; San Francisco; San Francisco Bay; San Francisco Globe; San Francisco Herald; San Francisco Sun; scotch; Sheridan, William P.; shortstop; skill; "slime"; smell; smoking; snow; snowstorm; socialite; sound; South America; speed; standard orbit; Starfleet uniform; status report; stepdaughter; "step on it"; stiff; stockings; story; street; subject; subordinate; subspace message; suggestion; Sweeney; suit; suspenders; "take a gander"; tan; tape; technical manual; teenage; telephone; text; theory; Time; thing; thought; ticket; time; time period; tomorrow; Toots; Tormé, Tracy; Torona IV; "tough guy": town; traffic light; training; transportation; trenchcoat; truism; truth; turbolift; typewriter; umbrella; Union Square; United States; United States dollar; unnamed plants; upgrade; vacation; vendor; ventilator; viewscreen; virility; VISOR; Vogue; voice command; water cooler; Walther PP; "wear it well"; "what's cooking": word; working girl; wristwatch; year; "your goose is cooked"

External links[]

Previous episode:
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Season 1
Next episode: