(written from a Production point of view)
|"The Big Goodbye"|
|TNG, Episode 1x12|
Production number: 40271-113
First aired: 11 January 1988
|←||12th of 176 produced in TNG||→|
|←||11th of 176 released in TNG||→|
|←||116th of 728 released in all||→|
| Written By|
Joseph L. Scanlan
Captain Picard and some of the Enterprise crew get stuck on the holodeck on their way to an important diplomatic mission.
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 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 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. 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.
As Bradley leaves Dixon's office, Picard turns to the window, and notices automobiles outside, a sight which seems to fascinate him. 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 holodeck upgrades. He invites Dr. Crusher to accompany him next time, along with Mr. Whalen (a 20th century historian). The conversation quickly turns back to the Jaradan mission, where Commander Data implies how important the correctness of the greeting will be for Starfleet, much to the captain's annoyance. Data and Geordi La Forge discuss Dixon Hill after the meeting, and compare him to Sherlock Holmes. This intrigues Data, and he decides to look up Dixon Hill. He then decides he should accompany the captain and Whalen on their holodeck excursion.
They all enter the holodeck, kitted out in full '40s-style clothing, arriving 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.
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 is available to speak to them. He tells La Forge to go find the captain on the holodeck.
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, and loving every minute of it. Outside the holodeck, La Forge has discovered a problem with the holodeck controls, and cannot locate the captain or the rest of the team inside.
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. However, Leech is waiting for them when they arrive, and he pulls a gun on them.
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. There has been no further communication from Torona IV. Back in the holodeck again, 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, and announces that if Whalen isn't taken to the sickbay immediately, he will die.
Picard rushes at Leech, knocks the gun out of his hand and punches him, before he lets 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.
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.
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.
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.
Redblock and Leech decide to attempt to leave the holodeck, and dematerialize just outside the doors. Data 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.
- Captain's log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D), 2364
- Captain's personal log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)
- First officer's log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)
- Ship's log, USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)
"What a language!"
"But you spell knife with a "k"."
"I spell "knife" with an "n"."
- - 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
- - Data and Dr. Crusher
"Often a prime ingredient in teenage mating rituals."
"Teenage mating rituals?"
- - Data and Wesley Crusher, discussing automobiles
"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
"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, 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
"Helm, take us out of orbit. And Mr. La Forge?"
(with gangster accent) "Step on it."
- - Picard and La Forge
Story and production
- The basic premise of the episode was conceived by Gene Roddenberry, who suggested doing a detective story on the holodeck. It was writer Tracy Tormé, however, who added numerous film noir references in the script, being a fan of the genre. The events of the Dixon Hill program as depicted on the holodeck were a homage to the 1941 film The Maltese Falcon. Cyrus Redblock was based on the character of Kasper Gutman, played by Sydney Greenstreet, and Felix Leech was based on Peter Lorre's Joel Cairo. Director Joseph L. Scanlan noted that Picard's office was a homage to Humphrey Bogart's office in the film, with a similar window and venetian blinds being used. (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- The character of Dixon Hill was originally named "Dixon Steele", as a homage to Tormé's favorite Bogart movie (In a Lonely Place), but it had to be changed because it resembled too much for the protagonist of the then-successful series Remington Steele. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 45)
- The title of the episode would seem to be a composite of the Raymond Chandler books The Big Sleep and The Long Goodbye featuring iconic detective Philip Marlowe.
- Tracy Tormé is listed as the author of the Dixon Hill stories, as seen on a computer screen. The text from the actual stories is from three books:
- The Listening Man, by John A. Moroso, published in 1924.
- Dangerous Ground by Francis Sill Wickware published in 1946.
- a fictional detective magazine called National Detective Gazette that came with the 1980s computer game The Witness. The illustrations are from various Star Trek books published by FASA.
- At one point, this episode was scheduled to be produced after "11001001". Had this occurred, the holodeck malfunctions would have been explained as being caused by the Bynar's computer modifications. (Star Trek Encyclopedia 2nd ed., p. 44)
- Rob Bowman was initially set to direct this episode, but the episode was given to Joe Scanlan at the last minute when problems emerged in producing "Datalore" and the two episodes were switched in production order. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, p. 45)
- Tormé and Scanlan together suggested filming the 1940s scenes in black and white. Rick Berman and Robert Justman disagreed, arguing that the holodeck could not change the appearance of the crew. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion) The Captain Proton program seen in several episodes of Star Trek: Voyager would indeed show characters in black and white, however.
- The song "Out of Nowhere", by Edward Heyman and Johnny Green, can be heard playing aptly in Dixon Hill's office block as Picard enters the holodeck for the first time. This was suggested by producer Bob Justman. (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion) Dennis McCarthy arranged the version heard in the episode, which appears on Disc One of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Collection, Volume One.
- The episode's score, composed by Dennis McCarthy, was recorded on 10 December 1987 at Paramount Stage M. ().
- As noted in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion, budget restrictions prevented the Jarada from appearing on screen. Tormé was disappointed because he had developed a hive mind culture for the aliens. The script of the episode describes them as "wasp-like; black and yellow, with pointed insectile features and waving black antennae." 
- Gregory Itzin mentioned in an interview that he was originally cast in this episode (apparently as McNary) but elected to do an episode of L.A. Law instead. He acknowledged "The Big Goodbye" is now considered a "classic" and regretted turning down the episode. Itzin, of course, went go to appear in several other roles. 
- The episode received its UK premiere on BBC2 on 12 December 1990.
- Among the items which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay, was the hat for the double of Brent Spiner, a gray fedora with black trim. 
- 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)
- This is one episode in which Majel Barrett does not provide the voice of the computer. The role was instead filled with an unidentified female voice.
- 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 of Izar. 
- This episode marks the third appearance of the silver Constitution-class starship model in TNG. The other two were "Lonely Among Us" and "The Battle". Just like in the last instance, this model is seen in the ready room.
- One of the headlines Captain Jean-Luc Picard reads is "DiMaggio streak reaches 37." According to the Baseball Almanac, DiMaggio reached that number on June 25, 1941.
- While the vendor's surprise that the Cleveland Indians were the team who ended DiMaggio's streak would've been quite appropriate at the time of the episode's January 1988 airing, the team in 1941 was quite respectable, having finished above .500 for eleven of the previous twelve seasons, and coming within one game of winning the American League pennant the year before.
- The unnamed baseball player who broke Joe DiMaggio's record for longest consecutive game hitting streak would later be revealed as Harmon "Buck" Bokai of the London Kings in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. (DS9: "If Wishes Were Horses")
- Picard accesses the Dixon Hill holodeck program again in later episodes ("Manhunt" and "Clues") and in Star Trek: First Contact.
- "The Big Goodbye" received several awards:
- TV Guide, however, criticized the episode as being too derivative of TOS: "A Piece of the Action", which concerned a planetary culture based on 1930s gangland Chicago. Tormé dismissed such criticisms as being based merely on the appearance of "three-piece suits". (Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion)
- Producer Maurice Hurley described the episode as being like a "breath of fresh air". He explained, "It was just fun to do. It's got humor and life to it. The thing is that Star Trek can't brood. If it broods, it gets self important and self-indulgent and preachy, like it has a tendency to do if it's not careful. But if it has some life to it, some humor, then it just jumps up and flies. It's different, but absolutely locked in the Star Trek format. Everything in there worked." (Captains' Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages)
- In a 2007 online review Wil Wheaton gave this episode an "A". He remarked, "We'd done 12 episodes before this, which is half a season, and this one was our favorite to shoot at the time. There isn't an actor in the world who doesn't love playing a period piece, and I think our real joy in filming 'The Big Goodbye' cascaded into our performances. As actors, we're clearly enjoying ourselves, so our characters feel relaxed and unselfconscious (Except for me, of course, but I was supposed to be nervous and self-conscious in this one.) It's a subtle change from some of the earlier episodes, but this is one of the very first times where the audience could really feel the actors – and therefore their characters – coming together and settling in." 
- A mission report for this episode by Will Murray was published in The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine Vol. 4, pp. 57-62.
- Revised final draft script: 14 October 1987
- Filmed: 19 October 1987 – 27 October 1987
- Premiere airdate: 11 January 1988
Video and DVD releases
- Original UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 6, catalog number VHR 2397, 1 October 1990
- UK re-release (three-episode tapes, Paramount Home Entertainment): Volume 1.4, catalog number VHR 4645, 15 June 1998
- As part of the TNG Season 1 DVD collection
- As part of the Region 1 release of the Star Trek: The Next Generation - Jean-Luc Picard Collection
- As part of the TNG Season 1 Blu-ray collection
Links and references
- LeVar Burton as Lt. Geordi La Forge
- Denise Crosby as Lt. Tasha Yar
- Michael Dorn as Lt. Worf
- Gates McFadden as Doctor Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi
- Brent Spiner as Lt. Commander Data
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
- Lawrence Tierney as Cyrus Redblock
- Harvey Jason as Felix Leech
- William Boyett as Dan Bell
- David Selburg as Whalen
- Gary Armagnac as McNary
- James G. Becker as Youngblood
- Darrell Burris as operations division officer
- Dexter Clay as operations division officer
- Jeffrey Deacon as command division officer
- Susan Duchow as operations division officer
- James McElroy as operations division officer
- Lorine Mendell as Diana Giddings
- Richard Sarstedt as command division lieutenant
- Guy Vardaman as passerby
- Unknown performers as
Stand-ins and photo doubles
- James G. Becker - stand-in for Jonathan Frakes
- Darrell Burris - stand-in for LeVar Burton
- Dexter Clay - stand-in for Michael Dorn
- Jeffrey Deacon - stand-in for Patrick Stewart
- Susan Duchow - stand-in for Denise Crosby
- Nora Leonhardt - stand-in for Marina Sirtis
- Tim McCormack - stand-in for Brent Spiner
- Lorine Mendell - stand-in for Gates McFadden
- Guy Vardaman - stand-in for Wil Wheaton/ hand double for Brent Spiner
1924; 1931; 1934; 1936; 1941; 1944; 1946; 2026; 2344; automobile; baseball; bi-converter interface; Big Good-Bye, The; Bokai, Buck; Bradley, Arthur Clinton; British; California; Camden City; chewing gum; Cleveland; Cleveland Indians; c-note; computer; DiMaggio, Joe; Dorsey, Tommy; Earth; Esky; Fairmont Hotel; fish; French language; gangster; ghost; Halloween; Hill, Dixon; Hitler, Adolf; Holmes, Sherlock; Holodeck 3; Holodeck safety protocol; Jarada; Jaradan language; Jaradan probe; Jaradan sector; London Kings; Lord Halifax; McNary, Sharon; money; murder; Murray, Philip; Newton, Isaac; New York; NRA; "Out of Nowhere"; Roosevelt, Franklin D.; San Francisco; scotch; smoking; South America; Torona IV; Tormé, Tracy; United States dollar
Library Computer references
- Dixon Hill References: A.M.A.; A.M.A. Journal; airplane; Alderman; Alexander, Franz; Allcroft; Alvano; Ambrose National; ambulance; America; American; Anglo-American National Bank; Arabia; Arizona; August; automobile; autopsy; Australia; automatic; Bailey, William; bank; bank safe; baritone horn; barn; Barnes, Jock; baseball beans; Berkshire County; blood; Boston; Boy Scouts; brain; Broadway; Bud; bugle; bull terrier; cable car; California; camellia; Canadian; cannon; Cap Fallon Fire Fighter; captain; Carpenter; cat; Central Park; Chicago; chicken; Chimney Corner; Chinese; Christmas; church; climate; cold; cotton; court; crocodile; Cumberland; December; defendant; delivery room; Desert of Sahara; desk lieutenant; detective; Detroit; dictagraph; doctor; Dolan; drugstore; electric lamp; elephant; elm; England; English; Esquire; Europe; Fairbridge; Fairmont Hotel; Fallon, Cap; Fallon, Paddy; ferryboat; Fifth Avenue; fingerprint kit; firefighter; fireboat; Ford, Henry; Forrester, Silent; Fortenstein, Benny; France; French; Freud, Sigmund; Garden City; Gidding, Mrs.; God; Gold Street; Gonzales, Thomas; governor; gourmet; granite; gutta-percha; handcuffs; Hastings, Russell; Harvard; Hendler's Sanitarium; Herald Square; high school; Hilda; History of Medical Psychology; Horney, Karen; horse; horse racing; hospital; hotel; insurance company; jail; Jenkins; Jimmy; Johns Hopkins; Jorkins; judge; jury; kale; Kelley; Kollecher, Barney; Kubie, Lawrence; Lasker; law; lawyer; Legal Medicine and Toxicology; library; lieutenant; Life; life insurance policy; London; Long Island; Look; Luna; MD; Madison Square; Maine; Mamie; Mancinelli; Marcus, Anthony; Manhattan; Massachusetts; Massachusetts Bar; McCabe; McCall's; McCackin; medical examiner; Medical View of Psychoanalysis; mental therapy; Metropolitan; Mike; Molly; Montreal; Morse code; Morton, Glenda; Mulberry Street; Municipal Arena; Murphy; Nellie; New Jersey; New Orleans; New Year's Day; New York; New York City; New York Yacht; Newspaper Row; nightstick; Northern Valley; O'Brien; O'Hagan; Oak Street; Oak Street station; ocean liner; oxy-acetylene; oxygen; oxygen tent; Palazzo Venezia; Palisades; paralysis; Park Avenue; Park Row; Parker; phases of the moon; Pittsfield; pistol; plastico moulage; poison; police; police code; police force; police station; Portland; Plaza; Poe, Edgar Allan; potassium cyanide; Powell Street; Practical Aspects of Psychoanalysis; Precinct 12; prisoner; Prohibition; prosecutor; psychiatrist; psychiatry; psychology; Psychopathia Sexualis; radio; radium; Rawley, Dr. John; RCA Building; rheumatism; Robbins, Dr.; Rockefeller Center; Ryan; San Francisco Bay; San Francisco Globe; San Francisco Herald; San Francisco Sun; sandwich; sanitarium; Saturnalia; September; sex; SFPD; Sheridan; sheriff; Sing Sing; Smith, Jason; steel; Stekel, Wilhelm; stethoscope; stove; Sweeney; sword cane; taxi; tears; Technical Supply Co.; Technique of Analytical Psychotherapy; telephone; temperature; The Fall of the House of Usher; The Interpretation of Dreams; The Library of Charles & Serena Wilson; The Listening Man; The Neurotic Personality of Our Times; The New York Times; The New Yorker; The Problem of Anxiety; Three Contributions to the Theory of Sex; Tierney, Jim; Time; Times Square; Tombs; Totem and Taboo; trial; train; train station; Trinity Church; trooper; tug; tumor; Twenty-third Street; Uncle Sam; Union League, Union Square; United States Army; United States Congress; United States dollar; United States flag; United States Marines; Vermont; Victorian; Vienna; Vogue; Wall Street; ward; wedding; Wheeler, Dick; whistle; willow; Wilson, Charles; Wilson, Frederricka; Wilson, Serena; wireless; World Building; yacht; Ziiboorg, Gregory
- Illustrations: Cochrane, Zephram; Deltan; Garth of Izar; Green, Colonel; Jones, Cyrano; Kaferian; Mudd, Harcourt; Roddenberry, Gene; Sarek
- The Big Goodbye at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- The Big Goodbye at Wikipedia
- The Big Goodbye at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
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