10 Most Rewatchable Star Trek: The Next Generation Episodes

9. The First Duty

Star Trek Riker Klingon

A welcome departure from the regular format of the show, "The First Duty" switches gears to become a crime investigation "who done it?" affair.

Delighted to be a guest speaker at Starfleet Academy, Captain Picard becomes embroiled in a mysterious trial where the investigation into the death of an Academy Graduate - a member of Wesley Crusher's squadron - has taken place during a training exercise.

In a story arc that delivers a genuinely compelling investigation, it's a pleasant change to focus on a different aspect of Starfleet. The examination of each member of the squadron is afforded ample time to be probed fully. Without the need for a tacky or overt explanation we are clued in to how Wesley is getting on at the Academy while simultaneously gaining an immediate stranglehold on the seriousness of the matter at hand.

The parallels of Wesley's current situation and that of an incident in Captain Picard's past are told with intricacy and elegance, and it serves to aid us as viewers in empathising with the crew's problems. From here the episode explores a new area of Picard in that he attempts to draw on his past experience as a trainee to piece together a defence that could save Wesley's Starfleet career. The pseudo father-son bond between the two delivers some powerfully empathetic moments for us as fans and the struggle both characters endure from beginning to end is almost palpable.

Given Wesley's time away from the show at this point, it is a nice opportunity for fans to catch up on a character that has been taken away for a prolonged stretch of time. The ability to see his maturation - both positive and negative - in conjunction with the interaction between he and Picard, and the exploration of a direct aspect of Starfleet Academy ensures this remains a standout episode which ages well, and is definitely worth revisiting.


A Self-Proclaimed Newcastle Utd aficionado. Lover of all things Sport (except rugby and golf, no-one likes those). Whether it's Wrestling, Movies, TV or Comics, you can be sure to find an impassioned Kent-based opinion here.