Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Raffi Musiker’s History With Picard & TNG Crew Explained

Raffi Musiker (Michelle Hurd) is a new character on Star Trek: Picard but she has a tumultuous history with Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). When conceiving the new CBS All-Access series charting the next phase of Picard's life, the decision was made to surround the Starfleet legend with new faces to avoid a retread of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Trekkers have already met Jean-Luc's Romulan caretakers Laris (Orla Brady) and Zhaban (Jamie McShane) as well as a cyberneticist Dr. Agnes Jurati (Alison Pill).

However, in Star Trek: Picard's second episode, "Maps and Legends", when Picard turns to Raffi Musiker for help, he gets a surprisingly hostile reception from his old friend — one he may even deserve. After Starfleet rejected the retired Admiral's request to be granted a ship and crew to investigate the mystery of synthetic twins Dahj and Soji Asha (Isa Briones) targeted by the Romulan cabal called the Zhat Vash, Picard contacted Raffi and asked her for a ship. Later, Jean-Luc traveled to Raffi's isolated home in the California desert to make his request in person, where he was greeted by a gun-toting Musiker who was not happy to see the Admiral. Raffi only reluctantly relented when she realized Picard brought wine from his vineyard as a peace offering — and because he teased the existence of synthetic-hunting Romulan death squads operating secretly on Earth.

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Naturally, Picard knew the latter information would be irresistible to Raffi, considering their past working relationship, which is documented in the canonical prequel comic book miniseries Star Trek Picard Countdown. Set in 2385 before the attack on Mars by rogue androids, Star Trek Picard Countdown is about a mission Picard undertook to the Romulan colony Yuyat Beta, where he and his new starship, the U.S.S. Verity, were asked to evacuate 10,000 Romulans. Picard was joined by Lt. Commander Raffi Musiker, his First Officer and Starfleet's foremost expert on Romulan affairs. When they arrived on Yuyat Beta, however, Picard and Raffi were taken hostage by the Romulan government and they learned there were 4-5 million native inhabitants on the planet — but the Romulans only wanted their own people evacuated from the supernova. Luckily, Picard met Laris and Zhaban, Tal Shiar members covertly stationed on Yuyat Beta, and with their help, the Admiral and Raffi defeated the evil Romulans, who had temporarily captured the Verity.

Raffi is a significant figure because she was the first Starfleet Officer in Picard's post-Enterprise career that he grew close to. Aboard the Verity, the First Officer refused to address Picard by his rank and referred to him as "J.L.", which the Admiral allowed. Jean-Luc implicitly trusted Raffi and relied upon her Romulan expertise; there was a warm mentor-student rapport between them. So it's startling that they had such a falling out following the end of the Romulan rescue mission that Raffi would literally point a gun at her former commanding officer. It's possible Picard quitting Starfleet in protest caused the end of Raffi's career as well since she was his second-in-command and was as deeply invested in the Romulan rescue as Picard. Raffi would see this as a betrayal and it caused her 14 years of bitterness towards Jean-Luc.

Raffi also didn't serve aboard the Enterprise-E or work with Picard's legendary crew, though she communicated with Commander Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton), who was overseeing the construction of the Romulan rescue fleet at Mars' Utopia Planitia Fleetyards. Thus, Trekkers who are used to Picard being treated with due respect and reverential awe on TNG are understandably startled that one of his subordinates is so hostile towards Jean-Luc, but Raffi may be in the right if Picard didn't fight for her Starfleet career even as he surrendered his own. The character description for Raffi also indicates that she suffers from a substance abuse problem, which indeed makes her very different from Picard's squeaky-clean friends aboard the Enterprise. But even though Raffi might "hate" Picard now and bears secrets of her own, the ex-Lt. Commander Musiker's skill set as a researcher and Romulan expert still makes her invaluable in Star Trek: Picard's new mission.

Star Trek: Picardstreams Thursdays on CBS All-Access and Fridays internationally on Netflix.


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