Star Trek Guide

Star Trek TNG: Captain Picard's Most "Boss" Moments, Ranked

Jean-Luc Picard ranks high as the best Enterprise Captain ever to have sat in the chair. He was wise, poetic, imaginative and a beacon for decency and morality. When push came to shove however, Picard could hold his own.

Here are the ten biggest, baddest and best "boss" moments Captain Picard ever had on Star Trek: The Next Generation. Each one solidifies his legendary status as a Starfleet officer that should go down in the history books...and then some.

10 The Warning

The season four episode "The Wounded" put the emphasis on the horrors of war, and the lasting effects it leaves on survivors. When Starfleet Captain Benjamin Maxwell suddenly goes rogue and begins destroying Cardassian vessels, it threatens their fragile peace treaty with the Federation.

Eventually, Maxwell is apprehended, to the relief of the Cardassians, but Picard takes a moment to issue a direct warning to their leader Gul Macet. Maxwell's warnings of a Cardassian military buildup in the region hold water, and Picard puts his best boss face on while warning them that the Federation will be watching closely.

9 Till' The Last Breath

Audiences got to see a slightly different and harder-edged Picard in the classic season 3 episode "Yesterday's Enterprise." This Captain had spent the better part of his later career engaged in a war with the Klingon Empire, and he was battle-weary because of it. When he learned that his future was an alternate timeline caused by the Enterprise-C going forwards through time, he took immediate steps to try and fix it.

This involved the Enterprise-D protecting its vulnerable predecessor from a Klingon attack while it re-entered a rift that led back to its own time. With the Enterprise-D heavily damaged and many of the bridge crew dead, Picard defied demands to surrender and took over tactical to buy the Enterprise-C the time it needed to set the future right again.

8 Skin Of Courage

The first season shocked audiences with the unexpected death of security chief Tasha Yar by a malevolent and sadistic alien creature. The dark and somber episode was heightened with tension due to the creature keeping Troi and another crew member hostage on the surface of a barren planet, simply to torment their friends.

After all attempts to negotiate with the creature failed, Picard beamed down to the surface himself to address it. He played a masterful game of emotional manipulation designed to make the creature feel anger and despair, which weakened its powers long enough to beam the hostages out. Defiant in the face of the creature, Picard then muttered the words "I'm not taking you anywhere," before beaming away and leaving the creature to wallow in its own misery.

7 An Admiral Undone

The season 4 episode "The Drumhead" gave Picard an opportunity to go up against a living legend, and win. When Admiral Norah Satie came on board the Enterprise to investigate a case of possible sabotage, Picard was both relieved and awestruck by her legendary career as an investigator. However, when the supposed sabotage was revealed to be nothing more than an accident, the Admiral did not back off.

Soon it became apparent that she was there to spread fear, paranoia, and distrust among the Enterprise crew by dishing out interrogations in search of a crime. When Picard's moment came, he turned the tables on the Admiral by speaking a quote from her own father about the dangers of censorship, suppression of viewpoints, and the malevolent nature of division. It was enough to cause Admiral Satie to erupt in anger while Picard sat there, confident that he'd just exposed the viper in their midst.

6 The Rebellion

The first season of The Next Generation ended with one of the most shockingly controversial Star Trek episodes ever made. It picked up on a story arc from earlier in the season involving a conspiracy that had managed to infiltrate the highest levels of Starfleet.

When Picard learned that a parasitic alien species had taken over the bodies of Starfleet Command personnel, he and Riker successfully infiltrated the upper echelon at Starfleet Headquarters and confronted Commander Remmick, who served as the host body for the parasite queen. Picard fired on the creature with no hesitation in one of the series' most brutally violent kills.

5 A Second Chance

Season 6 tried expanding on Picard's character with the classic episode "Tapestry," featuring the character's actual on-screen death. He awakens in a form of spiritual limbo where the mysterious and omnipotent Q holds dominion. His former nemesis offers Picard a chance to live his life over a second time and correct the mistakes of his youth.

In so doing, he became a man who played it safe through his entire life and ended up being passed up for promotion over and over again. Realizing that his negative life choices forged him into the man he once was, Picard begged Q to die with dignity by setting things right. This involved facing down a group of Nausicaans and engaging in a bar brawl with them, which would end with him being stabbed through the heart. His boss moment? Laughing out loud as he stared at a dagger sticking out of his chest.

4 One Man Army

Season six put Picard front and center with the episode "Starship Mine." The Enterprise is scheduled to undergo a Baryon Sweep to get rid of radiation buildup in the ship's hull. This necessitates that the crew leave the ship until the procedure is over. At the same time, Picard ditches out on a dull formal affair with a gabby Starfleet Commander in favor of some good old fashioned horseback riding.

He returns to the Enterprise to retrieve his saddle before learning that a team of criminals has used the Baryon Sweep as a cover to retrieve trilithium resin from the ship's warp core. With only his fists, his smarts and a crossbow, Picard single-handedly takes them all out in true boss fashion.

3 The Defense Rests

Season 2 got philosophically and morally serious with the iconic episode "The Measure of a Man," which involved Commander Data going on trial to defend his rights as a sentient being. The case doesn't go well for him, nor his attorney, who just happened to be Captain Picard.

Realizing that the implications of the case go far beyond one android's rights, Picard made a stunning last-ditch case that pulled the curtain back on a horrible future where sentient beings would be treated like slaves. He ended up winning the case thanks in no small part to his passionate and bold delivery.

2 Unexpected Backup

The amazing season 3 episode "The Defector" featured a high-ranking Romulan Admiral who defects to the Federation to warn them of a pre-emptive strike by his own people. The Admiral eventually gives Picard all the tactical data regarding the Romulan fleet and its defenses in order to launch a counter-strike.

Wading cautiously into the Neutral Zone to investigate the Admiral's claims of a secret base, the Enterprise is confronted by two Romulan Warbirds led by the infamous Commander Tomalak. Believing he has the Enterprise outgunned, Tomalak scoffs at Picard's defiance until the Captain has Worf signal several Klingon Birds of Prey to decloak and surround the Romulans. It's definitely Picard's second-most "boss" moment of the show.

1 One Propeller

Picard's number one (pun intended) boss moment came in the season 3 episode "Booby Trap." When the Enterprise found itself caught in a thousand-year-old trap laid by an extinct species, they had just two hours to figure a way out before lethal radiation killed the entire crew.

Geordi LaForge came up with an idea to shut down the entire ship and navigate through a treacherous asteroid field with just two thrusters. Picard unexpectedly took the helm to everyone's surprise and piloted the ship himself. When Data informed him that the Enterprise no longer had sufficient momentum to clear the trap, Picard calmly steered the ship towards a large asteroid with a gravitational pull. This caused their speed to accelerate long enough for Picard to trigger a thruster and slingshot the Enterprise clear out of the asteroid field. Truly the mark of a boss.

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