"Suspicions"

Season Six, Episode 22
Written by Joe Menosky & Naren Shankar
Directed by Cliff Bole 
Main Cast:
Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes as Commander William Riker
LeVar Burton as Lt Geordi LaForge
Michael Dorn as Lt Worf
Gates McFadden as Dr Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis as Counsellor Deanna Troi
Brent Spiner as Lt Cmdr Data
 

Guest Cast:
Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan
Tricia O'Neil as Kurak
Patti Yasutake as Nurse Alyssa Ogawa
Peter Slutsker as Dr Reyga
James Horan as Jo'Bril
John S Ragin as Dr Christopher
Joan Stuart Morris as Dr T'Pan
 

Synopsis:
 
Dr Beverly Crusher hosts a group of scientists to enable Ferengi Dr Reyga to exhibit his revolutionary new innovation -- a metaphasic shielding technology. However, one of the party -- a Takaran scientist named Jo'Bril -- is seemingly murdered and Crusher decides to halt the project. Reyga is soon after found dead, apparently having comitted suicide -- even although Crusher can't rule out murder. Unable to get to the bottom of either deaths, Crusher carries out an autopsy on Jo'Bril, even although his culture forbids such a thing. She finds nothing and Picard must relieve her of duty pending a Court Martial for her violation of the Prime Directive. But with Guinan's advice and Nurse Ogawa's help, Beverly sets out to find out whether or not the experiment was sabotaged, but is attacked by the supposedly dead Jo'Bril, whose species can feign the appearance of death. Jo'Bril's plan was to steal the technology for use as a weapon. Jo'Bril is killed and Crusher safely returns to the ship, having vindicated Reyga's work.


Review: 

You have to commend them, really -- a murder-mystery where, for a change, it's not one of the principal characters that is accused of the murder. It's particularly nice to see the much-neglected Beverly take centre-stage and it's always a delight to have Whoopi Goldberg on board (for what is, sadly, her final appearance in the series) but...and it's quite a big but...there's very little else to recommend about Suspicions.

Trek just doesn't do this type of story very well. Period. If memory serves me well, the only example of a Trek murder-mystery that actually worked was DS9's Necessary Evil and that was probably because the plot was character-based and not reliant on some silly sci-fi gimmick as a resolution. The writers clearly have no idea how to construct a basic murder-mystery, because the first rule of thumb is that you never cheat the audience.  The cheat here is that the first murder victim wasn't actually dead --  he merely faked his death and is the actual killer. Now, forgive me, but I don't see how that can possibly work. Okay, so he can create the appearance of death, but he'd undergone an autopsy for goodness sake! If he was actually still conscious, that must have hurt, huh? And how did he escape the morgue? He was locked in some kind of big refridgerator in the wall. I know the sick bay is always as deserted as a ghost town, but wouldn't someone have noticed a corpse popping in and out of the morgue?

As if the flimsy, ill-considered plotting wasn't bad enough, things are little helped by some of the poor guest performances. The flashback narrative was a fine and novel approach and it set up the episode reasonably well, but things really fell apart by the end, big time. And Reyga was meant to be a Ferengi?! Uh huh, I'll take your word for it. Suspicions isn't a complete stinker, but neither is it worth a second look.  
 

Rating: 4


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