Scenes Worth Saving: Initial Interrogation

defector-thumbHere's another entry in our ongoing Scenes Worth Saving series, highlighting cut footage from Star Trek: The Next Generation that we'd love to see restored in high-definition.

One of the most popular episodes of the third season, "The Defector", features guest star James Sloyan as Jarok, a Romulan turncoat determine to expose his government's secret base on planet Nelvana III, in the effort to prevent a war with the Federation.

One memorable scene from this episode involves Riker and Troi debriefing 'Sublieutenant Setal', much to the Romulan's frustation... but only the second half of the sequence ever made it into the final episode.

Episode director Robert Scheerer discussed the interrogation scenes as they were originally filmed, who described it as a directorial challenge to shoot two very similar sequences in two totally different methods when interviewed in September 1992 for The Official Star Trek: The Next Generation Magazine.

Robert Scheerer:
"There was a problem on that one. We were a little long and two scenes where [the Romulan defector] was interviewed were cut. I loved shooting that because I always had to find two totally different ways to shoot an interrogation scene. I felt I accomplished that rather well, but unfortunately, because of time, they had to pull one of them out."

Source: The Official ST:TNG Magazine, Issue 20, Page 33

We've included the cut segment from the episode's script below.

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-- INT. READY ROOM (AS AIRED) --

PICARD
Begin message.

The logo fades out to be replaced by ADMIRAL HADEN, a stocky
command officer. Because of the distance between the Enterprise
and Starfleet, static both visual and auditory interfere with
the playback.

ADMIRAL HADEN
Captain, we have received an official protest from the Romulan
Empire demanding the return of your defector. We are obviously
refusing to comply.

I join in your skepticism, but if it is a deception, the Romulans
are certainly going all out to make a good show of it. The
Federation Council has convened in emergency session.

There's no doubt in my mind this will eventually fall
on your shoulders, Jean-Luc. You've got him. You must decide
if he's telling the truth. For now, I suggest you proceed
along the Neutral Zone border toward a Federation position
proximate to Nelvana Three.

The admiral's picture disappears, leaving only the real-time
clock running on the blank screen.

Picard considers thoughtfully for a long beat.

PICARD
Picard to Lieutenant Worf. Please come to my Ready Room.

defector1_thumb

-- INT. DEBRIEFING ROOM (AS SCRIPTED) --

The debriefing takes place on a raised platform in the middle of the room. Setal sits across from Riker and Troi. An n.d. security guard (the same one we've seen before) stands nearby.

A flashing light on his chair indicates the conversation is being recorded. Riker has a PADD with notes that he refers to occasionally.

RIKER
You've never actually stepped foot on Nelvana Three.

SETAL
That's right.

RIKER
(referring to PADD)
You were a logistics officer assigned to sector eight-one-five...

SETAL
(recognizing ploy)
Eight-one-four.

RIKER
Eight-one-four, yes. So your conclusions about the secret base are solely based on a few files you happened to see in a computer.

SETAL
Massive files, Commander... transport schedules,
troop movements... construction reports...

RIKER
And where are they?
(off his look)
All these files? Why not bring the files to prove what you're saying?

SETAL
It was not a simple matter of just taking them...
Romulan security is unmatched...

RIKER
Yet you managed to get all the way across the Neutral Zone in
a one man ship... quite an achievement...

SETAL
I saw an opportunity... I took it... by the time they realized
I had the scout ship... it was too late...

RIKER
Are all logistics officers taught to pilot scout ships?

SETAL
I depended a great deal on the computer to navigate.
I have rudimentary knowledge, that's all...

TROI
Do you expect anything out of this for yourself?

SETAL
(reacts)
The idea of a Romulan pursuing a noble cause
is impossible, I suppose.

TROI
It was only a question.

SETAL
(getting angry)
Do you realize I have given up my life for this? I can never go back. Do you think I did this for wealth, a new home, what?

defector2_thumb

RIKER
We're trying to get to the truth here, Sublieutenant.

SETAL
You have the truth before you. You are too blind to see it.
(softly)
I have seen enough bloodshed for one lifetime.

RIKER
(still not buying it)
So have we all.

SETAL
(with sudden passion)
Then do as I ask! I know how difficult it is for you to believe me.
I feel the same suspicions toward you. But we must look beyond our long-standing animosity and work toward the good of both our people.

He reaches out with both hands, palms upward in a
gesture of supplication.

-- INT. MAIN BRIDGE - ENGINEERING STATION (AS AIRED) --

THE ROMULAN WARBIRD CHASING THE SCOUT SHIP (OPTICAL), With time code.

GEORDI (V.O.)
Slow playback.
Display engine logs and power data of both vessels.

The picture slows; the computer adds a graphic overlay that
identifies the speed and power of both Romulan vessels.
The camera pulls back to reveal Geordi with Picard, Data and Beverly.

GEORDI
Now look what happens at 095433 on the clock.

The scout has sustained engine damage, forcing it to drop to point-six-one-five impulse power. For all intents and purposes he's finished, dead, the warship should overtake him... only it doesn't.

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What do you think - should CBS go back for this footage from "The Defector", or should it stay on the cutting room floor? Tell us in the comments below!

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  • archer9234

    I wondered why it felt like the scene was in the middle of them interrogating him. I just though they wrote it that way. This scene I would want restored in the episode.

  • James G.

    Nice scene, but it was wisely removed. It is redundant alongside the other interrogation. It doesn’t add anything else to the character.

  • alfredodedarc

    It adds nothing, it is repetitive and slows the pace of the episode. We all already know there are many approaches an interrogation can take, just showing one is enough unless the jist of the episode is interrogation technique- which it is not….

  • Donny Pearson

    Respectfully, Whether or not CBS should go back for the deleted footage from “The Defector,” I am totally cool with it.

  • Rob

    i have to agree that this scene doesn’t add much to the finished episode, but there is still some good dialog here, ie “the idea of a romulan pursuing a noble cause is impossible.” well worth saving, i think.