Elementary, My Dear Data

From The Arthur Conan Doyle Encyclopedia
Brent Spiner as Data as Sherlock Holmes in the holodeck.

Elementary, My Dear Data is the 3rd episode of season 2 of the American series: Star Trek Next Generation, aired on 5 december 1988 by Paramount Pictures. 55 min.

The screenwriter, Brian Alan Lane, who worked on the Remington Steele series a few years earlier was perhaps inspired by Michael Gleason who wrote Remington Steele: Steele Elementary an episode where Remington Steele was working with a false Sherlock Holmes to help him in his investigation. Although the scenario is different, both titles are similar and Sherlock Holmes appears in each ones.

Here, Data played the role of Sherlock Holmes, as he is a fan of the victorian detective. Their way of reasoning are quite the same, based on logic. The victorian era is recreated (Baker Street appartment and costumes) in the holodeck of the starship Enterprise.



  • Data (Sherlock Holmes) : Brent Spiner
  • Geordi La Forge (Dr. Watson) : Levar Burton
  • Dr Katherine Pulaski : Diana Muldaur
  • Capitaine Jean-Luc Picard : Patrick Stewart
  • William Thomas Riker : Jonathan Frakes
  • Worf : Michael Dorn
  • Deana Troi : Marina Sirtis
  • Beverly Crusher : Gates McFadden
  • Professor Moriarty : Daniel Davis
  • Lestrade : Alan Shearman

  • Director : Rob Bowman
  • Producer : Gene Roddenberry
  • Screenplay : Brian Alan Lane

Plot summary

Knowing that Data is a fan of Sherlock Holmes, Geordi La Forge invites him in the holodeck to play Sherlock Holmes and solve a case written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. They start in the living room of Baker Street. Unfortunately, the experience is cut short as Data stored all the Conan Doyle adventures in his cyborg memory and solve the case in a jiffy.

Back in the mess of the ship, Geordi explains that the interest of the game lies in the resolution of a case which is not known in advance. Dr. Kate Pulaski hears their conversation and says that Data would not be able to solve a real case. They return to the holodeck and Geordi tells the computer to create an adversary capable of defeating Data.

The computer creates the formidable Professor Moriarty with sufficient intelligence to defeat Data. Unfortunately, the virtual Moriarty is so smart that he succeeds to take control of the starship computer and kidnaps Dr. Pulaski.

Captain Picard decides to intervene and asks to meet Professor Moriarty who, after defeating Data wish to have a real life outside the holodeck. Picard convinces Moriarty that this is impossible but that his character will be stored in the computer until technology allows to create a real person from a virtual character. Moriarty accepts. He give back control of the ship computer and frees his captive.