Who is Moriarty in Star Trek Picard, why is he in the new show, and what Star Trek TNG episodes is he in? Portrayed by British actor Daniel Davis, Moriarty shows up on more than one occasion in the Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Created by Arthur Conan Doyle as the arch-villain who would test Sherlock Holmes, the Star Trek series TNG took Moriarty and catapulted him into the 24th century. This Star Trek character had multiple appearances in the TV series, and will return with the Star Trek Picard season 3 release date.
So, now’s as good a time as any to remind yourself of Moriarty’s story in Star Trek so far. What episodes of Star Trek is Moriarty in, and why is Moriarty in Star Trek Picard?
What are the Star Trek TNG Moriarty episodes?
Moriarty appears in two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation. These are:
- Season 2 episode 3: Elementary, Dear Data
- Season 6 episode 12: Ship in a Bottle
Both are excellent episodes of the sci-fi series, which deal with the idea of consciousness within holographic characters – a theme that would later be picked up in Voyager with the EMH. So, it’s well worth brushing up on this unorthodox two-parter before Star Trek Picard season 3 warps onto screens.
Moriarty in Elementary, Dear Data
Morairty’s story in Star Trek begins with Elementary, Dear Data. He is created by the holodeck when Doctor Pulaski asks Data to prove that he really is capable of coming to his own deductions rather than just copying from what he has learnt by reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories.
Data, Geordi, and Pulaski ask the holodeck’s computer to create an adversary capable of defeating Data, thus creating the hyper-intelligent (and conscious) Professor Moriarty. Now imbued with all the intelligence and awareness of Data himself, Moriarty soon deduces that he is living within an artificial reality, subsequently kidnapping Pulaski and manipulating the computer to take control of the Star Trek starship Enterprise.
He demands that – in return for giving up Pulaski, and his control of the ship – Captain Picard finds some way to let him leave the confines of the Holodeck.
As is his way, Captain Picard deescalates the situation, promising that the crew and Starfleet will find a way to let Moriarty leave the Holodeck in the near future; with Moriarty being held in the computer’s storage for the meantime.
Moriarty in Ship in a Bottle
Four years later, while Lieutenant Barclay conducts maintenance on the Holodeck, Moriarty reappears. Brought back, he tells Captain Picard and co. that he was able to feel the passage of time while he was stored in the computer’s memory, and that it was a torturous experience.
Now sick of waiting, he once again threatens the safety of the Enterprise and its crew, demanding that they act now to find a way to let him – and his love interest Regina Bartholomew – explore the real world.
What ensues is a complex, Inception-style affair with holodeck programmes within holodeck programmes as Geordi and Chief O’Brien attempt to find a way to transport holographic creations out of the holodeck – something that proves to be impossible.
Moriarty and Bartholomew have the wool pulled over their eyes though, and are tricked into believing that they have left the holodeck to explore the galaxy. In reality, it’s another programme that they’re living in, but they’re none the wiser.
It’s a morally ambiguous ending from the perspective of Picard and his crew, and it might come back to bite him in Star Trek Picard season 3.
Moriarty in Star Trek Picard Season 3
Moriarty returned in Star Trek Picard season 3. In Star Trek Picard season 3 episode 6, he was a hologram created by the AI defence system at Daystrom Station (which turned out to be a mesh of Data and Lore).
He fought Riker, Worf, and Raffi who had all infiltrated the station, however, he was not the same Moriarty we saw in previous TNG episodes. This Moriarty was a blank slate conjured by the new Data, and had none of Moriarty’s history or experiences.
That’s it on Star Trek’s Moriarty for now. For more on Star Trek, check out our guides to the Star Trek movies, the Star Trek timeline, or the Star Trek captains ranked. Or, get deeper into lore with our guide to the USS Titan, and keep up to date with Star Trek Strange New Worlds season 2 and Star Trek Discovery season 5.