Star Trek: Picard: Who is Bruce Maddox?

Star Trek: Picard premiered today on CBS All Access. The premiere episode, “Remembrance,” dove deep into the legacy of Commander Data, who died in Star Trek: Nemesis to save Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s life. One name that came up in discussing that legacy is Bruce Maddox. Even longtime Star Trek fans may have trouble remembering that name, but it does have a history in the Star Trek universe. If you're curious about Dr. Bruce Maddox, we’re here to get you up to speed on him and his relationship to Data and Jean-Luc Picard. Be warned, SPOILERS for the first episode of Star Trek: Picard follow.

Commander Bruce Maddox appeared in a single episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. That episode was “The Measure of a Man,” the thirteenth episode of season two, where he was played by Brian Brophy. Maddox was a Starfleet science officer and cyberneticist working at the Daystrom Institute. He specialized in robotics and became interested in researching Data’s positronic brain in the hopes that he could better understand the work of Data’s creator, Dr. Noonian Soong. He was the sole voice of dissent when Data was granted entry into Starfleet, as he did not believe Data to be a sentient being.

That opinion came to the fore again in “The Measure of a Man.” With the backing of a Starfleet admiral, Maddox came up with a proposal to completely disassemble and attempt to reverse-engineer Data in the hopes that he would discover the knowledge he needed to create new androids. Data objected to the plan as he wasn’t confident that Maddox would be able to put his positronic brain back together as it was. Undeterred, Maddox attempted to have Data’s objection overruled by having him reclassified as Starfleet property rather than a Starfleet officer.

Maddox pushed the issue to the point that a trial was held to determine Data’s status. Captain Picard representing Data while Commander Will Riker was forced into the devil’s advocate role, defending Maddox’s opinion. Ultimately, Picard and Data won the case. Picard’s defense and Data’s testimony were powerful enough to move even Maddox. Unable to feel resentment or bitterness towards Maddox, Data instead encouraged Maddox to continue his work at Daystrom.

Though Maddox never appeared again on The Next Generation, he was name-checked as an expert on Data’s programming during the episode “Contagion.” The episode “Data’s Day” revealed that, after the trial, Data corresponded with Maddox regularly and kept the scientist updated on all of his interpersonal dealings.

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“Remembrance” reveals that Data considered Maddox a friend, close enough to show his painting titled “Daughter.” After Data’s death, Maddox continued his work and discovered a way to regenerate Data’s programming from what little of it could be found uncorrupted in B-4. Using this starting point, Maddox created twin androids with Data’s programming and a physical form resembling the young girl Data had painted in "Daughter." Data’s twin “daughters” are Dahj and Soji Asha. Neither was aware they were synthetic lifeforms until Romulans attacked Dahj, activating her programming, which told her to seek out Picard. The Romulans later caught up with Dahj again and she died in the fight that followed, but Soji, still unaware of her true nature, is out in space, working for the Romulan reclamation project aboard a derelict Borg cube.

New episodes of Star Trek: Picard become available to stream Thursdays on CBS All Access.