Loosly based on this post, Is there a tendency for captains to call their first officers 'Number 1'?, where Captain Picard calls his first officer "Number One" instead of "Mr. Riker" as he would similarly do for others.

Has Riker made it known if he likes/dislikes being called "Number One"?

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    On a side question, has Data ever asked Picard why he doesn't call Data 'Number Two'?
    – Xantec
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 21:04
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    @Xantec Lol. Fwiw Q calls Riker "number two" in True Q.
    – Jason C
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 7:46
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    This question should be rewritten: "Does being called Number One make Riker feel like Number Two"? :)
    – Deepak
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 11:09
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    Riker always had a perplexed look when Picard would say at the end of his shift, "I have to go, Number One."
    – iMerchant
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 1:54
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    "Who is number one?" "You are number six"
    – Aron
    Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 8:01

4 Answers 4


There are two specific moments that I find directly relevant here:

"Encounter at Farpoint"

The very first time Picard calls Riker "Number One" is in "Encounter at Farpoint", on the bridge, at around 1:16:00. The actual dialog spoken was:

PICARD: At least you impressed him, Number One. That's hopeful.

RIKER: Thank you, Captain. Captain, if he's not open to evidence in our favour, where will you go from there?

PICARD: I'll attend to my duty.

Although, the original script differs slightly:

PICARD: (nods) But I had a feeling you impressed him, Number One. That's hopeful.

RIKER: Thank you, Captain, That's the first time you've called me "Number One".

PICARD: (small smile) I believe I'll enjoy getting to know you, Bill. If we live long enough.

I am not sure why this scene was changed in the final production but it does pretty clearly indicate that the writers at least intended Riker to be pleased by (or, certainly, not displeased by) the moniker.

(As an aside, kind of funny that Picard calls him "Bill" in the original script. As far as I know, the only times he was actually referred to as "Bill" in production dialog was by Troi -- in "The Naked Now" and "Haven" -- and Tam calls him "Billy Boy" in "Tin Man".)

"The Pegasus"

Years later, in the opening sequence of "The Pegasus", where they're setting up for "Picard Day", Riker picks up a little Captain Picard doll and imitates Picard's accent:

PICARD: I don't know why we have to do this every year. I thought that last year the teachers had agreed that they wouldn't do this anymore.

TROI: Captain Picard Day is one of the children's favourite school activities. They look forward to it all year.

PICARD: Why does it have to be me?

TROI: Because you're the Captain, and they look up to you. You're a role model for them.

PICARD: Well, they seem to have a somewhat exaggerated impression of me.

RIKER: (imitating Picard and using a doll) I don't know. I think the resemblance is rather striking. Wouldn't you agree, Number One?

PICARD: Isn't there something else you have to do?

RIKER: I'll be on the Bridge. (starts to walk off with a Picard doll)

TROI: Will.

(Riker puts the doll back and leaves)

This isn't really a direct comment but it does indicate that Riker views this as one of the defining characteristics of his interactions with Picard (imitation is a good hint at how a person views another person). Also, he does the imitation in pure jest, suggesting that he finds it endearing or at least amusing, rather than having any resentment about it.

Note that this is season six, Riker and Picard have been serving together for a while at this point and are comfortable with each other.

Incidentally, I'm almost certain this is the only time Riker speaks the actual phrase "number one".

The Question

So as for your question:

Has Riker made it known if he likes/dislikes being called "Number One"?

Never explicitly, although he has certainly implied that he accepts it and possibly finds it amusing or endearing. He responds to it on the regular, to the point where he almost seems to accept it as a nickname. He most definitely has never explicitly or implicitly expressed dislike. Furthermore in the original Farpoint script he seems pleased, and even in the production dialog he does not object.

So we can say for certain that he at least doesn't mind it, and definitely identifies to it.

(Sources: Memory, seeing the series a dozen times, and I searched series and movie production scripts for "number one", read the dialog for Riker's reactions and checked the more interesting ones for tone and facial expressions in the episodes themselves. I did not, however, review any interviews, writers notes, etc., and would be curious if anybody knows of any mentions of this in such material.)

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    I especially like the question by the Admiral at the end, "Captain Picard Day?" ... Oh that look as soon as Picard realized that Starfleet Command now knew and wasn't likely to ever let that one go. The flagship captain with his own day...for the annals of history. And entertainment. Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 17:26
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    There is an interesting moment in EaF the first time Picard says "Number One", I've added a mention of it here.
    – Jason C
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 19:11
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    +1 for finding the quote from the original script.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 16:48
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    Riker has been called "Number One" for so long that when Guinan called him "Captain" in The Best of Both Worlds, he looked at Guinan like he'd just been insulted. It must have been odd to hear himself being addressed by another title. Commented Jul 27, 2016 at 14:28
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    It was so weird to watch the scene where Riker leaves for his own command in the end of Nemesis. Picard called him Captain at that point. Kind of made my heart tug a bit. End of an era..... Commented Feb 29, 2020 at 13:52

In the Next Generation episode "Disaster" the titular disaster strands Captain Picard and three children in a turbo lift.

PICARD: Your name is Marissa. Is that right? Well, Marissa, I'm going to need a first officer to help me. You're the oldest and so that makes you my Number One.

MARISSA: Number One?

PICARD: That's what I always called my first officer. So, here. (He puts two of his rank pins on her top)

After the disaster is over:

(Troi leads the children onto the Bridge)

TROI: Now just wait here.

RIKER: You just can't stay away from the big chair, can you?

TROI: I don't think I'm cut out to be Captain. First officer, maybe. I understand there aren't many qualifications.

And a little later:

PICARD: And a wonderful job...You have the Bridge, Number One.

RIKER + MARISSA: Aye, sir.

So we see that civilian children, even those on the Enterprise, are not familiar with calling the first officer (Who is second in command) "Number One" or any positive or negative feelings about that by Starfleet members, and Marissia sort of gets to like being called "Number One" (which she wouldn't if she ever heard that it was insulting or something).

I doubt if a thorough search would find any indications of positive or negative feelings about being called "number One' by anyone in Starfleet, let alone Riker in particular.

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    If Sir Patrick Stewart started calling me Number One, I wouldn't object. Anyone else, it would be awkward.
    – corsiKa
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 22:26
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    It's also worth mentioning that Majel Barrett, Gene Roddenberry's wife, was the first Number One. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Number_One_(Star_Trek) Commented Jul 18, 2016 at 0:24

The only instance I can think of is the two-part episode "Chain of Command". In that episode, Picard is relieved of command of the Enterprise, and is replaced by Captain Edward Jellico. As Jellico takes on his new command with gusto, he speaks a mile a minute at his new executive officer, including asking him "Do you prefer 'Will' or 'William'?". Riker stumbles a bit in his reply, before eventually settling on "Uhh, 'Will', sir." I always took this to imply that he was thrown by the question simply because he was so unused to being addressed by his captain as anything other than "Number One". The fact that he says his answer a little dejectedly, to me, implies that he liked Picard's nickname for him, and was mildly uncomfortable being referred to by his first name instead.

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    He could also have been thrown off at him being so informal... Most military outfits use last names, so being addressed by his first name would be odd on the surface.
    – Catija
    Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 21:06
  • Heh, never thought of it this way. I'd tend to agree with Catija tbh, but this is interesting nonetheless. Commented Jul 15, 2016 at 23:24
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    There's also a tradition in some military organizations wherein the commander refers to his second-in-command by first name. It's an acknowledgement of the fact that the two have to work very closely together, and the second-in-command often speaks for the commander. That said, it's usually done when the two aren't in the presence of subordinates. Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 0:52
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    @ErikSchmidt: And in fact, Picard does usually address Riker as "Will" when they're alone.
    – ruakh
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 2:10
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    @Catija in the US Army, at least, it's not at all uncommon for officers to speak to their subordinate officers using first names, at least when there's only officers around. Junior enlisted are almost always spoken to using last names only (sometimes rank+last name, but in conversation it's just last name), but NCOs are almost never addressed without their rank.
    – Paul
    Commented Jul 16, 2016 at 19:18

Not exactly what you are looking for, but in "Rascals" (Season 6, Episode 7) there is the exchange where young Picard is pretending to be Riker's son. At the end of the conversation, he accidentally says "Thanks, Number One." Riker looks surprised and worried, because of the Ferengi guard, and Picard famously covers by claiming, "He's my Number One Dad."

That is more of a situational objection, than a standard one. But it does get a reaction from Riker.

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    Plus a big hug! Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 0:46

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