In my recollection of Star Trek TNG other officers frequently ask Picard for permission to speak freely, which he seems to always grant.

Is there ever a case where Picard denies an officer permission to speak freely?

  • 9
    This has nothing to do with Picard's style of command. It is a common trope seen in works that involve military-like organizations. From the TVTropes article: In the military, due to the chain of command, there is rarely a time where a rank and file soldier can speak his mind without disrespecting his superior. Cue this phrase. That said, I can't recall Picard ever having denied this request - though I could be forgetting something. There may have been another ranking officer who did though. Riker seems like one who might.
    – Iszi
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 15:39
  • For those with time to review the episodes, (which I do not currently have) Memory Alpha has a (perhaps incomplete) list of episodes where this phrase was used, here. It only lists four episodes of TNG.
    – Iszi
    Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 15:57
  • 2
    It's generally considered a hallmark of an effective leader to hear out opinions of their subordinates (even if simply to give them the satisfaction of having a way to express their opinion). Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 16:40
  • 2
    I believe Janeway denied someone permission to speak freely, during one of those "someone is trying to hit on Janeway" episodes. This question should probably be edited. People asking Picard to speak freely has nothing to do with him being Picard, but everything to do with military discipline. Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 17:34
  • 1
    I seem to recall one occasion (it might have been in Enounter at Farpoint) when Riker asks for "permission to speak freely", and Picard replies "Always". Commented Feb 23, 2013 at 19:57

3 Answers 3


The closest I can find to Picard censoring an officer (Riker) is this clip:

This was during the episode Sarek.

He also, somewhat famously, told Wesley Crusher to "shut up, Wesley!" during the episode Datalore:

However, at the time Wesley Crusher was not an acting officer (he became an Ensign later on in the series).

  • 5
    The first video is from when Picard and a number of the Enterprise crew are being effected by Sariks degrading health. The Vulcan is going through a process where he is losing control of his emotions and in return people surrounding him are becoming more emotional and irrationally angry. The second video is Wesley just being his annoying self. Live long and prosper. Commented Feb 21, 2013 at 19:08
  • 2
    I think there is actually one time where Riker is pissed and angrily asks to which picard says "Denied" as he storms off the bridge. I'll have to rewatch the entire show to be certain. If I find it I'll try to youtube / post it.
    – Arammil
    Commented Jul 12, 2013 at 11:21
  • 2
    Second video is broken. Commented Sep 14, 2014 at 2:35
  • 1
    Having just watched that episode (the second reference) he WAS acting ensign at that point. He was not, however, academy-trained...and by god am I glad Picard told him that.
    – Zibbobz
    Commented Oct 27, 2014 at 13:35

Ensign Ro was denied permission to speak in the first episode where she was introduced, although I don't believe she formally requested such permission

Referencing the script

PICARD: You do not leave this ship without authorization.

RO: Captain, I'm sorry, but...

PICARD: This is not a discussion. You're restricted to your quarters for the remainder of the mission.


Searching the scripts I found that, indeed, Picard has never denied anyone permission to speak.

Quite the opposite:

RIKER: Permission to speak candidly, sir?

PICARD: Always.

Encounter at Farpoint

Footnote: in another search I found that Picard did make one denial: Riker permission to "lead another away team" (The Enemy).

  • 3
    As the other answers here seem to suggest, this rhetorical 'unlimited permission' from Picard is probably specific to Riker. It doesn't apply to junior staff speaking out of turn... Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 10:05

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.