What purpose would there be to have the chief medical officer on the bridge? It seems like she would not have any use while there. All of her tools and medical equipment were in Sick Bay and the transports can transport anyone into Sick Bay directly.

If she's on the bridge, how is she helpful if there's an emergency?

  • 4
    Didn't Troi end up sitting there half the time too?
    – Peter
    Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 5:18
  • 15
    Troi is helpful because of eye candy factor Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 5:43

4 Answers 4


It wasn't a "Crusher Chair." There were two extra seats without backs beside the seats for the First Officer and the Counselor, but I don't see any reason to think it was only for Crusher. I would think if those seats were meant for specific officers, they'd be full seats with backs and arms.

ADDITION: Just for completeness, I left this question tabbed until I could look it up in the Star Trek: The Next Generation Writer's/Directors Technical Guide. This is the guide sent to me by Lolita Fatjo, the script supervisor for ST:TNG when I was invited to pitch stories to the series. It is the manual all writers would receive to make sure they're clear about the characters and situations in the series. This would be the version used for the 5th season, but there were points in there that made me suspect it had not been revised for a few seasons.

On Page 39, under Layout of The Main Bridge Set, it states: "The COMMAND AREA of our Main Bridge is a semi-circle of control seats where the Captain and his next-in-command and advisors are located."

Just adding that for the record. So, other than for the 1st Officer, they don't specify any assignment for the seats, just that they're there for advisors. (In other words, "put any character there who needs to be there for that scene.")

Apologies for adding this so late, but I didn't have time to dig out the Writer's Guide until this evening.

  • 1
    Besides, it's Picard's ship. He can have anyone sit on the bridge he wants to. :) Commented Feb 26, 2016 at 0:15

She held the rank of Commander and as such, only the Captain out ranked her. She didn't spend a lot of time on the bridge, but when she did, you're not going to make a Commander sit on the floor.

That being said, often there wasn't a whole lot going on in sickbay and if they wanted to make use of the actress they needed to have her with the rest of the cast. I seem to remember Bones wandering around a bit in TOS.

  • 28
    I'm a doctor, Jim, not a zombie. I don't wander around. Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 5:44
  • 5
    I believe in one episode she also mentioned she had a staff of several doctors. She also had taken the training to be a duty officer, and occasionally served a rotation.
    – Zoredache
    Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 6:07
  • 4
    @JohnC - That's technically true, but she had cross-trained for command and could serve the role (and did night watch duty in an episode or two). The line was something like Picard, Riker, Data, LaForge. In an emergency, she is the CMO and her duties would always lie elsewhere, but as a senior officer with command training she might be a better option than Lieutenant Greenhorn. Saying she couldn't take command is like saying a combat medic could never perform surgery. Emergencies are emergencies for a reason. Commented Oct 25, 2011 at 13:54
  • 5
    Worth mentioning perhaps is the fact that Crusher was given complete, autonomous command of the ship in Descent, part II. Commented Oct 26, 2011 at 20:26
  • 6
    It's also worth noting that being an eligible bridge watchstander, even as an eligible Officer of the Watch or Officer of the Day, is not the same as being a line officer, even in today's US Navy. I know an MD who has served as the officer of the watch... He was also a full Commander on a ship captained by a Lt. Commander... he also earned his surface warfare pin. He volunteered for additional duty, since as a doctor on a destroyer, he had little duty until things went sideways. He wasn't in line of command, but did pull OOD, OOW, and bridge officer watches.
    – aramis
    Commented Oct 27, 2011 at 2:30

It's mentioned in a few episodes, but not many; Dr. Crusher, as a Commander, is actually the third-ranking officer on the Enterprise until Troi's field promotion to Commander, and (until that time) fourth in the established chain of command behind Data (who, though only a LtC, doesn't need sleep and so is a convenient choice for the third watch). Troi pursues her field promotion to Commander after having watched Dr Crusher take a night watch with Data absent, during the episode "Thine Own Self".

As such, Dr Crusher has every right to the left-hand chair that Troi usually takes; however, as her place is more often in sickbay, while Troi is more often on the bridge as an advisor, Crusher usually concedes and takes one of the more benchlike seats to the sides of the command chairs when she is on the bridge.

  • As a Medical Officer, regardless of rank, Dr. Crusher was not in the chain of command. Only "unrestricted line officers" are in the chain of command. In ST:TNG, Line officers wear maroon officers and are eligible to take command.
    – user66103
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 23:41
  • Are you sure about that? Both Crusher and Troi (blue) have commanded the Enterprise. And then there's Data (yellow), who is the second officer and only secedes command to Riker and Picard.
    – Ellesedil
    Commented May 13, 2016 at 23:48
  • They addressed that issue: Crusher specifically had to take a command course in order to qualify for bridge watch (Officer of the Deck, in modern navy terms), as Troi later did. Scotty, Spock, T'Pol, and others not wearing the command colours also took command from time to time, so Starfleet obviously allows officers to be OOD and command the ship if qualified. Commented May 14, 2020 at 21:23

The Galaxy class' diplomatic and large scale operations on board the ship has seating for various functions including VIP, Admirals, additional mission specialists, guests, etc. The Set design of the Bridge was changed subtly over the seasons, sometimes by the various episodes but additional seating has been included or removed over the series run. It wasn't until the third season the changes ceased. In the first season pilot they had no additional seats at all. Then added some "Bench style" seats midway thru season 1. By season 2 incorporated bench and translucent benches. Season 3 adopted the miniature bench stools and remained so thru the series. But basically

  1. First Center seat is for the Ships commanding officer (Captain)
  2. Second seat starboard side is reserved for the ships Executive Officer (2nd command)
  3. Third seat Port of the CO's is reserved for additional officers, ships counselor, Chief medical or if need be a diplomatic/ambassadorial attache. But mainly was to fill the symmetry.

enter image description here

  • While this explains changes in set design related to the seats, it doesn't address the question of why the seats are there and who they're for.
    – T.J.L.
    Commented May 14, 2020 at 19:05
  • Even Q apparently has his own "seat"! Commented Jan 27, 2022 at 12:52

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