In episode s01e06 'Me²' Rimmer's last moments alive are shown. Rimmer is being shouted at by the captain with a statement like 'It's your fault, you can't do sloppy work on the drive plate'. Moments later there's an explosion and they all die.

I see an inference in this whereby Rimmer killed the crew due to his sloppy work. Is this correct? Is it ever confirmed?

  • 1
    Yes. But there are also diseases that make it rain herring and other corporal physical manifestations; but it is true that Rimmer killed himself and everyone but Lister (aka Cloister the Stupid) and Frankenstein (who was safely sealed in the hold). Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 3:44
  • From the pilot, Rimmer also tries to shift part of the blame on Lister: RIMMER: If you hadn't kept that stupid cat, Lister, and hadn't been sent to stasis, I would have had some help when I was mending the drive plate, and I wouldn't be dead. Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 15:51

3 Answers 3



In the Pilot episode, titled The End, after Lister has woken from suspension he asks Holly how everyone died:

HOLLY: The drive plate was inefficiently repaired. It blew, and the entire crew was subjected to a lethal dose of cadmium 2 before I could seal the area.

And then, when he gets to the drive room and starts trying to identify the piles of dust by taste, it is said:

HOLLY: ... that's Second Technician Rimmer.
LISTER: Oh, yeah? I didn't recognise him without his report book. What was Rimmer doing in the Drive Room?
HOLLY: He was explaining to the Captain why he hadn't sealed the drive plate properly.

The clear implication being that, yes, Rimmer was responsible for the deaths of the crew of the Jupiter Mining Corporation's Red Dwarf.

What a smeg-head.

  • 1
    Brilliant, thank you. I saw that episode recently but missed that. Love your last line!
    – Ian Newson
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 21:03
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    Other episodes (such as the series 4 episode Justice) repeat this -- it's referenced multiple times in the series. But the Pilot is a good place to start. :)
    – TZHX
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 21:04
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    +0.75 for the answer and +0.25 for calling Rimmer a smeg-head :)
    – user4437
    Commented Aug 19, 2015 at 4:55
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    @AlecTeal Both answers are correct.
    – Mr Lister
    Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 14:56
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    Ah, yes, from the script: RIMMER: Yes. That's because I'm dead. Dead as a can of spam. And it's all thanks to you. LISTER: Me? What did I do? RIMMER: If you hadn't kept that stupid cat, Lister, and hadn't been sent to stasis, I would have had some help when I was mending the drive plate, and I wouldn't be dead. Commented Aug 20, 2015 at 15:49


In the episode "Justice" it was established in a court of law that although Rimmer was responsible for failing to re-secure the drive plate (the act that ultimately resulted in the deaths of the Red Dwarf's crew) that the ship's Captain and senior officers were themselves negligent in allowing him to have had that duty in the first place.

JUSTICE: In the view of your counsel's eloquent defence, together with the reams of material evidence he submitted on computer card, this court accepts that, in your case, the mind-probe is not anadequate method of assessing guilt. It is not possible for you to have committed the crimes for which you blame yourself, and you may therefore go free.

RIMMER: Objection!

KRYTEN: Sir, what are you objecting to?

RIMMER: I want an apology.

The idea that a Technician: 2nd Class would be put in a position where he could destroy the ship is inherently laughable and speaks to either a design failure or a total lapse of command. Although he's physically responsible for the act, he bears no more moral responsibility for it than would a janitor who accidentally fell onto the nuclear launch button.

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    I really appreciate this answer, but I tend to agree that Rimmer was at fault, even if some in canon work is created around the opposite idea.
    – Ian Newson
    Commented Aug 18, 2015 at 21:06
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    I think the difference here is that this answer is "legally" correct. Rimmer could not be considered at fault (i.e. culpable) probably because he was not qualified to do the repair and had no help (Lister was in stasis). Legally the captain was "culpable" for making a bad decision. Logically, Rimmer was the proximate cause of the accident, so his unknowing actions did kill the crew.
    – SteveED
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 16:41
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    @steveed - I've erred on the side of the legal judgement. His incompetence certainly contributed to the accident, but his superiors should never have placed him in a position where his incompetence could have had such a dramatic impact.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 16:56

Hollister sent a 2nd class technician (vending machine repairman specialization), the 2nd lowest ranked person on the ship to make a critical repair with no supervision from the people who were aboard who knew how to deal with those matters. Any court would consider the disaster to be Hollister's fault.

You don't have to take my word for it though. In series 04 episode 03: Justice, Rimmer is literally put on trial because a Justice Computer scanned all their brains and found that Arnold felt guilt for killing all those people.

Kryten "by lunch time" managed to hammer out a defense that clearly separated culpability from just a misplaced feeling of guilt. Kryten saves the day by proving no officer in their right mind would allow that man to endanger the entire crew. A beautiful closing statement. "This man is not guilty of manslaughter. He is only guilty of being Arnold J. Rimmer. That is his crime. It is also his punishment. The defense rests."

  • Welcome to SFF! This answer does seem to attempt to answer the question, however it is difficult to read. Try some formatting to make the content more readable and clear.
    – Skooba
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 12:10
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    This answer also seems to be pretty much identical to mine. I don't disagree with the conclusion, but you might want to think about how to distinguish your answer from the one above.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 30, 2016 at 12:38

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