- Beverly Crusher
Cmdr. Beverly Crusher, M.D.
Species Human Affiliation United Federation of Planets
Posting USS Enterprise-D chief medical officer
Celtris III special operations
USS Enterprise-E chief medical officer
Rank Commander Portrayed by Gates McFadden
Commander Beverly Crusher, M.D. (born Beverly Cheryl Howard), played by actress Gates McFadden, is a fictional character on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and its subsequent spinoff films. She was a regular character in the show for all but the second of its seven seasons.
Crusher is the chief medical officer on board the USS Enterprise-D and its successor, the USS Enterprise-E. Crusher holds the rank of Commander, and was the head of Starfleet Medical during 2365. She has one son, Wesley, with her late husband, Jack Crusher.
Crusher is intelligent, compassionate, caring, and strong willed; she also has a sense of justice and will stand up for the underdog, even if that means going against her training as a Starfleet officer. A highly sensitive, perceptive individual, she often sees subtleties that most others miss.
During the second season, actress Gates McFadden was replaced by Diana Muldaur, who played Chief Medical Officer Dr. Katherine Pulaski. On the show, Crusher's absence was attributed to her being promoted to head of Starfleet Medical. McFadden returned to the role of Crusher in season 3, allegedly due to a lack of chemistry between Muldaur and the rest of the cast.
Gates McFadden was reluctant to accept the role of Dr. Crusher because of her commitment to appear in the play The Matchmaker at the La Jolla Playhouse. During the second season, the Crusher character was written out of the show and replaced by the louder, more outgoing Dr. Katherine Pulaski (Diana Muldaur). Patrick Stewart was upset by McFadden's departure from the show and played a large part in bringing about her return. McFadden returned to the show in the third season, with her character being reassigned to the Enterprise. On the show, the explanation was given that her character "was off heading up Starfleet Medical for the year." Upon her return, the character became more varied and more richly developed, and was not afraid to go head-to-head with Picard.
Beverly Crusher was born Beverly Howard on October 13, 2324 in Copernicus City, Luna. Following the death of her parents when she was very young, she lived with her grandmother, Felisa Howard on Arvada III, a colony planet until a great moon collision caused the planet to flood, forcing its evacuation. Resourceful Felisa, with her granddaughter's aid, used herbs, grasses, tree chemicals, and roots as medicines when synthetic medicines ran out for the injured.
During her youth, Beverly was known as quiet, shy, and socially awkward. She was also very self-conscious about her bright red hair and at the age of thirteen, attempted to dye it dark with disastrous results. She admits to Data later in the episode Offspring, that she was often ridiculed and unpopular in school and it had been very painful for her. She also admits that it brought back painful memories of those years when she saw her son Wesley going through the same ridicule as a child.
It was her grandmother's career as a healer and Beverly's own caring, high intelligence, and sensitivity that largely sparked Beverly's lifelong interest in medicine and healing the sick and wounded. The Arvada III disaster solidified Beverly's decision to be a doctor.
After Arvada III was evacuated, Beverly and Felisa then settled on Caldos II where Beverly finished growing up and entered Starfleet Academy.
After graduating at the top of her class from Starfleet Academy's medical school, Beverly married Lieutenant Jack Crusher, who served under Captain Jean-Luc Picard on the USS Stargazer. Beverly and Jack had one son, Wesley Crusher. They had a very happy marriage until Jack was killed in an accident on board the Stargazer in 2354 when Wesley was five years old. That death was very traumatic for Beverly and it took her several years to recover from Jack's death. However, she continued her career as a doctor and continued to mother Wesley.
Wesley accompanied his mother on board the USS Enterprise until he left to enroll at Starfleet Academy. On board the ship, Dr. Crusher is good friends with all of the senior staff. She plays poker each week with them and also runs the onboard theatre troupe, being a skilled actress and director. Beverly is also a talented dancer, having won trophies for her performances in the past. She is reluctant to reveal this part of her background, as she does not want to be known by a nickname she had been called earlier in life -- the Dancing Doctor. Unusual for a career medical officer, Crusher successfully completed Starfleet's command training program and would, on occasion, take a shift as duty officer aboard the Enterprise. During the incident with Lore and the renegade Borg, she was left in command of the Enterprise, during which she engaged the Borg ship in combat.
Dr. Crusher and Captain Picard were also acquaintances whilst the character's husband was alive, as Picard and Jack Crusher were close friends. At the beginning of the series Picard and Dr. Crusher have not seen or heard from each other since Jack's death. Encounter At Farpoint is the first time Picard and Dr. Crusher's son Wesley truly meet face to face.
During the progression of the series the attraction or affection between the two is made more apparent, though both Crusher and Picard try to conceal their feelings; neither wants to admit to the other how they feel, though they have both been seen on separate occasions talking with other crew members about it, most notably, William Riker and Deanna Troi. The two appear to become closer and closer throughout the series, starting with the first season episode "The Naked Now". Their relationship ultimately takes its biggest leap forward in "Attached", when the two are linked telepathically, leading to the revelation of deep romantic feelings they share for each other. At the end of this episode, a budding hint of a romantic relationship is slowed down when a blushing Beverly tells Jean-Luc, Maybe we should be afraid, implying that she's not ready to take that step forward in their relationship.
However, only a handful of episodes later in "Sub Rosa", we see that neither Beverly or Jean-Luc has been able to let go of those feelings and they are back to where they started, trying to pretend the feelings don't exist and that they have no problem being "just friends" with one another.
In the series finale "All Good Things...", it is revealed that in an alternate future, Dr. Crusher and Captain Picard had been married and then divorced — still evidently having feelings for each other after so many years. Little information is given about the circumstances of their marriage or separation. In the present, during the episode, the two share a kiss. However that timeline, as well as that version of the future, is destroyed when Picard changes the past.
In the four TNG movies, the flirtation between Dr. Crusher and Captain Picard remains, though it is not as obvious as previous episodes and most certainly not part of the substantial movie plots. The most note-worthy moment between the two happens in one of the deleted scenes of the last TNG movie, Star Trek: Nemesis.
After her transfer to Starfleet Medical, Beverly and Jean-Luc have an intimate conversation via subspace communique in which Beverly talks about her new job. They try to remain platonic throughout the conversation until the end when Beverly says I'll save the last dance for you, a line that has private meaning between the two, implying that Beverly still has feelings for him and hasn't given up on their relationship.
Following the television series and films, the relationship between Dr. Crusher and Captain Picard continued throughout the non-canonical Star Trek: The Next Generation pocket book series, to the point of marrying and having children.
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