Cast and Crew - William T. Riker

TREKCORE > TNG > CAST AND CREW > William T. Riker / Jonathan Frakes

After winning admission to the Academy, Riker began acquiring a lifelong reputation for unorthodox solutions when, during a simulation, he figured out a Tholian ship's sensor blind spot for use as a hiding place. Riker finished eighth in his graduating class; one fellow cadet was Paul Rice, who would later fall victim to the computer weapons systems on planet Minos.

As an ensign on his first assignment, Riker had served with now-Admiral Pressman on the test ship U.S.S. Pegasus, and proved pivotal in defending his captain against a rare Starfleet mutiny before they and only a handful of others escaped shortly after the ship's destruction during a test project. Only in 2370 was Pressman's renegade cloaking experiment unmasked, and Riker was detained briefly for complicity but cleared.

Later stationed on Betazed, his mission there ended in 2362 with a posting that would launch a rapid rise in his career. Sent to the U.S.S. Potemkin in 2362 as a lieutenant, he proved unorthodox again in avoiding a confrontation by hanging over a planet's magnetic pole to confuse an opposing ship's sensors. Only six weeks after coming aboard, though, he barely escaped from Nervala IV, where his rescue of crewmates led to a promotion and a switch from operations to command division, where he eventually became first officer of the U.S.S. Hood under Captain Robert DeSoto. During this stay he was offered his first command on the light cruiser U.S.S. Drake, but turned it down.

From there, he was promoted to commander and picked sight unseen from among 50 candidates by Jean-Luc Picard as his first officer on the new Galaxy-class U.S.S. Enterprise; in fact, the two had not met until he signed aboard at Farpoint Station, after he was dropped off by the U.S.S. Hood.

Riker grew so satisfied with his assignment under Picard, who quickly dubbed him "Number One", that he twice turned down two more commands of his own: once to the frontier scout ship U.S.S. Aries in 2365, and again to the ill-fated U.S.S. Melbourne a year later, although he temporarily had a field promotion to captain during the Borg crisis of 2366-67 during Picard's abduction. Ironically, he likely would have died on the Melbourne during the Borg massacre at Wolf 359 and would not have been present to play a major role during the Enterprise's last-ditch attack.

He was the first human to serve aboard a Federation-Klingon exchange program in 2365, where he showed a keen knowledge of their culture and became one of the few to obtain Picard's "surrender."

He had been given temporary command of the U.S.S. Excalibur in Picard's blockading fleet against Romulan involvement in the Klingon civil war of 2367-68, but Admiral Nechayev passed over him by placing Captain Jellico in command during Picard's abduction by the Cardassians in 2369. Their budding disagreements led to Riker being temporarily relieved of duty until he was called back by Jellico for Cardassian negotiations.

Riker's latter tour years on the Galaxy-class Enterprise were filled with more surprises. Aside from being drugged and made nearly insane by the Tilonians, captured and nearly killed by the xenophobic Malcorians on a first contact recon gone bad, abducted by solanagen-based aliens, and revealed for his role in the Pegasus incident, he discovered a duplicate of himself created as a transporter fluke from the Nervala IV mission.

Riker, meanwhile, again gave no thought to his own command and joined Picard and the other senior staff aboard the new Sovereign-class Enterprise-E. In 2377 Riker finally accepted command of his own starship - the U.S.S. Titan, ending over a decade of loyal service to Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the U.S.S. Enterprise.


Jonathan Frakes plays Commander William Riker, the U.S.S. Enterprise's executive officer and second-in-command.

"Riker's job is to provide Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) with the most efficiently-run ship and the best prepared crew he can," Frakes explains. "As a result, he maintains a more military bearing than the other characters, despite the fact that salutes and other military protocol no longer exist in the 24th century."

Born and raised in Pennsylvania, Frakes was an undergraduate at Penn State and continued his education at Harvard, spending several seasons with the Loeb Drama Center. He then spent five years in New York, appearing on and off Broadway in several regional theater productions.

Prior to his role as Riker, Jonathan had recurring roles in such shows as "Falcon Crest", "Paper Dolls" and "Bare Essence", and for years was a contract player on the daytime drama "The Doctors". His other television work includes the television movie "The Nutcracker" and the critically praised roles in the miniseries "Dream West" and "North & South" (Parts I and II).

During the third season of Star Trek: The Next Generation, Jonathan made his directorial debut with an episode of the series entitled "The Offspring." He so impressed the executive producers with his efforts that he directed a number of episodes in the remaining four seasons as well as episodes of spinoff shows Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Jonathan then had the double duty of acting and directing in his feature film directoral debut in Star Trek: First Contact. Jonathan repeated this effort to much success in Star Trek: Insurrection.

Frakes is currently an executive producer/director on the TV series Roswell. Jonathan is married to actress Genie Francis and resides in Los Angeles.

Biographies derived and edited from the Official Site.