CAST AND CREW
Riker / Jonathan Frakes
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
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
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
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
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
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
Biographies derived and edited from the