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Why did Dr. Crusher Get Replaced in Season 2 of TNG?


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#1 of 9 OFFLINE   Don Black

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Posted August 16 2001 - 02:12 AM

Why did she come back? Why did the character who played Dr. Polaski agree to have her character written off? I'm just catching reruns of the TNG and it's bringing back all sorts of nagging questions! Thanks!

[Edited last by Don Black on August 16, 2001 at 09:13 AM]

#2 of 9 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted August 16 2001 - 02:38 AM

I don't know if we'll ever know the actual reasons (even the "official" ones are kind of muddy), but I imagine it was an early attempt to get more meaningful character interaction - the characters on TNG were just a little to chummy, so they inserted a new one to get friction - Pulaski had strong opinions, she and Picard had issues, she wasn't as immediately accepting of Data as a person rather than just a machine as the other members of the cast, etc. Roddenberry cast someone he'd worked with before - Diana Muldaur was a guest on TOS and in one of the "Genesis II" pilots.

(I've also got a sneaking suspicion that they wanted a more McCoy-like doctor if they were going to be recycling "Star Trek Phase II" scripts because of the writers' strike)

As to why they brought Crusher back - well, basically, they heard it from the fans, who treated Pulaski like an intruder, and the cast, who were less then cool with the idea that they could be replaced (I seem to recall reading about some sniping over her being listed in the alphabetical credits before those with seniority, which is why she was credited as a guest star every week). Muldaur left, did "L.A. Law", and it worked out well for everyone.

Of course, a great deal of this is speculation, but it fits the facts.
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#3 of 9 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted August 16 2001 - 02:40 AM

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Muldaur left, did "L.A. Law", and it worked out well for everyone.
Until David E. Kelley dropped her down an elevator shaft. Posted Image

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#4 of 9 OFFLINE   Dave_P

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Posted August 16 2001 - 02:59 AM


I thought Dr. Crusher was replaced because she was busy filming The Hunt for Red October.

#5 of 9 OFFLINE   Jason Seaver

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Posted August 16 2001 - 03:23 AM

Yeah, that one scene took up a lot of time.

I seem to recall reading that she taught theater at NYU(?) during TNG's second season.
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#6 of 9 OFFLINE   Michael Reuben

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Posted August 16 2001 - 03:23 AM

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I thought Dr. Crusher was replaced because she was busy filming The Hunt for Red October.
Doubtful, unless her part was much bigger than what ended up on the screen. As I recall, she's only in one scene.

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#7 of 9 OFFLINE   David Williams

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Posted August 16 2001 - 05:54 AM

Here's what the TNG Companion had to say: (note: emphasis mine)

"McFadden's departure was said to be no reflection of her as an actress. "There were those who believed at the end of the first season that they didn't like the way the character was developing, vis-á-vis Gates's performance, and managed to convince Mr. Roddenberry of that," Rick Berman said years later, adding: "I was not a fan of that decision." By way of contrast, the new doctor, Kate Pulaski, was created somewhat in the image of Bones McCoy, as crusty and transporter-wary, and the second-season writers' guide even gave her three children by three different men. But while the sparks she brought were welcome, the handling of the change angered many fans and fired up the show's first real protest letter-writing campaign."

and:

"The year-long letter-writing campaign to return Gates McFadden to the show was not directly mentioned when a change of heart in the great "chemistry experiment" over TNG's doctors was announced. "Diana Muldaur is a marvelous actress and it's obvious that I think so because I've used her many times," Roddenberry would say later. "But it's all just chemistry. Beverly had that little something... Somehow the way the captain bounces off her works well. It works with Muldaur, too, but it just seems to work a little more with Crusher." He would also say, "It was always our intention to leave the door open for her to return to the show."

"It was our opinion, Gene's and mine, that the Pulaski role was not working out either," Berman said. "And rather than going and looking for a third doctor in three years, we approached Gates about coming back, and she very graciously did."

"McFadden, by the way, had not been idle during her year off. She had appeared in two movies, The Hunt for Red October (though much of her part ended up on the cutting-room floor) and Taking Care of Business (with John "Q" de Lancie as a subordinate), and she had starred in an off-Broadway play, To Gillian on Her 37th Birthday. Muldaur would go on to create a similarly crusty, though ill-fated role, that of Rosalind Shayes on L.A. Law."
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#8 of 9 OFFLINE   Jodee

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Posted August 16 2001 - 08:25 AM

The only bad thing about the character of Beverly Crusher was her son Posted Image

#9 of 9 OFFLINE   Peter McM

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Posted August 17 2001 - 12:27 AM

Quote:
I seem to recall reading that she taught theatre at NYU...

I don't know about that--but her character sure enjoyed directing plays aboard the Enterprise. Posted Image
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