For seven years on Star Trek: TNG, the relationship between Riker and Troi was unclear
When Star Trek: TNG first introduced Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes), it seemed as though the writers had plans for the couple. They’d shared a romantic history, and it was clear the feelings were still there. Although they shared a few kisses here and there over the course of the series, they were left mostly at limbo until Star Trek: Nemesis when the couple finally married.
Admittedly, the marriage seemed a little rushed, considering when Star Trek: TNG ended, Troi was still in a relationship with Worf. The ending to that relationship was never explained nor was any reason given why Troi and Riker couldn’t be together during Star Trek: TNG’s run. Frakes feels as though the romance between Troi and Riker was put aside so that the two could be available to have other relationships while aboard the Enterprise.
"At the beginning of The Next Generation, Troi and Riker were lovers before they transferred to the Enterprise, and then that [story] was buried so that they could be whatever — available to relationships with random aliens."
There was so much chemistry between Sirtis and Frakes that it confused fans why the two were kept apart. Frakes has said he thought the writers had given up on the couple.
"…Marina and I had both held onto a very specific story for these characters. We held it close to our hearts for many years, and the writers had seemed to give up on it."
So when Star Trek: Picard offered Frakes and Sirtis the opportunity to return as a happily married couple, the pair took it as a vindication that their relationship was meant to be.
"When they introduced this story that Marina [Sirtis] — Counselor Troi and I — have a family and live on a planet that looks like rural Maine, it felt like a gift. The obvious gift being that we got to play together with our friends from 33 years ago…"
Loose ends often get left at the end of televisions shows. Romantic entanglements can be left dangling, and relationships open to interpretation. Thankfully, Star Trek: Picard offered Frakes and Troi a chance to show dedicated fans that Riker and Troi remained together and presumably will for the future.