Star Trek: The Next Generation: Code of Honor director fired during filming
Code of Honor was the fourth episode of the 1st season of Star Trek: The Next Generation
Ask any fan of Star Trek: The Next Generation what the worst episode of the series was, and unilaterally, it will be “Code of Honor.” Originally intended to be about a reptilian alien race with a culture more like Japanese samurai, it was changed when director Russ Mayberry brought in the African theme and cast African-Americans for the roles, a decision that did not make Gene Roddenberry very happy.
Partway through the production of the episode, Roddenberry fired Mayberry and brought in Les Landau, who went on to direct many episodes in the entire Star Trek franchise, to finish directing the episode. Unfortunately, it couldn’t be salvaged into a decent episode and even the cast hated it, calling it both racist and an embarrassment to the franchise. And Mayberry never directed another Star Trek episode on any of the series.
Code of Honor is so disliked that Jonathan Frakes (Commander William Riker) thinks the episode should be taken out of rotation on the streaming platforms where it currently airs which is on Hulu, CBS, and Netflix and believes it’s what Gene Roddenberry would have wanted. In the alternative, it could be aired with a statement of why so viewers will be warned ahead of time before watching the episode.
I think they should take it out of the rotation. I think it is a great time to make that kind of – as small as it is – to make that kind of a statement would be fabulous. Maybe it should be included with an appropriate statement of reason. A proof of concept. This is not who we are. This is not what we stand for. It’s an embarrassment to the franchise and Gene [Roddenberry] would want us to do this. Something like that.
In all honesty, there is no way to redeem this episode, and first-time viewers wouldn’t be missing anything if it were removed from the series. Certainly fans wouldn’t miss it.