Deanna Troi wasn’t easy to write for
Gene Roddenberry wanted a ship’s counselor aboard the Enterprise on Star Trek: The Next Generation as he wanted to show the importance of mental health in the 24th century. So enter Marina Sirtis as Counselor Deanna Troi, and though she took her place at Captain Picard’s side aboard the bridge, she wasn’t the easiest of the characters to write for. In fact, she was the hardest, according to Screenrant. And writers even struggled to figure out what to have her character do, especially in season one, and she was almost written out after the first season.
In the first season of the series, there was a lot of focus on the science fiction plots as TNG was just finding its place among the Star Trek franchise. It was important that it draw in the fans of The Original Series which didn’t spend as much time on what was going on inside the characters’ heads as it did the action and adventure each episode.
So during season one, Troi didn’t have a lot to do, and oftentimes was seen and not heard. Occasionally, she’d have a line or two, but they weren’t of much substance. Writer Ronald D. Moore lamented the difficulty with Sirtis’ character.
"It is difficult, because you run into a double trap of how much does she know and when. Especially when dealing with powerful aliens."
Writers eventually got the hang of writing for Deanna Troi
After season one, things began to pick up, and Deanna was often needed more. More character-led stories became the focus, and Sirtis’ role began to take on a real meaning. She dealt with serious mental-health related stories in the following seasons and even endured some mental trauma of her own after she lost her empathic abilities and when she was impregnated by an alien.
She helped Reginald Barclay overcome his fear of the holodecks, was there for Worf when he struggled with being a father, and even encouraged Captain Picard when he wanted to pursue a relationship with a lieutenant under his command. Overall, her counsel became a necessary part of the series. And she even showed up in Star Trek: Voyager when Reginald Barclay needed her once again, proving she was needed as a counselor no matter where she was.