Michelle Hurd portrayed Raffi Musiker on Star Trek: Picard for three seasons, a unique character who wasn't just a Starfleet officer dedicated to service. Raffi had her ups and downs, and one of her main struggles was addiction to both alcohol and drugs. She had the unique opportunity to show that addicts often get a bad reputation that they don't deserve. And she wanted to show another side, that everyone could relate to.
Hurd was onstage during MegaCon for the "Women of Sci-Fi" panel, via Collider, where she said playing Raffi was one of the most fulfilling characters she's gotten to play. That says a lot about someone who has been in this industry for decades.
""Addiction is a real thing. It's a real disease. It's a demon on your shoulder and there's addictions to everything, anything and everything. There's so many things that we sometimes find ourselves obsessing over and find ourselves in a Pandora's box that we can't get out of. And I really wanted to show the struggle of somebody who's doing the best that she can. She's trying so hard, but she keeps stumbling and she keeps falling and failing. But every single day she picks herself up, and she tries to reach the [day] again because it's worth it, because life is a good thing and that we should be included in this story. So that was really important.- Michelle Hurd
I also really wanted to tell the story of like Episode 5 of the first season where she goes and sees her son and she's like, ‘I’m, great. Everything's cool. Let's go, let's do this.’ And he's like, ‘No, you don't get to come back 10 years later, say you're fine and walk into my life.’ I wanted to empower the children to say ‘no, you don't get to just do that to, to blow up my life. And then when you feel ready to come back.’ And if you remember she wasn't ready, she went right back to the ship and got drunk, she wasn't ready. So all that was so important. And then I really wanted to sort of explore the vulnerability of that, you know, to be a strong woman, to be a proud person, but that vulnerability that it takes to be all of that. As an actor, it's just delicious, delicious to sort of dive into it.
You know, we can all relate to those sort of stories. You know, people can say, well, I've never had this addiction. That's fine. There's been things that you've wanted so hard that you've got tunnel vision that you were fighting by fighting that you didn't see anything else beside it because you were so focused on that one thing that's there, that's the journey, right?""
I'll admit that Raffi was one of my favorite characters. She struggled with her addiction, being separated from her son, and later on, she struggled with the rage after Elnor's death. In the third and final season of Star Trek: Picard, she had to return to drugs to help Starfleet Intelligence, and she put aside her own well-being for the good of the Federation.
As Hurd said, Raffi never stopped trying. She made mistakes, fell down, then picked herself back up. She never gave up, and that's an important lesson for viewers of Star Trek and for anyone who has struggled with an addiction. Raffi's was a real and beautiful story of struggle and redemption. In the end, she wasn't perfect or cured. She was still trying.