PIcard tries to be Sam Spade.
When I last saw this (sometime in the 90s I'd guess), I was not highly familiar with the 40s noir detective story, but familiar enough with the attendant cliches, so I could appreciate what this was trying to do, even if I wasn't completely enthralled with the story. In the intervening years, I've watched and read many entries in the genre. Would it increase my appreciation of the story?
As is seeming to generally be the case, this outing featured two plots. Unfortunately, as it happens too often, the two plots don't relate to each other very well. There is a plot involving the establishment of diplomatic relations with an alien race that I don't believe is ever shown on screen. This serves as sort of a weak ticking time bomb for the primary plot, which is that Picard is trapped in a Chandler/Hammet type story involving an imaginary fictional character Dixon Hill.
The latter story involves some fish out of water humor which kind of grated. Picard is supposedly a fan of the genre. Shouldn't he be more comfortable in the setting than he is portrayed? He also spends some amount of time in a conference excitedly talking about the holodeck scenario like a three year old kid who just got a new toy. Yeah, okay, it was an upgrade I guess, but keep it in your pants, Captain. It couldn't have been that exciting.
Anyhoo, he and Data and Beverly and a redshirt get trapped in a knockoff of the Maltese Falcon. Wesley, Geordie and the Geek Squad rescue them in the nick of time.
A standout is the appearance of Lawrence Tierney, who nails the Sidney Greenstreet role. His character is civilized with an undertone of one capable of ordering extreme violence. I could rewatch it just for his one or two scenes.
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