Dr. Crusher And Captain Picard's Relationship In Star Trek Explained

On "Star Trek: The Next Generation," Captain Jean-Luc Picard, played by Patrick Stewart, and Dr. Beverly Crusher, played by Gates McFadden, always had one of those will-they-or-won't relationships that left fans wondering whether they would ever become an official item, romantically speaking. Now that Stewart's character is back captaining his own Paramount+ series, "Picard," it's possible that Dr. Crusher could return at some point and we could see them rekindle their relationship.

In the meantime, there's all of "The Next Generation," which has left us with a complicated relationship history worth untangling. It all goes back to Picard's time on the USS Stargazer. He was commanding the ship during the mission where Crusher's husband, Jack, died. 

In "Encounter at Farpoint," the pilot episode of "The Next Generation," Picard meets Beverly and Jack's full-grown son, Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton), for the first time. He isn't thrilled, at first, when the turbolift opens on the bridge of the USS Enterprise, and he sees Wesley standing there. In fact, he stands right up from his captain's chair and says, "What the hell? Children are not allowed on the bridge."

Picard's whole tone and demeanor change radically when he sees Dr. Crusher step off the turbolift and realizes that Wesley is the son of the man who died under his command. It's an emotional moment between him and Dr. Crusher. He finally relents and invites Wesley on the bridge, telling him not to touch anything; and as Wesley stares around in wide-eyed wonder, the camera takes on his POV. He's a surrogate for the audience at that moment, guiding us into the world of "Star Trek: The Next Generation."

Telepathy Reveals Their True Feelings

As the series progressed, Wesley would become a kind of surrogate son to Picard. While Picard may have felt some responsibility toward him, however, he and Dr. Crusher also shared their own separate attraction. For most of the series, though, they hid their feelings from each other and kept things professional on the surface.

During the show's final season, in an episode entitled, "Attached," aliens capture Picard and Dr. Crusher and the characters form a telepathic link in which they see each other's thoughts. It's been an open secret, but now they have a window directly into each other's minds and each can see how the other one really feels.

This being Starfleet, duty compels them to compartmentalize their personal feelings and act as if nothing happened after that. However, in the series finale, we get a glimpse of what might have been between Picard and Dr. Crusher. It turns out, not all of it is sunshine and space roses, because they got married and divorced in an alternate future.

They finally do kiss in the present, consummating their series-long flirtation; but then Picard has to go and change the past, erasing that moment on the timeline. We can only hope that Dr. Crusher might show back up on "Picard" at some point and give these two characters another chance at the forbidden romance they so clearly want and deserve.