Who is Bruce Maddox, and why does his name keep coming up on Picard?

If you’ve been watching Star Trek: Picard along with the rest of us, you may have heard the name Bruce Maddox come up a few times. You probably thought “I am not sure if I’ve heard that one before.” If you watched The Next Generation back in the day, you just might have. But unlike Khan, Mudd or other Trek villains who have been brought back from their first appearance into a new series, films, or animated work, Maddox does not stand out.

Maddox’s first and only appearance in Trek — so far — was in the TNG episode, The Measure Of A Man, which was written by Melinda M. Snodgrass, for the show’s second season. 

The back story on the story was that Snodgrass had been working with George R. R. Martin (yes, the Game of Thrones guy) on a series of novels called The Wild Cards. Martin urged Snodgrass to submit a script she’d been working on to the producers of The Next Generation. The story for The Measure Of A Man was so well thought of, that it’s been voted one of the very best of TNG by a number of polls. 

When Snodgrass learned that the Picard show took her ideas and expanded upon them, this is what she had to say:


Anyhow, Maddox was portrayed by actor Brian Brophy, and he was all about dismantling Mr. Data to understand how he worked. Maddox was an expert on robotics and cybernetics, and was very close to figuring out how Dr. Noonian Soong’s creation (Data) worked. But he needed a closer look at Data’s brain and inner workings to solve a few problems he had.

Brophy is still active, and a quick web search shows that Professor Brophy served as the Director of the Theater Program at CalTech in 2016.

Will Brophy appear in as Maddox in Picard? A great question! The teaser video at the end of Picard, Episode 4 leads us to believe that he might, especially when Raffi says that they found Maddox on Freecloud. As she says this, a white human male drops to the ground:

Could this be old man Bruce Maddox on Freecloud? Courtesy of CBS
Could this be old man Bruce Maddox on Freecloud? Courtesy of CBS

We’ll have to wait until Episode 5 streams to find out if that is Maddox. But what is so interesting about the character is that he’s not exactly a villain. He’s a scientist driven to understand a project left behind by another incredible talent — Dr. Noonian Soong. It appears that Maddox was somewhat successful in creating the “army of Datas,” which Guinan described in The Measure Of A Man, especially after watching Picard, Episode 2.

The androids serving on Mars, which a human referred to as "the plastic people." Courtesy of CBS
The androids serving on Mars, which a human referred to as “the plastic people.” Courtesy of CBS

At the end of the day, we’ll just have to wait and see if Maddox appears again in person, or if we’ll just enjoy his creations — including Soji, who is a flesh and blood android — on Picard.


Bruce Maddox did indeed return on Picard, but he was portrayed by John Ales.