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RIP Peter Allan Fields, One of the Minds Behind Some of Star Trek's Most Powerful Episodes

Picard plays a mournful tune in “The Inner Light.”
Picard plays a mournful tune in “The Inner Light.”
Image: CBS

Peter Allen Fields, the television screenwriter who helped bring some of the most iconic and dramatic chapters of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine to life, has passed away.

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News of Fields’ death was first conveyed by Deep Space Nine showrunner and longtime collaborator Ira Steven Behr last night, offering condolences to Fields’ family and friends.

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A writer and producer with credits across everything from the likes of The Man from U.N.C.L.E., to Xena: Warrior Princess, to The Six Million Dollar Man, Fields is going to be best remembered by fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Fields co-wrote a total of 13 episodes for the franchise in his long association with it—three for TNG and 10 with DS9—and among them are some of the best remembered and heartwrenching episodes of each respective series. For Next Generation, Fields contributed to the Lwaxana Troi-centric episodes “Half a Life” and “Cost of Living” in seasons four and five, but also most notably to one of the most-lauded episodes of the show, season five’s “The Inner Light” with Morgan Gendel, the tragic tale of Captain Jean-Luc Picard finding himself living a life he never knew he had on an alien world, attempting to chase his way back to the Enterprise.

For Deep Space Nine, Fields’ contributions were myriad, but highlights include “Duet,the remarkably powerful episode where Major Kira finds her beliefs challenged when she’s confronted with a former Cardassian slave camp worker dying of a terminal disease; “For the Uniform,which explored the dangerous depths Captain Sisko was willing to go to hunt down terrorist fringe group the Maquis; and “In the Pale Moonlight,arguably one of the finest hours of Star Trek ever written, a compelling, haunting examination of the true costs behind maintaining Gene Roddenberry’s utopia in a time of debilitating, catastrophic war.

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Our thoughts are with Fields’ family and friends in this sad time.


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James is a News Editor at io9. He wants pictures. Pictures of Spider-Man!

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DISCUSSION

His contributions to DS9 are hands down some of the best episodes in the franchise. Hell, Duet is probably the first episode in DS9's run to really show the kinds of ideas and stories that would set it apart from every other Trek show. The writing of that episode combined with Visitor and Yulin’s acting makes some of the best drama in Trek.

Powerful stuff.

IRP Mr. Fields.