Daniel Davis Talks About His “Different” Moriarty In ‘Star Trek: Picard’ Season 3

The final moment of the new NYCCC Star Trek: Picard teaser trailer had a surprise reveal: the return of Moriarty, the holographic Sherlock Holmes adversary who plagued the USS Enterprise-D on a couple of occasions. Actor Daniel Davis has come back to the role after almost three decades, and in a new video, he reveals more about Moriarty’s return including some minor spoilers.

The return of Moriarty is “threatening”

The hologram of James Moriarty played by Daniel Davis was created in the second season Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Elementary, Dear Data” by Geordi La Forge, who tasked the Enterprise’s computer to create an opponent that could defeat Data. The result was a hologram that became self-aware and tried to take over the ship. Davis played the character again in the sixth season’s “Ship in a Bottle,” which ended with the hologram being stored in a cube that ran a simulation so he would believe he had escaped the USS Enterprise.

Daniel Davis as Moriarty in “Elementary, Dead Data”

Now the character is returning in season 3 of Picard; showrunner Terry Matalas says he is one of its three villains (the other two being Amanda Plummer’s Vadic and Brent Spiner’s Lore). During the NYCC panel, show star Sir Patrick Stewart was asked to talk about working with Daniel Davis again, but Matalas jumped in to try to prevent any spoilers, saying, “He can’t.” Stewart did say this: “Moriarty being back again is both entertaining and threatening.”

Moriarty brought a gun to the Picard NYCC trailer

Moriarty is different on Picard

In a new Cameo video from Tim Roy, Daniel Davis said he was happy to finally be able to talk about it but also revealed that he only appears in a single episode of Picard.

I have to say a hallelujah because my non-disclosure agreement was lifted yesterday at the New York Comic Con with the announcement that Moriarty would be returning. I’ve had to sit on this information since last December when I went to Los Angeles to film the episode. It was a fantastic experience as it always is… The work was was wonderful. It was just one day of shooting.

While his time in the season appears to be limited, Davis dropped a very interesting clue:

The one thing I think I can tell you is I think the fans will enjoy what happens more if they understand that it’s a bit of a callback to an earlier season, way before Moriarty even appeared actually—the first meeting between Riker and Data. You should remind yourselves of that.

It appears Davis is talking about the scene in the Next Generation series premiere “Encounter at Farpoint” when Riker meets Data for the first time in the holodeck, where Data was trying to master whistling. Davis also indicates that in Picard season 3, he has a scene with Jonathan Frakes’ Riker:

As Riker says in the script in the scene that we did, “This is not the Moriarity that we know from the Enterprise.” And in fact, that is true. And that’s all I can tell you. It’s a different different kind of Moriarty, but it’s still Moriarty. It’s very exciting.

Riker meets Data in “Encounter at Farpoint”

Even though Davis only shot for a day, he was impressed by the scale of the production and attention to detail. He recalled for Moriarty on TNG they used a costume rented from the famed Western Costume Company, but for Picard the production sent someone to his home in New York to measure him for a custom costume.

They had tailor-made the outfit for me and it fit like a glove. It was absolutely astonishing, including an Inverness cape. It was an amazing costume. And then of course, you are treated so wonderfully by the company.

He also recalled being able to spend some quality time with Sir Patrick Stewart.

That day when I finished my fitting, I was on my way back to the parking lot and I ran into Jonathan Frakes and he was standing outside Patrick Stewart’s trailer, and Patrick Stewart poked his head out and he had finished his work for the day and he said [in perfect Stewart voice], “Oh, Daniel, how wonderful that you’re back” and I was invited into his trailer, and we sat and had a conversation for maybe 90 minutes… Patrick and I have a similar background in the theater and we are both acquainted with Ian McKellen. Of course, they are very close friends And I stood by for Ian in Amadeus on Broadway. So we had a lot to talk about the theater and about his plans and what he’s currently involved with—and I can’t tell you about any of those things either. But we had a wonderful time together.

Daniel Davis as Moriarty in the Picard NYCC trailer

The final season of Picard premieres on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2023, exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S., with new episodes of the 10-episode-long season available to stream weekly on Thursdays. Picard streams exclusively on Paramount+ in the U.S. and is distributed concurrently by Paramount Global Content Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in more than 200 countries and territories, and in Canada it airs on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.

Keep up with news for the Star Trek Universe at TrekMovie.com.

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Only one episode huh?

And only one day of shooting, apparently. So he cannot even be a really big part of that episode.

Yeah, that’s disappointing. He was by far the best surprise of the trailer.

Of course, Daniel Davis has also played the captain of the USS Enterprise… CVN-65, in “The Hunt For Red October”.

That was Fred Dalton Thompson.

Thompson played the Admiral who was on board the Enterprise. Davis played the Captain of the Enterprise, Davenport.


So the Captain was the guy who didn’t care for Ryan wearing the uniform? The way the scene was set up was that Dalton was playing the Captain. I guess I do recall Ryan calling him “Admiral”.

Nothing ever dies in Star Trek anymore. Who would’ve ever thought a 30+ year old holodeck character from two episodes would’ve ever been back? Actually I think he would’ve been too perfect to bring back on Lower Decks and hey maybe they still can. ;)

Really looking forward to this!

We already know that Thadiun Okona (The Outrageous Okona) is returning via Prodigy, and this after Bruce Maddox (The Measure of a Man) returned via Picard and Ensign Sonya Gomez (Q Who? and Samaritan Snare) returned via Lower Decks.

It seems Secret Hideout really likes TNG Season 2. Maybe Carolyn Seymour is next?

Wow, I never really thought about that, but you’re right. There do seem to be a lot of call backs to season 2

I never thought about that either, but you’re right. And who knows, maybe Dr.Pulaski might make an appearance at some point. She is still the biggest new character from season 2 but was never seen or heard from again. And the actor is still around as well.

Moriart wasn’t dead the las time that we saw him.More or Less,Trapped In A Cube,for lack of a better term. But living his life, with the Contessa.

I wasn’t talking literally, just in general that characters never disappear and always extended in some part of the franchise in various media; many for decades on end. And yes even when a character dies…they still come back! ;D

Do I have to check my eyes or did he mention Data?!?!?! 😁😁😁 So I hope my biggest hope will come true and Data indeed will return too!!!

Damn, you’d figure that after dismantling Lore for the last time, they would have fed him into a shredder. Apparently not.
So, some 25th century picker bought a surplus Federation storage locker at auction, and got a big payday with a disassembled android.

Lore never visited Talos IV, so they can’t legally execute him.

good one!


“good one!”

Yeah, that one’s a Keeper.

They can turn him off. And it would be a good idea to completely disassemble him after that and store him in different parts of the galaxy. He’s not “executed” as he could be put back together and turned on.

Would it be killing him if they destroyed everything but the head?

Is Data’s mother still alive? I mean the character, not the actress; Fionnula Flanagan is still alive.


But Flanagan looks almost the same as she did in Inheritance.. Amazing. One of those actors who just always looked older than they really were I guess (see also Wilford Brimley and Ellen Corby.)

All I can imagine now is season three opening with the 25th century version of Storage Wars!

I was beyond excited seeing him in the trailer, but with him being in just one episode I think I would have preferred to see the reveal in the episode itself.

I think in one of the interviews with Terry, this is what he was hinting at – he had to get permission to include a callback only a few would remember.

Little disappointed it this sounds this is just a cameo. I’d have been stoked it he’d been the season’s big bad somehow.

I’m getting the feeling there are going to be a ton of cameo’s this season.

And so begins the drip feeding of “trust me it will be special” from the cast

I had hoped for Nicky the Nose, but he’ll do.

I’m absolutely thrilled Moriarty will be back. It was honestly a huge surprise for me when I saw the trailer. But it seems odd to make his reveal at the end such a big thing when he’ll be there for what is most likely just one scene (Daniel did 1 day of filming which will hardly be more than the 1 scene he mentioned). I think I would’ve preferred to have gotten his reveal in the actual episode, making his small part feel more impactful.

I’m not so sure it will be just one scene. I mean a tailor made custom suit for one scene?!

I agree with you, but I also am reminded that Discovery spent a ton of time and money on the Klingon torchbearer suit for about 10 seconds of screentime. So wouldn’t put it past them to throw money at the production (though I hope the powers that be have learned some things about what not to do in a star Trek production).

Oh. Huh… Did not know that. Well I hope he is in more than one seen. Moriarty is the thing that got me the most excited about this season.

I’m making a prediction now: Moriarty is just one of several callbacks we’re going to get. This is going to be a “Commander Data, this is your life” kind of thing, with Lore, Moriarty, and other villains returning for minor roles.

What exactly do you mean with “Commander Data, this is your life”? ☺️

It’s a reference to an old TV show, This Is Your Life, in which people would be presented with folks from their past.

Interesting theory, But why would they even be doing that unless Data has some connection to the big bad of the season?

Someone in the Youtube comments on the teaser trailer had some interesting conjecture. Moriarty was created as the one person who could defeat Data. What if he is “summoned” by our TNG crew to defeat Lore? (again, not my theory – but thought it was interesting.)

Makes as much sense as anything else

That’s actually a really interesting theory.

I’ve been wondering this myself. I think Moriarty won’t be a villain this season, first because he’s just in one ep, and second because it makes sense they’d look thru their historical “AI” as it were to try to figure out how to escape whatever bad situation they’re in, and Moriarty is or will be one of them.

Well, that was informative.

Better news but it’s still awful he was even involved at all. There is no way to incorporate Moriarity into Trek in a workable way unless they wanted to make the Doyle characters real in the Trek world and time travel was involved. And that is pretty over the top even for Trek.

You realize that he is a character that has already appeared twice in TNG. What is unworkable about him?

They brought him in and used him in ways that didn’t work at all. It’s not unusual. There were a number of episodes that just didn’t work. How in this case? It makes no sense that a hologram would have the ability to take over the ship from the holodeck. At all. If that was so anyone could. Seems like an incredible security flaw. What’s stopping people from saying “create the Enterprise’ auxiliary control that actually works. Boom. You now have total control of the ship. Sorry but that’s insane.

I am assuming you don’t watch the classic series such as TNG? Several episodes show the TNG charecters were fans of classic literature. Picard likes Shakespeare while Geordi and Data liked Sherlock Holmes stories and reenacted them in the holodeck.

This version of Moriarty was created in the holodeck by accident when they tried to create an opponent that could defeat Data. He is a sentient hologram, and he already appeared in two episodes of TNG.

There is only one “classic” series. And it’s not TNG. Referencing classic literature is a long way away from a holodeck created character magically has the ability to take over the ship from the holodeck. Doesn’t matter he is sentient or not. And the character doesn’t need to be sentient to defeat Data. All that character needs is all information about Data and they would know about his “off” switch. It’s actually amazingly easy to defeat Data.

Thanks, this is literally the dumbest thing I’ve read this week.

I was under the impression that this person based on the volume of comments knows something about Trek? if they are joking, it did not translate to text

The comment demonstrates I do know something of Trek. But I guess the only thing I am ignoring is the ability for writers to insert things in that make no sense for their stories to work. Which is obviously what went on in the Moriarity episodes. To a much higher degree than usual.

But you didn’t explain why. Which seems even dumber in and of itself.

One episode. That’s a let down.

Hey, lets not forget that Hugh was only in ONE episode and he was in a good chunk of season 1. They should bring back Worfs holo battle partner to de-pacify him;)

Three – “I, Borg”, then “Descent” parts 1 & 2.

It’s not a great sign that the writers had to rely on a Holodeck trick for the plot.

I don’t know, I thought the Dixon Hill trick in First Contact was fun. Could be something along those lines.

This is an odd one, it seems like with only 1-day of shooting in one episode, he has a very minor roll to play and it would have been best to leave this as nice little surprise for when the episode airs. Appearing in the trailer is likely going to set expectations a little too high.

I was the same. But then again, I’m glad he told us now he’ll only be in 1 episode so expectations are already lowered.

I’d love it if they brought back Vic Fontaine, too! There was always a lot more to that character than met the eye.

I can’t believe no one has suggested this, but with all the hints about both, I think Moriarty downloads and takes over Lore’s body. Thoughts?