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Star Trek: VOY episode
"Latent Image"
ST-VOY Latent Image.jpg
The Doctor experiences crippling guilt
Episode no. 105
Prod. code 206
Airdate January 20, 1999
Writer(s) Eileen Connors
Joe Menosky
Director Mike Vejar
Guest star(s) Nancy Bell as Ensign Jetal
Scarlett Pomers as Naomi Wildman
Year 2375
Stardate  ?
Episode chronology
Previous "Counterpoint"
Next "Bride of Chaotica!"

"Latent Image" is an episode of Star Trek: Voyager, the eleventh episode of the fifth season. The episode has an average rating of 4.6/5 on the official Star Trek website (as of August 7, 2007).[1]



During a routine medical examination of several members of Voyager's crew, The Doctor discovers evidence that Ensign Harry Kim has, at some point within the previous two years, undergone surgery of a complex and specific nature, which could only have been performed by the Doctor himself.

Having no memory of the procedure, The Doctor attempts to reconstruct evidence surrounding the time period, but finds that some of the files in his extensive photographic collection of the crew have been deleted. A reconstruction and search of the files reveals pictures of a crewmember of whom he has no recollection - Ensign Jetal.

Despite several anonymous attempts to delete the results of his investigations from his recent memory, The Doctor eventually discovers a conspiracy by the crew to keep him from remembering events that led to the holographic equivalent of a psychotic break. The trouble started when a shuttlecraft was attacked, causing several casualties. The Doctor was faced with making a choice between two critically-injured patients - Ensign Jetal and Ensign Kim - with an equal chance of survival, but a limited amount of time in which the Doctor could act, meaning that he had to choose which of the two to save. The Doctor happened to choose Ensign Harry Kim; Jetal died on the operating table. As time passed, the Doctor was overpowered by guilt, believing that his friendship with Harry somehow influenced his choice. The Doctor fears that he may have, however inadvertently, let Ensign Jetal die so that his friend could live. These events created a conflict between those parts of his program that compelled him to act impartially, and those that comprised his ethical sensibility.

On having the previously-deleted files of these events reinstalled into his memory, the Doctor's mental stability begins to deteriorate as before, and Captain Janeway is faced with deleting his memories of events once again, or attempting to allow the Doctor to come to terms with his guilt, although this would possibly endanger the crew by effectively leaving them without an experienced medic in the interim.

Having been convinced by Seven of Nine that the Doctor has reached a point in his personal development where he deserves the chance to evolve beyond the constraints of his program - and by extension, his very nature as a piece of technology - Janeway allows him to retain his memories and eventually come to terms with what he's done.


  • Robert Picardo said in interview for the DVD collection of season 7 that this is not only his favorite Voyager episode, but also the most important in the development of the Doctor's character.
  • According to The Doctor La Vita Nuova ("New Life") by Dante Alighieri opens with the line, “In that book which is my memory, on the first page of the chapter that is the day when I first met you appear the words: Here begins a new life.” This is a misquotation. The actual opening lines are “In the book of my memory, after the first pages, which are almost blank, there is a section headed Incipit vita nova. Beneath this heading I find the words which it is my intention to copy into this smaller book, or if not all, at least their meaning.” (Barbara Reynolds translation, 1969)

See also

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