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Tom Paris
Species Human
Home planet Earth
Affiliation United Federation of Planets
Posting Helmsman and medic,
USS Voyager
Rank Lieutenant, junior grade,
briefly demoted to Ensign
Portrayed by Robert Duncan McNeill

Thomas Eugene "Tom" Paris, played by Robert Duncan McNeill, is a character in the television series Star Trek: Voyager. (The character's middle name "Eugene" is a tribute to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.) Paris serves as the chief helmsman and an auxiliary medic aboard the USS Voyager.



Tom Paris is the son of Admiral Owen Paris and a scion of a family with a long history of illustrious service in Starfleet. Following in his family's tradition, Paris attended Starfleet Academy sometime in the 2350s and majored in astrophysics. A gifted pilot, Paris earned an assignment to the Academy's honor squadron.

Soon after his graduation from Starfleet Academy, Tom crashed a shuttle he was piloting near Caldik Prime, killing three other Starfleet officers. Afraid he would lose his commission, Paris falsified records that would reveal the cause of the accident as pilot error. His efforts to cover up the error succeeded, but later, overwhelmed by guilt and regret, he confessed. He was court-martialed for his actions, and was dishonorably discharged from Starfleet. This caused a major rift in the relationship between Paris and his father.

Following his discharge, Paris left San Francisco for Marseille, where he started spending his time, drinking and playing pool in Sandrine's, a waterfront bar. There, Chakotay, a former Starfleet officer now serving with the Maquis, discovered Paris and recruited him to serve as a mercenary pilot for the Maquis Rebellion against the Federation. This adventure went no better than his earlier stint in Starfleet, as Paris was soon captured by Starfleet while piloting his first mission for the Maquis.

Tried and convicted of treason for aiding the Maquis Rebellion, Paris was sentenced to serve time in the Federation Penal Settlement near Auckland, New Zealand. Kathryn Janeway, captain of the starship USS Voyager, obtained Paris' temporary release from the penal colony. Janeway, charged with finding and capturing the Maquis ship commanded by Chakotay, offered Paris early parole in exchange for serving as her informant on Chakotay and the Maquis.

Janeway and the crew of Voyager, while searching for the Maquis ship, were thrown into the Delta Quadrant by a massive energy wave created by an alien known as "The Caretaker". Once there, they successfully located the Maquis ship docked at the Caretaker's Array. The survivors of the incident became stranded about 70,000 light-years away from Earth. The Maquis ship was destroyed and its crew joined the Federation crew on Voyager.

The marooning of Voyager in the Delta Quadrant provided Paris with a new beginning. Janeway gave Paris a field commission as a Starfleet Lieutenant and made him chief helmsman of Voyager. He had a rough start, however, as Starfleet and Maquis alike viewed Paris with suspicion. Paris worked hard to earn his crewmates' respect; during this time, he became best friends with Ensign Harry Kim, a young officer on his first mission who defied his crewmates to befriend Paris. Eventually, Paris was accepted by the crew and became one of Janeway's valued officers.

Paris' duties were not limited to piloting Voyager. On Janeway's orders, he trained as a field medic and assisted The Doctor until the Doctor recruited Kes as his primary assistant. Following Kes' departure ("The Gift") Paris once again served regular duty shifts in Sickbay.

In the episode Thirty Days, while disobeying direct orders in order to do what he felt was morally right, he was demoted to Ensign and thrown in Voyager's brig for a period of 30 days. About a year later, after working diligently at his duties, he regained his former rank.

While serving on Voyager, Paris nurtured a long-hidden talent for holo-programming, devising several programs for the entertainment of his fellow crewmembers. His most popular programs included a re-creation of Sandrine's bar, an Irish town called "Fair Haven" and a 1930s-era sci-fi movie serial entitled Captain Proton.

Tom Paris married Lieutenant B'Elanna Torres, Voyager's half-Klingon chief engineer, in 2377. Torres gave birth to their daughter Miral Paris during the events that led to Voyager's return to the Alpha Quadrant and Earth.


Tom Paris at times displayed resentment toward his father, Owen Paris. This situation improved substantially over the course of the journey, due to Janeway's willingness to offer him redemption, and later, to his relationship with B'Elanna Torres.

Paris also has a deep interest in 20th-century Earth pop-culture, often utilizing such in his holo-programs. This knowledge has helped the crew during time-travel incidents.

He became good friends with Harry Kim from the start, and at times displayed protectiveness in the face of Harry's customary naivete. The only member of the crew with whom Paris initially had a somewhat difficult relationship was Chakotay, because of their history in the Maquis. However, throughout Voyager's seven-year journey home, Paris and Chakotay reconciled (in part due to Paris having earned Chakotay's trust) and became good friends.

Verbally, his manner was generally informal and witty. He had a tendency toward cynicism and self-hatred and a temper that could be impressive when roused, but overall he was a highly moral man who was determined to rise above his failings. He normally stayed away from discussing his emotions, but displayed tenderness toward B'Elanna on a few occasions, as well as gratitude and loyalty to the Captain for her faith in him.

Character background

The character of Tom Paris is based on Nicholas Locarno from the Star Trek: TNG episode "The First Duty", also portrayed by Robert Duncan McNeill.[1] Locarno, a charismatic and gifted Starfleet Academy cadet, covered up the facts concerning the death of another cadet and persuaded three other cadets, including Wesley Crusher, to go along with the cover-up. Crusher finally confessed to the coverup and the reckless behavior that caused the cadet's death after Jean-Luc Picard encouraged Crusher to tell the truth. Subsequently, Locarno was expelled from the Academy for initiating the cover-up and lying to the tribunal convened to investigate the accident.

According to published interviews, the producers first thought to use the Locarno character in Star Trek: Voyager, but then decided that Locarno, who never repented of his bad actions in "The First Duty", was irredeemable.[citation needed] 'Tom Paris' was given a similar background, but endowed with the regret and desire for redemption that was never exhibited by Nick Locarno.

The character Tom Paris has two backstories. The original backstory, and the only one acknowledged on screen, cast Paris as a disgraced officer dishonorably discharged from Starfleet for covering up pilot error following a shuttle accident on Caldik Prime. In her published novel, Pathways, Voyager producer Jeri Taylor provided an alternative story much more similar to the events in "The First Duty" by moving the accident to Paris's Academy years and making his fellow cadets the victims of his recklessness.

See also

  • Star Trek: Voyager
  • List of Star Trek: Voyager episodes
  • Star Trek


  1. ^ The First Duty from IMDB

External links



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