Monday, January 18, 2016

Character Insight No. 174: (Medical Assistant) Martinez

This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.

Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, we profile the most prolific background character in The Next Generation, crewman Martinez.

Martinez 2373
(Martinez the nurse, during the movies, courtesy Memory Alpha)

Martinez first shows up as a crewman grade officer in the season two episode The Child, although his first appearance as a medical assistant in sickbay came later in The Survivors. He then appears in many more episodes as a background sickbay character throughout season 3 through 7, totaling 84 episodes in all along with the movies First Contact and Insurrection.

Ironically, Martinez is nicknamed Dr. Death in many of the scripts for these episodes, despite being given a name early in Season 3. In addition to his medical duties, he is one of the parents with a child on board, as shown in the episode New Ground, which is a unique construct of this version of Star Trek. Although he initially appeared more on the bridge and in Ten Forward, once his character finds a groove as a medical assistant, he becomes more regular and rises up the ranks through ensign to lieutenant, junior grade. That's more promotion than you can shake a Harry Kim at!

Although Martinez does not have many speaking lines, he is one of a few background characters to merit some different bits of dialogue over the years. That being said, his most often-used phrase on camera is one to be expected:
"Yes, Doctor."

Although Alyssa Ogawa probably has the most fame for being on the medical staff under Dr. Crusher, Martinez is the steady hand you see both in the background of those sickbay scenes as well as at many other crew functions like birthday parties and formal dinners and ceremonies. It is a bit of a shame that we don't get to see more of his character other than in the job setting, although with such a big ensemble cast, it can be hard to expand the universe to be much bigger.

Martinez was played by regular background actor Michael Braveheart, who was not credited for his appearances despite collecting more appearances than any other background character in the series. He played various Klingons and other aliens in Deep Space Nine, Voyager, and Enterprise, and he can also be seen in Cagney & Lacey as well as the Steven Spielberg film Always.

Until next time, be nice to your nurses, as they can save your life.


Feedback can be sent to me with future segment suggestions on Twitter @BuckeyeFitzy.

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