Commander Beverly Crusher, M.D. (born Beverly Cheryl Howard), played by actress Gates McFadden, is a fictional character on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation and its subsequent spinoff films. She was a regular character in the show for all but the second of its seven seasons.
Gates McFadden was replaced during the second season, and the character of Dr. Katherine Pulaski, played by Diana Muldaur, was added as the USS Enterprise-D's chief medical officer. On the show, Crusher's absence was explained due to her being promoted to head of Starfleet medical. Citing a lack of chemistry between Muldaur and the rest of the cast, McFadden and her character returned to the show from season 3 on, to re-replace Pulaski.
Dr. Crusher is the chief medical officer on board the USS Enterprise-D and its successor, the USS Enterprise-E. Crusher held the rank of Commander, and was the head of Starfleet Medical during 2365.
She has one son, Wesley, with her late husband, Jack Crusher.
She is very intelligent, passionate, and caring; she has a very strong will and a sense of justice and will stand up for the underdog, even if that sometimes means going against her training as a Starfleet officer. She is often found playing devil's advocate in the senior staff meetings. In Sexual Generations: Star Trek: The Next Generation and Gender (University of Illinois Press, 1999), Robin Roberts opines that this character "is shaped more by her femininity than by her medical, scientific training."
Gates McFadden was reluctant to accept the role of Dr. Crusher because of her commitment to appear in the play The Matchmaker at the La Jolla Playhouse. During the second season, the Crusher character was written out of the show and replaced by Diana Muldaur as Dr. Katherine Pulaski. Patrick Stewart was upset by McFadden's departure from the show and played a large part in bringing about her return.  McFadden returned to the show in the third season, with her character being reassigned to the Enterprise. In the story of the show, the explanation was that her character "was off heading up Starfleet Medical for the year." Upon her return, the character became more varied and more richly developed, and was not afraid to go head-to-head with Picard.
Beverly Crusher was born Beverly Howard in Copernicus City, Luna. Following the death of her parents when she was very young, she lived with her grandmother, Felisa Howard on Arvada III, a colony planet until a great moon collision caused the planet to flood, forcing its evacuation. Resourceful Felisa, with her granddaughter's aid, used herbs, grasses, tree chemicals, and roots as medicines when synthetic medicines ran out for the injured.
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