Commander Katherine Pulaski, MD; played by Diana Muldaur, is the replacement chief medical officer for Dr. Beverly Crusher during the second season of the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Muldaur had previously played the parts of two separate characters (also doctors) in separate episodes of the original Star Trek series: Dr. Ann Mulhall in "Return to Tomorrow" and Dr. Miranda Jones in "Is There in Truth No Beauty?".
Despite being a regular character on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Muldaur was always listed during the opening credits as a "Special Guest Star".
Following production of the second season, Muldaur left TNG and joined the cast of L.A. Law. Gates McFadden returned to continue playing Dr. Crusher. It has never been revealed why Pulaski left the Enterprise. Since her departure, Pulaski is seldom mentioned on TNG. She is directly referenced when Dr. Crusher states that she is aware of Pulaski's short-term memory erasing technique in "Who Watches the Watchers". Pulaski is also indirectly referenced in "Ship in a Bottle" as the hostage whom Professor Moriarty had captured in his previous adventure. Later, in the series finale to Star Trek: Voyager, Pulaski's name can be heard being paged over an intercom at a Starfleet medical facility as Kathryn Janeway leaves the room of her ailing friend Tuvok.
In a reference to the fate of Muldaur's character on L.A. Law, The Star Trek Encyclopedia categorically states that "there is no truth to the rumor that an ancestor of Dr. Pulaski was killed falling down the elevator shaft at a prestigious Los Angeles law firm. None at all".
Fictional character biography
Prior to serving on the Enterprise-D, she serves on the USS Repulse under Captain Taggart, who was sorry to lose her.
Kate is a fairly traditional doctor, well versed in methods that her nurses consider archaic, such as splints. She has a cool bedside manner, and is known to prescribe "PCS", also known as "Pulaski's Chicken Soup", for minor ailments.
She shares many personality traits with Dr. Leonard McCoy of the original Star Trek, including a distrust of transporters and androids and a no-nonsense attitude (see for instance her favor of using splints).
She is outgoing and much more bubbly and louder than the quiet, reserved Beverly Crusher. She also has a high-spirited nature and is known to be very charming toward most of the crew, while at the same time she likes to make humorous or even slightly sarcastic remarks every now and then. In short, she very strongly possesses a lot of archetypically "human" personality features, and could be described as the opposite of such calm, rational individuals as Data or Spock, who mostly lack these features.
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