Like many of his fellow Star Trek actors, Jonathan Frakes developed his acting chops on stage in New York City, where he appeared in Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape and Shenandoah. Soap opera parts (The Doctors) and supporting parts in assorted television series (The Waltons, Fantasy Island, Quincy, M.E., North and South) followed, as did a lead role on the short-lived primetime soap, Bare Essence.

In 1987, the actor -- who was born and raised in Pennsylvania -- was cast as Commander Will Riker in Star Trek: The Next Generation, the wildly successful successor to Star Trek: The Original Series. Both the series and his character were extremely well received by the viewing public, but Frakes opted not to rest on his acting laurels. By taking advantage of an informal “director in training” program that came into existence during executive producer Rick Berman’s tenure with the Star Trek franchise, Frakes received invaluable insight into the nuts and bolts of crafting a television episode. He went on to direct a total of 14 episodes of TNG, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, including his memorable debut, "The Offspring." 

Further, he directed two of the TNG films: the blockbuster hit Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection, and also the video game Star Trek: Klingon. Post-Star Trek, Frakes has become a much-in-demand television director and producer, helming episodes of such series as Roswell (also producer), Leverage, Dollhouse, Castle, NCIS: Los Angeles, V, The Librarians (also producer), Burn Notice, Falling Skies and Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce. Frakes considers himself a director these days, but still occasionally acts, be it a guest spot on Angie Tribeca or a voiceover role for Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, Future-Worm! or Miles from Tomorrow  

Frakes has been married since 1988 to actress Genie Francis, best known for her role as Laura on General Hospital. They live in Los Angeles and are the parents of a son, Jameson Ivor, and daughter, Elizabeth Francis.