"Our ship might not be the biggest, and we might do the missions nobody else wants, but we are still Starfleet." – Carol Freeman
The Lower Deck of the Cerritos is comprised of the “cool, scrappy underdogs of the ship.” Through their adventures, we get a look at a side of Starfleet we’ve rarely seen before.
We’ve previously covered the Lower Deckers — Ensigns Beckett Mariner, Brad Boimler, D’Vana Tendi, and Sam Rutherford. Now we’re going to look at the command crew, starting with Captain Carol Freeman (voiced by Dawnn Lewis)!
“If you ever disrespect me like that again, I’ll skip the court-martial and blow you out the airlock.” – Carol Freeman
While most Starfleet officers viewed their crew as family, for Captain Carol Freeman, it’s a real family affair. Her husband, Admiral Freeman, is a four-star admiral within Starfleet. Unfortunately for the Captain and the Admiral, their daughter, Ensign Beckett Mariner, doesn’t uphold Starfleet conduct and ideals as they would like.
Frustrated, Captain Freeman keeps her relationship with Mariner secret from the crew because she doesn’t “want anyone to know the most demerited officer in the fleet” is her daughter. Much to her parent’s chagrin, she loves the brig and appears to inject joy and thrive at menial tasks the captain assigns her aboard the Cerritos.
Despite trying to trick Mariner to transfer to another starship or demanding her husband to send their daughter back to the Quito, both mother and daughter grow to respect what the other has to offer, realizing they both have Starfleet and the Cerritos’ best interests at heart. Freeman even orders her daughter to deliver on what she does best – formulating “dangerous, half-baked solutions” that not only break Starfleet code but also “totally pisses [her] off.”
“I'm doing exactly what I need to. It's called being a captain.” – Carol Freeman
Before helming the Cerritos, Captain Freeman also served aboard the U.S.S. Illinois. Freeman takes great pride in Starfleet, especially for their ability to figure out “impossible problems.” However, it frustrates her to no end when Starfleet fails to recognize her and her crew aboard the California-class vessel for their work. As a result, Freeman demands much more from her crew and takes every mission far more seriously than expected. Every step of the way, Admiral Freeman commends his wife for her successes and supports her goals of seeking promotion to a capital ship like an Enterprise.
Despite butting heads with Mariner over the younger’s attempt at aiding a lizard species subject to “rat oppression,” thereby not upholding the Prime Directive, Freeman’s beliefs are not that far off from her daughter’s notion that Starfleet’s “good at observing and bad at maintaining.” She once confided in her First Officer, Commander Jack Ransom, with her frustrations of revisiting civilizations once they found themselves in trouble again. However, Ransom reminds her they are unable to do so without direct orders from Starfleet otherwise they violate the Prime Directive.
“I'm calling on every officer, no matter what your usual duties are. We have to work together. It'll be close, people; our lives will be on the line. But we are Starfleet, and we never back down from a challenge. Now, get to work. Cerritos strong!” – Carol Freeman
Freeman will often go to bat for her crew noting they should be of equal caliber to Captain Picard’s; “we might be California-class, but we are the best at what we do.” Valuing her crew, Freeman was disappointed to learn from her friend Gomez that she will be unable to transfer her senior staff with her aboard her new command vessel. After all, Freeman and the Cerritos’ actions continue to maintain Starfleet’s mission of peace in the Alpha Quadrant, including the Battle of Kalla. As a result, Freeman turned down a transfer as she’s happy where she is — aboard the Cerritos with her command crew and daughter.
Season 3 of Star Trek: Lower Decks returns on Thursday, August 25!
Christine Dinh (she/her) is the managing editor for StarTrek.com. She’s traded the Multiverse for helming this Federation Starship.
Star Trek: Lower Decks streams exclusively in the United States and Latin America on Paramount+, on Amazon Prime Video in Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Japan, India and more, and in Canada on Bell Media’s CTV Sci-Fi Channel and streams on Crave.