One of the top-rated episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation was the two-part Chain of Command, which featured Ronny Cox as a rather strict Captain Edward Jellico.
Cox enjoyed bringing in a character who caused problems on the normally tranquil Enterprise. “Gene Roddenberry didn’t like conflict between the characters, so my guy was the first guy to come in and sort of ruffle everybody’s feathers,” he said. “I liked that aspect of him. I also liked that he was a by-the-book guy. I loved it when Picard comes back to the Enterprise at the end and Jellico says, ‘Here’s your ship back, just the way you left it… maybe a little better.'”
Jellico took care of necessary business on Enterprise; including ordering a new look for Deanna Troi. “I never saw [Jellico] as an unlikable character,” said Cox, “I think there were a lot of things that he did that were really important for that show. Having Troi put on a damn uniform? Give me a break! This is an officer on a ship and she’s running around with her boobs hanging out?”
Even Livingston the fish came under scrutiny of the by-the-book Jellico. “Jellico made them take the fish out of the ready room,” he said. “And here’s a secret: Patrick (Stewart) hated the fish in the ready room. Patrick was always after them to take the fish out of the ready room. His point – and it’s a point well taken – was, ‘We’re doing a series about the species of the universe, about the dignity of different species, and we have a captured species swimming around in the ready room? That’s immoral.’ So he never wanted the fish there.”
“I loved playing Jellico,” said Cox. “Like I said, I never saw him as a villain. He was a bit of a hard-ass, but not a villain. I thought he dealt with the Cardassians really well and I thought he ran the Enterprise really well, though in a completely different style from Picard.”
Although fans never saw Jellico again after Chain of Command, Cox would have gladly taken on the role again had he been asked to do so. “Everyone was pleased with Jellico and I would have cleared some decks to work on that show again,” he said, “but I only did those two (episodes).’