Revisiting Star Trek: The Next Generation's eerily prescient torture episode.
Julia Lapidos in Slate:
In an episode from the series' sixth season, Capt. Picard embarks on a mission to destroy a biological weapon and is taken prisoner by a hostile alien race, the Cardassians. Believing that Picard is privy to strategic military secrets, the Cardassians inject him with a truth serum. When this technique fails to produce information, the Cardassians string up their captive in a stress position, strip him naked, and subject him to extreme physical torment—zapping him with a pain-administering device. For good measure, the lead Cardassian interrogator also devises a test meant to inflict mental anguish: He points four bright lights at Picard and asks him, repeatedly, to say that there are five. (A clear homage to the four-vs.-five-fingers sequence in George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.)
Powerful when it aired in 1992, the episode is even more resonant in 2009. When Picard's comrades on the Enterprise learn of Picard's capture, they insist that the Cardassians abide by the terms of a Geneva-like “Solanis Convention.” The Cardassians rebuff the request: “The Solanis Convention applies to prisoners of war … [Picard] will be treated as a terrorist.”
More, including video of the scene, here.