Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reason #12 Why I Love DS9 - Garak

There are many reasons why I love Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and why it remains my favorite of the Star Trek franchise.

Reason #12: Garak

Of all the recurring characters over all of the Star Trek universe my favorite, by far, is Garak (Andrew Robinson). The simple tailor is the only Cardassian on the station when Starfleet arrives on Bajor, and over the next few seasons we learn more than a little about Garak's past, but not all. Originally intended to be used in only a single episode, Garak went on to appear in over 30 episodes including the season finale. It's impossible to imagine the show without him.

Once a high ranking officer in the Obsidian Order, Garak was stripped of his rank and privelege, and exiled from Cardassian space by his mentor (and as we discover later, his father) Enabran Tain. There, among Bajorans and Starfleet officers he makes a new life for himself, though his old skills do come in handy from time to time.

One of the best decisions on the show was for the former spy to strike up an unlikely friendship with the wide-eyed Dr. Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig). The pair provide some terrific scenes together over the years whether it be sparring over lunch, playing spies in the holosuite, or escaping a Dominion prison.

As it's pointed out by many characters, including Garak himself, the man has a gift for lies and obfuscation. We never learn what Garak did to get himself exiled, even on death's door in The Wire the former spy spins three separate variations of a tale to Bashir who later learns that none of them can be true. When confronting his friend and patient Garak responds that they're all true, "especially the lies."

Over the course of the series Garak proves himself to be an asset to the Federation by helping enlist the Romulans into the war with the Dominion. He's never completely trustworthy of forthcoming with information he deems might be valuable, but in a crisis he's proved his worth time and time again.

Say what you want about Garak's loyalty and trustworthiness, DS9, and the entire Star Trek universe is better for having him in it.

1 comment:

Kal said...

I love Garak. Even more so when I realize the actor playing him made such an impression on me all those years ago as the crazed killer in 'Dirty Harry'. My favorite episode, of course' is the one where Garak and Odo join Tain in his attack on the founder's home world. After Garak returns to his blown up tailor shop we see him talk to Odo who is in shadow and admits to him "The real shame Odo, is that I really am a GOOD tailor."
That said everything I needed to know about him as a character. He may be a spy and a son-of-a-bitch but he was OUR son-of-a-bitch and he only wanted to be appreciated for the person he was trying to be...not necessarily the one he was. Great post.