Stuff We Love: The focus on Garak in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’s “The Wire”

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One of the reasons I love Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is because of how its side characters are interesting, complex and allowed to develop almost as much as its main cast. That’s why the episode “The Wire” from the show’s second season is one of my favorites, because it focuses on Deep Space 9’s resident Cardassian Garak.

Garak works as a tailor on the station, but clearly has a more complex past than he’s revealed by this episode. “The Wire” starts with Garak and Dr. Julian Bashir about to enjoy one of their usual lunches when sudden pain causes the Cardassian to leave. Despite the fact that Bashir tells Jadzia Dax he and Garak aren’t friends and don’t trust each other, the doctor is clearly upset that Garak refuses his offers of help. This leads him on a path to trying to find out what’s happening, and eventually he discovers there’s an implant in Garak’s head that’s the problem. Turning the implant off forces Garak to deal with withdrawal, which leads to arguments and fights between the two. Ultimately Bashir finds that the implant is still killing the Cardassian, so he finds the man responsible to try and get answers. That’s when Enabran Tain appears and gives Bashir what he needs to save Garak. By the end, Bashir and Garak are enjoying lunch together once more.

It’s no secret that Garak is one of my favorite Star Trek characters, and “The Wire” is a fantastic episode showcasing the character. It revealed his first name was Elim, introduced the Obsidian Order as well as Tain and teased Garak’s connection to them, and also really cemented how there was an unlikely friendship forming between the Cardassian tailor and human doctor, despite what they might say. The episode also took full advantage of the talented actors Andrew Robinson and Alexander Siddig, and how amazing they always were together on screen in any scene, whether dramatic or comedic. Take, for example, the final lunch in this episode and the conversation between the two. When Bashir says he still has questions about Garak’s past and Garak tells him he gave him all the answers, Bashir replies that they were all different and he wants to know which ones were true. Garak’s perfect response is that they were all true, especially the lies!

This episode solidified how very far Garak was from the plain, simple tailor persona he was portraying and made an already interesting non-main cast character even more compelling!