Recap: Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 03 E 20 Improbable Cause

After a bomb destroys Garak's shop, Odo thinks Garak knows more than he's telling. When his initial prime suspect, a Flaxian assassin, is killed by the Romulans, Odo goes to secret connections in Cardassia for information.He learns that five other ex-operatives of the Obsidian Order were killed on the same day. Garak recognizes the victims as fellow associates of Enabran Tain, former head of the Obsidian Order, so he and Odo go looking for Tain.

They find Tain on a Romulan ship, where he has come out of retirement and joined up with peers in the Tal Shiar, the Romulan secret service. They have assembled a secret fleet of Tal Shiar and Obsidian Order ships withwhich they plan to attack and destroy the Founders' home world in the Gamma Quadrant. Tain admits that he gave the orders to kill Garak and the five others, to eliminate those from his past who knew enough about him to get in the way. Since Garak survived, Tain gives him a chance to join him again, which Garak accepts.


  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation: Happens In-Universe, when Garak believes the true Aesop of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" isn't "Don't lie", but rather "Don't tell the same lie twice".
  • Batman Gambit: When Garak recognizes an assassin on the station and suspects he's the target, instead of just reporting him and asking for protection, he blows up his shop to start Odo on an investigation which will lead him to the assassin on his own.
  • Consummate Liar: Garak, of course. When Bashir tells him the fable of the boy who cried wolf, and asks what he thinks the moral is:
    Garak: Never tell the same lie twice.
  • Description Cut:
    Sisko: I don't expect the Romulans to be entirely forthcoming.
    cut to
    Romulan: Yes, we destroyed the Flaxian's ship.
  • Enemy Mine: The Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: How Odo can tell when Garak is telling the truth. Cause he doesn't start spitting out a web of lies on the spot.
  • Space Clothes: Lampshaded by Odo who, investigating whether or not the Romulans are trying to kill Garak, suggests that they should appreciate a decent tailor.
  • Spotting the Thread: Odo realizes the bomb in Garak's shop doesn't fit the suspected assassin's M.O.; the assassin utilizes inhaled poisons from perfumes.
  • Wham Line: Odo: "You blew up your own shop, Garak!"
    • A lesser one, when the fleet starts to decloak near DS9: "A Cardassian ship with a cloaking device?"