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    Elim Garak
Played By: Andrew Robinson

"Lately, I've noticed everyone seems to trust me. It's quite unnerving. I'm still trying to get used to it."

A Cardassian tailor (and magnificent bastard) with a Mysterious Past as a top-notch spy, field agent and torturer for the feared Cardassian Obsidian Order; his moral ambiguity, unique skills and network of shady contacts become rather important in later seasons.

  • The Ace: Spy, fighter, thief, engineer, hacker, saboteur, negotiator, espionage agent, intelligence gatherer, demolitions expert, torturer, starship navigator, and tailor, Garak has every war-relevant skill you can imagine, a probably a few others you'd rather not.
  • Abusive Parents: When Garak eventually opens up a little bit about his childhood, it's clear he had a very troubled relationship with his father. He was often locked in a closet as punishment and spent his entire life wishing his father would give him even a small amount of approval.
  • Adopt the Dog: Interrogating Odo in "The Die is Cast" is a bad assignment for Garak. On the one hand he is eager to regain his standing with Tain and relishes the chance to get back to work, but on the other he clearly has respect for Odo and his time amongst the Federation has softened him somewhat. He relishes the chance to extract a nugget from the intractable Odo, but as soon as he does, Garak can't bring himself to divulge it. At the end of the story, Garak sighs as he picks his way through the charred remains of his shop, having lost any chance he had of resuming his old life.
  • Agent Peacock: He may not look like much, even by Cardassian standards. But this wispy tailor managed to go toe-to-toe with Worf in close-quarters combat. He lost, but he earned Worf's grudging respect in the process.
    Worf: You fight well, for a "tailor".
  • Almighty Janitor: This lowly tailor is plugged into more intelligence resources than the whole of Starfleet combined. He even gives Section 31 a run for their money.
  • Ambiguously Gay: According to his actor he initially played Garak as being omnisexual. He behaved rather flirtatiously when he introduced himself to Bashir and has several ambiguous scenes, such as telling Bashir to take his (isolinear data) rod and eat it, after which Bashir offers him chocolates.
    • And then there is his absolute relish at foiling Bashir's romantic liaison in the secret agent program.
      (mugging shamelessly) "Odd. She seemed so interested in your advances just a moment ago. I wonder what scared her away. ...Oh, no! I do apologize. You must be incensed."
    • "Call to Arms" revisits this, years later, in a wry way. Garak wonders why Bashir's patients put up with his awful bedside manner, to which the Doctor bats his eyes and says it's his boyish smile. Garak, with a withering look, retorts, "Not so boyish, anymore, Doctor." Zing.
    • Garak can't help running his mouth when in trouble. In "Broken Link", when confined in a mess hall by two ornery goldshirts, Garak loudly observes that, in his professional opinion, what Starfleet uniforms really need is a nice scarf.
    • In one episode, O'Brien discovers that arguing is considered a form of courtship by Cardassians. Which puts Garak and Bashir's constant debates into perspective.
    • It's also established elsewhere that shoulders are erogenous zones for Cardassians and is roughly the equivalent of grabbing someone's ass. What's the first thing Garak does to Bashir? Put his hand on Bashir's shoulder.
  • Anti-Hero/ Anti-Villain: Whether you label him as either a 'hero' or a 'villain', you cannot deny that Garak is one of DS9's greatest allies in the war against the Dominion, but he also committed what could charitably be called war crimes in service of the cruel Cardassian Union, which he's still loyal to. The one thing you can be certain of is that his actions are often in service of a greater good, and he will not hesitate to sacrifice his life, honor, and dignity for that good. The problem is determining which 'good' he's serving, and which side he's really on.
  • Apologetic Attacker: Practically begs for the information he needs, because he doesn't want to have to keep torturing Odo under orders from Tain.
    • In "Second Skin", he guns down another Cardassian agent and then drops this utterly savage Bond One-Liner. Perhaps the most frightening thing about it is the possibility that he might actually be telling the truth.
  • Arson, Murder, and Admiration: Garak delights in calling out people when they seem to mistrust him, only to then compliment them for being wise enough to do so.
  • Badass Bookworm: A jovial, well-educated tailor, who survived some of the harshest espionage of the war and could gun down a room full of Jem'Hadar troops in 15 seconds flat.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: Explicitly rips Sisko a new one for criticizing this at the climax of "In the Pale Moonlight" when they both know that was why Sisko came to him in the first place.
    Garak: That's why you came to me, isn't it captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing.
  • Being Tortured Makes You Evil: Inverted — Garak once confessed that life on the station was itself torturous. Ironically, his neural implants which made him immune to pain (and depression at being exiled) eventually shorted out and caused him agony for a few days. His enthusiasm for interrogation is never the same after that experience.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The friendliest Cardassian you'll ever meet... and arguably the most dangerous by far.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: He's a highly entertaining conversation partner with a gift for sarcasm and wit, but he demonstrates many, many times that you should never turn your back on him.
  • Bond One-Liner: Appropriately for a ruthless superspy, he's very good at these.
    • After snidely berating an old rival Cardassian and then obliterating him with one disruptor shot:
    Garak: (disintegrates him) Some people should never be promoted.
  • Break the Badass: As seen in the final episode, after the Dominion War he's definitely a broken man.
    Garak: Some would say we got exactly what we deserved. After all, we are not completely innocent here. And I'm not just referring to the occupation of Bajor. Our history is filled with arrogant aggression. We joined the Dominion and betrayed the entire Alpha Quadrant. Yes... we are guilty as charged.
    Bashir: But Cardassian people are strong, they will survive. Cardassia will survive...
    Garak: (hostile, but still grieving) Oh please, doctor, spare me your insufferable Federation optimism! Of course it'll survive. But not as the Cardassia I knew. We had a rich and ancient culture; our art and literature was second to none. And now look at us. So many of our best minds all... gone.
  • The Butler Did It: Subverted. Everyone important on DS9 knows he is a spy. Still his supposedly lowly position allows him to work more informally then might otherwise be which can be useful when the Command Roster needs him.
  • Catchphrase:
    • "There may be hope for you yet." He utters the phrase pretty much anytime he observes a principled or noble character show signs of cynicism or suspicion (particularly if they indicate they don't trust him).
    • In the early seasons, he was fond of introducing himself as "just plain, simple Garak".
  • Category Traitor: In "Second Skin", Entek thinks Garak is betraying the Obsidian Order by helping Starfleet and the Bajoran Government rescue a Bajoran officer and a Cardassian dissident from the Order's clutches.
  • Character Development: Garak was originally intended to be an antagonist and foil to Bashir. However, like Dukat, the writers began exploring more sympathetic sides to the character—and unlike with Dukat, the writers didn't later consider this move a mistake.
  • Cheshire Cat Grin: Garak is a big smiler, and it always bodes badly for somebody. Interestingly, a frown usually means that he's telling the truth.
  • The Chessmaster: To a considerable degree. He even out-manipulates Sisko in the Season 6 episode "In The Pale Moonlight". Although he argues that Sisko faked it to keep his hands clean (there really wasn't any other reason to get Garak involved), and Sisko admits in the closing log entry that that may be true.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: His desire to engage in this kind of behavior becomes less and less as time goes by due to the influence of the Federation and, in particular, a couple of personal relationships mainly with Bashir and Odo.
  • Claustrophobia: He suffers from an acute version that becomes a plot point on several occasions.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: One of his many areas of expertise. Though one he discovers he's lost his taste for when he's offered a chance to return to his old life.
  • Combat Pragmatist
    Odo You'd shoot a man in the back?
    Garak: Well, it's the safest way, isn't it?
  • Consummate Liar: It's so difficult for most people to be able to tell when he's being truthful or lying that the default reaction is to assume he's always lying. He himself encourages this attitude. This has the useful side-effect of him being able to protect important information because he'll even lie about trivial things, resulting in people not being able to tell what's important and what's not. There are a very few who learn how to read him accurately, most notably Odo.
    Bashir: Of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren't?
    Garak: My dear Doctor, they're all true.
    Bashir: Even the lies?
    Garak: *grinning* Especially the lies.
    • His constant lying could be considered a muscle reflex. He lies when there's no reason at all to do so, and admits he'll do it just for the practice.
  • Crazy-Prepared: At one point Garak spots an assassin sent after him and deliberately blows up his own shop so security will protect him. The Crazy Prepared part? Garak builds the bomb with a specific type of pheromone trigger (that's also incredibly rare!) favored by the assassin's species to make the frame stick. Apparently he had one lying around just in case. He spotted the assassin on the morning transport, and had everything ready before lunch. Also, In the Pale Moonlight was one long example of how Crazy-Prepared Garak is capable of being.
  • Crazy Cultural Comparison: Since Cardassian epics often feature scheming protagonists, Garak mentions he dislikes Julius Caesar because he feels that Shakespeare made Caesar look foolish for not realising that Brutus was obviously plotting to kill him. Given that Caesar is supposed to be a genius, he believes the play is a Farce more than a Tragedy. However, the end of the episode suggests that Garak has finally gotten the point of the play, at great cost.
    • He also stated that the moral he got out of The Boy Who Cried Wolf was "Never tell the same lie twice."
    • He insists to Bashir that a Cardassian novel written in the 'repeating epic' style (where the same storyline is repeated several times in a single novel, with only aesthetic differences between the chapters) is Cardassia's greatest form of literature.
  • Cultured Badass: Practically a textbook example of this trope. He is not only highly skilled in the fine art of espionage and manipulation, but can also discuss the finer points of Cardassian literature with a refinement matched by no other.
  • Curiosity Causes Conversion: According to Robinson, Garak is intrigued by Bashir's motiveless compassion for others - something totally alien to Cardassians at this point in their history.
  • The Dandy: He is, by his own reluctant admission, a pretty good tailor. Garak's also the first to whine about wearing a tacky-looking disguise.
  • Deadpan Snarker: He has so many, he's probably the Trekverse's most triumphant example. For example, after getting beaten up by Klingons, Garak tells Bashir that he got the better end of the deal.
    Bashir: They broke seven of your transverse ribs and fractured your clavicle.
    Garak: Ah, but I got off several cutting remarks which no doubt did serious damage to their egos! Thanks to your ministrations, I'll be back on my feet in no time, whereas the damage I did will last a lifetime.
    • At points it seems like Garak is physically incapable of not snarking, even when it's likely only to make his situation worse. Several times, when approached or straight-up ambushed by clearly hostile people, his instinctive response is to put on his most infuriating smile and say something highly inadvisable. Even his mirror universe counterpart (in many ways much less nuanced a character) can't seem to tone it down while talking to a Klingon who just stabbed him and hasn't even pulled the knife out yet.
  • Defector from Decadence: What Garak becomes after his old intelligence outfit is dissolved, leaving the corrupt military free to align themselves with Weyoun. Believing the Dominion does not have Cardassia's best interests at heart, he throws in his lot with the Federation and combines efforts with Kira and Damar to organise the resistance. He knows it will destroy the Cardassia he loves (although even he was shocked by just how thoroughly the old Cardassia was destroyed) but he does it anyway.
    • One of his (many) excuses for why he was exiled after the Cardassian withdrawal.note  Even through the Central Command was preparing to pull out from Bajor the next morning, they still prodded Garak to interrogate some child scavengers. This was beyond the pale even for Garak: Tired, hungry, incensed at having to grill clueless children to satisfy some nebulous bureaucracy, he sprang the orphans loose and tossed them some latinum for their troubles rather than finish the interrogation and turn them over for execution.
  • Determinator: It's pointed out by other characters in In Purgatory's Shadow that Garak isn't the "giving up sort". In By Inferno's Light he goes on to prove this by defying a chronically debilitating phobia to engineer everyone's escape from a Dominion internment camp. His determination even earns the respect of the Klingons.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Murderous plans are as natural to Garak as breathing after his time in the Obsidian Order, so unlike, say, Sisko (who reluctantly gives his assent in "In the Pale Moonlight" and wrestles with his conscience for the rest of the episode), he approaches murder, treachery and political assassination with the same casual attitude as running up a new dress uniform for Sisko or arguing literature with Bashir.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": He insists everyone should think of him as "plain, simple Garak!". This becomes a bit of a running gag among the characters once they're used to the contradiction between his claim of simplicity and his personality, which borders on Complexity Addiction.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: The Cardassians may secretly employ him to keep eyes and ears on DS9, but they also seem to have good reasons for making sure he stays out of Cardassia.
    Kira: Don't worry, he's on our side. I think.
  • The Dreaded: Several characters (most notably Grathon Tolar) freak out when they realize that they are a pawn in one of Garak's games. It's not unearned, given that Garak is incredibly amoral, amazingly well trained in many things, and freakishly well-connected in many parts of the quadrant.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played with. He's gotten away with some truly dark stuff with nary a slap on the wrist. Things like torturing Odo to try and rejoin the Obsidian Order, trying to destroy the Changelings' new homeworld, murdering any number of people over the course of the series. However, while most people forgive him, they also learn to never again trust him. Nog, especially, never forgets the whole Empok Nor incident, which is something Garak himself compliments.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Downplayed and subverted. Garak's cynicism makes it very hard for him to see things from a more idealistic standpoint, and he admits he finds people like Bashir and Ziyal utterly baffling. It's for this reason he actually respects the Federation, for keeping to their virtues in spite of the brutality of the world.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • When the Klingons invade DS9, he and Dukat are fighting side by side protecting the civilian leaders. He later admits letting him live was probably a mistake.
    • The fate of Cardassia and the Alpha Quadrant ends up requiring Garak, Kira and Damar to put aside their three-way loathing of each other and work together. By the end of series, there are even signs of a Fire-Forged Friends beginning to form between Garak and Kira.
    • Pulling off the plan to bring the Romulans into the war against the Dominion requires that Sisko make use of Garak's less than legal talents and contacts.
  • Enfant Terrible: We learn snippets about Garak’s youth, and it sounds like he used to have quite a temper. He would raise hell in the family home (Mila remembers him as being a horrible brat) and invent charges of treason just so he didn’t have to hear peoples' voices. Then again, maybe he hasn't changed much since there are many people he intends to "look up" when he gets back.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: His relationship with Tain is...complicated, but he clearly cares for Ziyal and Mila (who, according to A Stitch In Time, also happens to be his mother) and he's devasted by their respective deaths.
  • Evil Is Petty: Garak is said to have been much more vindictive in his younger days. He once invented treason charges against a Gul just for being long-winded. (This was a little much even for Tain, who called him off.)
  • The Exile: He evaded taxes. No, wait, he killed some Bajoran prisoners. No, wait, he let some Bajoran prisoners escape. No, wait, he killed the daughter of a prominent Gul. No, wait... in truth, the real reason he was exiled is never revealed, but he certainly has fun lying about it. And, of course, every single version is true. Especially the lies.
  • The Extremist Was Right: "In The Pale Moonlight". Killing a Romulan senator who was stonewalling an alliance with the Federation was indeed extreme, but it was necessary to save the Alpha Quadrant. Besides which, the senator wasn't particularly sympathetic to begin with.
  • Face Your Fears: Battling acute claustrophobia to ensure everyone's escape from a Dominion internment camp.
  • Fake Defector: A simulated version of Garak pulls this in "The Search," but it's pretty in-line with what Garak would do anyway.
    [to Jem-Hadar] "You see, I pretend to be their friend... and then I shoot you."
  • Fake Guest Star: He is introduced in the second episode of the show and appears in all seven seasons. He becomes absolutely central to the plot. Yet he doesn't appear in the opening credits because Robinson asked not to.
  • Fantastic Racism: In "Things Past", Garak had no moral qualms with the Cardassian occupation of Bajor, despite overwhelming evidence of Cardassian atrocities. While immersed in Odo's hallucination, he remarks that Cardassians are not used to doing menial work and that Bajorans are naturally more suited for menial labor.
    • He deliberately invokes this while on the Tal Shiar ship, calling the Romulan "pointy eared" in an attempt to provoke anger between the Romulans and the Cardassians.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Being sentenced to running a space station clothing boutique is akin to this. The only one of his kind, humiliated by having to perform a job far beneath him, unable to use his skill set for fear of immediate arrest and execution, and forbidden to return to his homeworld ever again... And add to that the natural Cardassian aversion to other species, space station temperatures and even room lighting. No wonder he's got an addiction to his wire.
    "The temperature is always too cold. The lights always too bright. Every Bajoran on the station looks at me with loathing and contempt."
  • Forgotten Fallen Friend: By the series end, all of Garak's old friends in the Order have been rubbed out... either by the Dominion, Tain, or by Garak himself. He reacts to each death as though he broke a pencil. In the seven year run of the show, only three deaths have any effect on him: Tain, Ziyal, and Mila.
  • The Gadfly: Well, for starters, he pointlessly lies to people as practice. He once gets Worf to crack and agree to sponsor his application to Starfleet, claiming that he's seeking redemption. Garak turns around and mockingly suggests that he skip straight to the rank of Captain (Shades of John De Lancie!), whereupon Worf realizes he's been had.
    Garak: Lying is a skill like any other, and if you want to maintain a level of excellence you have to practice constantly.
    Worf: Practice on someone else.
  • Freudian Excuse Denial: A case where it's actually accurate, has Erzi is treating his claustrophobia, believing it to be the result of abuse he went through as a child, when in reality it's the result of one of his "My God, What Have I Done?" moments.
  • Good Is Not Soft: "Good" is actually probably stretching things a bit. Over the course of the series, it is demonstrated many, many times that just because Garak is an ally of the Federation does not mean he's going to follow their rules. People who fail to learn this lesson about him the first time usually don't get the chance to learn it a second.
  • Guile Hero: With a little quick planning, and only six deaths, he managed to turn the Romulan Empire against the Dominion. Add in his saving of Martok, Worf, and Bashir, and he basically single-handedly saved the entire Alpha Quadrant.
  • The Gunslinger: Multiple times throughout the series, Garak is shown to be incredibly quick on the draw with almost any kind of firearm. Perhaps the most impressive instance is in "Second Skin", where he manages to outshoot and kill another Obsidian Order agent who already managed to draw his weapon while Garak's back was turned.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: Case in point: The man manages to backstab both Starfleet and the Jem'Hadar within the space of a single thirty-second scene. He seems to be a shining example of his people's hat.
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: When you realise that Garak blew up his own shop to enlist Odo’s help he goes from being one of the finest magnificent bastards of Trek to the finest.
  • Hypocrite: He constantly insults Bashir's so called "Smug Federation Superiority", when in fact most of the time he does nothing but exult how advanced and developed Cardassia is both militarily and culturally. It's not really shown if he actually believes it or uses it as a means to have fun at Dr. Bashir's expense.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: "Profit and Loss". When Quark asks Garak why he helped the dissidents escape, Garak says it was necessary, but it's not clear whether Garak's talking about helping the dissidents escape or alluding to the mysterious crime that got him exiled from Cardassia.
  • I Have This Friend...: In 'The Wire', as Garak is telling Bashir three contradictory stories about how he came to be exiled, he often includes a character named 'Elim', who is either an aide that Garak killed along with a transport full of Bajoran civilians, or a childhood friend and fellow Obsidian Order member whom Garak tried to frame for releasing Bajoran prisoners but was in turn betrayed and framed by Elim instead. It turns out 'Elim' is Garak's first name, and one interpretation could be that Garak committed some if not all of the atrocities he mentioned, and 'Elim' is a representation of his own conflicted feelings over being exiled from his beloved nation despite his service, and the guilt he feels from torturing his supposed enemies.
  • Implausible Deniability: It's obvious from the first episode he's in that he has government connections, knowledge of terrorist operations and experience with covert activities, but he insists on denying that he's a spy. Even after Dr. Bashir has met the person who recruited him into the Obsidian Order, Garak continues to deny he was ever a member. After the first three years of the show, he does eventually drop the pretense.
    Garak: My dear doctor, I am no more a spy than you are a...
    Bashir: Doctor?
  • Improbable Weapon User: He once kills an engineer with a flux coupler.
  • Ironic Fear: Garak's claustrophobia puts him in a bad spot, but he'll have to overcome his fear in order to help his friends to escape prison.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The concept of sacrificing a few to save many is not lost on him. Sure, he could try a little harder to avert it at times, but the extremeness of the Dominion threat makes his hastiness to do so understandable. He's at least willing to sacrifice himself as well.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: Garak is also a big proponent of the strategic withdrawal, as seen in "Rocks and Shoals" when Nog hisses at him to keep quiet during their interrogation. Broached with the question, "Is there a Doctor in your unit?" Garak is rapidly calculating which answer is less liable to get them killed. He answers truthfully, and survives. It also comes into play in "Our Man Bashir", in which Julian insists on keeping the holo-program going at great personal risk while Garak actually gives a speech about how his surviving so long has been contingent on his "knowing when to quit!"
  • Knowledge Broker: His long list of Intelligence contacts and general ability to ferret out information enable him to act as one and it's one of the reasons why Sisko's team and later the Federation find him so useful to keep around.
  • Last-Name Basis: Absolutely everyone on the station calls him "Garak". This is actually a plot-point in The Wire. In By Inferno's Light, when he's muttering to himself, he even calls himself "Garak". The only two people in the entire show who ever use his first name are Mila and Tain, and even Tain doesn't use his first name all the time.
  • Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club: Garak's Clothiers is just a normal shop run by a simple man. It's definitely not a front for a Cardassian spy.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When Garak really needs to bring out the big guns, the unnatural cheer and fey mannerisms vanish instantly. Best seen in "Tacking Into The Wind", when a disguised Odo gives Garak a plasma rifle to shoot their Jem'Hadar captains, Garak goes from smiling pleasantly to ruthlessly gunning down Jem'Hadar with a stone-faced expression in literally the time it takes to raise the gun and fire.
  • Loveable Rogue: You'd be a fool to trust a word he says, but he's so goshdarn charming and hilarious that you'll find yourself believing in his lies anyway.
  • Loves Secrecy: He's a Consummate Liar who delights in befuddling other characters by dribbling out just enough information that he can then make fun of their attempts to guess the truth. We do eventually learn some solid details of his backstory despite him, though, namely that he is a disgraced former operative of the Obsidian Order (the Cardassian equivalent to the KGB) and the illegitimate son of its then-head Enabran Tain. Still, after a particularly good trolling session at Worf's expense, he remarks:
    Garak: Lying is a skill like any other, and if you want to maintain a level of excellence you have to practice constantly.
    Worf: Practice on someone else.
    Garak: Mr. Worf, you're no fun at all.
  • Mob-Boss Suit Fitting: Sometimes played with since Garak, the station's tailor, also has ties to Cardassian intelligence. At one point, Sisko has Garak take his measurements during an officers' meeting in the Ward Room in order to pass on intelligence to the Cardassians.
  • Multiple-Choice Past: In "The Wire", he gives Bashir three contradictory backstories (all while suffering intense withdrawal symptoms). He later claims that they're all true.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Despite being exiled, Garak clearly still reveres Cardassia, and refuses to betray them despite having all the opportunities and reasons to do so. Intellectually, even as he defends it with great fervor, he seems to feel some guilt over the atrocities he helped commit during the Bajoran occupation, and his time on DS9 with its multi-racial crew certainly develop a lot more empathy in him towards the concerns of other races.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: He's genuinely horrified whenever he makes a mistake, especially if it results in someone's death. After the Empok Nor incident, he asks Bashir to make sure that his victim's wife knows he's sorry, which is the only time in the series he apologizes for taking a life.
  • Mysterious Past:
    • In a single episode, he gives at least three different versions of the reasons for his exile, and insists they're all true (especially the lies). He goes on to tell even more different versions in later episodes. Even by the end of the show, the full truth of him was never revealed.
    • The novel "A Stitch in Time" reveals that Garak had an affair with an old friend who was married to a prominent gul. Tain ordered him to end it and Garak refused. The gul found out, confronted Garak, and ended up dead. Tain saw this as a betrayal and refused to help him with his legal troubles.
  • Odd Friendship:
    • Initially with Bashir and later with Odo as well. An odd dynamic eventually even begins to form with Worf and O'Brien as well.
    • Though it's one-sided for most of the series, he also has a high opinion of Kira and is always amiable towards her, in spite of or perhaps because of the fact that she's one of the people he knows could be a genuine threat to his life.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Garak takes such delight in creatively lying and spinning the truth that if he admits to not knowing what's going on, he's actually being honest. It also means that whatever's going on is very, very bad. Odo picks up on it when Garak doesn't give an excuse about the Flaxian assassin's ship exploding.
  • Overlord Jr.: The son of Cardassia-Prime's longest-lived, most feared spymaster. Tain himself once admitted that Garak possessed an uncanny cruelty and resourcefulness that surpasses his own and is the best liar he's ever known.
  • Open Secret: Everyone knows that he's a Cardassian spy, and he rarely makes any serious effort to change their minds. The only thing that stops him from being an Overt Operative is that doesn't make a habit of outright admitting he's a spy to the people he's spying against, even when blatantly involving them in his espionage - he prefers to keep it an Open Secret.
  • Patriotic Fervor: He loves Cardassia, and speaks highly of its art and culture. That said, he recognizes when his people have crossed the line, such as in their alliance with the Dominion.
  • Perpetual Smiler: The only time Garak usually frowns is when he's telling somebody the truth.
  • Properly Paranoid: Played for Laughs sometimes, a plot point that makes him Crazy-Prepared at other times. As he points out to Quark, "paranoid" is something they call people who think they have threats against their life. Garak has threats against his life.
  • Recurring Character: In the early years, he'd show up a few episodes a season. He is essentially a main character by the end, however.
  • Retired Monster: Garak is a complicated subversion. He was caught and exiled for an unspecified crime (hinted to be some kind of treason or betrayal of the Obsidian Order) and he has a reputation for being a very dangerous man who shouldn't be trusted. However, as the show progresses, it's becomes less clear that this reputation is as cut-and-dried as it first seemed. Eventually, it becomes clear that he's not so much heartless about the past, and he may not easily admit it or apologise for it, but he's carrying at least some guilt about it. His motivation for everything he did in the Order was a bitter and cynical I Did What I Had to Do, and he wasn't above sacrificing his own sense of morality for his job or Shooting The Dog if he had to.
  • Sarcastic Confession: In "Second Skin", used as an excuse to get himself on the bridge because he knows trouble is about to break out that he'll need to get involved in: Odo drags him there for acting suspiciously and he complains it's because the quarters on the Defiant are making him claustrophobic. No-one believes him. It's another two years before the audience (and characters) learn that he really does suffer from claustrophobia.
  • Saw It in a Movie Once: Uses variations of this to explain why he has access to top-secret information. That valid code used only by the Obsidian Order? Oh, Garak overheard it while hemming someone's trousers.
  • Self-Proclaimed Liar: He lies all the time is quite honesty about how often. He's a legend in his own lifetime.
  • Sensei for Scoundrels: Garak always took delight in his Cardassian paranoia rubbing off on the upright, naive DS9 crewmen he had to work with. Dr. Bashir was his pet project.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man: In a franchise notorious for Space Clothes, Garak was always quite dapper, as Cardassian fashion goes. He really is an excellent tailor.
  • Shoot the Dog: The go-to guy for this on the station.
    That's why you came to me, isn't it, Captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing.
  • Suddenly Always Knew That: Parodied. Improbable military knowledge? He reads a lot! Unusual and fancy engineering equipment? It's a common tailor's tool! Fluency in Klingonese? Overheard it while hemming a woman's dress! Expert ability to rewrite high-class military encryption software and enter in valid codes despite having been in exile for years? Any tailor can do it!
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: When Garak was working as a humble gardener at a Romulan embassy, several consuls died mysterious and ultimately untraceable deaths. Garak swears up and down that this has nothing to do with him.
  • That Man Is Dead: Claims to be responsible for the death of his best friend, Elim (or was it Elim who framed and exiled him?). This is then revealed to actually be Garak's first name.
  • Token Heroic Orc: Garak doesn't mind Cardassia's military expansionism, per se. The tipping point is when his homeworld is overrun by the Dominion due to a couple short-sighted opportunists, like Dukat.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Played with; he's more of a token Anti-Villian teammate, far from unsympathetic, and generally everyone likes him up to a point, but he is still the one willing to take more controversial action as a first option where the rest of the crew would try something else first.
  • Too Kinky to Torture: Deconstructed in "The Wire". Garak has a "wire" in his brain which transmutes pain into pleasure, making interrogating him useless. Years of toiling miserably on the station, however, compelled him to switch it on for hours at a time — and later indefinitely, as his body became addicted to the endorphins. Bashir had to convince him to go cold turkey.
  • Torture Technician: Part of his former job as an agent of the Obsidian Order. He was an in-universe Memetic Badass in this regard. His former mentor reminisced about the time Garak broke a suspect just by staring at him for four hours straight. However, after getting the chance to return to his old life, Garak discovers this part of the job has become a deal-breaker for him, when he has to spend hours interrogating Odo and realises he doesn't have it in him to be that ruthless any more.
    Tain: Afterwards, he just kept saying "those eyes… those eyes…"
    • Speaking of those eyes, I mean, look at that picture...
  • Tranquil Fury: In the finale, Mila - the closest thing Garak has to a family left - is shot dead in front of him, followed by her home being bombed into oblivion by the Dominion, leaving Garak nothing to mourn or bury. He clearly tries putting a face over it, but it's obvious that Garak is almost out of his mind with rage and pain.
  • Trickster Mentor: He wants to help Dr. Bashir lose his naivete and become more capable of spotting lies and deception, by lying to and deceiving him.
  • Undying Loyalty: Garak was stuck on a station that was a living hell to him, as described so in "The Wire," but it is clear that he could have left at most any time had he made a deal with the Federation to give them evidence on the Obsidian Order and all he knew about Cardassia. He never did so because he is still loyal to his home even after being banished. In short, Garak is loyal to Cardassia, but Cardassia is not loyal to him, and both parties know it.
  • The Unfettered: If Garak has a job he wants to do, you damn well better hope it's one that benefits your side, because he will stop at nothing to get it done. He seems to take great pleasure in reminding people of this, and ridiculing them when they don't believe him. He even directly calls Sisko out on this at the climax of "In the Pale Moonlight" for pretending otherwise, saying "That's why you came to me, isn't it captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing."
    Rusot: You're still a Cardassian, Garak. You're not going to kill one of your own people for a Bajoran woman.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: He knows Sisko won't be able to stomach the realities of what it will take to bring the Romulans into the war, so he pulls this on Sisko ensuring the Romulans do indeed enter the war on the Federation's side by virtue of keeping his true plan secret from even Sisko until Sisko (too late) works out what the real plan was.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: It was only on Tain's deathbed that Garak received some recognition.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Sisko's realisation of the true plan leads to an aggressive confrontation between the pair. After getting sucker-punched, Garak points out that Sisko knew exactly what kind of man Garak was, therefore Sisko knew (even if only subconsciously) that Garak would kill to get the job done—as he put it, to "do those things you weren't capable of doing."
  • Wild Card: Garak is loyal only to himself. He does care about his homeland, though, and as Cardassia falls under the heel of the Dominion in later seasons, Garak starts helping the Federation more actively in their war against them.
  • Worthy Opponent: To Worf, at least in terms of physical combat. After the two got into a brawl, Garak proved to be one of the few people capable of going toe-to-toe with him for more then a few seconds. Worf still beats him, but then softly remarks that Garak fought well... for a tailor.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: In order to return home, Garak essentially had to assist in tearing down the central government and reducing much of his homeworld to ashes. He did revisit his childhood home and reunite with his beloved Mila, just as he'd dreamed, but the house was soon flattened by Dominion bombs and Mila was killed for harboring the rebels.
  • Your Approval Fills Me with Shame: He gets very disconcerted at the thought of people actually trusting him.

    Gul Dukat
Played By: Marc Alaimo

"I have unfinished business on Bajor. They thought I was their enemy? They don't know what it is to be my enemy. But they will."
— "Waltz"

The eventual Big Bad. His backstory involves overseeing the brutal occupation of Bajor. Wavered between Kick the Dog and Pet the Dog moments (especially with his daughter) before things transpired to make him nice and crazy, at which point he embraces his role as a villain, eventually seeing himself as a Dark Messiah, especially from the end of Season 6 onward.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: To Kira. Initially Played for Laughsnote , but then played much more darkly. The reveal late in the series that he had kept her mother as a mistress/willing-prisoner/willing-Sex Slave for several years during the occupation adds a few new layers of creepiness.
  • Action Dad: Dukat has fathered at least eight children (and a ninth during the series), and he's a capable commander and warrior, which he handily demonstrated when he and Kira liberated Ziyal from a Breen work camp.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: After the prison ship escorting him to Earth is shot down by his old Dominion cohorts, Dukat drops completely off the map. He becomes an archeologist in the interim, learning all he can about the Pah-Wraiths.
  • Affably Evil: Dukat can be quite charming when he wants to be. He is perhaps the most likable version of Hitler ever put on TV. Marc Alaimo deserves a lot of credit for making a murdering dictator into someone who you could legitimately cheer for. Case-in-point, in "Indiscretion" he makes trying to kill his half-Bajoran love child sympathetic.
  • Always Need What You Gave Up: Dukat dumped the creaky old space station when the Bajoran occupation ended. After the wormhole appears, he quickly changes his tune, appealing to the Cardassian people to reclaim their national treasures, etc etc.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Dukat's career peaked as prefect of Bajor, and since then he's been eking out a lame existence as a public servant and bureaucrat. He hits the bottom of the barrel after he publicly acknowledges Ziyal, his daughter to a Bajoran womannote ; his friends abandon him, his family disowns him, and he loses the last scraps of influence he had with the central command and gets kicked down to being a mere freighter captain. And then, his own government refuses to act on intelligence he gathers to help fight back against the Klingons. Knowing full well how far someone can rise in wartime, he restyles himself as a sort of Che Guevara and mounts a guerrilla war on the Klingons when they invade — but his followers (minus Damar) fail to materialize. Eventually, he aligns/sells his people to the Dominion, becoming the Head of State and supreme military commander. He claims I Did What I Had to Do in order to save Cardassia from the Klingons, but almost everybody (even a good deal of Cardassians) don't buy that his own personal ambition and thirst for revenge against everyone who wronged him wasn't the major factor.
  • A Nazi by Any Other Name: Presided over a brutal occupation that brutally used the Bajorans as slave labor and even carried out pogroms from time to time.
  • And I Must Scream: Sealed away in the Fire Caves with the Pah-Wraiths... forever.
  • Anti-Villain: Considered by some fans to fit this trope. Dukat's behavior in Season 7 was a deliberate move by the writers to avert that.
  • Ax-Crazy: In "Waltz", Dukat is shown in the throes of psychosis. He fires weapons at his hallucinations and beats an injured Sisko with a pipe.
  • Bad is Good and Good is Bad: After allowing a pah-wraith to possess him, he said he could feel it’s love for the Bajoran people. Everyone else who had ever been possessed by a pah-wraith, described feeling nothing but hatred.
  • Bad Samaritan: Dukat promises Commander Sisko that he'll always be watching... just in case Starfleet needs help maintaining the station. Sure. Somewhat zig-zagged as Dukat does irritably come to the crew's aid on numerous occasions. However, in the long run this just makes him bitter towards them for not respecting him more despite all he did for them, ignoring all of the terrible things he also did to them and to others.
    • In "Waltz", Dukat saves Sisko and transports him to a desert planet after the Honshu is destroyed. We later learn that Dukat saved Sisko so that he could demand his respect before killing him.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: While on the run from both the Federation and Cardassia-Prime, Dukat underwent surgery to resemble a Bajoran and lived among them. Pretty eerie.
  • Believing Their Own Lies: From the subtle (turning a single game of kalevian montar in which he cheated into a regular thing with Odo, "Duet") to the blatant (his rambling breakdown in "Waltz",) Dukat repeatedly demonstrates that the famed Cardassian photographic memory is capable of being quite selective. He has a very revealing conversation with Weyoun in "Sacrifice of Angels", where Dukat all but admits that the thing he hates most about the Bajorans is not their inferior culture, but the fact that they're not grateful for all the things he did for them during the Occupation.
  • Beyond Redemption: Because of Sisko’s belief that the universe was all different shades of gray, he believed that Dukat was not as evil as the Bajorans said that he was. Come the episode Waltz, when they’re trapped on a desolate planet, and when Dukat goes completely insane from the hallucinations that he saw throughout the episode, Sisko comes to realize that there really are people like Dukat who are completely evil. Because of this, when Sisko is brought aboard the Defiant, he vows that he will eliminate Dukat the next time they meet.
    Sisko: Sometimes life seems so complicated. Nothing is truly good or truly evil. Everything seems to be a shade of gray. And then you spend some time with a man like Dukat, and you realize that there is such a thing as truly evil.
    Dax: To realize that is one thing. To do something about it is another. So what are you going to do?
    Sisko: I'll tell you what I'm not going to do: I'm not going to let him destroy Bajor. I fear no evil. From now on, it's him... or me.
  • Big Bad: He starts off representing the threat of Cardassian re-occupation, and though he occasionally partakes in an Enemy Mine scenario, by the end of Season 5 he's firmly in enemy territory for the rest of the show.
  • Big Bad Ensemble: Alongside the Female Changeling; in Season 7, Dukat is no longer involved with the Dominion War, instead acting out his own schemes to take revenge on Bajor.
  • Bond Villain Stupidity: Lays it all out in "Sacrifice of Angels", when Weyoun suggested that they just eradicate Earth's population and be done. And skip all of the genuflecting and begging? No way.
    Weyoun: Why not?
    Dukat: (slightly tipsy) BECAUSE! ... A true victory is to make your enemy see they were wrong to oppose you in the first place! To force them to acknowledge your greatness!
  • Break the Haughty: It's not often brought up, but losing the station was a step down for Dukat. The pullout from Bajor was tacitly — though admittedly not officially — put on his shoulders; doubly so when the wormhole turns out to have been sitting right under his nose. The show sets this up as a possible face turn for Dukat, forcing him to work alongside Sisko's crew for the good of the Alpha Quadrant. Of course, he sells out the entire Quadrant in exchange for power the first chance he gets.
  • Con Artist: Essentially how he pulled Bajoran women during the Occupation, with an apparently fool-proof system. Step 1; get a younger officer to harass one of them. Step 2; intervene and punch the guy. Step 3; turn on the ol' Dukat charm and apologize to the lady for her poor treatment. Step 4; take her back to his quarters. During "Wrongs Darker Than Death or Night", an older Cardassian watching this play out quotes the script to an incredulous Kira, having seen it several times already.
  • Crazy-Prepared: His prerecorded Canned Orders over Loudspeaker in "Civil Defense". When Cardassian security programs take control of the station, he beams in purely to be as smug as possible before beaming out. Then he finds out that he can't.
  • Dark Messiah: When he decides to throw in with the Pah-Wraiths. Although he's still scheming, his belief in them seems sincere.
    • He became one to the Cardassians, as well. Dukat hoped to be canonized as one of their greatest leaders. Judging by the catastrophic results of his pact with the Dominion (800 million dead, the Cardassian Union in a state of total collapse), he probably goes down in history as the worst monster Cardassia ever produced.
  • Deal with the Devil: To become more powerful he aligned himself with the Dominion, then the Pah-Wraiths.
  • Demonic Possession : Serves as a willing vessel for the Pah-Wraiths more than once.
  • Dirty Coward: He has his moments. While he was in command of Terok Nor, Dukat's immediate superior went so far as to install a program into the station's computer that prevented Dukat from beaming away if the self-destruct was active, and locking out his command codes if he tried, a measure meant to guarantee that Dukat couldn't abandon a sinking ship.
  • Disney Villain Death: Tackled into a pit in the Fire Caves. When the furnace burned up the Tome of Eldritch Lore he was holding, Dukat's power vanished and he burned up, too.
  • Easily Forgiven: Ziyal shrugging off her father's attempt to murder her. What this says about Cardassian culture, one can only speculate.
  • Entitled to Have You: His opinion of Kira. What starts off as massively creepy to begin with only gets creepier during the Dominion occupation of Deep Space 9, and even worse when it turns out her mother was one of his comfort women. No amount of blatant disgust and hatred on Kira's part shakes Dukat of his stubborn desire that he and Kira have a relationship.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones:
    • He genuinely cares for his illegitimate daughter, Ziyal, and her death drives him over the edge. It's strongly hinted that losing Ziyal made him lose his one Morality Chain and went from Well-Intentioned Extremist to evil. He also seemed to genuinely love her mother, Tora Naprem, given that he sent them away from Bajor once the occupation was ending for fear of what would happen to them, and he cries at her grave.
    • In "Defiant," Dukat remarks he was supposed to take his son Mekor to a fair, but can't because of the current crisis. Sisko's attempt to tell him that Mekor will understand one day doesn't work.
      "When my son looks back on this day, the only thing he'll remember is that a Federation officer, on a Federation ship invaded his home, and kept his father away from him on his eleventh birthday, and he won't look back with understanding. He'll look back with hatred, and that's sad."
  • Evil Counterpart: The parallels between Dukat and Sisko are numerous. They are both outsiders who have been assigned to deal with Bajor. Sisko's mission statement was to support the Bajorans, Dukat's was to exploit them. Dukat saw himself as a guiding father-figure to the Bajoran people and they hated him for it, while Sisko became that figure against his wishes and they love him for it.
    • In the season 4 episode To The Death, Weyoun offers Sisko the chance to become the uncontested ruler of the Federation and the Alpha Quadrant, which Sisko rejects immediately without hesitation. In the season 5 episode By Inferno's Light, it is revealed that Weyoun made the same offer to Dukat; he is now the de facto leader of the Cardassian Union, which has joined the Dominion and will soon begin conquest of the Alpha Quadrant. Where the good Sisko rejected the offer without hesitation, the evil Dukat accepted it equally quickly.
    • Covenant juggles the possibility of whether Dukat really is a born again man who has found God or whether (as Kira alleges) he’s just drinking in the power of his subjects and indulge in his own idealized version of the Occupation, with himself in Sisko's place on his own version of Deep Space Nine to boot.
    • Even the fates of the two men mirror each other: Dukat becomes the Emissary to the Pah-Wraiths as Sisko is to the Prophets, and like Sisko, he ends the series in the company of the gods to whom he owes allegiance; Sisko ascends to join the Prophets in the Celestial Temple, while Dukat is trapped in the Fire Caves with the Pah-Wraiths for eternity.
  • Evil Gloating: Dukat had a few belly-laughs at the DS9 crew's expense.
  • Evil Is Petty: His rant against Bajorans in Waltz includes this rather revealing comment: "Of course I hated them! I hated everything about them. Their smug superiority and their stiff-necked obstinacy. Their earrings, and their broken wrinkled noses!"
    • One of his first orders when he takes over Cardassia? Keep Garak locked in a Dominion prison forever.
  • Evil Virtues: He's a decent Captain, and inspires loyalty in the men who serve under him. In fact, we never see him harm another Cardassian (not even Garak can make that claim — he kills them by the truckload). Hilariously, this indirectly results in the Founders' defeat.
  • Eviler Than Thou: Winn Adami poisoned him and offered his limp form as a sacrifice to the Pah-Wraiths in exchange for becoming their "Emissary." Zigged Zagged when Dukat sprang back to life and set her on fire. Unlike the conflicted Winn, Dukat's hatred for the Bajorans was beyond peer.
  • Family Values Villain: Family is extremely important in Cardassian culture; Dukat is married and has several children. This eventually leads to Dukat's disgrace when he publicly acknowledges that he had a daughter out of wedlock with a Bajoran woman.
  • Fantastic Racism: Dukat describes the Bajorans as children in need of Cardassian guidance, and clearly deeply resents that they don't appreciate him. In "Waltz", however, he reveals his true hatred of the Bajoran people. He can't even contemplate accepting them as equals, and if they won't worship him, he would rather they were, every one of them, dead.
  • Fatal Flaw:
    • Pride: Dukat has HUGE Pride issues. He spends most of "Favor The Bold" / "Sacrifice of Angels" not doing much to oppose the Federation because he's so sure of his own greatness and victory, that he can't even entertain the notion that he might lose, and thus takes no step to avert it. Similarly he's obsessed with being seen as a good man who does no evil. He's fully deluded himself that he did good for the Bajorans during the occupation, despite managing death camps and ordering executions of civilians and relatives of known resistance members. It's even his Pride that leads him to throw his lot with the Dominion, on the condition they install him as their Puppet King on Cardassia Prime.
    • Lust: Dukat compelled multiple Bajoran women to sleep with him during his time on Terok Nor. His lustful behavior gave the Bajorans yet another reason to hate the Cardassian occupiers. Furthermore, one of his comfort women bore him a half-Bajoran, half-Cardassian daughter, a fact that alienated his family and created public scandal when it came to light years later.
  • Fate Worse than Death: Dukat ends up sealed into the Fire Caves alongside the Pah-Wraiths, to be trapped there for eternity.
  • First-Name Basis: He has a tendency to refer to Major Kira by her given name, as part of his delusional grasp of reality.
  • Four-Star Badass: Can hold his own against several Klingons at once in hand-to-hand combat. Not so great at strategy, however. See below.
  • Friendly Enemy: He likes to consider himself as this to Sisko and allies with the station at several times. The feeling isn't mutual.
  • General Failure: He's an competent administrator, at least as far as death camps go, but he's repeatedly shown to be inept at grand strategy. He's also mentioned to have wasted precious resources and ships on battles that didn't need to be fought. It serves as a constant frustration to Weyoun, which is probably why Damar isn't allowed much of a say once he steps in as the new leader of Cardassia.
  • The Generalissimo: He convinced himself that the Bajorans were lucky to have him as their liberator and that he cared for them as if they were his own children. 15,000,000 of them died during the Occupation!
  • Hazy Feel Turn: Introduced as an Affably Evil Anti-Villain of sorts who was genuinely charming and likeable and often helped to save the day; at the same time, most of the crew were wary of him at best due to his past as the de facto dictator of Bajor and many of his actions post-Occupation were still self-serving and in some cases downright villainous, not to mention he was completely unrepentant about everything he had done. Came to a head when he sold out his people to the Dominion, both to finally defeat the Klingons and also to get the level of personal power he felt he deserved, putting him firmly and unambiguously in "Heel" territory for the remainder of the show. Word of God is that audiences found him to be far more Ambiguously Evil than originally intended, and that at the end of the day he was always a bad guy.
  • Hearing Voices: In Waltz, Dukat starts behaving a lot like Gollum. He hallucinates that Damar, Weyoun, and Kira are mocking him.
  • Heel–Face Revolving Door: When he captained the one-ship Cardassian resistance to the Klingon invasion and occupation.
  • Heel Realization: He actually embraces it, and becomes a much less complex villain afterwards. "Exactly! I should have killed them all!"
  • History Repeats: His time as a cult leader on Empok Nor in "Covenant" was a thinly veiled attempt to recreate the days of the Occupation again, with him serving as the kindly "master" of a new Terok Nor/Deep Space Nine with a flock of Bajorans who worshipped him as the Emissary of the Pah-Wraiths. But just like the Occupation, his desire to bang Bajoran women (birthing yet another half-Cardassian love child with a married woman) and his hypocritcal suicide pact with his followers, not to mention his obsession with bringing Kira Nerys into his fan club, causes the whole thing to implode, sending him fleeing in disgrace once again.
  • Homage: Since Dukat was the first recurring arch-villain of the franchise followed by the Borg Queen(s), it seems appropriate that he and Sisko have their Reichenbach Fall moment. Also like Holmes and Moriarty, there is an impression that Dukat and Sisko were long term adversaries when really, Dukat purposely never crossed paths with him for a year after "Waltz." Oh, and like "The Final Problem" the hero survives the fall.
  • How the Mighty Have Fallen: Probably the worst thing to happen to Dukat was taking over for the old Prefect of Bajor. Before then, he was just a promising Gul in search of distinction. Not only did the blame for Cardassia's withdrawal fall on his shoulders, but the added humiliation of giving up the wormhole, as well. In his selfish drive to regain everything he has "lost", Dukat continues to lose and lose and lose until, finally, he has nothing at all—save his vendetta toward the individuals he blames for ruining his life.
  • Hypocrite Has a Point:
    • When he finds Damar depressed and drinking to cope, he tells Damar to grab hold of himself and be the leader Cardassia needed. Even though all of Damar’s problems were entirely Dukat’s fault, he was right about Damar needing to get over his self-pity.
    • He believes that the occupation made the Bajoran people stronger, and ultimately left them better off. He was clearly just rationalizing away his culpability, but the episode “Accession” showed that the occupation forced the Bajorans to abandon their Fantastic Caste System, and that they were indeed better off without it.
  • I Banged Your Mom: He kept Kira's mother as part of a harem of sex slaves during the occupation of Bajor, and then just kind of drops the revelation on her years later almost randomly as a power move in his predatory relationship with her. Kira, understanably, does not take it well.
  • I Just Want to Be Loved:
    • Twisted though it may be, Dukat continually strives to get the respect and adoration of others. Unfortunately, he has a habit of seeking it from people who have every reason to despise him; he wanted the love of the Bajoran people while he oppressed them, sought Kira's affections, and wanted Sisko's respect and validation, but Dukat's narcissism and Moral Myopia prevent him from recognising why he won't get any of it.
    • Everything he does in regards to the Bajoran people is a twisted attempt to get them to see why they should adore and worship him. He tries it with the Bajorans during the occupation, then with Kira, later with the Bajoran followers of the Pah Wraiths, and then finally with Kai Winn. All of them reject him when his charm ultimately fails and they come to recognize him for disgusting monster he really is. It's doubly damning when in "Waltz", Dukat admits that he'd always hated the Bajorans with a white hot fury because he could never fool and charm them into loving him.
  • I Love You Because I Can't Control You: Dukat can't comphrehend that Kira doesn't return his feelings. After all, he managed to woo her mother, turning her into one of his comfort women.
  • I Reject Your Reality: Gul Dukat is so stubborn and full of himself that every time something doesn't go his way, his mind rewrites the memory of said event into something more favorable.
  • Immune to Mind Control: Gul Dukat no sells an attempt by a Vulcan to mind-meld with him to mine information from him, which he puts down to Cardassian mental discipline.
    • Immediately followed up teasing his captors as being amateur interrogators. Said with a gun to his head.
  • Insane Admiral: Word of God says that Dukat was unraveling long before Ziyal's death. His obsession with vindicating himself and reclaiming DS9 led to many costly battles for the Dominion. Weyoun sounds like Winston Churchill by comparison. Later, a drunk Dukat starts complaining, yet again, about how little the Bajorans appreciated the ways in which he advanced their planet — and how, in a just universe, there would be statues of himself erected on the planet. Then Weyoun realizes he's nuts.
    • In the Season 6 finale, the Dominion has fired him from the Cardassian military, but they're still humoring him when he suggests appealing to the Pah-Wraiths back on Bajor. This gives Dukat just enough leash to shut down the wormhole, purposely foiling Cardassia's reinforcements a second time. Then Weyoun realizes he's really nuts.
  • It's All About Me: He talks a good game about patriotism — but Dukat blows with the prevailing wind. Starfleet, the Bajoran militia, Klingons, the Dominion, Pah-Wraiths... he'll back anybody if it gets him back in a seat of power again. His inaugural address to the people of Cardassian-Prime rings hollow when one considers this.
    Dukat: You should see the monument they're erecting in my honor at the gateway to the Imperial Plaza.
    Sisko: Is that why you sold out your people to the Dominion? For a monument?!
    • It can even apply on other matters. He takes Kira carrying Kirayoshi O'Brien as a personal insult to him, by Kira.
  • Jerkass: Dukat is smug, petty, and needlessly cruel.
  • Jerkass Dissonance:invoked This became a problem. Eventually, even the actor got in on the act; Marc Alaimo believed that Dukat was generally a nice guy, and was saddened when he had to punch an old guy in Season 7.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: At which point the writers threw up their hands and said, "Fine! He's Hitler."
  • Just the First Citizen: Briefly promoted to Legate, the Cardassian equivalent of Admiral. Once he allied with the Dominion and began his reign as de facto dictator of his homeworld, Dukat chose to be a simple Gul as a gesture of modesty, disdaining lofty titles like "Legate" or "Emissary."
  • Kavorka Man: During the occupation, Dukat's mission in life was to have sex with every woman on, or in orbit of, Bajor. His taste for Bajoran women is undiminished in the present.
  • Kicked Upstairs: At the start of the series. It's his frustration at his inability to fix this that drives Dukat toward the Dominion.
  • Kneel Before Zod: The Bajorans stubbornly refused to, which enraged him. In "What You Leave Behind", Dukat uses his telekinesis to force the Emissary — Bajor incarnate — to bow before him.
  • Madness Mantra: After Ziyal's death, Dukat is reduced to literally being dragged out of Sisko's office while whimperingly repeating "I forgive you... I forgive you..."
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: While masquerading as "Anjohl Tennan", a Bajoran farmer. However, it literally happens in the Finale, when the Pah-Wraiths restore his Cardassian features with a puff of fire.
  • Mask of Sanity: After Ziyal's death he has a complete Freak Out Villainous Breakdown where he lost his mind. Afterwards he had a "miraculous recovery" according to the doctors. Of course, he keeps pretending that he isn't having hallucinations and delusions... which involve Weyoun, of all people. It only gets worse from there, although he somehow manages to pretend that he's sane a lot of the time. The fact that he's about a hair's-width away from being a gibbering catatonic is not comforting when he goes completely Ax-Crazy and becomes the Big Bad. The fact that he honestly and truly believes that he and Benjamin are old friends who are simply rivals, and is actually hurt by Ben's cold demeanor in "Waltz" should say something about his state of mind. That he might have deluded himself enough to believe this for quite a while should say something about his overall state of sanity before he went insane.
  • Might Makes Right:
    • In "Waltz", he finally admits to Sisko that this is the reason why he thinks Cardassia was right to invade Bajor in the first place; the fact that they were a century ahead of Bajor on a military, cultural and technological level is what gave Cardassia the moral authority to rule over them.
    • He believes so firmly in this trope, it's the second reason behind his downfall, after his ambition. From his point of view, he's in his right as a conqueror to rule over Bajorans and take comfort women under his service. What he fails to realize is that trying to improve their conditions of life doesn't make them free, and treating comfort women like real people doesn't stop them from forcibly being taken from their families so they can become prostitutes.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: Listening to him prattle on and on about the great sacrifices he's made for the Bajoran people, tossing out death statistics like they're nothing compared to his own hardships. Notably, he never actually killed a Bajoran himself; he just rubber-stamped atrocities.
    Dukat: Have you ever seen a dead man before?
    Odo: Yes. In your mines.
    Dukat: (airily) Oh, those are casualties.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The simultaneous death of Ziyal and Dukat's fall from power drive him mad and strip away his (already twisted and self-serving) sense of morality, focusing his hatred on the people who first defied him: the Bajorans.
    Dukat: I should have turned their planet into a graveyard, the likes of which the galaxy had never seen! I should have killed them all.
  • Moral Myopia: Dukat is, first and foremost, a hero in his own mind, believing that the Occupation (and especially his actions therein) were helping the Bajorans. He also sees himself as a staunch patriot fighting to strengthen Cardassia by handing it over to the Dominion. Upon his breakdown, Dukat notably tells a dead Ziyal that he "forgives" her for helping the resistance against his regime. Dukat eventually realises that he was never the hero, but the villain, and, rather than recognise the scope of his atrocities, throws himself into the role with a renewed fervor, embracing his self-imposed destiny as Emissary of the Pah-Wraiths and would-be destroyer of Bajor.
  • Morality Chain: Ziyal kept Dukat from turning completely evil. In fact, he deluded himself into thinking that the Occupation was helping the Bajorans in order to subvert his conscience and to satisfy his huge ego. He truly adored his daughter. Ziyal's death is the tipping point for his madness.
  • Narcissist: Dukat is a raging egotist in love with the sound of his own voice, and who expects adoration from others, only to be puzzled and infuriated when they don't recognise his obvious greatness. His belief that victory means making your enemies realise that they were wrong to oppose you in the first place is particularly telling.
  • Never My Fault: Anything related to Bajor. Millions dead? Dukat just implemented policy, he didn't make it! Slave labor camps? He dialed down the output of the mines by fifty percent!
  • No True Scotsman: After the Klingons attacked, the new civilian government pressed for a diplomatic solution. This flew in the face of his pride. He told Major Kira "I'm the only Cardassian left!"; see War Hawk below.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: His administration of a pipe is mostly implied rather than shown, but from Sisko’s cold shivering you can see how brutal it must have been. This is likely a shout out to Misery ("Waltz")
    • It didn't happen for real, but Sisko was nearly beaten to death in a dream sequence by Dukat and Weyoun, both masquerading as plainclothes cops in the days of Jim Crow.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: Dukat fully intended to sever ties with Weyoun once the Federation was in his grasp. Weyoun was likely thinking along similar lines.
    Damar: I'd like to toss that smug little Vorta out the nearest airlock. And his Founder with him.
    Dukat: Now, now, Damar, that's no way to talk about our valued allies. Not until this war is over, anyway.
  • No Name Given: Dukat's first name is never stated in canon, though the non-canonical first name of "Skrain" has been adopted by many fans. At one point he identifies himself as "Dukat, S.G." though it's been suggested by Word of God that this is a title (like Ph.D., M.D., or R.N.).
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: As a heavy, he's ineffectual and often comical. He's not so funny anymore after he emerges from secret talks with the Dominion.
  • Not-So-Well-Intentioned Extremist: Dukat presents his selling Cardassia to the Dominion as a necessity, an act of desperation meant to save Cardassia from the Klingons and the Maquis. Just about anyone who's ever met Dukat recognises that it's more about his own advancement and to satisfy his massive ego.
  • Offing the Offspring: Dukat intends to do this to Ziyal in "Indiscretion" so that no one back home learns what he's done. He can't go through with it, though.
  • Older Than They Look: You wouldn't know by looking at him, but he was already the Prefect of Bajor when Kira was 3 years old, making him at least old enough to be her father.
  • Ominous Floating Spaceship: Deep Space Nine (né Terok Nor) served as his personal castle, labor camp, and harem during the occupation. Bajorans had to glimpse its menacing shape every time they looked up in the sky.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Starts to drift towards this status in the latter stages of Season 6, and by the end of the show's run he has fully become this, eventually culminating in he and Winn planning to unleash the Pah-Wraiths and lay waste to the universe.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Dukat's daughter, Ziyal, ends up dying in her father's arms.
    Sisko: It was a pleasure to have her with us, even if it was only a short time.
  • Overarching Villain: Dukat is the most recurring antagonist in the series, debuting in the series premiere and being defeated once and for all in the finale. He doesn't always serve as the Big Bad (in fact, Dukat spends quite a bit of time as a Friendly Enemy and even ally to the crew of Deep Space 9), but he's a continual presence nonetheless.
  • Pet the Dog: Early in the series, Dukat gets a few sympathetic moments, which rather insidiously distract from the evils he has committed both before and during the show. According to Word of God, viewers were becoming a little too fond of him, which is why he turns much darker towards the end.
    • The last good thing he did was a big one. While the sentiment had been brewing for a long time, it was ultimately a pep talk from Dukat that convinced Damar to finally pull himself together and rebel against the Dominion.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: As the prefect of Bajor. He did genuinely try to improve the life conditions of the Bajorans, but his Motive Rant makes clear that it wasn't out of goodness but because it was the smart thing to quell the insurrections (and thus make career).
  • Pride: During the Dominion occupation of Deep Space Nine, Dukat oozes pride. He's overconfident in the Cardassians' ability to hold off Federation forces and deactivate the self-replicating mine field. However, when Federation and Klingon forces reach Deep Space Nine and no Dominion reinforcements emerge from the wormhole, he's blindsided.
  • Puppet King: Dukat willingly became the pitchman for Dominion control in the Alpha Quadrant. As a reward, he became the de facto ruler of Cardassia, followed in quick succession by Damar and Broca. Each of these dudes were stooges of absolutely no importance to the Female Changeling.
  • The Quisling: For Dukat, a few months of being a lowly guerrilla fighter made a pact with The Dominion look attractive. In a moment of sheer gall, Dukat phones Sisko to suggest he convince the Federation to join the Dominion and get in on that action.
    • Prior to that, when the Cardassian people successfully overthrew their old government, Dukat quickly sided with them against his old bosses.
  • Race Fetish: It would not take a tremendous leap of the imagination to conclude that Gul Dukat has a somewhat creepy fetish for Bajoran women. With the exception of his Cardassian wife, who is occasionally mentioned but never shown onscreen, the only women we see him involved with or interested in are Bajoran.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: How he saw himself during the Occupation of Bajor. If only those ungrateful Bajorans had submitted to his rule, then there would have been no need for any mass executions, and things would have run smoothly. In relative terms though, he actually was genuinely this by Cardassian standards: in the episode "Waltz", he talks about how he ordered all labor camp quotas reduced by fifty percent and abolished child labor. He then raised food rations and improved medical care, resulting in a twenty percent drop in mortality. In another case, after 200 Cardassians were killed by Bajoran insurgents, he had 200 suspected resistance members rounded up and shot - as opposed to enacting a "X civilians killed for every one of my soldiers" policy as many real world military dictators would.
    • Because Bajor is so isolated—and the writers burned through a half-dozen Starfleet Admirals before they found someone they liked—Dukat became the show's "Admiral" figure by default. He continued to serve in this capacity until his ultimate betrayal, whereupon Admiral Ross replaced him.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When possessed by a Pah-Wraith.
  • The Resenter: Like Sisko, Dukat too once presided over Bajor as an outsider. The difference is that Dukat was reviled, whereas the Bajorans embraced Sisko as their spiritual idol. Ouch. He didn't seem to get the difference between being the head of a brutal, 50-year occupation and being the guy assigned to help them recover and chosen by the Bajoran deities.
  • Sanity Slippage: After he loses the station for a second time and his daughter is shot dead in front of him.
  • Save the Villain: About a half-dozen times, before and after he went batty.
    Sisko: Don't remind me.
  • Secret Other Family: He officially had a wife and seven children. Tora Naprem and their daughter Tora Ziyal were his Secret Other Family for years until the ship they'd been travelling on was discovered six years after being declared missing. Naprem had died in the crash, but when he took his surviving half-Bajoran daughter back to Cardassia, it caused ructions.
  • Sexual Extortion: He was able to coerce a lot of Bajoran women into sleeping with him by promising better living conditions for their families. This includes Kira's mother.
  • Sinister Minister: As leader of the Pah-Wraith cult.
  • Slave to PR: His narcissism is usually what brings him down in the end. And he never learns: He freely admits that even if he did conquer the Earth, he wouldn’t destroy its population but instead force them to acknowledge his greatness.
  • Smug Snake: He thinks he has what it takes to take over the Dominion—the one run by a 10,000-year-strong collective of Changelings with an army of literally worshipful, genetically engineered super-soldiers and super-slimy-diplomats. The same Dominion that wiped the floor with the Tal Shiar and the Obsidian Order at the same time! In reality, Dukat is merely just imposing enough not to be an outright puppet of the Dominion. His successors had virtually no authority whatsoever, due in no small part to Dukat's example.
    • Pointing out to Sisko that the Cardassian legal system is swift and fair. Everyone tried is guilty and Cardassians don't put innocent men on trial by mistake. Thrown back in his face moments later when he finds out Central Command was going to make him their fall guy regarding the Maquis.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: When Ziyal dies in his arms. Even Sisko felt bad for him. Subverted later on when Sisko comes to see Dukat as a heartless monster after Dukat embraces genocide against the Bajorans for "everything they did to him".
  • Then Let Me Be Evil: Dukat came to Bajor with the firm intention of offering more carrot, and less stick. However, rather than shower affection on their new shogun, the Bajorans raised their heads (to Dukat's astonishment) and overthrew the Cardassian occupiers. Word of God says that Dukat's deep-seated hate for the Bajorans is rooted in the fact that they refused to love him.
    They thought I was their enemy? They don't know what it is to be my enemy, but they will. From this day forward, Bajor is DEAD!
  • Tragic Villain: Dukat subscribes to the philosophy of "a rising tide lifts all boats" and genuinely thinks that what's good for him is good for everybody. At the end of the day all Dukat wants is for people to respect him. The tragedy is that Dukat fails to see how his actions always prevent that.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Manages to re-take Deep Space Nine with Jem'Hadar help. Dukat is totally in love with ruling Bajor again and struts around the station like a kid in a sweet shop. He even takes over the Captain's Log.
    Dukat: A few days ago I swore all Cardassia lost will be regained. That space station you're so found of? ... Was built by Cardassia.
    Sisko: Funny! I thought it was built by Bajoran slave labor.
  • Unequal Pairing: All his relationships with his Bajoran mistresses during the Occupation count as this. He was the most politically powerful man in the system and they would be second-class citizens at best with a chance to have their families not starve.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Which is lampshaded when Dax makes a bet with Sisko that Dukat will start complaining before thanking Sisko for rescuing him from Klingons. Sisko loses.
  • Unholy Matrimony: With Kai Winn.
  • Villainous Breakdown: In "Sacrifice of Angels," Dukat loses it when Dominion reinforcements don't emerge from the wormhole, forcing a retreat from an advancing Federation/Klingon fleet. It gets even worse when Ziyal is fatally shot in front of him.
    "Victory was within our grasp! ... Bajor... The Federation... The Alpha Quadrant! All lost."
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: Is arguably the poster boy for this trope given his continual resentment that neither the Bajorans nor Sisko give him credit for being more merciful than other prefects of Bajor during the occupation.
  • War Hawk: Saw Cardassia as destined to rule Bajor, then the occupation ended. Then the Klingons attacked and he saw the new civilian government press for a diplomatic solution. This flew in the face of his pride, so he waged a one ship war on the Klingons and then forged an alliance with the Dominion. That still wasn't enough, he was planning to take the entire Alpha Quadrant before Sisko re-took the station.
  • We Will Meet Again: He goes underground following the events of "Waltz", vowing revenge against Bajor and Sisko.
  • Worthy Opponent: Even as enemies, Dukat holds Sisko in high esteem and even craves his approval.
  • Would Be Rude to Say "Genocide": His attitude towards his crimes in later seasons of DS9. He'd be outright indignant if anyone mentioned what the Cardassians had done to Bajorans.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Spends an episode scouring the desert for his illegitimate, mixed-race daughter - so he can kill her, thereby erasing any evidence of his private habits. Luckily, Kira talks him out of it.
  • You Talk Too Much: Even the Dominion grew weary of his yapping. Weyoun buried him after the "Sacrifice of Angels" fiasco, telling the Founders that he was all hat and no cattle.
    • Kira's line in "Indiscretion" ("Captain Sisko's right; you are in love with your own voice.") was added as an in-joke regarding Dukat in general and Marc Alaimo in particular.
      Ira Behr: "No one can milk it like Marc Alaimo, even though there are times when you just want him to get on with it."
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: He was planning to stab his Dominion masters in the back once they'd defeated the Federation and the Klingons for him. Exactly how he planned to do that is unknown, as his life went completely to hell before he got the chance.
  • You're Insane!: Everyone dismisses him as a sad crackpot when he espouses the doctrine of the Pah-Wraiths. Dukat is unbowed, knowing he'll wipe those smirks off their faces soon enough.
  • Your Terrorists Are Our Freedom Fighters: Dukat spins this line to apply it to himself, but Sisko's not buying.

Played By: Casey Biggs

"I'd like to toss that smug little Vorta out the nearest airlock. And his Founder with him."
— "Sacrifice of Angels"

Dukat's right-hand man, whose minor role becomes gradually much more important throughout the show until he eventually becomes the leader of the Cardassian Union. He is a man both uncomfortable with power and increasingly dissatisfied with the actions of the Dominion.

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Thinks Worf killing a Weyoun clone is HILARIOUS, so much so that he shamelessly trolls the succeeding Wayoun clone over it.
  • The Alcoholic: In many appearances, he often is seen drinking a lot of Kanar. This nearly backfires on him during the occupation of DS9, when Quark gets him to spill classified information while drunk. This later morphs into Drowning My Sorrows, where he drinks to cope with being powerless to Dominion whims.
  • Ascended Extra: Damar was originally just a crewmember on Dukat's ship. Biggs originally thought he was just a glorified extra in his first episode.
  • The Atoner: Enforced. When he angrily wonders what kind of people would order his civilian wife and son assassinated, Kira reminds him that at one time, people like him gave those orders.
  • Blind Obedience: As an officer under Dukat.
  • Character Development: Perhaps the single most extreme example in all of Star Trek.
  • The Charmer: Damar shares his boss' taste for extramarital dalliances. He tries sneaking his latest squeeze into Central Command, but Weyoun swiftly boots her out. A born politician, Damar is also seen smooth-talking Mila, who blushes and unfavorably compares Garak's manners to his.
  • Desperately Craves Affection: Damar goes out of his way to seek Dukat's approval. His interactions with Ziyal make it clear that he not only disapproves of her rebelliousness, but also show that he thinks she is undeserving of the attention that Dukat heaps on her, which may well play into his decision to shoot her under the auspices of treason. Damar is later wracked with guilt over this, but it's not entirely clear if he regrets his actions or rather, the effects it had on Dukat.
  • Drowning My Sorrows: Damar increasingly retreats into a bottle as his powerlessness in the Dominion grows starker.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played straight and subverted with his murder of Ziyal. Dukat does, because he rationalizes it as being all Sisko's fault in the first place. Subverted with Kira, who doesn't, and Garak, who never mentions it, but circumstances require they all work together anyway. Word of God admitted that Kira and Garak's actors both wanted an episode where the three of them addressed the issue but the writers dismissed it because they were afraid Damar couldn't be redeemed to the audience if they did.
  • Evil Genius: Damar shows considerable technical expertise, converting DS9's deflector into an anti-graviton beam to disable the minefield, and implied to have a hand in the Orbital Weapon Platforms that devastate the Federation fleet during the First Battle of Chin'toka. This is especially notable given the men in his race are apparently stereotyped as being tech-illiterate.
  • A Father to His Men: He's utterly disgusted that Weyoun uses Cardassian troops as Cannon Fodder and is infuriated that any gains in the war will be handed over to the Breen. It's even more apparent when he leads the revolution against the Dominion, where he does is his best to support his men in the face of Kira's (deserved) criticism.
  • Foil: To Dukat. Dukat is a selfish bastard while Damar, though not above using his position for some personal indulgences, still tries his best to actually lead Cardassia. For example, Dukat switched from Central Command to working with the civilian government to save his own skin, while Damar sides with the Federation Alliance in a desperate attempt to save Cardassia. Dukat also rejects his Heel Realization, while Damar embraces his.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare: Positive example, he becomes a nightmare to the Dominion! Goes from a dull yes-man to the hero of the Cardassian revolution.
  • Good Is Not Nice: After switching sides in the war, he still remains a jerk to Kira and Garak. He does lighten up a little bit just before his death.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Once he decides to rebel against the Dominion he starts providing support to the Alpha Quadrant allies.
  • Heel Realisation: Damar's experiences rebelling against the Dominion give him some insight into what the Bajorans experienced during the Occupation. This realisation has a profound effect on Damar; he goes as far as to kill an old friend who suggests betraying their new allies, grimly remarking that the old Cardassia is dead.
  • Heroic BSoD:
    Damar: What kind of state tolerates the murder of innocent women and children? What kind of people give those orders?
    Kira: Yeah, Damar, what kind of people give those orders?
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Believed wholeheartedly that Dukat was a great man, even after seeing the consequences of Dukat’s Deal with the Devil. He also defended Rusot, who was a detriment to Damar’s resistance.
  • Jerkass: Damar is rude and snarky with Kira during the Dominion occupation of Deep Space Nine. He also insults Ziyal to her face and tries to forcibly take her back to her father, earning him a savage beating from Kira.
    • Jerkass Has a Point: He wasn't tactful about it, but Damar did try to warn Dukat that Ziyal was not loyal to Cardassia.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: Damar died trying to give a rallying speech to his troops. Word of God is that originally he was simply going to die; but Casey Biggs decided he should say something. He still has no idea what the rest of sentence was going to be.
  • La Résistance: After the Dominion starts treating Cardassia like an expendable resource, Damar decides to rebel against them.
  • Living Legend: When the Dominion claim that Damar has been assassinated, stories start popping up that he faked his death and continues to sabotage the occupation.
  • Mook Lieutenant: To Dukat until...
  • Mook Promotion: Becomes the leader of Cardassia after Dukat goes nuts.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong: Unlike Dukat, who used Cardassia for his own selfish desires, Damar's patriotism is never shown to be anything but genuine. His switching sides in the war is because he realizes that Cardassia is doomed under the Dominion and its only hope is to join the Federation Alliance.
  • No Honor Among Thieves: With Weyoun. It's hinted that Damar tried bumping him off via a "transporter accident". Vorta being what they are, though, it didn't take.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: The Dominion murders Damar's wife and children as revenge for Damar's rebellion.
  • Puppet King: After Dukat is expelled, Damar is made leader of the Cardassian Union, but all the actual power is held by the Dominion.
  • Rage Against the Reflection: While Drowning His Sorrows after a particularly sore meeting with Weyoun, Damar catches sight of a mirror and tosses his drink at it.
  • Rage Within the Machine: Before officially forming the Cardassian Resistance and separating from the Dominion.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Before the last season, his Establishing Character Moment was killing Ziyal for siding against Dukat and the Dominion. Then, during the final story arc, he has a Heel–Face Turn, and ends up rebelling against the Dominion, thus proving that Ziyal was right all along. This ultimately leads to his death.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Damar probably hates Weyoun more than Weyoun's actual enemies hate Weyoun (at least until Damar becomes one of those enemies), and the feeling is very much mutual. Best exemplified when Worf breaks one of the Weyoun's necks and Damar can barely suppress his glee in his conversation with the next Weyoun.
    Damar: (cracking up) Maybe you [Weyoun] should go talk to Worf again!
  • Undying Loyalty: Never stops being loyal to Dukat and Cardassia, not even when the former goes insane or facing immense odds in protecting the latter by betraying the Dominion. Ironically, it's a pep-talk from Dukat that helps inspire Damar to take the second action, even though Damar never recognizes (or at least doesn't acknowledge) that it was Dukat who started the whole mess.

    Tora Ziyal
Played By: Cyia Batten/ Tracy Middendorf/ Melanie Smith

"The Institute is having an exhibition of new artists next month and he might want to include my work. It's a chance to show that Bajorans and Cardassians look at the universe the same way. That's what I want to do with my work: bring people together."

Dukat's daughter by his Bajoran mistress, Tora Naprem. Despite her lineage, she is largely sane, and well-liked by most of the station's inhabitants.

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: She falls in love with Garak right before Deep Space 9 falls to the Dominion.
  • Butt-Monkey: A tragic example: the poor girl could not catch a break. Born a war bastard, faces massive Half-Breed Discrimination, lives for several years as a Breen mine slave, her father tries to kill her twice (for different reasons each time), she falls in love with Garak only to have him flee the station with the Federation as the Dominion moves in, gets into a Bajoran art school but then leaves due to aforementioned Fantastic Racism, and is finally shot dead by Damar as a traitor.
  • Daddy's Girl: Ziyal adores her father, and even after he throws his lot in with the Dominion, she does everything she can to see the best in him. She is likewise beloved by Dukat, who is at his most sympathetic when they interact. In the end, however, Ziyal sees her father for the power-mad despot that he is and turns against him, a decision that costs her life. Nevertheless, Ziyal posthumously remains the apple of her father's eye, although much of this is simple self-delusion on Dukat's part; he likely sees her betrayal as a mistake on Ziyal's part that would have been corrected had she lived.
  • Dating What Daddy Hates: Her relationship with Garak. Her father hates him, at least because of the Interservice Rivalry between the Obsidian Order and the regular military, and possibly due to some Noodle Incident involving Garak and Dukat's father.
  • Half-Breed Angst: Tora Ziyal is half-Cardassian and half-Bajoran, which causes a lot of angst for her because up until very recently, Cardassians oppressed Bajorans, so she feels out of place on both planets. It says something that the only people she seems truly comfortable around are Kira, a former Bajoran freedom fighter, and Garak, an exiled Cardassian.
  • The Lost Lenore: At least hinted at; after Ziyal's death, Garak reflects that he never understood why she loved him and now he never will, but in the spin-off novels he retains a certain affection for her memory even years after her death, to the point of using her memory as a moral guide as he takes up a position of authority on the new Cardassia.
  • May–December Romance: It's never explicitly mentioned (and in fact denied by both parties) that she and Garak are interested romantically in each other, but you can tell they have a very close relationship. Garak, incidentally, is around the same age as Ziyal's own father.
  • Missing Mom: Her mother died when the ship they were travelling in crashed on a Breen-controlled planet.
  • Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter: A tragic inversion - her death drives Dukat mad.
  • Morality Pet: Is this for Dukat. Ultimately, this ends badly.
    • Spin-off novels also establish her as this for Garak; after he becomes the new leader of Cardassia, he reflects that he will determine if he is doing the right thing by considering what course of action Ziyal would approve of and doing that.
  • Nice Girl: Unlike her father, Ziyal is as sweet and kind as they come.
  • Nonhuman Humanoid Hybrid: Half-Cardassian, half-Bajoran.
  • Odd Friendship: She's a sweet and honest half-Cardassian/half-Bajoran. Garak's a Cardassian who lies with every breath and used to torture Bajorans. They make fast friends.
  • Ship Tease: Has this dynamic with Garak of all people.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge: She's killed so that Dukat could have his Villainous Breakdown.
  • Unlocking the Talent: Subverted. She was receiving mentoring off-screen for a rare artistic gift that she was deliberately keeping secret so she could earn a prestigious university place by merit rather than through her father making connections on her behalf. Experts consider her art to be a callback to both a great Bajoran artist and a great Cardassian artist. She intends to use her mixed culture and the fact people can see both Cardassian techniques and Bajoran techniques in her work as a way of trying to bring the two worlds together and the university professor thinks her talent is good enough for her dream. And then she's murdered.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: Word of God has it that she is an inherently honest person. If asked a direct question she doesn't want to answer, she would change the subject or remain silent instead. The writers felt this would create an interesting dynamic in her pairing with Consummate Liar Garak.

    Enabran Tain
Played By: Paul Dooley

"I think you'll find that when I have something to say, you won't have any trouble understanding it."

Head of the Obsidian Order for 20 years, he became the only head in history to ever survive long enough to actually retire. He was Garak's mentor and also directly responsible for exiling him from Cardassia. He comes out of retirement to lead a joint Obsidian Order/Tal Shiar task force in an attack on the Founders homeworld, believing it to too great a threat to the Alpha Quadrant to ignore.

  • Abusive Parent: He would discipline a young Garak by locking him in a closet. Garak developed a near crippling case of claustrophobia as a result.
  • Affably Evil: Bashir is surprised to learn that one of the most dangerous people in the galaxy is a jolly old man. A jolly old man who knows everything about Bashir and will kill him and everyone he cares for in a heartbeat if the doctor makes the mistake of crossing him.
  • Cruel Mercy: Tain states the reason he is willing to help Bashir save Garak's life is because Garak doesn't deserve a swift death. Tain wants Garak to grow old on that station, surrounded by people who hate him, knowing he'll never come home to Cardassia ever again. Although the later reveal that he's Garak's father, and that he thought he should have killed Garak before he was born for being a potential weakness but never did, does cast a somewhat ambiguous light on this justification.
  • The Dreaded: He was one of the most feared men in the whole of Cardassia.
  • Easily Forgiven: Despite exiling Garak and attempting to assassinate him, Garak still forgave him.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones: He was an appalling father but he was also very proud of his son. Not that he was willing to admit it until his dying breath, however.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Tain was a ruthless, unforgiving monster but even he knew the Dominion was bad news and had to be stopped at any cost.
  • Fat Bastard: The first heavyset Cardassian we meet, and a terrifying Retired Monster.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: He raised Garak to be a mirror image of himself, although it didn't work out quite as either of them had envisaged it would. Garak initially allowed it but indicates to Bashir that he has come to regret it.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: His cleverness is commented on by General Martok when explaining how Tain was able convert a life-support system into a communications console to contact Deep Space Nine.
  • I Have No Son!: Or, "You're not my son!", in this case. Even when Tain was on his deathbed, Garak had to fight tooth-and-nail for reconciliation.
  • Knowledge Broker: He calls it "keeping updated on current affairs."
  • No-One Could Have Survived That: He was seemingly killed when his ship exploded in "The Die is Cast." But Garak had his doubts.
    "Enabran Tain was head of the Obsidian Order for twenty years. If he can survive that, he can survive anything."
  • Noodle Incident: Whatever it was that happened with Dukat's father that Garak had a hand in. All we know is that he trusted Garak, and ended up on trial.
    • Also whatever caused Garak's exile. We know that Tain felt Garak betrayed him, but Garak angrily responds that he never betrayed Tain—at least not directly! Garak gives several different versions of why he was exiled over the series (not counting the obviously false ones like "tax evasion"), including letting some Bajoran street urchins go on the eve of the withdrawal. Another story had him shooting down a shuttle containing a Bajoran terrorist, killing the son of a high-ranking official who was also on it.
    • The novel "A Stitch in Time" reveals that Garak had an affair with an old friend who was married to a prominent gul. Tain ordered him to end it and Garak refused. The gul found out, confronted Garak, and ended up dead. Tain saw this as a betrayal and refused to help him with his legal troubles.
  • Not So Omniscient After All: Even in retirement he stays on top of everything, right down to knowing when people have made impulsive, last minute decisions to visit him and what their favourite drinks are. In the end, he comes out of retirement to head a joint Obsidian Order/Tal Shiar task force intent on destroying the Dominion before the Dominion can destroy the Alpha Quadrant. It does not end well. Unfortunately, he didn't realise his second-in-command (the Tal Shiar leader) was actually a disguised Founder who had instigated the entire task force with the intention of wiping out both organisations as a prelude to invasion. When Tain realises what's happened, it's too late, and he observes to Garak that he's clearly lost his touch because he'd never have been deceived prior to his retirement.
  • Offing the Offspring: His plan to return from retirement included assassinating the six men that knew too much about him just in case any of them ever decided to use their knowledge against him. The only one who survived the assassination attempt was his own son, who turned out to be more Crazy-Prepared than Tain had anticipated.
  • Properly Paranoid: It enabled him to remain head of the Obsidian Order for 20 years and become the first head to ever survive long enough to retire. Eventually subverted: retirement dulled his wits just enough for a Changeling to out-gambit him with disastrous consequences for both Cardassia and Romulus and, eventually, the Alpha Quadrant itself.
  • Retired Badass: Harder to kill than a cockroach, and exceptionally crafty even by his species' standards. One does not become the first Head of the Obsidian Order to retire without being both.
  • Retired Monster: The Obsidian Order is feared throughout the Cardassian Union. They can disappear anyone at will and regularly use Cold-Blooded Torture. When Tain comes out of retirement, his first act is to have his closest former underlings killed.
  • So Proud of You: He admitted it only with his dying breath. He also implies this in the incident where Garak is the only person to survive his purge of those who know too much about him.
  • The Spymaster: Notably, he is the only Cardassian spymaster who lived to retirement; this should give you an idea of how good he was at it.
  • Villain Decay: In-Universe example. Tain himself acknowledges that his years in retirement have dulled his abilities. At his prime, he would have seen the Jem'Hadar Bait-and-Switch ambush coming a mile away.

Played By: Julianna McCarthy

"I may not be a very good cook, but I knew how to keep a secret."

Enabran Tain's housekeeper for over thirty years, not that she knows anything about his spy activities. (And if you believe that, we've got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.) Mila all but brought up Garak as her own and is deeply devoted to both men.

  • First-Name Basis: Her surname is never revealed in the show. A number of fans suspect this is because it is either Tain or Garak.
  • Killed Off for Real: She's killed after answering the door to a Jem'Hadar raid and thrown down the basement stairs.
  • Kindly Housekeeper: Despite the person she works for and the life that entails, she's gentle, motherly and loyal.
  • Lethal Chef: Her stew is so noxious that Kira needs to take a long drink of water to get rid of the taste and Damar adds a lot of strongly flavored sauce to his portion to make it palatable.
  • Old Retainer: She'd been Tain's housekeeper and confidente for over thirty years. She knew his business and kept his secrets. When he disappeared unexpectedly, she forced Garak to promise to do anything to help Tain, even though she knew the rift that existed between them. Even after Tain's death, she continued to live in and maintain his house.
  • Parental Substitute: The show makes it clear she raised Garak while he was growing up in Tain's household but doesn't claim she's his actual mother, though a number of factors and oblique hints have made fans suspicious for ages. Andrew Robinson's non-canon novel of Garak's back history does, however, choose to make her his real mother.
  • Secret Keeper: She knew for decades that Tain had a son and who that son was, but she kept her mouth shut until long after Tain was dead. She also knew more about Tain than almost anyone else. When Tain killed off five of the six operatives who knew too much about him, he told the lone survivor of his assassination attempt (Garak) that he was thinking of also killing Mila because of how much she knew about him. Garak did point out that she had more than proved her loyalty by that point.
  • Servile Snarker: She may be a loyal servant but she's more than willing to stick her oar in, voice her opinion and is very free with pointing out the flaws in Garak's personality. In fact, serving the rebelling leader of Cardassia, one of the most dangerous secret agents in the entire Union and one of the most competent terrorist-trained Bajoran colonels, doesn't cow her at all. When she finds them lying around the basement in a fit of depression at how dismally their resistance attempt has failed, she snarks the lot of them for giving up so easily.

Alternative Title(s): Cardassian Union


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