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Recap / Star Trek Deep Space Nine S 02 E 25 Tribunal

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"Now tell us, Mr. O'Brien: how many lights do you see?"

While trying to enjoy his vacation, O'Brien gets arrested by Cardassians. And thrust into their bizarre "legal" system.

  • Abusive Parents: Kovat attempts to invoke this when trying to find "the underlying flaw" that would make O'Brien commit the theft. He asks him if his childhood was unhappy and abusive. O'Brien, naturally, is completely appalled at such a question and declares that he loved his parents.
  • Affably Evil: Kovat is a kindly, grandfatherly gentleman who genuinely seems to want what's best for his client... "what's best" being that his client gets a swift guilty verdict to prop up the myth of the infallible Cardassian state.
  • Affectionate Pickpocket: A variant - "Boone" bumps into O'Brien and then pretends not to recognize him so that Miles will identify himself, so the fake Boone can get a voice sample to open the weapons locker.
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  • Blackmail: How Sisko gets O'Brien released. He captures the Cardassian agent that engineered the theft of photon torpedoes that led to O'Brien's arrest. Sisko merely shows up in the courtroom with the agent, and the judge suddenly decides to release O'Brien (though still declaring him guilty) "in the interest of Federation/Cardassian relations". Sisko doesn't even need to speak a word.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Kovat and O'Brien clash continually because of the major differences between the Federation and Cardassian justice systems, and the corresponding mindsets that come with each—in Cardassia, even an innocent wrongly put on trial would know what to expect (and would eventually capitulate), but O'Brien, raised in a society where "innocent until proven guilty" is the norm, cannot accept the fate that he seems to be heading toward, and is intent on fighting even if he can't win.
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  • Butt-Monkey: O'Brien can't even go on vacation without becoming one.
  • Call-Back:
  • Chekhov's Gun: All Cardassians have their first molar extracted at the age of 10 for identification purposes.
  • Domestic Abuse: After failing to play the abusive parents card, Kovat tries to suggest that Keiko is abusive to O'Brien. He's offended by this and says that his wife is the most caring person in the world, to which Kovat throws up his hands and says "I tried."
  • Frame-Up: O'Brien is set up as smuggling weapons to the Maquis, in order to give the Cardassians justification to enter the DMZ and attack them.
  • Get Out!: Played for Laughs with Sisko and Kira telling O'Brien to please go on vacation already.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop: The "public conservator" is more of a Good Cop than a defense attorney, while the Arbiter acts more like a Bad Cop.
  • Hero of Another Story: The Enterprise is this for once, as TNG had already ended. They're deployed near the DMZ after O'Brien is arrested, as a show of Federation resolve.
  • Kangaroo Court: The inane and insane Cardassian "legal" system in on full display here.
    • Exhibit A: "You have the right to refuse to answer questions, but such refusal may be construed as a sign of guilt."
    • Exhibit B: "The offender, Miles O'Brien, human, officer of the Federation Starfleet, has been found guilty of aiding and abetting seditious acts against the state. The sentence is death. Let the trial begin."
  • Kill and Replace: The fate of the real Raymond Boone. Eight years ago.
  • Large Ham: Conservator Kovat. He's more of a theater actor than a lawyer.
  • Moment Killer: Nothing like being arrested by the Cardassians to assassinate a romantic moment between O'Brien and Keiko.
  • Mysterious Informant: Bashir is told by an unknown Maquis agent that Boone is not one of them.
  • Not Himself: "Boone" suddenly went from being a model Starfleet officer to a malcontent who was discharged for poor performance. He also left his wife, but she assumed the changes in his personality were due to being tortured by the Cardassians.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The archon's reaction when Sisko shows up with the fake Boone.
    • When Kovat realizes he's actually won a case.
  • Retirony: Kovat tells Odo that he's only a year to retirement, so he doesn't want this trial screwed up. After he in fact wins, Kovat fearfully says "They'll kill me..."
  • Reverse Whodunnit: Boone is shown with a recording of O'Brien's voice in The Teaser, so when it's revealed that photon warheads were stolen from DS9 with O'Brien's voice authorization, it's obvious who was responsible. However, The Reveal that Boone is a Cardassian spy doesn't come until later, and the real question is whether or not this will have any effect on a Cardassian tribunal that's dead-set on convicting O'Brien no matter what.
  • Series Continuity Error: While the exact date of the Setlik III Massacre was never firmly established, this sets it in 2362. Previous comments placed it in the late 2340s.
  • Spot the Imposter: All the evidence against Boone is circumstantial, until it's revealed he's missing one of his molars.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Kovat's job never was it to win the case for O'Brien. He then gets quite distraught when he actually does.
    • Kovat and O'Brien actually don't "win" the trial. O'Brien is declared guilty, but has the death sentence commuted and he is released (with the excuse being that it's in the interest of Federation/Cardassian relations).
  • Stereotype Reaction Gag: The Cardassians use O'Brien's Fantastic Racism as evidence against him, particularly his attitude that "the bloody Cardies can't be trusted". And then it's revealed that he's the victim of a Cardassian-engineered Frame-Up, which kinda proves him right.
  • Think of the Children!: Kovat says those four words at the beginning of one of his speeches.

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