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Star Trek Deep Space Nine: Indiscretion

Sisko: I know this isn’t what you had in mind, but Bajor and Cardassia must learn to work together, and that means cooperating on missions like these.

This is one of the stories made possible by the rich back story to DS9, which has two groups that were at war, now in an uneasy peace, reluctantly working together as they attempt to discover the Ravinok, a ship that contained both Cardassians and Bajorans. Kira doesn’t want to work with any Cardassians but Sisko insists. And so of course we get the Cardassian we love to hate, Gul Dukat.

Kira is not pleased by her traveling companion, but Dukat tries to be agreeable. And in this episode, Dukat is not quite the two-dimensional villain of the Occupation. Although his arguing that the Occupation was good for Bajor goes far too far, it is true that the Bajorans are stronger than they were in the past. They have to be. And even Razka Karn, the fellow who brings them the clue, misses the excitement of smuggling for the resistance. Now he’s just making a living selling scrap metal.

Of course, Dukat’s reason for coming is not so simple. He is looking for particular people, starting with a Bajoran woman who had been his mistress. When Dukat and Kira arrive at the Ravinok’s wreckage they find graves – which means that some people died, but that others lived long enough to bury the others. Dukat insists on searching them without Kira’s presence, for religious reasons. She doesn’t object, but we suspect that it may have been just an excuse. In the meantime she takes a look at the manifest, and discovers that the Bajoran woman seems to have had a daughter – a daughter with a Bajoran family name but a Cardassian (I want to say first, but it comes second in these languages) other name. Dukat admits that the young woman, Tora Ziyal, is his daughter.

For a while this fact warms Dukat to Kira. She understands his haste to find the prisoners; he wants to find his daughter! But things become tense again as he says he plans to kill Ziyal in order to protect his career and his wife and his seven legitimate children. At first this seems outrageous (and Kira is outraged). But Dukat’s attitude is borne out by the other Cardassians who are in the prison camp. Yet Gul Dukat does not kill his daughter (of course, Kira threatens to kill him if he does). Dukat even hugs Ziyal and plans to take her home with him.

The B story concerns the fact that Captain Sisko’s love interest, Kasidy Yates, has been offered a freighter job by the Bajoran government and can expect to be around more. She even wants to get quarters on the station (a suggestion made by Jadzia). First, this gives the chance for Sisko and Yates to grow closer. Second, this move – especially because Captain Sisko is so uncomfortable with it – gives the actors who have nothing to do with the Ravinok story something to do. (Only Chief O’Brien doesn’t weigh in; Colm Meany does not appear in the episode.) Sisko finally gives his blessing on Yates’s new job, only to discover she hadn’t waited for his permission.

Viewers may wonder why Sisko was so reluctant to have Yates on the station with him. Most of the other characters think that Sisko is a commitment-phobe, while Jake believes that his father doesn’t want the responsibility for Yates’s situation if the relationship doesn’t work out. Sisko himself expresses a reason: he watched his wife Jennifer die in circumstances that would not have existed had it not been for his position. None of these reasons feel completely convincing to me, though, but a much more satisfactory answer will be given in “The Sound of Her Voice,” the penultimate episode of season six.

Title musings: “Indiscretion” is the title of the episode, and mostly refers to the fact that Gul Dukat has an illegitimate daughter by a Bajoran mistress, something so frowned upon in Cardassian society that he plans to murder his daughter once he finds her. The Sisko-Yates storyline works with this title too. Sisko’s reaction to Yates’s idea of getting quarters on the station – “It’s a big step” – is a really indiscreet thing to say.

Bits and pieces

One of the best scenes is between Odo and Kira, when they are in his office reviewing criminal activity reports. Their friendship is very deep. And although there is advice he would like to give her, he does not, because he knows she would not take it. Instead he wishes her luck.

Several times later in the series people say that no one knows what the Breen look like under their refrigeration suits. But Kira has to know, and probably Gul Dukat as well.

This not the first time Kira has gone to rescue people who went missing due to the occupation.

Dukat’s sitting on a sand spine is played for slapstick, dragged out literally and figuratively. Not the best part of the episode.

This is the first DS9 episode to be directed by LeVar Burton.

Over the next few seasons, several different actors will play the role of Dukat’s half-Bajoran daughter. I am not sure why the casting changed, but it may have been due to the extensive make-up, which could be uncomfortable.


Odo: Which means it doesn’t matter if I think there are any survivors. You are going to go looking for that ship, and all I can say is “good luck” – and I hope you find them.

Dukat: I’ve found that one has a difficult job to do, personal reasons can be quite an incentive.

Dukat: I know you find this hard to accept, but I believe, that in some ways, the occupation actually helped Bajor.
Kira: Which parts? The massacres or the strip mining?

Sisko: It’s a big step.
Kasidy Yates: A good big step or a bad big step?

Bashir: It could have been worse. He could have said, it’s a very big step.

Kira: Listen to yourself! It’s not your wife and seven children you’re protecting, it’s you!

Kira: There’s always a choice.

Ziyal: If I can’t be with you, I’d rather die.

Kasidy Yates: Do you think I’d give up a great opportunity just because you got cold feet?

Overall Rating

I think this was at the point in the series when the writers were still considering a romance between Major Kira and Gul Dukat. Nana Visitor, thank goodness, put her foot down. It’s a good episode, working with the uneasy truce between two currently not-at-war people, introducing Ziyal, who will be important later, and enabling the relationship between Sisko and Yates to move to the next level. Some of it, however, feels forced. The idea that Dukat is planning to murder his daughter; Sisko’s reluctance to have Yates on the station – they are crises that were necessary for the episode to have adequate conflict, but they both felt manufactured. Two and a half out of four sandy spines. (And note that for DS9, which is one of my all-time favorite shows, I tend to grade a little harder.)

Victoria Grossack loves birds, math, Greek mythology, Jane Austen and great storytelling in many forms.


  1. The Bajorans refer to their other name as a 'Given name,' as shown in episodes like Season One's 'Progress.'
    Great review, Victoria!

  2. Ah, yes, given name. Thanks; I was drawing a blank.

  3. I love Nana Visitor's body language in this episode. In every scene she looks so physically uncomfortable being anywhere near Dukat.