DEEP SPACE NINE
CAST > Elim Garak
BY: Andrew J. Robinson
FULL NAME: Elim Garak
POSITION/OCCUPATION: Tailor/shop-owner/former Obsidian Order
BIRTHPLACE: Cardassia Prime
FATHER: Enabran Tain
LOVE INTEREST: Ziyal (though it seemed more one-sided on her
FRIENDS: several contacts on Cardassia
The only Cardassian resident left on DS9 after Starfleet took over; he
ran a clothier's shop on the Promenade. Garak, however, was much more
than a tailor -- he had once been a high-ranking member of the Obsidian
Order, a protégé of Enabran Tain himself, especially talented at
interrogation. He had been exiled from Cardassia; the specific reason
was never revealed, though it seems to have involved what Tain
interpreted as a personal betrayal.
At some point, Garak had caused the downfall of Dukat's father, for
which Dukat tried to have him executed. Garak returned Dukat's grudge
over an incident involving some arms merchants.
Garak proved useful to DS9's officers on many occasions, for reasons of
his own, of course. His many talents included computer engineering and
hacking, codes, and a knowledge of the Klingon language. He first came
to notice in "Past Prologue", when he befriended Dr. Bashir, and
involved him in spying on Lursa and B'Etor; Garak's devious way of
alerting the station's officers to the situation. He also recruited
Bashir to help uncover Dukat's plot to use a young Cardassian boy to
ruin the career of his father ("Cardassians"). When offered a chance to
regain his status by killing two renegade Cardassian students, Garak
instead helped them escape ("Profit and Loss").
In "The Wire", when Garak began suffering life-threatening headaches,
Bashir treated him, and eventually learned that this was due to an
Obsidian Order implant in Garak's brain. It had been put there to help
him withstand torture, but now had become a source of torture, as he had
been running it for two straight years, and it was now breaking down.
During this time period, Garak told Bashir three different stories of
why he had been exiled. Bashir was finally able to remove the implant,
thanks to Enabran Tain.
Garak continued to lend his enigmatic aid for several years, but he
never claimed to be trustworthy. He once blew up his own shop, as a
rather unique way of getting Odo involved in an investigation; one which
led to the discovery that the Obsidian Order, led again by Tain, and the
Tal Shiar were planning to destroy the Founders' homeworld. Garak allied
himself with Tain, and tortured Odo for information, but when the fleet
was massacred by the Jem'Hadar, they escaped together and were rescued
by the Defiant. This occurred in "Improbable Cause"/"The Die is Cast".
For another example, in "Broken Link", when Garak went along on the
Defiant in hopes of learning from the Founders if there were any
survivors of the Obsidian Order fleet, and he was told there were none,
he tried to commandeer the Defiant's weapons to destroy the new Founder
homeworld, but was caught by Worf. He was sentenced to six months in
prison, after which he returned to the station.
Yet there was another side to Garak as well: he became close to Dukat's
half-caste daughter Ziyal, whom he met in "For the Cause", and who fell
in love with him. Garak also seemed to feel deep loyalty toward Enabran
Tain, and when he was reunited with him in a Dominion prison as Tain lay
dying, we learned why: Tain was Garak's father. For some reason (the
most popular conjecture is that Garak was illegitimate), Tain never
acknowledged it until he died ("In Purgatory's Shadow").
When Starfleet withdrew from DS9, Garak chose to leave with the Defiant
crew, rather than stick around and face the hatred of his enemy Dukat
("Call to Arms"). On his return, he was saddened to learn that Ziyal had
been killed ("Sacrifice of Angels").
Later that year (in "In the Pale Moonlight"), Garak was enlisted by
Sisko to help him find evidence that the Dominion planned to invade
Romulus. After his connections on Cardassia were killed, Garak proposed
that they manufacture the evidence. He aided Sisko in obtaining an
optolythic data rod and a holoforgery expert; but when their fake
recording failed to convince Senator Vreenak, Garak planted a bomb on
Vreenak's ship that killed him.
Aside from one more mission on the Defiant ("Tears of the Prophets"), Garak spent the rest of the war decoding Cardassian transmissions for
Starfleet Intelligence, though at one point he nearly stopped due to
debilitating claustrophobic attacks, but recovered after counseling
("Afterimage"). When word came of Damar's rebellion, Garak used his
remaining contacts on Cardassia to learn Damar's location, and
accompanied Kira and Odo there to aid the movement ("When It Rains..."). Garak ended up taking Damar and Kira into hiding in the cellar of his
boyhood home (Tain's old house), with Mila. They later began a street
uprising ("The Dogs of War").
In "What You Leave Behind", Garak participated in the storming of
Dominion headquarters and the capture of the Female Changeling. With the
end of the war came an end to his exile; but the future for Garak seemed
uncertain, as he contemplated the fact that his home would never be the
same as he remembered it.
Garak was claustrophobic, and once suffered a severe attack on Tzenketh.
Andrew Robinson added the J. to his name in the credits
of "Body Parts".
Andrew J. Robinson
Jordt Robinson was born in New York on February 14, 1942. Robinson's
career plans were journalism and teaching until a Fulbright acting
scholarship gave him a year of study at the London Academy for Music and
Dramatic Arts (LAMDA) and permanently changed his life.
During the 1960's and 1970's Robinson honed his craft in U.S. regional
theater and on the New York stage, as both actor and playwright,. At the
same time, he began capturing television roles. His 1971 portrayal of
Dirty Harry's nemesis, the Scorpio Killer, left Robinson typecast and
his film career at a standstill.
He continued theater and episodic television work, including a stint on
Ryan's Hope (1977) with Kate Mulgrew, which earned him an Emmy
nomination. Winning the L.A. Drama Critics Circle Best Actor Award in
1985 helped create casting opportunities in long-form television and
Robinson's 1992 audition for the role of Odo on Star Trek: Deep Space
Nine resulted in being cast as the multi-layered Cardassian Elim Garak.
In addition to his work as Garak, Robinson helped found (in 1993) The
Matrix Theater Company in Los Angeles, directed episodes of Star Trek:
Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager, and, in 2000, authored "A Stitch
in Time," a DS9 novel. In 2001, Robinson directed a highly acclaimed
production of the Tony Award-winning play "Side Man" at the Pasadena
Andrew Robinson has been married since 1970 to Irene Robinson. They have
a daughter, Rachel Robinson, who appeared in the Star Trek: Deep Space
Nine episode "The Visitor." Irene has two sons from a previous marriage.
The couple also have two grandchildren.
Actor Bio from StarTrek.com