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Played by: Andrew J. Robinson
Full name: Elim Garak
Species: Cardassian
Position/occupation: Tailor/shopowner/former Obsidian Order agent
Birthplace or childhood home: Cardassia Prime
Father: Enabran Tain
Love interest(s): Ziyal (though it seemed more one-sided on her part)
Friends elsewhere: several contacts on Cardassia
Dislikes: Shakespeare


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 protegé 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.

Other facts: Garak was claustrophobic, and once suffered a severe attack on Tzenketh. Andrew Robinson added the J. to his name in the credits in "Body Parts".

Appearances: "Past Prologue", "Cardassians", "Profit and Loss", "The Wire", "The Search, Part II", "Second Skin", "Civil Defense", "Distant Voices", "Improbable Cause", "The Die is Cast", "The Way of the Warrior", "Our Man Bashir", "For the Cause", "Body Parts", "Broken Link", "Things Past", "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light", "Empok Nor", "Call to Arms", "A Time to Stand", "Rocks and Shoals", "Favor the Bold", "Sacrifice of Angels", "In the Pale Moonlight", "Tears of the Prophets", "Afterimage", "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges", "When It Rains...", "Tacking Into the Wind", "Extreme Measures", "The Dogs of War", "What You Leave Behind"