This is the latest installment in a series of "Character Insight" articles regarding the rich history of characters in the Star Trek universe. An audio version will appear on the This Week in Trek podcast, available for direct download here.
Welcome back to Character Insight! This week, our subject is "Constable" Odo from DS9.
After being discovered by a Bajoran scientist Dr. Mora Pol, Odo served on the Terok Nor station as an arbitrator of disputes between Bajoran workers. Eventually, the Cardassians came to trust Odo and made him Chief of Security aboard the station. Odo remains in this role following the Federation takeover that made the station Deep Space Nine.
Odo's name comes from a mistranslation of the Cardassian word Odo'ital, which means "nothing", and was placed on the laboratory flask where Odo was kept during testing by Dr. Pol. Odo underwent some nasty tests before Dr. Pol knew he was a sentient shape shifter, and it causes him to have difficulty shape shifting into items smaller than a humanoid over the rest of his life.
Odo was one of 100 shape shifters that were sent out by a race later known as the Founders to explore and report back after centuries of discovery and learning. Odo's shape shifting abilities make him a perfect detective and investigator in his role as Chief of Security. He also plays a critical role during the Dominion War between the Founders and the Alpha Quadrant.
Odo has a deep sense of justice, and he applies his views on justice no matter who is making the laws at the time on the station. This can cause him to butt heads with some Cardassians and Ben Sisko at times, but he maintains his view that justice should come first. Odo also believes in rigid punctuality, so much so that some Promenade shopkeepers set their watch by when Odo will make his rounds.
After experiencing a link with his people the Founders, he takes a much more keen interest in his shape shifting abilities, especially during periods where he must recover in liquid form after 16 hours as a solid humanoid. He also finds joy in several human activites such as playing tongo. He becomes a friend to Starfleet and a romantic interest for Kira Nerys, which is a long way from where he started.
The best episodes featuring Odo include: The Search, Heart of Stone, and Extreme Measures
Our notable quote this week comes from the episode A Man Alone in season 1:
"Laws change depending on who's making them, but justice is justice"
Actor: Rene Auberjonois played Odo, and he has held many roles over a 40 year acting career including Chef Louie in The Little Mermaid and a chief partner in Boston Legal.
Until next time, live long and prosper...