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 Miles O'Brien from Deep Space Nine and The Next Generation.
O'Brien serves as transporter chief on the Enterprise-D before moving on to become Chief of Operations aboard Deep Space Nine. O'Brien was only a small role on The Next Generation television series, but the character was liked enough to make a major character on Deep Space Nine.
O'Brien was an enlisted personnel instead of a Starfleet officer, and the only one featured other than Janice Rand in TOS. That also led to his rank becoming something of an enigma and changing target. He was referred to as an ensign, a lieutenant, a Chief Petty Officer, and a Warrant Officer at different times.
The Deep Space Nine writers always included one or two "O'Brien must suffer" episodes in each season because his struggles while being a common man just trying to do his job resonated more with audiences that struggles of other characters.
O'Brien had a ritual when going into battle of recording a "goodbye" message to his wife Keiko and children, and he recorded at least 11 such messages in five years on Enterprise. O'Brien's closest friendship is with Dr. Bashir on Deep Space Nine, as these two friends frequently shared drinks and holosuite historical battle re-enactments.
In addition to his historical holosuite programs, O'Brien loved kayaking and playing music, serving as the cellist in a string quartet aboard Enterprise. O'Brien is the only character to appear in two series premieres and two series finales.
The best episodes featuring O'Brien include Tribunal, Hard Time, and The Wounded.
Our notable quote this week comes from the episode Tribunal (DS9 2):
I've been in service to the Federation - Starfleet - all my adult life.
No one has ever questioned my loyalty. No one in my entire life has ever
had cause to ask "Miles O'Brien, are you a criminal?" I took an oath to
defend the Federation and what it stands for. I don't steal from them, I
don't lie to them. I'm no angel; but I try to live every day as the
best human being I know how to be. I need my little girl to wake up in
the morning and look up at me and see a man she can respect. Until now,
she always could.
Actor: Colm Meaney played O'Brien. He also is known for his role on the movie Con Man and more recently as Doc Durant on Hell on Wheels.
Until next time, live long and prosper...