Sunday, April 14, 2013

TWITrek Character Insight No. 46: Elim Garak

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, as requested by Renee a.k.a. Mrees_1701 on Twitter, our subject is Elim Garak from Deep Space Nine.

Garak is a tailor and shopkeeper who runs the Garak's Clothiers store on the Deep Space Nine station. Garak had previously been an operative in the Cardassian Obsidian Order, and that leads many to believe he is still acting as a spy. However, nobody can ever be too sure as Garak keeps a veil of lies and secrecy around him that adds intrigue and mystery to the character.

While serving in the Obsidian Order, Garak had a cranial implant installed that helped him survive torture.  This implant begins malfunctioning due to overuse when Garak is exiled to the Bajoran station after a dispute with the Cardassians.  This leads Dr. Bashir to deactivate the implant, forcing Garak to learn to live without it.

Although Garak is mistrusted by most aboard the station, Dr. Bashir begins having weekly lunches with Garak and the two become friends as a result. This leads Garak to reveal more of his true character to Bashir than anyone else on board. We learn interesting bits from these interactions, such as Garak being chronically claustrophobic.

Despite being mistrusted, Garak turns out to be a valuable asset to Starfleet due to his many connections. His biggest story moment came when he went behind Commander Sisko's back and had Romulan Senator Vreenak killed to force the Romulans into the Dominion War and turn the tide in favor of the Federation.

Our notable quote this week comes from the episode Cardassians:

"Truth is in the eye of the beholder, Doctor. I never tell the truth because I don't believe there is such a thing. That is why I prefer the straight line simplicity of cutting cloth."
Actor: Andrew Robinson played Garak, and he was deeply involved in the development of the character with the show's writers.  Robinson intended Garak to have an ambiguous sexual orientation, but that was deemed too racy by the writers and was unfortunately cut.

Robinson took his notes from this process and published them as a Deep Space Nine novel called A Stitch in Time, which is unique in that it is the only autobiography Star Trek novel written by the actor who played the character in the series. Renee, who recommended this segment, highly recommends this book as the best Star Trek book she's ever read!

You can also find Robinson in starring roles in great movies such as Dirty Harry and Hellraiser.

Until next time, live long and prosper...

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