Saturday, December 27, 2014

Character Insight No. 126: Dr. Leah Brahms

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, by suggestion, we profile Dr. Leah Brahms, a guest character who appeared on TNG.
Leah Brahms 2367.jpg
 ("Geordi doesn't know what to do with such a beautiful and brilliant scientist") 

Dr. Brahms is a member of The Federations's Theoretical Propulsion Group who made major contributions to the development of the warp drive system used on Galaxy class starships like the Enterprise-D. Her degrees in subspace and theoretical physics from the University of Alpha Centauri and the Daystrom Institute of Technology prepared her well to make critical improvements to the use of dilithium crystals and plasma resonance in a warp engine.

As a result of her major contributions, she is listed as the author of a series of engineering manuals that are seen when Enterprise crew members do engineering research. That also led Geordi La Forge to rely on a holographic version of Dr. Brahms when he needed more information on the engine design to stop the ship from falling to an ancient trap that drains energy out of ships until they are dead. Because it's Geordi, he falls for and kisses the holographic Dr. Brahms when they solve the trap. 

A year later, the real Dr. Brahms comes aboard to inspect field modifications made by Geordi. She is much colder and business-like than the holographic version, making it difficult for Geordi to work with her. She also turns further against Geordi when she discovers the romantic records of his previous dealings with her holographic representation. But these two characters pull together to overcome yet another crisis faced by the Enterprise, and this leads to the two characters becoming good friends.

From the episode Galaxy's Child:
Dr. Leah Brahms: I wouldn't change a thing - except for the way I behaved. I guess I came here with my own set of preconceptions about you.
Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge: Well, I guess I'm just glad that I got the opportunity to get to know you. The real you.
Dr. Leah Brahms: Me too. 

Geordi's reconnaissance in the holodeck makes him more smooth with Dr. Brahms than other women, but their friendship and potential romantic coupling was not officially confirmed in canon. However, Geordi and Leah are married in the alternate future seen in the TV finale All Good Things. The two characters were also to be depicted in a scene as a couple during Riker and Troi's wedding in Star Trek Nemesis, but actress Susan Gibney was unavailable, so the scene was rewritten to include Guinan instead. 

Thus, the canon leaves us waiting for more regarding whether this couple comes together in the end. For you romantics out there, this couple does come together in the Genesis Wave series of books and the novel Indistinguishable From Magic.

Dr. Brahms was originally written to be a descendant of Dr. Richard Daystrom, the founder of the Daystrom Institute, but this character was black while the hired actress was white. Thus, the character was renamed and rewritten to be merely a graduate of the Institute instead of a descendant. 

Susan Gibney played Leah Brahms, and she apparently plays a District attorney and a doctor well, having had those types of roles in Lost, Crossing Jordan, Criminal Minds, and Touching Evil. She will appear in a 2015 movie called We Are Still Here. 

Thanks to @KatJerome on Twitter for suggesting this character for this week's profile!


Feedback can be sent to me with future segment suggestions on Twitter @BuckeyeFitzy. Until next time, live long and prosper...

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