Winn Adami was an ambitious Bajoran religious leader and the first kai of Bajor elected after the Cardassian Occupation. A member of a frequently outspoken orthodox order, Winn was steadfastly rooted in her faith and often came into conflict with the Emissary of the Prophets, Benjamin Sisko, who she considered an outsider unworthy of receiving the wisdom of the Prophets. After years of living in Sisko's shadow, however, and a lifetime of never receiving any guidance and affirmation from the Prophets who she had served and sworn allegiance to all her life, she eventually turned against them. However, she realized her error and died trying to undo it.
During the Occupation, Winn was imprisoned for five years for teaching the faith of the Prophets. She received numerous beatings at the hands of the Cardassians for her beliefs. Winn resented the belief held by some members of the Bajoran Resistance that they alone had saved Bajor, since she had faced as much danger and suffering as they, but she did not have weapons to protect her. (DS9: "Rapture")
As a ranjen, Winn once convinced the head of her order to take a more active role in helping the Bajoran people. He allowed her to remove gemstones from their tabernacle, with which she used to bribe Cardassian officers for small acts of kindness. One of these officers was Prenar, whom she paid to divert a transport filled with Bajorans due to be executed. (DS9: "'Til Death Do Us Part")
By the time Bajor regained its independence in 2369, Winn was one of the more influential vedeks in the Vedek Assembly. She had some support to succeed Kai Opaka after the latter's disappearance in the Gamma Quadrant, although her fellow vedek and rival Bareil Antos was favored for the position. Winn believed that the Federation presence on Bajor posed a dire threat to the Bajorans – that the people of the Federation were "without a soul" and existed in a "universe of darkness". She also disagreed with Kai Opaka on the declaration of Benjamin Sisko, a "non-believer", as the Emissary.
Winn traveled to Deep Space 9 seven months after Starfleet assumed control of the station, apparently to protest the "blasphemous" teaching of scientific principles in the school newly opened by Keiko O'Brien. Winn called for a Bajoran boycott of the school until Keiko changed her curriculum. This led to an increase in anti-Federation sentiment throughout the station, culminating in the bombing of the schoolroom. Winn's true plan was to lure Vedek Bareil to Deep Space 9 to calm the crisis, so that her accomplice, Neela, could assassinate him. The assassination failed, but no link between Neela and Winn could ever be established. (DS9: "In the Hands of the Prophets")
Shortly thereafter, Winn secretly lent her support to Minister Jaro Essa and the Alliance for Global Unity (or "the Circle") in their attempt to topple the Bajoran Provisional Government and force the Federation from Bajor. Winn agreed to bless Jaro's ascendance to power, in return for his assurance that she would be made the next kai. However, she turned on Jaro when evidence emerged that the Circle was being indirectly supplied by the Cardassians. (DS9: "The Circle", "The Siege")
With the election for kai approaching in late 2370, Winn was in danger of losing the election to Bareil. She learned of circumstantial evidence from Kubus Oak, a collaborator with the Cardassians, that Bareil, not Prylar Bek, was the traitor responsible for the Kendra Valley Massacre. Winn granted Kubus sanctuary on Bajor, so that she could use his testimony against Bareil. After Major Kira Nerys stopped her ship to prevent Kubus from leaving, Winn requested that Kira investigate the circumstances of the massacre. Convinced of Bareil's innocence, Kira readily agreed.
Kira discovered that it was Kai Opaka who gave the Cardassians information leading to the massacre, as she sacrificed the lives of 43 Resistance fighters to save more than a thousand civilian lives in the Kendra Valley. Bareil was committed to protecting Opaka's name despite his own innocence, and withdrew his candidacy, merely days before the election. With her ascension to kai assured, Winn saw no more need to pursue the issue or even learn what Kira had found. (DS9: "The Collaborator")
Winn was appointed to kai on Bajor, in late 2370. Some of her first acts as kai were advising Kira, "In time, you will learn I am not your enemy," and indirectly postponing an appearance with Commander Sisko in front of the Vedek Assembly. Bareil accepted Winn's victory as "the will of the Prophets" and privately predicted to Kira, "[Winn will lead us] down paths she cannot possibly imagine. She's going to need our help along the way, even if she doesn't realize it yet." At Kira's choosing, she herself and Bareil were among those who paid initial respects to the newly elected kai. (DS9: "The Collaborator")
Following the election, Kai Winn accepted Bareil's assistance as her most trusted advisor. At Bareil's suggestion, Winn initiated secret negotiations with Legate Turrel of the Cardassian Central Command, to finally establish a peace treaty between their respective peoples. Winn admitted privately that it was Bareil's counsel that allowed the negotiations to advance as far as a scheduled face-to-face meeting with Turrel in 2371. Unfortunately, an accident aboard their transport severely injured Bareil, threatening to derail the talks. Winn supported Bareil's decision to keep himself conscious in order to guide her through the talks, since she knew that her diplomatic skills were insufficient to complete the negotiations alone. Winn successfully signed the treaty with Turrel aboard Deep Space 9, but Bareil died of his injuries soon after. (DS9: "Life Support")
Later that year, Kai Winn was appointed First Minister pro tempore after the death of previous First Minister Kalem Apren. With the elections a month away and no other candidates to oppose her, it seemed as though Winn would become both Bajor's spiritual and political leader. However, Winn hoped to gain public favor by initiating a project to grow cash crops in Rakantha Province. To do so, she ordered a group of farmers in Dahkur Province to immediately return the soil reclamators leased to them by the government six months before. Most of the farmers were former members of the Shakaar resistance cell, and were led by their former leader, Shakaar Edon.
Shakaar refused to return the reclamators, stating that they had been promised access to them for a full year and that they were needed to de-toxify the soil in Dahkur. Winn assigned Major Kira, who had once served under Shakaar, to bring back the equipment. Kira recommended that Winn meet with Shakaar to negotiate, but instead Winn sent Bajoran Militia units to arrest Shakaar and bring back the reclamators by force. Kira helped Shakaar to escape and rally his former Resistance members in the Dahkur Hills. Undeterred, Winn ordered more civic police into the province to apprehend them.
For two weeks, Shakaar and his group eluded the civic police in the mountains, all the while gaining popular support. Winn was forced to declare martial law and suspend local government in the Hill Provinces to keep order. Despite the risk of civil war, Winn was convinced that anarchy would follow if Shakaar were allowed to defy the law, and that the Prophets were testing her with the crisis. Finally, Shakaar's group confronted their pursuers in Tanis Canyon and reached an agreement. Shakaar entered himself as a candidate for First Minister, and the Militia agreed to stand down until after the election. Realizing Shakaar's popularity, Winn decided to cut her losses and issue a statement of support for Shakaar. (DS9: "Shakaar")
In 2372, Kai Winn supported the appointment of Akorem Laan as the new Emissary, since he shared many of her conservative religious and social views. (DS9: "Accession") The following year, she returned to Deep Space 9 for the ceremony that was to signify Bajor's admittance to the Federation, shortly before Sisko discovered the lost city of B'hala. Sisko's accomplishment finally convinced Winn that he was the true Emissary, and she attempted to reconcile with him. During her visit, she helped Sisko advance his pagh'tem'far visions with the Orb of Prophecy and Change. Winn disagreed with Jake Sisko's decision to stop the visions when they threatened his father's life. (DS9: "Rapture")
As war loomed in late 2373, Kai Winn was approached by Weyoun with a nonaggression pact between the Dominion and Bajor. Winn was faced with a difficult decision. If she rejected the treaty, Bajor could be the first casualty of the coming war, and if she accepted the treaty, it could constitute the first step to Bajor's assimilation into the Dominion. Heeding Sisko's advice to "stall", she eventually passed the treaty to the Chamber of Ministers without a recommendation. (DS9: "In the Cards")
Kai Winn again visited Deep Space 9 in 2374 to discuss Sisko's removal of an ancient stone tablet from the excavation at B'hala. She and First Minister Shakaar together submitted a formal request for its return to Bajor; it was the first time they had agreed on anything. However, Sisko shattered the tablet under the influence of the Prophets and initiated the Reckoning aboard the station. Winn stayed aboard to lead prayers in support of the Prophets, but she eventually interrupted their battle with Kosst Amojan by flooding the station with chroniton radiation, because she could not tolerate the fact that Sisko's faith was stronger than hers -- that he was willing to sacrifice himself and his son to follow the Prophets' path. (DS9: "The Reckoning")
Betraying the Prophets
In late 2375, Kai Winn traveled to Deep Space 9 to honor Sisko's upcoming wedding to Kasidy Yates. There, she had a series of visions which she believed to be from the Prophets, which told her that the Emissary had erred and that she was to return him to the proper path. They told her to expect a "guide", who emerged to be the farmer Anjohl Tennan (actually Gul Dukat in disguise). As Tennan, Dukat insinuated himself as Winn's closest advisor and confidante, and the two also became romantically involved. (DS9: "'Til Death Do Us Part")
Winn was horrified to learn that her visions had actually been sent by the Pah-wraiths, and more so when Anjohl revealed that he was in service of them as well. Winn sent for the Orb of Prophecy to ask the Prophets' forgiveness. However, when she stood before the orb, nothing happened: she had no vision and was not spoken to by the Prophets. Believing that the Prophets had forsaken her for consorting with the Evil Ones and by having strayed from the path for so long, Winn sought Kira's counsel on how to again prove herself worthy to them. She knew that she had, more often than not, put her own political interests ahead of the spiritual well-being of the Bajoran people and wanted to repent. She claimed that she was willing to do anything to earn their forgiveness and Kira assured her that it was not too late, that she could still go back to the good graces of the Prophets by setting aside the things that led her astray, such as ambition and jealousy. She suggested that Winn step down as Kai, since it was power that had led her astray. Winn, however, balked at this answer, insisting that the Bajoran people needed her. Kira left knowing that she had failed to get through to Winn. (DS9: "Strange Bedfellows")
Winn eventually confessed to Dukat that the first time she saw the gate to the celestial temple, people all around her were in awe, feeling the love of the Prophets, while she felt nothing and simply forced a smile, because that was expected of her. Disappointed, she remarked that, in fact, the Prophets had never spoken to her, that they had never offered her any guidance nor trusted her with anything, and that she was now expected to step down as Kai in order to be blessed by them; that was the last straw for Winn, who – after this epiphany – resolved that she would no longer serve gods who gave her nothing in return for her faith and sacrifices and who favored an alien Emissary over her. She was willing to walk the path the Pah-wraiths had laid out for her. (DS9: "Strange Bedfellows")
Anjohl told Winn that their mission was to free the Pah-wraiths from the Fire Caves, thus bringing about the Restoration of Bajor. With her authority as kai, Winn was the only person on Bajor who had access to the Book of the Kosst Amojan. Winn unintentionally stabbed her long-time attendant, Solbor, after he discovered Dukat's true identity and that she and Dukat were working together. When Solbor's blood dripped onto the blank pages of the Book, its secrets were revealed to her. Despite her hatred of Dukat, Winn continued their alliance and eventually learned how to release the Pah-wraiths. (DS9: "The Changing Face of Evil", "When It Rains...")
Since the ritual required a blood sacrifice, Winn waited for the return of Dukat, whom she had put out onto the street some days earlier. The two of them entered the Fire Caves, where Winn poisoned Dukat and offered him to the Pah-wraiths. However, the Pah-wraiths chose Dukat, not Winn, as their new Emissary. The restored Dukat attacked Sisko when he arrived, and Winn, realizing what she'd done, tried to destroy the Book. When Dukat took it back, Winn told Captain Sisko, whom she finally acknowledged as the true Emissary of the Prophets, to destroy the book. Dukat killed Winn by engulfing her in flames. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")
- "In the Hands of the Prophets" (Season 1)
- "The Circle" (Season 2)
- "The Siege"
- "The Collaborator"
- "Life Support" (Season 3)
- "Rapture" (Season 5)
- "In the Cards"
- "The Reckoning" (Season 6)
- "'Til Death Do Us Part" (Season 7)
- "Strange Bedfellows"
- "The Changing Face of Evil"
- "When It Rains..."
- "What You Leave Behind"
"Those of you who were in the Resistance, you're all the same. You think you're the only ones who fought the Cardassians, that you saved Bajor single-handedly. Perhaps you forget, Major, the Cardassians arrested any Bajoran found to be teaching the word of the Prophets. I was in a Cardassian prison camp for five years, and I can remember each and every beating I suffered. And while you had your weapons to protect you, all I had was my faith... and my courage. Walk with the Prophets child... I know I will."
"I rid myself of the Prophets and shed a lifetime of hypocrisy."
Originally, the producers of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine invited Louise Fletcher to portray Winn. "They just asked me to play this outrageous part, and I thought it was this one-time thing," Fletcher recalled. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 61) She elaborated, "The producers more or less just parachuted me in. They gave me a thumb nail sketch [or, in other words, a rough description] of Winn." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 49) Fletcher immediately accepted the role. "I figured if Whoopi Goldberg could do it, why not?" she reasoned. "It might be fun [....] And I loved the idea of playing a ruthless and ambitious religious leader." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 99) Although the actress wasn't very familiar with the show or her part in it when she first took it, she was soon clued into these aspects. "By the first episode," Fletcher recalled, "I was pretty clear what kind of character she was going to be [....] [Quark actor] Armin Shimerman, who is a friend of mine, filled me in on the history of the programme [...] as well as who's in the show." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 49) As it turned out, Fletcher enjoyed making her first appearances as Winn, in DS9 Season 1 finale "In the Hands of the Prophets" followed by a second-season-opening three-parter. "It was great," she noted. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 101)
After first establishing the role of Winn, the DS9 staff writers kept requesting for Louise Fletcher to return to DS9. "They kept coming back and asking me to do more. As it turned out, I was available most of the time," she recalled. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 61) Fletcher also said, "I think every now and then they like to do a storyline about this religious leader who comes into their affairs and messes everything up, causing a lot of problems." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, pp. 100-101) The writers didn't, though, reveal inside details exclusively to Fletcher. "I would love to see what Winn's daily schedule is like and what her life is like," the actress gushed. "I never know. The [producers] never tell me, so I'm in the dark. They just call me, send me the script and I'm like a very obedient child." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 50)
Having make-up, hairstyling, and costuming applied to her so she could play Winn was easy for Louise Fletcher, who stated, "I have an elaborate hairdo and I'm in there [at Paramount studios] quite a while." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 101) As a result, Fletcher sought some way to reduce her durations in the DS9 make-up chair. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 101) She explained, "When I was just a Vedek I didn't have to worry about my hair, only my make-up... I just had it under a hood." Fletcher referred to the yellow hat she wore when Winn was a kai as "a Robin Hood-style hat." Because that hat exposed some of her hair, her visits to the makeup chair took longer as a kai than it did as a vedek, with the makeup and hair taking approximately two hours to be applied to her, each time. (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 50)
Louise Fletcher found remembering the words spoken by Winn was "not easy." She explained, "It's a lot of language and it's almost classical. I don't want to say Shakespearean, but [Winn] does have the tragic flaw of ambition and pride." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 61)
Louise Fletcher thoroughly enjoyed the way playing Winn gave her a chance to over-act. (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 100) "It's fun to play that high drama," she noted. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 61) The actress elaborated, "The thing I love about doing this part is it's just sort of permissible over-acting. But that's over-acting not in a negative way, it's just sort of operatic, and everybody can be big, because it's a big environment, and the emotions are big. It's just like that black and white thing, the good and the evil and the power. It's sort of like the seven deadly sins. How do you act those in a small way?" (Hidden File 04, DS9 Season 7 DVD special features)
The DS9 writing staff enjoyed teasing audience expectations concerning Winn Adami. "We like to allow the audience to hate [...] Winn, and then give her a speech that is basically just for Kira and the audience [that contradicts their expectations]," stated Ira Behr. "It's a perverse thing to do." By changing the character in such a way, the writers tried to increase the realism of the part. "The kai is a really important character on the show and she's not one-note," said Hans Beimler. "She's complicated, multifaceted. That's because one of the things that Ira always has emphasized with us is to make the characters three-dimensional." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 406)
In her performances as Winn, Louise Fletcher approached the role from the viewpoint that Winn was truly evil. "Winn's definitely not a sympathetic character," the actress opined. "She's the kind of person you love to hate. That's what I'm striving to achieve." In addition, Fletcher identified Winn as a pathological liar, perverting the will of the Prophets and twisting their words to suit her own goals. "Winn is always defining her role as the spiritual mandate from the Prophets, but in fact she is just wildly ambitious [....] [As kai,] Winn expects blind obedience to whatever she says, because it is the will of the Prophets. It's like having a direct line to God [....] Winn's always saying, 'walk with the Prophets', 'go with the Prophets', 'may the Prophets look down upon you', or 'this is the will of the Prophets', and she is the one that is talking to them." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, pp. 49 & 50) Fletcher also stated, "I think Kai Winn just basically has a resentment for anyone else who has power. She wants to be the be-all end-all of power, and the fact that the Prophets, that she became interested in the Prophets and her basic belief structure, which we find out toward the end has all been hypocrisy anyway, she never really believed, it was all just lip-service and appearance. But what she was basically interested in was just having that power for herself. I suggested at one point that little children should run in front of her dropping rose petals, you know, that she'd become so power mad, like Mussolini, you know, just out of control power mad. They didn't like that suggestion for some reason." (Hidden File 04, DS9 Season 7 DVD special features)
Louise Fletcher believed Winn was similar to various humans in reality. In a 2011 interview, Fletcher noted about Winn, "She wanted power and she was ambitious. She was sort of a Margaret Thatcher in space, or, as I used to say, I was the Pope in space. People would say, 'Oh, you're doing Star Trek. Who are you playing?' I'd say, 'Think the Pope in space, except she's like an ancient Pope, from the old days when Popes were ruthless and powerful and exerted their powers and fought wars and did all kinds of naughty things.'"  In another interview, Fletcher likewise joked, "I'm the David Koresh of space. Maybe that's too horrible. I think I'd rather be the pope. Kiss my ring." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 75) Fletcher not only thought of Winn as "a kind of archbishop who was elected to Pope," but also "sort of like Jean Kirkpatrick or William Bennet under the Reagan administration." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 99)
Winn was highly approved of by several members of the DS9 production staff. "Don't you just hate Kai Winn?" Robert Hewitt Wolfe rhetorically asked. "She's just another member of our beloved dysfunctional family." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 97) "It was interesting to have her there," Director Winrich Kolbe commented about Louise Fletcher. "This has nothing to do with her personality, but what she comes up with is the banality of evil. She doesn't go around gritting her teeth and chomping at the bit. The evil is underneath. She's a very normal evil person." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 75) Fletcher herself accepted with amusement the recognition that came with appearing as one of Star Trek's guest stars. Members of her family liked her in the role. Her children, who were Star Trek fans, believed it was all a lot of fun. Her brother, a former minister, thought it was "the cat's pyjamas." (Cinefantastique, Vol. 27, No. 4/5, p. 101)
Winn had remarkable relationships with various other DS9 characters. Observed Louise Fletcher, "Sisko just tolerates her, and she is very resentful of the fact that he has this communion with the Prophets that she doesn't have, and yet, he respects her in certain ways, and he treats her with deference, and she likes that, she insists on that, and they had a nice sparring relationship over the years." (Hidden File 04, DS9 Season 7 DVD special features) Regarding a different relationship, Fletcher clarified, "I don't think I have anything against [Kira] personally. It's just that she is a cog in my wheel [by repeatedly defying Winn] [....] Winn knows that Kira understands what Winn is up to, but Winn has the power to do whatever she wants." (Star Trek Monthly issue 34, p. 49)
Kai Winn makes a brief appearance in the first book of the Deep Space Nine trilogy Millennium, condescendingly telling Sisko that the Red Orbs of Jalbador are nothing more than a child's fairy tale, but warning Sisko that bringing the three Orbs together would bring the apocalypse. When the three Orbs were brought together in Quark's Bar, a new Celestial Temple opened inside of Quark's, ripping Deep Space 9 apart from the inside. Kai Winn escaped the destruction of the station but was later hanged for heresy, after the Pah-wraiths became the accepted gods of the Bajorans, with Weyoun as their kai. The entire timeline was undone thanks to the crew of Deep Space 9.
Her mirror universe counterpart appeared in the novels The Soul Key and Rise Like Lions. The former depicts her as one of the leaders of the Bajoran dissident movement against the Klingon-Cardassian Alliance as well as Jaro's wife whereas in the latter, she is depicted as a vedek serving under Kai Opaka in 2378.
- Winn Adami at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- Winn Adami at Wikipedia
- Winn Adami at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
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