(written from a Production point of view)
New evidence reopens a thirty-year-old murder case and Dax's previous host, Curzon, is the prime suspect.
Chief Miles O'Brien accompanies his wife Keiko O'Brien to Earth to visit her mother for her 100th birthday. During his absence, Jadzia Dax and Julian Bashir are studying the required repair work. When Dax decides to call it a night, Bashir offers to accompany her to her quarters and she politely refuses. As she walks down the corridor, three hooded figures approach her. One of them, Ilon Tandro, asks her to confirm that she is indeed Dax, after which the two others knock her out and carry her across the corridor. They remove her combadge as she tries to tap it to call for help. Just then, Bashir, having decided to accompany Dax back anyway, arrives and tries to rescue her, but he is unsuccessful and is knocked out as well.
While Commander Sisko and Major Kira investigate an odd residual charge of the graviton generator in Ops, Bashir regains consciousness and reports the attempted kidnapping. Sisko immediately calls a full station alert and they attempt to contain them by securing turbolifts and airlocks, noting that they need one of the faster ships. The kidnappers manage to escape by avoiding Odo's security system and disabling the tractor beam, the cause of the earlier residual charge. However, Sisko gets it back on line just in time to tow the ship back to the station.
In order to stall for time, Sisko sends a message to Klaestron IV to confirm the warrant. Odo confirms the nature of the warrant, and that the crime was committed 30 years ago. Realizing it must have been Curzon Dax, Sisko is confused as he never mentioned being on that planet. Moreover, Jadzia refuses to reveal anything about the incident to Sisko, and blatantly says she does not expect help.
In Sisko's office, Tandro wishes to be on his way, now that the warrant is confirmed. However, Sisko refuses, claiming that while the Klaestrons have an extradition treaty with the Federation, Deep Space 9 is a Bajoran station and they have no such treaty with Bajor. Moreover, Ilon knew very well that the Bajorans would object to any request for extradition, which is why he tried to kidnap Dax. Ilon blandly says there are no Bajoran interests concerned, but Major Kira speaks up and says that since Klaestron IV is allied with the Cardassians, Ilon must have obtained the station's security codes from them – "which not only compromises Bajoran security, but also… annoys us." Caught between Sisko and Kira, Ilon has no choice but to agree to an extradition hearing before Dax can be lawfully released.
Odo blackmails Quark into lending his bar for the hearing over the fact that it is not up to current building codes from the Bajoran Provisional Government. Arbiter Els Renora opens the hearing in Quark's with a very strict, no-nonsense call to order. Ilon simply restates the warrant, but Sisko's first argument is that Jadzia Dax is not the person named in the warrant. Curzon Dax should be charged, and he is dead. Renora agrees that Tandro must prove that Jadzia Dax and Curzon Dax are the same person. Sisko is pleased with himself, but Jadzia doesn't seem to return his look.
Sisko orders Bashir and Kira to get to work on gathering evidence that Jadzia and Curzon are different people, medical evidence and judicial precedents, respectively. In the meantime, Sisko has sent Odo to Klaestron IV to investigate the evidence on the ground. It appears that the general and Curzon were friends, an odd situation for treason. By speaking with Ilon's mother, Enina Tandro, Odo discovers that the charges are based on the fact that, during a civil war, a coded message informed the opposing side of his father's location. Of the people who knew the location, Curzon was the only one without an alibi. Enina tells him that Ilon has become obsessed with finding the one who betrayed his father, and will not be satisfied until someone is punished. Tandro's murder inspired his people to victory and he has since become a worldwide hero. However, Enina is adamant that Curzon did not betray her husband. Unfortunately, her son won't listen to her.
Back on Deep Space 9, the hearing continues and Dax's fate is still uncertain. Thanks to the testimony of another Trill, Selin Peers, about the nature of the relationship between the symbiont and the host, Sisko is able to establish that Jadzia and Curzon Dax are distinct entities, but Ilon argues that failure to punish Trill symbionts for acts committed in past life times would create a perfect crime. The debate becomes heated and Renora demands a recess. Curiously, Jadzia seems complacent about the entire situation.
Julian Bashir takes the stand to explain the biological connection and interdependence between the symbiont and the host of a Trill. He insists that the two individuals are very different, eventually citing that their brain waves are unique. However, upon questioning from Tandro, is forced to admit that, if the symbiont's brain could be isolated, there is no evidence of a change in its activity when it changes hosts. Defeated, he sits down.
Sisko himself then takes the stand and talks about his long-lasting friendship with Curzon Dax and his "new friend" Jadzia. He points out Curzon's mentoring role, but his less-than-ideal habits. He also says that he doesn't know Jadzia that well, yet. Ilon interjects to say that, as a Starfleet officer, he must agree that crimes need to have punishment. The Arbiter calls for a recess before Dax is to take the stand.
Soon afterwards, Sisko receives a message from Odo during a recess that he has discovered evidence of an affair between Dax and Enina, giving Dax a solid motive for the murder.
Odo goes back to Enina, who admits the affair to Odo; when he asks how her husband reacted, she replies cryptically that her husband was not the hero in life that he became in death. She tells him that Ardelon will always be remembered as a hero, and that it is her place to never remarry and carry on as the brave widow, representing him always. However, faced with the situation, she decides it is time for her place in history to change. Meanwhile, Sisko confronts Dax with the new knowledge. She doesn't deny it, but still won't go into greater detail about it, and won't defend herself with the revealed truth. She feels the shame of Curzon's indiscretion, just like any Trill symbiont always feels the guilt of past crimes or failings. Sisko is again frustrated, but promises to continue protecting one of his officers, as Curzon once taught him, even though his arguments are running out.
When the hearing resumes, Sisko establishes Jadzia's academic and psychological testing, though Ilon counters that she accepted the responsibility of joining with a symbiont, including past crimes. Just then, Enina enters the courtroom, much to Ilon's shock. Enina tells the court that when the transmission that led to Ardelon's murder was sent, Curzon Dax was in her bed, and could not have sent it. The arbiter tells Ilon he may want to re-examine his evidence for the extradition request and leaves. The question of whether a Trill is responsible for the crimes of its past hosts is now left unanswered. Enina turns to Ilon and tries to place her hand on her son, but he recoils from her touch.
After the hearing is over, Jadzia and Enina walk together along the upper level of the Promenade. Jadzia says that there is much of Curzon that is still part of her, including the desire to protect the reputation of Dax's old friend, General Tandro. Sadly, Enina supposes that the truth will remain unknown forever – that it was General Tandro himself who sent the coded message, attempting to betray his own people, and that the rebels killed him for the favor.
Enina bids an affectionate goodbye to Jadzia, telling her to live her life to the fullest.
- "Station log, stardate 46910.1. Chief O'Brien has escorted his wife back to Earth to celebrate her mother's hundredth birthday. In the meantime, the rest of us are trying to keep the station up and running."
"You Klaestrons are allies of the Cardassians; your knowledge of the station confirms that they must have given you the layouts. Which not only compromises Bajoran security, but also… annoys us."
- - Kira Nerys
"I am one hundred years old. I do not have time to squander listening to superfluous language. In short, I intend to be in here until supper, not senility."
- - Els Renora
"It's all nonsense, constable! I'm telling you, I knew the man."
"But did you know the symbiont inside the man?"
- - Sisko and Odo, discussing the murder charges facing Curzon Dax
"I want you to find all the medical evidence you can to support the theory that Jadzia Dax and Curzon Dax are two entirely separate people. Major –"
"Excuse me, sir; I don't know that there is any medical evidence on that."
"Assume there is, then find it."
- - Benjamin Sisko and Julian Bashir
"Is a Trill responsible for the conduct – for the acts – of its antecedent selves."
"Right, that kind of thing."
"What if I find out the answer's yes?"
"Then that answer is wrong."
- - Kira Nerys and Benjamin Sisko
"Tell us a little about Curzon Dax, commander."
"He probably wasn't the ideal Trill, he drank a little too much, he could be more interested in women than maybe he should have been.
"I thought he was your friend?"
"I'm simply pointing out that he was nothing like the young woman in this courtroom."
"What was exactly your relationship with Curzon Dax?"
"He took a raw young ensign under his wing and taught me to appreciate life in ways I've never thought about before, he taught me about art and science and diplomacy, whatever sense of honor I might have today… he nurtured. Murder, treason… he was not capable of those things."
- - Kira Nerys and Benjamin Sisko
"Are you really willing to commit suicide over something done in another lifetime?"
- - Sisko, to Dax on her refusal to defend herself at the hearing
"You may want to reconsider your extradition request."
- - Els Renora, to Ilon Tandro after hearing of the affair
Story and script
- The story idea that served as this episode's genesis was thought up during an approximately five-day brainstorming session between Ira Steven Behr and Peter Allan Fields during the week of 15 June 1992, which led them to devise the premises for the first-conceived episodes of DS9 Season 1 (apart from the pilot episode "Emissary"). (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 422)
- This story was conceived by the producers because they were keen to explore the character of Dax. They realized that she was an extraordinarily complex character, and they wanted to try to tap into some of that complexity. As Peter Allan Fields said, "There was something more we wanted – heart, character – 'Who is this Dax? Is she old? Is she young?' We were exploring ourselves." They were also trying to clarify for the audience some key aspects of Trill society. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 32))
- Robert Hewitt Wolfe commented, "The show was a little less edgy than I thought it was going to be some ways. We weren't really driving these characters until the episode 'Dax'. Peter Allan Fields wrote and Michael did some work which took it to the next level. 'Dax' was really eye-opening. I get the show. I get what Michael and Ira are going for. Our heroes don't have to be innocent all the time. Our heroes are fallible, interesting and complicated people. I really started seeing the enormous potential of the show." (Science Fiction Television Series, 1990-2004, p. 267)
- The teleplay for this episode was co-written by D.C. Fontana, who wrote such TOS episodes as "Charlie X", "This Side of Paradise", and "Journey to Babel". This was her only credit on DS9, and this was actually the last Star Trek script she wrote.
- The writers decided to set the hearing in Quark's bar, rather than build a conference room set (though one was indeed later built in the third season and served as a location for a similar hearing in the fourth season episode "Rules of Engagement"). Michael Piller commented, "We wanted to put it in the bar because it's an interesting set. We could have built a room for this to occur in, but the truth is we had shown the space station destroyed in the pilot three weeks before, and there's no reason to believe there's a lot of usable space. Slowly, it's coming back on line; it was not a production requirement." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 46)
- Rick Sternbach designed the Bajoran gavel seen in the episode. Sternbach commented, "In one situation, we were given the task of designing a Bajoran gavel, not the familiar hammer shape that we have here on the Earth, but something that would still get peoples' attention when it was struck on a surface. So we eventually came up with a very alien solution to the gavel as being a polished, ornate stone that would be hit on a striking surface. It pretty well fit the bill." (Deep Space Nine Sketchbook, DS9 Season 1 DVD)
- Director David Carson was delighted to film this episode. "I enjoyed doing 'Dax'," he remarked. "That was good fun." Whereas DS9 pilot episode "Emissary" had entered production before Terry Farrell had been cast as Dax, Carson found the making of this episode was much less pressured. This was partly because he didn't have the responsibility of getting the pilot perfect. 
- Ira Steven Behr commented that "Dax" was a: "small episode, yet a very well-done one that stands up to anything that was done first season, to an extent. It was one of Sisko's best shows. I think it showed him in a very good light. I liked the Odo stuff and I thought the ending where the wife comes back was touching". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 46)
- David Carson commented: "I thought it was a very successful show, marrying camera movement to performance and using the lighting to express the feelings of the piece. It worked very well as an intimate drama and in the courtroom scenes". (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 46)
- The StarTrek.com staff wrote: "The episode explores the morality of the Deep Space Nine characters, showing their complexities and their conflicts. The idea of a symbiont having to face justice for a crime committed while their host remains innocent is fascinating, and very heavy science fiction, and yet Fontana frames it with elegance and accessibility by grounding it in the very human stories of Jadzia and the rest of the crew". 
- Brannon Braga enjoyed watching the episode. (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p 46)
- In a review of the Laserdisc release, a reviewer wrote: ""Dax" is better, combining echoes of The Spider's Stratagem with an exploration of the alien physiology of one of the principal characters, though the specific dramatic question — whether that character, who has another being inside of her is responsible for the being's previous acts - is rendered moot at the end and left unanswered". (The Laserdisc Newsletter, 1997)
- According to Ira Steven Behr, the portrayal of Curzon Dax in this episode helped establish Jadzia Dax as a fun-loving member of her species. "By building the backstory on Curzon Dax in 'Dax'," Behr commented, "it opened up the whole issue that she is not your usual Trill." (Captains' Logs Supplemental - The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages, p. 33)
- This is the only episode of the franchise whose title consists entirely of a main character's name. (Several other titles include a main character's name—e.g. "Spock's Brain", "Data's Day"—or consist entirely of a guest character's name—e.g. "Melora", "Jetrel".)
- Raktajino, Klingon coffee, is mentioned for the first time in the series in this episode.
- The image of the surface of Klaestron IV was one of many reuses of the matte painting for Angel I from TNG: "Angel One".
- Both Gregory Itzin and Fionnula Flanagan make their first Star Trek appearances in this episode. Anne Haney previously appeared as Rishon Uxbridge in TNG: "The Survivors". Richard Lineback played Romas in TNG: "Symbiosis". Spice Williams, who has an uncredited role, first appeared in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier as the Klingon Vixis.
- At one point Selin Peers refers to the ruling body of the planet Trill as the Trillian government. This was the only time the term "Trillian" was used to describe the Trill – which, in turn, could be viewed as an alternative name, such as "Vulcanian" was to Vulcan, or "Bajora" was to Bajoran.
- Colm Meaney (Miles O'Brien) does not appear in this episode; it is stated the O'Briens are visiting Keiko's family on Earth. Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode, either.
- Among the items and costumes from this episode which were sold off on the It's A Wrap! sale and auction on eBay were the trousers worn by Spice Williams. 
- The stardate for this episode is inconsistent with the episodes that follow, actually placing the episode after "If Wishes Were Horses" (DS9), and just before "Second Chances" (Stardate: 46915, TNG).
- In this episode only, Dax's quarters feature a replica of the fertility idol from Raiders of the Lost Ark. It can be seen briefly on the top shelf of her glass display case, when Sisko goes to plead with her for information in Act Two. It is not gold plated.
- The question of whether a joined Trill inherits legal responsibility from previous symbiont/host combinations is discussed, but ultimately not resolved in this episode.
- The inclusion of this episode in DS9 Season 1 meant that the show's writing staff was reluctant to produce "Duet", later in the same season. (The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years, p. 461)
- Remastered footage from the episode is featured in the documentary What We Left Behind.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 4, 6 September 1993
- As part of the DS9 Season 1 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko
- Colm Meaney as Chief O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira
- David Paul Christian as Bajoran deputy
- Robert Coffee as Bajoran officer
- Jeannie Dreams as Human operations division ensign
- Judi Durand as Deep Space 9 computer voice
- Randy James as Jones
- Chad McCord as operations ensign
- Tom Morga as Klaestron kidnapper
- Tyana Parr as Human DS9 resident
- Mark Allen Sheperd as Morn
- Spice Williams as Klaestron kidnapper
- Michael Zurich as Bajoran security deputy
- Unknown performers as
- Chris Doyle as stunt double for Siddig El Fadil
- Unknown stunt performers as stunt double for Terry Farrell
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- "Dax" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Dax" at Wikipedia
- "Dax" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Dax" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
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