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For the mirror universe counterpart, please see Elim Garak (mirror).
"Oh, it's just Garak. Plain, simple Garak."
– Elim Garak, 2369 ("Past Prologue")

Elim Garak was a Cardassian tailor and Promenade shopkeeper of Garak's Clothiers who lived on Deep Space 9. He had previously been an agent of the Cardassian intelligence agency, the Obsidian Order but was exiled to Terok Nor. He worked with Starfleet during the Dominion War, returning to Cardassia Prime just prior to the Battle of Cardassia to help organize the Cardassian Liberation Front. He was known to be a witty conversationalist and a skilled tailor. Underneath his friendly and charming exterior, he was a proficient assassin, saboteur and expert liar, able to adapt to a variety of situations. He loved Cardassia and hated his exile on DS9 but was good friends with Julian Bashir and Odo. (DS9: "Cardassians", "The Wire", "Profit and Loss", "Broken Link", "Behind the Lines", "What You Leave Behind")

Early life[]

Elim Garak was the son of Enabran Tain: a nefarious Cardassian who never grew tired of repeating to his son "I should have killed your mother before you were born. You have always been a weakness I can't afford." (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow")

Garak had a strong, almost crippling, case of claustrophobia. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light") He told Ezri Dax that, in his youth, his father would discipline him by locking him in a closet. (DS9: "Afterimage")

At age four, Garak and his father spent a day in the country together, their "only day" as Garak would later recall. Garak impressed his father by mounting a riding hound despite falling off numerous times. As he limped home, his father held Garak's hand and would later recall that he was very proud of him that day. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow")

At one point, Garak also spent time on Tzenketh, where he was trapped in a small room with moving walls. (DS9: "By Inferno's Light")

Life in the Obsidian Order[]

At one time, Garak was a high-ranking member of the Cardassian intelligence agency, the Obsidian Order. He was the protégé of his father, who had become the head of the Order in 2348, though their familial relationship was kept secret throughout Garak's life (and only openly addressed by Tain on his deathbed). During his time as an operative, Garak was instrumental in the arrest, torture and execution of Gul Dukat's father. (DS9: "The Wire", "For the Cause", "In Purgatory's Shadow") That fact contributed to Dukat later regretting not having had Garak executed (though not for lack of trying, according to Garak). (DS9: "Civil Defense") Garak had a vindictive streak and once tried to invent charges of treason against a gul just for being long-winded, but Tain stopped him. (DS9: "The Die is Cast") He also spent time on Romulus, posing as a gardener at the Cardassian embassy. During his time there he may have been involved in the deaths of several important Romulan officials, including Proconsul Merrok and Sub-Commander Ustard and the Romulan ambassador (though this was based on stories Garak told of his own past, which were not reliable). (DS9: "Broken Link", "In Purgatory's Shadow")

As an Obsidian Order operative, Garak had a cranial implant installed in his skull which would help him resist torture. The implant caused his brain to release endorphins when in pain, thus making the experience of torture pleasurable. When Garak was exiled to DS9 he hacked the device so that it remained on continuously, in order to make his exile tolerable. Finally the implant failed and he was brought to sickbay in excruciating pain. While there he confessed to Bashir that life on DS9 was itself torturous. Despite Garak's best efforts, he was unable to acquire a replacement implant and was thus forced to endure life without the pleasure creating endorphins to which he had become addicted. Enabran Tain told Bashir that he wanted Garak to live a long, miserable life, rather than simply executing him. (DS9: "The Wire")

Garak's masterful skills for subterfuge were such that even in the most dire of scenarios he would lie and misdirect any attempt to ascertain the truth or his intentions. Enabran Tain commented that Garak would "Never tell the truth when a lie will do." (DS9: "The Wire") Later, Garak claimed that he considered lying a skill that required constant practice. (DS9: "Broken Link", "In Purgatory's Shadow")

Garak was an expert interrogator and torturer. In one interrogation, Garak eschewed physical torture and extracted a confession simply by staring at his prisoner, a Doctor Parmak, for hours. Garak took a great deal of pride in his ability to force information from people and did not need to be ordered to do so. (DS9: "The Die is Cast")

Garak learned Klingonese at some point during his time at the Obsidian Order, a fact he revealed when he spoke to a group of Klingons confronting Constable Odo. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior")


In 2368, Garak somehow betrayed Tain, and Tain ordered him killed. Garak escaped, but was exiled from his homeworld of Cardassia Prime.

While suffering from the degradation of his cranial implant, he gave three versions of the reason for his exile to Doctor Julian Bashir:

  1. He first claimed he was a gul in the Cardassian Mechanized Infantry and was exiled for killing several Cardassians, including his first officer, a man named Elim, as well as the daughter of a prominent military official, who were on board a transport going from Bajor to space station Terok Nor, when he destroyed it. Garak thought he was in fact killing members of the Bajoran Resistance who were planning to sabotage Terok Nor.
  2. He then changed his story to say that as he and his assistant Elim were interrogating a group of Bajoran children he felt pity for them and let them go instead of turning them over to be executed. He was exiled when Elim turned him in to the authorities.
  3. Garak also said that he was exiled after being framed by his best friend Elim with evidence that a member of the Obsidian Order was allowing Bajoran prisoners to escape.

Dr. Bashir later discovered from Enabran Tain that "Elim" was actually Garak's first name, indicating that none of these explanations were entirely true. (DS9: "The Wire") Another time, he claimed he was exiled for tax evasion. (DS9: "Improbable Cause") Even this account (and any others), however, are almost certainly fabricated or distorted, as Garak was fond of saying, "The truth is usually just an excuse for lack of imagination." To Garak truth is the lines in between lies; he once claimed that all he says is true – "especially the lies". (DS9: "The Wire")

When Sisko asked Garak if the attempted assassination plot against him in 2371 was somehow related to his exile, he stated that he seriously doubted that the finance ministry would try to kill him for not paying his taxes. (DS9: "Improbable Cause")

After his exile, Garak took up residence aboard Terok Nor, under the command of Gul Dukat. Bitter over Garak's involvement in his father's death, Dukat attempted to have Garak executed. (DS9: "Civil Defense") Garak again escaped death's grip, surviving to see the Cardassian government withdraw from the station in 2369. He set up a tailor's shop, and went into business soon after his fellow Cardassians left the station. (DS9: "Past Prologue")

Garak loved Cardassia and the Cardassian state, which he saw as one and the same, and he loved working for the state. Exile to him was torturous. He longed to return to Cardassia, even at one point agreeing to murder fleeing members of the Cardassian dissident movement in return for a pardon (an agreement that was broken by the gul who made it with him). (DS9: "The Wire", "Profit and Loss")

Those who had exiled Garak from Cardassia said he didn't deserve a quick death. His old Obsidian Order boss Enabran Tain said, "I want him to live a long, miserable life. I want him to grow old on that station, surrounded by people who hate him, knowing that he'll never come home again.". (DS9: "The Wire")

Life on Deep Space 9[]

Garak hated living on Deep Space 9, mostly because it meant he was exiled from his home, Cardassia, which he loved and which he now felt like he could not serve. (DS9: "The Wire")

Garak kept contacts in the Cardassian Union after his exile, and when Starfleet took control of Terok Nor, renaming it Deep Space 9, he attempted on occasion to use his position as the only Cardassian still aboard to regain his usefulness. Many on the station believed Garak was still a spy. He befriended Dr. Julian Bashir, and began to reveal small bits of information to the doctor about his past and current events. When once asked by Bashir whether he was an outcast or a spy, Garak suggested that maybe he was "an outcast spy." The Doctor asked how he could be both, and Garak simply replied "I never said I was either." (DS9: "Profit and Loss") Bashir and Garak began to have weekly lunches, where they grew to be friends. (DS9: "Cardassians") His assigned quarters were Chamber 901, Habitat Level H-3. (DS9: "The Wire")

Garak helped uncover Tahna Los' real intentions after he was granted asylum by Sisko. He invited Bashir to hide in his shop and overhear the Duras sisters selling a substance that was used for explosives. (DS9: "Past Prologue")

Bashir with Garak after attack

Garak after having his hand bitten by Rugal

Along with Bashir, he foiled a plot by Dukat to embarrass a Cardassian diplomat who opposed Dukat's dictatorial ways. Dukat had accused Kotan Pa'Dar of abandoning his child after the occupation of Bajor ended. (DS9: "Cardassians")

In 2370, Garak was offered a chance to regain his position on Cardassia by killing members of the Cardassian Underground. When the deal was revealed to be a lie, he instead killed the gul who had made the offer and helped the rebels escape. (DS9: "Profit and Loss")

Garak collapses

Garak grimacing in pain caused by his malfunctioning cranial implant

Later that year, Garak began having life-threatening headaches. He had been using his cranial implant continuously for two years to alleviate the pain of being exiled to a Bajoran space station (he had had the implant inserted into him years previously by the Obsidian Order in order to help him resist torture: the implant released endorphins into his body). The implant began to malfunction, and Doctor Bashir was forced to deactivate the device. Garak had to learn to live without it, overcoming severe withdrawal symptoms. (DS9: "The Wire")

Garak was not part of the crew that entered the Gamma Quadrant in search of the Dominion, however, he was included in a simulation conducted by the Founders after capturing that crew. In the simulation, the Garak character was killed trying to stop the Dominion from taking over Deep Space 9. (DS9: "The Search, Part II")

He helped rescue Kira from the Cardassians who had surgically altered her and tried to convince her that she was actually a Cardassian agent who had been reprogrammed into thinking she was Kira Nerys, which was in reality an attempt to reveal the ties a former legate had to the Cardassian Underground. When the station was set to self-destruct because of an automated Cardassian anti-terrorist program, he tried to use his Cardassian security codes to disable it. He became part of Bashir's nightmare caused by an alien who was using mind control on Bashir. (DS9: "Second Skin", "Civil Defense", "Distant Voices")

Tain and garak

Reunited with Enabran Tain in 2371

In 2371, an explosion destroyed Garak's shop. Garak was later revealed to have caused the explosion himself, to preempt an upcoming assassination attempt by the Flaxian Retaya by drawing Odo into the investigation. The two later learned that the assassination was ordered by his former mentor, Enabran Tain. Tain offered Garak his old position in the Order back, and despite their past history, Garak accepted. (DS9: "Improbable Cause") Garak joined Tain on a joint Obsidian Order/Tal Shiar mission to destroy the Founders' homeworld in the Gamma Quadrant. During this time, he was briefly assigned to interrogate Odo using an experimental device that prevented him from shape-shifting when approaching the point when Odo would have to return to his natural form, but Garak eventually ended it after Odo revealed nothing more interesting than that he still wanted to return to his people, Garak realizing that he didn't have it in him to torture those he was close to any more. The mission failed and the Dominion destroyed Tain's fleet at the Battle of the Omarion Nebula, though Garak escaped aboard the USS Defiant. He returned to Deep Space 9 and rebuilt his shop. (DS9: "The Die is Cast")

Morn and Garak

Garak hemming trousers for Morn

When, in 2372, Starfleet learned of the Invasion of Cardassia, rather than betray the Klingons Captain Benjamin Sisko asked Garak to measure him for a suit while Worf made an intelligence report to the captain. When it was clear that the captain wasn't in need of a suit, and the entire meeting was a method of back-channel communication to the Detapa Council, Garak thanked the captain and said that he had "Everything I need." Garak contacted Gul Dukat to warn him of the impending Klingon invasion of Cardassia. The two enemies fought side-by-side to defend the Detapa Council members during the First Battle of Deep Space 9. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior") Garak later admitted, however, that he was tempted to shoot Dukat in the back during the conflict but decided against it, if for no other reason than that he couldn't possibly defeat all of the Klingons alone. (DS9: "Call to Arms")

Julian Bashir and Elim Garak in holosuite

Garak with Bashir in the Julian Bashir, Secret Agent holoprogram

When Quark wanted to hire Garak as an assassin in order to kill himself as part of a contract he should not have done when he thought he was dying, Garak, realizing he did not want to die, seemingly played along with his wishes in order to help him deal with the horrible dilemma he was in and, in time, solve it. (DS9: "Body Parts")

When Dukat's half-Bajoran daughter, Tora Ziyal, came to the station in 2373, Ziyal became attracted to Garak. The two formed a bond as the only Cardassians on the station, and Ziyal fell in love with him. (DS9: "For the Cause")

In hopes of finding any survivors of the Cardassian fleet, Garak returned to the Gamma Quadrant on the Defiant in 2372. During the trip he was informed by the Female Changeling that there were no survivors, and that in fact, one day all Cardassians would die by the Dominion's hand. While in orbit of the Founders' new homeworld, Garak attempted to obliterate the Great Link using the ship's quantum torpedoes. His attempt failed when he was discovered by Worf, and he was imprisoned on Deep Space 9 for six months. (DS9: "Broken Link")

Tora Ziyal and Elim Garak, 2373

Garak embracing Tora Ziyal

Garak received a message from the Gamma Quadrant the following year from Enabran Tain. Traveling to Dominion space, Garak and Lieutenant Commander Worf were captured and imprisoned on Internment Camp 371. There he found Tain, dying. On his deathbed, Tain finally admitted that Garak was his son, and told Garak that he was proud of him. While Garak was at the camp, Gul Dukat, as the new leader of Cardassia, arranged for the imprisoned Cardassians to be freed – with the single exception of Garak. Despite his claustrophobia temporarily immobilizing him when he was forced to work in a confined space, Garak eventually modified Tain's subspace transmitter to allow the prisoners to escape from the camp, with Worf and the recovered General Martok both complimenting his courage, Garak in return complimenting Worf's strength at providing him time by fighting with various Jem'Hadar. He returned to his shop on the station, and Ziyal. (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow", "By Inferno's Light")

Garak, EV suit

Garak, after boarding Empok Nor

For some reason, the inhabitants of the station eventually began to trust Garak, something he found disconcerting. He joined a mission to station Empok Nor to find parts to repair Deep Space 9. While there, he was exposed to a psychotropic drug. Garak became deranged and killed a Starfleet officer, Amaro, before being subdued by Chief Miles O'Brien. After recovering from the effects of the drug, Garak asked O'Brien to express his regrets to Amaro's wife. The event also made Garak and O'Brien come closer to each other because of their similar traumatic experiences in their life. (DS9: "Empok Nor")

The Dominion War[]

When Starfleet withdrew from the Bajoran sector at the start of the Dominion War, Garak joined the crew of the USS Defiant. He explained that he would rather stay with his Federation associates than live on the station, which would soon be under the command of Gul Dukat once more. (DS9: "Call to Arms")

Garak and Sisko on Jem'Hadar attack ship

Garak with Sisko on a Jem'Hadar vessel

He was part of Sisko's crew that destroyed a Ketracel-white facility. Though the attack was successful, the ship was disabled, and crash landed on an uncharted planet. Garak helped fight Jem'Hadar soldiers also stranded on the planet. (DS9: "A Time to Stand", "Rocks and Shoals")

Following this, Garak remained at Starbase 375 where he underwent several debriefings, as his knowledge of the Cardassians proved a valuable asset to Starfleet Intelligence, though he cooperated rather reluctantly. He rejoined the Defiant's crew for Operation Return. (DS9: "Favor the Bold") When Starfleet retook Deep Space 9 during Operation Return, Garak found that Ziyal had been killed by Damar, noting to Major Kira that he had never understood Ziyal's feelings for him and would now never have the chance to learn more about them. (DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels")

Dancing with the devil

Helping Captain Sisko in 2374

Later in 2374, Captain Benjamin Sisko asked for Garak's help in finding evidence that the Dominion was planning an invasion of Romulus. Garak contacted his remaining contacts on Cardassia Prime and found them willing to assist, but then they were all killed within one day of speaking with him. Garak then proposed that they fabricate the evidence in order to give the Romulan Star Empire reason to join the war. However, he doubted that the faked recordings would fool the Romulans, so without Sisko's knowledge, he had Romulan Senator Vreenak assassinated and implicated the Dominion so that the Romulans would enter the war. (DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight")

Ezri and Garak

Garak with Ezri Dax

Garak spent the rest of the war decoding Cardassian transmissions for Starfleet Intelligence. Although he excelled at this duty, the thought that he was betraying and enabling the deaths of numerous Cardassians was so deeply troubling that it subconsciously aggravated his claustrophobia to such a debilitating severity, that even by Garak's own admission, spaces he found tolerable, such as his tailor shop and other areas, were now inducing panic attacks. However, Ezri Dax, in her first major case as the station's counselor, was able to treat his psychological difficulty to a manageable degree, helping Garak accept that defeating the Dominion had to take priority. (DS9: "Afterimage")

During the final months of the war, Garak used his contacts in the Cardassian Union to find the leader of the Cardassian Liberation Front, Damar. Finally returning to his people with Commander Kira – given a battlefield promotion to Starfleet commander so that the Cardassians would find it easier to take orders from her on Garak's suggestion – and Constable Odo, Garak aided Damar's resistance against the Dominion. (DS9: "When It Rains...") When the fledgling resistance was crushed by the Jem'Hadar, Garak, Kira, and Damar retreated to Tain's house, his boyhood home, where he was reunited with Tain's housekeeper and confidante, Mila. From there they led a civilian uprising on Cardassia. (DS9: "The Dogs of War")

After Mila was killed in the final days of the Dominion War, Garak led the uprising with Damar and Colonel Kira and participated in the storming of Dominion Headquarters, killing Weyoun 8, who was the last of Weyoun's clones. With the war over, Garak's exile had ended. He returned to his planet as a possible leader, being supported by the Federation and Klingon and Romulan Empires. However, the Cardassia he knew was gone forever, destroyed by the Dominion. The reconstruction would be dire, as his final, preoccupied and sorrowful look showed. (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")



Garak introduced himself to Bashir during the Tahna Los incident on the station, in which Bashir suspected him of being a spy, which made him curious about him. (DS9: "Past Prologue") This developed into many mutual meetings, in which they both liked each other's intellect, which led to a long-term friendship, which was then enforced when they worked together to expose a plot by Dukat to embarrass a Cardassian official who wished to reconcile Cardassia with Bajor. (DS9: "Cardassians")

When his past as a spy was exposed and Julian had a need to learn about being a spy, in which Garak knew a lot, their friendship was solidified. (DS9: "Our Man Bashir")


Garak and Odo both hide their feelings very well, which led to the beginning of a friendship when Garak learned about Odo's wish to return home, a sentiment he was quite familiar with. Odo reciprocates his friendship offer, when he takes notice of their similarities and realises how ashamed Garak was about having tortured him on Tain's orders. (DS9: "Improbable Cause")

In time, it also led to them having many meetings during dinner and to many other close conversations. (DS9: "The Way of the Warrior", "Broken Link", "Call to Arms")

Memorable quotes[]

"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."

- Garak to Bashir (DS9: "Cardassians")

"I believe in coincidences. Coincidences happen every day. But I don't trust coincidences."

- Garak to Bashir (DS9: "Cardassians")

"Of all the stories you told me, which ones were true and which ones weren't?"
"My dear Doctor, they're all true."
"Even the lies?"
"Especially the lies."

- Bashir and Garak (DS9: "The Wire")

"Treason, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder."

- Garak to Entek (DS9: "Second Skin")

"Are you sure that's the point, doctor?"
"Of course. What else could it be?"
"That you should never tell the same lie twice."

- Garak and Bashir, discussing the moral of "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" (DS9: "Improbable Cause")

"Do you know what the sad part is, Odo? I'm a very good tailor."

- Garak to Odo (DS9: "The Die is Cast")

"The truth is usually just an excuse for lack of imagination."

- Garak to Sisko and Odo (DS9: "Improbable Cause")

"Paranoid is what they call people who imagine threats against their life. I have threats against my life."

- Garak to Quark (DS9: "For the Cause")

"Lying is a skill like any other. And if you want to maintain a level of excellence, you have to practice constantly."

- Garak, to Worf (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow")

"A pity. I rather liked him."

- Garak, upon killing Entek (DS9: "Second Skin")

"You'd shoot a man in the back?"
"Well, it's the safest way, isn't it?"

- Odo and Garak (DS9: "Call to Arms")

"That's why you came to me, isn't it, captain? Because you knew I could do those things that you weren't capable of doing. Well, it worked. And you'll get what you wanted: a war between the Romulans and the Dominion. And if your conscience is bothering you, you should soothe it with the knowledge that you may have just saved the entire Alpha Quadrant, and all it cost was the life of one Romulan senator, one criminal… and the self-respect of one Starfleet officer. I don't know about you, but I'd call that a bargain."

- Garak to Sisko (DS9: "In the Pale Moonlight")

"I don't understand."
"That's the thing about love. No one really understands it, do they?"

- Quark and Garak (DS9: "Profit and Loss")

"I'm going to miss our lunches together."
"I'm sure we'll see each other again."
"I'd like to think so… but one can never say. We live in uncertain times."

- Garak and Bashir, upon bidding farewell to each other (DS9: "What You Leave Behind")



Background information[]

Garak was played by actor Andrew Robinson.

According to the script for "Afterimage", the character's first name was pronounced as "EE-lim". [1]


Getting the characterization of Garak right was important to both the crew and the actor himself. Of the origins of the character, Peter Allan Fields said that "we needed a Cardassian who didn't act like one, so I finally put him in a tailor shop, and nobody hit me, so we kept him there." Director Winrich Kolbe said of the performance that "we agreed that Andy could push the envelope, but he couldn't leave the Cardassian platform. We had long talks about wardrobe and makeup, but we also talked about attitude, so that he would retain that stiffness that you see in all Cardassians." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 22)

Ronald D. Moore commented: "I know that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was definitely one of the influences on Garak's character. Ira in particularly is a big fan of that British series". (Star Trek Monthly issue 49?)

Andrew Robinson was involved in the development of Elim Garak as a character, particularly in the later stages of the series where he became a key part of DS9. The actor commented, "Garak is one of those guys, we all know someone a bit like him, who you can't trust as far as you can spit. The moment you see him you put your hand on your wallet, and the moment he opens his mouth you know he's going to lie to you, but yet, somehow, you'd rather be in his company than with almost anybody else. He's a charming rogue, you can't deny it. Even I get sucked in by him. Although it's me playing him, when I see Garak on TV, I swear to god this is true, I'm fascinated." [2] Robinson also said of the character, "He's all subtext. If a smart guy like Garak says that he's 'plain and simple', you realize that he's not plain and not simple. And that there is a lot going on. Regardless of how innocuous or simple each line is, there's always something going on underneath that belies the line. And his eyes and the tone of his voice say something different than the words he's speaking. It's not an easy thing to work with subtext, but when you do it well, you really get people's attention." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion, p. 22)

Andrew Robinson provided insight into his role when interviewed by, stating, "I started out playing Garak as someone who doesn't have a defined sexuality. He's not gay, he's not straight, it's a non-issue for him. Basically his sexuality is inclusive. But – it's Star Trek and there were a couple of things working against that. One is that Americans really are very nervous about sexual ambiguity. Also, this is a family show, they have to keep it on the 'straight and narrow', so then I backed off from it. Originally, in that very first episode, I loved the man's absolute fearlessness about presenting himself to an attractive Human being. The fact that the attractive Human being is a man (Bashir) doesn't make any difference to him, but that was a little too sophisticated I think. For the most part, the writers supported the character beautifully, but in that area they just made a choice they didn't want to go there, and if they don't want to go there I can't, because the writing doesn't support it." [3] See also: Non-heterosexual characters in Star Trek

Contributing to this speculation is his occupational status as an operative in the Obsidian Order, where romance and sexuality would have been an intolerable distraction and liability to one involved in such treacherous business (as they proved to be in Enabran Tain's case, who was obligated to conceal his amorous relationship and subsequent fatherhood of Garak, these familial connections perpetually posing "a weakness [he couldn't] afford.") (DS9: "In Purgatory's Shadow")

Ira Steven Behr commented: "I wish we could have done a little bit more with the Garak character. I talk about it in the doc. I mean, he was clearly gay or queer or however you want to say it. I think I would have loved to have taken that and see where that went and how that affected his relationship with Bashir". [4]

Robinson commented: "I’m not saying anybody was jealous about the amount of material I was getting, but some of the regulars would laugh and say, “Jesus, you’re getting a good bite out of this.” And it’s true. If I fell in love with Garak, I think it’s because the writers fell in love with Garak. As a matter of fact, I know they did". [5]

Garak originally had a larger role in "Tears of the Prophets", the final episode of the sixth season. Ronald D. Moore commented, "In the original outline, we had included a Garak-Kira storyline which had them going off to the Badlands in an attempt to find and intercept Dukat. Garak had been obsessively looking him for months and then got a lead on his movements which suggested he was in Dominion territory and might be crossing back over the border soon. Garak and Kira go out to the Badlands to lie in wait for him, but in the end they are tricked into capturing the wrong ship, allowing Dukat to slip past them and arrive on DS9. We dropped this story because ultimately it went nowhere and served only to make our heroes look bad." (AOL chat, 1998)


Garak's profession as a tailor was an homage by producer Peter Allan Fields to the 1960s television show The Man from U.N.C.L.E., in which Del Floria's tailor shop served as the secret entrance to U.N.C.L.E. headquarters. Fields was a writer on that show. (Star Trek Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., p. 492)


Ira Steven Behr commented, "Garak is a mystery wrapped in an enigma. So who he is, what he really is, who the hell knows? And I think it took a more sophisticated audience to really get behind that kind of a character, because back in the day, it seemed anyway, that mystery and … I don't want to say subtlety, but something along those lines … That's not what people want, that they wanted their TNG good, bad, everything very clear, everything very clean, everything very understandable. And at the end of the day, everything was safe. Everything was basically safe. And Garak is not a safe character. And the fact now that he's so popular says something about how the audience has matured. And that's a good thing". [6]

Behr also commented, "Getting back to telling character-oriented stories, getting back to having conflict between Human beings; plot at the service of character… I think we created a much more complete universe in which you can have all these characters with all these back stories, all these races, all these supporting characters. You knew more about 'Garak' or 'Gul Dukat', ultimately, than you knew about 'Riker'." [7]

Hans Beimler commented, "To me, the guy that embodied the show was Garak. He was a fuckin' spy, man! He was a bad guy, in a way. But you got to know and understand him. And he got to know us and understand us. Even appreciate us. He wasn't such a bad guy at the end of the show." (Science Fiction Television Series, 1990-2004, p. 270)

Andrew Robinson commented, "He’s an every man. All of us have our secrets and sometimes have challenges to our ethical and moral lives. In that way, he’s very Human. He’s not a brave, heroic figure like Captain Kirk. Nor was he one of the bad monsters on a planet that the original cast or The Next Generation cast would visit weekly. Garak was something else." [8]



The Deep Space Nine relaunch novel A Stitch in Time, written by Andrew Robinson himself, portrayed Garak's life on Cardassia, following the Dominion War, and the role he played in the rebuilding of Cardassian society, detailing his role in Cardassia's reconstruction. The novel revealed that Mila was, in fact, Garak's mother; this would explain why she was so dear to Garak, and why Garak lived with her and Tain when Tain never acknowledged him as his son. It's also revealed that after Garak was exiled from Cardassia, he came to Terok Nor and was placed under Dukat's command. Though Dukat wanted to kill Garak, Tain arranged it so he couldn't, and instead assigned Garak the meager task as station tailor in the hopes of demeaning him. Garak, however, decided to infuriate Dukat by proudly taking up his new post and performing his duties well. After the Cardassians withdrew from Bajor, Garak decided to stay, hoping to act as the eyes and ears to a world where he was no longer welcome in the chance of redeeming himself. Andrew Robinson based the novel on the notes about Garak which the actor had written and kept during the run of the series, so the novel provided a large amount of background information on Garak developed by Robinson.

In the novel The Never-Ending Sacrifice by Una McCormack, Garak became the Cardassian ambassador to the Federation and resides in Paris. Following political turmoil on Cardassia Prime in the later novel The Crimson Shadow, Garak stood for election as Castellan, the post-Dominion head of state, and won handily due to his ties to Damar and to the first post-war leader of Cardassia, Alon Ghemor, both venerated figures to the Cardassian people. He recognized that he was the only qualified candidate who truly understood the wisdom of Cardassia maintaining its alliance with the Federation, musing that he will attempt to make sure that he made the right decisions in his new role by thinking of Tora Ziyal when he has to make an important decision and asking himself what she would approve of. Enigma Tales also continues this storyline.

In the anniversary trilogy Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Millennium, Garak traveled twenty-five years into the future with the crew of the Defiant, and was briefly trapped in a Pah-wraith Hell – where he was condemned to work as a Bajoran slave, given orders by Tain that he was incapable of carrying out – until he was "rescued" by Dukat (although Garak was able to use techniques he learned in the Obsidian Order to escape by himself and leave Dukat trapped in his Hell once Dukat's presence confirmed the unreality of his current situation). While attempting to undo the events that created the future timeline they experienced, Garak traveled back to before the Day of Withdrawal and met with his own younger self, providing his past self with the necessary codes to deactivate Terok Nor's self-destruct sequence after the Cardassians leave, the younger Garak later erasing his memory of his future self's visit.

Elim Garak (alternate reality)

Elim Garak of the alternate reality

The alternate reality version of Elim Garak appears in the fourth issue of the Star Trek: Ongoing story arc The Q Gambit where he leads a group of Cardassian soldiers in a set-up created by Quark to capture Kira, Spock and Dr. Leonard McCoy. Though Kira attempts to fight, Spock restrains her seeing as the fight is already lost, with Garak agreeing. He then seizes the Reckoning Tablet and explains how he heard rumors of it being buried on Bajor but didn't believe them until now. Kira then threatens to break out and take back the tablet and wouldn't stop until she was dead, to which Garak replies that he has no permission to kill them just yet, so he takes the three prisoners and the tablet back to Terok Nor to discover its secrets together.

In the Star Trek: Picard novel Second Self, Garak became the Cardassian Ambassador to the United Federation of Planets following the end of the Dominion War and diligently performed his duties for years until he retired in the early 2390s. By 2399, Garak had fallen out of favor with both the Cardassion Union and the Federation when Cardassia considered him an embarrassment as he was the last surviving member of the Obsidian Order, and the Federation considered him a liability as protecting him could mean a straining in the Federation-Bajoran relations so when Bajoran Intelligence discovered that in 2340 that he had been responsible for the destruction of a Bajoran settlement on the planet Ordeve, he was branded a criminal and forced to hide. When he was sighted on Ordeve, Admiral Jean-Luc Picard tasked Lieutenant Commander Raffaela Musiker to track him down and arrest him. She recruited Elnor and the two were transported onto the planet by Captain Cristóbal Rios with the USS Stargazer. By then, Garak had surgically altered himself to look Bajoran and adopted the cover identity of a vedek named "Saba Taan", a man he had first met on the planet almost 50 years before. He was found and identified by Raffi and Koma Tath agent Toze Falus and taken prisoner, but they were unable to take him to custody as a force field protected by Obsidian Order codes had activated behind them, forcing them to go further in the Caanta valley. There they found a Bajoran settlement where people reacted to Garak's presence by welcoming him with happiness and love and revealed to him that they were the children who had survived Garak's attack in 2340 and that he really was Saba Taan, and due to a temporal causality loop, was destined to go back in time to save them from his actions and protect the Orb to redeem himself for his crimes, while Toze initially opposed the news, he eventually allowed Garak to use the Orb of Restitution to travel back in time, official reports listed him dead while trying to protect the Orb from a Tal Shiar attack. Garak arrived in 2340 five months before the arrival of his younger self and used the time he had to create a safe haven for the children and help the Bajoran Resistance smuggle weapons through the local temple, he also briefly met his younger self and told him that he forgave him for what he was about to do. When the younger Garak attacked the settlement, he snuck away with the children and the Orb in the Caanta valley where he raised and protected them until he died in 2357 after performing Shri-tal with his Bajoran charges. After his death, he was buried in a tomb adorned with a Bajoran holy symbol and the coat of arms of the Obsidian Order and was remembered by his new family with much love.

Computer games[]

Robinson reprised his role as Garak for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Fallen.

The story for Star Trek Online had Garak becoming a leader of the new Detapa Council on Cardassia. Garak appears in the game's fourth expansion, Victory is Life, voiced once more by Andrew Robinson. Garak attends a conference on DS9 called by Odo to deal with the threat of the Hur'q; following the conference, he can be regularly found in his old tailor's shop. In the course of the campaign, Garak discovers a transponder of apparent Dominion manufacture on the Dominion world of Karemma, attuned to lure in the Hur'q; he informs Odo and Captain Kira Nerys that he found one of similar design in the Kendra Province on Bajor just after the recent Hur'q attack against DS9. In the mission "Tenebris Torquent", during the confrontation with the Female Changeling on the ruined Hur'q homeworld, Garak reveals that he set one of the transponders on the Founder homeworld of Empersa as insurance. Following the success of the campaign, Garak conducts successful negotiations to bring the Cardassian Union into the Khitomer Alliance, remarking to the player that they could expect to see more Cardassians around (a reference to Cardassians being made a playable species in Victory is Life).

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