(written from a Production point of view)
Quark is reunited with his lost Cardassian love, but he learns that she is a member of the Cardassian underground.
When a damaged Cardassian ship shows up near Deep Space 9, Commander Benjamin Sisko has Miles O'Brien bring it in via a tractor beam. Sisko and Chief O'Brien go down to greet the passengers, Natima Lang and her students, Rekelen and Hogue. Lang claims that their ship was damaged in a meteor swarm. She tells them she is a decent teacher but not much of a pilot and requests repairs. Sisko offers the Cardassians quarters, but Lang is anxious about being on a Bajoran station. Sisko replies it will be fine if she and her students stick to the Promenade.
In the meantime, Quark's is bustling as usual. Garak and Doctor Julian Bashir have their regular lunch, having a conversation about loyalty to the state versus family. Bashir attempts once again to elicit from Garak an admission of being a spy or an outcast, but is unsuccessful. At the bar, Odo lets Quark know he knows about the cloaking device he obtained, but Quark assures him he has nothing to worry about.
Just then, the new arrivals visit the Promenade, and Quark recognizes Natima and greets her excitedly. Natima, however, quickly slaps Quark and tells him she never wants to see him again, but as she walks away, Quark tells Odo, "This is the happiest day of my life."
Quark and Natima were once lovers and it is apparent as he follows her, though she continues to deny him pleasant conversation. Steering her companions into the bar, drawing Natima along, he pours a Samarian sunset for her, and, in turn, forcing the other two to go to the bar. He tries to talk to her alone, however, the second he quotes a Rule of Acquisition, any such feelings seem to vanish. Garak and Bashir pass by and Garak acknowledges Natima politely, prompting her to panic silently and leave with Rekelen and Hogue.
The three immediately leave for Ops, where Natima tells Sisko that she and her students must leave quickly. Before she arrives, though, O'Brien has discovered that her ship was actually damaged by Cardassian phaser fire. Natima then reveals they are political outcasts intent on reforming the Cardassian government, fighting for Cardassia's future.
Natima explains the nature of the Cardassian dissident movement to Sisko and reveals that Rekelen and Hogue are both important movement leaders. They also reveal that Garak has seen them. Sisko promises to increase efforts to repair their ship by assigning additional engineers.
While Natima talks to Sisko, Quark visits Garak's shop and asks for his advice on Cardassian fashion. The tailor describes Natima's taste in fashion as "too radical" for his liking and warns that a poor choice in fashion can be detrimental to one's health. This thinly-veiled conversation reveals to Quark that he has been warned to separate Natima from the other two, as they will be pursued by the government, and, therefore, Natima and Quark. Furthermore, Garak will not help with Natima. Quark then goes to Natima and professes his love, even willing to leave DS9 and his bar for her. After all their history, she doesn't believe him and refuses. She feels betrayed by Quark's action of trying to steal from the Cardassians using her access codes, and believes all he cares about it profit, even if momentarily he does want to leave with her.
A Cardassian warship arrives shortly thereafter, ignoring communication attempts from Jadzia Dax and targeting the station with its weapons and activating its deflector shields. Just then, Garak visits Ops to talk with Sisko.
Downplaying the aggressiveness of the warship's approach to the station, Garak explains that Central Command wants Hogue and Rekelen. He describes them as terrorists, but also says they are not dangerous, rather, annoying. Garak reminds him of the fragile relationship between Cardassia and the Federation, but Sisko warns Garak that if the Cardassians attempt to try and take them by force, he will respond in kind. Garak acknowledges that and also invites Sisko to his shop to try on some suits he thinks would look flattering on the commander.
Desperate to get Natima back, Quark offers Hogue and Rekelen a cloaking device to help them escape, but, as part of the agreement, he requires that Natima stay with him. Later, Quark goes to Natima with the device. Natima tries to reason with Quark, explaining that she cannot stay, and threatens to take the device by phaser. Believing she is bluffing, Quark dares her to do so; however she fires the phaser but looks just as surprised as Quark.
Natima tells him she barely touched the trigger and did not mean to fire, after which she apologizes and declares her love for him. However, she still says the movement is her life, and she has sacrificed much for it. Quark responds by reliving their relationship, and that she has already given enough for the movement. Finally, she agrees to staying with him. As the two of them happily reminisce about the past, Odo enters Natima's quarters and places her under arrest over Quark's objections.
The Bajoran Provisional Government has agreed to turn Natima, Hogue, and Rekelen over to the Cardassians in exchange for the release of several Bajoran prisoners. Sisko tells Natima and her group, and that he is forced to execute it. Meanwhile, a former rival of Garak's, Gul Toran, visits Garak's shop and tells the tailor that Central Command has changed its mind; he says he convinced them to have the prisoners killed instead. In exchange for killing the prisoners, Garak will be allowed to return to Cardassia from his exile.
In Odo's security office, Quark convinces Odo to help Natima and takes her and her students to their ship. First, he tries profit motivations, then by appealing to Odo's apparent lack of emotion, then by trading information. Finally, he begs him, but Odo agrees due to the justice of it. The group leaves with Quark to the airlock, however, Garak greets them there, where he laments that he must now kill him as well as Natima and her students. Quark and Natima attempt to reason with Garak, but he says he's not there to debate the situation and that Quark should have taken his advice earlier. Before Garak can finish, Toran emerges from behind a cargo container, claiming he knew Garak would not go through with it. Toran reveals that he only used Garak to learn Hogue and Rekelen's whereabouts; Garak then vaporizes him as he tries to shoot the group. With the deal obviously gone, Garak allows the group to leave and Quark promises more Ferengi business for him.
Before Natima leaves, Quark tries one final time to convince her to stay. She tells him she must return to Cardassia until her work is done. "So all I have to do to get you back is wait until Cardassia becomes a free and democratic society?" he asks. Smiling, Natima tells him they will meet again some day and promises to make it worth the wait. Once she leaves, Quark asks why Garak shot Toran, to which Garak asks why Quark helped Natima. "I had no choice – I love her," Quark says. "And I love Cardassia, which is why I had to do what I did," Garak responds, adding, "That's the thing about love – no one really understands it, do they?"
"I heard an interesting rumor today."
"Only one? I started at least twelve."
- - Odo and Quark
"And you believe everything you hear?"
"When it's about you, yes."
- - Quark and Odo
"Ooh, you Cardassians do hold grudges!"
- - Quark
"Cardassians don't involve outsiders in their internal politics, especially Bajorans."
"Being shot at by your own people goes a little beyond politics."
"We take our politics very seriously."
- - Natima and Sisko
"May I offer you some free advice?"
"As long as I'm under no obligation to follow it."
- - Garak and Quark
"Consider the cloaking device a gift."
"I'm surprised. Ferengis aren't known for their generosity."
"Oh, we are a deeply misunderstood race."
- - Quark and Rekelen
"Well, some people should never be promoted."
- - Garak, after killing Gul Toran
"Oh, she wants to know if it hurts. Of course it hurts. It's supposed to hurt – it's a phaser!"
- - Natima and Quark
"Listen to me, Odo. You do this for me, and I promise you there'll be no more secrets between us. I'll tell you about every under-handed deal, every lying scheme, every dirty trick that… my brother Rom's involved in."
- - Quark
"Sometimes we're on opposite sides, but that doesn't mean we aren't close. I've never told you this Odo, but I consider you as dear to me as my brother."
"Ha! And I've seen how well you treat him…"
- - Quark and Odo
"Don't! I hate to ruin… such a nice suit."
- - Garak, threatening to shoot Quark before Quark shoots him
"So, all I have to do to get you back is wait until Cardassia becomes a free and democratic society?"
- - Quark, to Natima Lang shortly before she leaves him
"You have to tell me… why'd you do it? Shoot Toran?"
"Why did you let Professor Lang go?"
"I had no choice. I love her."
"And I love Cardassia. Which is why I had to do what I did."
"I don't understand."
"That's the thing about love. No one really understands it, do they?"
- - Quark and Garak
Story and script
- The original teleplay for this episode very closely paralleled the plot of the 1942 Academy Award-winning Michael Curtiz film Casablanca. In fact, it was originally called "Here's Lookin' at You…", a reference to a popular quote from the film. (AOL chat, 1997) The producers however, were forced to change some of the more obvious references to the film as well as the title when they were threatened with legal action. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- The scene in Natima's quarters in act two was shortened in the broadcast version, with the start of the scene being unfilmed or deleted from the final cut of the episode. In the scene, Lang discusses getting Hogue and Rekelen to Sadera VI to other Cardassian dissident members and compliments them for their accomplishments over the past five years in opposing the Cardassian Central Command. Later, Quark impersonates a "Lieutenant Smith" and contacts Lang through the com, telling her that Commander Sisko is on his way to her quarters to speak to her. Natima sends Hogue and Rekelen to check on O'Brien's repairs to their ship and Quark enters Natima's quarters soon after they exit. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion - A Series Guide and Script Library)
- Armin Shimerman and Mary Crosby's makeup had to be touched up each time the actors kissed, since his orange makeup would end up mixing with her gray makeup. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- According to makeup supervisor Michael Westmore, the love scene in this episode between Lang and Quark is one of his all-time favorite Star Trek scenes due to the fact that despite all the heavy makeup, it is still just a touching, simple romantic scene between two people in love, and the makeup becomes completely unimportant. (Michael Westmore's Aliens: Season 2, DS9 Season 2 DVD, Special Features)
- During filming of "Profit and Loss," a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck Southern California, including the Paramount studios where Deep Space Nine was being produced. The earthquake struck on 17 January 1994 at 4:31 AM, when Armin Shimerman, Mary Crosby, and other actors requiring extensive makeup were having their makeup applied in preparation for crew call at 5 AM. Most of the actors in the makeup trailer ran to their cars and drove home to check on family members. However, they were still wearing their makeup, and as director Robert Wiemer points out, "It must have seemed like the bowels of the Earth had opened up and those creatures had come out." Armin Shimerman commented that he "scared the crap out of people" with his alien appearance. Following a two-day inspection of the studio for damage and structural safety, filming continued on 19 January – albeit, amid a series of aftershocks. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Andrew Robinson commented "When the earthquake hit in January, it was 4:30 am. in Los Angeles, and I was already in the makeup chair, along with Armin Shimerman and couple other actors. It was pretty bizarre: this earthquake hits, and all the power goes out, and all these aliens in varying stages of makeup are milling about in the darkness! People like Armin and Ed Wiley, who was playing this Cardassian, couldn't get through on the phone to their families, so they just jumped into their cars – Armin in his Quark makeup and Ed with his Cardassian makeup on – and drove through the pre-dawn streets of Los Angeles. I can only imagine what the other motorists saw – I think that would be more bracing than a cup of coffee!". (The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine issue 9)
- Ira Steven Behr dislikes this episode because he feels that Quark comes across as too heroic. Behr felt there were already enough heroic characters on the show, and that this episode should instead have been a Beauty and the Beast type of story, with Quark resembling Woody Allen; "I felt we didn't need another tough, sexy, swashbuckling character on the show. We had enough of those. We needed more offbeat, interesting characters. It should have been Beauty and the Beast, or Woody Allen and every woman he's ever been with in the films. You don't take Woody Allen and make him into Bogart. You have Bogart telling Woody Allen how to behave, but he does it through his Woody Allen persona. The scenes with Quark drove me mad." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
- Michael Piller commented "This is the other disappointing episode in this season for me". (The Deep Space Log Book: A Second Season Companion, p 38)
- In this episode, it is revealed that Quark sold food to the Bajorans during the occupation.
- In this episode, the Cardassians are said to be exchanged for Bajoran prisoners, despite the episode DS9: "The Homecoming" stating that the Cardassians had (at least publicly) released all Bajoran prisoners.
- This episode reveals that Cardassia considers Garak to be an exile, although it is not clear to what extent his exile is self-inflicted.
- Referenced Rules of Acquisition: #223 (Though Quark is cut off before he can recite it)
- This is the first episode to refer to the Cardassian dissident movement. It is also the first episode to use the term Cardassian Central Command.
- Mary Crosby, once famous for her role as Kristin Shepard who shot J.R. Ewing in Dallas, is the daughter of Bing Crosby, and aunt of Denise Crosby (Natasha Yar).
- On the PADD from which Odo is reading I, the Jury, one can clearly see an image of a wooded forest and medieval castle above the text. This is a re-use of the PADD used in the episode "If Wishes Were Horses", in which O'Brien reads his daughter the story of Rumpelstiltskin, for which those images are appropriate.
- Quark's cloaking device will be seen again in VOY: "Live Fast and Prosper" as Neelix's malfunctioning heating coil and a piece of Xindi debris in ENT: "Exile".
- Cirroc Lofton (Jake Sisko) does not appear in this episode.
- In this episode, Garak actually truthfully tells Dr. Bashir exactly what he is, saying "Or maybe, I'm an outcast spy," albeit in such a tongue-in-cheek manner that the doctor immediately disregards it as preposterous, which was presumably his intent.
- Remastered scenes from the episode are featured in the documentary What We Left Behind.
Video and DVD releases
- UK VHS release (two-episode tapes, CIC Video): Volume 19, 8 August 1994
- As part of the DS9 Season 2 DVD collection
Links and references
- Rene Auberjonois as Constable Odo
- Siddig El Fadil as Doctor Julian Bashir
- Terry Farrell as Lieutenant Jadzia Dax
- Cirroc Lofton as Jake Sisko (credit only)
- Colm Meaney as Chief Miles O'Brien
- Armin Shimerman as Quark
- Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys
- Mary Crosby as Natima Lang
- Andrew Robinson as Elim Garak
- Michael Reilly Burke as Hogue
- Heidi Swedberg as Rekelen
- Edward Wiley as Gul Toran
- Joni German as Bajoran operations officer
- Sue Henley as command officer
- David B. Levinson as Broik
- Robin Morselli as Bajoran officer
- Tammy Rodriguez as the yellow-skinned alien dabo girl
- Richard Sarstedt as Tygarian bar patron
- Mark Allen Shepherd as Morn
- Unknown actor as Markalian bar patron
- John Lendale Bennett for Avery Brooks
- Randy James for Colm Meaney
- Mark Lentry for Rene Auberjonois
- Andrea Stradling for Nana Visitor
2420; 2363; Bajoran; Bajoran law; Bajoran Provisional Government; Bajoran sector; businessman; Cardassia; Cardassians; Cardassian Central Command; Cardassian Communication Service; Cardassian dissident movement; Cardassian Empire; Cardassian government; Cardassian Military; Cardassian shuttle (Lang's shuttle); Cardassian transport; cliché; cloaking device; dabo; disruptor; Earth; exile; fashion; Federation; Ferengi; fire; flitterbird; fugitive; Galor-class (Toran's warship); heart; hire; holosuite; honey; I, the Jury; kanar; latinum; lovers' quarrel; meteor swarm; Mordian butterfly; motto; outcast; Picnic on Rhymus Major; political ethics; prisoner exchange; Promenade; Quark's; refugee; Replimat; reserve power; Rhymus Major; Rom; Samarian sunset; Sarek; sewing kit; shuttle pilot; Spillane, Mickey; Smith; strip; tarnish; teacher; traitor; Trelonian; Trelonian government; trench; trend; Vulcan (planet); waterfall; wing; words of wisdom; Yiri; Yiri's brother
- "Profit and Loss" at Memory Beta, the wiki for licensed Star Trek works
- "Profit and Loss" at Wikipedia
- "Profit and Loss" at StarTrek.com, the official Star Trek website
- "Profit and Loss" at MissionLogPodcast.com, a Roddenberry Star Trek podcast
| Previous episode:|
| Star Trek: Deep Space Nine|
| Next episode:|