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Andrew Robinson as Elim Garak

Elim Garak was a character in the fictional Star Trek Deep Space Nine universe, played by Andrew Robinson. He was technically classified as a recurring character but many fans considered him to be a regular given his importance to the story arc and his presence in many episodes.


Formative Years

Elim Garak was born on Cardassia Prime to parents Enabran Tain and Mila. He was raised by his mother Mila and did not know the true identity of his father until much later on. A quick learner and an excellent student, Garak attended the prestigious military training school of Bamarren as a child. Most of the skills and traits associated with Garak can be said to have been picked up at Bamarren. He rose through the ranks and gained the respect of his peers and teachers, though he was ultimately betrayed by his one true love, Palandine. These events were formative to his character and general disposition.

After a quiet rest spent at his uncle's farm, Garak began his career at the Obsidian Order, one of the premiere intelligence agencies of the Alpha Quadrant. Always a quick learner, he proved exceptional at his job and rapidly increased in rank and influence, becoming the right hand man of Enabran Tain, head of the Obsidian Order.


At the peak of his power and career, Garak was perceived to have succumbed to sentimentality and tried to meet with Palandine. He was caught and, because of family's important role in Cardassian society, was exiled from Cardassia Prime. He chose to locate to Deep Space 9, then still Cardassian and called Terok Nor. During the withdrawal of Bajor by the Cardassians, Garak was deceived and left to the mercy of the Bajorans. He soon after tried in vain to win the favour of his government by spying on the Bajor-Federation negotiations. Garak has since made use of his extensive knowledge and abilities in aiding the Federation on numerous occasions.

On Deep Space 9, Garak went into business as a tailor. Several other characters suspected that his tailor's shop was a mere front and he was still working for the Obsidian Order. Garak denied having ever been involved with espionage, claiming he was just "plain, simple Garak" and that his difficulties with the Cardassian government were a result of tax evasion.

Garak was frequently at odds with Gul Dukat, the station's former commander.

The Dominion War

Garak provided essential intelligence on Cardassia to the Federation during the Dominion War. His unique abilities can be said to have influenced the outcome of the war in the episode "In the Pale Moonlight" by getting the Romulans to abandon their neutrality and fight alongside the Federation by making his assassination of a pro-Dominion senator look like the work of the Jem'Hadar. He also assisted the Federation victory at the Chintoka system in the episode "Tears of the Prophets".

The extensive help given to the Federation against his own people led to his mental breakdown, though he believed he was ultimately helping Cardassia by assisting the Federation in defeating the Dominion. He later directly participated in fomenting an anti-Dominion revolution on Cardassia alongside Kira and Damar.

Post-War Involvement

The Federation-led alliance won the war and Garak returned to his people. What was supposed to be his moment of triumph turned into a pyrrhic victory given the death of 1 billion Cardassians and the destruction of much of Cardassia Prime's infrastructure.

Garak has since assisted in the rebuilding and recovery of Cardassia, while also supporting Democratic reforms for its government. He believes that the Dominion War and destruction of Cardassia was partially caused by its military-led government. The post-war Garak is a wholly different person in this respect, given his extensive ties to the military.

The Deep Space Nine novel A Stitch In Time, written by Robinson, is supposedly Garak's memoir, and gives a great deal of information about his past and current circumstances. While the novels are not officially considered part of the Star Trek canon, this book can, given its author, be considered a fairly definitive portrait of the character. As such, much of this information was obtained from his book.

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