Every Star Trek fan worth his or her salt is very much familiar with the seediness of Deep Space Nine, but is the Cardassian Elim Garak the only confirmed “paedophile” in this 1990s era Star Trek series spinoff?
By: Ringo Bones
Often cited by snarky science fiction critics as a mere “sci-fi soap opera” - inexplicably, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine still managed to become one of the longest-running spinoff of the original Star Trek TV series started by Gene Roddenberry back in 1966. And every dedicated Star Trek fan worth his or her salt is very familiar with the seediness of the Benjamin Sisko commanded space station called Deep Space Nine that’s never found the closer one gets back to the United Federation of Planets headquarters in planet Earth’s San Francisco. But is the Cardassian Elim Garak (played by actor Andrew Robinson) of Deep Space Nine the only confirmed “paedophile” in the Star Trek universe?
Garak’s “paedophile” status was first noticed when the half Bajoran – half Cardassian named Tora Ziyel (played by a young Cyia Batten when she first appeared) appeared in Deep Space Nine in the episode titled “Indiscretion” and then in “Return to Grace”. Tora Ziyel was an illegitimate love-child of high ranking Cardassian officer Gul Dukat (Skrain Dukat) and a Bajoran named Tora Naprem during the Cardassian occupation of the planet Bajor. A time when the space station that was renamed Deep Space Nine when Benjamin Sisko assumed command was still known by its Cardassian name – Terok Nor.
Assuming that Tora Zyal was around 15 to 16 years of age when she first appeared on DS-9 and as played by Cyia Batted and assuming she is still of under-age status if one distinction still exists in the 24th Century Star Trek universe, many regular viewers of Deep Space Nine did begin to wonder given that Garak was starring at her a little funny during a tennis match on the space station which even DS-9’s doctor-in-residence Dr. Julian Bashir (played by Alexander Siddig) even started to notice. So obvious was Garak’s intentions that Dr. Bashir even warned him and that DS-9’s security chief Major Kira won’t take kindly to such inappropriate actions and would certainly “kick Garak’s ass”.
Though the sexual tension between Garak and Tora Ziyal is so thick from the viewer’s perspective (thicker than the tension between 2013 era Billy Ray Cyrus and daughter Miley Cyrus?) it seems that this could be safely assumed the screenwriter’s inspiration for the movie American Beauty that Garak began to look like some dirty old man out to seduce an under-age teen girl. But that “tension” got diffused when the relationship between the two evolved into some “Platonism” given that they are the only two Cardassians who are permanently living on the Space Station. In the later DS-9 episodes, towards the series’ finale – both Elim Garak and Tora Ziyal became lovers – though Tora Ziyal is has now grown older and played by “older” actors like Tracy Middendorf and Melanie Smith. It seems though that Elim Garak’s paedophilia is only a “phase” – a “mid-life crisis” perhaps?