“Star Trek: DS9”: Season 1, Episode 18 (“Duet”)

Major Kira: This is my job.

Marritza: Persecuting Cardassians goes far beyond your job, Major; it’s your passion.

The teleplay was written by Peter Allan Fields; he also wrote the TNG eps “The Inner Light”, “Cost of Living”, and “Half a Life.” He wrote “The Forsaken” on DS9. This is ranked as one of the best eps of the entire series (by media critics, sci-fi writers, and fans). Aamin Marritza (veteran character actor Harris Yulin), a Cardassian suffering from Kalla-Nohra, turns to DS9 (and Dr. Bashir) for medical attention. Major Kira (Nana Visitor) goes into the infirmary and immediately recognizes the disease. He could only have contracted it after an accident in the labor camp (Gallitepp) on Bajor during the occupation. Kira helped liberate that camp, so she knows of the atrocities its commander (Gul Darhe’el) committed. Kira is determined to convict Marritza for war crimes; Cmdr. Sisko (Avery Brooks), Odo (Rene Auberjonois), and Bashir (Alexander Siddig) investigate further. The Cardassian first denies having the disease, then claims he was merely a filing clerk at Gallitepp. Sisko faces a tough decision, as the Bajorans wants him convicted, while the Cardassians want him released.

Major Kira: If your lies are gonna be this transparent, it’s gonna be a very short interrogation.

Marritza: Well, in that case I’ll try to make my lies more opaque.

The intent of the ep (as many viewers will have already guessed) was to establish the Cardassian Occupation of Bajor as a metaphor for the German atrocities under the Nazi regime. The ep marks the first mention of the Shakaar resistance cell (of which Kira was a member). We also get to see Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) again; he plays a very important role in later seasons. What if this Cardassian is a lowly file clerk? Does he deserve to be persecuted (as if he were a powerful commander)? Early in the story, Kira tells Lt. Dax (Terry Farrell) that she considers all Cardassians (who participated in the occupation of her planet) to be guilty. As Kira and Marritza character engage in a “war of words,” we get strong commentary on the intricacies of war and the roles that are played by both sides.

[1] It is a beautifully written, performed, composed and produced episode.

[2] The central issue is the guilt of the coward: something that we all fear, despise, and yet sympathize with.

[3] The end result of the drama is just as surprising to the viewer as it is to the on-screen characters.

-Excerpts from IMDB reviews

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