Andrew Robinson on what made Garak and DS9 special
In a recent interview, Andrew Robinson talked about what made Deep Space Nine stand out and what it was like to play a character like Garak.
Of the many Star Trek shows that have come and gone over the franchise’s 50 some odd years, few have a fanbase as devoted and protective as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
Seen by many at the time as the unwanted stepchild of the Trek Universe, Deep Space Nine nonetheless ran for seven very successful seasons and over time has become better appreciated for what it brought to the franchise. Namely, shades of grey that until then had not been a part of the black and white morality of Star Trek.
In both the Original Series and The Next Generation, you almost always knew the good guys from the bad guys. There wasn’t a lot of confusion on the matter and this continued into the feature films. In Deep Space Nine, that was all turned on its head, especially as the series progressed and the Dominion War storyline began.
And no one represented that new indistinct morality like Elim Garak.
Garak, played by Andrew Robinson in all seven season of Deep Space Nine, was a complex, multi-layered character the likes of which Star Trek had never seen before. At times just a “simple tailor” and at other a ruthless former member of the Cardassian Obsidian Order, you never seemed to know with 100 percent certainty which side he was working for.
It is a trait that Robinson was well aware of while filming the series. In a recent interview with Star Trek Magazine, the actor said that playing a character like Garak presented challenges that other roles didn’t provide.
In addition, Robinson was asked about the legacy of the series and what made it different from The Next Generation.
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When you ask any Deep Space Nine fan who their favorite character is, Garak’s name will come up more than you might think. And for good reason. Star Trek hadn’t seen a character like that before or even since and it is what made Garak unique. What started off as a one off character quickly turned into a key part of the cast and the serialized narrative that the show used more and more as time went on.
It’s safe to say that Deep Space Nine likely wouldn’t have been as good or as complex without Elim Garak in his tailor shop.