Star Trek Guide

Star Trek: Killing Off Jadzia Dax Was DS9's Biggest Mistake

Star Trek: Deep Space Nine killing off Jadzia Dax (Terry Farrell) in season 6 was the series' biggest mistake, which was caused by behind the scenes issues between the actress, Star Trek producer Rick Berman, and Paramount. Season 6 was arguably DS9's best as the series' Dominion War ramped up to deliver the darkest and most complex long-form story Star Trek had ever seen. Dax's shocking death came in DS9's season 6 finale, "Tears of the Prophets," when she was murdered by the series' greatest villain, Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo).

Jadzia Dax was one of DS9's main cast and was introduced in the pilot episode, "Emissary." Jadzia was Deep Space Nine's Science Officer and one of the station's senior Starfleet personnel. As a Trill, Jadzia was the eighth host of the Dax symbiont, which possessed the memories of all of its previous hosts, including Curzon Dax, the former Federation Ambassador to the Klingons and a mentor of Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks).

Click the button below to start this article in quick view. Start now

Although it took a couple of seasons for DS9's writers to truly define Dax, the initially inexperienced Farrell gradually grew into the character, and Jadzia emerged as a highly intelligent, spirited woman beloved by both her crewmates and Star Trek fans. Worf (Michael Dorn) joining DS9 in season 4 was a boon to Dax, as the Klingon and Trill quickly sparked a romance that brought out fascinating new sides of both characters. Jadzia married Worf at the start of DS9 season 6 and they looked forward to a happy life together after the Dominion War was over — until Jadzia's senseless murder, which necessitated a huge revamp of DS9 season 7.

The full details of why Terry Farrell left Star Trek: Deep Space Nine have not been fully disclosed; Farrell has her side of the story while the producers and studios have their version of what happened. According to the Star Trek oral history, The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years by Mark A. Altman and Edward Gross, Farrell requested that she appear in fewer episodes in season 7, essentially reducing her role to a recurring character. Instead, the actress claims the producers and the studio were trying "to bully me into saying yes [to signing onto a full season 7 schedule]."In What We Left Behind, 2019's DS9 retrospective documentary, Farrell got very emotional as she explained what happened behind the scenes, blaming the studio and Rick Berman for refusing to hear out her issues.

For his part, Berman takes umbrage at Farrell's accusations:

Meanwhile, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's showrunner, Ira Steven Behr, and the writing staff were purposely kept out of the tense negotiations. Behr was livid when he found out Farrell was leaving the show — which meant he had to kill off the popular Jadzia Dax character. Behr said, "Let me put it this way, if I had known what was going on, I would have stopped it."

With the die cast and Farrell out of DS9, the writers seized the opportunity to create a new Trill character, Ezri Dax (Nicole de Boer), who received the Dax symbiote and joined the show as the space station's Counselor. Ezri quickly became integral to the show and de Boer was thrilled to join DS9, even for one season, although the actress was also aware a segment of fans wouldn't accept her as Jadzia's replacement. Star Trek: Deep Space Nineseason 7 memorably closed out the series, and the show is now hailed as a pioneer of serialized television; regardless, the loss of Terry Farrell and Jadzia Dax was still an epic mistake that didn't need to happen.