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Paradise Lost (episode)

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"Paradise Lost"
DS9, Episode 4x12
Production number: 40510-484
First aired: 8 January 1996
82nd of 173 produced in DS9
82nd of 173 released in DS9
  {{{nNthReleasedInSeries_Remastered}}}th of 0 released in DS9 Remastered  
394th of 728 released in all
USS Lakota fires on the Defiant-3
Teleplay By
Ira Steven Behr & Robert Hewitt Wolfe

Story By
Ronald D. Moore

Directed By
Reza Badiyi
49364 (2372)
Arc: Starfleet coup (2 of 2)  
Arc: Changeling infiltration (5 of 8)
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  Arc: {{{wsArc3Desc}}} ({{{nArc3PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc3PartCount}}})  
  Arc: {{{wsArc4Desc}}} ({{{nArc4PartNumber}}} of {{{nArc4PartCount}}})  
For the poem of the same name, please see Paradise Lost. For the unrelated comic, please see "Paradise Lost!".
For the DS9 episode with a similar title, please see "Paradise".

While Starfleet tightens security measures on Earth, Sisko and Odo discover that Admiral Leyton is deviously plotting to take over the planet. (Part 2 of 2)



In the aftermath of the planet-wide power outage a state of emergency has been declared on Earth, and Starfleet Security has a presence in every neighborhood on the planet. Captain Sisko and Odo are at Starfleet Headquarters, and Sisko remarks on his discomfort with the situation – "the more I read Starfleet's reports on the sabotage of the power relays, the more unanswered questions I have." Odo then comes up with another question in need of an answer: Red Squad was beamed back to Starfleet Academy twenty-six minutes after the state of emergency was declared, unlike the rest of Starfleet. Upon learning that Red Squad are cadets, Odo reasons that Starfleet wanted them out of harm's way... only for Sisko to immediately point out that Red Squad was re-mobilized a short time later.

Act One

In New Orleans, Joseph and Jake are reopening the restaurant, since Joseph is convinced that he's got plenty of customers. There are troops on every block, after all.

Sisko asks odo hides paradise lost

Sisko is left with more questions than answers

Back at Starfleet Headquarters, Sisko (with Odo standing out of sight) contacts the Commandant of Starfleet Academy about the transporter record he found, and the Commandant immediately becomes guarded, and asks if anyone else knows about it... specifically, Admiral Leyton. Sisko replies that he doesn't, and the Commandant orders Sisko to destroy the record. Playing along, Sisko tells him it'll be taken care of, and the Commandant notes that despite his concerns Red Squad performed their mission admirably. The call ends, and Odo notes that instead of answers all they've got are a lot more questions.

Sometime later Sisko goes to New Orleans and is discussing his frame of mind with his father when Nog steps up to his table. It seems that Sisko wants to meet some of the members of Red Squad, and wants Nog to make an introduction. However, Nog is reluctant to disclose any information as the names on Red Squad's roster are supposed to be a secret and he worries that revealing a name could scupper his chances of getting into the group. Sisko tells Nog that he seems to be under the mistaken impression that he's asking a favor, which he isn't... and directly orders Nog to give him a name, which settles that.

Sisko interviews cadet shepard

It seems Red Squad was ordered to sabotage the power grid

At Starfleet Academy Sisko holds an interview with one Cadet Riley Shepard. After stating that Red Squad had been briefed to expect that no record would be made of their activity, Shepard explains Red Squad's involvement with the power outage: in brief, they were the ones who did all of the hands-on work to make it happen.

Sisko goes back to New Orleans with Odo and the two of them discuss what Sisko's learned. After ruling out Dominion involvement (since nothing has been accomplished through the incident except the fortification of Earth), Sisko reluctantly agrees with Odo's belief that the state of emergency was engineered by a clique of Starfleet officers led by Leyton, with the intent of staging a coup d'état.

Act Two

Sisko and Odo take what information they have to Federation President Jaresh-Inyo, who is skeptical and shocked. Jaresh-Inyo wants proof, and Sisko says that if Leyton is ordered to withdraw the troops he's deployed, he'll refuse – thereby providing the proof Jaresh-Inyo wants. However, Jaresh-Inyo says he can't do that, since scaling back security measures would be a political disaster with the potential to start riots. Sisko offers to bring irrefutable evidence of a plot, and Jaresh-Inyo promises that with that, he would certainly put a stop to it.

Back in New Orleans Sisko is waiting in his father's restaurant for Nog and Cadet Shepard. Nog eventually arrives, but without Shepard in tow – apparently Shepard was nowhere to be found, along with the rest of Red Squad. Just after making that announcement, Leyton steps into the restaurant and states that neither Shepard nor the rest of Red Squad will be returning to Earth anytime soon. Leyton then orders Nog back to the Academy.

Leyton relieves sisko paradise lost

Leyton relieves Sisko

A conversation ensues in which Leyton admits to what he is doing, and that he involved Sisko because the credibility of the latter's field experience was vital to Leyton's plan. Leyton goes on to lecture Sisko about the importance of the chain of command, and point out that he still needs Sisko's cooperation. Sisko refuses, and Leyton orders him back to Deep Space 9.

Sisko changeling obrien paradise lost

...Even the Changelings have an opinion about that, apparently

Sometime later, Sisko's outside with his thoughts when a man appearing to be Miles O'Brien (but who is actually a Changeling) approaches him and claims that there are only four Changelings on Earth, implying that if this much damage can be caused by four Changelings on Earth, the potential damage is much greater. Just as quickly as he arrived, O'Brien's doppelgänger leaves.

Act Three

After getting some advice from his father, Sisko contacts Kira Nerys and starts putting a plan into motion.

At Starfleet Headquarters, Odo and Sisko start reviewing records of personnel transfers, and discover that "Leyton's been a busy man", reassigning "over 400 officers in the past three weeks." Further examination of the records reveals that another batch of transfers will take effect just days hence, not long before Jaresh-Inyo is due to make an important speech.

Officers reassigned paradise lost

It appears that Leyton's been busy cutting reassignment papers

Sisko false positive paradise lost

Leyton is far from playing his last card

When Sisko goes to Jaresh-Inyo to deliver his evidence of the plot, he finds Admiral Leyton waiting for him. Sisko's given a blood screening, and it turns up a false positive.

Act Four

Sisko is sent back to Starfleet Headquarters and placed in detention, and from the other side of his holding cell's force field, Leyton declares that the President's speech will never take place, but rather the speech will be given by Leyton himself. He intends to remove Jaresh-Inyo from office and take control of Earth himself.

Later, when a security tech comes through the brig to take blood screenings, Odo appears and disables the guards, as well as the tech whose cart he'd hitched a ride on in some other form. While hot-wiring the force field controls, Odo explains that the random opening and closing of the Bajoran wormhole, which precipitated the current phase of the crisis, was the direct consequence of sabotage on the part of one Lieutenant Arriaga stationed on DS9 – and that the USS Defiant is on its way to Earth with Arriaga aboard. Sisko orders Odo to warn Jaresh-Inyo, and goes to Leyton's office carrying a phaser.

Sisko arrives at Leyton's office demanding his resignation from Starfleet and informs him of Arriaga's impending arrival, Leyton is amused but unimpressed. As it turns out the USS Lakota is ordered to intercept the Defiant – its crew has been told that the Defiant is crewed by Changelings.

On the Defiant, which is commanded by Worf the Lakota crew hails and demand that the ship drop its shields and prepare to be boarded as the ship raises shields and charges weapons.

Act Five

Leyton not over paradise lost

Leyton's plans for a coup are done for, and he doesn't like it one bit

In Leyton's office, Sisko tries to convince Leyton that removing an elected President and establishing a military dictatorship on Earth will never be accepted by the people of the Federation and could even lead to civil war. Having the Lakota fire on the Defiant is the first step down that dark path, but Leyton refuses to cancel the order.

On the Defiant, the crew wonder if the Lakota crew are bluffing however once they enter weapons range they are fired upon by the Excelsior class ship. Chief O'Brien notes that the Lakota seems to have had its weapons upgraded, and unwilling to risk dropping shields to cloak and unsure they can outrun the Lakota, the crew's only option is to fight their way out.

Leyton notes the irony that Sisko had originally been more interested in engineering than he was command, until Leyton made him First Officer but notes that he didn't teach Ben about loyalty. Sisko balks at this, feeling Leyton is the last person to talk about loyalty when he's broken his oath to Starfleet and ordered one of its ships to fire on another.

Just then Benteen hails Leyton and the Admiral, still at phaser-point, answers. Benteen informs him they've been unable to stop the Defiant due to her ablative armor (the equipping of which wasn't on the record). Leyton amends his orders so that Defiant isn't to be disabled but destroyed at any cost. Benteen is shocked, and Sisko pleads with her not to kill the Starfleet officers serving on the Defiant since she knows there's no Changelings on board. Benteen ends the transmission after Leyton reminds her of her orders.

Both the Defiant and the Lakota have been badly damaged, and a good hit from either will finish the other off. The Defiant crew are unwilling to use deadly force against the other crew... and it seems the Lakota crew feel the same as the ship backs off and hails.

Sisko is contacted by Worf, who tells him the Lakota is escorting the Defiant to Earth however both ships suffered casualties. Sisko tells Leyton that by now Odo will have presented his evidence to Jaresh-Inyo... his plot is over. Leyton still refuses to accept this, and tells Sisko he has enough officers left to make a fight of it. Sisko tells him he'll be fighting Starfleet now as well and Benteen, who was his closest ally, has already abandoned him so it'll be only a matter time before the others do too. Finally accepting he's been beaten, Leyton takes off his insignia and leaves his office to be arrested but hopes that Sisko isn't making a mistake.

Joseph ben jake goodbyes paradise lost

The Sisko men say their goodbyes

The state of emergency is soon lifted, and Earth slowly begins to return to normal. Odo points out to everyone there are still changelings on Earth, but no-one is willing to let them change they live... if the Dominion want to destroy Earth they have to do it themselves. With that, Ben and Jake say a fond farewell to Joseph and with Odo begin their trip back to Deep Space Nine.

Memorable Quotes

"Admiral Leyton may be somewhat grating and inflexible at times, but for a man of his accomplishments, a man of his distinguished record, to commit treason?"
"I'm sure the Admiral doesn't see it as treason! He would probably defend it as a desperate act of patriotism."

- Jaresh-Inyo and Sisko

"So you're willing to destroy paradise in order to save it?"

- Sisko to Leyton

"In the end, it's your fear that will destroy you."

- O'Brien Changeling to Sisko

"I never knew it was so easy to break into classified Starfleet files."
"Everything I know I learned from Quark."

- Sisko and Odo

"Paradise has never seemed so well-armed."

- Sisko, criticizing the security measures instituted on Earth in the name of civil defense

"Don't kid yourself Ben. This Pandora's Box of yours... we're opening it together."

- Admiral Leyton, when Ben refuses to order the Defiant to stand down

"It's not over! I have enough loyal officers to make a fight of it!"
"Who will you fight? Starfleet? The Federation? Don't you see, Admiral? You're fighting the wrong war!"

- Leyton and Sisko

"Worried? I'm scared to death! But I'll be damned if I let them change the way I live my life."

- Joseph Sisko, about the Changeling infiltration of Earth

"If the Changelings want to destroy what we've built here, they're going to have to do it themselves. We will not do it for them."

- Benjamin Sisko

"Is he always such a mother hen?"
"He means well."

- Joseph Sisko and Odo, about Ben

Background Information

Story and script



  • As a direct result of the show being pushed back into mid-season when there wasn't too much money around, Robert Hewitt Wolfe was disappointed with the outcome of the two-parter; "If it hadn't been for "The Way of the Warrior", we would have had the necessary money to spend on this two-parter". As well as that, he was disappointed with its positioning within the season; "It wasn't in sweeps. It came out of the middle of nowhere". (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • After the episode aired, Ira Steven Behr keeps a note pinned to his office wall which reads "Remember Paradise Lost". The reason, Behr explains, is "to remind me how we'd screwed up". As with "Homefront", Behr blames a lack of money, but in this case, the problems created by budgetary constraints were far more important than in the first episode; "We cut down on opticals in the final space scene, which was a mistake. And we cut down on extras, in terms of showing the occupying Starfleet force on the streets of Earth. To this day, I just can't tell you how aggravated it makes me. It just drives me crazy." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Behr also commented "I did quite like the Oliver Stone salute scene with the shape-shifter. Colm said. 'I have a take on this. I hope you like it'. It was quite the odd little shape-shifter and he had some fun with it. The whole scene was really well nicely done, as was everything with Sisko and his father". (The Producer's View, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - The Official Poster Magazine, issue 10)


  • Red Squad was seen again in the sixth season episode "Valiant", in which David Drew Gallagher reprised the role of Riley Shepard.
  • Susan Gibney, who plays Erika Benteen, previously portrayed Dr. Leah Brahms in TNG: "Booby Trap" and TNG: "Galaxy's Child".
  • This is the only episode of the series where Sisko wears the TNG-style uniform for the duration. The only time he is seen wearing his regular DS9-style uniform is in the recap of the previous episode.
  • This is the last episode to be directed by Reza Badiyi.
  • Interestingly, Robert Foxworth played General Hague on Babylon 5, another character who attempted a coup against the Earth government, however, that coup was an attempt to depose a fascist government, rather than trying to create one. He wasn't successful there, either – he was killed in a firefight (offscreen, though, as Foxworth was actually filming this episode at the time).
  • The events of this episode (a Starfleet admiral attempting a military coup) are similar to the plot of Pocket TOS: Dreadnought!, a novel by Diane Carey, written about a decade prior to DS9's production. The idea also was part of the original concept for the early TNG episode "Conspiracy".
  • There are also similarities to TNG: "The Pegasus". In both an admiral is attempting to perform criminal acts to serve what they consider 'the greater good.' In each an officer formerly under their command tries to dissuade them, fails, and forces them to face justice.
  • This episode also shares a common theme with "The Drumhead". In both episodes, the characters have to resist influences to sacrifice the values of the Federation to purportedly "save" its way of life.
  • The names of the former members of the USS Okinawa are all named after characters from Joseph Heller's famous 1961 novel Catch 22.
  • A very subtle reference is made to the number 47 when it appears as one of the section numbers of the Transport tube outside of Starfleet Command.
  • Excluding the recap from "Homefront" and Kira seen in Ops through Sisko's desktop monitor, this is the third out of four DS9 episodes that do not have any scenes set on the station.

Video and DVD releases

Links and references


Also starring

Guest Stars



Uncredited co-stars


ablative armor; Antwerp Conference; artichoke; asteroid; authorization code; Bajoran; Bajoran wormhole; Balter; Bartlett; Beumont, Neffie; beer; Bolian tonic water; civil war; cloaking device; coffee; Commander in Chief; computer network; CTS-47; Daneeka; darts; Daviomeisi; deflector shield; Division of Planetary Operations; Dominion; Dominion cold war; Earth; Excelsior-class; executive officer; Federation; Federation-Tzenkethi War; Ferengi; furniture; invasion; Lisbon; McWatt; Mignaccia, G.; Moodus; Moore, B.; oath; okra; Okinawa, USS; Orr; Pacific Standard Time; PADD; Pandora's Box; Paris; pasta boudin; Patriotism; Phillips, Zoey; power grid; Promenade; quantum torpedo; Quark; Ramsey; ready room; replicator; resignation; restart sequencer; restaurant; satellite; SATCOM 5, Sector 001; security lockout; sickbay; Snowden; Starfleet Academy; Starfleet Operations; subspace modulator; terrorism; transporter log; treason; tube grubs; United Federation of Planets; vacation; vampire; warp drive; Worf

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