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Ties of Blood and Water (episode)

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Kira asks Tekeny Ghemor to come to Deep Space 9 to provide information about the Cardassian government and the revitalizing dissident movement; Gul Dukat arrives and demands Ghemor's extradition.


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Dax, Worf, and Kira are waiting at an airlock, awaiting the arrival of Tekeny Ghemor, Kira's Cardassian pseudo-father. The two have become very close in recent days. The legate is not secure on Cardassia since the takeover by Gul Dukat and the alliance with the Dominion. Kira is hoping Ghemor will lead the political opposition on Cardassia when he tells her that he came to DS9 because he is terminally ill. He has Yarim Fel Syndrome and will probably die soon.

Dukat contacts Captain Benjamin Sisko about an arrangement for Ghemor's extradition. Sisko has no intention of negotiating with him since the Federation doesn't even recognize the new Cardassian government and abruptly ends the transmission.

Major Kira offers to spend the next few days with Ghemor, replacing the daughter he doesn't have anymore. Ghemor wants to commence the Shri-tal, a Cardassian ritual in which a dying person reveals their closest secrets to the rest of the family, for use against their enemies. Since Kira is the closest thing Ghemor has to a family, she agrees to participate.

Then begins a series of long interviews. They are exhausting for Kira, but she doesn't complain. These are cut by brief flashbacks that make the parallel between her own father's death during the Occupation of Bajor and the agony of Ghemor.

Kira mourns for Ghemor

Kira mourns for Ghemor

Dukat and Weyoun arrive at DS9 (with peaceful intentions even if they came aboard a Jem'Hadar battle cruiser) to reclaim the fugitive using standard Cardassian strategies. Dukat first offers to bring Ghemor's daughter Iliana back. Then he tries to turn Kira against him. Sisko meets again with Dukat and Weyoun, and acting as though he had forgotten his manners, offers Dukat some kanar, but the Cardassian refuses. The captain then reveals that the kanar had been poisoned – and had just been delivered to Ghemor; clearly a murder attempt. Dukat acts insulted at the barely-veiled accusation. Then to the surprise of both Dukat and Sisko, Weyoun drinks the entire glass, explaining afterward that the Vorta are immune to most type of poisons. He suffers no ill effects.

One of Dukat's strategis to turn Kira away from Ghemor proves to be successful. Kira, even if she knew what to expect from Dukat, feels betrayed when she learns (from information provided by Dukat) that Ghemor was present at the Kiessa Monastery massacre. She claims she thought Ghemor was different from the other Cardassians but now realizes he is not.

Kira's friends, especially Dr. Bashir, try to convince Kira that even if Ghemor's past is stained by the occupation, he doesn't deserve to die alone. Besides, he was only nineteen years old at the time, and was just one of hundreds of Cardassians present. Ultimately, Kira decides she will not do the same thing she did when her father died and won't find a last minute excuse to miss his death. A flashback shows that Nerys was in a raid against the Cardassians and missed Kira Taban's death by less than an hour.

After Ghemor passes away, Dukat informs Captain Sisko that he intends to tell the general public that Ghemor decided on his deathbed to embrace the Dominion and insists on having the body brought back to Cardassia Prime so he can be buried with full military honors. Sisko informs him that the funeral arrangements have already been taken care of. Kira has Ghemor buried on Bajor, right beside her father, under the same tree.

Memorable quotesEdit

"Cardassian politics are very complex."
"I think they like it that way."

- Worf and Dax

"Major Kira – friends with a Cardassian. It seems wrong."
"You should have known her five years ago. Back then, I never thought she'd be friends with anyone."

- Worf and Dax, on Kira's relationship with Tekeny Ghemor

"I have Yarim Fel Syndrome. It's terminal, Nerys. I'm dying."

- Ghemor

"Still calling yourself gul? I'm surprised you haven't promoted yourself back to legate by now."
"I prefer the title 'gul'; so much more hands-on than legate. And less pretentious than the other alternatives: president, emperor, chancellor, first minister... emissary."
"How about Dominion puppet?"

- Sisko and Dukat

"Oh, my... that is quite toxic, isn't it?"
"Are you... insane?"
"Oh, Vorta are immune to most forms of poison; it comes in handy when you are a diplomat."

- Dukat and Weyoun (knowingly drinking a glass of poisoned kanar)

"DABO! That is dabo, isn't it?"
"I don't see why you insist on playing this ridiculous game."
"I like games."

- Weyoun and Dukat

"You are really enjoying this, aren't you? Hm? All your sick little games."
"I must admit, I do get a certain... perverse pleasure out of it."

- Kira and Dukat

Background informationEdit

Story and scriptEdit

  • This episode reintroduces Weyoun after his "death" in "To the Death" and reveals that the Vorta clone themselves (a premise which was created specifically so Jeffrey Combs could reprise his role). As Ira Steven Behr explains, "When we first saw Jeff Combs do the role in "To the Death", we were wishing we could find a different ending to the episode, because we really didn't want the character to die. But we couldn't think of anything. The next thing you know, they're out in Griffith Park, shooting the fight, and he's dead. I knew immediately that he had to come back. There was no way he couldn't." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)


Avery Brooks directing 'Ties of Blood and Water'

Avery Brooks directs Lawrence Pressman and Nana Visitor on the set of "Ties of Blood and Water"

  • Of the montage sequence, director Avery Brooks says, "There is a suspension of time. Time is kind of irrelevant. Each shot was, for me, like a portrait. I was very interested in creating portraits, in terms of composition and lighting. Still portraits. Not photographs, but paintings." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)


  • This episode is a favorite of Nana Visitor's; "I like playing the truth of things. I love that they did this with my character, that they wrote that Kira isn't Miss Perfect Saint. It wasn't about her not loving the person she cared for. It was about 'This is tough.' And that it required more of her than she had at the moment. And it was a learning experience for her." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)
  • Lawrence Pressman was impressed by Avery Brooks's direction of the episode. Pressman commented "Avery's a man who keeps to himself, not somebody who chats easily, but as a director he was right there and extraordinarily helpful. Somebody said to me 'Avery talks like jazz'. It's true, he does. What's more, its brilliant jazz, wonderful stuff. He gives you images, and he does it through eye contact with you, so you get the feeling of what he wants. He gave me a lot courage. It would be so easy to go the wrong way with the character. He pushed me constantly in other directions, then pushed me even further in that direction. You can't ask for anything more than that". ("Back for Ghemor", Star Trek Monthly, issue 30)
  • For Robert Hewitt Wolfe, the most important scene in the episode is the scene where Kira introduces Tekeny Ghemor to Kirayoshi O'Brien; "This is her family. The father that is not her father. The baby that is not her baby. That's Kira's family." (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion)



  • It is revealed in Fearful Symmetry that Dukat did in fact know Iliana Ghemor's location, meaning that his offer was at least partially honest. Given his treatment of her, however, it is doubtful that he would have followed through.

Video and DVD releasesEdit

Links and referencesEdit

Starring Edit

Also starring Edit

Guest starsEdit


Uncredited co-starsEdit


advisor; Alpha Quadrant; Bajor; Bajorans Bajoran ale; Bajoran assault vessel; Bajoran Intelligence; Bajoran Militia; Bajoran Resistance; Bajoran Security; Bajoran temple; barrowbug; black hole; Bolian; Borven; bracelet; Cardassia Prime; Cardassians; Cardassian Central Archives; Cardassian Central Command; Cardassian military; Cardassian dissident movement; Cardassian sun; Cardassian Supreme Tribunal; central nervous system; Chief Archon; clone; Constable; counselor; dabo; diplomat; Dominion; Dopterian; Emissary of the Prophets; emperor; Enyak's milk; exile; Federation; First Minister; Fourth Order; funeral; Ghemor's wife; Ghemor, Iliana; immortality; insanity; glinn; gul; head of state; hexadrin therapy; Jem'Hadar battle cruiser; kai; kanar; Kiessa Monastery; legate; medic; monk; mortar; neuro-regeneration procedure; Ninth Order; O'Brien, Keiko; O'Brien, Kirayoshi; Occupation of Bajor; pagh; poison; president; Promenade; propaganda; Prophets; prylar; Quark's; Quen; red carpet; Shakaar Edon; Shri-tal; skimmer; Starfleet Intelligence; strategic operations officer; Tempasa; toxic; triptacederine; Trepar; uniform code; vole; voraxna; Vorta; Winn Adami; Yarim Fel Syndrome

External linkEdit

Previous episode:
"Business as Usual"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Season 5
Next episode:
"Ferengi Love Songs"

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