“My dear Doctor, they’re all true… especially the lies.”
There are many reasons why I love Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and why it remains my favorite of the Star Trek franchise.
Reason #28: The Wire
What’s the truth behind why Garak (Andrew Robinson) was exiled to Deep Space Nine? Who was he before he became a simple tailor and friend to Doctor Bashir (Alexander Siddig). “The Wire” doesn’t exactly answer these questions so much as tease us with possibilities when Garak’s sudden erratic behavior causes Bashir to delve more deeply into his friend’s past.
In the Second Season episode, Garak’s deteriorating mental health and emotional outbursts are traced back to a piece of Cardassian biotechnology implanted in the tailor’s brain. Although Bashir initially suspects in was put in place by the Obsidian Order to punish Garak, he later discovers Garak did this to himself. The implant, which was only meant to be used sparingly and is now breaking down, stimulates the pleasure centers of his brain allowing the tailor to live through his dreary existence on the station.
While trying to help Garak, Bashir is the same story several different times about the final day of the Bajoran Occupation and a shuttle full of escaped Bajoran prisoners and Cardassian civilians. In one version Garak’s treason was to let the shuttle go, in another it was destroying it, and then there’s a third where his best friend Elim planted evidence of Garak committing the crime before Garak could do it to him first.
Aside from delivering a couple of great performances from Robinson and Siddig, the episode also marks the first time a female director (Kim Friedman) was used on the show. Friedman would return to direct five more episodes over the course of the show’s seven-year run.
“The Wire” is one of the more dramatic episodes of the show and is important for revealing several key pieces of information which would be used over the course of the series. We see that although Garak may eventually speak the truth, he’ll do so only in riddles and a web of lies. The show gives us the name of Cardassia Prime, the first appearance of Enabrain Tain (Paul Dooley), the revealation of Garak’s first name is in fact Elim, and the first mention of the Obsidian Order and reveal of how important Garak once was to the Cardassian spy network. It also gives us one of the show’s best closing lines as Bashir tries to pry the truth from his friend about which of the stories he told is the truth. Garak simply smiles and tells him they are all true, “especially the lies.”