Captive Pursuit

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"Captive Pursuit"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 6
Directed by Corey Allen
Teleplay by Jill Sherman Donner
Michael Piller
Story by Jill Sherman Donner
Production code 406
Original air date January 31, 1993 (1993-01-31)
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
Next →
List of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes

"Captive Pursuit" is the sixth episode of the first season of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. The episode was written by executive producer Michael Piller and Jill Sherman Donner, and was directed by Corey Allen. It featured Gerrit Graham in a guest role, who had previously been considered for the main cast role of Odo, while Scott MacDonald appeared as Tosk and would later appear in several further roles in the franchise as well as a recurring character during season three of Star Trek: Enterprise.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures on Deep Space Nine, a space station located near a stable wormhole between the Alpha and Gamma quadrants of the Milky Way Galaxy. In this episode, Tosk (Scott MacDonald) arrives on the station and befriends Chief Miles O'Brien (Colm Meaney), but is soon pursued by the Hunter (Gerrit Graham), who follows him through the wormhole.

Michael Westmore designed the make-up for both Tosk and the Hunters, and while the former was based on an alligator, the latter were changed from the initial designs due to budgetary issues. The episode was praised by cast and crew, and received a Nielsen rating of 12.9, placing it was one of the four most watched episodes of the first season. Critical reception was mostly positive, with praise given to Meaney and MacDonald's performances, but criticism directed at the "formulaic" nature of the plot.[1] It was nominated for an Emmy Award for best make-up for a series, but lost out to an episode of Babylon 5.


A damaged unidentified vessel from the Gamma Quadrant docks at Deep Space Nine for repairs. Its reptilian pilot, who only identifies himself as Tosk (Scott MacDonald), requires virtually no "downtime" as he calls sleep and leisure, does not seem to possess a sense of humor, and he has the ability to become invisible. He is the first known life-form from the Gamma Quadrant to visit the station. Despite their many differences, Chief Miles O'Brien (Colm Meaney) befriends the alienand tries to help him repair his ship. However, Tosk attempts to steal from a weapons locker and is put in a holding cell by Security Chief Odo (René Auberjonois).

Uniformed aliens come through the wormhole, beam onto the DS9 promenade and cause a major phaser battle between themselves and a team led by Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks). The aliens fight their way into the brig where Tosk is being held. Sisko, O'Brien and Odo enter the room as one of the aliens, the Hunter (Gerrit Graham) removes his helmet and expresses his disappointment to Tosk for capturing him alive. He commands Sisko to lower the forcefield and release Tosk, but the Starfleet Commander refuses. The two discuss the issue and the Hunter agrees to place the Bajoran Wormhole out of bounds for future hunts. As much as he detests this practice, Sisko believes that under the Prime Directive he must release Tosk to the aliens.

After talking to Quark (Armin Shimerman) in his bar, O'Brien realises that he can change the rules of the hunt before Tosk is taken away by the Hunters. He convinces Odo to release Tosk into his care as it is a Starfleet matter and not a Bajoran one. O'Brien, the Hunter and Tosk reach an airlock, but the Chief has set it up to overload - knocking out the Hunter. In Ops, Sisko is informed about O'Brien and Tosk and informs Odo to pursue the duo at a leisurely pace. With O'Brien's help, Tosk escapes the station and the Hunters pursue. Afterwards, Sisko reprimands O'Brien but after the Chief explains his surprise at not being apprehended immediately by Odo, Sisko responds that he must have slipped up and gives O'Brien a wry smile.


Colm Meaney (pictured) called "Captive Pursuit" his favourite episode of the first season.

The episode was originally entitled "A Matter of Breeding",[2] and was intended to move away from the "squeaky clean" Star Trek: The Next Generation plots according to the director, Corey Allen.[3] This was one of the main elements that the producers wanted included in the new series, after the franchise's creator Gene Roddenberry had banned disagreements between characters in The Next Generation.[4] While this was mainly shown in "Captive Pursuit" by O'Brien's releasing of Tosk, it had been intended for dabo girl Miss Sarda to proposition Commander Sisko during the teaser segment at the start of the episode. Allen explained that "We had long conversations on that and ultimately came down on the conservative side, but we'd never even had that kind of conference on TNG."[3] The episode was written by one of the executive producers for the series, Michael Piller,[5][6] alongside writer Jill Sherman Donner who had previous credits on television shows such as Magnum P.I..[5]

Michael Westmore created the make-up designs seen in "Captive Pursuit", with Tosk being based on a picture of an alligator that Westmore had seen in National Geographic magazine.[5] The Hunters were initially intended to appear more alien, with steam rising out of their masks as they opened to reveal a demon-like face with huge eyes and scaly skin. However, due to budgetary restraints, the plans for these effects were scrapped and instead the description was revised to become "a rather mundane humanoid face, not far off human."[7] The transporter effect used by the Hunters was inspired by the science fiction film Metropolis (1927), specifically by the scene in which the robot Maria undergoes a transformation.[8]

It was the first appearance in the Star Trek franchise for both Scott MacDonald and Gerrit Graham. The former would appear a week later in the The Next Generation episode "Face of the Enemy" as Sub-commander N'Vek, and would also appear in the DS9 episode "Hippocratic Oath" and the Star Trek: Voyager pilot "Caretaker". In Star Trek: Enterprise, he was cast in the recurring role of the Xindi Dolim through the third season.[5] Meanwhile Graham, had been one of the last three options for an actor to play Odo, with the decision being made between himself, René Auberjonois and Andrew Robinson (who was later cast as Elim Garak), with Auberjonois gaining the role.[9] He later gained the role of the second Q in Voyager, named Quinn, in the episode "Death Wish".[10]

The episode was received positively by the cast and crew. Meaney stated that it was his favourite of the first season, praised MacDonald's performance and said that "Captive Pursuit" was a "classic Star Trek story".[11] Michael Piller also said it was one of his favourite of the season,[12] while Rick Berman said it was his favourite out of the first six episodes of the series and said that "The relationship that developed between [Tosk] and O'Brien was charming."[13]

Reception and home media release[edit]

"Captive Pursuit" was first broadcast on January 31, 1993 in broadcast syndication. It received a Nielsen rating of 12.9 percent, placing it third in its timeslot. This was the fourth highest rated episode of the season, behind "Emissary", "Past Prologue" and "A Man Alone".[14] The episode was nominated for an Emmy Award for make-up,[5] but instead the award went to fellow science fiction television series Babylon 5 for the episode "The Parliament of Dreams".[15]

Keith DeCandido, while writing for, said that "Captive Pursuit" was "a good Star Trek episode, it’s a good Prime Directive story, it’s a good creation of an alien culture, and it’s a strong DS9 episode."[5] This was despite that his overall opinion that the first season of DS9 was weak prior to the episode entitled "Duet". He described Colm Meaney as "always magnificent",[5] and said that Scott MacDonald gave a "superb performance".[5] He gave it a rating of 7 out of 10, saying that it was "A good, solid, well-put-together episode anchored by two excellent performances."[5] Zack Handlen, in his review for The A.V. Club, said that the episode was "a lark designed to give Colm Meaney some much-deserved focus" and was "formulaic".[1] He praised the dynamic between Meaney and MacDonald, but said that "while not a classic, [the episode was] entertaining enough" and it helps to set up O'Brien's character as one to balance the complexity of some of the newer characters introduced on the show.[1] In the book Deep Space and Sacred Time: Star Trek in the American Mythos, Jon Wagner and Jan Lundeen said that the episode was an example of Deep Space Nine dealing with cultural relativism.[16]

The first home media release of the episode was on VHS cassette in the United States on September 10, 1996. It was part of the initial launch of cassettes by Paramount Home Video which saw the first six episodes released and was on a single episode cassette.[17] It was released on DVD as part of the season one box set on June 3, 2003.[18]


  1. ^ a b c Handlen, Zack (February 2, 2012). "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: “Babel”/“Captive Pursuit”". The A.V. Club. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ Erdmann & Block (2000): p. 26
  3. ^ a b Erdmann & Block (2000): p. 27
  4. ^ Reeves-Stevens & Reeves Stevens (1994): p. 66
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i DeCandido, Keith (May 10, 2013). "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: “Captive Pursuit”". Tor Books. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  6. ^ Reeves-Stevens & Reeves Stevens (1994): p. 50
  7. ^ Reeves-Stevens & Reeves Stevens (1994): p. 35
  8. ^ Erdmann & Block (2000): p. 28
  9. ^ "Andrew Robinson: First Person". Star Archived from the original on February 7, 2004. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  10. ^ Ruditis (2003): p. 85
  11. ^ "Colm Meaney - Miles O'Brien". The Official Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Magazine 5: 8. March 14, 1994. 
  12. ^ Gross & Altman (1996): p. 43
  13. ^ Gross & Altman (1996): p. 44
  14. ^ "Season 1 Ratings". TrekNation. Archived from the original on October 3, 2000. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  15. ^ Storm, Jonathan (September 12, 1994). "Emmys: 'Picket Fences' Again It Captured The Best-drama Award For The Second Year In A Row". The Philadelphia Inquirer ( Retrieved November 12, 2014. 
  16. ^ Wagner & Lundeen (1998): p. 190
  17. ^ Spelling, Ian (August 25, 1996). "Trek Specs". The Washington Times (HighBeam Research). Retrieved November 12, 2014. (subscription required (help)). 
  18. ^ Ordway, Holly E. (June 9, 2003). "Star Trek Deep Space Nine - Season 1". DVD Talk. Retrieved November 12, 2014. 


External links[edit]