Emissary (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)

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Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes
Episode nos.Season 1
Episodes 1 & 2
Directed byDavid Carson
Story by
Teleplay byMichael Piller
Featured musicDennis McCarthy
Production code(s)721 (feature length)
401 & 402
Original air date(s)January 4, 1993 (1993-01-04)
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Past Prologue"
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (season 1)
List of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes

"Emissary" is the series premiere of the American science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. It was aired as a single two-hour episode on its initial broadcast,[1] but was divided into two one-hour episodes when it aired in reruns.[2]

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures on Deep Space Nine, a space station located near the planet Bajor, as the Bajorans recover from a brutal decades-long occupation by the imperialistic Cardassians. In this premiere episode, Commander Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks) and his son Jake (Cirroc Lofton) arrive with Starfleet personnel on the station shortly after Cardassian occupation forces have departed. While working to repair the station and assist the Bajoran people, Sisko discovers an unprecedented wormhole connecting Bajor to the distant, unexplored Gamma Quadrant of the galaxy, and the mysterious, incorporeal beings that inhabit it.


Part I[edit]

Benjamin Sisko is assigned to command space station "Deep Space Nine" in orbit of Bajor. Bajor has won independence from Cardassian occupation and invited Starfleet to assist in their recovery, much to the disgust of Major Kira Nerys, the station's Bajoran first officer. Sisko contemplates resigning from Starfleet, having lost his wife Jennifer three years prior during the Battle of Wolf 359. He receives orders from Captain Jean-Luc Picard, whom he blames for Jennifer's death, and barely contains his hostility.

Sisko visits the Bajoran spiritual leader Kai Opaka, who shows him an orb that the Bajorans believe was sent by their gods, "the Prophets". Opaka calls Sisko the "Emissary" and tells him he is destined to discover the Prophets' home, the Celestial Temple. Sisko's science officer, Lt. Jadzia Dax, determines that the orb is connected to mysterious phenomena in the nearby Denorios Belt.

Part II[edit]

Dax and Sisko investigate the Denorios Belt in a runabout, discovering a wormhole leading to the Gamma Quadrant on the opposite side of the galaxy. As they attempt to return, Dax is teleported back to Deep Space Nine, while Sisko remains in the wormhole.

Kira, recognizing the wormhole's value, orders the station moved to its mouth. Gul Dukat, the Cardassian former commander of the station, enters the wormhole, but the station's staff are unable to follow. Cardassian ships arrive to investigate Dukat's disappearance, assuming he has been killed. Disbelieving Kira's claims about the wormhole, they order Kira to surrender DS9 or be destroyed. Kira bluffs that the station is heavily armed.

Sisko encounters entities in the wormhole who have no understanding of corporeal and linear existence. When Dukat's ship attempts to pass through, they close the wormhole, irritated by the presence of corporeal lifeforms. When Sisko attempts to explain linear time, the entities point out that he continually returns to the moment of Jennifer's death. Sisko realizes he is "living in the past" by not moving on from his grief.

The Cardassians attack Deep Space Nine, but as Kira prepares to surrender, the wormhole opens up, with Sisko's runabout towing Dukat's ship from it, and the Cardassians stop their attack. Sisko reveals that he negotiated with the wormhole aliens to allow ships to pass through. Later, Sisko informs Picard that he plans to remain in Starfleet.


"Emissary" first aired on January 4, 1993. It received a Nielsen rating of 18.8 percent,[3] placing first in its time slot and becoming the highest rated episode of the season.[4] According to Variety, "Emissary" was the highest-rated syndicated series premiere in history at the time of its broadcast.[5] It achieved the top spots in number of television markets on its debut.[3]

In 1993 "Emissary" was nominated for an Emmy award for Best Art Direction for a series.[6] It also received Emmy nominations for Best Sound Editing and Sound Mixing.[6]

In 2012, Zack Handlen of The A.V. Club pointed out there were several significant differences compared to previous Star Trek shows. For instance, he noted the primary protagonist was an "angry man" with a tragic backstory, and commended the fact that the main characters were a more "disparate ensemble" with conflicting viewpoints, neither of which were featured in past installments in the franchise. Handlen reacted positively to the new characters, calling them "fascinating individuals", while complaining of a few instances of poor acting and writing. He disliked the scenes involving the magical orbs and wormhole aliens, finding them unnecessary. Handlen concluded his review by saying that, of the Star Trek pilots, this was "the one most rife with possibility" he had seen.[7]

In 2013, Keith DeCandido reviewed "Emissary" for Tor.com, writing that while the episode served its purpose to set up elements of the series, "as a story, it doesn’t have much life to it". He called the characters the episode's most compelling aspect, saying "it's a refreshing change to have characters with a bit more acid in them". He gave the episode a score of six out of ten.[8]

A 2015 binge-watching guide for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine by WIRED recommended not skipping this essential episode.[9]

In 2015, Geek.com recommended this episode as "essential watching" for their abbreviated Star Trek: Deep Space Nine binge-watching guide, along with "Past Prologue", "Vortex", "Battle Lines", "Duet", and "In the Hands of the Prophets" from season one.[10]

In 2016, SyFy ranked "Emissary" as the best out of 6 main Star Trek TV show pilots.[11]

In 2016, Vox rated this episode one of the top 25 essential episodes of all Star Trek.[12]

In 2018, CBR ranked the "Emissary" two-part episode as the 19th best multi-episode story of Star Trek overall.[13] The Hollywood Reporter ranked "Emissary" of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine as the 4th best presentation of the series.[14] In 2017, Gamespot ranked this as the 2nd best pilot episode of a Star Trek series.[15]

In 2018, SyFy included this episode on their binge-watching guide for episode featuring Jadzia Dax.[16]

Space.com ranked "Emissary" the seventh best episode of all Star Trek television.[17]

In 2019, Comicbook.com ranked "Emissary" the tenth best episode of Star Trek:Deep Space Nine.[18]

Broadcast and streaming[edit]

It was aired as 2-hour-long pilot in broadcast syndication.[3] On its debut, "Emissary" received a lot of attention, including interviews with cast and production staff and a feature on Entertainment Tonight.[19]

The two-hour-long version of the episode has a production code of 721.[20] It may also be aired as two roughly 45-minute episodes, with production codes 401 and 402.[20] The 2 hour long version was premiered as a television movie, and on later airings it was separated into "Emissary, Part I" and "Emissary, Part II".[21]

On the launch of the Paramount+ streaming service, on March 4, 2021, a free Star Trek marathon was presented, featuring the pilots of the various Star Trek television series, including "Emissary".[22] The marathon started at 7 am PT/10 am ET and was Live streamed on the YouTube internet video platform on that day, with "Emissary" airing at 9:59 am PT / 12:59 pm ET .[22]

Home video releases[edit]

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.[23] It was released on DVD as part of the season one box set on June 3, 2003.[24]

This episode was released in 2017 on DVD with the complete series box set, which had 176 episodes on 48 discs.[25]


"Emissary" parts I & II were released on September 24, 1996 on LaserDisc in the United States.[26] Released by Parmount Home Video, the double sided 12 inch optical disc had a run time of 87 minutes.[26]

On February 8, 1997 this episode was released on LaserDisc in Japan as part of the half-season box set 1st Season vol.1.[27] This included episodes from "Emissary" to "Move Along Home" with both English and Japanese audio tracks.[27]

"Emissary" was released on PAL-format LaserDisc in the United Kingdom as part of The Pilots collection, in April 1996.[28] This included the color version of "The Cage", "Where No Man Has Gone Before", "Encounter at Farpoint", "Emissary", and "Caretaker" with a total runtime of 379 minutes.[28]


  1. ^ Erdmann, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (2000). Deep Space Nine Companion. Simon and Schuster. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-671-50106-8.
  2. ^ Okuda, Michael; Okuda, Denise; Mirek, Debbie (2011-05-17). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4516-4688-7.
  3. ^ a b c Erdmann, Terry J.; Block, Paula M. (2000). Deep Space Nine Companion. Simon and Schuster. p. 8. ISBN 978-0-671-50106-8.
  4. ^ "Season 1 Ratings". TrekNation. Archived from the original on October 3, 2000. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  5. ^ Granshaw, Lisa (2018-01-16). "Firsts: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine cast looks back at its very first episode". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  6. ^ a b Sarasota Herald-Tribune. Sarasota Herald-Tribune.
  7. ^ Handlen, Zack (January 19, 2012). "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: "Emissary"". The A.V. Club. Archived from the original on June 13, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  8. ^ DeCandido, Keith (April 23, 2013). "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Rewatch: "Emissary"". Tor.com. Archived from the original on January 25, 2016. Retrieved January 29, 2019.
  9. ^ McMillan, Graeme (2015-05-13). "WIRED Binge-Watching Guide: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine". Wired. ISSN 1059-1028. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  10. ^ "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine condensed: How to watch the most story-driven Trek". Geek.com. 2015-01-19. Retrieved 2019-07-13.
  11. ^ Roth, Dany (2016-01-15). "First Contact: Every Star Trek pilot, ranked". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2019-06-30.
  12. ^ Siede, Caroline (2016-09-06). "Star Trek, explained for non-Trekkies". Vox. Retrieved 2019-08-01.
  13. ^ Star Trek's Greatest Episodic Sagas, Ranked by Michael Weyer – on Nov 23, 2018
  14. ^ [1]
  15. ^ Complex, Valerie (2017-10-20). "Every Star Trek Pilot Episode, Ranked From Worst To Best". GameSpot. Retrieved 2019-06-08.
  16. ^ Lane, Carly (2018-02-05). "A binge-watching guide to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Jadzia Dax". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
  17. ^ Entertainment, Elizabeth Howell 2017-09-20T16:19:28Z. "The 10 Best 'Star Trek' Episodes Ever". Space.com. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
  18. ^ Lovett, Jamie. "The 10 Best Episodes of 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine'". Star Trek. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  19. ^ Granshaw, Lisa (2018-01-16). "Firsts: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine cast looks back at its very first episode". SYFY WIRE. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  20. ^ a b "STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE". synbible.cbstvd.com. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  21. ^ Okuda, Michael; Okuda, Denise; Mirek, Debbie (2011-05-17). The Star Trek Encyclopedia. Simon and Schuster. ISBN 978-1-4516-4688-7.
  22. ^ a b Staff, TrekMovie com. "Paramount+ Launches With Free Episodes, A Star Trek Marathon, And Free Month Offer". TrekMovie.com. Retrieved 2021-03-16.
  23. ^ Spelling, Ian (August 25, 1996). "Trek Specs". The Washington Times. Questia Online Library. Retrieved November 12, 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  24. ^ Ordway, Holly E. (June 9, 2003). "Star Trek Deep Space Nine - Season 1". DVD Talk. Archived from the original on April 29, 2015. Retrieved January 21, 2016. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  25. ^ Staff, TrekNews net (2017-02-10). "[REVIEW] Deep Space Nine Complete Series DVD Box Set". TREKNEWS.NET | Your daily dose of Star Trek news and opinion. Retrieved 2021-02-19.
  26. ^ a b "LaserDisc Database - Star Trek DS9 #001/2: the Emissary #1 & 2 [LV 40510-721]". www.lddb.com. Retrieved 2021-02-18.
  27. ^ a b "LaserDisc Database - Star Trek Deep Space 9: 1st Season vol.1 [PILF-2321]". www.lddb.com. Retrieved 2021-02-22.
  28. ^ a b "LaserDisc Database - Star Trek: The Pilots [PLTES 34071]". www.lddb.com. Retrieved 2021-02-22.


  • P. Farrand, Nitpicker's Guide for Deep Space Nine Trekkers New York: Dell (1996): 3 - 12

External links[edit]