Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 5 Episode 16

Doctor Bashir, I Presume?

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Feb 24, 1997 on Syndicado
out of 10
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Episode Summary

Stardate: Unknown Bashir is chosen as the model for Starfleet's next Emergency Medical Holographic Doctor. During the process it is revealed that Julian was illegally genetically enhanced as a child, rendering him a genius. However, his father must now face a jail term or his son Julian will be court-martialled from Starfleet.moreless

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  • A cameo leads to a clever sci fi story

    Robert Picardo ("The Doctor" from sister show Voyager) guest stars as Dr. Zimmerman, creator of the Emergency Medical Hologram, in this Bashir episode with a title that pays homage to the famous quote, "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" The unique story structure cleverly uses him as a catalyst for both the A and B stories, which (like the best Doctor episodes on Voyager) balances comedy with drama. It's a fun cameo for Picardo, who plays Zimmerman a similar acerbic sarcasm as his holographic counterpart, but throws in a subtle downplay of the attitude that comes across as more human. His character, however, is really just there to get us into the true story, about Dr. Bashir, his parents, and their secret. This science fiction concept is something on the horizon that Star Trek has never thoroughly explored before this episode. It's an interesting story and character idea wrapped up in one package; and it works both backwards and forwards, explaining Bashir's established behaviors and personality while creating a more interesting character for future episodes. Brian George and Fadwa El Guindi play Dr. Bashir's parents, and they're probably the best guest stars to play relatives on Star Trek since Worf's parents in TNG's "Family". Siddig himself, reportedly unhappy with the script and the way it was sprung on him, spends the episode looking sulky and thoroughly dissatisfied, and yet it works great as a performance here and is seemingly some of his finest acting. The part where he explains his past, despite being just dialogue, is one of DS9's most gripping character moments and is the cornerstone of a landmark O'Brien/Bashir scene.

    The seriousness is tempered with the comedy of Dr. Zimmerman putting the moves on Leeta in the B story, much to the disappointment of Rom. It's just a short comedy runner, but it actually gives Rom and Nog some back-story. (Not that the back-story is all that in depth or interesting... but neither is the B story it's tucked into)

  • Julian gets a backstory. Solid filler episode.

    In Sisko's interview, he mentions that Dr. Bashir was a bit of an overly enthusiastic, naive lightweight upon arriving in the station. That's being generous - you can't blame O'Brien and Kira for thinking he was insufferable early on.

    But the character acquired more depth and gravitas in later seasons - he grew up. And while this episode's revelations do come out of the blue, they are in no way inconsistent with the doctor's portrayal earlier in the series.

    As with Bashir, Siddig's acting also grew up during the course of the series. In the beginning he had a tendency to overact, but here his torment over his history gets an intense reading.

    The other story, about Rom and Leeta, is of course key to future events, but provides little more than a few chuckles. And the arrival of Dr. Zimmerman - a sleazy, unscrupulous character very different from his kindly creation as featured on Voyager - provides an interesting wrinkle to the yarn.moreless
  • Doctor Bashir is Genetically Engineered

    Many fans dislike this episode because it changes some of the backstory to Doctor Bashir. The episode itself is good, with great acting from Alexander Siddig and Bashir's parents.

    While I understand that this revelation does seem a little out of place, since it muddies Bashir's actions in older episodes, I'm happy to say that this issue is addressed often in later episodes, it even becomes the prerequisite for at least two future episodes ('Statistical Probabilities' and 'Inquisition') and their sequels.

    So the fact that we hear more about this genetically engineered past makes it acceptable for me. I'm glad it wasn't just swept under the rug and never mentioned again, like storys from a certain Star Trek series about a ship lost on the other side of the galaxy...moreless
Armin Shimerman

Armin Shimerman


Terry Farrell

Terry Farrell

Lt./Lt. Commander Jadzia Dax (Season 1-6)

Michael Dorn

Michael Dorn

Lt. Commander Worf (Season 4-7)

Rene Auberjonois

Rene Auberjonois

Constable Odo

Nana Visitor

Nana Visitor

Major/Colonel/Commander Kira Nerys

Avery Brooks

Avery Brooks

Commander/Captain Benjamin Sisko

Fadwa El Guindi

Fadwa El Guindi

Amsha Bashir

Guest Star

J. Patrick McCormack

J. Patrick McCormack

Admiral Bennett

Guest Star

Robert Picardo

Robert Picardo

Dr. Zimmerman

Guest Star

Max Grodenchik

Max Grodenchik


Recurring Role

Chase Masterson

Chase Masterson


Recurring Role

Mark Allen Shepherd

Mark Allen Shepherd

Morn (uncredited)

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (8)

    • Bashir's father was sentenced to a penal colony in New Zealand, the same facility where Paris (from Voyager) served his time.

    • It is revealed that Bashir's name is really Jules. He started calling himself Julian when he was 15 after he found out what his parents had done.

    • Goof: When Bashir enters Captain Sisko's office, he is introduced the head of JAG, Rear Admiral Bennett. Bennett was wearing the rank of Admiral (2 X 4 pips enclosed), instead of Rear Admiral (2 X 2 pips enclosed).

    • Goof: In the last shot, you can see a Galaxy-class starship orbiting the station, but there is no name or number on the saucer section.

    • Nitpick: During Zimmerman's extensive research into Bashir's life, the fact that he just spent four weeks in a Dominion prison, oddly enough, never comes up.

    • Nitpick: In this episodes, as well as "Statistical Probabilities", Bashir claim that he has always made sure not to show off with his abilities. However, in numerous previous episodes Bashir has been all too keen to both boast about and demonstrate his various talents, such as revealing that he's the Sector Racquetball Champion in "Rivals".

    • Unless the rules for darts have changed in the future, Bashir should have shot 3 tripple twenties, giving him 180 points, whereas the 3 bulleyes he hit only gives 150 points. However, Julian probably wasn't aiming for the bullseye in order to make the maximum number of points, he was demonstratinging that he could hit the smallest target on the board with pinpoint accuracy at will.

    • Nitpicks: The episode completely contradicts what we've learned about Bashir and his family from previous episodes. In season 2's "Melora", Bashir told her that his father was a Federation diplomat. If so, wouldn't some of the high-ranked people in Starfleet know about his family life? Having a son with birth defects certainly would not have been that big a secret and Richard certainly wouldn't have gotten away with having Julian enhanced if he chose to do so. It's also surprising this didn't come up in season 3's "Distant Voices" when Bashir was telepathically attacked by Altovar as it was indicated Letheans know everything about their victims. Also in season 4's "The Quickening", Julian said he was capable of sewing up his teddy bear at the age of 5. But if he was genetically enhanced around his seventh birthday, actually becoming coordinated in the process, there's no way he would have been able to patch up the teddy bear at an earlier age.

  • QUOTES (10)

    • O'Brien: (being interviewed about Bashir by Zimmerman) You're sure about that? I wouldn't want this to get back to Julian.
      Zimmerman: You have my word.
      O'Brien: Well, the truth is, he's an extraordinary person. A real sense of honor, integrity, great sense of humor, warm, caring... you're sure he's not going to read this?

    • Bashir: (to Bennett) Two years? Isn't that a little harsh?
      Bennett: I don't think so. Four hundred years ago, we tried to improve the species through DNA resequencing and what did we get for our trouble? The Eugenics Wars. For every Julian Bashir that can be created, there's a Khan Singh waiting in the wings... a superhuman whose ambition and thirst for power have been enhanced along with his intellect. The law against genetic engineering provides a firewall against such men and it's my job to keep that firewall intact.

    • O'Brien: I don't care how many... enhancements your parents had done. Genetic recording can't give you ambition or a personality or compassion or any of the things that make a person truly human.

    • O'Brien: And no one ever suspected?
      Bashir: No, there's no stigma attached to success, Chief.

    • Amsha: You don't know. You've never had a child. You don't know what it's like to watch your son... to watch him fall behind a little further every day... to know that he's trying, but something's holding him back. You don't know what it's like to stay up every night, worrying that maybe it's your fault. Maybe you did something wrong during the pregnancy, maybe you weren't careful enough, or maybe there's something wrong with you. Maybe you passed on a genetic defect without even knowing it.
      Richard: Amsha...
      Amsha: No, this is important. You can condemn us for what we did - say it was illegal or immoral or whatever you want to say... but you have to understand that we didn't do it because we were ashamed, but because you were our son and we loved you.

    • Richard: All those gifts, all those accomplishments and you still want to behave like a spoiled child. You better grow up and start taking this seriously or you're going to lose everything!
      Bashir: You mean you're going to lose everything. You'll lose the one real accomplishment in your life: me. You said it before - I'm your legacy, your proud gift to the world. Well, father, your gift is about to be revealed as a fraud, just like you!
      Richard: I am still your father, Jules. You will not speak to me like...
      Bashir: No, you used to be my father. Now you're my architect - the man who designed a better son to replace the defective one he was given.

    • (talking about the LMH)
      Bashir: Looks about right - except for the eyes. They seem... a little dead. They don't have that certain... sparkle, that zest for life that greets me in the mirror every morning.
      Zimmerman: This is just a test run. I can assure you that the final product will be... zesty.

    • Bashir: What should I do?
      Zimmerman: Just stand there and look like a doctor. If you can.

    • (talking about Bashir as the LMH)
      O'Brien: You mean this program is going to have all of his personal likes and dislikes?
      Zimmerman: That is why we bother to choose a human template in the first place.
      O'Brien: Think about it, Julian. If this works, you could irritate hundreds of people you've never even met.

    • Leeta: I have brains!
      Quark: Sure you do, honey - that's why I hired you. Now eat up, and take those brains back to the dabo wheel where the customers can get a good, long look at them.

  • NOTES (8)

    • The Voyager episode "Message in a Bottle" confirms that Dr Zimmerman did not base his new EMH program on Dr Bashir.

    • During the final scene, as Dr. Zimmerman (Robert Picardo) was getting on the transport and making conversation with an attractive woman, he add-libbed "Have you seen my work on Voyager?". This was cut, for obvious reasons. Actually, Picardo, when he boards the runabout, says: "Excuse me, have you heard of an ancient text called the Kuma Sutra?" They must have had him dubb over his lines with this.

    • It is explained that genetic enhancing is illegal, due to the same incident that involved Dr. Khan, going back to the Star Trek: TOS.

    • Dr Bashir's IQ increased by 5 points per day for 2 weeks after the genetic enhancements, giving him a total IQ increment of about 70 points above his original IQ. (Average IQ is 100)

    • Brian George, who plays Richard Bashir in this episode, later appears in the Voyager seventh season episode "Drive" as O'Zaal.

    • This episode first reveals that Dr. Bashir recieved genetic enhancements.

    • This episode reveals the name of Rom's former wife and Nog's mother: Prinadora. She left Rom for a richer man after her father used Rom's love for Prinadora to swindle him out of all of his money.

    • This marks Robert Picardo's first appearance as Dr. Lewis Zimmerman on Deep Space Nine. The character would later appear on Voyager. Interestingly, Zimmerman was originally the name the holographic doctor on Voyager was going to be called, but was later dropped.


    • Doctor Bashir, I Presume?

      The title of this episode is obviously a reference to what Henry Stanley said when he found Doctor David Livingstone in the African jungle: "Doctor Livingstone, I presume?"