Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

Season 4 Episode 18

Rules of Engagement

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Apr 08, 1996 on Syndicado

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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out of 10
140 votes
  • Worf is tried for war crimes after the Defiant accidentally blows up a civilian ship on his orders.

    Trial episodes have been done a bunch of times on Star Trek and this one is not especially compelling. While commanding the Defiant during an engagement with the Klingons, Worf orders the ship to open fire on a cloaked ship which turns out to be a civilian vessel carrying hundreds of civilians. The Klingons demand that he be extradited, and the bulk of the episode deals with the Starfleet tribunal that considers their appeal.

    As in many trial episodes, our initial sympathies with the defendant are compromised as the episode progresses. The Klingon prosecutor argues that Worf's Klingon nature, as well as his grievances against the people who exiled him, made him suspend his better judgment when firing on the cloaked vessel. Worf is rescued not by the refutation of this argument, but rather by the twist that the destroyed ship was not actually carrying civilians.

    The story itself was unremarkable. However, the way in which it tackles testimony deserves bonus points -- when questioned "on the stand", the characters (Sisko, O'Brien, Worf, Quark, etc) answer the questions in the context of flashbacks* rather than simply describing the past. Also, the Klingon prosecutor did a very good job.

    *What I mean is that O'Brien continues talking to the audience/judge while we see him commanding the Defiant during the incident.
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