Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1996): S04E18 – Rules of Engagement


“Rules of Engagement” is the 90th episode of the science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the 18th episode of the fourth season.

It was directed by LeVar Burton, and features guest star Ron Canada as a visiting Klingon prosecutor.

The episode features special effect sequences with the USS Defiant and the Klingon Bird of Prey spaceships.

Lt. Cdr. Worf faces an extradition hearing in which the Klingon Empire seeks to have him tried in Klingon court, charged with destroying a civilian transport.


Worf commands the Defiant on an escort mission to guard Cardassian vessels. While under attack from Klingon raiders, a vessel de-cloaks in front of the Defiant. Expecting the vessel to be a Klingon warship, Worf orders it fired upon immediately without visual confirmation. However, the destroyed ship turns out to be a Klingon civilian transport, and the Klingon Empire wants Worf tried in their court.

Admiral T’Lara presides over Worf’s extradition hearing aboard the station where one by one, Worf’s friends and acquaintances are forced to testify, either bolstering Worf’s defence or damaging it. For example, the combat experienced Chief O’Brien confesses he would not have done what Worf did. The Klingon Advocate, Ch’Pok, even provokes Worf into attacking him, which bolsters his case since the Advocate was unarmed at the time.

In the end, Constable Odo’s investigation uncovers evidence telling that the names of all the 441 people who were reported to have died on the transport were the same exact names of the people who were reported to have crashed on a distant planet three months prior to the battle with no survivors recovered. Sisko concludes that the entire incident was staged by the Empire to frame Worf for the purpose of smearing the Federation. Despite having no civilian deaths on his conscience, Captain Sisko still has criticisms of mistakes Worf had made but he tells the Klingon that he will make a fine captain some day.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): LeVar Burton.
  • Writer(s): Bradley Thompson and David Weddle.
  • Release Date: 08 April 1996.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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