Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1997): S05E16 – Doctor Bashir, I Presume?


Introduction

“Doctor Bashir, I Presume” is the 114th episode of the syndicated American science fiction television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the 16th episode of the fifth season.

This episode guest stars actor Robert Picardo, who was part of the main cast on Star Trek: Voyager which was in its 3rd season at the time of this show. There is a major focus on Dr. Bashir and the show includes guest performances by Brian George and Fadwa El Guindi as his parents.

Set in the 24th century, the series follows the adventures of the crew of the Starfleet-managed Bajoran space station Deep Space Nine. In this episode, EMH developer Dr. Lewis Zimmerman comes aboard to make a holographic template of Dr. Bashir, interviewing both co-workers and family. These leads to the revelation that Bashir was genetically modified as a child. Zimmerman takes a romantic interest in Leeta, and offers her a job working the cafe at Jupiter Station. However, she has mixed feelings about this due to her interest in Rom. Holographic versions of Zimmerman and Bashir, played by the same actors, are also included in this episode.

The episode’s title refers to the famous quotation attributed to Henry Morton Stanley on encountering the medical missionary and explorer, Doctor Livingstone.

Outline

Dr. Lewis Zimmerman comes to Deep Space Nine with the intent of using Dr. Bashir’s physical and personality likeness as a template for a Long-term Medical Hologram (an LMH), as opposed to the short-term Emergency Medical Hologram installed on such ships as USS Voyager and the Enterprise-E. Whereas the EMH, which Zimmerman used himself as the model, is for short-term emergency use, the LMH will provide full time medical care on distant and isolated outposts where it might not be possible to station a doctor. In order to make the hologram as robust as possible, Zimmerman needs a complete personality profile on Bashir. In addition to questioning Bashir himself, Zimmerman interviews Bashir’s colleagues and makes arrangements – against Bashir’s wishes – to invite Julian’s estranged parents, Amsha and Richard Bashir, to the station.

Julian is embarrassed by his father’s tendency toward hyperbole. For example, he references a time he “ran shuttles” when, in fact, Richard was merely a steward who was fired shortly into his career. Julian implores his parents at dinner not to reveal to Zimmerman anything about a secret from his childhood and they are angered that he thinks they would be so sloppy to reveal such a secret.

Later, his parents go to the infirmary to try to assuage their son’s fears, stating emphatically that they will not tell Zimmerman that they had Julian genetically modified when he was a child. They point out that they have kept the secret since he was a child, and that because such modification is illegal in the United Federation of Planets, they, too, are criminally culpable. However, Bashir’s parents are unaware that they are speaking to Zimmerman’s new hologram rather than speaking to their son. Zimmerman and Chief O’Brien, who is assisting Zimmerman with the LMH project, are right around the corner and hear everything said.

O’Brien informs Julian about what he heard. Julian is furious over this disclosure, but then confirms that he was genetically modified as a child. He relates that he was a poor student, with some form of learning disability and possibly physical and intellectual disabilities as well, and seemed destined to failure. His parents took him to Adigeon Prime for DNA re-sequencing, greatly improving his intelligence and his physicality. With the secret out, Bashir sees no alternative but to resign from Starfleet.

However, before Bashir can tender his resignation, his parents take matters into their own hands. Richard strikes a deal with the Starfleet Judge Advocate General’s Rear Admiral Bennett: Richard will spend two years in a minimum security prison for illegal genetic engineering, and Julian is allowed to retain his commission and his medical license. Admiral Bennett points out the dangers of genetic manipulation by noting that for every Julian Bashir, an immensely talented physician, there is the potential for a megalomaniac like Khan Noonien Singh, and Earth cannot take such a chance. Julian makes some peace with his parents as they depart for Earth, grateful for his father’s sacrifice.

As this is going on, Zimmerman pursues Dabo girl Leeta’s affections, to the point of asking her to accompany him back to Jupiter Station to open her own bar. Shy Rom is too scared to say anything to convince her to stay, despite it being clear that Leeta would welcome any reason to stay with him. She is on the verge of getting onto a transport with Zimmerman when Rom careens around the corner, in one long yell for her to wait (until he gets there). He finally gives her the long-awaited reason to stay: “I love you.” Leeta reciprocates, and agrees to stay. Zimmerman leaves on his own but immediately flirts with another woman as he boards the ship.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): David Livingston.
  • Writer(s): Ronald D. Moore.
  • Release Date: 24 February 1997.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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