Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1999): S07E11 – Prodigal Daughter


“Prodigal Daughter” is the 161st episode of the television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the 11th episode of the seventh season.

Miles O’Brien goes missing on his trip to an exoplanet in the Sappora system, which happens to be where Ezri Dax’s family resides.

Ezri Dax visits her family and several members of her family are introduced, which Cinefantastique described as “unsavoury”. Ezri’s mother is Yanas, and played by actress Leigh Taylor Young.

“Prodigal Daughter” was written by Bradley Thompson and David Weddle, and Victor Lobl was the director. The episode was nominated for an Emmy for outstanding art direction.


Julian Bashir reveals to Benjamin Sisko a confidence from O’Brien: that he went to New Sydney, the seventh planet of the Sappora system, to look for Morica, the widow of an Orion Syndicate member named Liam Bilby, whom he befriended while undercover. O’Brien felt some responsibility for Bilby’s death while he was undercover in the Syndicate. Because Ezri Dax’s family, the Tigans, own a mining operation near New Sydney where they live, Sisko asks her to help find O’Brien.

Returning home, Ezri is reunited with her domineering mother, Yanas Tigan – a shrewd businesswoman – and her brothers Norvo and Janel, who work for the business. Yanas promises to look into the matter of O’Brien’s disappearance, while criticising Ezri’s life choices. Ezri’s brother Norvo is happy to see her, while her eldest brother Janel is bitter about her tendency to stay away from home. Janel mostly manages the technical aspects of the mine, while Norvo does the bookkeeping. Norvo has interests in painting, poetry and music, but is extremely self-critical of his work.

Ezri’s visit allows her to catch up with Norvo, who is ruled by his mother’s iron hand. Ezri’s heated criticism of Yanas’ tyrannical treatment of Norvo is cut short by the arrival of O’Brien in handcuffs, who’s been rescued by the local police from a run-in with the Orion Syndicate, and released to Dax’s custody. Miles announces that he found Morica Bilby – her body – dead at the bottom of a river.

O’Brien contends that Morica was killed by the Syndicate, a theory dismissed by a police lieutenant who insists that the criminals would never murder the widow of one of their own. Later, a self-described “commodities broker” named Bokar sees O’Brien in the mines and warns Janel that O’Brien’s life will be in danger if he does not leave immediately.

O’Brien helps Janel fix some mining equipment, which has had inexplicable malfunctions lately. O’Brien thinks that the Orion Syndicate is intimidating the Tigans and tells Dax so. Sensing Bokar may be a member of the Syndicate, O’Brien acquires Ezri’s permission to check the mining company’s financial records. He is stunned to learn that Morica Bilby was on the Tigan payroll at the time of her death – a fact which links the Syndicate to Ezri’s family. O’Brien informs a disbelieving Ezri that someone close to her may be involved in Morica’s murder.

Ezri orders O’Brien to withhold his findings from the police until she speaks with her family. Ezri confronts her family and Yanas suspects that it was Janel who killed Morica. Confronted with the truth, Janel admits that Morica was on the payroll as a favour to Bokar and the Syndicate, which bailed the mining company out of a financial crisis, but he denies killing Morica. Angered that her son struck such a corrupt deal behind her back, Yanas doubts his innocence. To everyone’s surprise, Norvo confesses, saying he took action after Morica tried to extort more money from the family, and hid the woman’s body in the river. He tries to justify his action by saying that he was never trusted to make big decisions. As a result, Norvo is sentenced to 30 years in prison, while Yanas is left wondering what role she played in his downfall.

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Production & Filming Details

  • Director(s): Victor Lobi.
  • Writer(s): Bradley Thompson and David Weddle.
  • Release Date: 06 January 1999.
  • Running Time: 45 minutes.
  • Country: US.
  • Language: English.

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