Gul Dukat is the primary antagonist in the fictional television series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. He is a member of the fictional Cardassian species, and leader in the Cardassian Union. At times he is an enemy, whilst at others an ally of the series' protagonist Benjamin Sisko. He was played by actor Marc Alaimo. Dukat appears throughout the series, being introduced in the pilot episode "Emissary", and also featuring in the series' finale "What You Leave Behind".
Dukat played a versatile role throughout the series and was often a nuanced character. In the words of Deep Space Nine co-executive producer Ronald D. Moore, "I don't think of him as being completely evil through and through ... He can be charming. He can be generous. He can do the right thing. All of that somehow makes his 'evil' actions all the more despicable, because we know that there was the potential in there for him to be a better person." Ultimately, despite the character's versatility, "Dukat is a bad guy. A very bad guy." Indeed, StarTrek.com describes him as "the most complex and fully developed villain in Star Trek history".
Prior to the start of the series, Dukat holds the military title of Gul and is the head of the Cardassian occupation government of the planet Bajor as well as commander of the station Deep Space Nine (then referred to by its Cardassian name Terok Nor). Due to this background Dukat's early appearances range from being anti-heroic to antagonistic. In his debut appearance in the pilot episode "Emissary", he takes a Cardassian warship to Deep Space Nine to demand from the new Starfleet-appointed commander Benjamin Sisko one of the recently discovered Orbs of the Bajoran Prophets. In "Cardassians" Dukat is at the center of a conspiracy which his exiled Cardassian enemy Elim Garak and Dr. Julian Bashir are trying to unravel. In "Civil Defense" he tries to blackmail the crew of Deep Space Nine when they cannot disarm an accidentally-triggered Cardassian counter-insurgency program. He is allied with the main Starfleet characters against the Maquis rebels in "The Maquis" and "Defiant" and against the Klingon when they invade Cardassia in "The Way of the Warrior".
In the season 4 episode "Indiscretion", Kira Nerys accompanies Gul Dukat on a search for a lost Cardassian starship, where it is ultimately revealed he is trying to track down and kill his illegitimate half-Bajoran daughter Tora Ziyal. He ultimately resolves to take her home with him. The follow-up episode "Return to Grace" shows Dukat being disgraced with the Cardassian military as a result of this move, reduced to commanding a freighter with Ziyal and his deputy Damar. With Kira's help he commandeers a Klingon raider and sends his government their battle plans. When he hears that the Cardassian government still wants to negotiate with the Klingons he decides to use his new ship to launch a one-man war against the Klingon Empire, leaving Ziyal with Kira at Deep Space Nine. In this capacity he helps Sisko, Miles O'Brien, Odo and Worf infiltrate the Klingon Empire in the season five premiere "Apocalypse Rising".
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