After seven years of Nana Visitor's gutsy and compassionate performance
as Major Kira Nerys, it is hard to imagine a different actress playing
But when the producers of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine were
developing the series they thought they had found the perfect person to
play the female second-in-command of the remote Federation station in
the form of Michelle Forbes.
Forbes was winning plaudits at the time playing the Bajoran Ensign Ro in
Season Five of the Next Generation. However, the actress turned down the
role and headed for Hollywood, leaving the part
vacant perilously close to the start of filming. Visitor, an alumnus of
US daytime soaps, stepped in.
A fervently religious Bajoran national, Major Kira grew up fighting
the Cardassian occupation of her native planet. From the age of twelve she
was a member of the Bajoran resistance. Her attitude to the Cardassians
hardened after her mother died of malnutrition, although she has
gradually been able to recognise that not all Cardassians are as evil as
their leaders. Becoming disillusioned with paramilitary tactics, Kira
became Bajoran liaison to Deep Space Nine in 2369.
Suspicious of the Federation's motives in taking over the station,
Kira's relationship with Captain Benjamin Sisko was initially strained.
It remains ambivalent. Her faith in the Bajoran religion tells her that
Sisko is the Emissary of the Bajoran Prophets, although she frequently
regards her commanding officer with a mixture of awe and derision.
As Star Trek's most prominent Bajoran, Major Kira has honourably upheld
Star Treks' tradition of cheap alien make-up, in this case three
wrinkles on the upper nose.
Major Kira recently served as surrogate mother to Miles and Keiko
O'Brien's baby daughter, a handy plot device to cover for Nana Visitor's
own pregnancy. The actress is married to Alexander Siddig, who plays her
co-star Dr Julian Bashir.
Major Kira has also begun a faltering romance with Odo, who has
apparently managed to tempt the feisty Bajoran back for some hanky panky
in his bucket.
Key Kira Episodes: Emissary, Accession, The Maquis Part 1, Looking for
Par'Mach in all the Wrong Places, The Begotten.