Every Stаr Trek: DS9 Episode Direсted By Rene Auberjonois

René Auberjonois worked with Hollywood director Robert Altman, do the Odo actor’s directorial efforts on Star Trek: DS9 display Altman’s influence?

A composite image of Rene Auberjonois' Odo and the episodes he's directed


  • Many Star Trek actors have become notable directors, including René Auberjonois who directed eight episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • Auberjonois directed some of DS9’s strongest episodes, with a focus on the Ferengi characters and their relationships.
  • Auberjonois’s directing style brought out incredible performances from the cast, particularly in episodes centered around Dr. Julian Bashir.

René Auberjonois is one of many Star Trek actors to have turned their hand to directing, having directed eight episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine during his time on the show. Many Star Trek actors have become noted directors in their own right, with Jonathan Frakes and Leonard Nimoy having directed Hollywood movies that had nothing to do with the sci-fi franchise. Frakes began his extensive directing career on Star Trek: The Next Generation and his TNG co-stars Patrick Stewart, LeVar Burton and Michael Dorn followed suit. Worf actor Michael Dorn directed three episodes of DS9, including the episode “When it Rains”, in which Dr. Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) seeks to cure the Morphogenic virus affecting Odo (René Auberjonois).

Michael Dorn was previously directed by Odo actor René Auberjonois in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Strange Bedfellows”, in which Worf and Ezri Dax (Nicole de Boer) succumb to their suppressed feelings for one another. Included in the eight DS9 episodes directed by Auberjonois are some of the strongest in the Star Trek show’s seven seasons. Many of the episodes directed by René Auberjonois also focus on Quark (Armin Shimerman), Odo’s Ferengi nemesis, and a dear friend of Auberjonois behind the scenes.

8 Star Trek: DS9, Season 3, Episode 16, “Prophet Motive”

Aired February 20, 1995

The first Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode directed by René Auberjonois is “Prophet Motive”, a hilarious Ferengi comedy about Grand Nagus Zek (Wallace Shawn) becoming a philanthropist. Prior to “Prophet Motive”, Auberjonois had directed two episodes of the short-lived 1980s sitcom, “Marblehead Manor”, so he was a good fit for what Ira Steven Behr called one of DS9‘s “flat out comedy” episodes. DS9 guest actor Juliana Donald remembered that Auberjonois insisted on rehearsing the episode, something that was unheard of in network television production. It’s clear that the Odo actor was keen to maximize the comedy in “Prophet Motive” by working it out in advance, an approach that pays big dividends.

7 Star Trek: DS9, Season 3, Episode 23, “Family Business”

Aired May 15, 1995

René Auberjonois returned to the Ferengi for his next directorial effort, “Family Business”, which expanded Quark’s Star Trek family by introducing his mother Ishka (Andrea Martin). It’s also the first episode to introduce Quark’s nemesis, Liquidator Brunt (Jeffrey Combs), and also introduced Kasidy Yates (Penny Johnson Jerald), the second wife of Captain Benjamin Sisko (Avery Brooks). “Family Business” is a more serious episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine than Auberjonois’ previous directorial effort, as it explores the gender disparity between male and female Ferengi, and explores Quark’s relationship with his mother, and his brother Rom (Max Grodénchik). As an actor himself, René Auberjonois gets some affecting performances from his cast.

6 Star Trek: DS9, Season 4, Episode 4, “Hippocratic Oath”

Aired October 16, 1995

A Jem'Hadar soldier and Dr. Bashir in DS9 - Hippocratic Oath

Having shown his gift for juggling comedy and pathos in his two Star Trek: Deep Space Nine comedy episodes, René Auberjonois turned his attention to something else entirely in season 4. The episode “Hippocratic Oath” is an incredible character piece in which Dr. Julian Bashir (Alexander Siddig) grapples with an ethical dilemma. Presented with the opportunity to break the Dominion’s hold over the Jem’Hadar, Bashir finds himself at odds with his best friend Chief O’Brien (Colm Meaney). There’s a great deal of tension in “Hippocratic Oath”, achieved by Auberjonois’ considered direction.

In 2011, in an interview with the official Star Trek website, René Auberjonois stated that “Hippocratic Oath” was the standout Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode of the eight that he directed. It’s not a surprise, as Auberjonois’ work was praised by the episode’s writer Lisa Klink, who singled out his treatment of Bashir and O’Brien’s friendship as the key to the episode’s success. Interestingly, René Auberjonois was originally scheduled to direct “The Visitor”, but actor availibility necessitated a change in the filming order, meaning that he and director David Livingston had to swap places.

5 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season 4, Episode 24, “The Quickening”

Aired May 20, 1996

Bashir delivers the blight-free baby in DS9 - The Quickening

“The Quickening” is another Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode in which Dr. Bashir is forced to confront the horrific crimes of the Dominion. Visiting a planet stricken by a biological weapon created by the Dominion, Julian becomes obsessed with curing the horrific Quickening disease. Again, Auberjonois teases out an incredible performance from Alexander Siddig as Dr. Bashir. Siddig’s Bashir was cocky and arrogant in DS9‘s early days, but here he displays such vulnerability and abject horror that it’s impossible not to root for the medic. Between “Hippocratic Oath” and “The Quickening”, it’s fair to say that René Auberjonois directed two of Dr. Bashir’s best Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes.

Who Plays Dr. Julian Bashir? Star Trek DS9’s Alexander Siddig Explained

Alexander Siddig’s Dr. Julian Bashir proved to be a great addition to the cast of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and the roster of Star Trek doctors.

4 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season 5, Episode 7, “Let He Who Is Without Sin…”

Aired November 11, 1996

Worf in full uniform and Dax in a swimsuit in DS9

“Let He Who Is Without Sin…” is René Auberjonois’ weakest Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode as director. However, the episode’s co-writers Robert Hewitt Wolfe and Ira Steven Behr will be the first to admit that the problems lie with the script. Due to the constraints of both network television and executive producer Rick Berman, the writers weren’t able to truly show how hedonistic Star Trek‘s pleasure planet truly was. Worf’s distaste for Risa and its frivolous culture doesn’t really work because everything is so tame and nowhere near as liberal and free-spirited as it should be. Auberjonois does his best with the ensemble cast, but it’s a disappointing entry in his canon of DS9 episodes.

3 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season 5, Episode 20, “Ferengi Love Songs”

Aired April 21, 1997

Grand Nagus Zek and Ishka in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine

René Auberjonois was back on safer ground with Star Trek: Deep Space Nine season 5’s “Ferengi Love Songs”, in which Quark’s mother Ishka (Cecily Adams) is revealed to be in a relationship with the Grand Nagus. Ira Steven Behr and René Auberjonois disagree with each other on how successful the episode was as a Ferengi comedy. Behr wanted a Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn-style screwball comedy, whereas the finished episode is more cartoonish. Auberjonois simply countered Behr’s assessment by telling the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion that to him, the Ferengi were always cartoon characters. It’s a classic Ferengi comedy episode that would eventually lead to the huge changes the Ferengi made to Star Trek history.

2 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season 6, Episode 11, “Waltz”

Aired January 3rd, 1998

Avery Brooks and Marc Alaimo as Sisko and Dukat in Waltz

Another standout episode from René Auberjonois’ directorial career is the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode “Waltz”. It’s an incredibly tense two-hander that sees Captain Sisko and his arch-nemesis Gul Dukat (Marc Alaimo) forced to rely on each other to survive. Again, Auberjonois displays his skills as an actor’s director, giving Avery Brooks and Marc Alaimo everything they need to give two of their most memorable performances in the entirety of DS9. René Auberjonois responded to Ronald D. Moore’s script as a theater piece, and it really pays off, with the central relationship between Sisko and Dukat far more compelling and engaging than any dazzling visuals or special effects.

1 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Season 7, Episode 19, “Strange Bedfellows”

Aired April 21, 1999

Nicole de Boer and Michael Dorn as Worf looking intensely at each other

The final episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine directed by René Auberjonois is “Strange Bedfellows”, part of DS9‘s nine-part finale. Much like many of Auberjonois’ previous directorial efforts, “Strange Bedfellows” relies on the interplay between two characters. It’s essentially an episode about Worf and Ezri reconciling the complicated legacy of the Dax symbiont, and Michael Dorn and Nicole de Boer are terrific. However, there are also some excellent scenes between Nana Visitor as Major Kira Nerys and Louise Fletcher as Kai Winn.

Like René Auberjonois, Louise Fletcher had also worked with Hollywood auteur Robert Altman, and it’s interesting to ponder how much the director influence Auberjonois’ work on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Altman became known for his large ensembles in movies like Nashville and Short Cuts, and ensemble casts are something of a hallmark of René Auberjonois’ episodes from the big Ferengi family episodes to this sweeping story of the Dominion War. Auberjonois was an incredible talent both in front and behind the camera, and he is still missed to this day.

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