When we first met Dr. Julian Bashir in the pilot of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, he immediately begins his arc by putting his foot in his mouth in front of Kira. Throughout the seven-season run of Deep Space Nine, viewers saw him grow past that initial moment of awkwardness as the trauma of the Dominion War weighs down on him and his character changes. Still, even from the first season onwards, he’s a caring doctor who is determined to save his patients and do the right thing, no matter the personal cost.
As we celebrate Alexander Siddig’s birthday today, we’ve pulled seven moments from across the series that helped Bashir stand out from the crowd. Some of these moments focus on his healing abilities, while others focus on his character growth. All together, they show just why Bashir is such a beloved member of the DS9 crew.
Saving Garak in “The Wire”
"The Wire" is a standout favorite, and for good reason. When Bashir’s lunch buddy Garak starts to display strange behaviors, he steps up to try and see what the secretive Cardassian is hiding. While Garak gets three amazing monologues throughout the episode, it’s Bashir who provides the emotional through line. Not only are we able to see just how far Bashir is willing to go to save a patient, but we’re able to see just how deep Bashir’s compassion for those he cares for runs. Bashir’s friendships and relationships within the crew are a key part of what makes him unique, and it’s wonderful to see his odd couple dynamic with Garak reach a new stage of closeness.
Inspiring Smiley in “Crossover”
It would be easy to take “Crossover,” DS9’s first Mirror Universe episode, and see it mainly as a Kira episode. But as Kira helps Mirror Sisko find his sense of righteousness, Bashir helps Mirror O’Brien, nicknamed Smiley, find his sense of rebellion. Condemned to hard labor on the station, Bashir tries to get Mirror O’Brien to help him and Kira escape. He talks about who O’Brien is in his universe — a man he deeply respects. This inspires Mirror O’Brien to aid him in his escape. As Mirror O’Brien delivers a monologue about how things can be better, we know that the spark of rebellion that Mirror Sisko and Mirror O’Brien will fan into a fire comes in part from Bashir extending kindness to the mirror version of his friend.
A Change of Perspective in “Our Man Bashir”
If there’s one constant in Bashir’s early seasons, it’s his idealistic nature. One way his idealism plays out is in his Agent Bashir Holoprogram, seen in "Our Man Bashir," where he plays a suave super-spy in the '60s (modeled after James Bond, of course). It’s a world of romance and intrigue where good triumphs over evil and stops nuclear war. But real life requires sacrifice, as Bashir learns when Garak crashes his program. Trying to save his fellow crewmates in the Holodeck buffer, as well as himself, puts Bashir’s idealism to the test against the realities of espionage. While the episode has a happy ending, you can see the beginnings of a more practical and realistic Bashir begin to emerge.
Finding a Cure in “The Quickening”
When Bashir, Dax, and Kira visit a planet that has suffered from a Jem’Hadar attack, they discover that the inhabitants are victims of a plague engineered by the Dominion. Bashir becomes obsessed with finding a cure that will save the planet’s dying population. He clashes with a doctor who believes the only way to handle this sickness is to make dying easier for the afflicted, and almost makes things worse when his medical equipment causes the virus to mutate faster. When he finds a vaccine, it’s not the happy ending he hoped for; the episode ends on a somber note as he returns to DS9. “The Quickening” shows Bashir’s willingness to do whatever it takes to save his patients, as well as his determination to live by the Hippocratic Oath.
Mentoring Jake Sisko in “...Nor the Battle to the Strong”
When we first see Bashir in “...Nor the Battle to the Strong,” he’s happily talking to a rather uninterested Jake Sisko about the medical conference they just attended. When a distress call interrupts their trip, Bashir and Jake travel to a colony that’s under attack by Klingons. The ensuing episode follows Jake as he comes to understand the truth of war and what it means to be brave; Bashir not only performs his duty up to his usual standard but also mentors Jake during the situation. The episode tests Bashir and Jake, and their shared idealism, in the heat of battle.
Standing Up For Himself in “Doctor Bashir, I Presume?”
Fresh off his imprisonment at a Dominion camp, Bashir faces his worst nightmare when his parents and a meddling Dr. Zimmerman reveal that he’s an Augment. As Bashir prepares to tell Sisko and resign his commission, his father reiterates that they only did this to help their son “Jules.” Bashir, in a powerful moment, pushes back on the use of the name "Jules." He’s Julian, the name he’s chosen to use, as Jules is a person who no longer exists after his parents’ interference. "Doctor Bashir, I Presume?" resonates strongly with many fans, especially trans fans, who saw the episode as a powerful metaphor for identity.
Going Inside Sloan’s Mind in “Extreme Measures”
Bashir, even at the end of Season 7, still maintains a key similarity with his early season self; willing to do whatever it takes for his crew. In "Extreme Measures," with Odo dying due to the Changeling Infection, Bashir lures Section 31 agent Sloan to DS9 and interrogates him to find a cure. As Sloan dies, Bashir goes as far to infiltrate his mind with O’Brien to find the cure and save Odo. It’s one final reminder that Julian Bashir is a hero, even when he engages in morally grey behavior. Commitment to his patients and friends is key to his character since the first episode, and as the show winds down to a close, it’s important to see that trait has never once wavered throughout the series' entire run.
What is your favorite Julian Bashir moment? Let us know on social, and join us in wishing Alexander Siddig a happy birthday!
Julian Gardner (they/them) is on the editorial team for StarTrek.com.