If you think hard enough, coming up with a list of just ten performances would take about a minute. Star Trek has been gifted with literally hundreds of stand-out performers from its beginning to the current day. Across all twelve series, and all thirteen movies, there are those scenes that leave us spellbound - all thanks to a single performance.
This is not a list of the best scenes, as they deserve a list of their own. These are the individual efforts by a performer to raise the bar when it comes to outstanding achievements in acting. They can be main or guest performers, as a fantastic delivery is not dependent on the amount of screen time provided.
While it's safe to say that there will be a lot of heavy hitters on this list, sometimes it can be those quiet deliveries that stand out above the rest. There's entries we all know are going to be here - and I CAN live with that - but are there any that might shock and surprise us all? Of course there is - Star Trek has been around for sixty years. The list can't ALL be The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager, now can it?
10. I Call That A Bargain
Deep Space Nine: In The Pale Moonlight (S6, E19)
In The Pale Moonlight consistently ranks among the top episodes of Star Trek overall. There are any number of reasons for this, not least Avery Brooks’ stellar performance as Sisko as he sinks further and further into the plot to con the Romulans.
However, it is Andrew Robinson’s Garak who takes this spot.
From the character’s first appearance in season one’s Past Prologue, Garak had always held audiences with the mystery – and danger – suggested by his various backstories. With the confirmation that he was a former member of the Obsidian Order, the danger doubled – but his charm never wavered.
However, it was the reveal in the climactic scene between Sisko and Garak that truly stunned viewers. Sisko’s rage at Garak’s actions are countered with the Cardassian’s cold, yet accurate, assurance that the captain knew exactly what he was doing when he came to Garak.
Robinson plays the scene perfectly. In Garak’s mind, Sisko had always planned for events to unfurl as they had – and simply lied to himself to sleep at night. Garak had no such pretensions. Robinson’s furious insistence of the fact, along with listing the acceptable costs of their actions, left more than one jaw on the floor. One of the darkest moments in Star Trek, complimented by one of the greatest deliveries from a guest star in the franchise.