Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Season 4, Episode 17

Rules of Engagement (8 Apr. 1996)

TV Episode  -   -  Action | Adventure | Drama
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Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

When Worf destroys a civilian shuttle during an engagement with the Klingons, an extradition hearing is held to see if he must face charges.



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Title: Rules of Engagement (08 Apr 1996)

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Episode cast overview:
Jake Sisko (credit only)
Deborah Strang ...
Admiral T'Lara
Helm Officer


The Klingon Empire has asked the Federation to extradite Worf for murder. Worf commanded the Defiant which was guarding a Cardassian convoy offering medical aid to the Pentath colony. The convoy was attacked by the Klingons and in the heat of battle Worf gave the order to fire on a decloaking ship. It was a civilian transport, 441 Klingons died. The Klingon advocate Ch'Pok is trying to prove to admiral T'Lara in a hearing that Worf's bloodlust took over. Ch'Pok has a hidden agenda and he openly admits it. The Klingons see this as the perfect opportunity to gain sympathy and weaken the Federation. Captain Sisko is defending Worf and asks Odo to try to find out why the civilian transport joined the battle. Sisko's defense in the meantime is not going well. With every witness Ch'Pok's reasoning seems more and more plausible. Written by Arnoud Tiele (

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

8 April 1996 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


This takes place in 2372. See more »


During Worf's trial, Captain Sisko starts with 4 rank pips on his uniform, but in subsequent shots, only 3 pips are present. (This is not only a continuity error, but a factual error too: Sisko is indeed a captain.) See more »


Ch'Pok: Fate is a Human concept.
See more »


Star Trek: Deep Space Nine - Main Title
Written by Dennis McCarthy
Performed by Dennis McCarthy
See more »

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User Reviews

Let That be your Last Battlefield
20 June 2012 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Worf is once again in The Arena: The Legal Arena. But where he cannot fight himself, he has The Sisko as his Advocate.

Worf is in The Defiant, which is battle-Damaged. All around him are the corpses of Klingon Civilians: Men. Women, and... Children. This is a dream Worf has in the teaser, and effective it is.

Worf has been accused by the Klingon Empire of obliterating a Klingon Transport Ship that had accidentally crossed into his field of fire.

As each witness comes out, the truth unfolds. Each Witnesses story is illustrated by small "Vignettes" showing their POV. The Klingon Prosecutor, played by Ron Canada, is using all kinds of unethical legal trickery to get Worf moved to Qo'noS for trial.

But the trial is a sham-Would the Klingons use this kind of deception? We have to remember, the Klingon Empire is being manipulated by The Founders: Chancellor Gowron has at his right hand, a changeling pretending to be Martok! So it is just natural that the Klingons would be doing all kinds of Un-Klingonish deceits. We know now with 20/20 hindsight, that most of these things the Empire was doing were probably set in Motion by Martok/Founder.

If we do not take this into account, then it appears that the Klingons are acting very unscrupulously- And not like the Klingons we learned about in 7 years of TNG.

In the end, the deception is revealed-How could Worf have killed the people on this transport, when they had already been killed in an accident on another planet? And so Worf is chastised, lightly, by The Sisko for not waiting to see what vessel was uncloaking before he fired on it - But such things, soon, will not matter in the Deep Space Nine Universe: Because WAR is coming- And even The Sisko will have to set aside the Prime Directive to win it.

Deborah Strang (From The X-Files: Aubrey) is the JAG Admiral T'Lara

2 of 5 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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