9 user 4 critic

Hard Time 

O'Brien tries to re-integrate to life on the station after serving 20 years in a virtual prison.


Alexander Singer


Gene Roddenberry (based upon "Star Trek" created by), Rick Berman (created by) | 4 more credits »




Episode complete credited cast:
Avery Brooks ... Capt. Benjamin Sisko
Rene Auberjonois ... Odo
Michael Dorn ... Lt. Cmdr. Worf
Terry Farrell ... Lt. Cmdr. Jadzia Dax
Cirroc Lofton ... Jake Sisko
Colm Meaney ... Chief Miles O'Brien
Armin Shimerman ... Quark
Alexander Siddig ... Doctor Bashir
Nana Visitor ... Major Kira
Rosalind Chao ... Keiko O'Brien
Margot Rose ... Rinn
Hana Hatae ... Molly O'Brien
F.J. Rio F.J. Rio ... Muñiz
Craig Wasson ... Ee'char


O'Brien has been accused by the Argrathi of espionage and has already been sentenced: twenty years jail time in a artificial reality. While O'Brien felt like he was twenty years in a cell, only a couple of hours has passed. But the memories sure feel real for the chief. The crew of Deep Space Nine do their utter best to let O'Brien re-adjust to the 'new' situation, but it is clear the happening has had a major impact on him. He gets increasingly more violent to even his closest friends and refuses to go to a psychiatrist. O'Brien even purposely tells he was alone in his cell, while this clearly isn't true. Something about his cell-mate Ee'Char is bothering him immensely. The fact that a hallucinative Ee'Char hunts him is driving him mad. Written by Arnoud Tiele (imdb@tiele.nl)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »

Did You Know?


This is the first mention of Counselor Telnorri (not seen on screen). This is also the first counselor to be mentioned in a Star Trek series since Counselor Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987). The name Telnorri contains all the letters of the name Troi. See more »


Ee'char: After six years in a place like this you either learn to laugh, or you go insane. I prefer to laugh.
See more »


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

User Reviews

The Worst Kind of Mistreatment!
24 October 2018 | by HitchcocSee all my reviews

As the episode opens, we see Miles O'Brien, obviously older and sort of Edmund Dantes in appearance, making symbols in the sand in a prison cell. It turns out that he has been convicted of espionage and before his people can defend him, sentenced to a horrible punishment. In his mind, he spends 20 years in this cell. When he recovers, he is back in his original state, but, in his mind, 20 years older. He hasn't seen his colleagues in all those years, even though they have only aged a few hours. We now have a hardened prisoner, trying to put the pieces together. I know this is a fiction, but one of those people who did this to him should have had the opportunity to experience it. Some have criticized the crew for their responses, but obviously they haven't a clue where he is at. This was incredibly poignant and so depressing.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 9 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.


Official Sites:

Official Site





Release Date:

15 April 1996 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Television See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page

Recently Viewed